「凄絶なる反撃」 (Seizetsu Naru Hangeki)
“The Violent Counterattack”
It was no holds barred with everyone unleashing everything they had to whittle away Father’s remaining souls and make him reach the breaking point, but they had to first survive a huge blast that took out a huge chunk of Central headquarters. After getting distracted by the emergence of a ton of Xerxes souls, Hohenheim ends up protecting Ed and Izumi with a desperation save, but holy crap Al manages to do the same for May somehow. Like father like son I guess, but I’m still dumbfounded by how Al managed to not get completely obliterated in the process. That must have been some serious last minute armor reinforcement alchemy. Following that, the action came hard and heavy as Mustang finally got back into the fray with Hawkeye as his new eyes. I have no idea how he’s able to judge distances and angles without his vision, but he does just that and saves both Ed and Izumi. It’s a god damn shame that Mustang had to lose his aim of all things, because his extremely destructive ability is ideal for chipping away at homunculus immortality from safe distances. Clearly this desperate way with everyone getting involved is much more suspenseful though, as Greed getting into the mix and Ed going for a surprise attack with his already busted up arm proves to be just enough to crack Father’s shell.
As insanely intense as the combined effort of Briggs’ soldiers and everyone else who could still fight was, I was hanging on Al’s words when he asked May to help him save Ed shortly afterward. I knew exactly what he was thinking too after seeing Ed pinned up against a concrete slab and Father creeping towards him, but actually watching Al use his soul to transmute Ed’s right arm back still had me on the edge of my seat. Despite May’s teary reluctance in setting up the alkahestry circles so that he could do so from a distance, I didn’t feel sad about Al’s sacrifice one bit. Seeing him in front of the Gate and returning to his body with a look of determination made me revel at the sight of Ed’s Truth being forced to return the right arm. The setup with Ed losing his automail and being unable to perform transmutations happened so quickly and seamlessly that Al’s subsequent sacrifice to restore his ability to do so was more awesome than anything else. I say that because it gives new meaning to the fact that Ed gave up an arm to affix Al’s soul to the armor and how anyone who’s seen the Truth can use circle-less clap transmutations. In other words, everything was situated in a way from the very beginning to allow Al to shine in this crucial moment and boy did he ever.
Now that Father’s lost the God within him and getting whatever remaining souls in him eaten up by Ed’s relentless onslaught, it looks like the final battle is over for the most part. The real problem now is whether Ed will be able get Al back in some form and what he’ll have to give up to do so this time around. The easy solution would be to use up some of Hohenheim’s souls, but I get the feeling he’s pretty much spent all of them after using the vast majority to form the nation-wide transmutation circle and the rest in this fight against Father. Greed’s philosopher stone could be an option too, but it looks like Ed’s going to head to the gate himself and handle it personally. I guess it would be rather meaningless if they resorted to using the souls of other human begins after all this time. In any case, two episodes to go!