Fullmetal Alchemist is undoubtedly one of the most popular Shounen anime series. With numbers comparable to Naruto, Dragon Ball, One Piece and Bleach.
The story mixes science, mysticism, fiction and relationships based on love and friendship. A lesson in companionship and affection. It also shows what we are capable of helping others – even more so if it's blood!
FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST – THE BEGINNING
The acclaimed work was written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa – one of the few women from the 90s to conquer space in the world of mangaka (Japanese comics).
With its first appearance in Japan in the magazine Shonen Gangan - a monthly magazine that publishes several chapters of manga, being Fullmetal Alchemist his most famous – on July 12, 2001, Edward Elric's gripping story took the hearts of fans.
Compared to other series of the same genre, fullmetal Alchemist was on newsstands for nine years, ending on September 11, 2010. The 108-chapter series was spread across 27 volumes.
FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST – THE ANIME
The most traditional Anime receive more than a hundred episodes incessantly and are very successful. It even has several stories – as is the case with Dragon Ball – and many arcs.
However, most of Arakawa's series success was due to the manga. The anime had two versions with a difference of five years of publication between them. The first saga was released on October 4, 2003, being finished a year later, October 2, 2004.
This first version was titled as just Fullmetal Alchemist, while the April 5, 2009 version was named Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, heading towards the manga. It was also completed a year later, on July 4, 2010.
The first had only 51 episodes, while Brotherhood reached 64 episodes. The two tell similar stories, but with different styles. The 2003 series had strong touches of drama, while the 2009 series brought the audience a more humorous and relaxed version.
One of the openings of the second version of the Anime:
FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST – BRAZIL, GAMES, LIVE ACTION
In Brazil, the comic book saga was proclaimed by JBC – Japanese-Brazilian publisher. The anime was shown by the cable TV channel Animax. It was also on open TV, where young people watched it on RedeTV!.
Although the anime doesn't have as many episodes as the others, a medium that yielded a lot of fruit for the author was the games. In all, there were thirteen, that's right, games for the Game Boy Advanced (GBA), Playstation 2 and Playstation Portable (PSP), Nintendo DS (NDS) and Nintendo Wii platforms.
Like Bleach and Death Note, Fullmetal Alchemist won a live-action adaptation based on the manga. It premiered in 2017 in theaters in Japan and is currently available in the huge Netflix catalog.
In addition to this film, there were also two others in the animated version. The first one on September 8, 2006 with the subtitle of Conqueror of Shamballa. On April 24, 2012 there was The Sacred Stars of Milos. Both are approximately an hour and a half long. While the stories are not part of the anime and manga, they are a nice addition to all the wealth Arakawa has built up.
Another remarkable fact for the saga's earnings were the six light novels – illustrated novels based on the anime/manga style – written by Makoto Inoue. Despite not having participated in the script, Arakawa illustrated each of them.
FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST – THE PLOT
The main device to win the hearts of readers and viewers is the magic involved in the stories, whose main matter of creativity is surrounded by alchemy.
Alchemy is the precursor of chemistry. In antiquity, this modern science was replaced by practices that involved rituals and procedures that, according to its scholars, would bring many beneficial fruits to humanity.
It was, of course, a failed attempt by the “scientists” to believe that this science could deliver what they were promising. One of the interesting points was that alchemists believed it was possible to turn things into gold. A short time later – about 300 years later – it was discovered that protons are incapable of moving from the nucleus of the atom.
Therefore, it was not possible to rub a dead mouse skin on another material to transfer the proton particles until the gold proton number was obtained. That was one of the promises of alchemy.
However, the most famous – which has also been the subject of a movie by the famous little wizard Harry Potter – is the philosopher's stone. This mystical article had the ability to cure all diseases, including the most perverse of them: death.
Sometimes treated as a substance - despite the name stone attached to it -, whoever ingested its contents would become cured of all evils and able to receive eternal life.
Fullmetal Alchemist's Sleeve
If you want to buy some volumes of the manga you can access below:
FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST – THE PLOT
the universe of Fullmetal Alchemist tells the story of two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who receive a penalty for trying to bring their mother back to life.
This world is a mixture of the European industrial revolution era with a society in which alchemy is really a science – it can even be considered an art.
The failed attempt to bring the mother back to life caused damage to the brothers. Edward's idea of using an extremely advanced alchemy ritual caused his brother to lose his entire body and he lost his left leg.
To save Alphonse, Edward had to sacrifice his right arm to bind his brother's soul to steel armor. The feeling of regret, combined with the longing for their mother, makes the two set off in search of the only jewel of alchemy capable of repairing all this damage: the philosopher's stone.
However, there was no trace or even rumor that an alchemist had obtained such an artifact. The only way out Edward found was to join the State Military of Amestris. With that, he had obtained the necessary materials for his in-depth study of the alchemical arts.
This passage of the plot is followed by Edward's famous phrase: "I know it was a stupid decision, but I will keep lying in this bed of thorns until I reach my goal.” His goal was to bring his brother back in the flesh.
Edward's genius made him the youngest alchemist ever to become a military man. However, the only reason that made him join the feds was the possibility of having, at hand, the necessary materials for his study.
The work of a soldier in the country of Amestris consisted in eliminating some races belonging to the universe of Fullmetal Alchemist. Soon, Edward, in doing his service, conquers allies, but also many enemies.
Most of the races present in the series are humans who used alchemy to mutate. The main ones are: humans, homunculi, chimeras.
One of the biggest enemies Edward makes – unintentionally – are the Ishbalians, another race present in the series. This people had a great part of its species decimated by the military of Amestris. Scar is one of the few survivors of the Ishbalian race seeking – clearly – revenge on his people.
Homunculi are a powerful race because they contain pieces of the philosopher's stone in their genetics – how? Just watching the series to know. Later they reveal themselves to be the main villains.
The first part of the saga makes readers and viewers passionate about the Elric brothers' quest to find the philosopher's stone. However, over the course of development, it is revealed that the homunculi control the Military State of Amestris.
“Father” is the name of the villain of this final arc of the plot. Your goal is to transform all the nations of the universe. And there were only two people capable of stopping him, Edward and Alphonse.
CURIOSITIES ABOUT THE SERIES
– Having an influence of the industrial revolution and periods of war that really happened – such as World War II –, one of the villains present in one of the plot arcs is Adolf Hitler.
– Despite the five-year difference between the animated series. The only anime that faithfully followed the manga was the Brotherhood saga. The first 2003 version only followed the written story until volume 25.
– All this creativity started after Arakawa read about the philosopher's stone. This was the starting point for her to start researching more about the “science” of alchemy.
– After having understood what this fantasy universe was like. The author decided to give a touch of war and the modern world to her stories. Being that the Second World War was her biggest influence. He read several books and watched many documentaries about the war and post-war periods.
– A good example of war influence, too, in the plot was during one of the most famous arcs of the saga: the War of Ishval. Arakawa wrote this part of the narrative based on the accounts of several post-war soldiers.
– Just like JK Rowling had to abbreviate her name to avoid being directly recognized as a woman. Arakawa had to change the spelling of his name. Hiromi Arakawa is her real name, while the name Hiromu – in the Japanese language – is a masculine derivative.