*Episode Preview from FMA-2 official JP site: Episode 3: "City of Heresy" (The episode title is from official sub, the preview part is translation by Tombow) Ed and Al heard the rumor about the town with a heretical religion with the founder who is said to perform "miracle," and travel to the town of Reole to investigate. They learn that Cornello, founder of the heretical religion Leto, performs alchemy that does not follow "Equivalent Exchange." In the town, they meet a girl, Rose, and she takes them to meet Cornello at his temple....
Episode Summary: (courtesy of Edamame) Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric travel to the city of Reole in order seek out the mysteries surrounding Father Cornello who is renowned for his ability to perform miracles. From the townspeople, both the brothers learn of Cornello´s preaching and his proclamations that God will grant resurrection to the dead. While watching Cornello perform one of his miracles in front of a huge crowd of loyal followers, Ed recognizes that he is indeed performing alchemy yet is ignoring the concept of equivalent exchange; the brothers then notice what they believe to be the Philosopher’s Stone set in a ring around Cornello´s finger, and decided to seek him out. Ed and Al latter meet a pious young woman by the name of Rose who believes that Cornello will resurrect her deceased lover. Out of arrogance and pride, Ed retorts that faith won’t bring anyone back and that alchemists are truly the ones who are closest to God. Cornello learns of the brothers´ plan to seek him out, and sends his men to capture Ed and Al. Ed accuses Cornello of being a fraud who is able to bypass the rules of alchemy by using the Philosopher’s Stone as an amplifier. Angered, Cornello then orders Rose to shoot Ed who he considers a sinner. Rose is forced to struggle against her own morals, but gives in and ends up shooting Al, only to discover that the armor is empty inside. After sending out a chimera to eliminate the brothers, Cornello realizes that the brothers have committed the taboo human transmutation after catching glimpse of Ed´s automail arm and leg. Having escaped from Cornello, Al tells Rose the story behind the failed transmutation and the price they paid, yet Rose still remains blinded by Cornello´s teaching. Meanwhile, Ed successfully exposes Cornello as a fraud to the townspeople of Reole. Realizing that he has been fooled, Cornello attempts to transmute his arm into a gun in order to attack Ed, but a rebound occurs. The stone in the ring shatters to pieces, and Ed realizes that the stone is a fake and that both he and his brother are back to square one. While leaving the city, the brothers meet once more with Rose who is distraught that all her hopes and dreams have been crushed. Ed tells Rose to get up and walk forward because she at least has to strong legs to carry her onwards. Disgraced, Cornello attempts to escape from his once loyal followers only to meet his demise at the hands of two very particular characters- Lust and Gluttony.
Characters in this episode: Edward Elric Alphonse Elric Father Cornello (Founder of Leto religion) Rose Lust Gluttony Food stand master (minor role)
Sound Track info for this episode that's known to us so far: (To be filled)
FMA manga reference: To the readers of FMA manga (To be filled)
Joined: 16-April 09
Member No.: 68,002
It's definitely been interesting to read comments on what's been giving everyone the most headaches, which seem to be the pace and the tone/direction of the series.
On pacing: I agree that the pace so far has been rushed, but the funny thing is that each time I go back and re-watch the episode, it slows down for me. When I ask my friend, who is a new-comer to the series, whether the story is confusing or feels too fast, he says it doesn't feel that way for him. My other friend who is also watching FMA for the first time feels that it's fast-paced, but not necessarily too fast for him to grasp what's happening.
I think what may be happening is that when I get ready to watch a new episode, I already have a preconceived story in my head-- of what dialogue is supposed to go where and which scene follows another, and also what kind of emotion/feel is attached to each scene-- that when I actually watch the events unfold on-screen, the differences that pop up make me feel instantly uncomfortable. My internal narrative is getting disrupted, which makes the pace seem too fast or rushed to me.
So when Rose gets left out of the diner scene in the beginning, I subconsciously think "WTF, why did they not even introduce Rose properly?" which makes it harder for me to enjoy the episode as it's being presented. When I go back later and re-watch the episode, I can see the reasoning behind the change: the only things we really learn about Rose in that scene is that she's very pious, she's a nice girl, and she lost her boyfriend in a tragic accident, all of which are covered in 1) the scene with her kneeling and praying, 2) her overall demeanor and interaction with the Elrics, and 3) Cornello's admission. I especially liked how Rose was shown in the temple praying instead of having the diner owner and Rose talk about her going to the temple-- it's always a good thing when directors follow the "show, don't tell" rule.
At any rate, I think the main problem is that the last two episodes have each covered at least two chapters' worth of manga material, which makes the abbreviations really noticeable. I have complete faith that the pacing will be just right in the next episode because it'll likely cover only one chapter's worth.
On tone/direction: It's interesting to hear people say that this series seems shallow and the humor a little overdone. I think it really all depends on what you think the FMA series is about. FMA:B isn't a character-driven philosophical drama like FMA1-- it's much closer to the tone of the manga, which I think will always be a relative of the shounen genre. Wacky humor and heavy action has always been a part of shounen, so I don't feel weird when I watch super deformed Ed and Al, and rejoice that there's finally some more humorous/silly moments in the anime. FMA isn't as shallow as Naruto or Bleach, of course, but the archetypical shounen theme of finding the strength to overcome all obstacles really rings true in FMA, and it's something that the director has expressed when asked to sum up the feel of FMA. I completely agree with the poster who said earlier that FMA is really just a good balance between the light-hearted and the heavy moments. It's certainly more intellectually-driven than most any shounen series, as well.
The first few volumes of FMA for me set up the challenge and premise of the story: it's clear that many terrible things have happened (Ed and Al losing their mother and their bodies, the Ishbal massacre, etc.). But then I feel the series takes a turn after all of this has occurred: what are these characters going to do about their situations? The rest of the story is about overcoming their tragedies, and finding their own paths and growing as individuals as their journey continues. The overall feel, I think, is much more hopeful than the tone of the first anime series, where because of the limited number of chapters available the overall tone was adapted to fit the darker earlier chapters of FMA. I can see why people who fell in love with the emotion and depth of the first series would be disappointed, but really, these two series are completely different genres, and I think should be treated as such.