Iron-Clad Heroes And Their Friends: Fullmetal Alchemist

Copyright © Copyright © 2004 by Hiromu Arakawa, Funimation (USA), and Square-Enix (international). All Rights Reserved.

Fullmetal Alchemist originally began as a manga series about ten years ago, and only recently came to an end.  It has spawned two anime series, the most recent and faithful adaptation being Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

This story is wonderful.  It’s set in an alternate world, around the early 1900s, where a form of alchemy coexists with then-modern science.  Our tale follows two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who in their zeal to study alchemy committed one of its greatest taboos–attempting to resurrect their mother through human transmutation.  The experiment cost Edward his leg and arm, and Al his entire body, reducing him a soul bound to a suit of armor.

The boys are on a never-ending quest to regain their original bodies and atone for their mistakes through service to the State military.  But as they travel and fight for what’s right, the brothers and their friends find themselves locked into the middle of a vast and ancient conspiracy at the heart of their very nation.  Yet the sheer scope of their battle does little to daunt their hopes of success and their refusal to compromise their values in the face of annihilation.

One thing I should point out is that the cast for Fullmetal is huge.  No, I mean, really huge.  But every character has something to offer, whether it’s Roy Mustang and his heroic band of subordinates, the revenge-driven Scar, the Homunculi lurking in the shadows, or the comedic prince Lin and his implacable servants.  Their various relationships are what define this story of war, loss, despair, and redemption.  The very brotherhood of human beings is the heart of this story.

So how to sum up this tale?  When it’s not being hilarious, it’s heartwarming.  And when it’s not heartwarming, it’s just plain awesome.

Bibliography: Fullmetal Alchemist (manga).  Written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa.  Tokyo, Japan: Enix (2001 – 2003), Square Enix (2003 – 2010).  August 2001 – June 2010.

Fullmetal Alchemist (anime).  Directed by Seiji Mizushima.  Written by Sho Aikawa.  Prod. Bones, Funimation Entertainment.  Cartoon Network (Adult Swim).  October 4, 2003 – October 2, 2004.

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (anime).  Directed by Yasuhiro Irie.  Written by Hiroshi Onogi.  Prod. Bones, Funimation Entertainment.  Cartoon Network (Adult Swim).  April 4, 2009 – July 4, 2010.

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