After another successful battle with an alchemist, an injured Scar returns to Yoki and finds him with a little girl. She introduces herself as May Chang and reveals that Yoki had helped her after she had collapsed. Scar wants her to leave, but she instead decides to treat his wound with something she calls alkahestry from the country of Xing. She also notices his tattoo as being connected to alkahestry, so Scar reveals that his brother researched both alchemy and alkahestry, and his tattoo is a result of that research. In any case, May Chang wants to go with Scar and Yoki to Central, and she’s trying to go meet Ed because of what she heard about immortality and alchemy. Meanwhile, in Central, Hawkeye is coming home from grocery shopping when she’s attacked by Barry the Chopper, but he’s no match for her pistol skills. The fact that he can remove his armor’s head doesn’t surprise her either because she knows Al, and when she realizes that he knows Al too, she brings him in for questioning with Mustang. Barry ends up telling them what he knows about the fifth laboratory and the Philosopher’s Stone, but what Mustang is most interested in is if Barry had anything to do with Hughes’ death. Barry doesn’t know anything about it though, so Mustang lets it go.
Over in Rush Valley, Ed and Al return to Winry so that Ed can get his arm repaired again. She patches him up but needs to get more parts, so the brothers are free to wander the town for a while. By chance, Al finds a guy passed out on the street, and after they feed him, he reveals that he’s from the country of Xing. He had gone through the desert between their two countries because he wanted to see the ruins of Xerxes, and he went there and is here now to look into the connection to alkahestry, which is used for medicine. Ed contrasts this to the military uses of alchemy here ever since King Bradley came to power. He and Al then introduce themselves as alchemists, so the guy introduces himself as Ling Yao, but he’s not a user of alkahestry. He is, however, interested in the Philosopher’s Stone. This alarms Ed and causes him to try to walk away, but Ling summons his bodyguards to get the information out of the brothers. When Ed questions what Ling plans to do with it, Ling reveals that he wants to find a way to obtain immortality. Not one to be threatened, Ed starts fighting with one of the bodyguards while Al battles the other. Although he initially finds himself on the losing end of the fight, Ed figures out that he can get his opponent angry – and thus easier to read – by talking bad about Ling.
Using this, he’s able to remove his opponent’s mask and is surprised to find out that he’s fighting a girl. She retaliates with an explosive, but once the smoke clears, Ed uses his automail arm as a trap to capture her. Al has captured his opponent as well by this point with Paninya’s help, and Ling congratulates both of them. When the townspeople confront them for destroying the town though, Ling and his bodyguards escape to avoid getting blamed, leaving Ed and Al to fix things. Ed is surprised to see that Al can now transmute without a circle, and it depresses him a bit. The two of them run into Ling again when they return to the shop where Winry has been working, and Ling introduces his bodyguards as Lan Fan and Fu and claims that he himself is a prince. The Xing emperor has fathered a child from each of the 50 ethnic groups that make up the country of Xing, and there are currently 24 princes and 19 princesses. Ling is twelfth in line, and because the emperor’s health is poor and there’s a bit of a succession fight going on, Ling has decided to go after immortality to curry favor. Ed, however, still refuses to reveal anything about the Philosopher’s Stone.
Once Winry returns and is able to properly work on Ed’s arm, Al reveals that they’re headed for Central again, and Winry wants to come along again to visit Hughes. Also on their way to Central are Yoki and Scar along with May Chang. Yoki still doesn’t know Scar’s name, so Scar explains that the Ishval people call themselves proudly by names bestowed by God, and for that reason, he’s thrown away his name. Scar feels that if he’s on a path in which he cannot turn back, then he has to throw away everything bestowed by God.
The new songs are, as expected, really good. I really like how Hologram begins and its subsequent chorus, but LET IT OUT isn’t bad either. In fact, LET IT OUT sounds a lot like a song you’d hear on western top-40 radio (I found this extended version of it on imeem). Both the OP and ED sequence are very pretty to look at, particularly with their use of colors, but more importantly, the new OP sequence shows a lot of cool shots that get me excited about what’s upcoming in the series (especially concerning Wrath and Ling fighting).
This episode started a little confusingly because I didn’t realize Yoki was sticking with Scar, but otherwise it was pretty good. For one, it was great to see and hear some new characters. Miyano Mamoru uses a nicely playful and energetic voicing of Ling, and I was surprised to see that one of his bodyguards was a girl, voiced by Mizuki Nana no less. The fight this episode between Ed and Al and those two bodyguards was pretty good too, though not quite as cool as how King Bradley kicked ass last week.
Speaking of new characters, I guess Scar is now getting a little girl companion in May Chang who can heal/take care of him. If she sticks with him, and it leads him down the path of becoming a better person, I’ll be tempted to make the comparison to InuYasha‘s Sesshoumaru and Rin again (it’s even more true if you consider that Yoki is kind of like Jaken). In any case, it’ll be interesting to see what happens when May Chang runs into Ed and if her bishounen image of him gets completely shattered. For the time being though, I suspect it’s going to be quite sad when Ed, Al, and Winry finally learn that Hughes is dead in next week’s episode. That’s probably what this preview shot is about.
Oh and as a random sidenote, Hawkeye really needs to wear her hair down more. It looks much better that way.