As Edward and Alphonse Elric travel by train to the town of Reole in order to investigate rumors of a miraculous prophet, they reminisce upon the events that put them on the path to their ultimate goal - the Philosopher's Stone. Ten years earlier, in their hometown of Resembool, they had discovered their remarkable talent for alchemy, much to the surprise and joy of their young mother. Unfortunately, she had died soon afterward of an epidemic that had reached the village. Not knowing how to go on without her, and refusing to wait for their estranged father's return, they decided to revive her with alchemy, despite the fact that Human Transmutation has always been forbidden. While relying on the support of their neighbor Pinako Rockbell and her orphaned granddaughter Winry, the boys honed their alchemy skills for several years until they deemed their knowledge sufficient to attempt the difficult experiment. However, the transmutation failed, resulting in a Rebound. As a large eye opened in the middle of their Human Transmutation Circle, the boys were both deconstructed and consumed by the unleashed energy. Edward found himself transported to a strange, white void furnished only with a large, stone Gate and populated by a mysterious, white, shadowy figure referring to itself as "Truth", "God", "All", "One" and as Edward himself. Taunted by this strange being, Edward was forced into the Gate, where inconceivable amounts of information about alchemy and the world were painfully inserted directly into his mind as his body began to deconstruct completely. Upon emerging from the Gate, however, he had gained a somewhat deeper understanding of alchemy's capabilities and limits, but was then informed that in order to gain more, he would need to pay even more than he already had. As Edward struggled to understand what the "Truth" had meant by this, he realized that his left leg was being stripped from his body - deconstructing and reconstructing as a part of the mysterious Truth. Forced back into reality, Edward exsanguinated in agony from his severed limb and realized that Alphonse had not returned at all - his entire body had been taken into the void. Looking toward the center of the circle, hoping for his mother's presence to salve his physical and emotional wounds, Edward discovered that the newly formed being was not even human and had died shortly after showing signs of life. Left alone yet again, Edward quickly bandaged his wounds and hastily performed a transmutation that he hoped would bring his brother back to him, drawing a Blood Rune on an empty vintage set of armor. As he begged the Truth to give his brother back, even at the cost of his own heart, Edward clapped his hands together, initiating a transmutation without the use of a circle.
In the present, at Central Command, as Colonel Roy Mustang prepares to head back to his jurisdiction in East City, he is met by Lt. Colonel Maes Hughes, who gives him the final report on the Isaac McDougal incident - a report which notes the Freezing Alchemist's abilities as involving Alkahestry, a mysterious art from the eastern nation of Xing. On Mustang's way out, Maes asks Roy why he made Edward a State Alchemist when he knew that a position in the military would inevitably lead him down a dark and hellish road. But as Roy remarks to himself that those boys have already been through hell, he reminisces on the events that led him to the boy who would be known as the "Fullmetal Alchemist".
Four years earlier, Lt. Colonel Mustang had arrived in Resembool with 2nd Lt. Riza Hawkeye to scout out some potential recruits for the State Alchemist program and discovered the horrific, bloodstained remains of what was unmistakably a Human Transmutation Circle in the Elric home. Furious, he had set out to find the culprit and found the young Edward Elric - crippled from the loss of his leg and maimed from the loss of his right arm - in the home of their neighbor. While he had originally come to censure the little alchemist, his discovery that his brother Alphonse had survived the experiment as a soul bound to a suit of steel armor changed his demeanor to one of astonishment. Sitting down with the Elrics and Pinako Rockbell, Mustang explained that Edward's skills would be more than enough to qualify him for the State Alchemist program, where, once enrolled, he would have resources at his disposal capable of leading him to discover a method of restoring his and his brother's bodies to normal. Pinako objected, remarking that she had seen and buried the inhuman monster that the boys had transmuted with alchemy and chastising Mustang for tying to pull them back into such nightmarish affairs. Outside, young Winry Rockbell was speaking with Riza and mentioned that soldiers had taken her parents away from her and now were trying to take Ed and Al away. However, Riza responded that the choice to stay or go remained with the Elric brothers alone and that no one would force them to act. When asked by Riza why she became a soldier, the 2nd Lt. responded that she had done so in order to protect someone. As Mustang and Hawkeye took their leave, Riza remarked that Edward's eyes had looked so full of defeat, but Roy responded that he had seen fire in those eyes.
On the train, in the present, Edward remembers the day he had decided to go through with the operation to install his Automail limbs in order to move forward as Mustang had suggested. When asking how long the rehabilitation process would take, Edward responded to Pinako's answer of "three years" with the proclamation that it would only take him one. A year later, after the process had finished, Edward revealed to Alphonse that he had gained the ability to transmute without a circle, just like their teacher. But when Ed asked Al if he could do the same, due to his own sojourn into the Gate, the younger Elric responded in the negative, appearing not even to know of what "Gate" his brother spoke. Shortly afterward, Edward ventured to Central City to take his certification test, for which the Führer, King Bradley was personally in attendance. After displaying his skill as well as his nerve by staging a mock attack on the Führer, Edward was given his State Alchemist certification and the symbolic sobriquet "Fullmetal Alchemist".
As dawn breaks in the present, the Elrics' train arrives in Reole, where Edward hopes that their journey will come to an end - with the Philosopher's Stone.
- This episode is adapted from content in Chapter 21: The Brothers' Secret, Chapter 23: Knocking on Heaven's Door and Chapter 24: Fullmetal Alchemist.
- The Transmutation Circles that appear in the background of this episode's title card are the Human Transmutation circle devised by the Elric brothers and Roy Mustang's Flame Alchemy circle.
- This episode marks Izumi's first appearance (though she is not properly identified and introduced as she is as the amounts of knowledge in the Gate).
- It's in this episode that it was mentioned for the first time the Xingese's alchemy, when Maes Hughes gives to Roy the final report on the Isaac McDougal incident.
|Fullmetal Alchemist 2009 Anime episodes|
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