Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Season 1 Episode 14 Review: Those Who Lurk Underground

An exciting and fitting capper to an otherwise underwhelming adaptation of its source material, this episode was a marked improvement from the previous episode, ending the Dublith/Greed storyline with a bit of hope for what's to come. It baffles me why they chose to do much of what they did in this particular portion of the story, specifically in the reordering of events and the missing pieces, but moreso in the way they made certain characters seem that was detrimental to their personalities and development. However, this episode at least made up for some of the strange pacing and plot-cutting.

For one thing, the production values were in top form in the episode, making this one of the best episodes after episodes 1 and 4 in terms of art and animation. The music wasn't anything spectacular, but each track complimented the scenes decently, without making a big show of it.

The voice acting was strong, with Hidekatsu Shibata doing an excellent job as Bradley, probably even better than his performance as him in the first series. Yuuichi Nakamura fit well for Greed, even sounding a lot like when Junichi Suwabe voiced him. Yuko Sanpei, the voice of Renton Thurston in Eureka Seven does an adorable Selim Bradley, which chills me to the bone, given the later events (if you don't know, please wait, it'll be worth it). The only voice I'm having difficulty with is Father's, which I thought would sound deeper, and dryer, as if disinterested, but still threatening. He sounded a tad feeble. He is rather elderly, though. I wonder if Hohenheim will share his voice actor.

Now, to the the episode events themselves. I really don't see why they bothered rearranging Ed and Izumi's arrivals at the Devil's Nest in the previous episode, since Greed fled right away in this episode and Izumi did nothing. This also made Greed seem like a bit of a wuss. In the manga, the army comes bursting in and he's incovenienced, so he leaves. Here it almost seems like he's afraid to take them both on, which he did in the first series, for a little bit. And Fuhrer King Bradley arriving suddenly with troops was another headscratcher, since in the manga he follows Ed back from the South HQ where Ed goes for assessment. This also cuts out a funny scene where Armstrong meets Sig, which was in the first series, too, but also counts later on in the manga. How are they to explain how Bradley knew about Greed's whereabouts? Were they just following the brothers all along?

Then, when they have a chance to do the scene anyway, since the Fuhrer and Armstrong visit the Curtis home after the battle, they skip it, and have this extra scene where the Fuhrer talks to Izumi about the opportunity for her to become a State Alchemist, which she politely declines. It seems to me that Izumi wouldn't give a damn if it was the Fuhrer or not and would tell him to go shove his sword in his ass. She hates the military.

As cool as Greed's departure is here, taken directly from the manga, I much prefer his death in the first series, because it steels Edward's resolve to do what needs to be done. The only upshot of the death in the manga, provided here, is that we learn a bit more about the homunculi and their plans, and get to see both Father and Sloth for the first time.

By the way, in the first series, Fuhrer Bradley was Pride (I guess because he was Dante's pride, a homunculi who can age), but here he's Wrath. Sloth is different, too, taken from the manga, he's a big lumbering guy who's digging a tunnel at this point. If you're new to all this, let me give you a little hint. All seven homunculi appear in this episode. Actually, technically eight appear. Make of that what you will, but don't spoil yourselves just yet.

I regret that my favorite arc in the manga came out so mediocre overall (it should have been four or five episodes), but there's a lot more to go, and maybe Bones will slow down. Though, given the next episode preview, it doesn't seem likely to happen soon. At least this was a fairly impressive episode.

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