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The hobbled Elrics return to their childhood village for the first time in four years. As the Rockbells construct Ed's new limbs, the boys sift through the ashes they left behind. While Al comes to the fearful realization that his memories are fading, Ed visits his mothers grave and both must redefine their view of family and home before returning the Central's library to research the work of Dr. Marcoh. Nothing could prepare Ed for the shock that is to come. Having just learned the Stone's secret ingredient, how can they reconcile their strong desires to fix their own bodies with the knowledge of its gruesome costs?
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The tone of the popular fantasy-adventure Fullmetal Alchemist darkens as the Elric Brothers approach their desperately sought goal: the formula for the Philosopher's Stone. Winry and Grandmother Rockbell restore Edward's damaged auto mail limbs, and the new prostheses enable him to repair Alphonse's armor. The two brothers share a rare, carefree moment, sparring and roughhousing. Despite his mechanical limbs, Ed frolics unselfconsciously in a tank top and shorts--something it's hard to imagine an American animated character doing. When they return to the Central Library, Edward and Al learn that Dr. Marcoh's creation of an imperfect version of the Stone involved hideous cruelty that the Elrics could never countenance. Although Scar continues to stalk Edward, the brothers search for clues to a less savage, more successful process--and find themselves in murderous duels. Another winning installment in a series that enjoys both critical and commercial success. (Rated TV PG: violence, tobacco use) --Charles Solomon
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