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FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST #28 - - Watch & Learn

This soothing, pastoral image brought to by blood and guts!

By my estimation, BROTHERHOOD had about three major, recurring, specific problems that didn’t ever get better so much as you just eventually learned how to see past them. I don’t recall the subject of the Elric boys’ age being one of those problems, though, so I wonder if that might’ve been something that was consciously addressed for the do-ever.

(Again, it’s been a while since I saw that version. I feel like this island survival lesson was alluded to at some point, but maybe I’m misremembering?)

Look, I’m fully aware that we’re talking about a story where one of the main characters is an empty suit of armor, but I’m nevertheless drawn out of the experience every time it’s stressed that these kids are doing all this spectacular shit before they hit their teens. So we have an episode here that’s actually got a solid, real message about the harsh truths of survival but, all the while, I keep thinking about how Izumi’s “unorthodox training” techniques are really best described as child abuse.

She just drops these two tweenies off on a deserted island and lets them fend for themselves for a month, right? They’re wunderkinds, to be certain, but I can’t help thinking that it's all tantamount to them being locked in the closet for a month. One only just seems creepier than the other.

Past that, I appreciated how there’s a mean and unpleasant truth the boys have to learn here. If they want to live, they really are going to have to kill the cute widdle wabbit - - but don’t worry, it’s all part of the circle of life! Of course, it gets muddled enough by all this nonsense with random brutes in demon masks and (I guess?) a gothic doppelganger of Ed, so I’m still inclined to just pick up DBZ from the beginning to satisfy the classic-shonen-with-perennial-interest slot for this column.

Watch this episode, "All is One, One is All" here and decide for yourself, then read my comments on the previous episode here.

Tom Pinchuk’s a writer and personality with a large number of comics, videos and features like this to his credit. Visit his website - - - - and follow his Twitter: @tompinchuk

Lurkeroon Jan. 23, 2013 at 7:53 a.m.

Sorry, Tom. Kids in anime is just a given. You have to accept the characters whether they are saving the world at 8 or 12 years old. These children can overcome the strength of fully matured adults without question.

I don't like it, but it does not seem like that will change soon.

zaldaron Jan. 23, 2013 at 9:58 a.m.

As well it can be used as a look into Japanese culture. They think of things as normal education that we would consider child abuse. China does as well. Both are much more, let the child put his hand into the fire to teach them not to do it rather than tell them not to do it.

Kino88on Jan. 23, 2013 at 1:18 p.m.

really now, this whole island survival bit was really, really, cheesy......

but really this whole show felt to me more like a bad work of fan fiction, than "the triple A anime classic" that every one seems to think it was, and again this is coming from someone who has never even seen brother hood or read the manga,

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