Manga & anime review | Seven reasons why I love “Fullmetal Alchemist”
June 30, 2015
WARNING: This post contains bountiful GIFs.
Note: This post was originally posted on my old blog in July 2014. I decided to repost it on The Unprinted Protagonist because I love FMA that much.
1. Captivating storyline
“Fullmetal Alchemist” starts out with a fairly lighthearted tone, but as you continue reading the plot thickens and the tone shifts. The story gets darker and more suspenseful. You’re left at the edge of your seat, anticipating the next big reveal: the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone, the identity of the true antagonist, the mystery of Ed and Al’s father, etc. But even during the darkest moments of FMA, there’s always a little bit of humor and a glimmer of hope.
2. Phenomenal protagonists
The Elric brothers are such amazing protagonists. They have a strong sense of honor and loyalty. The strong love they have for each other, their determination and their willingness to make sacrifices for the good of others is admirable. And as the story progresses, they grow and change so much. (Truth be told, I have the biggest, fangirly crush on Ed.)
“Nothing’s perfect, the world’s not perfect. But it’s there for us, trying the best it can; that’s what makes it so damn beautiful.”
The FMA universe is styled after the European Industrial Revolution. The plot revolves around alchemy, the most advanced scientific technique of the universe. And the most mysterious. The more obvious steampunk element is automail, fully functional metal prosthetics that can be used in both daily life and combat. The main character, Edward, has two automail limbs (left leg and right arm).
The GIFs can speak for themselves.
5. Complex characters
With action-packed manga, sometimes character development suffers. That’s kind of understandable. If you’re filling pages and pages with Slash! and BANG! there may not be much room left for simple character dialogue.
That’s definitely not the case with FMA. You’ll actually have a hard time finding characters that aren’t multi-layered.
My favorite example of this is Colonel Roy Mustang. He’s fought in a civil war; he was forced by the military to use his alchemy to slaughter an entire race. He may be one of the “military’s dogs” but he’s not simply a cold, jaded man. He dreams of becoming the nation’s ruler and reviving it, making it a better place.
6. Badass female characters
Winry Rockbell — She and her grandmother took in Ed and Al after their failed alchemic attempt to revive their mother. Her parents died during the civil war, when she was a little girl. She’s a brilliant automail mechanic. Literally and figuratively, she’s the reason that Ed has the ability to stand strong.
Riza Hawkeye — She’s a skilled soldier who dedicated her life to protecting Roy Mustang and helping him achieve his dream of ruling the nation. Behind the military uniform and guns, she’s also a gentle, compassionate person. And her dog, Black Hayate is adorable!
Izumi Curtis — She likes to say that she’s “just a housewife,” but Izumi Curtis is actually one of the most skilled alchemists and fighters in the nation. She taught Ed and Al and played a maternal role in their lives. Plus, she can knock some sense into those two anytime!
There are plenty of other amazing female characters, like Granny Pinako and Olivier Armstrong, but I have too many GIFs already.
Shonen is my favorite manga genre, but it usually doesn’t include romance (major downside 🙁 ). FMA doesn’t have any kissy scenes (unfortunately), but the chemistry between its characters are undeniable. It is extremely accommodating to shippers of both canon and fanon pairings.
I ship Edwin (EdwinxWinry) and Royai (RoyxRiza). Sadly, Royai isn’t canon, but it’s heavily implied.
Title: “Fullmetal Alchemist” Author/Illustrator: Hiromu Arakawa Publisher: VIZ Media (in USA)
Release Date (First Volume): May 3, 2005
Genres: Manga, Shonen, Fantasy, Steampunk Length: 27 volumes
Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world; something between magic, art and science.
When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in this power to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost an arm and a leg, and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living steel. Now Edward is an agent of the government, a slave of the military-alchemical complex, using his unique powers to obey orders… even to kill. Except his powers aren’t unique. The world has been ravaged by the abuse of alchemy. And in pursuit of the ultimate alchemical treasure, the Philosopher’s Stone, their enemies are even more ruthless than they are.
I hope you enjoyed this post and aren’t too annoyed by the amount of GIFs. “Fullmetal Alchemist” is my favorite manga (I’ve read it three times). I really hope you give it a shot. If you’re not a manga reader, I still recommend “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood,” the anime based on this manga.