“Humankind cannot get anything without very first giving other in return. Come obtain, miscellaneous of same value must be lost. That is Alchemy’s very first 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 essential day to a great deal that people. Aside from the German Reunification (and now I sit right here wondering how many of you space going come Google that to make sure I’m right), that is unofficially well-known as “Fullmetal Alchemist Day”. The fanbase of Hiromu Arakawa’s “Fullmetal Alchemist” decided this date thus because that is the job in story that protagonists Edward and also Alphonse Elric burned down their family members home, in addition to their childhood memories, therefore they wouldn’t have the ability to turn ago on their search for redemption. Together such, I assumed I would talk around the book, the themes, that impact, and, most importantly, what it way to me.

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And i guess the is as good a suggest to start as any. To put it simply: “Fullmetal Alchemist” is my favorite story in the medium. Not just “favorite manga”, mine favorite item of sequential art storytelling. That is the story that i compare every comic to, nevertheless genre, of being creator-owned or work-for-hire or whatnot. Subsequently, you can additionally blame mine love because that this book for as soon as I criticize company-owned nature for not evolving their characters and concepts or simply outright ending a franchise.

But i am gaining ahead the myself. So, first things, first:

What is Fullmetal Alchemist?

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

And as it is desire to, things go colossally wrong, which results in Edward losing an arm and also a leg and also Alphonse shedding his body, his life only saved by Edward gift able to affix his younger brother’s heart to one old fit of armor. From there, the two start a journey to find the legend Philosopher’s Stone, a problem that enables Alchemists come bypass the law of indistinguishable Exchange in stimulate to obtain their bodies back. What adheres to is an adventure that takes them all across their country and backs them right into some really interesting corners and also meeting a actors of incredibly complicated and infinitely likable and also dangerous characters.

Now I know what the is, what’s it about?

“Fullmetal Alchemist” wears it’s themes proud on that sleeve. The largest example deals through that aforementioned “Law of equivalent Exchange”. Like the quote over says, it is about how to attain something, one need to prepare and be willing to give something up. The Elric brothers gave up precious parts to them, even though what they received earlier wasn’t what lock wanted. This design template is additional exemplified v Colonel Roy Mustang and his own path the redemption by ending up being the leader that Amestris, the country the story is located, in an attempt to atone for his own sins. What is he ready to walk through and who is he ready to sacrifice in bespeak to achieve this?

Revenge is a good theme in this publication as well and also the idea of the bicycle of Revenge. Unlike publications like “Naruto”, which bludgeoned you end the head with this till it lost all effect, the layout is done with a lot defter hand here. The clear character the end for revenge right here is Scar, a man from the country of Ishval the was destroyed by Amestris in, and I’m serious as soon as I contact it, “The Ishval battle of Extermination”. As such, the has end up being a hunter, a serial killer after State Alchemists that did the majority of damage to his country and also his people. Together he proceeds onward and also discovers the true function of the war, his ideals start to go under a fascinating metamorphosis as well.

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Cultural identity is additionally a major topic. Scar is one manifestation of the horrors of the fate of Ishval (a stand-in for middle eastern countries scarred by war). One more Ishvalan of interest is major Miles, one of the few Ishvalans in ~ the Amerstrian armed forces that was not imprisoned or executed. His own view is different from Scars is the he looks for to readjust systems from within. This is partially as result of the influence of his very own superior officer, major General Olivier Mira Armstrong’s very own methods and philosophies.

Finally, household is a huge theme in the book. That is your family? to what lengths do you go to defend them? Is family members by blood or by link or both? These inquiries are looked at varying from Ed’s own difficulties with his father, to the truth that the key villains are essentially brothers and sisters, come a bunch that outcasts united under a charismatic leader, Greed. Family was the catalyst that began the story and also it is the final image of the series we see.


All the Ladies!

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

And these personalities aren’t reduced from the same “Action Girl” cloth that sneers on traditional “feminine” traits. There’s selection of personality, skill, and morality. There’s the perky and optimistic Winry Rockbell who is a skillful automail (think prosthetics yet kinda steampunky and awesome) mechanic and also a medic, the young alchemy prodigy might Chang who is established to discover the secret of immortality to conserve her family members but also likes come daydream around cute boys. And then there’s Izumi Curtis, alchemy teacher come Ed and also Alphonse and within the top three badasses the the series (eclipsed through Hohenheim and also Father… maybe) that takes pride in the reality that she’s a housewife.

Of course, there room those female personalities that take on an extremely “masculine” traits and plays with them and make castle work. Probably the biggest example is the above-mentioned significant General Olivier Mira Armstrong. She’s commander of among the most expert military devices in Amestris, an pure badass v a sword, shrewd strategist and also her viewpoint centers around “Survival of the Fittest”. That being said, she is no without empathy, loves the soldiers under she command and also it provides her every the cooler because that it.

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

It’s affect on Me?

It was the early-mid 2000s. Ns had decided to start relocating away indigenous superhero comics (partially since books favor “Titans/Young Justice: Graduation Day” and also “Identity Crisis” were everything I despised around the huge 2). Like most of my generation, we were in the ideal spot as soon as the anime eight really began in America. Dragonball Z, Rurouni Kenshin, Cowboy Bebop, Gundam Wing and more.

And then Fullmetal Alchemist concerned Adult Swim and also there was no going earlier for me.

The first anime was the an initial one where I watched and immediately wanted to pick up the original source material. The dub carry out by Funimation to be the an initial one whereby I proactively looked because that the voice gibbs names (and come this day, i can’t clock the an initial anime in Japanese). Devouring the manga end the years, it was one that i examined because that storytelling conventions, subject resonance and also pacing. That led me to want to learn around manga and comics top top a an ext technical level. In fact, if it wasn’t because that FMA, I more than likely would not be ~ above this website reviewing comics and writing this editorial.

But it no just influence my love because that the medium. There was something an ext to the story. If Fullmetal Alchemist didn’t offer me my approach or moral code, it assisted focus and also crystallize it. It helped me learn what I think to be several of the strongest traits we as humans deserve to have and also what I proceed to work-related on as myself:

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Edward Elric teach me the nothing comes complimentary and that you have to provide to receive.

Alphonse Elric teach me that kindness and also empathy no weaknesses.

Winry Rockbell taught me to never ever underestimate my own skills.

Roy Mustang teach me how to value my friends.

Riza Hawkeye taught me that loyalty can be a virtue.

Maes Hughes teach me to cherish and care because that family, even if it reasons you to be a goofball.

May Chang taught me that ns shouldn’t let mine ambitions protect against me native doing what’s right.

Ling Yao and also Lan fan taught me to never ever forget those who help you.

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And finally, something that I will certainly forever love for this series: I had the ability to share it v my tiny brother. If he just watched the two anime adaptations, the is something we can bond over, discuss and also love together. And also considering how well us usually get along, the is other major.

I can go on and also revisit so many awesome, hilarious, poignant and downright tragic moments that I had actually with this series. To put it simply: Fullmetal Alchemist hold an enormous place in my heart and also I very recommend anyone check it out.