Fullmetal Alchemist

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Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 1 North American English version manga cover by VIZ Media
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Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 1 DVD cover by FUNimation

Fullmetal Alchemist (鋼の錬金術師, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi in the original Japanese) is a manga series created by Hiromu Arakawa in 2001 and currently serialized by Square Enix in the magazine Shonen Gangan. The animation studio BONES adapted the manga into a 51-episode anime television series which ran in Japan from October 4 2003 to October 2 2004.

A movie, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shambala is slated for a theatrical release the second half of Summer 2005. There also are video games for the PlayStation 2 console and for the Game Boy Advance. The anime series is licensed in North America by FUNimation and began broadcasting on Cartoon Network on November 6 2004 as part of their Adult Swim anime lineup. The manga is licensed in North America by VIZ Media and began publishing bimonthly in May 2005. Chuang Yi licensed the manga in English in Singapore. Odex released the anime in Singapore. The anime series began broadcasting on February 26 2005, on TVB in Hong Kong.It also began airing on StarHub's SCV, Channel 56, on March 9, 2005 at Singapore.

The story of Fullmetal Alchemist (called "Hagaren" or "FMA" for short by fans) takes place in a fictional world that resembles early 20th century Europe, and concerns two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who have a talent for alchemy.

Contents

Story

Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy's first law of Equivalent Exchange. In those days, we really believed that to be the world's one, and only, truth.
- Alphonse Elric, Fullmetal Alchemist intro.

While still young boys, Alphonse and Edward Elric found themselves suddenly alone when their mother died of an illness. As the two brothers stood at their mother's grave, Ed resolved to use their talent for alchemy to revive her. However, the use of alchemy for human transmutation is forbidden, and the brothers paid a heavy price when they tried and failed to resurrect their mother: Ed lost his left leg in the process, while Al's entire body was consumed. Only by giving up his right arm was Ed able to save Al's soul, binding it to a nearby suit of armor. This gave Ed the power to use alchemy without a transmutation circle.

Now determined to find the secrets of human transmutation to restore himself and his brother, Ed becomes a State Alchemist in service to the military, in order to gain access to the military's many resources. With Al by his side, he travels across Amestris to find clues that will lead them to the fabled Philosopher's Stone, a mysterious gem that is said to be able to circumvent the standard rules of alchemy and its principle of equivalent exchange. They soon learn, however, that there are many others who seek the Philosopher's Stone for sinister reasons, and the brothers quickly find themselves caught up in many horrible events that are linked to a dark and disturbing conspiracy.

Characters

This guide covers basic information for the Main Characters, State Military, and Homunculi. Characters of Fullmetal Alchemist is a more in-depth character guide (that has more spoilers) and information on these main characters and other characters as well. Please keep summaries to one or two sentences each on this page, and contribute other relevant information to the appropriate page. The information here is currently being trimmed or being moved to the characters page.

Main

Edward Elric - The Fullmetal Alchemist, his state codename is given due to his "auto-mail", the artificial arm and leg that replaced the limbs Ed lost when he attempted to revive his mother (his leg) and transfer Al's soul into a suit of armor (his arm).

Alphonse Elric - Al is the younger brother of Edward Elric, but is often confused to be older than Ed because his soul is trapped in a suit of armor twice as large as he is.

Winry Rockbell - Ed and Al's childhood friend. A self-professed gearhead who helped her grandmother build Ed's auto-mail, she is a highly skilled technician. A common unofficial translation has given her name as Winly.

Rosé Thomas - Rosé is from the city of Lior in a remote region of the East. She was one of devout followers of Cornello's teachings because she felt that he would use his powers to bring her boyfriend, Kain, back to life.

Scar - One of the surviving Ishbalans, his real name is unknown, so he's called Scar due to the X-Shaped scar on his forehead. He has a complicated tattoo on his arm given to him by his brother. He is on a crusade to assassinate all of the State Alchemists for their cruelty against his people in the Ishbalan Massacre.

The State Military

In the country of Amestris, the Fuhrer (the governing leader who is also known as the President) has command of the military. All alchemists that work in the military are referred to as "State Alchemists" or "National Alchemists", obtaining titles based on their alchemic talents and abilities.

Fuhrer King Bradley - The president of the country and the aloof leader of the entire Amestris military.

Captain Juliet Douglas - The secretary of the Fuhrer, who bears a resemblance to Trisha Elric, the late mother of the Elric brothers.

Colonel Roy Mustang - The Flame Alchemist. He is Ed's superior officer in the military. He has his own goals and intentions in mind as a member of the military, but often takes time to poke fun at Edward's height.

Lieutenant Colonel Maes Hughes - Member of the Investigations division who is good friends with Colonel Mustang and the Elric brothers. Hughes loves his wife, Glacier (spelled as Gracia in FUNimation's English translation), and is absolutely obsessed with his new daughter Elicia.

First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye - A hard-working member of the state military and most trusted in Mustang's circle of friends. A common misspelling of her given name is Liza.

Second Lieutenant Jean Havoc -A Second Lieutenant working under Roy Mustang. Smokes constantly, and cannot keep a steady girlfriend because Mustang steals all potential dates.

Sergeant Major Kain Fuery - A kind man who cares for animals and everyone else. He was the one who brought Black Hayate into the eastern headquarters, though he disagreed with Riza's training methods. He is part of Roy Mustang's group and is the youngest member. A common unofficial translation of his name is Caine Fury.

Major Alex Louis Armstrong - The Strong Arm Alchemist. He was born into a family of alchemists and has mastered his family's skill of using his arm strength in his alchemy. He often takes off his uniform for no other reason than showing-off his muscular 'beautiful body'. A very intimidating man at first sight, but is actually more softhearted, Armstrong's sentimentalism prevents him from being promoted. He was part of the Ishbal War and thus shows great loyalty toward Roy Mustang. He was jokingly known as "Colonel Clean" for obvious reasons—his resemblance to the Mr. Clean mascot is uncanny, including the pink sparkles.

General Hakuro - He is one of the top-ranking officers in the military. Near the beginning of the series, he is held hostage on a train by Bald when he is returning home from vacation. He also proctored Edward's first Alchemist Exam, as his way of repaying the boy. He was later seen leading the military at Lior. An English misspelling of his family name by FUNimation is Haruko (a Japanese female given name).

Warrant Officer Vato Falman - He escorted General Hakuro back from his vacation and he works in the investigation department under Lieutenant Hughes.

Brigadier General Basque Grand - The Iron Blooded Alchemist. He is able to transmute the iron in his blood into an assortment of guns and other weapons. A common unofficial translation of his family name is Gran.

Homunculi

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Early Homunculi. From Top: Lust, Gluttony, and Envy.

Lust - She is the first of the Homunculi encountered in the series, sultry and cool-headed. Her fingers are razor sharp and she can extend them to stab people.

Gluttony - Having the mentality of a child and lacking a will of his own, he is always eager to eat anything, or anyone, living or dead. Most of his muscles are in his jaws and his saliva is acidic, even dissolving the toughest metals to feed his ravenous appetite. He emotionally latches onto Lust like a young child to its mother.

Envy - An effeminate figure with dry wit, he has the ability to change his shape to look like other people. Little is known about him, as he is usually out doing something or other for Lust in another shape. Also, he no longer remembers his original form, so he takes on a rebellious teenager-like appearance. He has an intense hatred for Edward.

Terms

Auto-mail - A kind of prosthetics, made from metal and linked directly to the nerves of the body. Well-made auto-mail allows a range of movement and strength as good as or better than the original limb it replaces. Edward's auto-mail functions well enough to allow him to engage in martial arts practice, acrobatics, and fighting. Edward can also transmute his automail arm to add a wrist-mounted blade to it, or place spikes on his knuckles, although this seems to shorten the length of his arm. In extreme cases, auto-mail can be built to replace large sections of the body lost to injury. It is not known how auto-mail is powered.

Blood Seal - A special alchemist's circle drawn in blood (Either the one whose soul is bound to it, or next of kin) that is used in a Soul Transmutation as a physical connection between the soul and the object it is to inhabit. A blood seal only allows control of an object while the portion containing the blood seal remains attached to it. By destroying the seal, one can kill the body and release the soul. Alphonse's blood seal, created from Edward's blood, is located part way down his back. #48 has two blood seals—one in his head (The older Slicer brother) and one in his neck (The younger Slicer brother). When the head and body are joined, the head seal is dominant. Barry the Chopper's blood seal is located in his waist area. Alphonse also has various other symbols on his body that were apparently involved in his soul transmutation. These symbols are not present on the Slicer brothers and Barry, perhaps because they were transmuted while they were still alive, whereas Al's soul was snatched back from the Gate of Alchemy. The only known users of soul transmutation and blood seals are Edward and the researchers of 5th Laboratory before its destruction.

Equivalent Exchange - The rule that is the foundation of Alchemy law: To gain, something of equal value must be lost. It could be interpreted as Conservation of mass in modern day chemistry, or more precisely, by special relativity by Albert Einstein, conservation of mass-energy (E=mc). (As it is, "Equivalent Exchange" is sometimes directly translated as "Conservation of Mass".)

Gate of Alchemy - The source for all alchemic power. All people have the gate inside of them, though only their souls can reach it. When someone performs a human transmutation, he reaches the Gate of Alchemy and gain the ability to perform alchemy without a Transmutation Circle. It has many other names, like "Gate of Truth" as Ed saw it after performing human transmutation, seeing "all that is alchemy". Another name would be "Hell's Gate" as Izumi saw "Hell" when she looked within once. But as revealed in the end, it's actually a link between the world the series takes place in and the Other World (our world in 1921 at the series finale).

Philosopher's Stone, Complete - The item hunted down by every Alchemist, as it amplifies its wielder's alchemic power infinitely. It also can bypass the laws of equivalent trade. When the Elric Brothers were at the 5th Laboratory, they learn that the Philosopher's Stone is a byproduct of transmuting a certain number of human souls into a single stone. The legend of it bypassing equivalent trade was false as each time a human transmutation is done with it, a certain number of souls are taken away, eroding the stone. It also can transfer souls between bodies, though the soul also erodes. Hohenheim of Light created a Philosopher's Stone when his body began to degenerate and Dante used it to transfer his soul to another person. Hohenheim gave a piece to Dante who used it for the next 400 years until she ran out and had to set up the event that would create a new Philosopher's Stone.

Philosopher's Stone, Incomplete - It is incomplete and not as powerful as the real Philosopher's Stone, which is sometimes referred as the Blood Stone. However, it is still quite powerful, as many characters who possess this stone demonstrate, even though it sometimes has undesirable side effects. The Military first learn of its existence when such a stone was created and engineered by Tim Marcoh, though he regretted this achievement when his project was used in the Ishbal War.

Red Water - A liquid with the potential for alchemical amplification. It can be refined into an incomplete Philosopher's Stone either by a long and labor-intensive process, or by using the body of a pregnant woman as a living refinery. This substance is toxic to humans, but can be absorbed by plants. The question of whether the Red Water is composed of human souls like the complete Philosopher's Stone is not answered in the series.

Openings and Endings

Openings:

  1. "Melissa" by Porno Graffiti (Episodes 2-13, also used as ending for episode 1)
  2. "READY STEADY GO" by L'Arc~en~Ciel (Episodes 14-25)
  3. "UNDO" by Cool Joke (Episodes 26-41)
  4. 「リライト」/"Rewrite" by Asian Kung-Fu Generation (Episodes 42-51)

Endings:

  1. 「消せない罪」/"Kesenai Tsumi" ("Indelible Sin") by Nana Kitade (Episodes 2-13)
  2. 「扉の向こうへ」/"Tobira no Mukou e" ("To the Other Side of the Door") by YeLLOW Generation (Episodes 14-24)
  3. "Motherland" by Crystal Kay (Episodes 26-41)
  4. "I Will" by Sowelu (Episodes 42-50)

See also

External links

English

Japanese

es:Fullmetal Alchemist fr:Fullmetal alchemist ja:鋼の錬金術師 pl:Fullmetal Alchemist fi:Fullmetal Alchemist sv:Fullmetal alchemist zh:鋼之鍊金術師

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