When the regenade Ice Alchemist runs amok inside Central, Führer King Bradley puts Roy Mustang in charge of his capture. Edward and Alphonse Elric are taking part in the operation as well, and they manage to corner the guy. Edward’s automail right arm and the fact that he doesn’t use a transmutation circle make the Ice Alchemist realize that Edward is the Fullmetal Alchemist. Regardless, the two manage to capture the Ice Alchemist, but he promptly escapes from the soldiers who come to take him away. The two brothers then return to headquarters where they get lectured by Mustang. The Flame Alchemist explains that the Ice Alchemist is Isaac McDougall, a former state alchemist who participated in the Ishbal extermination war but had given up his state alchemist title afterward and had joined an anti-establishment movement. Mustang prioritizes his capture but knows that they might have to kill him, and that’s something Ed doesn’t want to do. Their conversation is interrupted by the arrival of Maes Hughes who meets Ed and Al for the first time, and he invites them to stay over at his house. This gives Hughes the chance to show off his wife Gracia and daughter Elicia, and the family treats the brothers to dinner. Not wanting to reveal the reason why Al can’t eat, Ed claims that Al is in the middle of alchemist training.
Meanwhile, at Central Prison, Isaac has gone to see Kimblee, the Crimson Alchemist, to convince him to join forces to overthrow Bradley and the military. Isaac points to how Kimblee had killed high ranking military officials, but Kimblee claims that he just killed them because he wanted to, so Isaac leaves him there. Back at Hughes’s home, he’s up late thinking about how the Elric brothers are seen as dogs of the army at such a young age. Ed and Al, on the other hand, are talking about dinner and how Al wants to get his original body back. The search for Isaac continues the next day until Alex Louis Armstrong is able to find him in an alley, and the commotion attracts Ed and Al. Isaac manages to escape though, and he evades capture yet again when he gets cornered by Mustang and some troops. He returns to the same alley later that night, but he’s found again by Ed and Al. Instead of running away this time, he activates multiple red-hued transmutation reactions at once across the city, causing the brothers to think of the Philosopher’s Stone. Isaac feels that Ed would understand what he’s trying to do if Ed knew what the country was trying to do, but what Ed cares about now is how Isaac might have a Philosopher’s Stone.
Isaac then forms a giant block of ice and rides on top of it, and Ed and Al realize that Isaac is trying to bury headquarters in ice. Ed thus decides to go after Isaac and has Armstrong take care of the transmutation circles that Isaac set up. The two brothers climb onto the block of ice and fight Isaac, and when Isaac tries to blow Al’s head off, he realizes that he’s fighting an empty suit of armor upon which a soul was affixed. This combined with how Ed lost his real arm leads Isaac to figure out that the two brothers committed the taboo of human transmutation. This really angers Ed, and together with Al, he beats up on their opponent. Isaac, however, still has a few tricks up his sleeves, and he freezes his blood to stab Ed in the shoulder. This gives him a chance to escape again and make his way into a dark alley, but he finds Bradley waiting there. Isaac tries to take down Bradley with a spear of ice, but Bradley kills Isaac in one quick motion. By the time Ed and Al arrive on the scene, everything is already over, and the two still don’t know if a Philosopher’s Stone was involved. Unbeknownst to them, the Homunculus Lust is on the phone with someone about Isaac’s death. She thinks that Isaac used the Philosopher’s Stone too much, and she reports that things in Lior are going well. With Gluttony nearby, she feels that it will start soon.
I really liked the music from the original FMA and had hoped that the new series could feature some good songs as well. Fortunately, YUI and SID don’t disappoint. Both songs are pretty good – Uso is a bit more catchy but I’m liking again more the more I hear it. As for the animation sequences, the OP features mostly characters shots (and this being FMA, there are a lot of characters) plus a couple of action sequences, and it was cool to see that certain parts had the character lips matching up to the lyrics. The ED meanwhile is an amusing hand-drawn style, though I didn’t really think that it matched the song. In any case, the full versions of both songs are already out there if you need some instant gratification.
For a reintroduction episode, this was pretty exciting. Having this Isaac hunt served as a way to bring up how there’s something fishy going on with the military and Bradley while at the same time reacquainted us to most of the state alchemists, Ed, Al, and their quest for the Philosopher’s Stone. They managed to work in Kimblee as well, and those of you who watched Gundam 00 probably recognized him as being voiced by Allelujah’s voice actor Yoshino Hiroyuki. I thought he did a decent job with it, but I can’t say the same for Miki Shinichirou voicing Roy Mustang. It didn’t bother me previously during the promo videos, but there’s something about his voice that just doesn’t quite seem like Mustang. I can still remember Lockon very clearly, and out of all the cast changes, this is the only one that really bothered me (so far anyway).
In any case, I still enjoyed all of the action that was in this, and I especially liked the black and white (with spurts of red) finish with Bradley. Overall, this episode was a nice way to get the audience back into the thick of things, and as expected of BONES, the production quality was quite high. It was also amusing (brought back memories) to see Ed get picked on again all time because of his height. Now that all of this is over though, it looks like they’ll be going back to the past next week for a proper telling of what happened to Ed and Al. That makes me wonder at what point Hohenheim will appear since he’s featured in the OP fairly prominently.
Oh and on a side note, what was with that really cheesy sounding English announcer saying “Fullmetal Alchemist” during the eyecatches?