Episode three! Let's go!
First I wanna say that when I first started watching Brotherhood, I was rather put off by both this episode and the previous one because of the humor and the pacing. In the first anime, the Reole arc spanned two episodes, if I remember correctly, and was much darker—I shudder at the memory of that half-dead talking bird. However, then I read the original manga and realized that this episode is closer to the source material in both length and spirit. The Reole arc wasn't originally a dark, disturbing story, but rather a relatively lighthearted adventure for the Elric brothers to open up the story with. That said, I still love how the first anime handled this arc. Hell, I still love the first anime in general. But I also love the way it was done here, too. Speaking of differences, Reole isn't in a desert in this continuity and appears to be surrounded by lush fields of greenery. I'm not sure if I mentioned that in my previous entry or not, so yeah.
When it comes to actual events, this episode even did a bunch of things differently from the original manga. But in my opinion, "City of Heresy" arguably surpasses the manga's presentation of this arc. In particular I think the confrontation with Cornello was done much better here than in the manga, but we'll get to that in a sec.
The episode opens up with Ed and Al listening to Father Cornello's broadcast in Reole. That old guy asks Ed and Al if they're street performers, causing Ed to spit out his drink and this looks so familiar, doesn't it? Al accidentally breaks the radio, then fixes it with alchemy, causing the people to think the two can perform miracles like Cornello. The brothers introduce themselves and we get another "Oh, that runt's the Fullmetal Alchemist?" gag, and Ed explodes as expected.
Off topic for a sec, but one thing I like about this episode is how often we're treated to animated manga panels. That happens a bit less as the show goes on, which is a bit of a shame but not too much of a problem unless you're a purist.
Anyway, the townspeople explain to the Elrics that their priest Cornello came to Reole a few years ago and brought them the
religion cult of Leto the sun god. They go on to say that Cornello has the power to raise the dead. Ed thinks it must be the philosopher's stone, so he and Al go to watch Cornello display his power outside the church. They confirm that he's using alchemy without equivalent exchange and decide to pay his church a visit.
Here they meet Rose, praying in front of the altar, unlike in the manga and the first anime where they first meet her right after Al fixes the radio. I like her character design here, by the way. The pale skin had a lot of people accusing the animators of racism since she was so tan in the first anime, but this is closer to how she looked in the manga and I personally think she looks prettier this way, to be honest. Anyway, she asks if they're interested in joining the religion of Leto, to which Ed smugly replies that he's an atheist. Rose tells him that believing in God gives one hope and allows them to lead a fulfilling life, adding that maybe Leto could even make Ed grow taller. After Ed cools down from that comment, he asks if Rose also believes Cornello can resurrect the dead, and sure enough, she does. Ed lists the ingredients of the human body, saying that despite knowing what humans are made of, alchemists have never successfully created human life. He then asks her how she thinks prayer is going to do something modern science can't. Ed is being pretty cruel in this scene. He's obviously getting some kind of sadistic joy out of crushing the poor girl's dreams. Asshole. Luckily, Rose gets off a lot easier in this continuity than she did in the first anime. I mean damn. Poor, unfortunate first anime Rose. She needs a hug and years of therapy after what she went through.
Another thing here that I didn't notice until it was pointed out is that Ed's comment about how the ingredients of the average adult human body could be bought with a child's pocket money comes off as an indirect confession. After all, that's exactly what he and Al did. I guess you could say he's being a prick to Rose because she believes that dead people can be brought back to life, and he himself is living proof that they can't. He tells her the story of a hero who flew on wings of wax, which melted when he got too close to the sun. Basically telling her that playing God has repercussions, and this is also a nice bit of foreshadowing in addition to being a reference to the brothers' own past. I'm also intrigued that a Greek legend seems to exist in the world of Fullmetal Alchemist. Is this implying that even in the manga/Brotherhood continuity, their world shares some kind of common history with ours? It's never really explored but a lot of things from real-world history are referenced a lot in this series so I wouldn't be surprised.
Ed then asks Rose to take him to Cornello. This scene is particularly amusing in the dub, where Ed asks in the most sarcastic tone he can muster if Cornello could even save an arrogant scientist like himself, and Rose takes him seriously. Really, the girl doesn't understand sarcasm at all. The snark fell on deaf ears. It's hilarious.
Meanwhile, Cray tells Cornello that the brothers are there to see him. A State Alchemist paying a visit doesn't bode well for the church's plans, so Cornello orders Cray to assassinate them. And the Let's Mindfuck Rose Show commences! Cray pulls a gun on them and tells her that the Elric brothers are evil and have come to ensnare the father. Of course Ed and Al make short work of him and the other two cronies, and Cornello arrives on the scene. He apologizes that the others were so rude. This part was pretty amusing in the dub, with Cornello saying that the disciples were misguided and Ed responding "OK, let's say I believe you weren't the one guiding them." So snarky. I love it. Vic's delivery there was pretty good.
Ed cuts to the chase and accuses Cornello of deceiving his followers by passing alchemy off as miracles from God. Cornello tries to win Ed over by showing him that he isn't bound by equivalent exchange; after all, if it was alchemy, he wouldn't be able to bypass that fundamental rule. But Ed goes on to suggest that perhaps if Cornello somehow managed to get the philosopher's stone, which has the power to amplify alchemy, then that would explain his "miracles". Ed's eyes are on the red gem on the priest's ring. Pretty perceptive.
But this wouldn't be any fun without further mindfucking the hell out of Rose. After all, she isn't going to be raped by soldiers and nearly have her body stolen by a 400-year-old decaying bitch, so we can't just let her off that easy! Cornello orders her to pick up the gun that Cray dropped and shoot the Fullmetal Alchemist. How low. She's suffered enough, you asshole. But he reminds her that if she has faith in him and follows his orders, he'll bring her dead boyfriend back to life. Wow. This man is heartless. By the way, her boyfriend's name was Cain in the first anime. Does he have a name in the manga? I don't think it's mentioned here.
Rose points the gun at Al, because we have to do this joke again—Slight off-model shot here◊, with Al's armor only having three openings on that plate under the chin instead of four, but it's not really a huge deal, just had to point it out because I'm a bitch—and Ed rants that he is the Fullmetal Alchemist because I guess he wants to get shot. She apologizes and says she has to do what Cornello says so she can have her boyfriend back. Ed tells her to go ahead and shoot him if she really has the guts, but she's too afraid to aim properly and ends up shooting Al's head off instead. Rose thinks she's just killed him and she drops the gun and screams, and then Cornello tells her to pick it back up and shoot Ed now. I guess he doesn't even care that her already fragile mind is breaking. Alphonse gets back up and reveals that he's hollow inside, terrifying Rose even further. Cornello tells Rose that this is proof that the brothers are evil, and releases a chimera to attack them.
Ed transmutes that spear again, wowing Cornello with his ability to perform alchemy without a circle. Of course the chimera breaks Ed's spear before he can do much damage with it, clawing his leg in the process, but he's uninjured and manages to break off its claws. It then tries gnawing on his arm, but he's still unfazed and delivers an uppercut with his foot. Ed's pretty flexible.
I wonder what sorts of uses that could be put to. He then rips off his coat and half of his shirt to show Cornello his automail. I liked this scene a lot better in the first anime because Ed was incredibly buff and it was awesome fanservice. Then again, I believe he's younger during the Reole arc in this continuity so I guess it makes sense for him to be a bit scrawnier.
Cornello comes to the same realization Isaac did in the first episode; that the brothers' current condition is the result of trying human transmutation. He tells Rose that they tried to revive the dead and were punished for their hubris, causing Rose to remember what Ed told her earlier. Ed and Al demand that Cornello hand over the stone, but he transmutes his cane into a machine gun and shoots at them, saying he'll send them to God himself. Ed makes a barrier to block the bullets and tells Cornello that God hates him and would probably just send him back. Badass. Alphonse grabs Rose and runs, with Cornello shooting at them. Ed transmutes an escape, even though there was already a perfectly good door right there, and they make off with Rose. Cornello's followers try to stop them, but unfortunately they're all pussies of the highest caliber and the three make a clean getaway.
Alphonse prepares the trap for Cornello, telling Rose that the priest shot at them with no regard for her safety. He then explains their past to her, telling her that the transmutation failed and the thing they created didn't even look human. He adds that human beings can't be brought back to life because it goes against alchemy's fundamental laws. Rose is still convinced that Cornello could bring her boyfriend back to life, pointing out that just because Ed and Al failed doesn't mean the father will. Cornello catches up to Ed, who tricks him into revealing his whole plan on the air with the broadcast system he and Al set up. Naturally Cornello is pissed that his secret has been exposed to the public and tries attacking Ed again, only for his philosopher's stone to undergo rebound and transform him into a giant monster. Whoa. This wasn't in the manga. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing but I do think it's pretty unnecessary. But even with Cornello in this form, Ed beats his ass pretty easily, headbutts him and tells him to fork over the philosopher's stone. Which breaks and turns to dust. Apparently it was a fake. Or at least an incomplete version, since "red stones" don't exist in this continuity. Ed is infuriated at having wasted his time after he was so sure he'd finally be able to fix his and Al's bodies, and Cornello escapes, pansy that he is. Cornello went down much easier here than he did in the first anime, by the way.
Ed and Al are outside the church getting ready to leave Reole and goddammit this scene is so freaking pretty. Rose pulls the gun on them and tells them to give her the philosopher's stone, believing that they're just pretending it was a fake so they can keep it for themselves and bring their mother back. That touches a nerve, and Ed snaps and says once again that the dead can never come back to life. Rose collapses on the ground, crying and asking what she's supposed to do now that she knows her boyfriend can't be brought back. Poor Rose. I really relate to her because I used to be incredibly religious like her, so I think I can understand how she feels. Ed tells her she has to keep moving forward; she's got a good pair of legs and she's got to get up and use them. Such a powerful scene. A lot better than the corresponding scenes in the manga and first anime, if you ask me.
The townspeople have formed an angry mob and are after Cornello, who's taken refuge in the church where he's greeted by Lust and Gluttony. Lust tells the father that he was only supposed to wreak some havoc, but instead created a huge mess. Gluttony asks to eat him, but Lust tells him he'll get a stomachache if he eats something like that. Cornello foolishly pulls a gun on Lust, who promptly stabs him through the skull and tells him he's become unneeded. Lust muses that Father won't be pleased with how things turned out and ponders their next move, while Gluttony goes ahead and eats Cornello anyway. Seriously, fatass, what did she just say?
And that's that. One of my favorite episodes. Love the art, animation and cinematography as usual. The next episode has Shou Tucker and Nina. Sadness. By the way I've decided to rate the episodes at the end of my entries, because why not? This one gets a 4/5 and I've gone back and added scores to the previous ones.