Anime Episodes of the Year: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood ep54 (Jealousy isn’t pretty)
I think it’s appropriate that the opening scene for this episode of Brotherhood is what it is. It’s rare that I come into an episode or series with as much history on my back as I did with this episode. Even for a shounen series with a relatively finite lifespan, Fullmetal Alchemist is an epic endeavor. Having gotten to know the characters through the first series and then through the manga, I was as familiar with these characters as I thought anyone could be. But here we are, slinking through this “dungeon”, suffering through an identity crisis. Having a ruthless shapeshifter like Envy as your prey can lead to some awkward situations. I remember very well how Envy won his last encounter by playing a nasty trick on Edward Elric. And here I couldn’t help but wonder if a furious and vengeance starved Roy Mustang would fall for a similar trick.
Goddamn Mustang is mad!
You’re literally watching someone being tortured to death on the screen. And then it happens. His true form shows up. Envy’s true form. When I first saw it I was disgusted and disappointed that this arrogant monstrous fiend, who had slaughtered and slaughtered people for so long without consequence, could turn out to be so small and nasty. It’s the second time now. And now I just pitied him.
I never fully understood why Mustang couldn’t take his revenge. God knows he deserved it. He was justified. There’s nothing wrong with it in the heat of war. But then again Scar is right there in that cave and who knows if that’s actually how he started his rampage. I suppose he had a choice to become a serial killer (don’t kid yourself, that’s what he was and probably still is). Though I always questioned whether he was just mad.
I suppose this is one of the most memorable moments of the series for because of this moment. Not only were the characters fighting amongst each other, for the first time ever I actually disagreed with what Arakawa decided to do with her story telling. And it wasn’t the “why oh why” whining that inevitably come with seeing one of the series most endearing characters murdered. I guess I was the voice in Mustang’s head that was going, “why not?” He’s here. Her right now. The thing that killed his best friend, the thing that caused him years of grief. Equivalent exchange is a bitch. My train of thought doesn’t get to last long though.
Because then Envy starts talking again, and I start to understand. He’s so small and nasty, not just in appearance, but on the inside through and through. There’s this moment during his confusion where it’s just sad. One of the saddest things I’ve seen in an anime.
There’s no words to describe how Envy offs himself and fades away. The very humans he looked down on, exploited and slaughtered like dogs time and again are moving on. He won’t get funeral or remembrance. That’s it.
Note: Okay, so maybe this was more one of my favorite moments than a favorite episode, there’s a battle between the Armstrong siblings and Sloth after this, but I can’t help but focus on this scene.
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