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.