One of my favorite chapters in any novel, ever, lays somewhere in the middle of DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? (the book BLADE RUNNER is based on) where the main character, an android-hunting cop, gets arrested by some other cops he’s never met and taken to a completely different police bureau in the city that he’s never heard of. That section brings the novel’s paranoid identity crisis to a pitch as the lead inspects all the little details of this imposturous department which have slight-unto-arbitrary differences from the one he’s used to (his is called the LA Police Department while theirs is called the Police Department of LA - - or something to that effect).
The faux Elric Brothers we encounter in this episode made me think of that chapter, in a good way; even though I’m still a little ambivalent about the overall quality of it. I was kind-of hoping I could take this version of FMA on its own merits and not make this a long point-for-point with BROTHERHOOD - - but it’s time to face facts and admit that an ongoing comparison is unavoidable.
I’ve watched too much TV, I know. I’ve seen so much, in fact, that I start breaking my experiences with shows down into ultra-specific feelings (not too dissimilar form the vending machine-like “mood organ” in DO ANDROIDS?, actually) Thus, I look at an episode like this and say it doesn’t simply feel like a one-off unrelated to the larger narrative - - it feels like something cooked up by a freelancer trying to fit a clever little yarn into the greater latticework of FMA. Honestly, that’s a feeling that sometimes isn't that dissimilar from the one elicited by a decent fanfic.
Again, these subjects are where my mind drifts to, since I can’t just enjoy this show for what it is. Maybe I’ll have more specific plot commentary for the second part. For now, all I can say is that I appreciate the “doubling” here that’s unusually novelistic for an anime, but it still feels like somebody doing their best FMA impression instead of FMA itself.
See kids? These are the kinds of thoughts you have after your brain’s been thoroughly rotted out by too many cartoons and sci-fi paperbacks.