Anime: Full Metal Alchemist, The Altar of Stone, Disc 8

Chimaera

imageIf you thought the seventh disc was gut-wrenching, the story really kicks in hard here on disc #8, notably on the third episode, “Sin”.

29 – The Untainted Child
A young, feral child is found on Yock island by the boys and their sensei, Izumi Curtis. While she takes a near maternal interest in the boy, Ed’s clearly suspicious, especially when the boy can perform alchemy without a transmutation circle.

30 – Assault on South Headquarters
A chimera is running loose, and more references to the incident at Lab 5 take place. A former State Alchemist is introduced, and the homunculi origins are briefly hinted at. Lt. Colonel Archer is brought in searching for the wild child, who ends up being captured. Scar is spotted hiding out in the far southern slums. Izumi exhibits more signs of a strange illness, but that doesn’t keep her from infiltrating the military headquarters after the boy’s capture.

image31 – Sin
Izumi launches an attack on the headquarters and escapes with the boy. While everyone’s after the kid, it’s the homunculi that find him first and reveal to him the origins of his nature as a homunculus named Wrath. Needless to say his personality takes a sharp spin as a result? Probably not. Amusingly enough, someone with a keen and entirely appropriate sense of humor has named all the homunculi after the seven deadly sins, which apparently up until now had not all been present on this side of the door. It makes sense, as the origin of the homunculi is explained after being danced around for the last two episodes – finally. On the side, the military’s off to Isbal to retrieve Scar. This episode strips away many secrets and is a “must see”.

32 – Dante of the Deep Forest
The theory of Equivalent Exchange is revisited in this dramatic episode, resulting in the revelation of how Wrath can do alchemy. The relationship between the Elric brothers and Sensei takes a new spin, we meet Sensei’s alchemy teacher, and another character makes a surprise return appearance.

Technical/Extras: 8.0
The music is top notch, the visuals are high quality and everything is put together quite nicely. No disappointments anywhere.

Entertainment: 9.0
I didn’t think I was much of a fan girl until I realized how subtle and elegant this series can be – although some of the “mysteries” can be easily explained (especially if you read the Alchemy text included before watching), the way things unfold is a delight. Seriously, this is a series that should be on everyone list of “essential anime”, something that can only be honestly said about very few series in the vast sea of offerings. FMA is very much the sort of intelligent anime that makes you think about what it is trying to say, doesn’t preach, and doesn’t hit you over the head with its efforts.

Overall: 9.0

Go get this disc. Go get the series.

The summary:
Ep 29 – Innocent Child
Ep 30 – Southern Headquarters Assault
Ep 31 – Sin
Ep 32 – Dante of the Deep Forest

Extras:
Izumi Curtis trading card
Alchemy Text Eight (A very good read)

DVD features:
Textless songs (Undo/Motherland)
Production art (Illustration, Model Gallery)
Character profiles (Izumi, Sig, Mason, Wrath)
Mr. Stain on Junk Alley
Trailers (Full Metal Alchemist, Yu Yu Hakusho, Degrassi: The Next Generation, FMA Trading Card Game, Mr. Stain on Junk Alley, 3-Store)

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