Fridge: Fullmetal Alchemist

This is the page for the manga and Brotherhood. For the 2003 anime, see here.

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    Fridge Brilliance 
  • The Elric family:
    • Edward's color scheme is that of the Magnum Opus. His shirt, pants, shoes, and the Flamel on his coat are black (Nigredo), his gloves (and maybe even the whites of his eyes and the fact that he's Caucasian/European) are white (Albedo), his eyes and hair are gold (Citrinitas), and his coat is red (Rubedo). Because Hiromu Arakawa is just that brilliant. (Brilliant enough to know that Fullmetal Alchemist would be her Magnum Opus.)
    • How did Ed transmute himself into a philosopher's stone, invade Pride's being and destroyed him from the inside out? He'd already pulled that trick once before, way back in episode 41 when he used his soul as a philosopher's stone to heal himself.
    • Edward managed to successfully bring back Alphonse from the dead and keep both their lives intact the process. How did he do it? He eventually figured out what price someone could pay (aside from their own life) to bring someone back from the dead: THE ABILITY TO DO IT AGAIN.
    • In a world where eye color indicates ethnicity better than any other physical trait (red for Ishvalans, blue and brown for Amestrians), why do only Ed (and later shown Al and Hohenheim) have gold eyes? At first, you could mistake this for the anime wanting to make the hero look distinctive, but it makes sense when you take Xerxes into account: Hohenheim and his sons carry the genes of a people who no longer exist.
    • In the first chapter, Ed sits in a church, announcing his disbelief, and explains that humans are made up of common elements which could be purchased "with a child's pocket money." At first thought, this seems to just be a declaration of how inexpensive it is, but the brilliant part was that he wasn't speaking metaphorically, he was speaking from experience. It was a stealth confession. Seemingly nodded to again in the second ending of the second anime, which shows Ed and Al (who look to be the same age as they are in flashbacks to their human transmutation attempt) happily plunking down a fistful of change on the counter at a store and carrying home big paper bags... This, however falls firmly into Fridge Horror.
    • Episode 26 of the English Brotherhood dub has a beautiful piece of fridge brilliance that you really only notice after rewatching/rereading the series several times. To clarify, it isn't the fact that Ed punched open the Gate, but right before he performs that human transmutation. He apologizes to the souls of the Xerxians within Envy's Philosopher's stone, before he uses them. Later, when Hohenheim is using the souls of the Xerxians within him to create a counter to Father's Nationwide Transmutation Circle, he says the exact same thing. It becomes even more epic, when you realize that, in the fight against Pride, Ed turns himself into a one-soul philosopher's stone. And then, all of the comments about Ed being exactly like his father become even more epic. He is literally following his father's footsteps.
    • In one chapter, a group of bandits shoot Hohenheim. The shots break his glasses, as well. Later on, we see his glasses and clothes still in their damaged states. Why didn't he just repair them with alchemy? Because every time he uses alchemy, he uses the philosopher's stone inside of him, which means he uses up part of the souls of the Xerxes people. So Hohenheim makes sure to never use alchemy for trivial things. This is somewhat comparable to a later moment where Alphonse displays similar capacity for understanding the gravity of using up the energy of people's souls. During the battle with Kimblee and Pride on the Promised Day, Al has an opportunity to use Heinkel's Philosopher's Stone to overpower Kimblee and Pride, but he refuses to do it until Heinkel tells him the souls trapped in it want to fight to stop the evil that killed them from happening again. Like Hohenheim, Al will not sacrifice the souls within a Stone until he realizes he's encountered with literally the exact sole situation Hohenheim would endeavor to use the souls in his own Stone for.
    • The first and last opening themes of Brotherhood come from Hohenheim's perspective.
    • When Al is punched in the side by Number 66, he falls to his knees as if winded. Later, we learn that his metal body is connected to his physical body beyond the Gate, so it probably felt the attack, and responded appropriately, making this a case of foreshadowing as well.
    • Come to think of it, since Ed is constantly supplying Al's body with requirements for survival, this means Ed is in decidedly less than peak condition throughout the series. In fact, it's only at the very end that we catch a glimpse of what a peak Ed is physically capable of. After Al transmutes his soul to get Ed's arm back during the final battle with Father, Ed proceeds to, in the words of Hohopapa's outtake from that episode, FUCK HIM(Father) UP! Ed, quite literally, punches out Father. Twice.
    • Hohenheim never officially married Trisha Elric, meaning Ed and Al have their mother's last name. This is most likely for at least two of these three reasons. One, if they'd made their marriage official, it would have been registered and inevitably gotten back to Central, meaning that Father and the Homunculi would have been able to track the family down and use them. Two, it's highly unlikely that Hohenheim actually existed in any database or census taking in Amestris or anywhere else, considering he'd been trying to stay under the radar for five hundred years; he wouldn't have been able to get married legally in any case. Three, even if they were officially married, and even if Hohenheim had a name, he would've recommended the kids adopt Trisha's surname with the excuse that "Edward Elric sounds better than Edward Hohenheim" because he knew he'd eventually have to walk out on the family to stop Father. He didn't want his sons to be tied to his name, especially if they would hate him or otherwise suffer for his not being in their lives. Considering Ed's grudge toward him over it, this was probably a wise decision.
  • Ed and the Military:
    • The military accepts a 12-year-old Ed into its ranks, and the story justifies it. In his entrance exam, Ed used alchemy without a transmutation circle, which let Bradley know Ed had opened the Gate. Since Lust knew that circle-less alchemy meant someone had opened the Gate, we can reasonably assume Bradley would know, too—and he could have received the order from Father if he didn't. Ed eventually discovers the actual purpose of the State Alchemist system: to collect candidates for human sacrifice and keep in them under the military's control/on Father's leash. Since Ed has already performed human transmutation, Father would absolutely want him under his control. As the supreme leader of the military and the direct commander of the State Alchemists, Bradley only needed to say that Ed would pass for it to happen. Ed didn't pass because of his age or his talent, but because it meant Father would gain a valuable piece in his plan — and of their own free will, to boot. Father must have laughed.
    • Out of all the units that Ed could have been assigned to as a State Alchemist, why Roy Mustang's? Why not somewhere more regimented where Ed could have been constantly watched? Several reasons. Father was keeping several of his potential sacrifices in one place. Ed was already a viable candidate, Roy was ambitious enough while Alex could be manipulated through threatening his family (well aside from one elder sister...) and had previously suffered PTSD. Furthermore, many of the soldiers Ed interacted with came across as decent human beings. This gives Ed a reason to stick around when the hammer came down. Rather than Edward just evacuating Risembool and fleeing the country to deprive Father of one of the sacrifices necessary for his plan, Ed would instead stand by his friends and comrades …several of whom were also sacrifices. Basically it boils down to Ed being too strong-willed to easily indoctrinate. As an orphan, Ed had few emotional attachments outside of his own hometown. Give him comrades that could become a surrogate family and Father could be assured that he would stay and fight no matter what and that holds true for Al as well. In other words, Roy being Ed's immediate superior was not an accident.
    • Ed receives the code name "Fullmetal Alchemist" because he used the metal in the floor for his alchemy exam (and his two automail limbs). This establishes the premise that alchemists' code names are based on their skills, which is ultimately a clever smokescreen. Likely, the State gives codenames to alchemists in case the person in question finds out about something they shouldn't. The State has to think of a certain person whenever someone says their alchemist name so as to find someone the State can use to blackmail the alchemist into silence. Ed would think of Winry (who built his automail) and Al (who has a "body" made fully of metal). Riza, who gave the Flame Alchemist a source of alchemy research and serves as his closest confidante, ends up working for Bradley. This even extends to Shou Tucker, the Sewing-Life Alchemist: the phrase "sewing life" brings the idea of birth to mind—which means children like Nina Tucker. As for the Strong Arm Alchemist…well, that one's spoken for itself for generations. This is made evident in Chapter 56/Brotherhood Episode 29, when Wrath forces Ed and Roy to remain State Alchemists and keep their mouths shut by threatening the people they love.
  • Lust the Lascivious:
    • Why does Lust not actually act, well... Lusty? In Christan doctrine indulging in sex is not a sin because it is a necessity, what is a sin is to invoke lust in others. Seems Father reads the bible.
    • Alternatively, it could just be that Lust is a symbol for sexual lust while having a personality of bloodlust.
    • Lust was a sin of Father, who's true form is a little, genderless ball of shadow. Father would logically lack a sex drive, and thus Asexual his Lust also would lack a sex drive.
    • It could also be more as a non-sexual derivative of the traditional definition: lusting for power from and over other people. Related to greed and envy, but more manipulative in nature.
  • Envy the Jealous:
    • Hohenheim's explanation of Pride's appearance also gives an explanation about Envy's powers; envy is coveting what someone else has. His powers correspond to this by easily allowing him to become that "someone else".
    • Also, Envy's true form is green in color.
    • Not to mention Envy's true form is an incredibly pitiable embryo-looking creature. Another reason why he envied us so.
    • Jealousy is natural. Envy is to wish harm to someone out of jealousy, which isn't natural. Let that sink in for a moment…
  • Fuhrer President King Bradley:
    • Mrs. Bradley slapped her husband the first time they met. He promptly started hitting on her. Given that he's Wrath this makes so much sense. Of course, you then realise how Wrath and Mrs. Bradley's more intimate moments would be like. Though that may also be a plus for you.
    • This extends to his first appearance in the manga, where he wholeheartedly approved the match between Edward and Roy. Or when you consider that he never reported to Father that Ling wrestled control from Greed for an instant, out of sheer anger at Wrath's belittlement of humanity. He probably thinks that these displays of anger are Actually Pretty Funny.
    • Consider Bradley's sympathetic backstory and how it is recounted in the Brotherhood adaptation. In the manga, it was something of a Pet the Dog scene which made you pity Bradley, despite all of the awful things he had done and would do in the future. In the anime, however, Bradley, in keeping with being a somewhat literal That Man Is Dead example, is narrating his own life objectively and thus completely understands that he was turned into a monster by evil people, but yet he still follows them. By doing this, it shows that he's Not Brainwashed, but rather is doing evil willingly.
  • Selim Bradley:
    • When you meet Selim for the first time pay attention to the conversation he has with Ed and Al, about how he calls Xing's alchemy the alchemy of an inferior country and how he wants to be useful to his father. This isn't anything out of the ordinary seeing how he is the son of the Fuhrer and would be taught this mindset. However, later it makes sense when you think about it when he is revealed to be Pride.
    • As King Bradley talks with Mustang in his office, he mentions how the reason he was shaking during Maes Hughes's funeral was out of anger because of Elicia's crying. When Roy brings up Selim in turn, he states that Selim is better behaved and responds to Roy's what-if about Selim finding out his own father's a homunculus by saying that Selim will never be a weakness in his life. Well, of course he's not scared of his son being used as a weak point by his enemies when his "son" is actually his oldest and most powerful brother in disguise.
  • Homunculus Father:
    • Why would Father manufacture a secret army if he had planned to turn the country into a philosopher stone before it could be used? Why does said army look like him? Answer: He was creating a nest.
    • An omake shows Father getting a lifetime subscription to a newspaper. In the end of the series, we find out his intention for causing the entire plot.
    • He's greedy, and continues to be so even after he discards Greed from his body, meaning that, in a way, he embodies the sin of Greed more than his son.
    • This excerpt from the FMA Wiki sums up Father's hypocrisy quite nicely: "Though it's stated numerous times that Father has expelled all of his sins, it's interesting to note he acts in a way similar to that of the sins: He seeks power at all costs (Greed); views humans as "ants" (Pride); devours souls with no self-control (Gluttony); has a desire for a family like humans (Envy); prefers to let others do his bidding for him (Sloth); feels anger towards any opposition, principally Hohenheim (Wrath); and lusts after becoming a perfect being (Lust)."
    • Getting into Mind Screw territory, Father commits at least three of those sins against the corresponding desire. He subjects Sloth to hard labor, steals from Greed (more than once), and treats Pride more like a tool or a trained animal than an ally. A rather disturbing trend, potentially going into Fridge Horror when considering Lust...
    • The opposite may be true, actually. Minus his sins, Father is an empty shell of a personality in a way. He briefly demonstrates a capacity for kindness during the time that he has his Greed in him (as Greed himself noted that the desire for friendship is a form of Greed), but apart from that, Father doesn't really do anything but continue mindlessly following his plan. Up until the climax, he's an object in motion, forever remaining in motion because there is no opposite force to act on him, but without any sense of conviction or desire to remain so.
    • Plus, the thing about pride? You see all that make you what you are as valuable. If Father was so full of pride, he'd never want to abandon his prized sins in totality-yet at the same time is too arrogant to admit he sees value in humanity. Simply put, Father's pride makes him unable to abandon his sins-fitting, given pride is considered the sin that leads to all others.
    • Envy, despite saying that he's better than us puny humans, is jealous of our qualities. Could this be how, deep down, Father feels?
    • Despite being the closest thing to Satan, Father is the farthest thing from the sterotype we associate with the Devil. Considering how Father(and traditionally the Devil) has a god complex, he'd want to look the part—even down to intentionally defying the stereotype in pretty much the same way.
    • He is even going for the entire Catholic Trinity: He is the Father (Obviously) and he is (because of the nature of the Homunculi) the Son (Sons and Daughter, considering Lust). The last part he is looking to acquire is the Holy Spirit (Truth).
    • In Brotherhood, Father's voice seems incredibly strained like he's struggling to say or pronounce certain words. Then he takes off his "skin", which has his talking become much more fluent, because the body is holding him back.
    • In the stinger for episode 28 of Brotherhood, Father finishes off Gluttony and reabsorbs his stone back into his body, promising to revive him with all of his memories intact. Now, you might ask yourself why he would do this, as it doesn't serve him any strategic purpose, and his 'love' for his 'children' is largely just a front. But near the end the series, Hohenheim suggests that Father created the homunculi so that he could have "family". Yes, as much as Father acts like an uncaring and manipulative bastard, his act of resurrecting Gluttony with his memories restored proved to be an act of fatherly love, however twisted it may have appeared to be.
    • Father narrates Brotherhood.
    • The homunculi are named after the seven deadly sins. In the manga, they were all created by Father. Therefore, Father's name is a clever Stealth Pun. First, it makes the Homunculi the quite literal "sins of the father." Secondly, it makes him the "father of sin", fitting the Satan analogue like a glove. The fact that he did this on purpose, as he didn't start calling himself Father until after he founded Amestris and made the other homunculi, only further strengthens the Satan analogy, in particular mirroring Lucifer's unmitigated vanity to think he deserved to be God.
    • Why did Father/Homunculus want to become a god? At first he claims it's because he wants to become a perfect being, but think about what his original goal was: To be freed from his flask. Now fast forward to his death scene, where he wails that all he really wanted was to be free. What do we call a being that has no boundaries or limitations of any kind? A God. Father wanted to become a god because godhood represented absolute freedom to him, freedom being his underlying motivation.
    • When reading 107, it finally hit why despite having Father rid himself of his 'sins' in the form of the homunculi, he still seemed to posses enough greed to go after Godhood. The avarice he imparted on Greed wasn't absolute as the Ultimate Shield made us believe, no, the thing he wanted the most in the whole world were friends and companions like Ed has. Everything else he was after was misdirected greed on his part.
    • The final battle against Father is one massive Fridge Brilliance. After getting what he thinks is the power of God, his first real taste of power is against people who were once human, or are still human. In the end, Father is defeated by human hands, not by alchemy he created, not by a Homunculus (though Greed plays a role in defeating him), but instead by a single punch by Edward. He's defeated by the same people he thought were simply pawns and fuel for his actions.
  • Ling Yao and Greed:
    • Ling's appetite and shifty cleverness, coupled with his desire for immortality and power, is clever foreshadowing to him becoming the new Greed.
    • Greed never lies. He always keeps his word, because if he doesn't, he won't "own it." Get it?
    • By the end of the manga/Brotherhood series, Greed becomes FULL of Fridge Brilliance. We already know about all the foreshadowing in his actions leading to the inevitable realization that what he always wanted more than anything was to have True Companions. But let's take this one step further. One of the overarching themes driving the story is that nothing in this world can match the value of the human soul. Under the laws of Equivalent Exchange, it's the whole reason using human transmutation to revive the dead is doomed to always epically fail. One way we could describe friendship for the purposes of this entry is the freely and earnestly decided bond between souls. Greed's truest desire isn't a mere subversion of greed—it's the ultimate application of greed! What he desires above all else is the most valuable thing on earth! That last statement is all but confirmed by the "right answer" which Ed gives in order to finally get Al's body back from Truth, btw.
    • Taking this further, Greed's rebellion against Father makes total sense when you remember that Father is, again, a Satanic Archetype. Father, like the Devil, trades in corrupting and devouring souls as a defining part of his agenda. Likewise, FMA's conception of the soul as the most valuable property of a human being and the logical conclusion thereof that anyone who would trade it away to achieve some earthly goal is cheating themselves is also preceded by The Bible (and other religious texts). As Mark 8:36 famously asks, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?" When Greed cited having his own ambitions as the reason he refused to come back to Father's side, he was speaking a larger truth than he'd even imagined—his great desire ran both directly against and far higher than Father's! Again, Truth would concur, given his stern lecture towards Homunculus upon the latter's return to the Gate.
    • Greed and his minions were hopelessly outmatched and destroyed by King Bradley when Bradley raided the Devil's Nest. After returning later in the series, however, he puts up a much better fight. In fact, he even goes as far as to engage Bradley extending his Ultimate Shield only over his arms and still gives him the fight of his life. To make sense of this, one has to remember just how he returns: in Ling's body. Sometime after stomping Greed and killing off his minions, Bradley ended up in pursuit of Ling and Lan Fan. Seeing how the Xingese royals that crossed into Amestris are far more skilled than Greed, they were able to elude Bradley. Second Greed wasn't stronger, he was more skilled thanks to Ling's martial arts prowess and Stone-sensing ability.
  • Pride, being the most powerful homunculus, has powers of all the other homunculi:
    • His shadows can pierce anything like Lust's spear and Wrath's sword.
    • He can eat things much larger than his entire body like Gluttony.
    • He can hide inconspicuously amongst the public and control a person’s body similar to Envy, although Pride is much more limited in this regard.
    • Like Sloth, he can lift heavy objects with no effort, as seen when lifting Al, and can move quickly. Unlike Sloth, Pride can only do this in the darkness.
    • At first it appears he doesn't have Greed's Ultimate Shield…except if you watch when Heinkel is trying to kill him, even though his clothes are repeatedly torn by lion's claws, he never once bleeds. Heinkel was explicitly not holding back and even said as much. Pride has Greed's Ultimate Shield on constantly, without ever looking less than human.
    • After having his container and powers destroyed, we see Pride's true form: a tiny, unassuming infant. What was Father's true form: a tiny, unassuming shadow ball. Like father like son, huh?
  • Ling vs. Bradley:
    • Why did King Bradley lose the ability to regenerate when he was turned into a Homunculus, and Ling didn't? Because Ling didn't really "fight back". Bradley explains, when he revealed his backstory to Roy, that after the experiment he only had one soul left in him, as opposed to other Homunculus who have multiple souls. Their regeneration and long lives are due to them consuming multiple life forces. This also explains why Bradley ages.
    • During his fight with Bradley, Ling says that Bradley is no true king to which Bradley retorts that "There are no true kings in this world!" At first it seems odd for him to say that, being that is Fuhrer KING Bradley. However, it makes sense as the series goes on because Bradley is the ruler of the country yes, but he's just a servant of Father. Thus, to him there is no real kings or rulers because every ruler will have someone controlling them.
  • Kimblee and Pride:
    • The two's interactions counter each other. First off, Kimblee essentially represents light with his white suit, specialization in alchemy based around bright explosives, and alchemical circles tattooed on his hands that involve the sun and moon, which are both symbols of light. On the other hand, Pride obviously represents darkness and shadow, which can easily see by looking at his powers. As such, Kimblee and Pride's interactions are light and darkness (or shadow) working together in tandem. And this makes Kimblee being devoured by Pride a moment where the shadows engulfed the light.
    • Kimblee's motives for screwing over Pride and helping Ed. It wasn't a Heel-Face Turn or a last ditch effort at revenge. No, it was actually true to Kimblee's moral code and objectives. Kimblee runs a bit on Orange And Blue Morality—he respects those who possess values. Doesn't matter how good or bad those values are, just the strength of conviction in the beings who hold them. He made it clear when he earlier tried to recruit Ed to help him hunt Scar that the reason why he sided with the Homunculi was to egg on the war between them and the humans because he wanted to see which species was truly superior. By Pride deciding to take over Edward's human body, swallowing his pride of being a Homunculus in the process, he both answered Kimblee's question and pissed the smooth criminal off.
  • Regarding the deaths of the Homunculi:
    • Roy Mustang, who is known as a womanizer, is the one to kill Lust. Bonus Points: By showing up, he stops her from killing Hawkeye.
    • Armstrong, who's been constantly berated by his sister for not putting his full effort into the war, kills Sloth. Bonus points: he kills him by making him fight so hard he didn't have the energy to heal himself.
    • Selim kills Gluttony by EATING him.
    • Envy and Greed get themselves killed, both in manners that are almost paradoxically befitting of the sin they represent. Specifically: Envy commits suicide out of shame and humiliation when a mere human being feels pity for him. Greed was melted down for his most valuable part.
    • Wrath is killed by Scar, a man consumed by hatred for humanity because of his troubled past. Bonus points: Scar uses Creation Alchemy (which he and almost all other Ishvalans HATED) to help him do so. And for extra bonus points: King Bradley, the Sin of Wrath, died peacefully.
    • And finally, Edward, the one who was so confident in his abilities that he thought he could play God by bringing a human back to life, is the one to defeat Pride and send him back into his true form. Which was foreshadowed in chapter 83: "Now that I think about it, the moment I decided to become a dog of the military, I gave up any pride I might have had anyway!"
  • Truth and the Gate:
    • How can the armored Alphonse talk to himself (the skinny, naked Alphonse) beyond the gate? Because the skinny, naked Alphonse is actually Truth, wearing his body the same way he wears Ed's arm and leg! This also explains why Truth comes off as a Jerkass God — we usually only see Ed's version of Truth...
    • In addition, Truth says that he "is you," and thus acts similarly to how the person seeing him does: Nice to Al, rude to Ed until he learns his lesson, after which Truth praises Ed, and downright evil to Father/the Dwarf in the Flask. So basically "Truth-kun" is the part of you, a "One", that is connected to the Universe, the "All". Or, viceversa, an avatar of the "All" who is specifically connected to a "One".
    • It goes further. a body of Al tells him that it will return him, when Al chooses to abandon his body, when seeing in what condition it is, and goes to his armor. How can anyone except Truth return Al?
    • In Brotherhood, Gluttony and The Truth both share a large smile with big, square teeth. While this may seem coincidental, they are the only characters to hold the said attribute, perhaps foreshadowing that the two are connected through Gluttony being Father's failed attempt to synthesize The Gate, technically making Gluttony a gatekeeper like The Truth.
    • Whenever the Truth takes something from someone, it takes the entire body part: Ed's leg, Al's body, Izumi's organs. On the other hand, Roy only lost his eyesight, not an actual organ. Since he didn't really commit the taboo, he got a lighter version. Crosses into Fridge Horror once you realize that had he actually preformed human transmutation, he would have likely lost his eyes. Which is exactly what happened to Jude in the OVA The Blind Alchemist.
  • Maes Hughes:
  • Isaac McDougal:
    • From the first episode of Brotherhood, Isaac the Freezer brought about some very deep foreshadowing, especially with the phrase "Do you know what shape this country is in?!" About a dozen episodes later into the anime, we find that Amestris isn't as what we originally believed, especially being the main base of operations for Father, his homunculi, and his soldiers that are devoted to his twisted cause, and we were assumed he meant that. THEN Ed pieces together all the outbreaks that happened over the years of the country's following with help of Valman listing them, and when he connected the dots... it showed the pattern of a transmutation circle. All within the round shaped country. Ed realizes this in-universe too when he flashes back to what McDougal was ranting about.
    • You know how Isaac is Still Wearing the Old Colors despite his open disdain for the military and their actions in Ishval? That's because even in his madness, he still fights to protect his country—perhaps now more than ever, knowing the truth he foreshadows.
    • Isaac was probably able to activate multiple transmutation circles from a distance by using alkahestry. This, combined with how he went from merely being disgusted at the military's actions in Ishval to figuring out what sinister havoc was getting ready to be wreaked on Amestris, hints at historical and alchemical knowledge that he most likely would've had to obtain by making the same pilgrimage through the Great Eastern Desert into Xing and back that Maria Ross later made over the course of the series.
  • The Sacred Star of Milos:
    • We see young Julia collapsing upon seeing her dead parents and the apparent death of her brother, Ashleigh. When he reappears and retells that scene from his perspective, the flashback shows Julia already unconscious before he is attacked. What seems like a plot hole at first glance is actually a hint that he's lying and is not Ashleigh at all.
    • Ed tells Julia that the Sanguine Star will consume her soul if she eats it. Now many people online seem to think something like that doesn't make sense in the series. However, let's think again about two of the Homunculi. Both King Bradley/Wrath and Lin/the Second Greed are Homunculi made by injecting a Philosopher's Stone inside a human body. Now if one recalls as well, Wrath's stone consumed the souls of all previous candidates that failed to contain it until it got into the 12th candidate, who became Wrath. And even then, he had burned up every soul in the stone save for one because he resisted it—to the point he doesn't even know if the one was his original soul or one of the Stone's. And in contrast, when Lin accepted Greed, no souls were consumed in the process. Now if we look again at the movie, both Julia and her brother swallowed a Star of Milos, which is simply another Philosopher's Stone. In a way, they did just like Wrath and Greed. The main differences are that their stones, or rather Stars, were not made by Father, thus did not held any kind of Sin/Homunculus within them, and the souls weren't taken directly, but through the blood of those killed for it. However even without a Sin/Homunculus inside of the stone, there was still the risk that the Stars' combined amount of souls can consume the soul of the one that swallowed it, or at least affect it to an extent. This might border on Fridge Horror when we consider the possibility that the Stars could have essentially turned Julia and her brother into pseudo-Homunculi, or made them immortal. But then again, probably due to the difference in creation, their Stars seemed a bit limited compared to the Amesterian Stones.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins and their opposites.
  • In Brotherhood, why are the Elrics' old family photos in color? Color photography was already been invented by the start date of the events of the story, but you'd hardly expect ALL the photos, including Ed & Al as babies, to be in color, especially coming from a small town like Resembool...] Good old (analog) Photographs only became commercially viable once the optimal chemical composition and processes needed of negatives and how to "fix" (develop) them were found. And an entire country full of enthusiastic state-funded alchemists (aka proto-Chemists) will definitely have an advantage in speedily finding said chemicals...
  • When a lot of the Japanese voice cast was replaced for the new Brotherhood adaption, many fans were upset. But as the plot took off, the new voices made perfect sense... because they highlighted the differences between the versions of the characters. For example, Roy is less cynical and more earnest this time around, so his younger-sounding voice is perfect. Riza's voice is higher and sweeter, which fits her more empathetic portrayal. Envy's more sadistic and masculine sounding voice suits just how much he loves to Kick the Dog.
  • Why does Father's separation of his sins and eating Truth ultimately lead to his reabsorption into the Gate? When he's fighting Hohenheim in episode 55, Father says he won't "lower himself to [humans'] level. When Ed goes into the gate a few episodes later, Truth asks him if he's willing to lose alchemy/lower himself to the level of normal humans to save Al, and he replies that he's been an ordinary human all along. Ed's answer is what lets him and Al leave with Truth's blessing, and saying/believing the opposite is where Father went wrong.
  • The whole sequence where Mustang and his crew are staging a coup in Central? It's Operation Valkyrie! Or rather, it's Operation Valkyrie if Colonel von Stauffenberg had succeeded. The conspirators use an explosion to kill the Fuhrer, then systematically take control of the capital while pretending to be suppressing a (nonexistent) coup by those closest to the Fuhrer (the generals in FMA, the Schutzstaffel in Real Life). All signs suggest that they will succeed, but then comes an unforeseen complication: the Fuhrer comes onto the radio saying "Hi guys, I'm not dead. My, my, some people have been naughty."(In FMA, it's because Bradley is Wrath and in real life they didn't use a big enough bomb). Of course, throw alchemy, homunculi, and the Briggs Bears into the mix and the game changes entirely.
  • Dr. Marcoh refers to the Philosopher's Stone as "the Devil's research", and anyone with a conscience who at first wants to use it but then actually discovers what needs to be done to create one quickly goes through Heroic BSOD and agrees with him. This seems like it's just a commentary on how evil it is to wipe out large swaths of people for a powerful artifact. But consider the significance of the soul in this whole deal. The cost of the stone is specifically taking people's souls, and going through with its creation anyway is the kind of act that would get someone described metaphorically as having no soul. This is entirely fitting when accounting that the obvious Satanic Archetype that is the Big Bad of the series and the driving force behind the creation of the likely very first Philosopher's Stones is a homunculus, a creature often described in the series as an empty shell or a soulless body. The true underlying reason why the Stone is called the Devil's research is a clear Lampshade Hanging about Father himself, and the reason most people know about the Stone first and then have to look around to learn the price for making one is by design because the Stone is used as a tool to draw people into Father's personal Illuminati. And since Father's Homunculi offspring were the ones giving Marcoh's research team their marching orders to create the stones they did, it only fits that the good doctor would connect enough dots to know this on some level.
  • In episode 61 of Brotherhood, Pride attempts to take over Ed's body to replace his own, which is slowly crumbling. Given that he thinks rather lowly of humans, this seems rather dishonorable for someone named Pride, and it is. But that's the thing; he represents the sin of pride, not the virtue.
  • During the hilarious scene where Ed and co. walk in on Winry changing and chaos follows, throughout the scene, part of the chaos is provided by Den constantly barking in the background. Note that the whole time, Greed is holding onto Den, which is probably why the dog is barking—animals go crazy when in the presence of homunculi.
  • The Amestrian flag has the Alchemical Dragon (the same on Xerxes' stone circle, also shown in the book Ed an Al are reading with the 'Perfect Being' foreshadowing; the one devouring the sun: both the Philosopher's Stone and the 'dragging god to earth'. Amestris' flag is saying "Citizens of Amestris, you are all going to die". Talk about hiding in plain sight.
  • Ed and Al have a lot in common with Scar and his brother. Ed sacrificed his right arm to bring his brother back. Scar's older brother sacrificed his right arm to save Scar.
  • After Scar is rescued from being attacked by Lust and Gluttony, he stays incredibly still and asks stuff like where he is and how he got there. Besides the obvious reasons for asking, from what we know of his backstory, he would definitely want to double-check every single fact of his rescue so he doesn't make the same mistake he did with the Rockbells.
  • Being a Japanese work set in the West, it explores the fears prevalent in Western society. First we have the seven homunculi, who represent vampires, being that they are souless, not restrained by human rules or morality and drink "red water" made of human souls which grants them power and immortality - an obvious allegory for blood. Wrath even dies when hit with sunlight (it blinds him suddenly, giving Scar an opening). Given that vampires are seen as those who have rejected god and thus cannot walk in the sunlight (the sun is used as a metaphor for God in the first episode) and it even occurs while Wrath lectures Scar about there being no god. And in the first anime, they are literally the undead. The Chimeras represent werewolves, being humans with the power, abilities and (to some extend) instincts of beasts. The mannequin soldiers are zombies, no explanation needed. Finally, Father represents our more modern (and equally ridiculous) fears, namely both aliens (he comes from beyond the gate) and artificial intelligence (he was created by human scientists). Today we are afraid of slightly human yet more powerful beings disregarding our worth and killing/enslaving us, such as AM in I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream and Skynet in Terminator and basically every alien invasion story in existence.
  • There is a reason as for why Hohenheim's plan to destroy Father's body (implanting in Father the souls he himself possesses in order to destroy him from the inside) did not work as planned. When he sheds his "skin", we see eyes appearing in the darkness that covers the ceiling. Father's own lair is his emergency container for when he doesn't have a proper body. This reflects how Pride is able to move his shadow freely in the tunnel underneath Amestris but he's restricted near his "container" Selim when outside.
  • Sloth can move fast—he usually doesn't, because he's lazy.
  • During Chapter 21 of the manga, on the train ride to Dublith, Sig and Izumi talk about why she accepted the Elrics as apprentices. Then Sig states that there's no room for them, to which Izumi replies that it's not needed yet. The reason Izumi deserts the boys on Yock Island for a month was not only to train their minds and bodies, but also to give her time to make room for them, because she could innately tell that they would succeed in figuring out her riddle.
  • In the beginning, Lust tells Gluttony he can't eat Cornello as that kind of trash would make him sick. In actuality, she needed his body intact so Envy would be able to impersonate him.
  • Winry's unknown inspiration to Ed's choice in the finale.
  • It's almost blink and you miss it, but during their fight under Central, both Hohenheim and Father transmute dragons at each other. These dragons both have rather specific designs, a Chinese style for Hohenheim and a more western style for Father. Fridge kicks in when you remember that Hohenheim helped found Alkahestry in the Oriental based country of Xing and Father brought Alchemy to the very much Western and Central European based Amestris.

    Fridge Horror 

  • In Episode 1, the ice alchemist is trying to kill Bradley for what he did to Ishval. He's trying to protect the world from him. When we learn about the conspiracy and the homunculi, his actions suddenly make perfect sense.
  • The cycloptic flesh golems which eat people are pretty gruesome, but if you take a good look you will notice that they have all flat teeth. Ow.
  • The fifth ED from FMA Brotherhood is clearly from Hohenheim's POV and addresses Trisha. At one point, the lyrics, "I watch as the shards of memories disappear one by one; the memories of when you were still with me." The image while this is being sung? Hohenheim's house. Which Ed and Al burned down. Now we know what he was thinking when he returned home after all those years. This is also perhaps why he took the family photo—he was worried Ed would destroy that too.
  • The chimeras are regular animals alchemically combined. Some chimeras talk. A talking chimera indicates one of the 'animals' used to make the chimera was a human. Long after the horrifying revelation this inevitably led to, the military went on to display talking chimeras of their own, better talking chimeras, that were in fact basically still the human but with animal form and enhanced instincts. What Shou Tucker did gets even worse on one of two different levels now: either it was completely avoidable as well as pointless and the military let him go ahead with it to keep their own secrets or they performed an autopsy on the first dead chimera and found out it had been human, thus kickstarting the whole human-chimeras plot. In either case, they also noticed that Tucker was an untalented idiot (thus also unfit for human transmutation), so they kept him in the dark while putting the gold-toothed doctor in charge. Nina only suffered because the military didn't trust Tucker enough to get him involved.
  • It is implied that the souls inside the Philosopher's Stone suffer from incredible pain; this is worse once you consider that the souls inside of Father and Hohenheim have been Philosopher's Stones for more than 400 years. Thankfully, half the Xerxians are in body of Hohenheim.
  • It is shown in the manga and in the second anime that Marco has found a way to destroy the Philosopher's Stone and that one's soul could act as a stone as is shown later; that means he would be able to destroy your soul.
  • Since Father was made of Hohenheim's blood, that means Ed and Al, are related to the homunculi, being Hohenheim's sons and parts of Father respectively. The horror fades, though, when you imagine them having a family reunion, and since Ed, Al and Father are of the same generation, that means Ed and Al are the homunculi's UNCLES! One of the bonus comics acknowledges this. The Homunculi ask their uncles for money.
  • At one point, Lust and Greed have a kind of flirtatious (in a threatening way) conversation. If you think about it, that's an odd combination of Brother-Sister Incest and Selfcest.
  • Episode 48's second commercial card depicts Gluttony looking panicked. At first you might think it references the fact that he has just been getting his chubby butt handed to him by Lan Fan, then about five minutes later Pride, his older brother, devours him. May also double as Fridge Brilliance.
  • So Hohenheim has about 536,329 souls in his body (not including his own, obviously), that are all conscious and fairly aware of what's going on around Hohenheim, meaning they probably see and hear most if not all of what he hears, so there's a good chance that 500,000+ people were there in his head, even during intimate moments with Trisha. Also bathing and changing clothes with that many people in your head might have been a bit weird... no wonder Hohenheim is such a Cloud Cuckoolander.
  • A small one for shippers. Ling mentions that the Emperor has 50 wives and that they bear all his children. At the end, when Ling becomes Emperor, he gets 50 wives and none of them are Lan Fan.
  • When the Homunculi dies, they turn to dust which in turn stain people's clothes or worse enter everyone's lungs. Nothing more horrifying than having those particles of Homunculi inside your biological system.
  • So if Sheska/Schieska/Scheska was buried under all those books, unable to dig her way out under her own power...what would've happened had our heroes not stumbled across her apartment when they did?
  • If Father became affable after reabsorbing Greed due to the latter representing his desire for friends, then how must he have been before expelling Wrath? Could Greed’s departure from the group have been an attempt to escape from the wrath of a demigod?
  • At the end of Chapter 58 of the manga, during the flashback of the Ishval Civil War, the Ishvalan members of the military are imprisoned. Remember why the Elric brothers went to the Fifth Laboratory? Because condemned prisoners are used as Stone ingredients there, being the easiest people to "disappear" with little to no questioning. At the start of Chapter 59, the first Ishvalans are used in experiments to create a philosopher's stone. If you look closely, sure enough—the imprisoned Ishvalan Amestrian soldiers and the first Ishvalan Philosopher's Stone victims are one and the same.
  • The Philosopher's Stone is said to grant an alchemist the power to violate the laws of Equivalent Exchange. With The Reveal that the Stone imprisons souls and converts them into high energy, this statement seems to be proven as technically false. However, the show's motif about the value of the human soul still applies when it comes to the Stone—the transmutations are still governed by natural law, they can still be undone by other transmutations, and even the Stone's brand of immortality can expire depending on how frequently the souls are used up. To create and use the Stone is to destroy human souls for a superpower battery with incredible yet ultimately finite power. It's both a technical violation and an ethical perversion of Equivalent Exchange.

Fridge Logic

On the headscratchers page.