Joined: 14-November 06
Member No.: 42,805
A few years ago, a discussion board on Google had a lengthy board on FMA-1 when it first premiered on Cartoon Network in 2004-2006. These boards usually began with a detailed synopsis of the episode, using dialogue from the dub. At the end of 2006, I added my detailed synopsis, also using dialogue and some commentary. I give this info the shrine in four parts. Note: this is from the dub. Also, in order to avoid confusion, I have referred to the real world as Earth-Prime and the FMA world as Earth-A.
The film begins with a castle in the ocean. It is Southwest Amestris, 1914.
Inside the castle, in a room full of gears, the owner speaks to a very familiar armored person. The owner Huskisson, a masked inventor in a cloak, presents his object: A metal orb with valves.
"Thanks to our progress with the steam engine, we've excavated deeper than ever. Found new minerals, refined them, creating revolutionary sources of fuel. And it was in that search for industrial power that we discovered it: the ultimate element. By splitting its atom, producing massive amounts of energy are released."
Huskisson, who appears to be quite mad, has decided to call this element Uranium. He asks the armored ambassador from Central to bring this discovery to the attention of his command.
"No," says the armored one. He knows Huskisson, for all his words, has created weapon. That is the last thing this country needs. (…)
Huskisson is angered. "Is the young and promising State Alchemist afraid?" The inventor heads to a console with levers. Suddenly, stone slabs mechanically rise upon the armored one, holding him in place. Drills mechanically come out of the wall, poised upon him. Huskisson disbelieves the Alchemist's altruistic intentions, saying he got his authority because of his alchemic powers.
"Authority?" says a figure in the shadows, a red-coated person with a glass bubble on his head.
Huskisson accuses the armored one of being afraid his technological invention will lead to making Alchemists obsolete. "And the Alchemists' stranglehold on this country will vanish." The inventor has decided to see what the Alchemist of the People really looks like. He has the drills tear into the armor. The helmet falls off. The Armor collapses.
The inventor laughs maniacally, until he discovers that the armor is empty…
Instantly, a materialization of stone stairs slams behind the inventor.
"Huskisson," says the figure, coming down the steps he made. "You have made two big mistakes."
"Who are you?" Huskisson is surprised, and his astonishment increases as the hollow, headless suit of armor takes life and runs to the new visitor. "Brother, what took you so long? He put holes through me!"
"Sorry. I got held up." After apologizing, the bubble-headed (literally) Alchemist faces Huskisson. "Mistake no. 1: We never cared about your invention. We only came here because you wouldn't shut up about it...That and the off-chance it might help us in our own search."
Hutchinson goes berserk. Mechanical arms tear through his sleeves, springing out like accordions, plunging drills into the new Alchemist. One arm shatters the bubble. The other impales his right shoulder. "You'll take me to Central, if you value your life!"
But the Alchemist grabs the connected drill with his right hand. Sparks fly as his red coat sleeve and white glove are destroyed…along with the drill. "Mistake no. 2: That young and promising State alchemist you were looking for…is me!" The torn sleeve reveals an automail arm. He is Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist. The armored one is his brother Alphonse.
Edward leaps toward Huskisson with an Alchemic-created blade on his automail arm. He slashes off the inventor's mechanical arms. Huskisson pulls out a gas cartridge, blinding his opponents enough to make his escape. By the time the Brothers Elric catch up, Huskisson is already on a giant, revolving crane, its arm bearing a giant mace. He flings the machine at Ed with destructive effect, though the Alchemist avoids the onslaught by physical agility. Meanwhile, Al creates a stairway to the ceiling. Once on the top, the younger Elric alchemically fuses the crane, halting its movements. A clap gives Edward the power to transform the mace into a caricature of himself.
Huskisson damns the mystical Alchemists, cursing their zealous power, restraining physicists like him from guiding the state to a new and enlightened age.
"Enlightenment like that?" Edward cynically points to a hole in the wall. It reveals a pile of corpses.
Huskisson ignores the monstrous cost of his research. "Uranium mining is dangerous. It's the cost of progress!"
Al interrupts such ideals. "Science that doesn't benefit people is no science at all!"
The frustrated mad inventor calls upon his trump card: the Uranium Orb- or should we say, bomb- he has created. The brothers pause at his threat. Huskisson heads for the hole and its grisly contents. "I may not respect your sorcery, but that hasn't stopped me from learning it. For a man first in atomic equations, a few circles are easy enough to understand." He takes out a paper with Alchemy symbols.
"What are you planning now?" Ed asks with a dark suspicion.
"It's my backup plan, Fullmetal. An army of men fused with machines. You won't stand a chance!"
"Don't do it! That's human transmutation! Listen to me! Life only flows in one direction. Humans are not supposed to be brought back! It's Alchemy's greatest taboo for a reason!"
"You're arcane rules mean nothing to me! I'm a man of science!"
Before the brothers' eyes, Huskisson performs transmutation with the corpses. He finds himself in the dimension of the Gate. It opens. The eyes of the Gate demons see him. They enwrap him and his bomb with their arms, pulling him inside. The Gate closes.
The Brothers lament the inventor's mistake, a reminder of their own. The only difference is that Huskisson lost everything in Equivalent Exchange. The Brothers promise each other to find the Philosopher stone and restore their missing parts.
"Let's go," Ed swings his mood. "This whole castle is about to explode."
Al freaks out. "Why?"
"Because I don't like it. I made some adjustments to the steam tanks."
Sure enough, the graffiti-drawn tanks explode.
Al strongly disapproves of his brother's actions. "Why do you have to be so excessive? You should have told me!"
Edward dispenses with such details. "There's no point in arguing now! Come on let's go!"
"Go where! We're floating on water, and if I get wet I can wash off my blood seal!"
"Then stop whining and help me think!"
The castle sinks into the waters. Aboard a small tank, the brothers panic over their sinking makeshift boat. Edward proceeds to use his brother's helmet as a bucket to throw the water out.
The blue sky above them gets dimmer. It is a different sky now. It is Earth Prime (the real world). Munich of the Weimar Republic, October 1923.
On a road, we see a laughing Edward driving a car, relating this story to a delighted passenger. Edward is now 18. His long hair is pony-tailed from the scalp now. His brown clothing resembles his father, Hohenheim. His fellow traveler resembles an 18-year-old Alphonse, with blond hair and blue eyes.
"So after that, the story of the champion of the people Alchemist spread from a few minor regions to every corner of the continent. The End." Ed's enthusiasm slows when Alphonse's laughs become coughs.
Nevertheless, the passenger is enjoyed. "You know you should be a novelist with the stories you tell."
"You're saying you don't believe me?" Ed gets defensive.
"Oh c'mon, Ed! A place where Alchemy kept evolving and became more important than the steam engine?" Al fails to see Ed's saddened face as he continues. "Newton's Law eclipses Alchemy, ushering in the Modern Age. That's a historic fact!"
"Yeah, in this world, ya mean!" A cross Ed faces Alphonse, but his steering hand accidentally turns the same direction. The car rolls off the road and crashes.
Now stranded in the middle of the countryside, the two boys try hitchhiking. Al begins to cough uncomfortably again, much to Ed's concern. "It's just a little cold. That's all."
A truck stops before them. The driver is going to the carnival, the boys' destination. The driver agrees to help them, if they don't mind his passengers: A bunch of young beautiful Gypsy women. Surrounded by these hot women, Ed and Al have a nervous curiosity. "So what kind of a show are you ladies setting up?"
"You name it. Singing, theater…" Blushing Ed nearly panics at the implication.
Al notices one lonely Gypsy. "What's your act?"
The other Gypsies speak for her. "She's a fortuneteller, and she always gets it right. So much so it's eerie." Another Gypsy comments that she can discover anyone's most guarded secret.
Al wants to know his fortune. Ed is skeptical. "Cut it out! You know how unscientific that is?"
The young Gypsy touches Ed's arm. She tenses. "You are the same as we are. You have no home!"
Edward shares her shock at this revelation.
One of the gypsies spots the carnival. All the women begin to chant and sing in their native language. The exception, the young Gypsy fortuneteller, gazes at Ed. Al notices they both share a forlorn face.
Edward fades into his younger self. Titles begin. The sequence is bridged with Arakawa paintings of the cast (most of these drawings adorn the DVD covers). Also shown are clips of the series (e.g. Hughes' death).
At the carnival is a house called Hanussen's Welt. The owner is psychic Hanussen, who bears a strong resemblance to Lieutenant General Archer. The Gypsy fortuneteller is there.
"Ah, Noah! It's been too long!" Hanussen greets the fortuneteller. He pays her Gypsy companions in francs (the paper currency here is now as valuable as the marks). Noah is surprised that she hasn't been paid as well. "You're staying here now, Noah." Noah grabs her companion's shoulder, learning the truth: She is being sold! Hanussen explains that her authentic clairvoyance has gained the interest of certain people.
Three gray-garbed men enter. They are from a Lieutenant Hess, waiting outside. One of them examines Noah, touching her chin. Images flash into Noah. She gets a horrifying discovery of this group's plans for her. She runs away.
Nearby, Ed and Al put up their carnival booth. It is a giant metal tower where they will fire a rocket into the sky. Al is excited by the people gathering around them. "Dr. Oberth's book on space flight has captured the public's imagination."
As Al sees to his colleagues, who refer to him as Heidrich, Ed decides to leave the booth for some rest. His lack of interest in the experiment disappoints Al H. A fellow colleague (a blond, blue-eyed doppelganger of Law the Buffalo Chimera-man) notes Ed's growing disinterest. "He was the most enthusiastic of all of us when we met him at Dr. Oberth's place."
Noah makes her escape through the crowd. She cries for help, but all she gets are discriminating words and thoughts, calling her a thief.
On a truck, a somber Ed looks to the sky. He lifts his pale arm (a tribute to his last action in episode 51). "As far as I traveled, I still can't escape this place." The truck buckles. Ed sees someone attempting to hide under some canvas covering. Ed warns her about the rocket underneath it. She reveals herself. Noah.
Her captors appear and attempt to take her away. This bugs Ed enough to come to her rescue. He frees Noah. "Hey, this is a carnival! Go have some fun!"
The men are not so easily convinced. They pull out guns.
Ed's stunned expression melts into excitement. He raises his arms, and claps his hands together. Nothing happens. "Sorry, just an old habit of mine!" He attempts to disarm the gun hand of their leader. But he has a metal band.
Backing away, Edward decides to use his own weapon. He twists his pale left arm backwards, revealing it to be artificial. He pulls a cord on the elbow joint. The motor inside accelerates into a blinding speed. The electrical currents melt the artificial skin off the fully operational arm. Edward attacks the main captor again, breaking his metal-banded arm. His accomplices aim their guns in retaliation. Edward points the rocket at them, ready to ignite…
Nearby, Al's own test rocket performs successfully. His sponsor and financier, Lieutenant Hess, congratulates Al and his colleagues' achievement (these colleagues are Earth Prime doppelgangers of Dorochet, Blondie, and Lizard Man, the Lab 5 chimera-men, this time all very human and Aryan). He shakes their hands (all of them blushing). Hess than meets his leading subordinate, bedraggled and injured. He reveals that the girl has escaped.
Among a path of fallen thugs and rocket trails, Edward and Noah run away from the carnival.
At the Four Seasons Hotel, Germans gather to speak about their recent history. They lament the war, the harsh military life at the trenches, and the humiliating Treaty of Versailles, which left everyone in poverty save for the aristocrats and the Jews. There, Lieutenant Hess reports the Gypsy's escape to Professor Hanshoufer (now lacking the German accent the dub gave him from episode 51).
"She escaped? That is a problem. I was rather hoping she could find the Great Serpent for us."
Hanshoufer decides to head for the villa, and report this news to Eckart.
It is now morning. At a boarding house, Noah is living with Ed and Al Heidrich. Wearing different clothes, the Gypsy has breakfast with Al H.
"Are you sure it's okay. Me staying here?"
"They're looking for you. There's no choice. Besides, I'm kinda glad…It's the first time Ed's taken interest in a girl."
Noah is interested about her savior.
"I mean I'm not saying Ed is an anti-social person. Just doesn't get close to anybody. Not emotionally anyway." Sadness creeps into Al H's cheerful face. "He's too busy telling stories about some other world."
Noah is curious. "You mean…his home?"
"That's what he says." He gets up, heading for his new factory.
Noah looks into Ed's bedroom. It is strewn with papers and a poster of a zeppelin. He talks in his sleep. "Winry, listen…about Al."
Ed wakes up some minutes later. Wearing nothing but boxers and a harness around his chest, he talks to Noah about Al's factory. From a cabinet of prosthetic legs, he affixes one of them (covered in artificial skin) to his left thigh.
Noah is astonished by the nimbleness of his prosthetics.
"My arm and leg are gone. But my brain's still sending out signals to move them. These machines take those signals and amplifies them." He displays his prosthetic arm, very skeletal compared to his old automail. "To be honest, I don't understand them all. My dad's the one who made them."
"Where is your father?"
"I dunno. One day he just left and never came back. So I ended up living here with Alphonse. We became friends when we studied rockets together with Dr. Oberth."
Fully bodied and clothed, Ed walks down the stairs with the Gypsy.
Noah speaks. "Armor…I saw a suit of armor walking beside you."
Ed pauses to Noah's accurate words. He is uneasy with her descriptions.
"And then you looking up at a smiling face. That must have been your mother. And then a village on a hill and a grassy plain. You said these visions are unscientific, but to me they're as clear as this stairway now. Please, tell me about this other world. What is it like there?"
"The same as this one, pretty much. The names and things are a little different, and the places aren't the same. But I've seen a whole lot of familiar faces."
"So if that world's your home, then why are you here?"
Ed grows uneasy. "In the world I'm from, my younger brother was killed. In trying to bring him back, I ended up here. It seems that was the price I had to pay…or maybe not. Maybe this is the hell I've been allotted to for trying the forbidden again. Two years ago I met the Alphonse who lives here, Alfonse Heidrich (in Romania). And if my brother Al had grown up, he'd look exactly the same. So who knows what is and isn't science? Or maybe this whole world's just a dream." Ed's calm face cannot hide the despair eating inside him.
Going outside, Ed greets his landlord, Gracia (the Gracia Hughes of Earth Prime, single with hot lipstick). A kind woman, she notices Ed's happy expression whenever he sees her. "Who do I remind you of, your mother, or is it a girlfriend?"
Ed laughs off the implication, thanking Gracia for giving Noa some clothing.
"So the two of you are going out today? Just be careful, alright?"
Ed snickers to her motherly advice. They leave. Gracia watches them with a worried look.
At the Brauerei beer hall, some mug-swinging men complain about the lousy currency. The new law of gold pieces instead of marks has rendered the paper money worthless. A constable approaches them. Officer Hughes.
The men spot Ed, asking them to join them. Their enthusiastic invitation dies down when they see who is with him. Hughes is especially bothered by the Gypsy girl. Like a lecturing parent, he calls Edward closer, wrapping his arm around him. "You do know that girl who's moved in with you is a Gypsy, right?"
"I hadn't noticed."
Hughes is wary. "Watch out, you and Alfonse think you're being noble by helping someone in need, but that's her game. Gypsy are smooth talkers."
"What?" Ed is disturbed by what he's hearing, especially from whom he's hearing it from.
"They trick men in order to steal their wallets, then they are off to their next mark. They are drifters after all."
"Well I'm a drifter too!" Edward has had enough with this nonsense. He turns away from Hughes.
"Look, I'm telling you this as a friend. If something bad happens, it'll be trouble for Gracia!"
Edward counterattacks. "Well how about this: Confess your love to her instead of bothering us. Save you some time."
This advice flusters Hughes into silence. Edward pulls Noah away. "Trust me, she'll be good for you!"
"Have you ever heard about respecting your elders, Ed?" Hughes' attempt to retain his authority is a failure.
Edward stops at an alley with Noah. "I don't think I'm being hustled. They're all sorts of people who'd like the power to see into human hearts with a touch. Especially in this country with what's going on. And I think they would chase you down to get it."
"So you believe my gift is real?"
"A suit of armor walking beside me. I never told anyone about that. Not even Alfonse." He smiles, raising his hand. "What did you see this time?"
"Nothing strong, really. My power works best when people are asleep."
"Oh yeah? Why's that?"
"Because when they're sleeping, I can see what they dream."
At a clinic, Edward has his prosthetic hand examined by a doctor. At another booth, a patient is groaning about the present state of the country. He sees the government as spineless. He reacts negatively to any assertion that Germany lost the war, blaming the Jews and Communists for the surrender, never the Germans. He explodes when he spots Noah handing Edward his coat. "What's wrong with you? Get her out of here!"
As Noah keeps silent despite her obvious anger, Edward responds for her. "Why should I?" His words stop cold when he sees the patient's scarred face. He is an ex-soldier. "Gypsies like her are just like the Jews! They don't have their own country, so they come into ours and steal our money and our jobs until there is nothing left to take! They're just a race of parasites!"
Back to the streets, Edward goes to a soup line and procures a dish for Noah. They are silent for a moment, absorbing that nasty confrontation. Edward apologizes. 'I'm sure it gets to you, hearing speeches like that."
"Not really, my people have gotten used to ignorance about who we are. The word Gypsy comes from a myth we spread that we are fortunetellers from Egypt. Bohemian, Gitane, Ziguener, Nomad. Outsiders can call us what we want." Her sad eyes show that she is not in complete accepting to this treatment.
"I see, but then how do you refer to yourselves? You must have some name."
"Roma…It's our word for human." Noah smiles.
Edward is full of admiration. Then his face crumples into shock. A limousine rolls by, carrying…Fuhrer Bradley!
Suddenly obsessed, Edward leaves Noah behind, following the car and its occupant. He wonders why a Homunculus is doing in this world…
To be continued…
Next time: It's family reunions galore! Ed's search for Bradley leads him to meeting his brother (NOT the one you're thinking). A father and son meet after a long separation. A new search by Ed leads to diabolical plans that could mean danger to his native Earth-A, as well as meeting a person he desperately wanted to see!
Joined: 14-November 06
Member No.: 42,805
As night falls, the limousine supposedly carrying Bradley enters the forest. A boulder is blocking the road. The chauffer gets out to investigate. Ed surprises him, knocking him out cold. He then confronts the man in the car.
"Fuhrer?" The man is confused. He is dressed nicely, with a monocle on his left eye.
"If you made it here after the General's assault, that means he-" Ed suspects the worst for Brigadier General Roy Mustang. He remembers their last meeting.
"General? Are you talking about the war?"
"Don't play dumb with me!" The hostile Edward suddenly falls silent, coming to a different realization. He asks the man if he could see his left eye. The man complies. While doing a raspberry, he exposes his left eye to be quite human. Ed relaxes over his mistake. "Of course, that would make sense. Homunculi take the form of the human they're meant to replace. So if those people survived here, then they would look like them too."
"Mistook me for someone else?"
The man understands. "I'm Jewish, so I'm used to worse. Men in this country, convinced I'm some conniving aristocrat, try to take me for all I'm worth." Learning Edward can drive, the Bradley doppelganger asks if he could drive him until his chauffer wakes up.
Underneath an elaborate villa, Alfonse H. works in his factory. He tests a propulsion thruster before Prof. Haushofer. The Professor is impressed, saying that the advanced engine will allow them to build a ship in no time. He praises the pleased engineers. "Look at you all: blond hair, blue eyes. You are the model of the ancient Aryan race and the pride of the German people. I'm sure Chairman Eckhart will be most delighted with your progress."
An aide whispers in Haushofer's ear. "We've located the Great Serpent, Professor."
In a great hall, Haushofer and Hess go to the chairman to ask for confirmation in her location. Chairman Dietlinde Eckhart, a beautiful Aryan woman, says an eyewitness has found the Serpent. She orders Hess to take charge. "The time for our passage into Shamballa draws near, Professor."
On the top of the villa is a takeoff cliff. Ten biplanes fly out. They circle in the sky.
Meanwhile, Edward is bored playing chauffer to this charming doppelganger, who calls himself Mabuse. "Actually, this couldn't have worked out better. I've been looking for a capable young lad like yourself who can give me a little muscle."
"You got people coming after you or something?"
Ed sees the destination. A castle.
"To the contrary. I'm the one who's hunting. A dragon to be exact."
"A dragon?" Ed becomes curious.
Mabuse offers to pay Ed for his help. At the castle, they come to a group of hunters. Edward is handed a lantern. Leading Mabuse through the dark corridors, he hears his story.
"Rumor is some would-be burglar broke into this abandoned castle, and that's when he saw it."
Again Edward tenses at that word.
"I know. It's foolish. Most people would say it's just a snake." Mabuse puts down a suitcase.
"You came all the way here for the rumor of a scared thief?"
"I have my reasons. The idea of finding a living breathing dragon is very appealing to me."
"Why? Do you wanna slay it and get knighted?"
Mabuse takes a pistol out of the case and hands it to Edward. He takes it, with reluctance over this wild goose chase. Alone, Edward goes up the winding stairway of a tower, considering an escape. He trips. He discovers the steps have a huge gape, as if something huge crawled upon it. An excited glee comes upon Edward. He charges into a dark room with pistol raised. Finding nothing, he relaxes.
"Edward Elric," says a dark voice, its sound freezing Edward with its sinister familiarity.
"Who said that?" He points the gun around the room.
The voice talks again. "I've been looking for you!"
The sound of an inhuman growl has Edward look up. Above him is the serpentine form of his Homunculus half-brother Envy!
Edward manages to escape the tower, but Envy is quick on his tail. "Have you missed me?"
"Is that really you Envy?" Edward uses all of his physical agility to avoid the lunging snake, who crashes into everything. "So this is what happened to you, when you crossed through the gate!"
Envy demands answers of his own. "Take me to Hohenheim! To our father!" The snake engulfs Edward into his jaw. But the boy manages to use his prosthetic limbs to keep from being crushed and swallowed. "That's the one thing I thought I was safe here in this world. Fighting homunculi like you!"
Suddenly, Envy is struck by a surge of bullets from above. This frees Edward, who tumbles to the ground. Envy attempts to continue his attack, but the fire from biplanes stops him. The snake manages to down one of the aircrafts, but it does little work. The remaining biplanes continue to riddle bullets into the snake. The Homunculus screams in pain, at last feeling the agony he has given to others.
The fighters soon surround the snake. As a confused Edward looks on, he notes a shadow falling upon him. A Zeppelin floats above the castle. Its passengers, dark masked men, descend down from ropes. Three of them restrain Edward. Another, revealed to be Hess, commands the rest for battle positions.
These men remove apparatus from their backs, putting them together as weapons, and aim them at Envy. These weapons fire lances into the snake.
Haushofer, another member of this force, looks on. "These lances were forged from the true Spear of Longinus and scattered throughout the world. It has taken a great deal of effort to gather them all."
Envy collapses, conquered by the race he has vowed to destroy.
Edward wants questions. "Now hold on! Just tell me what you're gonna do with him!"
Haushofer advises discretion. "I suggest you forget what you've seen here. It's not something ordinary people need to know."
Mabuse, another captive, recognizes the Professor and speaks his name. "Have you forgotten me? I guess that's no surprise, General. We haven't seen each other since before the war, when we met in Japan. I heard you've been lecturing at Munich University now. I've been meaning to stop by, but my schedule-"
His captor karate chops Mabuse into unconsciousness. Haushofer is about to leave when he hears Edward's own familiarity with his name. "I've heard that name from my father."
"And you are?"
"Edward Elric. Nice to meet you." He mouths the greeting. "My father's name is Hohenheim."
Haushofer is stunned. He masks his jaw in apprehension of the boy. He leaves. An aide sprays Edward with gas. Losing consciousness as well, he strains to ask the Professor about his father's whereabouts. Edward collapses. His captors abandon him, returning to their aircrafts.
The Zeppelin carries Envy away. Inside, Hess gloats about recapturing the Great Serpent. A worried Haushofer, however, ponders aloud about the boy named Edward Elric.
"And what does that mean?" Hess asks.
"It means that he's Hohenheim's true son!"
"You mean our Hohenheim? But how? His sons are from Shamballa."
"Yes. To think another person has safely passed through the gate."
Back at the villa, a chained and lance-impailed Envy is winded around the wall of the great hall. His position resembles the Oroborus birthmark of his kind. Eckhart, Hess, and Haushofer approach the serpent.
Eckhart touches the snake, which glows with tattoos. She chants in German:
"Blasses weiB und Schwarz, zusammen mit faischem Citrin, unvollstandiges WeiB und Rot, gianzende Pfauenfedern, der Regenbogen, der sich uber den Himmel erstreckt, gerfieckter Leopard, gruner Lowe, Krahenschnabel blau wie Biel." ('Pale white and black with false citrine, imperfect white and red, the peacock's feathers in bright colors, the rainbow, extending across the sky above, the spotted leopard, the green lion, the crow's bill, as blue as lead.')
Slithering despite his fetters, Envy sees a restrained Hohenheim in the shadow. Looking badly off himself, Hohenheim smiles at what's left of the first-born son he had abandoned centuries ago. "How nice to see you."
The son goes to his prodigal father with jaws opened. Suddenly, the snake becomes a circle of light.
Eckhart is delighted with this phenomenon. "Professor, time to try."
Haushofer is uncertain. "Even with armor protecting them, they may have little hope of passing through the gate untainted!"
Eckhart turns to Hess. He complies without fail.
A wall opens. An army of armored soldiers- several bearing a familiar style of armor- enter. Eckhart laughs in glee. "To Shamballa!"
Below, a pool of shimmering pink light forms within the snake circle.
Snow scatters against a banner of the Amestrisian flag. It comes from a lookout hut in the snowy northern region of Amestris, 1917. It is the world of Earth A.
Two figures, Lieutenants Jean Havoc and Heymans Breda, search around the hut. They call out for General Mustang. But there is nothing but a snowman. Suddenly, the snowman behind them falls apart, revealing Roy Mustang. He salutes them. "Lieutenant Havoc. Lieutenant Breda. It is good to see you again. Thanks for coming out." His manner is cold and stoic.
Inside the hut, the three gather around a fireplace. Roy advises the two to no longer refer to him as General. "I gave that up. I'm just an enlisted man now."
Havoc takes advantage. "Right, I forgot! I guess we outrank you now!"
Breda elbows Havoc into silence. "I know it's your choice, sir. Volunteering for an outpost way out here in the styx. But still-"
Roy interrupts. "I plan to do all I can for my country in my own way. End of discussion."
Havoc and Breda fall silent, unable to penetrate their former boss' depression.
Mustang strikes a match. This sight upsets the two; what's wrong with his powers?
"I haven't used Alchemy once, since that day. I gave that up too."
"But, you're the Flame Alchemist, sir!"
Roy bares a haunted face. "I start to now and then. But every time I try I see the innocent people who died because of my mistakes.' He touches his eyepatch. "That's what this eye sees." It is clear that the killing of the Ishbalans, the murder of the Rockbells, the death of his best friend Maes Hughes, and the selfish revenge on Fuhrer Bradley and its consequences on Selim Bradley have taken a great toll on the Corporal.
Outside in the snow again, Havoc and Breda take one last look at their former leader. Roy stands motionless at his post, his gaze as barren as the area.
Breda regrets not taking Lieutenant Hawkeye with them, seeing she knows how to talk to him.
Havoc balks the idea. "Don't kid yourself. She wouldn't come. I doubt she wants to see Mustang like this. Besides, I get the feeling the Lieutenant isn't the one he's waiting for." Breda is confused, than realizes the truth.
In a Dublith Meathouse, butcher Sig Curtiz gives tragic news to an older Winry Rockbell. It regards his wife Izumi.
"Two months ago she got so bad, that she couldn't move. She told Al to go, that there was nothing left to teach her. She just didn't want him to see."
Winry gives her condolences. "And Al? He still hasn't given up on finding Edward?"
"Not at all. He can't be dissuaded. He's convinced Ed is alive somewhere."
Winry takes notice of this info as Curtiz continues. "He says he has these dreams, where he's seventeen, and he coughs like Izumi did, and he lives with Ed in a bustling city. The two design machines together that fly up into space."
Winry gazes upon a photograph of the late Mrs. Curtiz. At the cemetery, she places flowers before Izumi's grave. She remembers something Izumi told her. "Take good care of them for me." An image of the female Alchemist appears in her head, smiling. Suddenly, Winry notices she is not alone. Lying under a tree is Wrath, Izumi's Homunculus son. Time has not been kind to this Homunculus.
Winry smiles. "Looks like someone's in need of maintenance. Let me help." She gives out her hand to him.
In the desert surrounding Liore, a lone figure walks along the desert. He wears a red coat with Dante's seal, with a hood over his head. He takes out a canteen. Only a drop left. The figure claps his hands and kneels to touch the sand. A stone well materializes, spouting water into the air. The boy enjoys the temporary rain. He removes his hood. 13-year-old Alphonse Elric. He has changed too. He wears a red coat like his brother, as well as a black suit (though with a different collar and boots). His chestnut blond hair is longer, with larger bangs and a ponytail.
In the city of Liore, weird buildings with macho-overtones line the city. At the podium is the Armstrong family, lead by son Alex. No longer a soldier, he is dressed in civilian clothes. "The Armstrong Foundation will work with you all in every aspect of the continuing reconstruction of Liore. Building a thriving metropolis that will rival Central in its beauty and splendor! We will press forward with great diligence to create the city that will exemplify the East in its new era."
With metal gauntlets, Armstrong alchemically transforms a dirty deli into a shining one with a statue of himself. He proudly greets the owner, "I offer this shop as a gift between friends."
"Wow…yeah, that's really something…" The owner is stunned by the decorations, though probably not in the way Armstrong would like. He bows his head in despair.
Suddenly the Strong-Arm Alchemist tenses. An alchemy effect is appearing. Pink light forms upon the city square. A transmutation circle!
Rose appears, demanding everyone to get to the side. She and Armstrong grab some children standing too close to the circle. "Alchemy almost wiped the city off the map. Who would dare use it now?"
The transmutation circle shatters the brick floor, exposing more pink light. The armored soldiers of Earth Prime climb out of the hole.
Armstrong wonders where these soldiers are coming from. Then a great wind blows, sweeping the soldiers into the air. Alphonse has created a tornado by Alchemy. Rose spots him. Armstrong is amazed to see Al in human form.
Far away, an earthquake hits Central City. At the Parliamentary building (resembling the Pizza Venezia in Italy), we see General Grumman, Scieszka and Kain Fuery among the politicians. Scieszka runs out to the balcony. She is shocked to see the destruction to the city. At Central Headquarters, Lieutenant Denny Bloch finds radio transmissions with Liore have been cut off. Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye enters with Lieutenant Maria Ross, realizing a connection of Earthquakes of the two cities. Ross informs Riza of invading soldiers. "We have tight security on the Eastern border. How can an enemy cross without us knowing?"
Back at Liore, the armored soldiers advance, surrounding Al. Armstrong attempts a rescue. But Al clearly can handle things. He claps his gloved hands, marked with Alchemy circles on his palms. He grabs the arms of two soldiers. An Alchemy current forms markings on the soldiers. Eyes glow inside their helmets. The two soldiers turn against the others.
Armstrong greets the boy. "Alphonse Elric, you are looking well."
Al looks at him with confusion.
Rose enters. "This is Major Armstrong, Al. He's a friend, remember?"
Al smiles at Rose with a familiarity he lacks for Armstrong. Nonetheless, he is courteous to the man. "Of course, Major, I've heard about you. You helped us in our journey, right?"
Armstrong becomes worried by the lack of recognition. "So you still haven't recovered your memory of those years?" His eyes tense. Al takes this as a sign that a soldier is behind him. A hand-clap and contact put the soldier- who resembles the armor he once possessed- under his control as well.
Armstrong is astounded.
[Compare this group shot of Rose, Armstrong, and Al with a similar scene in episode 1 with Rose, Armor Al, and Edward]
"I'm controlling the suits of armor I've touched. I transferred a part of my soul into it."
"A portion of your soul?"
"Don't worry, I'm fine. For some reason it comes naturally to me." Alphonse then races into the battle.
Rose and Armstrong look on. Watching Al and one of his armor goons fight off the soldiers looks very familiar.
"Poor Al. All those lost memories. Four years spent with his brother…"
Armstrong agrees. "Still, seeing how's he progressed, it's as if Edward's been leading him every step of the way."
Soon the invading force is overwhelmed. Amestris soldiers gather around the pile of armored soldiers. Officer Vato Falman gives Armstrong some grim news. The men inside the armor are all dead, probably before they reached the surface. The cause seems to be extreme amounts of pressure. A soldier examining one suit is frightened to see its arm twitch.
Alphonse entertains the children, giving a stick to Rose's child.
Rose kneels to the boy. "So, are you really still looking for him?"
Al's cheerful face falls into a sad resolve. "Yeah."
"But Al. He's gone-"
Suddenly, a shimmering pink portal opens above the pile. All the armors are sucked into it. Alphonse sees this as his chance to see Brother. He runs to the portal, grabbing the leg of one of the levitating soldiers, frantically hanging on.
Rose grabs him. "Let go! You'll disappear too!" She succeeds in freeing Al, his gloved palms bearing glowing Alchemy circles. The boy obsessively looks on as the armor he has touched disappears into the portal. He is desperate to see this clue will lead somewhere.
We now return to Earth Prime. A week has passed since Edward's encounter with Envy and the Thule Society. At the Beer Hall, Officer Hughes has a conversation with others. Something about taking an action that will get the Bavarian General to take them seriously. Hughes' interest is overtaken by the passing Gracia, bearing groceries.
"Gracia! About that Gypsy: It…"
Gracia ignores him. The shrug leaves Hughes stunned. His friends laugh.
At her shop, Gracia and Noah arrange flowers to sell. Noah asks Gracia about chances of another war.
"I don't know. I certainly hope not. But there's a lot of talk right now. And if it did happen, God forbid, your people could be in danger. There are men who say they want to reshape the country, so that it will just be authentic Germans and kick out everyone else." Gracia hears someone coming. She frowns. Hughes is here, skulking like a vulture toward Noah. "What were you telling her about?"
"Nothing much. What's wrong? You look so serious!"
A wary Hughes walks over to Noah. "Just doing my job to keep the streets safe. You never know what these Gypsies are scheming."
Gracia nods for Noah to leave. Hughes' wary eyes follow her.
Gracia now confronts Hughes. "I can say the same for you and your friends at the Beer Hall. You're scheming about something everyday!"
Hughes' cool expression melts into startled surprise; he has upset Gracia!
Gracia is equally reluctant about this confrontation. "Please Hughes. She's a vulnerable girl. Can't you keep her safe?"
Noah lurks near a wall, embittered.
Noah has dinner with Alfonse H. He talks about the country's defeat. "It was a betrayal. Germany still had a real chance to win the war. But the government just gave up, stabbing us in the back. And the Treaty of Versailles was a total humiliation. There are a lot of people who think we should overthrow the government and take back Germany's pride."
"Tell me Alfonse. Do you happen to work with the people who think those sorts of things?"
Surprised, Al H. speaks his excuse. "I just want to build rockets. Nothing more." He changes the subject, asking about Edward. "Did he say something about going to the University?"
Noah becomes flustered. She turns her face. "Yes. He's looking for someone."
At the University of Munich, Edward speaks with some students. He learns that Professor Haushofer has cancelled all classes. Rumor has it he's staying at a villa with the Thule Society. According to ancient mythology, Thule is a mystical island in the North. The society intends to harness the power of the gods that dwell in the island and claim the destiny of the Aryan race. Ed absorbs this with absolute skepticism.
At dusk, Edward sneaks to the villa. He lurks discreetly, pondering the Germans' pathetic reasoning to use myth as a way to help their country. He notices quite a lot of guards. He spots a broken window. As Edward moves himself through the glass hole, a sharp piece slices his cheek. Inside, he sees another window showing a giant ship being built. The rockets look familiar. Could these people be Al H's sponsors? His search leads to a huge main hall. On the floor are faint drawings.
"Looks like some kind of sorcery diagram. Probably for sacrificing virgins and summoning demons from inside the earth. You guys are hopeless." Ed's disdain ends when he notices something familiar with the markings. It's a diagram of Alchemy! "But why? Alchemy is not supposed to work from this side of the gate." He finds the markings are faint, unfinished. Spotting a piece of chalk, Edward begins to retrace the Alchemy circle. Above his notice- literally and figuratively speaking- Eckhart watches.
Completing the circle, Edward's brain sinks back to reality. He smiles over his pathetic act for nostalgia. He wipes his face, his glove getting blood from the cut cheek. Both hands touch the circle. It glows.
"Still just a puppet, aren't you, pipsqueak?" The voice of Envy gets Ed's attention. He sees the snake trussed around the hall above him. The transmutation circle glows. Envy's body creates the pink portal. Eckhart sees the city of Liore appear inside it. "Shamballa."
Edward sees armored suits topple from the portal and crash onto the floor. "What's going on? I didn't do any of this!"
Hanshoufer, Hess, and several guards enter the hall. Hess orders the guards to hold Edward at gunpoint. "Why did the portal open now? We've never been able to open it twice no matter what we've tried!"
Fear lines Haushofer's face. "They've come back to us. From Shamballa!"
Edward begins to ask questions. Hess punches him down to the floor. "We'll ask the questions! What have you done?"
Haushofer orders the guards to check the armor to see any survivors. Their discovery is shocking. All the inhabitants are dead and crushed. The Professor is horrified.
Hess continues questioning Edward. "Is this your doing, boy?"
Edward responds with a silent glare. Before Hess decides to get physical, Eckhart enters.
"In the hollow urn lies a vast underground kingdom. Far greater than any civilization the surface has known in modern times. A utopia without war and illness, suffering or hate. The wisdom of its inhabitants promise absolute peace, while the mystical power of its army guarantees victory in mankind's final war. The road to Shamballa is difficult." She turns to the Professor, congratulating him on his hypothesis.
"A lucky guess, chairman." Haushofer presents Eckhart the boy he has been telling her about.
Eckhart greets Edward with a sweet smile from her beautiful Aryan face. "Your father was once part of our Society and still helps today."
Edward is less civil. "I don't know where he is or what he told you, lady."
"My name is Dietlinde Eckhart, thank you."
Edward is condescending. "Thule Island, Kingdom of Shamballa. You people seem to be obsessed with any world than this one."
"Seems we have a lot in common."
Edward continues glaring. Hess points a gun to his temple. Haushofer protests, but Hess is determined. "Our plans for Germany are in motion. What if this boy tells our secrets to Berlin?"
Edward grabs the barrel with his right hand. The gun blows off two of his prosthetic fingers. Edward makes a backward somersault and flees from Hess' gunfire (despite Haushofer's protest that they may need Edward). Edward dives into the pile of armor. He swims passed these armored parts. He pauses when he comes face-to-face with a helmet resembling his brother's.
This helmet stares back and gasps. "Brother?"
Edward is dumbfounded by the possibility.
The pile of armor explodes before the Thule Society's eyes. Hanshofer, Hess, and Eckhart spot a strange scene in the source. One of their dead soldiers is hugging Edward!
"Brother," the possessed armor chuckles in his embrace. "Oh brother, I'm so glad to see you! It's been so long! Are you okay?"
Despite the mutual feeling, Edward finds his brother's gesture too strong. "I can't breathe!"
The Alphonse armor gets a better look at his brother. "But you've changed. You're taller now."
"Al?" Edward confirms the truth with a soulful word. Then he swats the helmet off. "What, you still thought I'd still be a runt at 18 years old!?"
Haushofer is amazed to see the headless, hollow, but mobile soldier. Eckhart is equally confused, though in a more reserved manner. "It could be some sort of Alchemy perhaps."
Hess is more unscientific in his conclusion. "Don't you see? It's been possessed by a demon!" Hess and the guards open fire at the Brothers Elric. Edward ducks under the armors. Al- not remembering his invulnerability- follows suit.
"They don't seem too happy. You haven't changed, Brother. Still causing trouble!"
"Save the lecture! Let's get outta here!"
With a cry, Al charges through the guards using a suit as a shield (again, forgetting he's invulnerable). Edward is on his metallic back. The two break through the door.
Now in the hallway, Alphonse is uncertain. "Now what?"
Al takes a direction. "I don't know where I'm going!"
"It's better than getting shot!"
A few minutes later, Hess reports to Eckhart that Edward and the armor have disappeared. "But we know where we can find him. He's been living with Alfonse Heiderich."
Eckhart examines the armor. "His knowledge of Alchemy could be our answer. But I doubt he will be willing to cooperate with us. He's just like his father."
Hess advises a counter plan. "Then why don't we use the gypsy ma'am?"
"Yes. We've received a tip from one of our loyal party members. The girl is living with Edward and Alfonse too as luck would have it."
Eckhart is pleased. "It's not luck. The gods of the Aryan race are lighting a path for us."
Haushofer is disapproving. "You're actually planning on going through with this? There's no evidence to confirm that it is Shamballa at the other side of the portal. You saw what that trip did to our men!"
Hess is ignorant to the protests. "November 8th is only ten days away, sir. The Fuhrer plans to make his move with or without the Thule Society. Our role in the party hinges on this!"
Eckhart advises a cool head. "Relax Lieutenant. The portal will be opened that day. 'The Thule Society has led the world to a new age!' That's what the future generations will say."