Edward and Alphonse Elric’s reckless disregard for alchemy’s fundamental laws ripped half of Ed’s limbs from his body and left Al’s soul clinging to a cold suit of armor. To restore what was lost, the brothers scour a war-torn land for the Philosopher’s Stone, a fabled relic which grants the ability to perform alchemy in impossible ways.
The Elrics are not alone in their search; the corrupt State Military is eager to harness the artifact’s power. So too are the strange Homunculi and their shadowy creator. The mythical Stone lures exotic alchemists from distant kingdoms, scarring some deeply enough to inspire murder. As the Elrics find their course altered by these enemies and allies, their purpose remains unchanged – and their bond unbreakable.
In the penultimate collection of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
, the filmmakers begin drawing together the various plots, building to the final confrontation between good and evil. In a flashback sequence, viewers learn the origins of both Hohenheim and his doppelganger, the "Father" of the Homunculi. Hohenheim was once No. 23, a slave of an alchemist in Cselkcess, who created the first Homunculus. When the King of Cselkcess's attempt to achieve immortality backfired, Hohenheim became "a human Philosopher's Stone" and the Homunculus created a body for himself that was a duplicate of Hohenheim's. Decades later, the Promised Day is at hand: "Father" plans to activate the countrywide transmutation circle, killing untold thousands to create an enormous Philosopher's Stone--and activate the "Mannequin Army," a corps of deathless zombies animated by the Stone's power. But even supernatural plans can go awry. Lust was destroyed by Colonel Mustang; Pride, in the guise of Selim Bradley, devours Gluttony. Greed, who took over the body of Prince Ling Yao of Xing, has joined forces with the Elrics; Wrath, a.k.a. Fuhrer Bradley, is missing, leaving Pride, Sloth, and Envy. Pitted against them are an interlocking series of alliances that include the Elric Brothers and Hohenheim; Dr. Marcoh, Scar, and May Chang, with their knowledge of the Alkahestry of Xing; and Colonel Mustang, Alex and Olivier Armstrong, and their loyal soldiers. Director Yasuhiro Irie uses some striking special effects, especially Pride's scissorlike jaws of shadow, to pump up the action. These episodes encompass volume 19 through the first part of volume 23 of Hiromu Arakawa's original manga, and fans of this outstanding series will be waiting impatiently for the fifth set to bring the adventures of Edward and Alphonse Elric to what should be a dynamite finale. (Rated TV 14: violence, grotesque imagery, brief nudity, tobacco and alcohol use) --Charles Solomon
(40. Homunculus (The Dwarf in the Flask), 41. The Abyss, 42. Signs of a Counteroffensive, 43. Bite of the Ant, 44. Reviving at Full Throttle, 45. The Promised Day, 46. Looming Shadow, 47. Emissary of Darkness, 48. The Oath in the Tunnel, 49. Filial Affection, 50. Upheaval in Central, 51. The Immortal Legion)