「永遠の暇」 (Eien no Itoma)
Wow, what an action-packed episode. While Greed and Fu went toe-to-toe with Wrath to dire results, we also had Ed and the others underground fighting off all the King Bradley rejects before a huge transmutation circle was activated on Central. Up above ground, it was pretty impressive seeing Fu hold his own when Greed was momentarily knocked aside, so I wasn’t expecting Wrath to deal a fatal blow so quickly. Following that, I got goosebumps hearing Fu say some last words to Ling about becoming king and seeing him charge Wrath with a suicidal attack, but my heart sank when I saw how easily Wrath sliced through both Fu’s stomach-bound dynamite and Fu himself. I was so caught up in the sheer amount of blood that I was at a loss for words when Buccaneer used Fu’s mangled body to land a surprise attack. I’m really finding that all these valiant self-sacrificing acts are almost too much to bear, especially with the music played during them. Lan Fan just had to arrive to witness her grandfather’s lifeless and bloody body fall to the ground too, making (what I suspect to be) Fu’s death even more dramatic.
Below ground, I was amazed at how well everyone held up against the King Bradley candidates who were never used, particularly Hawkeye and her dual pistols that she bailed out Mustang with. I found it kind of odd how Roy didn’t just light everyone up and chose to fight hand-to-hand, but the more pressing matter is the activation of Central-wide transmutation circle by the Gold-Toothed Doctor. (It’s like they’re not even trying with the throwaway character names anymore…) It was pretty creepy how the candidates followed his orders like drones and let themselves get sacrificed for the transmutation, which subsequently swallowed up Al, Izumi, and Ed. Given how Izumi and Olivier got Edison to spill the beans on how they built up Amestris only to decompose it and rebuild humanity with immortality, I’m still curious as to exactly why people who have attempted human transmutations are needed as human sacrifices to that end. Evidently, it has something to do with the gate of truth they encountered in the process since those same black hands just snatched them away, but the story’s done a pretty good job at keeping the details under wraps thus far.
Despite not being a manga reader, I actually skimmed over the chapters this episode covered (98-99) and noticed that the anime added a fair bit of dialogue between Olivier and Izumi regarding human transmutations, so I get the feeling they want to stress how the human sacrifices are those who have committed the ultimate alchemy taboo. Specifics aside, I still get the feeling that the nation-wide transmutation circle to be activated on the Promised Day has another purpose than the one we’ve been led to believe. For now, it’s probably safe to assume that Ed, Al, and Izumi aren’t dead, but the activation of the Central-wide circle added some good suspense regardless.