Fullmetal Alchemist – Brotherhood Collection 4 Blu-ray (Episodes 40-52) (Cert 15)
2 Discs (Distributor: Manga Entertainment) Running time: 305 minutes
Once again Manga are allowing Blu-ray fans to catch up on this fantastic series in HD with this latest Blu-ray only release.
Divide and conquer is the theme for this penultimate release in the saga of the Elric brothers. Metal suited Al is caught up in the raging snowstorms of Briggs to warn the splinter group consisting of Marcoh, Scar, May Chung and Winry that the fort has been taken over by soldiers from Central. They eventually meet up and relocate to Ishbal where they make a huge discovery concerning the notes left by Scar’s brother.
Meanwhile brother Ed travels with Kimblee and Major Miles of Briggs, who plans to assassinate the former. Ed objects and saves Kimbleee only to be forced into a battle with him and two chimera which results in a surprise alliance being formed. Elsewhere Olivier Mira Armstrong has arrived in Central to admit to the killing of General Raven and asks Fuhrer Bradley – whose true identity as the homunculus Wrath is now apparently the worst kept secret in central – to take her on as his replacement.
With twelve action packed episodes running across these two discs there are once again far to many story developments to successfully summarise in a simple paragraph or two, and to achieve this without spoiling anything is akin to taking out a super-injunction to hide one’s identity without someone blowing it anyway on Twitter!
What can be revealed is that we get to learn the origin of the Humunculi and the part that Hohenheim and his doppelganger Father play in this, leaving us with the question: who is the real deal of those two? The machinations and countermoves in Central continue to blur the lines between the allegiances and motives of the players involved which leads to a terrifying quest for power ending up spiralling completely out of control.
If the previous set was heavy on debuting characters then this set is one of returns as familiar faces from earlier episodes make a comeback – some for a brief cameo while others have a more substantial effect of the proceedings. This reminds us of just how rich the cast of this show is and that the scope of the dispensable is rather limited, providing a sense of unpredictability during the many breathtaking battle scenes that take place during these episodes.
It’s refreshing to see the feature players are never depicted as invincible or bounce back from a brutal scrap with nary a scratch on them – instead limbs are severed, blood is lost and spells of rest and recuperation are needed to reiterate that this ongoing war between good and evil is a serious and unrelenting one.
By now, the hard sell for this title is pretty redundant, especially if one has made it this far. We are closing in on the end with twelve episodes left yet the series remains remarkably fresh – a testament to the writing and imagination of mangaka Hiromu Arakawa and series adaptor Hiroshi Ōnogi that the twists keep on coming and the outcome and developments are never easy to spot ahead of time.
Another top notch release and in no way a lacklustre, procrastinating, calm before the storm typical penultimate set either. This is balls to the wall FMA and frankly we wouldn’t have it any other way!
True HD English Language 5.1
Dolby True HD Japanese Lan;guage 2.0
Episode 40 Commentary
Episode 46 Commentary
Textless Opening Song – Period
Textless Closing Song – Shunkan Sentimental
Ratings – *****
Man In Black