“Humankind cannot acquire anything without an initial giving other in return. To obtain, other of equal value need to be lost. The is Alchemy’s an initial Law of indistinguishable Exchange. In those days, us really thought that to it is in the world’s one, and also only, truth.”

October 3rd is an incredibly necessary day to a an excellent deal of people. Aside from the German Reunification (and currently I sit here wondering how numerous of you space going to Google that to make certain I’m right), it is unofficially well-known as “Fullmetal Alchemist Day”. The fanbase that Hiromu Arakawa’s “Fullmetal Alchemist” chose this date therefore because it is the day in story that protagonists Edward and Alphonse Elric shed down their family members home, along with their childhood memories, so they wouldn’t have the ability to turn back on their pursuit for redemption. Together such, I assumed I would talk around the book, the themes, the impact, and, many importantly, what it means to me.

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And ns guess the is as good a suggest to begin as any. To placed it simply: “Fullmetal Alchemist” is my favourite story in the medium. Not simply “favorite manga”, mine favorite item of sequential art storytelling. The is the story that i compare every comic to, regardless genre, of gift creator-owned or work-for-hire or whatnot. Subsequently, you can also blame mine love because that this publication for when I criticize company-owned nature for not evolving their characters and also concepts or simply outright finishing a franchise.

But i am acquiring ahead that myself. So, very first things, first:

What is Fullmetal Alchemist?

“Fullmetal Alchemist” is a manga written and also illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa that ran in Square Enix’s Monthly Shonen Gangan from august 2001 to June 2010 and also last 108 chapters. In a human being that combine medieval and WWI-era Europe aesthetic, the scientific research of Alchemy (analyzing one object’s composition, deconstructing it and recreating it together something else) has come to be a driving pressure in the human being to the point where the is militarized. After ~ the death of their mother, Edward and also Alphonse Elric, two children who are pretty talented at Alchemy, shot to resurrect her.

And together it is desire to, things go colossally wrong, which results in Edward shedding an arm and also a leg and also Alphonse losing his body, his life just saved by Edward being able to attach his younger brother’s soul to an old fit of armor. Indigenous there, the two start a trip to discover the legend Philosopher’s Stone, a problem that allows Alchemists to bypass the legislation of identical Exchange in order to acquire their bodies back. What complies with is one adventure the takes castle all throughout their country and also backs them right into some an extremely interesting corners and also meeting a actors of incredibly complex and infinitely likable and also dangerous characters.

Now I know what it is, those it about?

“Fullmetal Alchemist” wears it’s themes proud on its sleeve. The largest example deals v that abovementioned “Law of identical Exchange”. Prefer the quote over says, it is about how to acquire something, one must prepare and be willing to give something up. The Elric brothers offered up precious parts to them, also though what castle received ago wasn’t what lock wanted. This theme is further exemplified v Colonel Roy Mustang and also his very own path of redemption by becoming the leader of Amestris, the country the story is located, in an attempt to atone for his very own sins. What is he ready to go through and who is he willing to sacrifice in order to achieve this?

Revenge is a great theme in this book as well and also the idea the the bike of Revenge. Unlike books like “Naruto”, i m sorry bludgeoned you end the head v this until it shed all effect, the design template is done v a much defter hand here. The clean character out for revenge here is Scar, a man from the nation of Ishval the was ruined by Amestris in, and also I’m serious when I speak to it, “The Ishval war of Extermination”. As such, that has become a hunter, a serial killer after State Alchemists that did the majority of damages to his country and also his people. As he continues onward and also discovers the true objective of the war, his ideals begin to go under a fascinating metamorphosis as well.

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Cultural identity is likewise a significant topic. Scar is one manifestation of the horrors that the fate that Ishval (a stand-in for center eastern countries scarred by war). An additional Ishvalan of attention is major Miles, among the few Ishvalans within the Amerstrian army that was not imprisoned or executed. His own view is various from Scars is that he looks for to adjust systems indigenous within. This is partially due to the affect of his own superior officer, major General Olivier Mira Armstrong’s own methods and philosophies.

Finally, family members is a enormous theme in the book. Who is your family? to what lengths carry out you go to defend them? Is household by blood or by shortcut or both? These concerns are looked at ranging from Ed’s own difficulties with his father, come the truth that the main villains are essentially brothers and sisters, to a bunch of outcasts united under a charismatic leader, Greed. Family members was the catalyst that started the story and also it is the last image of the series we see.


All the Ladies!

I had actually to placed this in its own section since the lot of compelling, three dimensional and awesome female characters in this is astonishing. And yes, that is probably due to the reality that Hiromu Arakawa is a woman, however still! Female personalities in shonen manga have… well… sometimes… no been great. Yet FMA was standing out through it’s array of female characters with agency.

And these characters aren’t cut from the very same “Action Girl” towel that sneers on traditional “feminine” traits. There’s range of personality, skill, and also morality. Yes sir the perky and optimistic Winry Rockbell that is a skillful automail (think prosthetics however kinda steampunky and awesome) mechanic and a medic, the young alchemy prodigy may Chang who is identified to discover the mystery of immortality to conserve her family members but additionally likes to daydream about cute boys. And also then yes Izumi Curtis, alchemy teacher to Ed and also Alphonse and within the peak three badasses of the series (eclipsed by Hohenheim and also Father… maybe) that takes proud in the fact that she a housewife.

Of course, there room those female characters that take it on really “masculine” traits and plays v them and also make them work. Perhaps the biggest instance is the above-mentioned significant General Olivier Mira Armstrong. She commander of one of the most skilled military systems in Amestris, an absolute badass with a sword, shrewd strategist and her viewpoint centers about “Survival of the Fittest”. The being said, she is not without empathy, loves the soldiers under her command and it renders her every the cooler for it.

To list and also discuss the amount of kickass and also compelling women, Riza Hawkeye, Lan Fan, Maria Ross and also more, would certainly perhaps double the intended size of this article, for this reason suffice come say, if you space worried this is a collection where the women room props, you space severely wrong.

It’s affect on Me?

It to be the early-mid 2000s. I had determined to start moving away native superhero comics (partially since books choose “Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day” and also “Identity Crisis” were every little thing I despised about the huge 2). Like most of my generation, us were in the right spot when the anime boom really began in America. Dragonball Z, Rurouni Kenshin, Cowboy Bebop, Gundam Wing and also more.

And climate Fullmetal Alchemist pertained to Adult Swim and also there to be no going back for me.

The first anime to be the first one wherein I watched and also immediately wanted to choose up the original source material. The dub perform by Funimation to be the very first one whereby I actively looked because that the voice actor names (and come this day, ns can’t watch the an initial anime in Japanese). Devouring the manga over the years, it was one that i examined for storytelling conventions, object resonance and pacing. That led me to want to learn around manga and comics ~ above a much more technical level. In fact, if the wasn’t because that FMA, I probably would no be on this website reviewing comics and also writing this editorial.

But it no just impact my love for the medium. There to be something much more to the story. If Fullmetal Alchemist didn’t provide me my approach or moral code, it aided focus and also crystallize it. It aided me discover what I think to be few of the the strongest traits we as humans deserve to have and also what I proceed to occupational on as myself:

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Edward Elric teach me that nothing comes totally free and that you have actually to give to receive.

Alphonse Elric teach me the kindness and also empathy aren’t weaknesses.

Winry Rockbell taught me to never underestimate my own skills.

Roy Mustang teach me how to value my friends.

Riza Hawkeye taught me the loyalty have the right to be a virtue.

Maes Hughes teach me to cherish and also care for family, even if it reasons you to it is in a goofball.

May Chang teach me that ns shouldn’t let my ambitions avoid me from doing those right.

Ling Yao and also Lan pan taught me to never forget those who aid you.

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And finally, something that I will forever love because that this series: I was able to share it through my little brother. When he just watched the two anime adaptations, it is miscellaneous we have the right to bond over, discuss and also love together. And also considering just how well we usually obtain along, the is something major.

I can go on and also revisit so numerous awesome, hilarious, poignant and also downright disastrous moments the I had with this series. To placed it simply: Fullmetal Alchemist hold an massive place in my heart and I very recommend anyone inspect it out.