Trigger warning for discussion of rape and victimization in a narrative
Just the treatment of Rose. Her role is a bit bigger than her one in the manga, where her character arc is fairly simple- she’s pulled into a cult after losing a loved one, Ed busts it open and tells her to move forward, so she pulls herself back together and next time we see her she’s working hard at a soup kitchen to help her city rebuild and makes friends with Winry. It’s a small role, but it goes well with the manga’s constant theme of people rebuilding their lives after tragedy and moving forward on their own and helping each other.
Here, it’s like they used Rose as a checklist for all the possible ways to victimize and silence a female character. The fact that she’s also PoC here and silenced and robbed of agency so completely makes it even grosser. So after Ed leaves she attempts to protect some children from the military. That’s great! What does she get for her trouble? Apparently the soldiers take her and rape her. She gives birth as a result and is so traumatized she’s catatonic.
So her story isn’t even told to us by her- we don’t see any of it- Scar tells it to Ed for her while she’s not even in the room and all the focus is on his reaction and the fact the tragedy of this poor defenseless woman gives them a good excuse to kill people. Who cares what she thinks about any of it, we’re not going to hear about it! She’s just someone Scar and the city can exploit as a figurehead, someone who literally does not have a say in the matter. Let’s use her rape as an oppurtunity to exploit her further! Even Ed sees that that’s gross.
Rose regains her voice to yell at Ed (who did a good job of treating her like losing her voice meant she lost her ability to think for herself) his words to move forward and essentially snap him out of his Heroic BSOD, her baby’s crying all distracting Wrath. Also her being attacked means Ed has to get up and save her. It’s brave of her and all and she’s taking initiative go her, but we still don’t get to really hear what SHE thinks of her situation, what SHE wants for her people, what HER goals are- the only significant words they allow her to have are repeated from someone else. And they’re only significant because they benefit our hero and give him someone to save.
Ed goes on and tells her what to do, lecturing her about how killing people in response to what happened is wrong, without even bothering to hear her actual opinion on the matter first.
So you’d think Rose had been exploited enough right? YOU’D BE WRONG. Next she is apparently…drugged or something? It’s unclear! And pretty much violated and molested by Dante. No seriously, Dante straight up feels her up, running her fingers across her cleavage and talking about how hot she is and how she can’t wait to get in that pretty body and no wonder Edward likes her and you love Edward don’t you (once again, it’s all about Ed and ROSE HERSELF doesn’t get to voice her feelings on the matter, a third party has to).
Oh, and I guess she must have undressed her or made her undress herself, since Rose changes clothes in to a VERY fancy dress. Rose sits there in a hollow eyed silent trance. She’s objectified as a silent vessel, valuable only for her body.
Oh, and Dante also continues to exploit her baby, taking it from her so she can use it as a portal or whatever. She also tosses it in the air several times and Ed has to save it once. Seriously, they basically play hot potato with that baby, tossing it around and then shoving it back in Rose’s arms. The baby doesn’t even have a name.
Rose basically becomes a dancing doll or something after this, basically used as a Ed with her fey rooomance and good looks, telling him she loves him in her hollow trancelike state, it’s not clear if it’s her talking at all or just her being exploited. He MANFULLY refuses her and is omgshocked to find she’s being victimized again but doesn’t really make an effort to snap her out of it or defend her agency. When Ed dies, Rose finally regains herself again (of course it has to be about Ed again) and obeys Ed when he tells her to get out, repeating his words at him.
And after that? Well, she’s finally free and living with the Rockbells I guess, but we sure as hell don’t get to hear what she thinks about any of it or how she’s doing or if she’s happy, because despite having regained her voice and being on camera, SHE DOESN’T SPEAK THE ENTIRE LAST HALF OF THE EPISODE. Even now that she’s finally not in being subjugated, she’s still entirely silent and voiceless because lol nobody cares enough to give her some lines I guess. I would have liked to personally see if she got along with Winry, what her baby’s name was, what she was doing with herself and most of all if she was recovering, but the anime didn’t give a fuck about any of that I guess. She was just there to be a tragic prop and once she’d served her purpose, eh who cares.
Nothing this vile ever happened in the manga. None of the female characters were ever robbed of their agency or used as props and especially in not this sick and cliche and complete and gross a fashion. I’m sorry, but I find this shit pretty unforgivable.