Sometime after joining the military, Mustang had paid a visit to his sick teacher. Back then, Mustang believed that strengthening the military was needed and that alchemy in particular could help protect the people. He had also urged his teacher to become a state alchemist to get out of poverty and to continue with his research, but Mustang’s teacher felt that his research on the strongest alchemy had been completed long ago. He had conjectured that alchemists cannot help but seek the truth and that they die when they stop thinking, and he considered himself dead. Mustang’s teacher had actually died shortly thereafter, leaving his daughter – who had all of his research – in Mustang’s care, and that daughter was none other than Hawkeye. After the burial, Mustang had told Hawkeye that, as a soldier, he might one day die like garbage on the roadside, but he still wanted to protect everyone and become part of the foundation of the country. Hawkeye had thought that this was wonderful and wanted to believe in a future where everyone could live happily, and she had entrusted him with her father’s dream.

Back in the present, Ed pays a visit to Hawkeye and returns her gun. He tells her about his own inability to shoot and about what happened between Scar and Winry, and Hawkeye apologizes because she realizes that the gun became a heavy burden. This leads to the two talking about what happened during the Ishval conflict, and Hawkeye tells of how it started, how the Fuhrer had ordered the beginning of the Ishval annihilation, and all the killing that resulted. She herself had been a sniper, and she had been reunited with Mustang on the battlefield. Back then, she had questioned why soldiers who should be protecting the people were killing them instead, and the answer didn’t come from Mustang but rather from Kimblee who had overheard. Kimblee’s answer was that it’s their job, and he had suggested that even Hawkeye had felt some sense of accomplishment in her own sniping skills. He had gone on to assert that they shouldn’t turn their eyes away from death and to not forget since the enemy wouldn’t forget either.

When Mustang had asked Hughes why he was fighting, Hughes had simply said that it was because he didn’t want to die. That had left Mustang questioning what the reason for the fighting was, and unbeknownst to him, the real reason was so that Ishval people could be sacrificed to create a Philosopher’s Stone. Marcoh had presided over this, and that Philosopher’s Stone had ended up in the hands of Kimblee. Towards the end of the conflict, the leader of the Ishval people had come to King Bradley to try to give himself up so that the rest of his people would be spared. King Bradley, however, had rejected the deal because he believed that one life was worth just one life, and he had made it a point to deny the existence of the Ishval god and its ability to do anything to him. In the aftermath of the conflict, Hawkeye had reported to Mustang and had joined him believing that she and her generation would have to get themselves dirty to make things better for the next generation.

Having heard all this, Ed realizes now that even if Mustang took over the military, it wouldn’t change the fact that they live in a military nation. Hawkeye knows that he’s right and that they need to switch to a democratic system, but she also feels that it would be necessary to bring war criminals of the Ishval conflict to justice. That includes themselves, and Hawkeye realizes that even if it was the Homunculus behind it all, it was they who carried it out. This frustrates Ed, but Hawkeye points out that he should be more concerned right now about returning himself and Al to their former bodies. At that moment, Al is about to leave Knox’s place and is stopped by May Chang because she wants to thank him. It is here that she finally learns that Al is Ed’s brother, and Al paints a very rosy picture of himself to her. Meanwhile, back at Marcoh’s prison, Envy arrives with food and is surprised to find a corpse with the word Vengeance written in blood on the wall.


So I saw that many of the commenters last week were highly anticipating this Ishval flashback part of the story. That may have raised my expectations a bit, and I came out of this episode feeling that it wasn’t anything particularly special. Certainly it was nice to see Hughes again (Kimblee too), and I liked the Mustang and Hawkeye character development, but there wasn’t any particular part of the flashback that really made a big impact. The beginning parts of it even felt a tad bit like recap with Hawkeye talking over scenes we’ve already seen. Come to think of it, maybe it’s because they’ve already shown so much of this in past episodes that this one didn’t feel that special – this mainly just brought everything together.

I also thought that they were headed for a pretty meh ending to the episode with the Al and May Chang stuff, but then the epilogue came back and surprised me a bit with Marcoh’s apparent (and rather grisly) death. I did notice though that in the preview for next week, Scar is with a hooded person… On a different note, I included both eye-catches this week in the screencaps above because it’s Hawkeye fanservice and because it emphasizes even more the tattoo on her back, which I don’t remember coming up much at all in the actual episode (and thus I’m quite curious about). I’m also curious to see more of what happened with Kimblee since they didn’t really say in this episode.


  1. So…

    Am I supposed to like this? Hate this? Be aroused by the naked Riza eyecatch and wonder about the commercial for Gangan that had Olivia Armstrong, animated, and talking?

    Volume 15 is my FAVORITE VOLUME of Fullmetal Alchemist. It’s… well, pretty much perfect. It may be the greatest volume of manga ever penned. Or one of them, anyway. And this… this is… so little of it.

    We miss the scene where Armstrong tries to help Ishbalans escape, the bit where the military locks up Ishbalan officers, the part where Kimbley is sent to kill the Rockbells, but then sees Scar has beaten him to it.

    I… just. I don’t know. What they did show was pretty great, but they could have done two episodes and it would have been the best two episodes yet, but instead did one that felt… incomplete.

    I’d be interested in other peoples’ opinions on this.

  2. I think I tend to agree with you penguintruth. As much as I wanted to see this ep, it was part let-down, part awesomeness. Considering the amount of love (which is immense) that I have for Volume 15, this actually doesn’t even get any close to it.

    Probably, having bits and pieces of flashcbak in other episodes lessened the impact, plus there are other scenes – Show Spoiler ▼

    – which should have been shown.

    Feels slightly rushed and that’s what bugs me.

    But seeing Olivier in the ad was awesome XD

  3. From what I’ve read, I think the only scene I’m actually gonna miss is Gran shooting that commanding officer and everyone just shrugging it off and calling it a ‘stray bullet’. Always thought that scene showed exactly how disgusted everyone who was not corrupted or battle crazy was about the whole extermination, specially since Show Spoiler ▼

    Riza asking Roy to burn her back will also be missed, but we see her back is burnt, so anyone who can put 2+2 together can figure what happened there.

  4. Wow not only did animate a complete volume in this episode (sans a few Ishbal scenes they already covered) they also animated a little of Vol. 16. I have not watched the episode yet but I can imagine they had to skip a lot which is a real shame. And yes 2 episodes would have made much more sense. And besides the recap episode they had been doing so well lately too.

  5. Personally, I thought the entire Ishbal flashback arc was dreadfully boring and it appears I’d been under the mistaken assumption that everyone else found it boring, too. It certainly seemed that way since almost the entire fandom community died during this arc and many of the people I’ve talked to thought it was boring. It was really a chore to get through, I thought. Nothing important happens and all we get to see if some Roy angst and a bit of Riza’s past. I’m glad they didn’t try to drag it out.

    Magical Poof
  6. I was expecting this flashback to be more solid and last a least 2 episodes, instead they jumped around to the important stuff from the manga. That’s why this episode didn’t feel anything special, and the tatoo on Hawkeye back felt like an afterthought.

  7. Aww…. cut out a lot of good stuff.. This was easily the best volume of the manga (so you should go read it, those of you who haven’t!) And for the record, the tattoo should have been mentioned again towards the end, but they left that out too.

  8. Disappointing episode. To anyone who hasnt read the manga I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you read Vol. 15, which is Ishbal flashback. That alone should tell you how MUCH was cut since they cramped an ENTIRE volume into one episode. So if you want a better understanding, read the manga version; its not like you have to worry about spoilers now.

  9. So they fucked up this flashback, as I see..

    They removed Show Spoiler ▼

    And THIS is exactly why I rate this episode 1 and am on the verge of dropping this shit altogether.

    Unknown Voice
  10. I was looking forward to Bask Grand (idk how it’s spelled) shooting the general. I really preferred how he was portrayed in the manga vs the original anime. It actually made you regret his death instead of thinking another jerk bit the dust.

  11. I’m pretty sure they will cover the fairly significant flashback scenes they skipped in other eps, probably to increase the impact.
    I also thought this volume was rather tedious in the manga. It’s just too much of one thing, with stuff that’s already covered being brought up.
    Some may like it, but the majority found it fairly boring and a bit of a cog in the wheels when things had just got awesome.
    I’m sure BONES cottoned onto this and don’t want to lose the momentum by dragging this out for 2/3 eps.

  12. It really makes you wonder WHY they didn’t give this part two episodes, like they should have. I mean, are they in a rush, or what? There’s plenty of manga material, and the manga hasn’t even finished. Instead of being what could have been two masterpiece episodes, they made one unfulfilling one. It’s disappointing, to say the least. Especially because you KNOW Bones can do better.

  13. While the impact could have been better (it always can), I still feel that this series has the ONLY (and I mean ONLY) complex handling of the theme of “mass-murderer/war criminal’s own conscience”.

    The questions of what goes on inside the head of a mass-murderer or person forced to actively commit genocide (even if against their will, they still carried it out) is the same question that many many ex-Nazis had to go through.

    It’s a very complex issue because many of the Nazi criminals of WW2 who could carry out deeds of incredible cruelty might be a totally loving and carrying father and family guy at the same time. It’s really ambivalent, and I’m really positively surprised that an anime series actually covers this (especially evident in the case of Hughes).

    Of course the risk is to banalize and excuse the deeds of mass-murderers and war-criminals (like simplifying and giving excuses for Nazi murderers), but I think that going away from the “the Nazis were evil and nothing more” is something that can be considered truly unique in this medium.

  14. Well… I didn’t love volume 15 to be truthful… I understand the war is sad and stuff, and that’s exactly why reading about it in such detail just made me more sad! Why do you guys love it so much? I am upset though that they are rushing through stuff. This volume could have fit into 2 episodes much better… and without skipping so much.

  15. Not everybody loved Vol 15 or think Roytachi are FMA’s most important characters. Sorry. The war is an important historical event and needs some attention but it’s just more evidence against Father and some development for the supporting characters who were there. BONES has been cutting all kinds of things throughout this series, why should this be any different? While this remake has been fun for animating stuff (people!) the first anime ignored, it’s been purely a “Wham-Bam-ThankYa-Mam now give us money” affair. Remember, what did we learn from the first anime? It’s that BONES luvs the kids, the angsty, determined ones who try to tackle adult issues. Not-kids struggling with moral dilemmas: BORING! BONES only wants to make money and 2 or 3 eps, let alone an FMA movie, without much Ed would just be charity. I just watch and feel grateful we’re getting *A* remake, if not the one the manga deserves.

  16. im feel pretty gutted after watching this episode. take away the scenes with ed/hawkeye, scar/marcoh and al/may and you have basically 2/3rds of an episode devoted to an event that should have taken at least 2.

    some might not find the ishbal war that interesting (i certainly didnt in the first series) but its description was the highlight of the manga (so far) for me. i loved the moral ambiguity and how nobody (bar kimberly) knew what was right. here we get just enough to go on with roy/riza but they cut some of the most powerful and character building scenes with armstrong, gran, kimberly, knox and marcoh.

    kimberly was dumbed down, knox and marcohs suffering (that reflects their current state of minds) was ommited entirely, as was the full tragic extent of armstrongs breakdown on the battlefield. meanwhile that amazing scene with basque gran was also cut which shows him to be one of the coolest and honourable characters of the manga and not the complete prick he was in the first series.

    everyone who hasnt read the manga should go on onemanga .com and check out the ishbal chapters. you’ll see how much they took away. ive been pretty understanding of the cuts in the anime so far (even the ran fan/envy fight i really wanted to see) but for the first time they’ve really dropped the ball. it was almost as bad as that crappy lior episode

  17. Its not bad enough my favorite homunculus had to be the first to die, but they also couldn’t squeeze her in that scene with Marcoh in Lab 5?
    In the manga, you can see the Slicers, Barry and Lust watching the sacrifices from afar. Its a minor touch, but I thought it really showed how the homunculi were behind it all pulling the strings — not to mention Lust fanservice.. which there can never be enough of.
    That was also the last cameo Lust had in the entire manga after her death..

    Also, what’s this Olivia animated commercial everyone’s talking about? Link’s would be appreciated, pl0x.

  18. @ Kristyn
    Isn’t the main language in FMA English?
    It’s on every document you’ll see, inside Ed’s watch, etc.
    Just because they speak in Japanese due to the series being produced in Japan doesn’t mean that’s the main dialect.
    Please correct me if I’m wrong though.

  19. I feel that the details of the Ishval war are important in the rest of the series, to understand the military characters better and to have a better overall understanding of the country’s crisis. But noooo.

  20. I don’t see what all the fuss is about … I thought this another solid episode, even if the fansub I saw was rather lacking in translation. I wish they’d gone more into Hawkeye’s tattoo (and that’s one sexy back, too) but I think it handled the massacre and the ‘murderer’s eyes’ thing very well. Needs more Kimbly, tho … judging from the amount of face time he has in the intro I’m guessing he’ll be returning in more flashbacks and possibly escaping from jail as well. More Basque Gran would’ve been nice too, I enjoyed his little speech right before he blew up a bunch of random Ishbalans.

    Makes me wonder what on earth is going to happen next episode? It seemed like a bunch of shots of people standing around/talking. Maybe they spent the animation budget on all the fights this last month or so so they need to have an episode with lots of panning over still shots.

  21. I’m rather disappointed with this episode. Sure, they kept in the essentials to understand the story, but they cut out a lot of the development that made the arc awesome. I’d think they would at least keep in the bit with Scar and the Rockbells, wasn’t that somewhat important? And I will dearly miss the scene where Gran shoots his superior.

    And @blinx01, yes, the main language is English. I believe it’s confirmed at some point.

  22. I’m sorry but I thought this episode was dramatic enough on it’s own. I agree with Puppy!(that sounds random lol).

    They probably will add more details in flash backs and such through out the series… otherwise they wouldn’t have had the begging being centred around the people who were involved in the war crying etc. They might cover it from different peoples point of views as the series progresses. Even if they don’t, I don’t think it matters too much, the people who make main stream anime (which this is) are a lot different from the people who make the manga version. For starters Bones needs to make sure that people who watch this will be happy enough to to actually make money, I mean that’s what it’s about right? They’ve got to please as many people as they can rather than appealing to the people who read manga, which there are much less that can be brothered. (I’ve started reading it…) You’ve also got to bare in mind that certain things in the manga may not work out the same way when put in the anime. For all we know they did make more of the story but it had to be cut – maybe the material didn’t fit a full 2 episodes… then that would have messed with the flow of how they are doing it etc.

  23. I saw this coming a long time ago. Obviously, BONES thinks FMA revolves around Ed’s ass 100% of the time, so they can’t have even one episode without him (seriously you won’t find a single episode with no Ed, whereas there are lots of chapters where he is MIA). Thus, the shortened flashback. They may come back to it in the future, but who cares, this series is turning up so mediocre it’s just sad to watch.

    scar wants your cat
  24. I’m still optimistic. There are scenes that I really want to see that were cut out, but they pulled scenes like Scar and the Rockbells back a couple of episodes, so maybe other scenes will be pulled forward. If not, it’s just a bit of character development lost. Maybe for those who read the manga like the Bible (I’ve only read the whole thing through once, so I don’t remember every little detail), it’s destroying their experience knowing ‘omg this detail is cut out!’ but I don’t mind it. I’m still enjoying the episodes.

  25. Wow im seriously dissapointed with this episode. i am SO glad i started to read the manga last week because i absolutely loved the ishbalan flashback in the manga. this was a HUGE letdown. it missed one of my favorite scenes as well.

    Precise Moment
  26. im really hopeing the same thing; that missing scenes will be added later. the problem is that the flow of the story might allow some of them but not others. for example scenes involvong mustang/hawkeye, kimberly and knox can easily be included because those characters will still feature in the anime and can reminisce but others such as the brasque gran scene (my favorite of the manga so far) likely wont as both gran and hughes are dead so it wouldnt make sense outside the context of the flashback story.

    what made the ishbal flashback so perfect was the grittiness of the details (eg corpses everywhere) and the near absense of any positive. it simply didnt feel like the rest the manga but rather its own separate story. this episode took away much of these elements and completely lessened the impact of the events. that why i too agree it would make a perfect kenshin style ova.

    those who have never read the manga and have any interest in the ishbal back should definately read chapters 58-61 to see how much was removed. heres a link

  27. why does everyone want to drop this series after just this episode? if you enjoyed the episodes before, it doesn’t make sense to just make an overarching assumption that all episodes after this one won’t be up to par. even if this ep was disappointing, it’s just one episode, and it seems a bit naive to judge the rest of the series on just this single premise. anyway, just my 2 cents.

  28. Hey Omni, any plans to blog the new OVA that just came out? It’s not even a full episode long but is still pretty nifty and rather creepy. No idea if it’s anime-original or a scene from the manga.

  29. @ Guardian the Blind Alchemist OVA comes from a Gaiden that Arakawa drew for one of the perfect guide books. There are actually a few of these extra short stories in the series so here’s hoping more of them will get animated.

  30. i thought this episode was good but i was expecting something awesome from what i read in the manga. the animation is still top notch but why are they rushing the story so much? are they gonna end the series differentely again? they skipped lots of parts which was kind of annoying. i wish they come back and do all the missing parts but thats just me wishing. at least the parts that were included were done really well so.. oh well.

    Why the hell does hawkeye look fat? the eyecatches made it look that way.

  31. @Meh

    They were doing a FANTASTIC job as of late…and then decide to faulter on the MOST IMPORTANT FLASHBACK IN THE ENTIRE SERIES.

    It’s natural people are going to be peeved.

    For what reason too? Are they just TRYING to catch up with the manga so they can screw up the ending again?

    I hate that the awesome opening set you up for everything the manga had, there was so much emphasis on Ishbal, I thought it would be at least 3 episodes…and now, one. Wow, at this rate everything covered in the opening will happen in the next 3 episodes.

  32. so dissapointed. thats all i can say that hasnt already been said. and i already ranted on a different blog. i guess it was to much to excpect them to be sucsessful with such a dark gritty war story.

  33. They better include what that tattoo is and what Kimblee did. I’m sure the latter will be when he reappears…and his part of the flashback.

    Still…what a disappointment this episode was. Ruined a fantastic volume.

  34. Did no one take into consideration what I said? I mean when I wrote that I was tired so maybe it didn’t make the best of sense but whatever. The anime is most likely going to be more mainstream than the manga bare that in mind – that and I just had a thought about the whole, not overwhelming the masses too much of the Ishbal war for like 2 – 3 episodes, there are going to be a load of viewers who would get bored of it if all that storyline was piled into them each episode. I still think there will be more flash backs, like I said and some other person said the beginning IS LARGELY centred around the war… and not really much else so maybe we are going to be hearing it from others point of view. For instance they could do a flash back for Roy at some point adding any missed bits to do with Riza asking him to burn her tattoo etc.

    Also, it does really annoy me that people are getting overly annoyed by one episode, especially since you don’t know what’s to come yet (and I don’t mean story wise because a lot of you have seemed to read the manga) but a lot of the way it’s shown has to be done differently as anime is a largely different medium to manga and has a slightly larger audience I’m sure. Basically, getting annoyed by it now is being pre-judgemental… wait until you know an arc is most definitely over before dissing it.

  35. Sorry if this is a double comment (I know some people don’t like them but I just noticed something). Did I read a comment right? I mean, I can’t find it now for some reason… but I’m sure it said Riza’s eye-catch made her look fat – who ever said that is a right fool! I mean if what I read was right of course (the person who said she looks beautiful, don’t worry I didn’t miss read yours lol). No wonder so many people worry about their weight in real life… ¬_¬

  36. Anyone who gets bored by Ishbal…shouldn’t be watching FMA to begin with. I get what you’re saying, but…you make it seem like Ishbal was boring or something. It literally had me on the edge of my seat the entire time, so saying “People will get bored by it” is ludicrous.

  37. Although I love how FMA focuses on the gritty side of war, the Ishval flashbacks take up one entire volume of the FMA manga. So while it did have some very strong material, by the fourth chapter, I kind of wanted to get back to the main story. Would’ve been nice if they were spread out a little.

    I’m completely open to any disagreement with my comment, so don’t hesitate to leap on how I mentioned that the Ishval flashbacks might have been a little boring from time to time. Evidently, I’ve no class. For fuel, I’ll note that I also rather enjoy Brotherhood. And I guess I can be considered optimistic about this series, so you can all shake your heads sadly in my general direction. Additionally, you may accuse my mother of being a hamster. And yes, my father did smelt of elderberries.

  38. The thing is Fullmetal Alchemist isn’t just a military/war genre, I’m not saying I’d be bored by it or anything, it’s just if you look at American or British or any other series (whatever medium it is done in) for it to make money it needs to appeal to the masses, anime wise. With the manga, it’s easier to get away with this sort of thing, like other books do because it is targeting more of a niche market; what I’m trying to say, it’s okay for the manga to have all of this story in one fell swoop, but with anime it has to be presented differently (it doesn’t mean they won’t show it all they’ll probably just spread it out). The audience for the anime will be much broader in Japan especially, that and it is very probably more main stream than the manga… but because the audience is broader they need to make sure to keep the people interested, and by this I’m not saying that people will find it boring however there are those out there with short attention spans; they need to take this all into account, don’t forget this is a business.

    I did media studies for three years and film studies for one, so I know vaguely what I’m talking about lol.

    Sorry that it’s all over the place again… I’m not in the best of health so can’t concentrate very well.

    Trashcan you are amazing! ^-^’

  39. Oh God, I am sooo late on this one….

    Before I watched the episode and, a second later, read the volume, I thought the Ishval-arc was boring. Well, I’ve changed my mind. It is very sad and heartbreaking, and makes you realise what they fight for.
    As (almost) everyone else I miss some stuff, like the focus on the Rockbell and those ishval-kids who wanted to help them, how Armstrong tried to save ishvalites (sp?), and Basque-Gran-shoots-superior, and in the end when Mustang’s subordinates praised him and that Hughes will follow him up (“So if you wanna save the whole country, you have to on the very top. *pointing at Bradley*”).
    I’m glad they had the peace envoy (when the ishval leader tried to change himself in for the life of his people), Hawkeye’s father, the eyes of a murderer, “If I’m supposed to save people, why am I killing them?!” etc etc.
    Even though I complain, I am truly grateful to the people at BONES, and of corse, Arakawa-sensei, and I will not, as certain other people, even CONSIDER dropping this series because of a somewhat squished episode, when everything else has been wonderful!

    And, gah, I hate Kimbley! No mather how badass he is, no, I actually hate him because he’s badass…I’m more of an Alphonse-girl, you know…

    ps. The swedish volume 15 had really bad, or at least wierd, translation! >:( But the extramaterial!! It was the best ever!! Of all volumes!!

    (And I failed again, and read ch.101 two minutes after I saw it was translated…)


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