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Episode 21 picks up after a week’s break and where 19 left us after a passionate, all out brawl between Flame alchemist and Homunculus.  Lust has lost against Mustang in the battle of survival and is the second one to perish in the series.  Skip over episode 20, which takes on a much slower, action-less feel, and we find the injured colonel Mustang along with second lieutenant Havoc holed up in the hospital as a result of their near-death experience.

We get an inside look at what the Homunculus have in store, but not much else is revealed about their plan to keep the colonel alive.  In episode 20, Ed and Al had previously been speculating the answer to this and so many other questions that seemingly had no answer.  How would they go about getting Al’s body back?  And just how exactly does King Bradley fit into the shady business that’s been happening in central?  (If you’re like me, an aficionado for the manga, you’re probably trying hard not to ruin the plot for everyone else!)

Before anyone can carry out any plans to move forward, Havoc unleashes the bad news: he has no feeling in his legs due to the injury he sustained from Lust; thus, rendering him incapacitated and no longer useful to the military.  While Breda attempts to seek out a way to get Havoc the medical attention he needs, Ed and Al continue to speculate over their own worries.

They must come up with a plan to lure the Homunculi out of hiding, but that means another show down with Scar.  For whatever reason they want to keep him alive, Ed uses Scar as bait to catch his prey and the battle begins.  With Ling and Ran Fan in on the plan, keeping an eye out for the Homunculi, their task proves to be more dangerous than once thought.  King Bradley, along with heartbroken Gluttony – mourning over the loss of his Lust – appear from the shadows, but not before we get an amusing display from Colonel Mustang as he attempts to confuse the military’s intelligence about where Scar is really located.

The Spill (IMHO):

As I mentioned before about being an avid reader of the manga, I simply cannot watch the anime and overlook the changes being made.  Many of them are too insignificant to spend much time mulling over, like the fact that in the end scene of episode 21 Ran Fan is sitting perched on a column and not a ledge when the Fuhrer attacks her.  However, there are some things that I do feel I need to mention – three, to be specific.

Firstly, the whole thing with May Chang (the little girl from Xing, if you forgot) and just where the heck she went.  In the manga, May has crossed paths with Yoki, Scar’s ‘bitch’, around the time of this episode.  However, we get a more in depth look as to what Scar is doing when he’s not fighting the boys or the military and this is one way in which the plot moves forward.

I can understand not being able to fit every little detail into a 24-minute long episode.  The fact is that it’s just not possible, which is why I tend to be more forgiving of when they do leave some things out in order to take what is most important.  There are, however, two other instances where they pull this again in the same episode; the second one taking place when Breda informs Mustang of the possibility of saving their comrade from the seemingly certain permanent loss of the use of his legs.

Breda claims that he would be elongating his vacation, for procedural purposes, when in fact he has come across some information about a doctor known as Tim Marcoh.  We’ve heard about this particular character before in the first series (that is, if you’ve watched it), but he takes on a different role in Brotherhood. In fact, Breda’s attempt to seek out Dr. Marcoh doesn’t even happen that way, and it also doesn’t happen for a little bit longer in the manga.  I won’t spoil any of the details.  It’s just something I found interesting.

The last thing I want to address is the feel that this particular episode took on.  This is not intended to be a look at how they changed importance occurrences in the manga so much as it is me expressing my confusion.  In Laymen terms, I didn’t exactly know how to perceive this episode since they mixed in a bit of angst with the hospital scenes and humor when Ed goes about fixing the city using his alchemy to fix things (actually, he’s just trying to stick out like a sore thumb).

Normally, the episodes tend to take on a main theme and keep up the ambiance whether it is sad, angry, lighthearted or progressive.  Where it presents a problem is for the audience members who haven’t read the manga and don’t exactly know where the story is heading.  Sometimes it can be a little confusing, especially when a lot of things are being switched around or even omitted, but, then again, there was no real harm done.

That’s what happens when you’re picky about your manga/anime adaptation series!

Overall, it was a good episode, but I am very psyched for what’s coming next.

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