Episode 4, "An Alchemist's Distress"
Synopsis: While a mysterious scarred man kills State Alchemists, Ed and Al are introduced to Shou Tucker, the "Life-Sewing Alchemist", an expert in chimeras, and his young daughter Nina. Edward researches, but takes time to play with Nina, as well. Tucker frets over his upcoming assessment, and makes a tragic decision leading to an abomination, much to the horror of the brothers. However, vengeance is metted out by the mysterious man.
Huh. I've got to say, this was actually a pretty well dubbed episode. I was pleasantly surprised, actually.
Vic Mignogna's Edward Elric comes dangerously close to competence in the key scene with Tucker and the chimera Nina. Maxey Whitehead's Alphonse is finally audible and does quite well. Whatever Travis Willingham's been trying to do with Roy is finally starting to work, which I'm glad about, since I was wondering what the hell he was doing in the two previous episodes he had been in. Sonny Strait's Hughes and Chris Sabat's Armstrong are solid. Even Ed Blaylock's Bradley wasn't too awful, though I still think it lacks command.
The big question was, for me, as far as voice performances, was how the Tuckers were going to be. Luckily, Chuck Huber absolutely nailed the delivery for Shou Tucker, far surpassing his previous effort from the first series. He must've gotten better direction this time because there was no weird British accent, no faltering, just soft and friendly followed by menacingly crazy. He's awesome. Brina Palencia's Nina Tucker, while still annoying, isn't nearly as bad as it was in the first series. No more "baby talk". She was a bit more believable, even if she wasn't as cute as either Japanese voice.
This episode was the debut of the new Scar voice, J. Michael Tatum, who... well, hm. He under performs. He's very subdued, to the point of sounding like he's whispering. There's no intensity to his lines the way either Japanese VA who've played him had. I never liked Dameon Clarke's performance as Scar in the first dub, but I can't say much about this one, either. Still, it's just the first episode with him.
What I always wondered about this part of the story is why Edward and Alphonse are so willing to trust a guy with terrible abominations in small cages strewn about his house. I mean, is it really shocking that this guy ended up doing what he did? Like, if Michael Vick pulled an O.J. Simpson, would you be surprised? I realize why the military would put up with it, but Elric brothers aren't the greatest judge of character.
Overall Dub Score: 3.5 out of 5