Discussion of the series as a whole and the ending in particular.
OK, the first 15 minutes or so were awesome. I was just about to be impressed with the writers when Ed went to exchange himself for Al. And while I admit that restored!Al is adorable, it would have been better if Al had died, because we would have cried our eyes out. And loved it. I recall months ago someone said, about the show, "This show will gouge your heart out with a rusty spoon, stomp on it, and then kick you, and you will THANK IT for doing so."
Is that the case today? Hell no. I sure thought it was gonna be. And Mustang survived? The hell is that about? Ed died after getting stabbed through the heart, but Mustang gets stabbed AND shot and he survives? The whole last half of the episode negated all the power and poignancy of the scene where Hawkeye shoots Archer but she's too late, Mustang has already been shot. That was a great scene. But rendered completely moot by his survival.
And speaking of, I forgot to notice if Bradley Jr. survived, although if he did he would be traumatized for life unless they could convince him that the whole thing was a hallucination he had after the auto accident.
I know I haven't been watching the subs, and my nihongo is not so great, so if you know, please tell me -- when the hell did they acquire Bradley's head? Hed. Hehehehe.
I was all "Serves you right, bastard, for causing Greed and Kimberly to die!! Hahahahaha!" even though he was mad 1337 and pretty damn cool, and that die-cast train he gave his kid was mega awesomeness.
Look, Mustang should have died. Ed or Al should be dead, and not in the alternate universe. I was SO CLOSE to crying, and then the second half of the episode aired and I said beh. There are some shows in which a happy ending is a good thing, like FLCL and SD Gundam Force. But FMA was a hard-hitting gut-wrenching dramatic show that evoked real emotional response from the viewer. And I thought they'd done it again, and then BAM lame-ass epilogue.
In fact, some of the non-epilogue was like it was just thrown together in a desperate attempt to tie up loose ends.
The point of the series was that nothing is equivalent to a human soul. Somewhere along they way, they lost that concept. The actual creation of a philstone was the wrong way to take the story. Now since I don't read the manga, I don't know whose idea that was, but it was a bad one. Somehow Ed went from a classic tragic hero to just another guy who accomplishes things. He should not have been allowed to accomplish his goals, seeing as they were borne of his Tragic Flaw. How is it that no one paid the price for his egotism? And he never learned his lesson, based on the movie set-up that comprised the entire last half of the episode. If he doesn't lose everything because of his character defect, but in fact comes out ahead, where has this story taken us? Nowhere. It's given us nothing for our investment but a movie, which will require another investment of time and energy. The concept as put forth in the beginning chapters indicated that we would be more than just entertained by this work, but in the end that's all it amounted to.
Personally, I wanted a beautifully tragic ending such as in Les Miserables or Crime and Punishment, and the potential was there. Sadly, the artistic integrity was not, and what could have been one of the best series since Bebop slowly but surely deteriorated into nothing more than a Saturday night diversion.