September 3, 2017

Character Spotlight: The Fullmetal Alchemist

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Written by: Dr. Bustos
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What would you do to get back someone you lost? Would you break the laws of reality? Two brothers did and paid quite the price. Edward Elric is one of these brothers. In a world where alchemy is real and can do many wondrous things, Edward has learned the hard limits along with his brother, Alphonse. How did they get to be a cyborg and a talking suit of armor? Why is Ed called Fullmetal if Al is the suit of armor? Let’s find out!

Edward Elric is the first born son to Trisha and Van Hohenheim Elric. His little brother, Alphonse was born a few years later and the two would become best friends with one another. Their happy family life was startled when Ed’s father up and left the family. Though Ed could see how his mom was saddened by this change, the three of them lived rather happily. Ed and Al would turn out to be quite adept at alchemy, like their father. Only a few years old and the two were performing alchemical feats many adults would be praised for. They were not the only young geniuses in their neighborhood, their neighbor, Winry Rockbell, was very skilled at building automail, highly advanced prosthetics. The three would be good friends, though Winry and Ed would often argue with each other.

The biggest blow to the Elric family would come with Trisha getting very ill and dying, leaving Ed and Al alone at a young age. The two would become reclusive in their home, studying more and more alchemical works. The boys would find a very well respected teacher in alchemy, Izumi Curtis, who would teach them more about alchemy than they could learn from just books alone. She taught them of the limits to alchemy, that while one could transmute one piece of matter into another, it could not be used on the living. Ed and Al would finish their training and return home to take all that they had learned to prove Izumi and all of alchemical natural law wrong, they would resurrect their mother.

Unfortunately, for all of Ed and Al’s skills, they couldn’t successfully break the laws of alchemy, instead of their mother, they brought back some horrible creature made of flesh. Edward and Alphonse were transported to another dimension where a Gate stood, that which allowed alchemy to flow into reality. There, they met Truth, an alien, god-like being who showed them alchemical power but at a cost, for Ed, he lost his arm, for Al, he lost his whole body. Once returned to his home, Ed made quick work when he realized Al was missing, using his own leg as payment, he was able to fuse Al’s soul to a suit of nearby armor. Winry and her grandmother, Panako, were able to save Ed from dying due to blood loss. Ed felt extreme guilt for having caused his brother to lose his body and for failing to bring their mother back. The two brothers swore to help one another become whole again. Ed would request that Winry and Panako get him fitted for automail replacements for his arm and leg, this usually took three years to get used to the prosthetics, Ed did it in just one year.

Deciding that there was still more alchemical secrets out there that could help the brothers regain what they’d lost, Edward figured that the best way to get access to these was by joining the military as a State Alchemist. Though it was scene as being “a dog of the military” it would allow for travel all over the country and beyond to seek out all sorts of alchemical oddities and crimes. Ed would pass his testing, thanks in part due to his glimpse at the Truth allowing him to surpass needing to draw an alchemical circle to perform alchemy, at only twelve years old making him the youngest State Alchemist in history. Given the title of Fullmetal Alchemist due to his quick temper and fullmetal being a slang term for such a person, Ed would begin work fighting against and investigating alchemical oddities for several years. Due to his brother being a suit of armor, people often thought Al was the Fullmetal Alchemist, much to Ed’s chagrin.

As the brothers traveled, they’d see all manner of strange and horrific alchemical creations. They’d learn of a deadly conspiracy involving creating the Philosopher’s Stone, an item that can surpass all rules of alchemy. Their father would re-enter their lives while learning about Homunculi, creatures made with Philosopher’s Stones. This conspiracy, they’d find, went all the way to the top of the government and was the cause of the most recent war. Thousands if not millions of lives were on the line and it’s up to Ed, Al, and many of the allies they made along the way to put a stop to it.

There you have it! I didn’t want to spoil too much of the series of Fullmetal Alchemist so I’ll live you wondering if they can save the day and regain their lost limbs and body. The manga series has been complete for several years and two anime series and several animated films and one live action film have been released. Ed and Al have become quite popular and well known heroes. There’s a variety of ways to learn their stories so go out and learn about what happens to them next. See you next time!

Suggested Reading
Fullmetal Alchemist
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Dr. Bustos



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