「師匠（せんせい）物語」 (Shishou (Sensei) Monogatari)
“Tales of a Master”
As mentioned last week, a short OVA focusing on Izumi’s “Tales of a Master” chapter of the manga was released with the 9th DVD/BD volume. With a duration of only 14 minutes, it’s a comedic take on Izumi Harnet when she was only 18 years-old and aspiring to an apprentice of famed alchemist Silver Steiner. To prove her worth, she has to survive the cold and harsh conditions of the Briggs mountain range for one month with only a knife in hand. It’s during this time that she makes a name for herself amongst Briggs’ soldiers and learns the concept of “One is All, All is One”, which she later teaches to Ed and Al. Humorously enough, it turns out that Silver Steiner had already passed away and whom Izumi thought was him is actually his older brother Gold Steiner. After Izumi endured a hellish month at Briggs, Gold does offer to teach her hand-to-hand combat, but it turns out she doesn’t need any lessons from him in that area.
All in all, this was a fun look at Izumi when she was younger and gave a glimpse of how the legend that would be passed down for decades at Fort Briggs all started. Needless to say, there are no exaggerations in that tale, as Izumi really went toe-to-toe with wild bears and constantly raided the soldiers for their military rations. What I particularly liked about this mini OVA though was the use of music during the opening and various other scenes, which made everything seem a lot more epic. The whole movie-like atmosphere it created was evidently the episode’s attempt to poke a bit of fun at itself, so I got a good chuckle out of that witty screenplay. Also amusing was the inclusion of the “Tales of a Master’s First Love” skit at the very end, which depicted how Izumi bumped into Sig one day and how it was love at first sight. The best part of that encounter had to be the dead bear Izumi was carrying, as it ended up being the key to bringing them together. “Oh, you forgot your bear.” Now how’s that for a pick up line? Ed and Al apparently weren’t amused, but I sure as hell was.