Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Season 1 Episode 04 Review: An Alchemist's Suffering

The first big powerhouse storyline in the manga, the original series, and this series, the Tucker incident was really handled very well in the original series, whereas I thought in the manga it was sort of abrupt and shrugged off for the threat of Scar. However, I think that in the case of this episode, which is almost an exact replica of that chapter of the manga, chapter 5, but with some additions here and there, it seems to carry nearly (if not quite) as much weight as in the first series. It certainly was handled with great care.

Giving the episode the benefit of a doubt over having already seen this tragedy before, and therefore it not being nearly as shocking the second or third time, I will say that it was very powerful, nevertheless. However, I would suggest that this had more skewed towards the horrors of what alchemists could do rather than the tragedy of loss of a little girl who was a victim of her father's desperation. This time it seemed like it was shown as more of a frightening abuse of alchemy rather than the result of Tucker's sheer madness. Either way, Tucker is shown to be pathetic and terrifying, comparing himself to Ed.

My only real problem with the episode in itself is that it almost looked like they knew the viewer knew what was about to happen and were really pushing it with the colors and sounds to put it over the top. I almost wonder if it would have had more impact if the entire scene in which Edward realizes what Tucker had done was in complete silence. In the original series, there was a sort of dramatic swell of music, but it was worked into the actions, where here it almost drowns out the events with a cry of, "Look how sad this is!"

I didn't really notice the new voices all that much in this episode, aside from Tucker's and Nina's. Nina's voice was done by an actual young child, and it certainly added a bit of authenticism to the role. Tucker's was almost a bit more creepy, rather than the subdued voice of the original that built up to that of a madman's. On the second viewing of the episode, however, I noticed Fuery's new voice, Tetsuya Kakihara, who was Simon in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. It's strange that they should replace the voices of characters who ultimately don't have much of a role to play. As far as important roles, Scar's new voice was surprisingly good, though. I think his was one of the ones I was the most concerned about what I heard of the change. Roy's new voice is growing on me, too.

Otherwise, a beautifully detailed, expertly executed adaptation of manga material, and doubtlessly the best episode thus far.

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