"Fullmetal Alcehmist" Vol. 3: "Fullmetal Gold"
Joy! The third volume of Fullmetal Alchemist is here. The first two volumes haven’t disappointed in the least, so when I popped this volume into the DVD player, I expected to be just as entertained. And it delivers in spades. Now that our hero Edward Elric has become a State Alchemist, Roy Mustang sends him on his first assignment—investigate the coal mine at the town of Youswell. In his next adventure, Ed visits the city of Aquroya and gets caught up in a crime spree. And in the two-part finale, Ed and Al battle against… Ed and Al Elric???
The first episode is harmless fun. The villainous Lt. Yoki, who runs the town, is appropriately annoying, and his interaction with Ed is quite funny. It also introduces a very important character (although saying who it is would be giving away a series-ruining spoiler). The second, highly entertaining episode deals with Psiren, a beautiful thief who is famous for announcing her crimes before they’re committed. The Inspector chasing Psiren looks just like Inspector Zenigata of Lupin III fame—given the episode’s plot, this is not surprising. Its upbeat and lighthearted tone makes this episode feel somewhat out of place in Fullmetal Alchemist but does little to hamper it. (I can only complain that it does little to advance the series’ overall plot.) Episodes eleven and twelve make up a two-part story entitled “The Other Brothers Elric”. Ed and Al hear that research into a Philosopher’s Stone is being conducted in a small town and go to investigate. But they are shunned by the townspeople, who call the brothers imposters. Ed and Al investigate their stolen identities and come across some startling revelations. These two episodes have some great characterization in them, but they are, sadly, rather boring.
Picture and sound quality are top-notch, as usual. Fullmetal Alchemist consistently looks so good that commenting on the visuals would be pointless. The dub improves with each episode, and special nods must go to the VAs for Lt. Yoki and Russell Tringham. Extras aren’t anything to rave about, but the great packaging and awesome booklet included with the DVD make up for it.
All in all, the third volume of Fullmetal Alchemist is a definite must-get, just like the rest of the series, but its shortcoming must be noted. Its four episodes are perfectly enjoyable and introduce some important characters and plot points, but they still come off feeling like filler material. Still, these can be seen as the calm before the storm, as things really heat up in volume four!