On the train ride to Lior, Ed and Al are talking about the religious leader who’s supposedly been performing miracles such as transmuting flowers from nothing. They’re going to check it out in case it’s not just some simple sleight of hand trick and is actually the Philosopher’s Stone at work. The reason they are after the Philosopher’s Stone is so that Al can get his original body back, and this all goes back to ten years ago. Back then, their mother had praised their alchemical abilities, and when she died, Ed had been determined to use alchemy to bring her back. The two brothers had thus studied human transmutation secretly and had trained their alchemy skills under a teacher until it finally came time to do it. Things started to go terribly wrong however shortly after they started: Ed lost his left leg and Al’s entire body was taken away.
When Ed regained his senses, he found himself alone in a white world with a large engraved door behind him. The white figure in front of him introduced itself as the world, god, or the truth, and as Ed got dragged through the door, the white figure promised to show him the truth. On the other side of the door, Ed entered a space where his head was filled with information to the point where he thought that it was going to break, but he also was suddenly able to understand the truth. Before he could reach the silhouette of his mother though, he was brought back in front of the white figure. Realizing that his human transmutation theory wasn’t incorrect and was simply not enough, Ed wanted another chance to reach the truth of human transmutation that had just been in front of him, but the white figure was unable to let him with the toll that Ed paid. That toll was Ed’s left leg, and the white figure reminded Ed of the rule of equivalent exchange.
Ed was then brought back to the room where the human transmutation took place, and in front of him now was a monstrosity that breathed briefly before dying. Realizing that he has to save his brother, Ed managed to affix Al’s soul to a suit of armor, and he had willingly given up his right arm to do the transmutation. Sometime afterward, four years before present time, Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye had come to look for the brothers and had found the blood stains from the failed transmutation. Mustang had located Ed and Al at Winry’s grandmother’s place, and when he confronted Ed about what happened, Al had apologized. Despite the taboo that had been committed, Mustang noted that Ed’s skills were enough to become a State Alchemist, and he presented it as a chance for the brothers to return to their original bodies.
While Mustang had been talking to Ed, Al, and Winry’s grandmother, Winry had asked Riza if she had shot people before. Riza had confirmed that she had, so Winry revealed that she hated soldiers because of how her parents were killed. She didn’t want them to take away Ed and Al either, but Riza felt that it was the brothers’ own decision to make. When Winry then asked why Riza became a soldier, Riza explained that there’s someone she has to protect. Having not shaken Riza’s hand when Riza introduced herself, Winry shakes her hand before Riza and Mustang leave. Mustang meanwhile was successful in convincing Ed to work towards becoming a State Alchemist, and Ed had sped up his rehabilitation after getting an Automail arm and leg to replace the ones he lost. He also found himself able to perform transmutations without using a transmutation circle, just like their teacher had been able to. Ed thought that Al could do this as well, but Al couldn’t and hadn’t experienced the same thing as his brother during the failed human transmutation.
King Bradley had been present during Ed’s subsequent exam to become a State Alchemist and was impressed by Ed’s ability to transmute without a circle. To prove that they should rethink how the exams are held, Ed had charged at Bradley and stopped short of killing him with his weapon. Bradley admired Ed’s guts, but he felt that Ed didn’t know the size of the world. As Bradley walked off, Ed realized that Bradley had cut apart his weapon without him even noticing that Bradley had drawn his sword. Al and Winry had stayed home during all this and were worried about Ed. Winry in particular was concerned about Ed leaving their village if he became a State Alchemist. As it turns out, Ed had indeed passed the exam, and Bradley had decreed him the Fullmetal Alchemist. Now, as their train approaches the town of Lior, Ed’s thoughts dwell on the Philosopher’s Stone that could help restore Al’s body.
That was quite a good go-through of how Ed and Al’s past, and I believe it followed the manga pretty closely. The after-the-failed-transmutation scene in particular was very intense and emotional with Ed trying to get Al back, and I liked the brief Riza and Mustang scene that went back and forth between the two as well. In fact, I seem to be getting used to Miki Shinichirou voicing Mustang, probably because he’s a lot more forceful in his delivery this episode. I also had no complaints about the new voice actresses for Winry and Riza, but to be honest I don’t really remember what they sounded like in the first series.
The most interesting parts of the episode were the ones where things really differed from the first series. Ed’s encounter with the truth was quite creepy, and the fact that Bradley has appeared twice now in the first two episodes and has displayed a ton of power both times seems to point to him being much more important to this series. Overall I’m pretty happy with what BONES has done with the show so far. The real test might be next week which looks to be a redux of Lior, and I imagine that we’ll be seeing a lot of things that were already shown in the first series. Rosé for one looks a bit different already – her hair’s not as pink and she’s got much lighter colored skin.