Friday, April 21, 2006

Episode 7

Aired 20060415. Night of the Chimera's cries. Original title: The Night the Chimera Cries.

As usual, the story moves faster than the speed of light.
  1. Ed receives the silver pocket watch which is the ID of State Alchemists.
  2. His discord with Mustang keeps brewing.
  3. Havoc is introduced. (Finally, his name is actually mentioned.)
  4. A serial killer is loose in the city.
  5. Tucker's assessment day approaches.
  6. Ed gets suspicious of Tucker's talking chimera but can't get access to any record.
  7. Scieszka is introduced (briefly).
  8. Scar is introduced (although his name isn't even "Scar" yet), and quickly develops from a lost and confused individual into "God's assassin".
  9. Elysia is introduced (briefly).
  10. The serial killer claims yet another victim.
  11. Tucker finds out about the brothers' human transmutation.
  12. Gran is introduced.
  13. He tightens the leash on Tuker and the brothers are kicked out.
  14. Ed sneaks back in and discovers that Nina and Alexander have been fused into a talking chimera.
  15. Tucker's lecture on science and possibility.
  16. Grand takes both Tucker and the chimera away, silencing the brothers.
  17. The Chimera escapes during Ed's attempt of stopping the car and is killed by Scar.
That's 17 major evens within 23 minutes (without counting the minor ones). Oh~ my~ brain~

Let's see... There aren't too many things to poke at this time. Perhaps I'm getting used to the English version. (Although the dialogues still feel like they're rushed.)
  • Tucker, on his own, figured out Ed had done human transmutation. But in the original version, Ed actually told him about that. (Yup, Tuker shouldn't be that smart.)
  • Did the chimera run into Scar by chance? If so, that's way too much of a coincidence. The English version made it look like the chimera actually seek Scar out. I don't think it was clarified in the original.
  • While Ed almost went crazy after he saw the remains of the chimera, Al was un-proportionally clam. This doesn't make sense as he's fond of Nina too.
  • It seems to be Scar's first time using alchemy when he killed the chimera. (I might be wrong.) One episode is a bit too fast for this much character development.
  • Ed didn't cry when his mom died but he's crying for Nina. Hmm...
OK, shorts of notice:
  • A puddle on the ground. This is actually the shot when Ed and Al "took care" of the guards before sneaking into Tuker's house. No animated characters, sound only, but the reflections (highlights?) rippled when the guards fell down (well, OK, maybe not quite a ripple yet, but it moved slightly). This series tends to point the camera away from the action a lot. I almost thought it was done to reduce work, but they're definitely not lazy. Rather, they spend their resources wisely on the appropriate shots. The overall animation quality is superb and consistent throughout all the episodes.
  • The hallway is CG! (So is Havoc's cigarette smoke near the beginning, but only in one shot where he was standing still. The rest were hand drawn.)
  • The panning ceiling has fish eye lens effect... through actual lens?
  • They didn't forget Ed's blood-stained glove. Nice detail. Tuker's face must be really messed up.
  • Bloody corpse, actual punches, flying guts. Didn't expect them to show stuff this graphic. These weren't done for shock value, but necessity. This is what sets this show apart. The corpse has to be gross enough to justify Ed passing out. The punches have to be heavy enough to justify Ed's anger. The chimera's guts have to fly in order to illustrate Scar's merciless killing. This shot is also given a divine feel as it was the moment Scar conceived the idea of being God's assassin.
  • Simple camera pan of Tuker. No dialogue, no action, not even background, but Tucker's powerless is well shown, on top of "there's something fishy". This is a moment of great direction.
  • Ed grabbing Gran's shirt. Great acting and animation! (Ed sure moves around a lot in this episode!)
  • Classic tears mix with rain (the very first picture from above). Maaaaybe a little bit cliche, but by this time, the audience would be so into the story, they wouldn't mind.
If there's one thing that really captures my attention, it would be Ed's facial expressions. From funny gag faces, to dead serious moments, to exploding anger, everything is so finely animated. Of course, the character himself has to have the personality to support this kind of acting too. The staff on this show is simply... excellent!

Oops, almost forgot. The end credit sequence of this episode is custom made! The sparring animation, plus the next 3 orange still shots, were replaced by camera pans of 3 full screen stills of Nina and the brothers. It stays full screen till the very end (normally it's letter box format). The last shot of Ed looking towards the camera was re-animated with a "trying to smile when crying" face. (But, hmm... personally I don't think it works.) The end shot of the alchemy logo was replaced by another still of Nina and Alexander.

Well, with only 20 seconds, the English editor is "kind" enough to insert all the Nina stills before time runs out. But the newly animated Ed at the end is totally unseen and wasted. Sigh...

This review of episode 7 was written by an animator Yoo from his blog Fuuyuu. Personally, I think his insider's point of view is a must-see. Sorry the blog is in Japanese, though...

And here's another review of this episode from Egaoni Aetara by Saori Amano. Cute drawings, comic strips, reviews and event reports. Again, it's in Japanese. Sorry...

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