I've watched the episode twice thru, and then skipped around a bit. I never had Alphonse high on my character like list, but suddenly this made me really, really happy.
Al stares back at me with fierce and resolute determination. The more I look at that image, the happier I get. In the contrasting scene, Edward stares back at me with a fierce and resolute... yet cocky determination. It's like Edward's saying "Nothing can stop me", meanwhile Alphonse is saying "Nothing WILL stop me". This makes me excited for the movie. I look at Al and it's like some painful wound I didn't realize was there had been healed.
And at the same time I'm really quite angry... there was very little closure... infact they opened up a whole new story line. The movie won't be out until August 2005. That's 10 MONTHS away. 10 months for the FMA high to die down, 10 months for the momentum to cease, 10 months for the effects of the last 3-4 episodes to completly wear off, 10 months for me to find something new to put into my "new love" category, 10 months for me to forget how I've enjoyed this series since I got into it in May. To add insult to that injury, unless Psiren or her imposter steals a copy for us, none of us will get to SEE this movie until sometime in January 2006 when it goes out for rental (and someone encodes it for us)... unless of course you live in Japan. That's a long time.
I won't ever loose interest in the series, I won't ever stop loving it - Toukakoukan will be part of my mindset for years to come; I'm simply dissapointed that we have to wait pretty much an entire YEAR before this thing gets resolved. And it's not like it'll be a year full of action and suspense to keep us rivited or interested in the series week after week. We know what happens so the dub will be nothing new.
Other than the comlaining, arguing, whining, and some praise my crystal ball tells me will errupt over the FMA dub... it's a year pretty much without any new FMA (if the manga ran weekly, it would be better. Monthly is a hard wait).
To touch on episode 51 itself...
The first time I watched it thru it left a sort of hollow feeling in me (it was after I saw it the first time that I posted in my own journal about that feeling). I'm not sure now if that feeling was because perhaps I was expecting something more out of the episode, or because the whole time I watched it I went "... this is the end... there's no more *sad/dissapointed/miserable*". I nearly didn't watch the episode because I didn't want it to end. The second time I watched it thru was when the emotion of the episode hit me. Alphonse saving Edward because Al believed he himself should have died in the first place (and you know what, despite how much we all love Al, he's absolutely right... by general law of the series Al should have died in the first place). Since it's a rational conclusion to call "The Gate" Hell's Gate... Edward made a trade with the devil to obtain his brother's soul. In return, Alphonse set things right by returning the sacrifice made to the devil and restoring Edward to the way things should have been.
Edward obviously doesn't like status quo >_>. It was rather hard to watch Edward in silent tears... there's a lot of pain and guilt in that poor boy which he tries to convince himself he can either hide within himself or simply errase. So this time, he trades himself person for person for Al ~ which was actually a really smart move if he wants to get things to work his way eventually.
When we get to the end of the episode and see Alphonse with everyone, then see Edward as himself alive on the other side of the gate it's not so much a miserable "OMG they're all dead *cry*" feeling that episode 50 left us with... more like a "They've tried so hard, they got so close... thank god they're both alive... but it's so painful to see them separated like this" sort of pain. You can tell by the looks in everyones faces in Rizenbool (sp?) the hole Edward has left, and that hurts just as much. But then Edward gives you that cocky smile of confidence and he's off to once again get out of a huge mess... it's reassuring somehow.
The Elric Storyline in this episode has made me crave so much more T_T I've done nothing but think of Al and how he can try to get Edward back... how Wrath may play a part, how Envy may play a part on Ed's end...
Actually I think a lot about the LOOK on everyone's face at Central when they see what Alphonse was supposed to look like XD!!!
.... MOVING ONTO THE ROY STORYLINE!!
Again, a character who wasn't really that high on my favourite character list ~ Roy had such an awesome part in the episode and I now find myself fangirling over him cause of it XD; go figure. He was so badly chopped up... and the Fuhrer showed the classic Homunclus restoration technique and kept coming at him. I CRINGED when the Fuhrer put his sword into Roy and started slicing thru his chest >_< I cringe thinking about it now too... but the Fuhrer's 'son' played an important role. I'm not sure if I like the Fuhrer's skull being present for the battle... tho you know it was the only way to defeat him... it was sort of unoriginal because it was done with Greed already in a way. That aside, it was a GREAT moment in the series. Roy holding the skull, using his own blood to paint the symbol on the back of his hand... and he let the Fuhrer have it. This after the Fuhrer killed the kid o_O;; that was upsetting.
I found it to be a powerful image, Roy coming out of the mansion carrying this poor dead child... it was the least Roy could do for the boy, an he knew it.
Archer shows up... O_<
I was quite relieved that Archer did not ruin the scene... but created a great one. XD After getting shot by him, Riza gets the honour of killing Archer (THANK YOU! T_T)... but at a cost. I saw Roy laying there and I thought he was dead T_T; and I'm like "ARGH, horrible twist of fate!! Ed comes back and Roy dies T_T I don't like". Riza screaming and crying over him did not help the miserable matter (at the time I was like "AHHH T_T Roy/Riza scene... and it's so miserable... he'll never find out how much she cared!!" but now I can look back on it and be entirely content with knowing that I'm sure those two love each other very much... the just don't say anything about it.). I was very releived to discover all the blood was only from his now-missing eye. And you know what, Missing-Eye-Roy looks very good - almost peaceful, content and serene... a stark contrast from his normal 'don't screw with me' or 'sauve/sly/cocky male bastard' look. He looked quite happy to be in Riza's company... and I LOVED when she shoved the apple into his face XD
... The final clips of all the characters after the commercial break were what made me tear up the most, cause it's the wrap-up of them... all over. For whatever reason, I found it surprising that Winry equipped Wrath with the Auto-Mail system Ed had... and I found it even ODDER that he'd ~allow~ her to do that o_O;. However, it was a fine tribute to all of them, and I have a feeling we'll get to see ALL of them in the movie too. My favourite moments were Armstrong and Breda XD!!! and Riza tossing her hair over her shoulder, with that smile, to see Roy - EEE warm fuzzies ^_________^. Elysia's always cute to look at too. And it's nice that the Curtis and Rockbell families are together... as well as Roze, her baby and Alphonse in there too.
Any shot of Alphonse in the end made me happy... tho hard in a way, knowing the boys aren't together.
Still, the lack of closure is really quite frustraiting. Even with all that was in it, it felt like something was lacking the whole time. The side stories have generally been tied up - namely Roy's Story Arch, Roze's okay, the miliatary seems to be okay... it's the MAIN plot that's hanging... and that's going to be a tough wait.
Edward has left us with some kind and promising parting words: "I'll come back and see you. Just you wait, Al." Thanks for the ride thus far Edward Elric!
._. too much thinking going on in this post... >3