Everyone splits up to do their own thing as Part 4 of Fullmetal begins to enter the final arc. Plots will be revealed, advancements will be made and blood will be shed. Now more episodes than the original series, Brotherhood sets out to outdo it in every way possible.
Part 4 seems to be one large set up for the final arc as we finally learn of the villain’s, Father, origins and everyone ends up split in different rag-tag groups before the promised day. With Ed and his friends, the good military, the corrupt military, Briggs, the Homonculi and the Ishvalans, the cast appears over saturated, but manages to link the character movements together with swift execution and purpose. Everyone is making plans for this final battle the series begins to hype up in this set and we see even the most minor characters getting time to shine. Dr. Marco stops being a moody old man and gets some explosive fight time against the homunculus Envy, while the Chimera guards recently recruited to the good side get some major attacks in. The series doesn’t deal in cheerleader type characters and is one of the endearing traits of the series.
It doesn’t just build up to the final battle though, we get the start-up of it too. With Ed teamed up with the Greed/Ling combo, they meet up with his father and learn a bunch of truths before an unfortunate meeting with his brother Al who hasn’t had such good luck recently. Gigantic battles between the homonucli and army break out, spanning multiple episodes and are stuffed full of glorious animation. Seeing multiple battles across the country handled with such grace and tension is testament to the series quality writing and the way the characters deal out tactical attacks leads to satisfying results. It isn’t shy to skimp on gore either which makes the immortal army quite a sight to behold. A sometimes plodding pace as the series tries to drive the tension to breaking point on the final battle is the only real criticism which can be leveled at the series at this stage. Between Ed fighting the Crimson Alchemist to the final battles, there is quite an empty gap of just discussion and planning which may be jarring for some, though each episode tends to have at least one stand out moment be it plot twist or action.
With shocking plot elements revealed in the first half with The Elric brother’s father, and the dynamic fights in the second, Brotherhood Part 4 has it all. A series which can handle good storytelling and excellent fight scenes. A rarity in the modern day of anime.