[Anime] Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – Pride Before The Fall (Episodes 40-49)


This post is the ninth in a series covering ‘Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood’. Previous posts: 

This post contains spoilers for episodes one through twenty, with some speculation for episodes beyond that.

Hey everyone, sorry it’s been a while since the last post. I hope Christmas and New Year’s went well for everyone. Wish you a prosperous 2018!

Episode 40: Homunculus (The Dwarf in the Flask)

Armstrong meets Mustang in Central, where he is able to pass her a covert message. She is able to convince Bradley that she is someone he wants on her side – though I feel that Bradley is convinced a little too easily. If someone who you suspect of working against you just happens to kill one of your followers and claims they did it just to prove their value to you – it might not be the worst idea to scrutinize their statements a little more closely. Still, Armstrong plays him very intelligently, calculating that he was more likely to believe a half-truth instead of a full on fabrication. She just might be one of the most competent characters in this series and that’s saying something since most of the characters in this series are pretty sensible most of the time. In Briggs, Armstrong’s crew, with bonds forged in the icy winter, begin to plot a mutiny to overthrow the overseers that Bradley has appointed to the frozen fortress.

Riza is able to inform Mustang that Selim Bradley is a homunculus using a morse-code type of code. The thing is, if Pride really is really watching over the problematic individuals like Mustang, then by now hasn’t Mustang done more than enough for the Homunculi to know that he has not fallen in line like he is pretending?

Next we flashback – way, way back. We’re going right to the origin of everything and seeing Van Hohenheim’s back story. He was born a slave and became friends with the first Homunculus – the creature that would go on to become ‘Father’. There’s obviously a lot to talk about here so let’s break it down a little:

  • Humble origins: there’s something inspiring and uplifting about a slave and imprisoned lab experiment uniting and overthrowing their oppressors. In other circumstances, you could imagine this being a protagonist’s origin story, couldn’t you? Of course, they don’t play up Hohenheim’s oppression much and he seems rather content with his lot in life – which in turns serves to magnify his horror when the Homunculus betrays the King of Xerxes.
  •  What makes us human?: We’ve seen again and again how attempts at artificially creating life has back fired into horrific abominations. Nina and Shou was one example, but there have been so many others – the grotesque result of Edward and Al’s attempts to revive their dead mother, Izumi’s similar results. Even the chimeras condition (even though they can revert to a human form) is not seen as a triumph but as something abnormal and to be cured rather than celebrated. What I’m getting at here is that the show is adamant that when it comes to life, mankind’s attempts always fall short. In the case of the Kingdom of Xerxes, which was this highly advanced, sophisticated society, they came as close to creating the perfect life-form in the Homunculus but it turns out that they missed the empathy, compassion and warmth that can make mankind happy. The Homunculus is incapable of understanding the concept of happiness and instead (perhaps learning from the people that created it) seeks out power instead. Ultimately, for all that Hohenheim and the Homunculus share in common, this is what sets them apart.
  • Family: There was a short scene in which Hohenheim tries to explain the value of family to the Homunculus. When you watch it the first time, it seems a minor enough scene – a human explaining an inherently human concept to this inhuman creature, we’ve all see it before. But it seems this little lesson was well learned but poorly understood – the Homunculus thinks that the shared blood between it and Van Hohenheim make them family (and perhaps it does in a way) and of course, in the modern day, Father has his seven children, his family. Do his children make Father happy, though? Is he capable of such an emotion?

Of course, this flashback also tells us a lot about what’s going to happen as well. The Homunculus is going to attempt the same thing on a bigger scale with Amestris as its primary focus. We get a final scene in which Hohenheim helps treat Izumi’s internal wounds a little – of course, he cannot return the organs she sacrificed back to her but he does what he can. From what I could tell, he didn’t use any of the Philosopher’s Stone either – this was apparently the level of his own natural talent. He leaves us with an interesting line – that he thinks of himself as a Philosopher’s Stone in human form. It will be interesting to see what kind of alchemy he can produce.

Episode 41: The Abyss

Winry and the gang (Scar, Marcoh, Yoki, May and the chimeras) proceed further down the tunnels, stumbling (literally) across some dynamite. Why was it placed there? Will the collapse the tunnels behind them to keep their would-be pursuers from getting to them?

Edward gets into a small argument with Miles about how to proceed. Miles wants no witnesses left alive to the treason they are about to commit in going after Kimblee – Edward, who feels very strongly about the sanctity of life, is horrified. Wasn’t Miles supposed to be one of the good ones? This is another example of the series showing its depth in showing that the even the best- intentioned paths can require ugly solutions. While it’s clear that we are meant to find Edward’s path admirable, the episode doesn’t want us to condemn Miles for his decision. Miles’ attitude fits the cold, harsh world of Briggs. I don’t want to judge Edward for his attitude – certainly, his own experiences have taught him the value of life both literally (via the Philosopher’s Stones) and figuratively – but at the same time, it does come across as naïve in this instance, especially since his counter-suggestions are so weak.

Winry’s gang continues its efforts to decipher Scar’s brother’s journal. My key take-away from it is that it was Van Hohenheim who introduced alchemy to East – which seems absolutely crazy to me. Yes, Hohenheim is a few centuries old but I had assumed that alchemy was an ancient art that was thousands of years old. On second thought, however, it does make sense. In this series, alchemy takes the role of science in our world. It offers an rules based, evidence backed alternative to religion and the people conduct experiments to further the discipline of alchemy. Perhaps then, it’s not too crazy for Van Hohenheim to have kick-started the scientific / alchemical revolution in the East. It follows that the Eastern alchemy is more advanced in medicine and healing than its more militaristic Western counterpart, founded by Father. The group eventually exits the tunnels and finds Al trapped under snow. It’s all treated as comedy but it’s a little scary to think that Alphonse came this close to be stuck under snow for the rest of the series had no one seen his armoured hand sticking out.  He informs them of situation at Briggs and the group heads to a nearby village instead. Back in the factory town whose name eludes me, Kimblee continues to sniff out Winry’s gang, heading towards the mining shaft. I can’t emphasize how refreshing it is to have competent villains in this series. Miles and his soldiers set up their assassination ambush but Kimblee knows all about it.

Edward is caught off-guard by Kimblee’s smug admission that he knows about the assassination attempt. As Kimblee escapes from Miles’ soldiers, Edward is attacked by the chimeras. They give him some trouble but finding the dynamite, Edward uses the ammonia in it to knock the chimeras (with their advanced senses of smell) out. Edward turns to attack Kimblee, knocking the Philosopher’s Stone out of his hand and slashing his transmutation circle, rendering him helpless.

Or so he thinks – Kimblee reveals a second Stone in his mouth (the one we’ve seen since the beginning of the series). Kimblee counterattacks, throwing Edward down a shaft where he is impaled on a rod. That…kind of looks fatal. If it is fatal, this series is dead to me. Well probably not, but I will certainly be unhappy. Almost on cue, Alphonse’s soul is suffering from the withdrawal effects again – I don’t think it’s related to Edward’s fall but it’s the episode showing us how desperate the brothers’ situation is. Edward, showing some classic Shonen Jump protagonist levels of determination, manages to help the two trapped chimeras and in exchange asks them to pull the rod out of him. Is this the Law of Equivalent Exchange at work?

Edward is learning an important lesson about the path he has chosen but it’s admirable how he accepts the costs and consequences of that path so readily. Using his own life as a Philosopher’s Stone, he seals his own wounds, shortening his lifespan. The chimeras are suitably impressed and ditching Kimblee, search for a doctor for Edward. Is it a little convenient that they change sides so easily? Yes, but at the same time, I like the idea behind it – Kimblee is not a man to engender loyalty and Edward helped them when he didn’t need to – and while it’s a little contrived, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility given how easily the other chimeras flipped on Kimblee too.

Episode 42: Signs Of A Counter-Offensive

Winry’s gang continues its attempt to decipher the journals. Alphonse wakes up to find himself dismantled (since he was too heavy to carry in one piece). Meanwhile May is instrumental in deciphering the journals but the methodology used is laughable – it reminds of how conspiracy theorists read too much into everything to project meaning onto random events. In this particular chase it works, but it’s just so much of a stretch that I can’t help but laugh. For example, take the picture above. If they hadn’t happened to lay the pages out on that exact order, the circle wouldn’t have been so perfect would it? I guess I’m being nitpicky but this whole thing is so silly.

I mean, come on, really?

And somehow, that worked? You’re kidding me…Alright, I’ll stop picking on their problem solving skills, but this has to be the weakest part of the series so far.

Kimblee continues his hunt for Winry but is redirected by Pride who tells him to ‘carve a bloody crest into Briggs’. Kimblee protests but quickly acquiesces. At Briggs, Miles reports Kimblee and Edward as missing. We learn of battles around the borders of Amestris; Father is working hard to create sacrifices for his circle. Under Briggs, Sloth completes the tunnel.

We cut strangely, enough to the town of Lior, where a starving Van Hohenheim runs into Rose, the girl from the way back in Episode 3. Van Hohenheim demonstrates three centuries worth of game in flirting with Rose and asking her to show him the underground passage beneath the Leto church. Van Hohenheim encounters Pride and is able to establish some boundaries to Pride’s reach and abilities. Van Hohenheim is probably at least as strong as Father but Pride seems more powerful within his domain. It seems that Father divorced himself from all his emotions in creating the various Homunculi – it serves to further dehumanize Father and could explain why each of the Homunculi feel so much more relatable as characters. Safely just beyond the tunnel, Hohenheim taunts Pride about his limited abilities and being an inferior version of Father.

It seems that Kimblee has brought down a Drakmann army down on Briggs in the absence of Olivier Armstrong. It probably doesn’t matter to Kimblee whether the ‘bloody crest’ is made of Amestrian or Drakmann souls, he just needs people to die. Kimblee promises that his men within Briggs will cause chaos within the fortress, weakening it further, but we know he’s just playing both sides at this point. Regardless, the Drakmann forces begin their assault on the Northern Wall of Briggs.

Episode 43: Bite Of The Ant

The assault on Briggs is an absolute disaster – it seems that Briggs barely loses a single person while the Drakmann army is routed. Kimblee watches in satisfaction at his handiwork – the ‘bloody crest’ is complete.

In a nearby village, Marcoh and Scar spring a trap for Envy who they have lured by letting it be known that Marcoh was living there. However, Envy proves to be too strong for them – until Marcoh shows us that he’s not just an academic, but a capable battle alchemist as well, despite his age. Using his knowledge of Philosopher’s Stone, he is able to attack Envy’s core directly, weakening the mighty envy into his most basic form. It’s a satisfying beatdown on one of the most obnoxious (but in an entertaining way) characters in the series – it’s always fun to see the arrogant taken down a peg or two. Come to think of it, I never quite understood why Envy was given his name – he seems more arrogant than jealous, unless that arrogance is hiding an insecurity or jealousy. Envy attempts to take Yoki hostage but no one cares. It’s fun light-hearted bit but it also goes to show that what makes Envy dangerous isn’t just his (former) physical stature but rather his ability to manipulate people. For example, he lets the group know that Edward is missing, with the implication being that he might be dead.

The group splits up soon after – Alphonse heading to Lior, Scar and Marcoh teaming up and May returning to Xing with Envy.  Seeing Scar’s character development has been great – he’s gone from being a stone cold murderer to someone who considers himself a citizen of Amestris, despite all the wrongs that the country has done to him and his people. It’s been an interesting journey for him -being confronted by Winry forced him to acknowledge his own sins while meeting Miles gave him a role model to aspire to in some ways.

In Central, we see Major Armstrong bullied by Major General Armstrong. She calls him ‘coward’ repeatedly, and at first, I thought was just a generic insult, but she makes it clear that she’s referring to his refusal to fight at Ishval. It’s a low-blow in my book, especially considering that the Ishval massacre was playing right into the enemy’s hands. Having sworn loyalty to Bradley’s cause, Olivier is shown the immortal army that she was promised – a gigantic warehouse of Homunculi powered by Philosopher’s Stones.

Episode 44: Revving At Full Throttle

We get a bit of a time skip here with Al already in Lior (which is way down in the South East of Amestris) catching up with his father. Hohenheim, for some reason, is stiff and cold when talking to Al – perhaps thinking that his son is furious with him for abandoning the family. Al has never shown quite the same antagonism towards Hohenheim as Edward has; he’s quite keen to reconnect with his absentee father.

Winry and Rose catch up as we see Lior being rebuilt from the riots. Elsewhere, one of Greed’s old chimeras flunkies is sneaking around Central, with some half-baked idea of avenging his boss by killing Bradley. He inadvertently finds the warehouse full of the artificial soldiers just as MG Armstrong walks in. He overhears everything but is intercepted by Ling-Greed before he can do anything with this information.

Hohenheim and Al catch up and connect – it’s sweet to some them bond but there’s nothing here that we didn’t already know. Elsewhere, Edward is almost done recovering from his near fatal wound. He’s a wanted criminal (even if it’s not widely known) and has to keep a low profile. Edward manages to evade capture but must figure out where Alphonse is. It’s not very clear to me just how much time has passed – I would normally think that healing a wound like Edward’s would take months but since he mended most of the damage through alchemy, I’d saw maybe a few weeks at most. That would make sense with Alphonse’s timeline as well.

Speaking of Alphonse, he’s getting caught up on what his Dad knows. It seems that the great alchemical transformation that Father is attempting will take place on ‘The Day’ and $10 says that ‘The Day’ also involves an eclipse or some similar celestial event. In Central, new-Greed kills Bido, but Ling Yao is disgusted at this cold-hearted betrayal chews new-Greed out and tells him that in sacrificing something to achieve his mission, he wasn’t being greedy enough. Conflicted, it appears that new-Greed, like his predecessor, has broken away from the Homunculi faction yet again.

This was a fairly short write-up because there just really wasn’t anything much to really say about this episode – we explore the relationship between Al and his dad but whatever tension exists between them seems to have been easily resolved and all has been forgiven, seemingly. Perhaps his reunion with Edward will be a little more meaningful and dramatic but so far it’s clear that he has a favorite son.

Episode 45: The Promised Day

New-Greed, looking at newly recovered memories from his former self, attacks Wrath but once again gets beat down – Pride is simply too strong. Even if Greed managed to beat Wrath, there was no way he could also have beaten Pride who was lurking in the background. It’s one of the better fight scenes in recent episodes too and Greed for all his anger, never once looked like he was in a position to beat Wrath. As we approach the series’ climax, it’ll be interesting to see how the more powerful Homunculi like Pride and Wrath are going to meet their ends.

Meanwhile, Olivier returns to the Armstrong estate and demands to be named heir. It’s not really clear why – until recently she seemed quite happy to live her life in the wintry north. Alex, the current heir, walks in just then and a duel is declared but it’s hardly a fight. Alex is a talent fighter, but he’s like Greed compared to Olivier’s Wrath. Olivier wipes the floor with Alex (quite literally) but he’s genuinely unhappy about this development, having grown suspicious of her after her return. It’s quite clear to me that Olivier is one of the good guys here but the conflict between her and her brother is a natural one in the circumstances. The real question here is why Olivier decided to claim the mansion and the grounds now; perhaps it really was to just an excuse to send her family away to safety but surely there was a way to achieve that without seizing their property?

In Youswell, May dejectedly makes her way home with Envy. The kindness of the town-people and some top notch manipulating by Envy gets her to make her way back to the heart of the action. Edward returns to one of the gang’s old hideouts (where they were when Edward and Ling Yao got swallowed into Gluttony’s belly) expecting to find Alphonse but finding Ling Yao instead. Ling Yao updates Edward on Father’s play for ‘The Day’ but none of it is particularly new information here either. There is still a big unanswered question of what is going to happen when Father opens the alchemical gateway – what request will he make of the ‘Truth’? Greed, after some convincing, teams up with Edward and his chimera friends.

Elsewhere, Father, through Bradley, is attempting to get the sacrifices ready in one place. Izumi, typically, is not cooperating and causing a ruckus for herself (again) in Briggs. She meets Miles and introduces herself, effectively getting the Briggs team the commands they need to mobilize. There is a rather complicated network of information going on here, but slowly every one of the ‘good’ guys, including Mustang, is updated on Father’s plan for the ‘Promised Day’. With this target date in their sights, they begin organizing.

Episode 46: Looming Shadows

The complicated logistics and information system that the protagonists have in place continues – and it’s made it rather difficult for me to track which characters are where anymore. We see Winry return to Resembool but it turns out that Edward is there too, along with Greed and the chimeras.  As hijinks ensue, Edward and Winry catch-up – and is it my imagination or has Edward grown taller? I remember Winry being taller than him in the earlier episodes but he seems taller now in some shots. The parallels between Edward and Hohenheim are becoming more obvious as well. When he leaves Winry and her grandmother, he wears a similar trenchcoat, has a similar hairstyle but most importantly, promises to return and asks Winry to wait for him. For someone who dislikes his father so much, he certainly shares a lot in common with him. I just hope this isn’t setting us up for a similarly tragic turn of fate.

The various forces continue to assemble up – Scar and his group of refugees head towards Central, while Alphonse and Edward make their way there as well. The Northern and Eastern armies have joined up and while they are currently being monitored by Bradley, if Bradley can be satisfied that they mean no harm, then nothing is keeping them from marching on Central. Alphonse gets ambushed by Pride and Gluttony and his condition is worsening, with delays between episodes shortening.

Rather than convince Bradley that they mean no harm, they use a diversion – namely Scar’s allies in Central and a decoy from Mustang – to lure Bradley back to Central and his seat of government. With an ever rising number of rebels, Bradley’s going to have his job cut out for him. An attempted assassination attempt won’t do much to improve his mood either; on his way to Central, his train is blown up but I very much doubt that it would even slow Bradley down. In Central, the insurgency begins its assault.

It turns out that not even Bradley can simply walk off a train explosion and word spreads throughout the upper echelons of the military command that the supreme leader is missing. In the ensuing chaos, Father, flanked by Sloth, emerges to assert control. It looks like all of the antagonists’ pieces are in play now. The question is, do the protagonists have enough firepower to handle the likes of Bradley, Kimblee, Pride and Father? Sloth is, ironically, no slouch himself, either; looks like Mustang and Hohenheim are going to have to a lot of the heavy lifting soon.

Episode 47: Emissary of Darkness

Edward finally meets Hohenheim again. I’m glad that we get the emotional confrontation between father and son here that we missed with Al and Hohenheim earlier. Edward tells Hohenheim about Trisha’s last words and when Hohenheim is moved to tears, Edward finally is forced to acknowledge that he might have the wrong idea about his old man. Is this enough to bridge the gap between them? Perhaps not – but it’s enough for Edward to forgive him for now.

Alphonse, however, is not able to join the family reunion – he’s been possessed (or rather, controlled) by Pride. A full out battle breaks out soon after – Edward nullifies Pride’s overwhelming power advantage but cutting out of the nearby lights and rendering Pride shadow-less but Pride has back-up in the form of Gluttony. Hohenheim is en route though but Alphonse is, worryingly, not responding even after Pride left him be. Lan Fan (and I’m assuming Fu as well) join in to help even things out somewhat – there’s a lot of action but not much to comment on just here. The more interesting development is the revelation that Major General Grumman, who we’ve long considered Mustang’s mentor and ally is not to be trusted. It’s not explicitly stated but it seems that he is simply sowing chaos in the capital and looking for any angle through which he himself can profit and establish himself as the new Fuhrer. Miles notices this and mistrusts him but this is another great turn of the writing in this series.

Typically, at this turn of a narrative arc, it is important to show how overwhelmingly the odds are against the protagonists and the series is doing just that. With the Eastern forces’ loyalty unreliable at best, it’s looking like the Northern army will have to face off against the immortal Homunculi army, which is not a favourable match-up for the humans. The Homunculi have some really powerful characters that need to be dealt with – Father, Pride, Wrath, Kimblee, Sloth and Envy (maybe Gluttony but he’s hardly a real threat these days). In addition, the entire military command structure is on their side. In contrast, while the Northern army is badass, they’re likely going to be outnumbered and in unfamiliar territory. Mustang and Hohenheim are top tier fighters, with Scar, Edward and Alphonse forming a strong second line of fighters but I wonder if it’s enough. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

Episode 48: The Oath In The Tunnel

The brawl between the humans and Homunculi continues but neither side is able to gain an advantage. Pride is kept in check and while Gluttony is getting his butt kicked all over the place, he doesn’t really show much sign of slowing down. The clock is ticking – soon, torchlit from the nearby villages will restore Pride’s powers and that should be enough to shift the balance. I don’t really understand the whole idea of how serving the Emperor of Xing gives the Xing people the ability to sense Homunculi but that’s been long since established by this point, so I don’t really have much of a problem with it.

In the political arena, Mustang does some digging of his own. He enlists the Madame of his favoured brothel to look up Pride and Wrath but I’m can’t figure out why? Does he want to ensure that they aren’t human? Doesn’t he have enough evidence by now that King Bradley at least isn’t purely human? Surely, he trusts Riza’s word that Selim is a Homunculus too right? Also, we never really talk about Mustang’s whole brothel thing but it is a little shady for one of the alleged ‘good’ guys to frequent a brothel, isn’t it? Won’t someone think of what message that sends to the jumpy shounens in Japan?

Inevitably, Pride is able to restore his abilities which means that Heinkel is absolutely outclassed. Edward comes to his rescue, but at this stage, Edward’s safety isn’t all that guaranteed – sure, Pride needs him alive but that leaves the door open to a lot of other damage.

Back in Central, we learn that Madame Christmas – Christine Mustang, aka Madame ChrisMus – is Roy Mustang’s foster mother, which explains his familiarity with both her and her establishment. It also explains his general playboy demeanour; he probably got a lot of good dating advice growing up. Mustang meets his old team in the tunnels and although none of them realize it, I think they’re incredibly lucky that Pride is otherwise occupied at the moment – otherwise they would be easy pickings for the Homunculus. One thing I don’t quite get yet is why Pride was previously limited to the tunnel but not anymore – for example, Van Hohenheim was able to taunt him from the safety of being just outside the tunnel but now, Pride seems free to move wherever he likes. I hope they explain that soon.

Mustang identifies that he and his team are at a critical juncture – either they die rebellious traitors to the Bradley regime or they overthrow his and stand at the head of the new order, but either way, their time as simple foot soldiers is over.

Back in the forest, Edward is losing ground to Pride but what I’m finally coming to realize is that fights in this series are rarely all-out raw strength brawls – the Elric brothers, more often than not, win their battles by outsmarting their opponents. It’s not different here – using their superior numbers and tools, Edward manages to counter Pride’s sneaky use of Alphonse. Pride and Gluttony are both heavily damaged and outnumbered – but Pride’s not out of tricks yet. Consuming Gluttony, he sort of ‘recharges’ his own Philosopher Stone core and obtains Gluttony’s hunger and sense of smell. Overall, it’s hard to tell if this is good or bad for Edward’s side – yes, there’s technically one fewer enemy but Pride’s now at more or less full-strength. Luckily for them, Hohenheim is approaching and that should be a definitive boost in their favour. In Central, Mustang kidnaps Bradley’s wife, but no one seems to know why.

All of Mustang’s actions so far have confused me, honestly. I can see him using the proof from Madame Christmas to convince Madam Bradley that her husband and son are not human – though I don’t know to what purpose. Given that he is currently not in contact with the rest of the rebellion, I don’t really see what role he’s going to play in the upcoming events. It seems a little like the series is keeping him in reserve, as he is obviously a powerful alchemist, until such time that a situation arises that only he can handle. I’m looking forward to seeing that very situation

Episode 49: Filial Affection

Pride definitely has the upper hand in the fight and is handily keeping Greed and Edward at bay. Alphonse is awake though I don’t know what he can do at this stage to change the momentum of the fight, though he does seem to have a plan.

Using Alphonse at bait, Hohenheim seals Pride away in an earthen ball. I guess that’s one way of keeping him out of the fight. Alphonse is sealed away with him, however, so it seems more like a pyrrhic victory. Without light, Pride can’t really touch Alphonse except as Selim Bradley, a child.

Oh and Kimblee’s back! He’s been out killing Ishbalans, which is sort of his hobby at this point. Pride opens up a little to Alphonse and it’s not hard to see some parallels between the two. Pride never really had a mother, just a Father – in direct contrast to Edward and Alphonse, until recently. Pride expresses some form of affection for Madam Bradley but it’s not clear if, as an Homunculus created on a foundation of pride, he is even capable of understanding, let alone experiencing, such an emotion. Of course, the series does play a little fast and loose with the idea of what emotions the Homunculi can express – Wrath, despite his name, rarely appears angry and Lust, despite her name, just had an attractive figure. The connections aren’t all that obscure, to be fair – Wrath’s name could refer to Bradley’s quiet angry intensity rather than a constantly erupting volcano of fury while Lust could be a reference to how she inspires Lust, but those are both long shots. Envy seems to be the biggest misnomer of them all – he hasn’t really expressed any kind of jealousy at all. In fact, he seems to be more proud than envious. I’d say that of the lot of them, only Greed, Gluttony and Sloth play their respective cardinal sin based names straight.

Anyway, Pride explains that Father’s plan hinges on the fact that enough humans would fight to protect something dear to them instead of just running away. This is an interesting observation especially since so many characters are fighting not just to stop Father and the Homunculus but toward the vaguely defined goal of ‘saving the country’. Mustang, the Armstrong and even Scar, are fighting to change Amestris and defeating Bradley just happens to be a way to do that from the looks of it. Similarly, characters like Madam Christmas and Winry don’t just tell Mustang and Edward respectively to stay alive and defeat Bradley but rather to ‘save the country’. It seems that the series is asking to believe that it is for patriotic love and moral duty that the characters are fighting Bradley and on some level, I guess that makes sense though I don’t see just what it is about Amestris that inspires such love, especially from the likes of Scar. Amestris is militaristic and a dictatorship; that’s all any of them have ever known it to be – so, what do they see in their country that they find so worthy of rescue?

It looks like we’ll find out soon. The sun is rising over the Promised Day and the various forces are assembled for their final showdown.

______________________________________________________________________________________________

We’ll stop here, just before the story reaches its climax. Next week, it’s going to be a long-ass post covering the last 14 episodes, and the series’ conclusion!

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