Hi, I know I’m supposed to be on break but there’s no way I couldn’t do this post. If you’ve been following me and read my bio, then you know that I’m a huge anime and manga fan. And it just so happens that one of my favorite manga, started its original run two days from now, on July 12, 2001.
So, without further ado…Happy 16th anniversary Fullmetal Alchemist!
FMA, written by Hiromu Arakawa, is a story about the plight of two brothers to right. Who committed a great wrong because of grief and love for their deceased mother. They infringed on God’s domain.
Edward Elric (older brother) and Alphonse Elric are two skilled young alchemists. A natural talent inherited from their deadbeat father, Van Hohenheim. Now orphans, they seek to be with their mother again. And use alchemy to bring her back from the dead. A taboo alchemic technique, called human transmutation. Of course, everything goes all wrong. Edward loses his leg and his brother. He then does another transmutation and sacrifices his arm to rescue his brother. But only managed to bring back his brother’s soul from the other side and sealed it in a suit of armor.
Through drive, determination and guilt, Edward Elric becomes a state alchemist. A soldier dog of the military to fund his research to restore their bodies. They both hope for the outcome by finding the philosopher’s stone. But in the shadows of the military and government is an insidious plot. Watching them from afar and at times thwarting their research.
There’s a puppet master who’s on the brink of completing a massive alchemic transmutation of his own. A technique that requires hundreds of thousands of sacrifices. An entire country’s worth. And aiding him are man-made humans called homunculi named after the seven deadly sins. When meeting one more than likely will ensure your death.
Government conspiracy? Check. Unsanctioned experiments? Check. Shadow group? Check. Brotherly love? Check. Good plot, characterization, etc.? Hell fucking yeah check! Cool opening intro? Double hell fucking yeah check!
If this is your first time hearing about FMA, please familiarize yourself with the story. You can read the manga online at Mangahere.com, Mangareader.net or other manga sites. You can watch the anime on Animefreaktv.net or Crunchyroll. Fair warning, there are two different anime adaptations of the manga. You know how they say New York is the city so nice, they named it twice? Well, that’s what happened with Fullmetal Alchemist.
If a manga is popular, they’re green lit to become an anime. Yet, more often than not, the anime adaptation begins before the manga’s finished. So by some point the storyline differs and diverges from the original storyline. The same happened with the anime Naruto and Bleach. Once the episodes catch up to the manga storyline, the next episodes are filler episodes. Episodes outside of manga cannon used to create (*stall*) time. Until enough new manga/story material’s written.
Not sure why, but Fullmetal Alchemist gained another anime adaptation. It’s called Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, to differentiate between the two. And it stays true and pure to the manga from beginning to the end.
What I love about FMA is how Hiromu Arakawa dealt with the subject matter of dreams. How she twisted, thwarted and inverted the dreams of her characters. How she portrayed the lengths they will go to achieve it.
For example, Edward and Alphonse dreamt of seeing their mother again and lost a leg, an arm and an entire body. The immortal Van Hohenheim dreamt of being a normal man, loving father and husband his family deserved. And left them behind to find the alchemic solution to become mortal again only to lose his family anyway.
On the other end of the spectrum, Shou Tucker aka Sewing-life Alchemist, was desperate to save his dream, becoming and remaining a state alchemist. His certification, funding and research privileges were at stake. So he sacrificed first his wife and then his daughter. He experimented on them, turning them into speaking chimeras.
Rose (a side character) dreamt of reuniting with her dead lover again. Only to learn that the father and religion which promised that miracle was a con artist. He created false miracles using alchemy and a fake philosopher’s stone.
Comic relief and serial killer Barry the Chopper dreamt of chopping up his own body. But loses his life when said body scratches the blood seal binding his soul to his suit of armor.
Scar, an Ishvalan warrior dreams of exacting revenge on the military. Those who decimated his homeland by using alchemy. And hunts and kills infamous state alchemists using the same power. A power he hates, which also goes against his culture and religion. Only to later work alongside a few military members in a coup. In alliance to thwart the big bad, the true mastermind behind his people’s fate.
Another thing I love about FMA are the jokes. Edward flipping out when anyone comments about his short stature. How everyone mistakes him as the younger brother because of it. As well as thinking his younger brother Alphonse is wearing a suit of armor when he is the amour. Or how no one but Edward himself appreciates his horrible sense of style. Captain Roy Mustang with his constant flirting. And reputation as a lazy, Casanova among his peers. At the same time he’s also revered because he is the Flame Alchemist.
PS Did you know that in six months there will be a Fullmetal Alchemist live adaptation released? The FMA live-action film, release date is December 2017. Here’s the trailer:
Are you a Fullmetal Alchemist fan? Who’s your favorite character? Have a favorite scene or a scene you cried buckets worth of tears over? Have you read Hiromu Arakawa’s other works? I love her manga Silver Spoon which also has an anime.