“Sub vs. dub” is fight that'll never end. I’m really not insistent on watching anime one way over the other. FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST has been an interesting experiment for me because I ran out of dubbed episodes with #17 (I think that was the number) and have thus reached a point where I’ve watched half of this show subbed and half of it dubbed. So far, both versions are just as good, although the only voices I can remember in my head are of those of the Alchemical kids. I wonder what Olivier's dub actress will sound like?
Purists are going to cite inappropriate voice actors as a case against dubbing, but I think a counterpoint is that sub-titles can sometimes have awkward phraseology that probably wouldn’t have passed by if somebody had been asked to speak the lines aloud. In this episode, specifically, the Briggs troops say their solidarity is “monolithic,” which a bit too eloquent of a way for grunts to describe their espiritus de corps. There’s also the part where a subordinate addresses Olivier as “Sir.” I’m sure an English voice actor would’ve probably said that line and then pointed out to the dub director, “Hey, she isn’t a man.”
She could very well be a feminist who insists on being addressed the same as a dude, but that needs to be brought up in the dialog then. As is, it just seems like a gaff.
Back to the plot, it looks like I was sniffing right when I suspected the Homunculi’s master plan was similar to the Ripper’s grand sacrificial rite in FROM HELL. The blood-shedding sites even form a pentagram! Considering that May uses pentagrams in her acupuncture and Feng Shui-based magic, maybe the secret is that the Homunculi use alkahestry instead of alchemy? This conspiracy’s certainly getting interesting and they really have been laying the clues for it since the first episode (that poor rogue wasn’t a bad guy, after all, was he?) I suppose that’s one of the advantages of getting to do a whole series over again, isn’t it? You can make the execution that much tidier.
It’s almost getting redundant at this point to say that the action was impressively well-staged and timed, because that's the case for every episode. C'mon, the elevator dings and… SURPRISE! It’s a tank!
Watch this episode, “The Shape of this Country,” below and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.