I don’t recall this particular one-off ever happening in BROTHERHOOD, so I’ll go ahead and assume it’s a plot that was cooked up for the show. Actually, I’ll go further ahead and say it was “cocked up” for the show, because I’m a little flabbergasted over how this much convolution was squeezed into just 22-24 minutes or air time.
Don't misunderstand me - - the source material isn’t on any sort of pedestal for me, and I concur with some of you lunatics over how “truer to the manga” isn’t automatically a measure a quality. However, judging by just this episode and SACRED STARS OF MILOS, I’d say that Arakawa seems much more adept at presenting concepts in her universe in a fashion that’s clear, concise and carefully paced.
When I got done with BROTHERHOOD, I figured there was plenty of potential for the Elric Bros to venture further out into their world and take on a wealth of villains unrelated to Homunculi conspiracy. That could still be possible, of course, but my kneejerk reaction now tells me that these heroes don’t work nearly as well when they’re dealing with challenges that aren’t intrinsically tied up in their origin.
Well, maybe this Majhal doofus actually is somehow relevant to the boys’ larger story. Perhaps all this business with zombie mannequins is supposed to foreshadow the Homunculi and Father’s legion of chattering drones, and maybe Majhal’s off-kilter scheme to recreate his lost love (that’s what the nonsense with the blue flower was about, right?) is supposed to be a warped reflection of the Elrics' attempted at bringing their Mom back, but… I don’t know… it was all clumsy.
And it feels doubly clumsy when compared with the equivalent episode in BROTHERHOOD that had the boys facing the amateur mad science who turned his own daughter into a Chimera. That episode left me feeling chilled. This episode left me wondering why Ed or Al didn’t conjure up a flaming bag of dog poo to trick silly Mr. Mahjool into stepping into. He was that lame of a villain.