Summary: The Elrics are finally on their way to Lior and start talking about why they are on their journey to find the Philosopher’s Stone. Ten years ago the brothers started getting into alchemy so their mother would praise them, then their mother died in an epidemic leaving them both devastated vowing to revive her using alchemy. The two of them go off to train under a master when they realize self thought alchemy wouldn’t be good enough and after coming back put what they’ve learned into practice.
After setting up the transmutation circle and putting the components that make up the human body in the middle of it they try to revive their mother, but it fails and the backlash pulls both of them into the gate where Ed learns some of “the truth” at the cost of his left leg and Al is taken completely. The person they created looks almost nothing like a human and dies almost as soon as it came to life leaving Ed mentally scarred. In desperation Ed affixes his brother’s soul to a suit of armor at the cost of his right arm after which passing out and being carried by Al in his new body to the Rockbell, their friends/neighbors, household.
Sometime later then Lt. Col. Roy Mustang arrives at the Elric house and determines what transpired there. After confronting Ed over the matter he proposes that Ed become a state alchemist to try and better his chances are regaining his and his broth’s bodies. This gives Ed some resolve and acquires automail, an advanced type of prosthesis, from the Rockbells completing the rehab in one year and going to central to take the National Alchemist Exam. Ed proves his skills by transmuting a spear without the need of a transmutation circle and rushing Führer King Bradley, who came to see the 12 year-old boy taking the exams, to prove how lax the security was earning him his national recognition and his second name “Fullmetal”. Back in the present Ed and Al arrive at Lior.
Manga notes: (spoilers impending) This episode covered bits and pieces from chapters 21, 23, and 24. If anything it’s more like a condensed flashback episode of the brother’s past to give the story context. The scene with the gate keeper was much better than what they tried to pass off as the gate in the first anime version. Some other notes are the mentions of eastern alchemy from Xing by Roy during the brief scene in the present after the eye catch, it’s like they are really trying to hammer it down that “this time we will follow the manga” or something similar to that effect.