Full Metal Alchemist
Volume 4 - The Fall of Ishbal

Starring (voice): Romi Paku, Rie Kugimiya, Yuuko Satou and Junichi Suwabe
RRP: 19.99
FP 08138
Certificate: 15
Available 16 January 2006

Ed and Al leave to search for Doctor Marcoh, a State Alchemist who deserted during the Eastern Rebellion. On the run from both Scar and the military, Doctor Marcoh confesses to the Elrics. A decade ago, State Alchemists were called into Ishbal to end a seven-year civil war. What followed was a wave of unspeakable atrocities that neither the Ishbalans, nor the State Alchemists who committed them, can forget...

The Fall of Ishbal contains another four episodes of this classic anime series.

Full Metal Vs Flame sees Ed take on the state alchemist Flame in a perilous battle of wits and skill in the annual Alchemy Assessment. Ed is still not having much success with his search for the Philosopher's Stone. Tired of Mustang's constant rebuke, and with nothing substantial to show for his Assessment, Ed comes up with a solution to settle both problems: Challenge the Colonel to a duel, but has Ed met his match?

Destructions' Right Hand is actually the first episode of Season 2. There is a new opening title sequence and song (although, I must admit that I prefer the original theme). Ed and Al meet Doctor Marcoh who reveals that he can help them find the Philosopher's Stone. However, Brigadier Basque Gran arrives and arrests the doctor for desertion during the Eastern War. Ed chases after the General's car, determined not to let him get away with another cover up, but the car is stopped by the sudden appearance of the Scarred Man.

In this episode we learn a lot more about the Scarred Man (or Scar for short) and why he has been slaughtering state alchemists. His reasons seemed more than a little flawed (and I was about to send off an e-mail to our very only Johnny Fanboy on the subject) when it was explained that the Scarred Man very cleverly exploits a loophole in order to get away with his killings.

There are also plenty of laugh out loud moments in this episode, including Ed loosing his temper when he is described as the "Full Metal pip-squeak."

In The Ishbal Massacre the Strong Arm Alchemist (Armstrong) holds off Scar, and he realises that the killer is from Ishbal. Meanwhile, as Ed, Al and Doctor Marcoh make their way through the village, the Doctor recounts his experiences during the Ishbal rebellion - when he and the other State Alchemists were ordered to level the entire city using the Red Stones.

There is a great scene in this episode where Flame attempts to stop Scar... that is, until it's pointed out to him that he can't use his powers in the rain - wet gloves mean that no spark can be created when Flame clicks his fingers.

That Which is Lost sees Ed and Al returning to Risembool after being damaged in battle. They arrange to meet Winry, but a mix-up occurs and Al is accidentally removed from the train. With the two brothers separated their quest is becoming almost impossible.

This episode has plenty of comical moments as Al is stolen by a young boy who wants to beat up his enemies. Unaware that Al is anything but a broken suit of armour, this boy ends up chatting to what he believes is a new toy - a talking suit of armour.

Armstrong's speech about abilities being passed down the Armstrong family for generations is also becoming something of a running joke. It seems everything he does is thanks to the hard work of generations of Armstrong's.

Extras include L'ach-en-ciel's music video Ready, Steady, Go; textless opening and closing title sequences and production art galleries.

Another entertaining collection.

Nick Smithson

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