Fullmetal Alchemist / Tropes G to P
aka: Tropes G-P

Tropes for the Fullmetal Alchemist manga and Brotherhood

Entries G-P

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    G 
  • Gadgeteer Genius: While gifted mechanics are common in the story (such as Pinako Rockbell, and Garfiel and Dominic and most of the business in Rush Valley), Winry is a particularly standout example because of her youth; she fashioned Ed's first automail at the age of eleven.
  • Gaiden Game: Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel/Curse of the Crimson Elixir/The Girl Who Succeeds God are side-stories to the manga (even though they use some music from the first FMA series).
  • Gainaxing:
    • In the episode where Lust reveals herself to Roy and Havoc (although Havoc already knows her as his girlfriend, Solaris) the camera zooms to the tattoo on her chest as they gasp, "The Ouroboros!" The camera stays on her chest for a beat, and then her breasts suddenly go 'Boing!'. Literally. That's the sound they make. Then we see Roy and Havoc, with Lust in the background, still boing-ing, as Roy says, "I can see why you were deceived by her..."
    • Riza gets a minor one as well in an early episode when she pulls a gun and shoots at Barry the Chopper. God bless you and your dedication to realistic movement, Bones Animation Studio.
  • Gallows Humour: It goes so far that deceased characters appear on the flap of the manga volumes ascending into heaven and in Omakes parodying their own death. Ed and Al's mutilation and their resulting anguish is played for fun more than a few times too.
  • Gambit Pileup:
    • In later chapters, with Roy, Olivier, and even Grumman's plans set in motion, it's hard to tell who's manipulating whom. Father and the Homunculi still have a hand in everything that is going on.
    • The train ride to Table City in Sacred Star of Milos. The Elric brothers, border security, the guy the Elric brothers are currently looking for, a chimera who's also after the guy the Elric brothers are current looking for, and a bunch of bat-wing glider-wearing Mooks with guns all collide and start fighting everybody else (except for the Elric brothers working with border security) and trying to accomplish their own goals while either trying to stop the train or keep it moving.
  • Gambit Roulette: Father's plan involves the creation of a whole empire from scratch!
  • Game Between Heirs:
    • The Xing royal family displays this. Ling and May, two potential successors to the throne of Xing (out of over forty others). All of them are searching for the best way to prove that they will be the best to succeed the throne, and these two decide to seek out the philosopher's stone in hopes of obtaining a method to give immortality to others. Ling wins, but he swears to protect May's clan with his power.
    • The Armstrong patriarch has Alex and Olivier fight for leadership of the family. Olivier wins, and it isn't even close.
  • Gate of Truth: Trope Namer
  • Gender-Blender Name:
    • The male Ashley Crichton from Sacred Star of Milos.
    • Olivier Armstrong; "Olivier" is the French male form of "Olivia".
  • General Ripper:
    • Many of the top military brass, most prominently General Raven, are not above using their influence to impede the heroes' actions in the name of selfish desires.
    • Olivier Mira Armstrong also looks like this, but since her original position is actually border patrol with a hostile nation, it's kinda justified. Plus, her actual perspective is a combination of knowing that her soldiers are both more than tough enough to take it and unwaveringly loyal to her.
  • Genius Bruiser:
    • Alphonse and Major Armstrong look like Dumb Muscle at first glance, but they're anything but dumb.
    • Darius and Heinkel both fare fairly well at chemistry when Ed challenges them both to mentally break down dynamite into its component elements while he's actually doing it for real.
  • Genocide Backfire:
    • Father annihilated the entire nation of Xerxes and let Hohenheim live as thanks for giving him blood. Hohenheim then spends the next few centuries or so plotting against him, and is instrumental in taking him down when he tries to do the same to Amestris.
    • The Ishval massacre at Bradley's orders greatly reduced the Ishvalan population within the country. It's these remnants that Scar and company rally to form a counter-circle to Father's plan.
  • Gentle Giant:
    • Alphonse is a tender-hearted young man stuck in a giant suit of armor.
    • Major Armstrong straddles this and Boisterous Bruiser.
    • Sig Curtis is a portly butcher who can and will beat the crap out of you, but adores his wife.
  • Geometric Magic: Alchemy, which relies on transmutation circles.
  • Get Ahold Of Yourself Man:
  • Ghibli Hills: The countryside around Resembool is gentle and picturesque.
  • The Ghost: The Emperor of Xing. He's never seen on-screen, but his desire for immortality is the motivation behind Ling and May's actions.
  • Giant Equals Invincible: Subverted. Envy thinks this is the case when he morphs into his true form, but it just gives Colonel Mustang a bigger target.
  • Giant Eye of Doom: The huge gray eye that appears during the failed resurrection and sometimes in the doorway of the Gate.
  • Giving Up the Ghost: Ed gets smacked so hard on the head by Winry's wrench and starts bleeding profusely to the point that he passes out. His soul starts to drift out of his head wound, and Alphonse grabs it so it doesn't get away.
    "I've got your soul, brother!"
  • A Glass of Chianti: Not wine, but this trope seems to be invoked when Father drinks the Philosopher's Stone residue after melting down Greed out of a fancy-looking chalice.
  • Glasses and Ponytail Coverup: Riza Hawkeye puts on a pair of glasses and lets her hair down for her civilian disguise as "Elizabeth."
  • Glory Hound: Several of the less sympathetic military officers.
  • God Before Dogma: After the exposure of Father Cornello and his cult as frauds and the bloody uprising that followed, it seems that the people of Liore have adopted this philosophy. They tore down the church but kept the statue of Leto (their god).
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: How the Elrics got in their current condition — a human transmutation gone wrong. Later events reveal that it's impossible for human transmutation to ever go right.
  • Good Colors, Evil Colors: Masterfully inverted during the Ishval flashback in Brotherhood, where everything is depicted in monochrome except for the characters' eye color. In this flashback, though, the Amestrians, who were the attacking party, had blue eyes, while the Ishvalans, who were the victims, all have red eyes.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars:
    • Wrath has an evil scar over his Magical Eye.
    • Scar has an anti-heroic scar.
    • Roy gets a heroic scar on the back of his right hand when he cuts a transmutation circle on it to incinerate Lust, and a huge burn that presumably scarred.
    • Riza has a burn scar on her back that is technically heroic, but subverts the trope in that it's ugly.
    • Ed has a heroic scar where his automail arm connects, and another that appears repeatedly on his forehead.
  • Go Out with a Smile:
    • Sloth. "Living is too much effort", indeed.
    • Also Buccaneer, who died along with Fu to finally wound King Bradley. Manly Tears were shed.
    • Chapter 105, Bradley, while saying that his life had been a good life.
    • In chapter 106, Kimblee, who helps Ed defeat Pride by restricting his movement, is seen doing this just before fading away.
    • Chapter 108, Hohenheim dies happily in front of Trisha's grave. Greed dies smiling after realizing he has friends.
  • Gorn: The manga and Brotherhood are fairly violent. Characters are speared, blinded, disintegrated, burned to ash, shot, stabbed and eaten. No age group is spared. Homunculi especially are torn to bloody ribbons, over, and over, and OVER with shots of viscera and exposed bone common, with every bone, muscle, and sinew are given special detail in close-ups as they grow back. Awesome, but disturbing.
  • Government Conspiracy: The homunculi and all the upper echelons of the military are in on a plan to turn the country into a giant philosopher's stone and gain immortality, and the corrupt politicians rationalize it by claiming to use it to form a utopia, even though they're just unwitting pawns.
  • Grand Finale: Chapter 108 is a whopping 113 pages and leaves no plot thread hanging.
  • Grand Theft Me: Subverted. Trying to pull this on Ed is a good way to get your ass kicked.
  • Gratuitous English: Justified — if newspaper headlines and signs are anything to go by, Amestris is an English-speaking country.
    • "Aye, ma'am!"
    • The third opening has a LOT of English phrases thrown in.
  • Green Rocks: Red, actually. Philosopher's Stones allow you to do basically anything with alchemy.
  • Grim Up North: Briggs, a fortress in the harsh, wintery north that defends the country from Drachma. The soldiers that are assigned here are invariably tougher than, say, Central soldiers.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up:
  • Guinea Pig Family: Shou Tucker and his wife, daughter, and dog.
  • Guns Are Worthless: Used and subverted. The Homunculi can be slain by them if killed enough times, though alchemy is much more effective since they can make them need more flesh regenerate. The super, zombie soldiers released by Central can only be killed by destroying the crown of their heads, something that is nearly impossible to do with bullets alone. Hawkeye lampshades this trope in one chapter...
    Riza: They don't work on anything these days...
  • Guyliner:
    • Pride seems to develop this to highlight his evilness near the climax of the anime, also to go along with the Animation Bump.
    • Also, Kimblee.

    H 
  • Handicapped Badass:
    • Havoc during his "pension", who changed from paraplegic ex-soldier into civilian smuggler who can smuggle artillery and such from a remote country into a militaristic country.
    • Mustang is blinded towards the end of the series by Truth as punishment for performing Human Transmutation. It doesn't stop him from helping fight Father.
    • Ed lost his right arm and left leg to Truth as punishment for performing Human Transmutation. He kicks lots of ass thanks to automail replacements.
    • Izumi lost a number of her internal organs to Truth (noticing a pattern here?) as punishment for performing Human Transmutation. She kicks even more ass than Edward, despite this event having taken place years prior to the start of the story.
    • Buccaneer's missing an arm (though not because of Human Transmutation for once). Like Ed, he's got an automail replacement. It doesn't stop him from fighting Wrath, a guy that can go one on one with a tank.
    • Lan Fan cut off her own arm to use as a diversion to escape from Wrath and Gluttony. It doesn't slow her down a bit once she recovers.
  • Hands Off My Fluffy!: May saving Scar from the Elrics.
  • Happily Ever After: Amestris is saved from Father's Evil Plan, Father is defeated, Ed gets his right arm back while Al gets his body back, Hohenheim finally gets his wish to die and rest in peace, and Ling gets to become Emperor of Xing and promises to take in all the other clans of the royal family. Finally, Ed and Winry get married and possibly Al and May too.
  • Happily Married:
    • Izumi and Sig Curtis.
    • Maes and Gracia Hughes.
    • Even if they weren't technically married, Trisha and Hohenheim could count.
  • Harmless Freezing: Generally averted — everyone Isaac freezes dies, while the Briggs arc emphasizes how walking around in the snow with regular metal attached to your body could kill you. Justified when Sloth is frozen however; he's no worse for wear due to having the regeneration powers of a Homunculus.
  • Healing Factor: The Homunculi all have this power (save for Wrath), being powered by a Philosopher's Stone. The only way to get over it is to destroy the stone or force them to regenerate until they use the whole thing up.
  • Heal It with Fire: Mustang. As said on the page, bonus points for doing himself. He also sears Havoc's wounds shut.
  • Heaven Above: The doorway to God/The Truth in Fullmetal Alchemist apparently lies above the Earth, right in front of either the Moon or the Sun. It's hard to say which, since the door is opened during an eclipse which allows the villain to obtain the power of God.
  • The Heavy: Different characters fill this role at different times. At first Gluttony, Lust, and Envy drive the plot. Later Wrath is the main threat with Sloth and Kimblee taking over at Briggs. After that Pride takes over for a short time before the finale.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Ling Yao and Greed. Ling spends a lot of his earlier scenes in the series picking sides based off of who he felt could provide him with the most information on immortality, such as running around with Barry the Chopper. Greed on the other hand was already a defector from the rest of the antagonists to begin with, but he goes through losing his memory and working for them again, regaining his memories and becoming an Ineffectual Loner with a taste for taking over the world, and then finally performing a Heroic Sacrifice, cementing his place in the series as an Anti-Hero.
  • He Knows Too Much:
    • Hughes, who realized the entire Government Conspiracy far before anyone else. Many of the main characters are threatened and watched very closely for knowing too much.
    • In Brotherhood, this is revealed to be why Isaac McDougal was killed. What? Did you think his line about "what this country is trying to do" was just insane blabber? HAH!
  • Hell Is That Noise: When the mannequin soldiers are awakened during the Promised Day.
  • Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: Greed displays a variant of this. He can encase his whole body in impenetrable armor, but almost never protects his head (because it's unattractive), even though it's repeatedly endangered (he's shot at least twice, and is almost beheaded at one point). He finally conjures the head armor when he's about to be hit by a rocket.
  • Hermetic Magic: Alchemy can accomplish damn near anything if someone performs the associated rituals for the transmutation properly. Specifically, circles are required, and the formula within said circle defines how the gathered energy is channeled. Even when Edward Elric and others who can transmute without arrays do so by clapping their hands, it's explained that the requisite circle is represented by the ring formed by the alchemist's arms when they 'clap'. The big sign that Hoenheim and Father are truly abnormal is the fact that they don't even need to do that.
  • Heroic Bastard: Ed and Al, as Trisha and Van Hohenheim never married (Edward says their parents were never 'registered'). They are given their mother's surname.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: More than once.
    • Greed sacrifices himself to save Ling and attack Father from the inside. He succeeds.
    • Especially in chapter 107 when Al uses his soul to give Ed back his arm, so Ed (who is pinned back and without his automail arm) can avoid being killed by Father.
    • Al really seems to like this. He also gives up his chance to get his body back so he could fight in a strong state. And a couple of chapters before, lets himself get trapped in a huge dome with Pride.
    • Subverted in the same chapter. After being badly wounded by Wrath, Scar seems to be headed for this, but we find out later that he was found and given treatment by the Amestrian military, and survived.
    • And even earlier when Fu tries to take Wrath down with him, with several sticks of dynamite tied around his body. It was almost a Senseless Sacrifice, since Wrath just cut the fuses (along with Fu's stomach), but it allowed Buccaneer to pull one of these off himself, finally wounding the homunculus.
    • Also subverted in 108 in the case of Hohenheim, who offered to use the last of his power to get Al back. However, Ed takes the third option.
  • Hero Killer:
    • Scar, who kills the Rockbells (heroic), and several State Alchemists (less than heroic). This is before he fully transitions to Anti-Hero.
    • The Homunculi (especially Wrath) tend to overpower and kill several supporting characters.
  • Hero Stole My Bike: In Chapter 82, Ed and the chimeras steal a rich couple's car at gunpoint to escape from the military - which Ed then jazzes up with a little alchemical disguise. (Earlier in Chapter 45, the same couple had had their car confiscated by Mustang and Hawkeye).
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Scar went from a victim of genocide by alchemy to hunting down and killing every state alchemist he could find... with alchemy. Later on, Ed, Al, and Winry pretty much call him out on this. Then Riza, Ed, and even Scar try to keep Roy from falling into this.
  • He Will Not Cry, So I Cry for Him: Winry does this for Ed and Al at first, until Ed asks her to stop as it only makes things harder for him. He promises her that the next time she cries for him they'll be tears of joy and he and Al would be back to normal. He keeps that promise!
  • High Fantasy: albeit set in some form of the early 20th century, but all the elements are there.
  • Highly Conspicuous Uniform: Most of the State Military wears a blue uniform. It doesn't really blend in anywhere, but is excusable (sorta) considering the time period. But then they go to fight in the desert. Instead of giving more practical desert colors, the solution? Issue white burnouses out to the soldiers, which blends in better to a degree, but is an extra layer to wear in the desert and they still wear blue underneath.
  • High-Pressure Blood: When Riza has her throat cut to force Roy to open the Gate, we have a Discretion Shot where all we see is a huge burst of blood exploding in the air. Then we see the thug with the blade drop Riza. It doesn't work that way!!!
  • Hilarious Outtakes: An extra in the final volume of the dub.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Ed uses alchemy to cause a blackout in order to gain an advantage over Pride, who can't use his powers in complete darkness. The characters can't see, but to the audience, the lighting is only slightly darker.
  • Hollywood Healing: Justified with Kimblee at Briggs, though, when General Revan and the Gold-Toothed Doctor use a Philosopher's Stone to heal him from his near fatal injuries acquired during the fight against Scar back on the moving train. Major Miles even lampshades it.
  • Hope Spot: Near the finale, Briggs troops capture Central, Bradley seems deposed, the mannequins are being dealt with, the corrupt military brass is killed or captured, and Olivier announces that they've won... then Bradley shows up, rallying the loyal troops, and opens a can of whup-ass. He defeats an enemy tank singlehandedly with his swords and a single well-placed grenade.
  • Hostage Situation:
    • To keep Ed and Mustang in line, Fuhrer Bradley subtly threatens the safety of Winry and Hawkeye. He also transfers Roy's other subordinates to distant places, but specifically makes Hawkeye his personal assistant. By holding the women they care about over their heads, he effectively makes both alchemists unable to (visibly) go against him.
    • Bastard-doctor-with-the-gold tooth has one of his zombies slit Hawkeye's throat to get Roy to do a human transmutation - he tells Mustang, in short, "You leave her like this and she'll bleed to death, but do a human transmutation and I'll cure her." Mustang initially freezes up and can't make a decision, until Hawkeye gives him a help-has-come eye signal; then he refuses, keeping his cool until the Chimeras pull a Big Damn Heroes moment. (Well, if you can call staring at her with tears in his eyes and begging her to answer him "keeping his cool"...it's difficult to say how he would have coped without the assistance of May's lifesaving alkahestry.)
    • Inverted when it's the "good guys," aka Mustang's team of rebels, that kidnap Mrs. Bradley. The hostage part of it is eventually subverted as well, when they prove to her that high-ranking government officials are involved in a sinister conspiracy and she allies herself with the rebellion, helping them gain the public's acceptance.
  • Housewife: And God knows Izumi won't let you forget it!
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl:
    • Sig and Izumi. He's a stout butcher while she's a slender woman much smaller than him.
    • The tiny May with both Scar (a tall, buff monk) and Al (a sentient suit of armor). No longer the case by the end, where she grew much taller by the Distant Finale.

    I 
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Late in the manga Scar reveals that during the Time Skip he was able to complete his brother's research and duplicate his "creation" arm.
  • I Am Not Weasel: Shao May is constantly confused for a black and white cat rather than a tiny panda—not that an Amestrian would know what a panda is. There's also the fact that, while searching for Shao May, the characters encounter a black and white cat that does look like a panda.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Zampano and Jerso, who hate being chimeras and just want to go back to being normal humans. Averted with Darius and Heinkel, who actually like their alternate animal forms and decide to stay as chimeras.
  • Icarus Allusion: A parallel is drawn between Icarus and the Elric brothers, who believed they could successfully perform human transmutation despite the fact that no one ever had before. Of course, they failed.
  • Iconic Item:
    • Ed's watch (in-universe, this applies to all state alchemists) and red coat. Lampshaded in the manga when Ed enthusiastically buys a length of red fabric to remake his coat, saying he 'needs all the luck and morale he can get'.
    • Roy's gloves. Justified, as he needs them to use his alchemy; Riza's got a whole briefcase of backup pairs.
    • Other examples include Bradley's eyepatch before The Reveal, Buccaneer's automail arm, Major Armstrong's gauntlets, and Major Miles' glasses.
  • Identification by Dental Records: Mustang fakes a death by making artificial teeth through dental records, and they were good enough to fool most doctors. However, he needed the rest of the body to get away with it, so he made the bet that Dr. Knox would lie when examining the "corpse".
  • Idiot Ball:
    • May is pretty easily conned by Envy into going back to Central, where they can escape and rejoin Father, as opposed to taking them to Xing, where they'd be isolated from the other Homunculi. Justified due to being a preteen.
    • Envy seems to get an idiot ball that gets heavier and heavier as the series goes on. They start off fairly capable acting as Father's spy and infiltrator, but after that, fall for trick after trick and transform to their larger, more easily hit form even when it would be an obvious disadvantage. By the end they're being outsmarted by a child and goaded into enraging off Mustang.
  • Idiot Hair:
    • Ed, who tries using it to cheat on his height! Especially hilarious when Olivier threatens to "cut off that ridiculous antenna."
    • Mustang has one but it's easier to see from certain angles. (Mustang's appears to come and go, depending on the seriousness of the scene.)
    • THE IDIOT HAIR HAS BEEN PASSED DOWN THE ARMSTRONG LINE FOR GENERATIONS! Seriously, even a flower lady that's been working for the family (for generations) has one!
    • Maes Hughes and Denny Brosh have them as well, though Hughes's usually points down instead of up like most examples.
  • If I Do Not Return:
    • When Ed prepares to transmute himself to bust out of Gluttony's stomach. Ling gives the standard response.
    • Captain Buccaneer gives such a request to General Armstrong. She doesn't follow through, giving the officer in charge of keeping track of the time they spend down there a broken watch.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him:
    • Scar is actually aware of this, and goes on killing State Alchemists anyway, believing that he's already beyond redemption, after killing Winry's parents during his huge Freak Out!.
    • Scar himself lampshades this when applying the trope to Roy Mustang during his "fight" with Envy.
  • I Got Bigger:
    • Ed eventually grows from being the shortest of the main cast to a respectable height throughout the series.
    • May Chang is even shorter than Ed, but looks like she's roughly doubled in size in the Distant Finale.
  • I Have Your Wife: Used several times by villains who keep the heroes, Ed and Roy in particular, on good behavior by threatening their loved ones. Eventually turned back at them by Mustang's rebellion, which kidnaps Mrs. Bradley and shows her that her husband and his supporters are the bad guys, winning her over and helping them win support from the populace.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Ed to Ling when he gets turned into the new Greed. The latter shows signs of snapping out of it when Ed mentions Lan Fan.
  • The Illegal: Played for laughs with Ling, although it later serves the plot when Ling is in the right place at the right time (i.e., in prison). Mentioned again in chapter 108.
  • The Illuminati: Between the symbolism and the massive evil conspiracy, Father, the Homunculi, and Central Command are very much this trope without the name, to the point their defeat becomes that much sweeter for any viewers that may have heard of it.
  • Image Song: Ed, Al, Ling, Lan Fan, Riza, and Winry have at least one. Ed and Al have two duets. Roy has a song too, but there's no actual singing.
  • Immortality Immorality: Father has the requisite dickishness that comes with being a living, breathing Philosopher's Stone. Plus the homunculi.
  • Immortality Seeker:
    • The emperor of Xerxes sought eternal life, and played right into Homunculus's hands by creating a giant transmutation circle that doomed his entire country, turning it into a Philosopher's Stone.
    • In the present day, the Emperor of Xing wants the secret to immortality, which is the reason his children Ling and May are in Amestris.
  • Immune to Bullets: Lampshaded.
    "They don't work on anything these days."
  • Implacable Man:
  • Implausible Fencing Powers: Wrath can kill a tank with a sword.
  • Improbable Age: Much is done to justify twelve-year-old Ed being accepted into the military, the most significant of which is Ed's ability to use alchemy without transmutation circles.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Riza Hawkeye manages to pull up a sniper rifle and shoot Envy (in human form) with it. Apparently she just does not care that it is nearly impossible to hit someone with a sniper rifle (even at close range) without carefully aiming first. At Ishval she was called 'The Hawk's Eye' (as creative as that was) because of her improbable aiming skills.
  • Incurable Cough of Death:
    • Trisha's illness is portrayed this way before her passing.
    • Subverted with Izumi. She has the cough and blood everywhere, but she doesn't die from it. In fact, it's usually Played for Laughs. Hohenheim partially heals her.
  • In-Series Nickname:
    • Ed refers to Father as a "bearded bastard".
    • Envy insists on calling Ed "Pipsqueak".
    • Ed's title as "The Fullmetal Alchemist". Pretty much all the state alchemists for that matter have codenames, but only Ed's and Roy's get mileage in the dialogue.
  • Insane Equals Violent: Kimblee, Barry, and the Slicer Brothers.
  • Insistent Terminology: Izumi is not an alchemist. She is a housewife.
  • Inspirational Insult: While at Rush Valley, the promoter of an arm wrestling contest insulted Edward's height which ticked him of and made him fully determined to win the contest. Edward won but Alphonse says it was because Ed used Alchemy.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Dragons!:
    • The State alchemists' watches feature dragons on them.
    • Father and Hohenheim fight each other with dragon-shaped attacks at some point.
    • It's a single frame, blink-and-you'll-miss-it invocation, but after Mustang is blinded and Hawkeye is directing his attacks, his initial fireball from off camera is shaped like a lunging dragon.
  • Instant Runes: Averted with alchemy — you have to draw the array or already have one ready — but a lot of these people are amazingly quick with chalk. Downplayed with May's alkahestry, where she has to throw the knives to form a circle, but the shape that lights up is instant.
  • Intergenerational Friendship:
    • Scar (an aloof older man) and May (a perky preteen).
    • Also General Grumman (an elderly general) and Roy Mustang (a colonel in his twenties). This is especially made clear in the manga, where Grumman says that he wants Roy to marry his granddaughter. (The line becomes even funnier when you know who that granddaughter actually is.)
    • Between Pinako (Winry's grandmother) and Trisha (Ed's mother), especially after Hohenheim leaves.
      • Pinako and Hohenheim could also count, though he is actually the significantly older one!
  • Ironic Hell: Father fully experiences everything that he said about the Truth giving despair to the conceited.
  • Irony:
    • Mustang tells Hughes during the Ishvalan War not to talk so much about his girlfriend on the battlefield since that's how people tend to die in novels. The audience already knows by that point that before Envy kills him he does in fact talk about his wife.
    • The Homunculi all suffer Death by Irony in some way.
    • Father's evil plan was all a scheme to gain true knowledge and freedom by becoming perfect. But he didn't improve upon his actual personality flaws, like his egomania and total lack of empathy, instead focusing on trying to give himself cool godlike powers. The Truth even notes that while his whole plan focused on making himself better, personality wise he never really grew beyond his days inside the flask he so desperately wanted to escape.
  • It Only Works Once: Ed gave up his alchemy in exchange for retrieving Al from beyond the gate. It's not known if this is the default connection, or if this was merely the toll Truth accepted in Ed's particular case, but it's technically the only known successful human transmutation ever performed.
  • I "Uh" You, Too: Even at the very end of the manga, some people still can't get over their chronic Cannot Spit It Out disorder.
    Ed: Winry! Uh... Um... How do I say this? Er... Like an appointment, or a promise, right?
    Winry: Huh? Just spit it out.
    Ed: Equivalent exchange. I'll give you half my life... so give me half of yours!
    Winry: (Confused, then frustrated). Argh, why are alchemists like this?
  • I Want Them Alive: Justified and subverted. The Homunculi need alchemists that have tried human transmutation for their master plan, so they go out of their way to make sure they survive. They're not afraid to rough them up, though, and they will kill them if they prove too big a problem. They have multiple candidates, after all.
    • Ed and Al attempt to take advantage of this when they try to lure out Scar at one point, hoping that would in turn lure out the Homunculi (and allow Ling to capture one).

    J 
  • Jacob and Esau: The Elric brothers. Edward very strongly resembles their father Hohenheim, while Alphonse resembles their mother Trisha both in appearancenote  and kind personality.
  • Jerkass Gods: Despite ostensibly being a neutral force, The Truth seems to enjoy his job a little too much.
  • Jigsaw Puzzle Plot: Various hints are dropped early on about the Government Conspiracy until it all starts coming together much later.
  • Just Between You and Me: Causes Cornello's downfall via Engineered Public Confession, but averted with the homunculi, who never share just what their plan is. Although Envy enjoys dropping hints.

    K 
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Played for laughs with the omakes, which sends a number of morally reprehensible villains to Heaven. Chew on that for a second. The only exception of this is Shou Tucker, who is the only character in the entire series depicted in said omakes to be burning in Hell after his death.
    • Paninya qualifies too; it's made abundantly clear that she's undertaken a large number of thefts before meeting Ed, Al and Winry, yet it is never presented as being more than being an endearing quirk of her personality, which makes it somewhat of a Double Standard as well. How adorable of her to steal from whoever she feels like.
      • Though it's heavily Downplayed by the fact that she later comments that it took the people of Rush Valley a long time to believe that she was really trying to turn herself around.
    • Truth strips Alphonse of his body and Edward of two of his limbs for the crime of wanting to see their mother again, and blinds Roy even though he wasn't the one invoking the alchemical ritual. He does this all with a huge, shit-eating grin and often mocks them for their alleged arrogance. He's never taken to task for his Disproportionate Retribution.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Rather than using some alchemical trick to kill Envy the way Marcoh did, Mustang just torches them over and over again, making sure to do so in the most painful ways possible. Played with in that it's presented as Mustang being just short of the line of being consumed by revenge and he is called out for nearly crossing said line, but it is fairly cathartic. After all, a major theme of the series is that the Cycle of Revenge is wrong and unhealthy.
  • Kill and Replace: In the film Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, Atlas did this to Julia's brother.
  • Kill 'em All: Father succeeds in turning everyone in Amestris into a Philosopher's Stone, leaving just the five sacrifices, the remaining homunculi, Father himself and May (and her panda) as the only survivors. Subverted as Hohenheim made sure that it wouldn't stick.
  • Kill It with Ice:
    • Briggs Brigade intended to do this with Sloth when he turns up by leaving him out to freeze, but he survives thanks to Healing Factor.
    • Also Melvin Voyager a.k.a. Ashley Crichton, Julia's brother.
    • And then there's Isaac Dougal from the first episode, of course. While his main power is transmuting water, he's known as the Freezing Alchemist for a reason.
  • King on His Deathbed:
    • The reason both Ling and May are in Amestris is that their father the Emperor is ailing and will likely give the throne to whichever clan gives him the secret to eternal life.
    • The reason that Father was able to leave his flask in the first place was because he tricked the King of Xerxes into creating a Philosopher's Stone for him by promising him eternal life.
  • Konami Code: There's one written on a door in chapter 47.

    L 
  • The Lady's Favour: Winry gives Ed her earrings as they separate on Briggs.
  • Large Ham: ARMSTRONG'S HAMMINESS HAS BEEN PASSED THROUGH THE ARMSTRONG LINES FOR GENERATIONS! Every other member of the Armstrong family is shown to be just as hammy, particularly Olivier.
  • The Last DJ:
    • Roy appears to be an inversion at first (has no morals and is only after promotions) but we eventually learn that he's a straight example, since part of his plan for what to do after taking over the country include ending the military dictatorship, which would strip away his own immunity from being charged with the war crimes he committed while "just following orders." Riza, who would likewise lose her immunity from the charges, fully supports his efforts.
    • There's also Armstrong, who refuses to follow orders and kill indiscriminately in favor of his own sense of honor and justice, and he flat out gets told that's why he is never promoted.
  • Karmic Death: Many of the homunculi die in a way that involves the sin they embody. Either dying because of the sin, or dying in a way opposite to the sin.
    • Envy's despairs over the pity his envy of humans causes him to commit suicide.
    • Gluttony is devoured by Pride.
    • Pride is defeated by Ed because he shows a lack of Pride by trying to take over Edward's body, causing Kimblee to purposely sabotage him out of pride. Ed's defining flaw his own own pride and ego, as best exemplified at his anger at being called short.
    • Greed II dies performing a selfless act, saving Ling from dying when he's absorbed and sabotaging father.
    • Wrath accepts death peacefully, without regret or even anger at his fate. He is also killed by one who was consumed by Wrath but has managed to put it behind him for the greater good: Scar.
    • Sloth dies in an intense battle against two fitness nuts.
    • Lust is killed by Mustang, who has a reputation as a womanizer (though the Brotherhood Anime doesn't really show it due to compressing or skipping the first few volumes of the Manga the 2003 Anime had covered so it comes across more of an Informed Attribute).
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In volume 14, when Ed comes out of the shower naked and finds out May is inside Al's armor, the guard comes in and says "Stop acting like you're in a manga!"
  • Left for Dead:
    • Lust leaves Mustang and Havoc to bleed to death. Mustang cauterizes their wounds and then proceeds to incinerate Lust until she dies.
    • In the film Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, Atlas did this to Julia's brother, after all, he is Just a Kid.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!:
    • Ling. When he's introduced, he doesn't seem to take anything seriously, he mooches food, and generally acts flippant. He's the last person you probably expect to put up a decent fight against Wrath while carrying his injured bodyguard. Is it any wonder he survived being turned into a homunculus?
    • Dr Marcoh defeats Envy in a single transmutation. Turns out a guy who can create a philosophers stone also knows how to destroy one.
    • Yoki hits Pride with a car.
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: Many off-screen exposition sequences are concluded this way, such as Ed explaining to Lan Fan what happened to Ling and Hohenheim explaining Al his backstory.
  • Let the Past Burn: The Elric Brothers' Origins Arc ends with them burning their late mother's home where they grew up before they go out on a quest to get back Al's body (which was lost in an attempt to resurrect their mom in that very house). They say it's so they won't ever be tempted to turn back from the goal they've set. Hohenheim says its more like a child trying to burn the evidence of their soiled bedsheets after wetting the bed.
  • Life Energy: Souls have power, quite literally. In fact they're what a Philosopher's Stone's made of.
  • Life-or-Limb Decision:
  • Lighter and Softer: Compared to the first anime in some ways. The ending is a lot happier after their journey finally ends, they travel around with a cute little girl and her panda, Homunculi are made from red stones instead of the body of a failed human transmutation, less good characters permanently die, and the ruthlessness of several characters is toned down compared to their incarnations in the first series, or are Played for Laughs like Barry The Chopper. Not necessarily a bad thing, and the dark side of humanity is still shown on several occasions.
    • And despite that, it's simultaneously Darker and Edgier than the first anime; it's bloodier and more graphic, the stakes and atrocities are larger and are explored in greater detail, and the scope of the Big Bad's power and influence are much much greater, making the plight of the heroes almost look hopeless.
  • Light Is Good: Although there are many subversions (see below), this trope is occasionally played straight — the Elric brothers and Hohenheim have both blonde hair and gold eyes and are good guys, and the Phenotype Stereotype features of the Armstrong family seem to be a mark of them being Amestrian nobility; and there are several good blond characters.
  • Light Is Not Good: The very first villain faced is a megalomaniac priest who pretends to be a kind messiah like figure. From there, we also have The Truth, Fullmetal's version of God, who appears as a white form and is quite sadistic and condescending; Scar, who often wears white or other lively colours and had a religious affiliation attached to him at one time; Solf J. Kimblee, who also wears white and has light symbols that form the transmutation circles tattooed on his hands; Pride, a living shadow-made Eldritch Abomination whose powers only works with a source of light; and The Man In White, a gold-toothed scientist who works for Father.
    • Father himself, who wears white robes and resembles Zeus.
      • If you notice, his evil lair is more or less lit up until he sheds his human skin, which leads one to believe that Father was the one emitting that light in the first place.
  • Lightning Bruiser: The gigantic, slow-witted Sloth is the fastest of the Homunculi. As in, you won't even see him move.
    • Also, Scar's biggest asset is his speed. He literally dodges bullets.
    • No mention of Alex Louis Armstrong? He's outsped both Scar and Sloth.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Ed spends years trying to undo his big mistake; Hohenheim spends centuries trying to undo his. Hohenheim even remarks on the trope's presence, saying that Ed is "just like I was at his age."
  • Line Boil: The first ending to the anime.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Several main characters, each with their own supporting casts, the villainous organizations, and the minor characters in every location visited adds up to a healthy number of characters.
  • Local Reference: An offhand comment about an "eastern island" from which Shogi was imported.
  • Lock and Load Montage: Mustang and Hawkeye have this in chapter 50.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: The ending themes are even further truncated in the American airing.
  • Look What I Can Do Now!: When Ed and Ling are having trouble fighting Gluttony Lan Fan shows up and kicks his ass with brand new automail.
  • Loud Gulp: Izumi in "The Tale of Teacher", when she finds out she must survive one month alone in the Briggs Mountains in order to earn an apprenticeship.
  • Love at First Punch: It was implied by King Bradley's wife that they fell in love soon after she slapped him for his rudeness.
  • Love Hurts: Mustang and Hawkeye have each been near-directly responsible for almost all the things in the other's life which cause him/her guilt and pain. Not on purpose, of course, but still. And in spite of this, it's made ridiculously clear that they pretty much can't live without each other.
  • Love Is a Weakness: At least, the Homunculi think so. Wrath certainly has no qualms about using it against Ed and Roy when he threatens Winry and basically takes Riza hostage. It doesn't help that the two men's reactions confirm his choice of targets—Ed flies into a rage, while Roy has a brief Heroic B.S.O.D..

    M 
  • Magic A Is Magic A: This trope lies at the very core of alchemy.
  • Magic by Any Other Name: Alchemy is accompanied by flashes of light, requires mana, and can perform actions that look like Playing with Fire or Dishing Out Dirt etc but Edward is quick to point out that it is not magic but science. He's not entirely wrong, either, despite later revelations that certain fundamental assumptions about Amestrian alchemy, including Equivalent Exchange as they know it, are false.
  • Magitek: Alchemy is used as an explanation for the Diesel Punk setting.
  • Male Might, Female Finesse: Alex and Olivier Armstrong during their fight against Sloth and the mannequin soldiers. Alex uses brute strength and alchemy, while Olivier gracefully fights with flips and her sword.
  • Manly Tears:
    • Armstrong does it a lot (both for humor, and in all seriousness).
    • Ed, on occasion.
    • Al has many moments where he would cry, but can't, due to his "condition."
    • Hohenheim in two instances: one in the Elric's family picture, and the other when Ed tells him Trisha's last words. Ed was actually very weirded out at this reaction.
    • Ling after Fu's Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Roy's moment (blaming his tears on the rain, on a cloudless day) doubles as a Ship Tease moment, since the only person who witnesses the tears is Riza - who agrees that yes, it is raining. Triples as a subtle metaphor. It's raining for two reasons: Mustang's face is wet, and also, he feels useless, which many characters point out as his condition when it rains.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: The Emperor of Xing is apparently expected to try have at least one child with each of Xing's 50 clans. The Emperor at the time of the story, Ling and May's father, has 43 offspring: 19 daughters and 24 sons. Ling is the 12th son and May is the 17th daughter.
  • Match Cut: A Gory Discretion Shot where Ed and Al are about to stab the rabbit with a knife, immediately cutting to them stabbing a fish with a pole.
  • Mauve Shirt:
    • The Chimeras working for both Greed and Kimblee. Kimblee's survive and pull a Heel–Face Turn. Greed's just get slaughtered.
    • Roy's team, as well as Maria Ross and Denny Brosh.
  • Maybe Ever After: For Roy and Riza.
  • Mayfly–December Romance: Hohenheim and Trisha, on account of him being several centuries old. Episode 27 of Brotherhood may even hint at a Jailbait Wait and/or Precocious Crush story between them, as Hohenheim has a dream involving Trisha as a child, asking him to dance, and aging to adulthood as at the end of the dream. The episode is anime-only so the dream isn't considered Canon, but it's not too much of a stretch to think he did know Trisha when she was young, since he was stated in the manga to have been drinking buddies with a younger Pinako, and is centuries old, after all.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • Not dialogue, but in the family photos. The poses of the family members in the portraits of Hohenheim, Trisha, Ed, and Al are largely identical to the one at the end of the series with Ed, Winry, and their kids (other subjects in the photo nonwithstanding). They differ in the expressions of the father and elder child in each: Hohenheim is crying in his photo while holding young Ed by the armpits, while Ed holds his unnamed son while wearing a shit-eating grin which his strongly resemblant son is imitating.
    • Ed repeatedly (and unknowingly) echos things Hohenheim has said or done, despite his resolve to not be anything like his father. This includes his actions when leaving Winry for the Promised day mirroring when his father left Trisha as well as an almost identical line stated by both when using a philosopher's stone
    Hohenheim: Forgive me but I have to use you.
    Ed: I'm sorry but I need to use you.
    • Father's death at the hands of Ed is strikingly similar to the original Greed's death. Right down to quotes being almost exactly the same.
    Father: Now return to whence you were born. Return to my depths and rejoin my soul. Return Greed.
    Ed: Go back to where you were born. Go back to nothing, homunculus.
  • Meaningful Funeral:
    • Hughes gets one. Cue massive waterworks.
    • Roy and Riza have their own private one for her father, Roy's alchemy teacher.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • The Fuhrer is named King Bradley although in his case the name was given to him by the scientists that made him what he is.
    • Sharpshooter Riza Hawkeye (it's even lampshaded a couple of times, especially in the manga where Roy is said to have 'the Eye of the Hawk' protecting him). It becomes more poignant when she becomes Roy's eyes once he goes blind.
    • Everyone in the Armstrong family seems to be ridiculously strong.
    • Roy Mustang is a twofer.
      • "Roi" means King in French - guess who wants to replace King Bradley as Fuhrer?.
      • In the US Navy during WWII, a "mustang" was an officer (usually promoted from the ranks) without any patrons or political help from outside the navy. Roy personifies this (substituting army for navy), although it is uncertain that was planned.
    • "Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim", the full name that Hohenheim was intended to receive, is the real name of the real world's most famous alchemist, Paracelsus, plus Riesenburg (Resembool) being his home.
    • Amestris was the real-life consort of the Persian king Xerxes. Homunculus turned Xerxes into a Philosopher's Stone, and intends to do the same with Amestris. It's also meaningful in another way, as Amestris was regarded as despotic by Greek historians.
    • Ścieżka is Polish for 'path'. She fittingly leads Hughes on the road to unlocking the conspiracy.
    • Of course all of the Homunculi as well.
    • Xingese alchemy is called alkahestry. "Alkahest" is an ancient name for the Philosopher's Stone, while also being the hypothesized ultimate solvent. Now think, what school of alchemy was used to remove Father's dampener and used to destroy Envy's philosopher's stone instantly?
  • Mid-Season Twist: Episode 7 of Brotherhoodnote  reveals that the Philosopher's Stone is made by sacrificing numerous, living humans.
  • Mildly Military: Increasingly subverted. The Amestrian military initially has more of the feel of an urban police department than an army, but Amestris is also a military dictatorship— all government officials are members of the military, protest against the government is responded to with military force, and to be a licensed alchemist is to be a member of the military.
  • Militaries Are Useless: Subverted: at the very beginning, Edward Elric confronts the Head of the local Corrupt Church without any help of the army. He later explains that, after dealing with the leader, he sent a report to his superiors in the military, who reacted by sending troops to deal with the trouble created by the collapsing of the church. It's then revealed that those troops were sent to replace those of the General in charge of the region, because they were dealing too well with the population, while his superiors needed bloodshed.
  • Military Mage: Amestrian State Alchemists are desirable recruits, automatically granted the rank of Major and able to rise much higher. They tend to act as human artillery units in wartime and government-sponsored researchers (often bordering on Mad Scientist levels) in peacetime. In exchange, they gain access to branches of the National Central Library closed to the public, which hold a wealth of information about high-level alchemy.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Father could care less about all the souls in his Stone, but Van Hohenheim actually took the time to come to an understanding with EACH and EVERY ONE of the 536,329 souls now trapped in his body as a result of Father's destruction of Xerxes.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Between the Elric brothers' attempt at human transmutation, the murder of Maes Hughes, and the revelations about the Homunculi and their massive conspiracy for Father to Take Over the World via containing every soul on earth plus the power of God, at least two points in the story could be considered either the minor crime or the major plot.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Human chimeras Heinkel and Darius join Edward after Kimblee blows up the mine shaft containing all three of them, disregarding the danger to his subordinates.
  • Monkey Morality Pose: A rather creepy example — in one of the eyecatches for episode 51, three of the mannequin soldiers are shown the classic "See no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil" pose.
  • Monster Modesty: Al still wears a loincloth despite being an animate suit of armor. (Though later he puts that spot to good use as a hiding place.)
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • A theme throughout the series. Wacky Face Fault gags! Genocidal military dictatorships! Wacky characters who appear with pink sparkles and hilarious muscles! Those same characters racked with guilt over the civilians they murdered in the war!
    • The series goes straight from an epic chase sequence involving Alphonse Elric, Roy Mustang, Barry the Chopper, Ling Yao, and several Homunculi to jokes about the Gag Boobs and then straight back.
    • In Volume 10, an Omake makes fun of this:
      Editor: Chapter 38 is supposed to be serious stuff. Take out the comedy.
      Arakawa: Hmm...You're right. The plot may flow better that way.
      Editor: Yeah, that way we can replace 'em with more action.
      Arakawa: Sure thing...But can I keep the boobs in?
      Editor: Of course! You must keep the boobs in!
      Arakawa: I'm so glad you're my editor, Shinomura sir.
    • The fight between May and Lan Fan, with Knox putting them in their place, is entirely played for laughs. Then we have a flashback to Ishval and Knox talking about how he doesn't want to see kids killing each other. Whiplash enough to rattle brains.
    • Episode 10 of Brotherhood has the scene involving Hughes' death immediately followed by this line from Ed:
      Ed: Oh, boy! This is the best apple pie I've ever eaten!
    • After Scar's first attack, and Ed coming close to dying, Al goes off on him for trying to commit a Senseless Sacrifice, punctuated by Al's body falling apart after Scar's attack. But this line comes off as silly every time.
    Al: "Oh, great! Now my arm fell off cause my brother is a big stupid idiot!"
  • Mook–Face Turn:
    • All four of the Chimeras that were with Kimblee, after being saved by Ed and Al on different occasions. Not one of them had a name until they turned.
    • The soldiers that were sent to capture Olivier and Alex Armstrong, after the Armstrongs saved them from the Cyclops Soldiers and Sloth.
  • Mook Horror Show:
    • Lan Fan has a He's Back moment in which she shows that she's recovered from the loss of her arm by rescuing Ed and his group from Gluttony by cutting Gluttony to ribbons with the blade attached to her automail. It's an awesome scene, but it's initially shown from the perspective of Gluttony, an Obliviously Evil Psychopathic Manchild who is overwhelmed with pain and fear.
    • "Greedling" helps the rebel forces hold back the soldiers loyal to Central Command. This entails a Terminator-inspired scene where Greedling is in the Ultimate Shield Instant Armor and smashes tanks like toys while the enemy soldiers futilely try to shoot him. Someone on the heroes' side even comments "Good thing he's on our side."
    • Toward the end of the series, Mustang goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Envy, and despite Envy being one of the most sadistically cruel characters in the series, you actually feel kind of bad for them.
    • Badass Teacher Izumi has a couple of scenes where she takes out soldiers while sporting Glowing Eyes of Doom, and it's shown from their perspective.
    • In a humorous example, at one point, Ed is being hunted by soldiers from Central Command after going rogue. In a scene shown from their perspective, an unseen Ed calmly takes out the group looking for him, finishing up with the unfortunate soldier who, when describing Ed, just had to note his short stature.
  • Morality Pet:
    • Both King Bradley and Selim have a soft spot for Mrs. Bradley, despite being heartless homunculi and, at times, complete bastards.
    • May has acted as a morality pet for several people, but most often she's Scar's.
    • Riza is occasionally this for Roy, in part because of the promise he extracted from her that she will be his conscience and shoot him if he strays from the righteous path. Particularly, when he goes on his Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Envy for Hughes' death, she threatens to kill him because his vengeance is consuming him. She then informs him that once he's dead she will kill herself. He's brought up short by the fact that he's being lectured by Ed and Scar, a child and a guy who previously tried to kill him, but mostly by the fact that he's caused Riza pain again. He even says afterward, "It was the Lieutenant who brought me to my senses."
  • Motherly Scientist:
    • Winry acts motherly with Ed, taking care of his automail and worrying a great deal about him (although it could be argued it's more of a "Motherly Technician").
    • Izumi is (by virtue of alchemy being a science) also one. She's a strange kind of motherly, though.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • Roy Mustang and Edward Elric are proof that God loves fangirls and wants us to be happy.
    • Ling and Havoc have their appeal, as well.
    • Father after absorbing "God". Whew. By extension, teenage Hoenheim. The fact that he looks like a taller, blonder version of Ed is pretty sweet too.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Lust does tend to be popular among the series' male fans. I wonder why?
  • Murder-Suicide: Discussed. Riza tells Roy that she is willing to keep her word and shoot him if there is no other option, but then she'll kill herself too as she sees no point in living without him.
  • Musical Spoiler: Who is the person running through a gauntlet of attacking Central soldiers and confronting Wrath at the end of episode 56? The theme normally reserved for Xingese characters may clue the viewer in ahead of time.
  • Must Make Amends: The events of Fullmetal Alchemist all get their start when Ed and Al try to bring their dead mother back to life and pay a terrible price for trying. Their quest to set things right and get their bodies back is a major theme of the show.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • The five Human Sacrifices who survived the Gate. Ed in particular because he has to bear the burden that his little brother lost his entire body in the process. Al in a lesser but still meaningful sense since it was because the price of his soul being bonded to the armor was Ed's arm.
    • Greed, who anguishes in an enraged manner when he regains his memories and realizes he killed the last of his former followers.
  • My Greatest Failure:
    • Nina for Ed and Al.
    • Abandoning the Ishvalan Genocide for Major Armstrong.
  • Myth Arc: The Elric brothers' quest to restore their bodies. This soon gets entwined with unraveling the conspiracy surrounding the military, the homunculi, and the philosopher's stone.

    N 
  • Naked First Impression: A non-embarrassing male variation: When Al finally gets his human body back from the Gate, he's naked, which is the first time everyone except Ed, Hohenheim, and Izumi & Sig Curtis sees the real Al. He does have a blanket over his lap, though.
  • Narrator All Along: Father is the narrator in both the dub and the sub, though the trope is subverted because the narration happens from more than one perspective.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Amestris itself, when one General makes clear his feelings on the Ishval massacre.
  • Necromantic: Trying to bring back the dead with alchemy is a bad idea.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: In the English manga, at least, the "next volume" previews always seem to take panels out of context, or translate certain sentences in such a way as to change the meaning of what is being said to make it more dramatic or to give it different implications entirely.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Alex Armstrong vs Sloth. Alex's arm is dislocated, and Sloth fixes it when he tries to crush him. Cue Moment Of Awesham.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability: Homunculi, and Hohenheim and Father. Tied right into their immortality.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Cyclops soldiers. It doesn't end well.
  • Ninja: Lan Fan and Fu are as close as it's gonna get...
  • No Conservation of Energy: Alchemy, despite following Equivalent Exchange, does not explain why it seems to bypass entropy. Mid-way through the series, it's revealed that the energy of alkahestry comes from the 'dragon's pulse', and alchemy works almost the same way, using the natural movements of the Earth.
  • No Face Under the Mask: In the film Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, it is revealed that Julia's brother's face was stolen by Atlas forcing him to don a White Mask of Doom.
  • No Longer with Us: When questioned by Greed, Alphonse says that "Edward is gone now." Greed and the chimareae are immediately abashed and apologize for being insensitive (even though they're also holding him captive), much to Al's confusion. When they protest Edward's arrival later, Al says they shouldn't have jumped to the wrong conclusion.
  • No Loves Intersect: If you live in the world of Fullmetal Alchemist you may have to accept Ship Tease, Love Hurts, Unequal Pairing, and Cannot Spit It Out getting in the way of your potential relationships, but you'll never have to deal with a viable Love Triangle. Especially remarkable since this is a land where almost Everyone Is Single and heavily populated by attractive people. The closest there's ever been to a Love Triangle is Al mentioning that he used to fight over Winry, with Ed and Ling hitting on her a few times, and May fantasizing about Ed after Winry realizes she loves him.
  • No Man Should Have This Power: In The Sacred Star of Milos, Ed tells Julia to destroy the Philosopher's Stone. Subverted when she gains its power by literally swallowing it instead.
  • No Name Given: Scar, his brother, King Bradley's real name, and the "gold-toothed doctor".
  • No Place for Me There: Discussed. Mustang and Hawkeye's ultimate goal is to end the military rule over Amestris, bring back Parliament, and try all the "heroes" of the Ishvalan Civl War as war criminals... including themselves.
  • Non-Indicative Name: Father's sacrifices turn out to be the only ones guaranteed to survive his nationwide human transmutation circle.
  • Non-Serial Movie: Appears to be the case with The Sacred Star of Milos, considering that it involves an armored Al and new enemies.
  • No One Gets Left Behind: Mustang (with Havoc and Hawkeye), Ling (with Lan Fan) and Olivier (with her scout team in the underground tunnel).
  • No Romantic Resolution: Few romances are actually resolved or given anything beyond subtext.
  • Nosebleed: In an omake...
    Roy: When I become Fuhrer, all female officers will be required to wear... TINY MINISKIRTS!
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: Dr. Marcoh, in his takedown of Envy.
  • Not So Different: Many characters compare themselves to Elric brothers because of their action of human transmutation or what they have become because of it. Every time, the brothers would deny accusations and work to undo their mistake.
  • Now Do It Again Backwards: How Edward gets his arm back. Granted, it was against his will, but it ultimately saved his life.

    O 
  • Ocular Gushers: Al shows this in comedic moments despite not having any tear ducts. Also Armstrong, whenever he sheds his Manly Tears. May can put out fires with her tears. Denny when he finally sees Maria again.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • May, cute little princess with the pet panda, and Scar, alchemist-hunting serial killer, get along surprisingly well.
    • Riza and Rebecca Catalina are close friends for some reason, despite their polar opposite personalities. Perhaps this is a case of Opposites Attract?
  • Offered the Crown: In Chapter 108, instead of Olivier or Roy taking Bradley's place, they instead allow General Grumman to replace him as Fuhrer.
  • Official Couple: As of Chapter 108, we've got four that count. Ed/Winry is confirmed, Al/May is pretty much confirmed, and Roy/Riza and Ling/Lan Fan are, as ever, very, very strongly implied.
  • Off-Model:
    • In the manga, Riza's pupils ocasionally tend to change from completely black to with an iris from scene to scene (sometimes even from panel to panel). They became brown in the anime however.
    • In Brotherhood, Alphonse is a very frequent victim of this trope.
    • In Brotherhood, the lower ranked officers are frequently shown with the epaulets of generals. The only difference between them is the width of the middle stripe.
  • Oh, Crap!: Many.
    • The climax of episode 41 has two massive ones for Ed, likely shared by the audience. The first? Oops, Kimblee had two philosophers stones. The second? Ed seems only moderately injured from falling down a mine shaft. Must be Made of Iron, right? Wrong. He notices his Blood from the Mouth, looks around and sees he's been impaled on a girder. Then the pain sets in and he collapses, unconscious. Meanwhile, due to the empathic bond between Ed and Al, Al collapses in the snow and is drawn towards his body, presumably because Ed is close enough to death that Al's body would be unable to survive without his soul. Oh, Crap! indeed.
    • Heinkel has one while guarding Al and Pride, who have been mutually trapped inside a giant mound of dirt to keep Pride's shadow abilities in check. After a while, Pride starts banging on Al's helmet, and Al and Heinkel assume that Pride is just acting like Selim (aka, a bored child trying to amuse himself). That is, until Heinkel realizes the banging is Morse code, and Pride is transmitting their position to his allies. Cue attack by Kimblee.
    • Envy has this in episode 43 when Marcoh reveals while they're captured and restrained that not only can he create philosopher's stones, but destroy them as well. Shock turned to pain and despair as Marcoh revealed his transmutation circle and drained Envy of all power in a single, massive, and badass transmutation.
    • During a coup, the commander of soldiers defending the main gate to Military Headquarters dismisses the possibility of being defeated by the Briggs soldiers, saying that "they'd need a tank to breach the gate." Guess what he sees when he looks through his binoculars a second later.
    • The entire rebel forces have a collective one when Bradley/Wrath is revealed to be Not Quite Dead.
    • Pride and Kimblee have one in Episode 51 of Brotherhood, when they realize that Al has a Philosopher's Stone.
    • The faces of the Briggs' soldiers when they hear Mustang's back in Chapter 107. "Hit the deck" indeed.
    • Hawkeye when Mrs Bradley mentions that Selim is from her husband's side of the family
  • Omake: Hiromu Arakawa has one mean sense of humor and it shows in the "extras" pages in the back of every manga volume. The content of them occasionally make it into either of the anime (two words: TINY MINISKIRTS). They've also been animated as DVD extras.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: One of the background themes from the anime, known as "Lapis Philosophorum" on the soundtrack, plays to this. It often plays during particularly poignant or dramatic moments.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The homunculi are portrayed like this early in the anime, where they appear to be able to foil the Elric brothers' plans and prepare their own without previous knowledge. The manga goes into more detail over how the homunculi get their information before the plot is fully unveiled.
  • One Hero, Hold the Weaksauce: Edward Elric is (unlike almost every other Alchemist on the planet) able to do alchemy without first drawing a circle. Anybody who opens the Gate of Truth can do this, at the cost of a "tribute" taken by Truth, such as Ed's leg or Izumi's organs.
  • 108: The manga ended with exactly 108 chapters.
  • One-Sided Arm-Wrestling: At Rush Valley.
  • On the Next: In some versions off the Manga, each volume ends with a page foreshadowing events in the next Volume.
  • One-Winged Angel:
    • Envy, Gluttony, and Pride all have monstrous true forms.
    • There's also a fairly big subversion of this trope during the final fight between Roy and Envy: Envy transforms into their True Form and gloats that there will be no holding back. Mustang's reaction is to flash-boil their eyes again while berating them for stupidly making himself a bigger target. Envy responds by reverting back to their humanoid form and running away as fast as they can.
    • In the new anime, Father Cornello gets this during a fight, in true Batman Beyond fashion.
    • In chapter ninety-seven of the manga, Father reveals his true form to be a humanoid shadow covered in eyes and mouths, just like the shadows Pride uses to attack.
    • And then in Chapter 104 Father somehow manages to go One-Winged Angel AGAIN, having opened the Gate of the entire planet, turning the entire population of Amestris (except our heroes in the center of the circle) into a Philosopher's Stone within himself, and absorbing the knowledge of God to cross the Bishonen Line.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Everyone not in Father's sanctum from the end of chapter 104 to the middle of chapter 105.
  • Ouroboros: All the homunculi (save Pride and Father) sport one somewhere: Lust - above her breasts, Gluttony - tongue, Envy - upper left thigh, Greed - back of his left hand, Wrath - left eye, Sloth - back of his right shoulder. Pride probably has one somewhere, we just never see it.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Mannequin Soldiers. Souls of executed people reanimated in artificial bodies.
  • Out-Gambitted: Hohenheim inflicts this on Father in chapter 105. He clearly learnt from his past experience as an Unwitting Pawn.

    P 
  • The Paid-For Harem: Greed's girls.
  • Paint the Town Red:
    • Scar is the initially the biggest perpetrator of this while he's killing State Alchemists, but Wrath becomes an even bigger perpetrator of it after Scar's Heel–Face Turn.
    • Homunculus/Father is the ultimate perpetrator/instructor of this, what with the crests of blood needed to carve out the points needed for his nationwide transmutation circles in both Xerxes and Amestris.
  • Papa Wolf:
    • Hohenheim is one absurdly powerful and protective case of this, even if he doesn't act like it the first time we see him.
    • Fu to Lan Fan, which makes him a Grandpa Wolf.
    Fu: So, who is this man who remains uninjured despite both our best efforts?
    Ling/Greed: That'd be King Bradley.
    Fu: "''Oh ho! I've never seen him with my own eyes...So this is the man who severed my granddaughter's arm!!!
  • Parental Abandonment: Ed and Al. First, their father left when they were five and four years old, respectively. Daddy had a good reason for abandoning them, but apparently he didn't feel the need to explain it to them. Then, their beloved mother died of an incurable illness, leaving them orphans at eleven and ten years old.
  • Party Scattering: Fuhrer Bradley uses his position to reassign the entire Mustang group to far corners of the country, each doing a job they're not very good at. They aren't reunited until near the end of the story with added allies, one of whom does kill Bradley and appoint Mustang as the new leader of the country.
  • Path of Inspiration: Cornello's cult.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: Multiple characters deliver these to the homunculi in response to claims of humans being foolish animals. Envy commits suicide after hearing one too many of these.
  • Pec Flex: Armstrong's manly physique has been passed down the Armstrong line for generations! (Looking at some of his sisters, it has.) At one point, he has a flex-off with Sig Curtis. They end up as friends as a direct result.
  • People of Hair Color: The Ishvalans have grey hair and red eyes, as well as dark skin. Xingese people have black hair and black eyes and people from Xerxes had gold hair and gold eyes.
  • Percussive Maintenance: In episode 45, Ling meets up with Ed after a fight with Wrath. In the middle of their conversation, Greed tries to take control back over Ling's body. Ed starts hitting him on the head to stop this from happening.
    Ed: (To the rhythm of his hits) Hey! Hey, hey, wait, wait! No, no, no, no, no, no! Fight back you idiot! Don't let him overpower you!
  • Person of Mass Construction: Every Alchemist is capable of transmuting materials into objects and structures.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Every State Alchemist can be considered this; Mustang even commented that their job is like an "artillery person who gets sent in when everything else fails". Father and Hohenheim also count.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • A literal example with Hawkeye with Black Hayate; the encounter where she adopts him shows that she's not as unflappable and stoic as would initially seem.
    • Scar really likes cats.
  • Phantom Zone: Gluttony's stomach.
  • Phlebotinum Breakdown: If you don't know your stuff, alchemic reactions can backfire on you pretty spectacularly.
  • Photographic Memory: Sheska and Kimblee. Falman may not be quite this level, but it's still described as being "so sharp it's scary."
  • Physical God: Father after he literally ate the Truth/God. Among his powers are the ability to create a mini-sun in the palm of his hand (using nuclear fusion), the ability to fire tremendous energy blasts in front of him or above, and the power to control the weather itself.
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Twice in one scene. After Riza's throat is slashed and Roy escapes from the goons holding him, he rushes to scoop her up in a very Pieta-like pose, urging her to open her eyes and answer him. Once May saves her from bleeding to death in the alkahestry circle, he does it again, this time holding her closer and pressing his face into her hair.
  • Piggyback Cute: Ed carries Winry this way when she's exhausted after helping deliver a baby.
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth:
    • Olivier Armstrong does this when she takes a grenade from a fallen soldier to attack Sloth.
    • Lan Fan does this, too, in episode 62 against Father.
  • Please Wake Up:
    • Hughes, spoken by his daughter.
    • When the Elric brothers visit their teacher in chapter 20, there's a little girl who comes to Izumi in hopes that she would fix her cat since she won't move.. It takes a while for Izumi to explain her that you can't bring back living once they're dead. The fact that it's Izumi telling her this with Ed and Al standing behind makes it just even more sad. And the backstory we see afterwards.
    • Mustang says this almost verbatim to a dying Hawkeye after the gold-toothed doctor's mook slashes her throat. Fortunately, unlike the other two examples, she's not dead and does wake up.
  • Plot-Based Photograph Obfuscation: Hohenheim's face is obscured on the only family picture the Elrics have. Initially, the reason for hiding Hohenheim's face seems to be Ed's loath of him so that he wouldn't have to see his father's face. It turns out that in the photo, Hohenheim looks exactly like the Big Bad, and also that he is crying in it.
  • Plot-Triggering Death: Or Ed and Al's part of it, anyway; their mother's death is what prompts them to throw themselves into alchemy, becoming Izumi's apprentices and eventually trying to bring Trisha back from the dead via human transmutation - whereupon all hell breaks loose, and they then set out on a journey to restore their bodies to normal. Her death is what ultimately caused their involvement in the whole story - and ironically, it's also one of the only two non-Big Bad-related deaths in the whole series.
  • Poisonous Captive: Envy, when trapped in a flask. Even as a prisoner they were dangerous enough to talk their way out.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Deliberately invoked by Ed and Al so they could have (if not a somewhat flimsy) excuse to fight and neutralize Jerzo and Zanpano in Baschool.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: Justified. Mustang comes out of nowhere and torches Lust. While simultaneously dealing with a massively painful newly cauterized stab wound. That he sealed himself. Unsurprisingly, he collapses afterwards.
  • Posthumous Character: Several. Trisha Elric, Scar's brother, Riza's father, and Winry's parents for starters.
  • The Power of Blood: Used in Ed and Al's attempt to bring their mother back.
  • The Power of Friendship: Of course. What makes humans special despite their flaws is their capability to lift each other up, and in the climax, people from all walks of life are bonded in their desire to defeat Father. In fact, Ed recognizing that his friendships are more valuable than anything alchemy could give him pleases Truth so much that he returns Al, body intact.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Used as The Reveal twice.
  • Power Trio: A villainous one formed by Lust (Superego), Envy (Ego) and Gluttony (Id). Until Lust is killed, that is.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation:
    • Various scenes are either omitted or tweaked from the manga (be it time or budget), but Brotherhood stays quite spot on with the key elements.
    • Brotherhood also condenses the events of the beginning part of the manga which were already covered in the first anime adaptation (before it overtook the manga). For example, Hughes dies in episode 25 of 51 in FMA, but episode 10 of 64 in Brotherhood.
  • Prayer Pose: Used creatively. Edward Elric's transmutations involve clapping his hands together. As pointed out by Rose in Brotherhood(Ling in the manga), it looks much like prayer. Appropriate, considering the divine-like powers of alchemists, and Ed's struggles against evil.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner:
    • Ed gets one inside of Gluttony, during his and Ling's fight with Envy's true form.
    • And arguably the biggest one in the entire series, when Envy revealed that they're the one who killed Hughes to Mustang.
    Mustang: There's no need to say anything else. The first thing I'm going to turn to ash is your tongue.
  • Precious Puppy: Black Hayate, an adorable dog that hangs around Riza and Mustang's squad.
  • President Superhero: The Fuhrer President of Amestris, "King" Bradley, is a Lightning Bruiser who still punishes crime by himself, even when he's got an eyepatch and pushing past middle age. Even when his army is made up of State Alchemists with elemental powers, he still surpasses them easily with little more than super-speed, super-strength, and his sword. As it turns out, he's actually an artificial homunculus bred for being the leader of the country, hence his superhuman attributes and all-seeing eye beneath his patch.
  • Prophecy Armor: Enforced. The homunculi seeking to use Edward and Al as human sacrifices have to keep the boys alive until "The Promised Day", so they frequently end up pulling Villainous Rescues to ensure their prey stays alive. When the two brothers learn this, they start exploiting it, engaging the homunculi in battle fearlessly and at one point putting themselves in danger to bait their watchers out into the open.
  • Psycho Strings: "Tribute to W.C. I", used when Greed attacks Father out of nowhere in a futile last-ditch attempt to stop the countrywide transmutation circle from being activated.
  • Public Secret Message: Hawkeye, while under surveillance, has a mundane conversation with Mustang over lunch. She talks about various people she knows and how they've been. Later, Mustang is able to take the first initials of each name Hawkeye mentioned and spell out her message: SELIM BRADLEY IS HOMUNCULUS.
  • Public Service Announcement: Don't get into cars with strangers. Really.
  • Punished for Sympathy: Narrowly averted. During the Ishvalan War, Alex Louis Armstrong becomes so horrified about the genocide brought down on the Ishvalan people, that he ends up letting a couple of them escape the extermination. Solf J. Kimblee notices this and quickly kills the two Ishvalans. As Kimblee states himself, he could easily get Armstrong in trouble by reporting him to the court-martial. However, he doesn't do this, which makes his character all the more disturbing.
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Maria Ross and May Chang, though the latter's departure was brief and The Bus Came Back with the former at the wheel.
    • Denny Brosh completely vanishes from the story after the arrest and "death" of Maria Ross, despite being heavily involved with the Elric brothers' actions up to the fight at the Laboratory 5 as their escort and being a part of the original crew who started to uncover the conspiracy early on alongside his partner and superior. He only returns very later on, during the final arc.
  • Putting on the Reich: Amestris in general. The use of the title "Fuhrer" is just the most blatant.
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