Must-See TV: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Collection Vol 2

Continuing the stellar run of ‘Must-See TV’ comes the next dose of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. Volume One lightly touched on themes from the original series taking a divergent path from the manga (the review can be found here). Volume Two truly treads closer to its inspiration and considerably raises the stakes and main character count. The attention to detail of character development is what makes this series a true masterpiece of storytelling, as an epic cast, each with their own fleshed out subplots, cross over in extremely well scripted arcs.

Following the shocking events of the last few episodes, most of the major players are still reeling from the demise of a loved character, with long reaching implications across the board. The introduction of the homunculus’ wayward brother Greed and his open defiance of his brethren leads to a dramatic confrontation with a fellow homunculus and the revelation of Wrath. After Greed is defeated he is brought back to answer for his actions to the father of all homunculi and orchestrator of much of the bloodshed throughout Amestris as his siblings Lust, Envy and Gluttony watch on in perverse glee.

Several new arcs are introduced with colourful entry of a prince from Xing named Ling Yao and his faithful retainers Lan Fan and Fu both extremely gifted martial artists. The young prince, with an almost inhuman appetite for food, has crossed the desert between Xing and Amestris in search of immortality that he believes can be obtained through the use of The Philosopher’s Stone. Another emissary from the east has come in search of the same thing and ends up part of a most unlikely duo with the Ishvalan force of nature, Scar.

What follows is a series of violent confrontations that changes the landscape of the series forever. Col Mustang and the homunculus Lust go head to head after Lt Havoc is brutally injured. Alphonse puts his armoured self on the line to protect Lt Hawkeye, Scar takes on the Elric brothers, Ling Yao and Lan Fan have an epic battle against the Fuhrer President and Gluttony and just when you thought they couldn’t jam pack any more into the series the Elric’s long lost father returns bringing with him painful memories of their past.

Coming into the home stretch of the second volume we get a look at Scars troubled past (and how his fate intertwined with Winry Rockbell’s parents) and delve into the horrors of the Ishvalan War of Extermination, more closely resembling genocide, as this proud race is hunted almost to extinction as a civil war erupts after the horrific death of an innocent Ishvalan child. If that wasn’t enough, both Gluttony and Envy show their true selves as our heroes discover just how homunculus are born.

Loyalty, bonds beyond friendship, war time atrocities and struggles against the need for revenge and retribution are all exceptionally well handled and frequently tug at the heart strings. This is definitely the most emotional volume of the series and make it all the more compelling viewing as the true implications of the homunculi’s plans begin to take form and a stalwart group of heroes furiously battle to thwart them.

Stay tuned for my review of Volume Three shortly.

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Dave Kozicki

Shotgun Samurai
Video game reviewer, presenter and enthusiast. Film and TV-aholic. Pop culture geek. T-shirt and sneaker addict. All around nice guy and one hell of a sexy beast. Writer for Official PlayStation Magazine AU, AusGamers and Hyper Magazine.