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|The Shape of This Country|
|Series||Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood|
|Title||The Shape of This Country|
|Japan airdate||December 6, 2009|
|U.S.A. airdate||December 10, 2009 (online stream)|
March 6, 2011
|Preceded by||Ice Queen|
|Followed by||Family Portrait|
|Full Synopsis: Plot Details Follow|
|As Major General Armstrong vows to show the Homunculus Sloth Briggs's force, Captain Buccaneer forcefully requisitions the help of Ed, Al and 2nd Lt. Falman in Olivier's plan. As they carry gallons of fuel up to a higher level, the Major General commands her tank troops in ramming the behemoth intruder into a nearby service elevator. Once inside, the Homunculus is lifted to an outside deck, where, the Elrics, Falman and Buccaneer await and douse him with tank fuel. However, as Ed wonders just how they plan to get the huge monster outside, the service elevator reopens to reveal Olivier inside with a tank. She opens fire on Sloth with the tank's cannon, sending him hurtling through the gate and into the snowy air. With a final push, Sloth falls to the snow-strewn ground as a fresh blizzard rages around him and Buccaneer explains that the tank fuel is a cold-climate type designed specially to vaporize even in extremely cold temperatures; it rapidly robs the Homunculus of his strength in the cold and he collapses unconscious. Armstrong declares that the beast will remain in hibernation if it cannot die and orders that the Elrics be brought to the brig, since they have made it clear that they must appear to have been forced to cooperate. In addition, she declares that they will not be released until they explain to her just what that monster was.
The next morning, as Ed awakes shackled and behind bars, the grateful Briggs soldiers thank him for protecting them and inform him that Major Miles has ventured to a hospital in North City to meet with an injured man who encountered Scar in the region. Down at the hospital, Miles speaks with the bedridden Kimblee and informs him that the Briggs forces will take over the search for Scar while he is indisposed, but Kimblee retorts that the Ishvalan is his prey and demands that Briggs stay out of it. Removing his glasses to reveal his eyes, Miles advises the Crimson Lotus not to let himself get so cocky in Briggs' territory or else he might never leave the hospital alive. As Miles leaves, Kimblee remarks that Ishvalans intrigue him, but his thoughts are intruded upon by a sudden visit from General Raven, who confirms that the Crimson Lotus is still in possession of the Philosopher's Stones and reveals that he has brought someone who will have Kimblee back up to snuff in no time at all - the Gold-Toothed Doctor who had created Wrath.
Inside the hut indicated on Scar's map, May and Dr. Marcoh peruse the notes left by Scar's brother and Marcoh states that he doesn't understand the parts relating to alkahestry and the "Dragon's Pulse", prompting May to explain that the term refers to a flow of energy which permeates the very earth and powers alkahestric transmutations both material and physiological. Seeing May demonstrate her manipulation of that flow, Marcoh finally begins to understand how she is able to perform remote transmutations via alkahestry and May remarks that Amestrian alchemy doesn't appear to rely on the Dragon's Pulse. Marcoh explains that alchemy is powered by the energy from tectonic shifts in the Earth's crust, but May argues that this definition is incorrect. Judging by what she felt while in Central City, the true source is something that feels far more sinister, like people crawling around beneath the ground.
Back at Fort Briggs, Armstrong receives reports from her men that the hole Sloth came through leads down into a massive tunnel; though no signs of further intruders are found, it is determined that the tunnel appears to curve slightly and stretches further than they can tell at this point. Olivier orders that horses be lowered into the tunnel and calls for the Elrics, Buccaneer and Falman to be brought to her as well. Together, the five ride into the tunnel for quite some distance before she orders them all to dismount and, asserting that they needn't fear prying eyes or ears this far in, demands that they Elrics tell her the whole story, leaving nothing back. Understanding Olivier's sincerity, Ed and Al explain the entire situation regarding the Philosopher's Stone, the Homunculi, Central Command's cooperation with the Homunculi's Father as well as the hostages taken to ensure their complacence. With all of it out in the open, Armstrong asks the alchemists what they make of the giant tunnel and, taking out a map of the country, Edward replies that it doesn't appear to have originated from Drachma and that its shape and direction suggest that it's been dug in the shape of a giant circle that loops around all of Amestris. Realizing the alchemical implications, Edward circles Ishval on the map and asks the encyclopedic Falman to list all the major incidents in Amestrian history that led to massive bloodshed. Starting with an incident in Riviere in 1558, Falman accurately lists nine additional locations around the nation as Edward circles each on the map, ending with the recent uprisings in Reole. The Elrics are startled by this, reminding Falman that they had prevented the destruction in Reole when they deposed the false prophet Cornello and reported the incident to Colonel Mustang, but Falman replies that - though the quick response of the East Area forces managed to keep rebellion in Reole to a minimum - the Central Area military took over the operation almost immediately and the town exploded into chaos shortly afterward. Connecting all the points on the map, Edward reveals a Five-Point Transmutation Circle identical to that found in Lab 5 spread across the entire country. Examining the fact that the Riviere incident took place immediately after Amestris' formation, Falman notes that each and every one of these occurrences involved the Amestrian military, prompting Edward to realize the real truth - that the Homunculi are not merely using Amestris to create a massive Philosopher's Stone, they created Amestris from scratch with the sole intention of making a Philosopher's Stone from it. As the Elrics begin to realize why Hughes was killed as well as the meaning behind all the small clues that have arisen since the beginning of their investigation, Armstrong interjects angrily, pointing out that the circle's shape suggests the next and final point to see bloodshed will be Fort Briggs. However, their discussion is cut short by an approaching scout who informs them that General Raven has arrived for a surprise visit from Central. Seeing the noose tightening around them, Edward asks Olivier if she could try to coerce further information out of Raven.
Up in the fort, Miles greets Raven and his cohort, the fully-recovered Kimblee. Armstrong meets with Raven in her office and casually mentions the incident of Sloth's intrusion from a position of feigned ignorance as a hidden microphone picks up their conversation and relays it to a secret room where The Elrics, Falman and Buccaneer listen in. Armstrong claims that she has the Elric brothers in her custody, as they appeared to recognize the monster but refused to give her any information on it and, casting her bait, cunningly leads the conversation toward the topic of eternal youth and the supposed Drachman monster's apparent immortality. Taking the lure, Raven asks the Major General if she would be interested in a legion of immortal soldiers.
- This episode is adapted from content in Chapter 66: The Snow Queen and Chapter 67: Burgeoning Borders.
- The Transmutation Circle that appears in the background of this episode is the array used to create the Philosopher's Stone.
- Though spelled "Reole" in the corresponding manga chapter, the town's name is printed as "Liore" on Falman's map in this episode.
- The scene involving Ed's recollection of Isaac McDougal is, of course, an anime-only occurrence.
- In the English dub of this episode, Falman defines the Riviere incident as occurring in 1588 when it actually occurred in 1558. Later on, Edward makes a remark including the event's actual date, suggesting that Falman's line was merely a production oversight.
- For some reason, the dub also adds a bizarre voice effect over monster Envy in the flashback, something that was not present in episode 28.
- Much of Falman's participation in the corresponding manga chapters is cut from this episode, including when he travels with the Briggs team for the first down into the tunnel, among other things.
- The pistol that Buccaneer uses to coerce Ed is very similar to the Mauser C96.
- By telling Buccaneer that Falman is a "close friend", Edward helps Falman get his career back on track. From this episode on, Falman is never seen on icicle-duty again and is almost always seen accompanying Buccaneer, and ultimately assumes command from him when he is no longer able to lead. Following the Promised Day, he returns to The Northern Wall along with the Ice Queen, replacing Buccaneer as Captain.
|Fullmetal Alchemist 2009 Anime episodes|
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