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Episode 4: An Alchemist's Anguish - Content Discussion Thread, Warning! Possible Spoilers for the first 4 episodes!
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Edamame
post Apr 27 2009, 11:23 AM
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Wow, so I just watched episode four and must say that I am thoroughly pleased. I have to admit that instead of feeling an overwhelming sense of sadness while watching the episode, I felt more of a constant sense of dread, because I knew in the back of my mind what was to be the fate of poor Nina. I believe that the directors did a superb job of building up this emotion of foreboding, by carefully droping hints that gave the viewers a deeper insight into Shou Tucker´s flucuation between a father who dearly loved his child and a "devil" who toys with human life for personal gain. (More on this latter.) I love how Scar was introduced to the viewer in a brief yet highly intense battle scene againt the State Alchemist Basque Gran; this scene foreshadows Scar´s intent to eliminate all state alchemists who he considers sinners in the eyes of God.

At first glance, I loved how Shou Tucker appeared to be a normal man who loved his daughter, but was just plain down on his luck. However, the directors did quite a nice job of dropping subtle hints regarding the other half of Shou´s personality. For instance, even the pile of dirty dishes in the sink and his lab filled with horrific chimeras gone wrong serve to show the audience that something truly is not right with this man and all is not what it seems. Shou is such a fascinating character is my mind, because he represents the desire to obtain a goal solely for personal gain, regardless of what unorthodox routes are taken to get there. I was really glad that the directors included a brief exchange between Maes Hughes and Alex Armstrong over many alchemists´ desires to became a state alchemist only for the numerous priveleges and repute.

I found Nina is this episode to be absolutely endearing. It was heart-wrenching to hear her encourage her father who she loves to death, only to know what will befall her latter. I adored the scene where she is playing outside with Edward and Alphonse, and Edward transmutes his automail and proceeds to chase her around the yard. This scene juxtaposed so well with the brief glimpse that we get of an extremely angquished Shou Tucker. I thought that the scene where the brothers and Nina were playing without a care was so sweet, because you got to see Edward and Alphonse as two teenagers simply being teenagers. Sadly, the viewer gets an inkling after catching that brief glimpse of Shou, that this happiness won´t last for long.

The scene where Ed realizes that Shou created a chimera out of his own daughter for his own selfish gain, was both heart-wrenching and extremely disturbing at the same. I was on edge when Shou told Edward that what he and his brother did to their beloved mother was "toying" with human life just like he had done to both his wife and daughter; as I viewer I had to agree that Shou´s words held some sense of truth, although the Elric brothers had an entirely different motivation- that of love, and wanting to see their mother again. I thought that intensity is this scene was heighted by Romi Pak-san´s incredible voice talents that added so much raw emotion to Ed´s character and really brought him to life in this scene. Nina asking her father if he was in pain, added all the more to the tragedy. Shou is made all the more inhuman when he states that he still has time to show of his creation and therefore not lose his title.

I thought that Mustang´s exchange with Edward during the "rain scene" was handled perfectly. I found it interesting how Mustang said that what Shou had done did not differ greatly from the rest of the state alchemist who are required to take human life at a mere order. ( I think that Edward´s line: "We are neither devils nor gods at that- We´re just humans!!" is such a powerful line that fits so well with the themes in the series.) Despite Edward´s heartbreak over what happened to Nina, and his inability to prevent it, I love how Mustang told him that he is the one who chose to walk down this dark path, and would have to soil his own hands many more times just to continue onward. We all know how many more tragedies the brothers will ultimately have to contend with, yet we also know that they will continue onward toward that one glimmer of hope.

Overall, I am thoroughly pleased! Great animation, music, pacing, and dialogue. I am really looking forward to the next episode


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Becca-chan
post Apr 27 2009, 12:03 PM
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Just to say ( I'll bet people are wishing that I'd just shut up about it now ^^; ) that I kept thinking about this episode over and over last night...I guess it must of affected me deeper than what I thought. ^^;

Although I refuse to say that this version is better than the first anime's version, it did still manage to strike an emotional chord with me...but I feel guilty in saying that I didn't cry like I did at the end of the original anime's version. < : (

I've had to at least find comfort in another anime ( Gregory Horror Show, how I also adore you so) I'm watching just to get rid of the tense feeling in my stomach...but every time I think about this episode, the feeling comes right back.

But now that I can at least think a bit more clearly...I still don't hate Shou for what he did.
And now that I look at it...I actually find the watch scene to be more sadder than expected...but in a really pathetic way.
Sure he brought it upon himself, but all he really had left then was the watch ( sadly...I've been making fun of that unfortunate moment since yesterday, so that does at times kill the more dubious meaning that he had an ulterior motive, for me) it kind of reminded me more of a child with a cherished teddy bear...

If anything, I'm still trying to see the man that did it because there was no other option available, the one who was in a lose-lose situation no matter what he did.

And I'm still wondering if he really did love his daughter at all...I just wish that I wasn't so scared of what answers I might get in regards to that doubt.

On a side-note...has anyone ever heard of the song 'Alice Hitobashira' otherwise known as 'Alice Human Sacrifice' ?
I always said that Shou and Nina's situation suited the Third Alice stanza of the song depending on the translation.
But now that just intensified ten fold.

Another thing, sorry for talking about everyone's much hated State Alchemist...again. ^^;;


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mira mirth
post Apr 27 2009, 12:12 PM
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I wouldn't say I'm ready for charging into a full-blown debate, but...

QUOTE
well i think it just makes fma what it is. besides emo's being depressed is just a steryotype. emo is a style of music and fashion, not a describing word. besides it gives the series more tragedy which is what does make fma what it is.


My possibly misguided reference to emo culture aside, I don't think the series 1) needs *more* tragedy than the original source material has, 2) is defined by and revolves around said tragedy. It's been eloquently put here:

QUOTE (His Name is Unknown @ Apr 27 2009, 08:37 PM) *
I'm beginning to see a trend with the direction of Brotherhood in that the military/taboo/state alchemist elements of the story are being granted precedence over the emotional/relational aspects in the initial scope of the narrative focus.


I agree with that. They're not ignoring emotions ("WE ARE HUMANS!"), but they do not use them as the primary focus. It's plot-driven, not character-driven.

I would also say that the manga (and, by association, FMA2) is more about moving forward than mourning the past: the past is a heavy weight on the protagonists (all of them, up to and including Armstrong), but the centre point is moving on despite what had happened, overcoming yourself and, like His Name is Unknown said, perseverance. Personal tragedy here is a stepping stone to something greater. In this episode, you can see it too: some of Ed's innocence had been ripped away, some illusions shattered, but these are hard and horrible truths he had to face; he'll be stronger for it, in the end. And this is why you can admire him, because, no matter how much pain is inflicted upon him, he won't give up. That's what makes him a hero.
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lunneth
post Apr 27 2009, 01:16 PM
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QUOTE (FailToImpress @ Apr 27 2009, 11:07 AM) *
^I thought Nina looked about 4 or 5...how old actually was she?


what i meant was that because ed was 15 in this episode that nina would have been born 3 years later.


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thankyou Arakawa sensei for the 9 years of awsome story lines, characters and plot twists that became Fullmetal Alchemist. it's been one hell of a ride :3
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Full Metal Elf
post Apr 27 2009, 01:51 PM
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So I had to go back and re-read the entire Nina/Tucker thing in the manga.

OMG...it was so spot on! This episode barely missed a beat!

It makes me REALLY excited for the next episode because the fight with Scar is so intense smile.gif.

While re-reading I noticed that at the beginning of the next chapter is the dream Ed has about his mother, and his guilt. I really hope they don't cut that, it's so powerful.


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Kyelinn
post Apr 27 2009, 02:39 PM
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Gyaaaah!!! I forgot about that part in the manga, Full Metal Elf! I hope you're right and I REALLY REALLY hope they do not cut that! >.<


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Full Metal Elf
post Apr 27 2009, 08:14 PM
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Me too! >_<


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xcamilax
post Apr 27 2009, 09:00 PM
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oke-y so here is my shoot for this episode xD

very good episode overall.
animation to begin with...Well, personally didn`t saw any flaws in this aspect, everything looked fluent and the colors where bright and well done...to be spected.

Next,we got the music, nice BG melodys, really fitted with the moments.
Not spectacular of course, but very good.

And the heavy part...the plot, I was very pleassed that it did had the manga feeling this time, it wasn`t that much focused on the "melodrama" but in the character resolutions.
That is something i really loved, now,we see edward coming to a conclusion, a realization, "we are just humans..." (and indeed we are xD)also, it was also nice to see mustang`s intermission showind the "mature point of view".I dont recall this things having that much of enphasys in the first series as in this time... (honetly , the objetive there was to get you to cry like a baby than to show a high quality narration IMO xD)
while in the 1st anime, we only saw the emotional part and yadda yadda but there weren`t actually any character grow at all,The ed and al from the first episode was almost the same as the one in the last one.(and like many of you had say, they didnt moved forward at all -__-)

The only thing that really really really ANNOYED me was that they didnt put Al´s line "Shoun tukker, if you keep talking , this time ill shut you up". I hope they dont keep Alphonse with the "passive little brother actitude" like they are doing since the first series, or the important intromissions(youknow what i mean xD spoiler spoiler spoiler haha) he`ll have later will be a little...ilogical,they should start building his character from now.

But Overall, A firmly adaptation, lets see if they can keep it when the important parts begins...


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amestris_star
post Apr 27 2009, 10:09 PM
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QUOTE (Kyelinn @ Apr 27 2009, 11:39 PM) *
Gyaaaah!!! I forgot about that part in the manga, Full Metal Elf! I hope you're right and I REALLY REALLY hope they do not cut that! >.<


Same here. I'd LOVE to see that included at the beginning of the next episode. Would really set the dark tone for the rest of the chapter (considering that it's the overall feel of these coming chapters).


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Yikie
post Apr 28 2009, 09:50 AM
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QUOTE (xcamilax @ Apr 27 2009, 10:00 PM) *
Only thing that really really really ANNOYED me was that they didnt put Al´s line "Shoun tukker, if you keep talking , this time ill shut you up". I hope they dont keep Alphonse with the "passive little brother actitude" like they are doing since the first series, or the important intromissions(youknow what i mean xD spoiler spoiler spoiler haha) he`ll have later will be a little...ilogical,they should start building his character from now.

But Overall, A firmly adaptation, lets see if they can keep it when the important parts begins...


I totally agree!

That part was when I first thought (and still thinks) Alphonse is a really cool character when I first read the manga. In the first anime series I never had that impression though...
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penguintruth
post Apr 28 2009, 02:50 PM
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(I never thought Alphonse was that docile in the first series, just not as active as in the manga... I might also add, most of that activity happened after the manga and anime split, though Alphonse put up more of a fight with Greed's group in the manga beforehand.)

Sorry for barging in just now, but I wanted to give my thoughts on the episode here as well.

As a fan of both the manga and first series, I was very impressed by this episode. Not only was it a near dead-on adaptation of chapter five of the manga, but the extra bits were such pleasing fan service (seeing Scar kill Basque, Maria Ross and Denny Bloch, Hughes and Armstrong getting some dialogue, ZE FUHRER, Ed using his automail to play with Nina, etc), it seemed like an improvement in some ways. So very gripping, especially the scene on the stairs.

I was worried about Scar's new voice, but so far it seems to be very suitable. It almost seems more booming and threatening than the previous one. He's one scary guy. I think they gave him a few more facial lines, too, so he looks a bit older as well, but it somehow suits him. His face just screams with barely contained rage.

I won't get into how I preferred the original version, but I'll say that it may be due to the tragedy being fresh when I saw it the first time (though I also liked Shou Tucker's fate worse than death in the anime, as hokey as a chimera-Tucker was). I think the more I watch this episode, it'll probably tie up with that episode. Like I mentioned, I'm a fan of both the manga and first program.

(Also, hello!)



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Hagaren_4ever
post Apr 28 2009, 06:15 PM
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Are those funny screen caps for the episode out yet? Sorry, I don't know the site. <:O


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Tombow
post Apr 28 2009, 10:12 PM
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QUOTE (penguintruth @ Apr 28 2009, 05:50 PM) *
(Also, hello!)

Hello penguintruth, welcome to our board!! biggrin.gif


QUOTE (Hagaren_4ever @ Apr 28 2009, 09:15 PM) *
Are those funny screen caps for the episode out yet? Sorry, I don't know the site. <:O

@Hagaren_4ever - I think as soon as it's out fullmoon will bring it to us. ^^


Waiting for Funimation's sub that's coming out tomorrow. ^^


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Kale Mustang
post Apr 28 2009, 10:19 PM
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QUOTE (Hagaren_4ever @ Apr 28 2009, 06:15 PM) *
Are those funny screen caps for the episode out yet? Sorry, I don't know the site. <:O


Not up yet, but here's the site: http://inulovinkit.livejournal.com/
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fullmoon
post Apr 29 2009, 02:28 AM
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Capsummaries are up!

Please visit the official thread "Fma Series-2 Capsummaries Collection! (updated Weekly!) And Submit Your Own Captions!" for link

happy.gif Enjoy!


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