I had watched this show in a marathon pace taking about two weeks a few months after the show finished airing. As such, my experience of it differs from those who followed the show from week to week over the past year. This means I find it rather difficult to identify a singular moment from a show that I am convinced that is as close to perfect as possible, in terms of balance, pacing, and overall quality.
I am not however, fully invested in it. I feel I’m a bit out of my depth even as I am confident in my ability to follow the story and the subplots; the nature of the fantasy world and its workings, and appreciate the action so lovingly crafted over the course of so many episodes. It’s very difficult not to be impressed, but I don’t feel I’ve come across a singular moment that sticks.
Nonetheless, this is my best pick: the Eclipse happens and the world seems as dark as it’s ever going to be.
First, two moments that leapt up to me with awesome:
1) Scar defeats Wrath
It was a poetically just victory. The head of the state that oppressed his people was Scar’s final opponent. Both were wounded and tired, and yet both possessed heroic ability and determination. It is this very thing that makes FMA: BRO awesome: the heroic quality of characters like Wrath makes me root for him even as I see Scar as the just champion. Of course I want Scar to win, but I am moved by every parry, thrust, and strike Wrath lands.
It makes the blood Scar spills noble, that it was from the wounds inflicted by a great foe. When Scar eventually bests him, it feels every bit the great victory that it is, despite being reduced to a sideshow by the much greater struggle transpiring alongside this.
2) Greed’s Counterattack
This fails anyway, but for a short while the fascinating cooperation between the human and false life form – the son who would depose the father, the prince who would depose the emperor – seemed to hold the victory…
“The world is mine!”
That pretty much says it all. The wonder in FMA: BRO how I can cheer for less than virtuous characters. The show gave this moment to this character, and when the spotlights went bright, he did not waste it. I gave a loud whoop and felt so crushed at how the whole effort was rendered nil by The Father.
The Darkest Hour
Despite all efforts, the Five Human Sacrifices ended up in the clutches of the enemy, who arrayed them as he needed. The time comes, and he performs the ultimate transmutation. The reveal is that the planet itself is a repository of knowledge of and in the universe, and to release its power is to open the gate of the the planet itself.
This transmutation accomplishes just that, portrayed in a sequence that remembers much love for End of Evangelion, particularly the Komm, süßer Tod scene [obviously not as indulgent (read: awesome)]. Of course, this show used its own appropriate music (with Latin opposed to English).
While I never doubted that I’d get a happy ending out of this show, I never doubted how it would come dearly – not cheaply at all. I still appreciate the very moment it seems like it’s all going to end badly. That all the work and sacrifice everyone put in, all the compromises they endured, all the blood on their hands, will have come to naught.
This too, is great entertainment, as perverse as it all sounds. What’s your favorite moment from FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood?