It’s amazing what kind of random associations I get from these shows. In this case, I was getting a serious BBC vibe. Maybe it was the foggy cobblestone alleys, maybe it was the procedural drama, but if you took out the outrageous alchemy spells, I could easily see this being a "programe" set mostly in a jail.
I’m going to bring the super-deformed/chibi stuff every time because it brings me out of the experience every single time. You have this great, tense situation where Ross is confronted by Barry in her cell and given a life-or-death decision where neither choice is obviously right. How is her anxiety expressed? She turns into a giant, razor-fanged Pez dispenser version of herself and radiates speed lines.
Talk about killing the mood…
Along those lines, I couldn’t help but compare the M.O.’s of these alchemical kids and the knuckleheads in GURREN LAGANN. Where Ed & Al are constrained by procedural rules, foes with stronger powers and questions of what the truth is, Simon & Kamina would just smash their way through the problem (and it’d all work out for them!) Ross is wrongfully imprisoned? Just bulldoze into the jail with a spell and bust her out. The State Alchemist higher-ups will just laugh it off to “boys will be boys” and forget it ever happened.Then again, I guess these kids don't have such luck. Or maybe they're just thinking too narrowly. Take your pick.
I love how Barry the Chopper’s become a regular part of the cast. Like I said, he's the Kramer to FMA's SEINFELD. I’m also glad, for once, that I can finally sniff where how one of these conspiracies is spinning out before some character actually spells it out for me. Barry's obviously serving the whole Homunculi/State Alchemist conspiracy. He’s the wild card they can deal. They can use him to break Ross out of jail and then let Mustang be justified in executing her on the pot, rather than arouse supicions with a bogus trial.
See? I’m getting wise to it!
Watch this episode, “Cold Flame” below, decide for yourself and read my comments on the previous episode here.