Episode 35, "The Shape Of This Country"
Synopsis: Using tanks and tank fuel, the soldiers of Briggs, with the help of Ed and Al, immobilize Sloth and leave him out in the freezing storm. The brothers are treated as hostile and locked up, to prevent them from looking like they're giving out information. In the hospital at the base, Kimbley recovers from his injuries from his run-in with Scar. Lt. General Raven arrives with the same gold-toothed doctor who contributed to the making of Wrath. Reading over the notes from Scar's brother, Marcoh and Mei exchange information about their countries' alchemy. Armstrong takes the Elrics into the tunnel Sloth had been building and tells them to explain what they know. The brothers, with the help of Falman, conclude that a giant transmutation array has been dug with points on it corresponding to bloodshed caused by the military, with the intention of sacrificing the country. They realize that the entire country has been created for this purpose, and the next place for bloodshed is Briggs. Olivier is called to meet with Lt. General Raven, and Edward has an idea to fool him. Armstrong prods for information on immortality, and Raven takes the bait.
Sometimes I think that if it weren't for just a few of the VAs in this dub, it would be a really good dub, instead of just an "okay" one. This episode had almost no poor performances, except for the usual suspects. Everyone else was quite enjoyable to listen to.
The Briggs crew remains as solid as the ice in Briggs. Stephanie Young's Olivier is one of the best performances I've heard from a Funimation VA in a long time, aside from Chris Ayres' Freeza in Dragon Ball Kai. She's really just as much the character as the original Japanese actress. Buccaneer is played ably by Phil Parsons (Nappa in Dragon Ball Kai), who may not have the same flair that Ryuzaburo Otomo gives him, but is quite fitting otherwise. Jason Douglas as Miles is really working, too, and I even like some of the incidental characters, like the automail guy. The Briggs material stretches for a long time, so I'm glad I don't have to suffer through a lot of bad casting and/or acting with this group.
I wish I could say the same for Eric Vale's Kimbley. He still sounds way too raspy and obviously villain-ish. He lacks the sort of smooth, bemused delivery of his Japanese counterpart. But since Kimbley is recovering from serious wounds, it sort of fits that he would sound a little off in this episode. The problem is he'll continue sounding that way.
I've decided that General Raven has an acceptable voice, but I wish the delivery was a little heartier. He doesn't sound very committed to the events. Speaking of that type of delivery, there's also Kyle Hebert's Falman, which always sounds very plain, but since Falman is kind of a plain guy, that's not necessarily a bad thing. In the first series he exaggerated the voice and it came off phony. I just wish he sounded a little more involved, like he actually cares.
Vic Mignogna's Edward is as it usually is, kind of just there. At least Maxey Whitehead's Alphonse makes up for some of that lack of enthusiasm.
Overall ENGLISH DUB Score:
4 out of 5