Despite being a dark series that has both Tear Jerker and Nightmare Fuel pages, the characters' hope and determination toward to achieve victory have lead to a lot of heartwarming moments, and so much that it became a first Anime/Manga series that needed a separate page for all the warm moments.
After Al has his Heroic BSOD because of Barry, he accuses Ed of making him and that Al's entire life is a lie. Ed naturally takes this poorly due to his guilt over what happened and Winry explains to Al what Ed's really feeling and thinking since she heard it all in the past. Al goes to apologize to Ed and they sort things out by sparring and then reminiscing about memories of their childhood to prove that Al's real.
"Big brudder!" Actually, anything Nina does.
Ed's speech to Winry in chapter 48. Considering that this is Ed, who isn't known for his sensitivity:
Ed: "NEXT TIME WE MAKE YOU CRY, IT'LL BE FROM TEARS OF HAPPINESS! AL AND I WILL REGAIN OUR BODIES AND MAKE YOU CRY TEARS OF HAPPINESS! DON'T YOU FORGET THAT!"
This exchange between Roy and Riza at Hughes' grave.
Riza: *notices the tears and smiles gently* You're right...it's raining.
When Winry finds out who killed her parents in the manga and is confronted with him, she somewhat loses it, takes up a gun and points it at him. He tells Winry that she has all the right in the world to shoot him, but the minute she does that, she is his enemy. Edward is panicking, because this is Scar we're talking about, and you don't want to be his enemy. He yells at Winry to drop the gun, but she is frozen and instead, Scar leaps at her to take her down since she's this close to pulling the trigger... cue Ed jumping in front of her, protecting her with his body. After Scar takes off, Winry still can't let go of the gun, and Ed has to bend it from her fingers. Then he tells her: "Winry, do you remember when you saved a mother and her child in Rush Valley? Do you remember that you gave me these arm and leg so that can stand on my own again? Your hands are not for killing. They are the hands that save people's lives. So please... don't...."Winry promptly breaks down and cries in Ed's arms. Doubles as a Tear Jerker.
A small one in between this: When Edward leapt in front of Winry with his arms spread to protect her, Scar was reminded of a similar scene during the Ishbalan Civil War when his brother did the same for him. Because of that, he couldn't kill them at that moment.
In that case, this was continued several chapters later, when she finally meets Scar again. He's completely defenseless, injured by chimeras and has been captured by Briggs squads. He even states that Winry had every right to do everything she wants to him.Her response?She treats his wounds.
Winry: Mom and Dad saved his life once before, after all. There has to be a reason for that.
Which makes this more heartwarming, she hasn't forgiven him yet, but still chose the right thing to do rather than let hatred dictate her actions.
In the manga, Knox being reunited with his estranged family.
Even the heartwarming moments given to the relatively minor supporting are absolutely great and absolutely tear-jerking (but in a good way). In chapter 63, Knox is visited by his ex-wife and son, who reveals that he has been studying medicine in his father's footsteps. Knox is initially furious that his son would become a doctor like him, knowing what he did at Ishval. He son just forcefully tells him not to run away from his calling and tells Knox his wish for the two to save lives together. Knox's tears of happiness resulting from this are just, well, incredibly heartwarming.
Knox: "God, if you can hear me, please let this slide. Even a man like me deserves enough happiness to enjoy coffee with his family, right?"
Chapter 95. The whole of Riza's dialogue is this, as is Roy's reaction. Also a Crowning Moment because in all of the anime and all of the manga, there has never been a kiss or any sort of declaration of coupledom for these two. But that moment, that exchange, makes it clearer than water anyway that they are indeed together and love each other It helps that they were confirmed to be canon in the third art book.
On the theme of Riza and Roy, there's also this line from chapter 101:
Riza: "I won't die... I've... been ordered not to die, you see."
This one is a real life example between voice actor and seiyuu. Hard to imagine that Vic Mignogna has his share of flamers after watching this. Bonus points for the Crowning Moment of Funny near the end - Romi is requested to say the infamous "Dead sexy in a miniskirt" con line in Japanese!
Hohenheim, in the manga, revealing that he has spent his immortal lifespan getting to know EVERY one of the 500,000+ souls inside of him, treating them as partners rather than as an energy source. He also pioneered his own style of alchemy that avoids the use of soylent green, and gave up his chance at a normal life so that he could prevent a re-occurrence of what happened to them..
Episode 27 of Brotherhood ended up being nothing more than a huge recap episode. However, it gave Hohenheim some fantastic development, and one incredibly heartwarming scene where he dreams of Trisha and all those important to him.
Episode 38 of Brotherhood. 19:12 to 21:12. The most heartwarming 2 minutes ever. Buccaneer's big ass grin helps a lot.
It's even better in the manga, when he says something along the lines of "Thanks for showing us soldiers some pity." and Olivier smiles and says "I don't know what you're talking about."
Episode 51 of Brotherhood. Heinkel is seriously hurt and Alphonse is trying to drag him away while being cornered by Pride and Kimbley. It's heartwarming when Heinkel almost begs to be left behind so Al can get away, but Al says he will not leave him because he and Ed had made a promise of "not losing anyone anymore". Then it gets another moment of heartwarming when Heinkel reveals he has the Philosopher's Stone Kimbley had lost back in Briggs. Alphonse is hesitant in using the stone made of human lives, even if using it meant recovering his real body...
Heinkel:Then...in that case...don't use it for yourself..! Use it to save this world! These people... Let them fight as well!
Made even better in Brotherhood, where they skipped the usual opening sequence. The scene where everybody gets revived happens about halfway through the episode. The last soul to find its way back to its body falls down into a baby's carriage, the baby starts crying, and the opening theme kicks in.
Minor, but Hohenheim being supported by his sons as he tries to push back Father's attack in the manga.
Don't forget the souls of Xerxes cheering Hohenheim on and helping to save a nation they never even met.
In episode 52 of Brotherhood, Olivier trips back on rubble and Sloth charges forward, finally able to catch her. Right when it looks like she's going to be smashed and killed, Alex jumps in the way and blocks the attack. Given how Olivier generally acts towards her brother, seeing him jump in the way of the attack to save his sister.
In chapter 107, Al is completely wrecked from Father's attack, his blood-seal almost destroyed. Ed's automail has been ruined and is pinned down with Father about to kill him, so Al sacrifices his soul to restore his brother's arm. Finally reunited with his body at the Gate, he tells Truth that he knows his brother will come back for him.
In the manga, Greed admitting to Ling after the latter calls him out on it that all he really wanted was neither to rule the world nor the power of God, but to have friends.
Ling: Greed, this is what you desperately wanted, isn't it?
Greed: Yeah, you're right. This is what I wanted. I wanted the chance to have friends like these.
In the manga, everyone cheering Ed on as he beats seven different kinds of unholy hell out of Father.
This page of chapter 107. Take a look at some of the hands around the edges... Hughes, Buccaneer, Havoc, even Kimbley, all joining in with the fighters.
Winry: Why ask for half of my life? I'll give you all of it!
Chapter 108 again: Ed sacrifices his own Gate in exchange for Al, meaning he can no longer perform alchemy. But Ed tells the Truth he doesn't mind giving it up, since he'll still have his friends to support him.
"You've done it! That's the right answer! Good job, You've beat me! Go ahead, Take him home! The back door's right over there! Goodbye, Edward Elric!" in a combined Voice of the Legion of both Elric Brothers - a borderline So Proud of You speech coming from The Truth, who's obviously overjoyed and proud that someone managed to understand the ultimate life lesson.
And the big Ed/Al/Winry reunion hug when they return to Resembool.
Don't forget Mrs. Bradley deciding to once again raise Selim and having the stones to stand up to all who tried to dissuade her. And she appears to be raising him right. Not only an adorable moment, but possibly the quietest, gentlest Crowning Moment Of Awesome in the entire series.
And the second anime went and added more of this than even the manga had, via an extension of a scene with Roy. In the manga, he wasn't really doing much when Dr. Marcoh came to see him about using a Philosopher's Stone to restore his eyesight. In Brotherhood, he was studying up on administrative trivia so he could help the Ishbalans rebuild. And when Marcoh made his offer, his reply was basically, "Sure, but only if you treat someone else with it first." Cut to Havoc answering the phone: "What?! You want me to come to Central?!" An adorable Call Back if ever there was one.
We also have Sig seeing Al, alive and with his body back, bursting into tears at the sight and hugging him close, he's that happy that the boy he cares about is finally okay.
Pretty much the entire post-series gaiden chapter. Al gets sent his old body, and decides to have it melted down so that it can help people. Not only does he have them make it into the best automail Winry can create, he also uses what's left over to make a little gardening tool for Pinako so she doesn't hurt her back pulling weeds, and he finds a nest full of baby birds living in his helmet.
Al tells worried, insecure Sheska that her love for books and her photographic memory actually make her a great person.
"You really think he'll come back for you?" "He will! I know it!" *sniff*
And, in the manga, Greed actually performing a Heroic Sacrifice! His first and last selfless act.
Alternate interpretation: it was his greatest act of greed: stealing the honor of killing the Big Bad from The Hero.
Not quite... Greed was only able to lay a path for Father to get killed. Turning Father into charcoal wasn't gonna actually do him in, SOMEONE ELSE had to do the final honors. Ultimately... Ed released the souls powering Father and Truth finished Father off when he sealed the little gas ball back into the Door.
Still, he did the greatest contribution when it comes to dealing damage on Father's body. ('Reward' for most damage done on Father in general goes to the Briggs soldiers.)
Speaking of Greed, his final words acknowledging Ling and Ed as his friends, and saying that he, in contrast to the sin he represents, 'got everything he could want' was touching... though it was simultaneously a big Tear Jerker because of it.
In the last chapter, when Hohenheim tells Ed to use his life as material to get Alphonse back, and the conversation that follows.
Hohenheim: Edward. Use my life...to get Alphonse back. I have just enough left for one."
Ed: You idiot... I can't do that!! It's our own fault that we lost our bodies!! We've said over and over that we wouldn't use other people's lives to get Al back!! Why should you sacrifice your life anyway!?
Hohenheim: Because I'm your father. It's not about necessity or reason. You two mean more to me than anything. I want you to be happy. You tried to revive Trisha because you were lonely. What happened to you is partly my fault for leaving you alone. I'm sorry. I have lived long enough. Let me be a father to you in the end.
And immediately after that exchange, Ed's refusal of Hohenheim's offer, in which he finally calls him "Father".
Heck, can we just say the entirety of the last chapter qualifies as one?
"Old man...we'll walk him down the path to Hell together." "Yes...thank you..."
The final Brotherhood episode with Ed and Al walking home together. Made even cuter by how adorable the grown-up Al is.
And after that when Winry hears them coming, she goes to welcome them and hears Al laugh and say: "That tickles!" when Den licks him. The dazed look on Winry's face, the tranquility of the moment...
Not to mention, look back up at the second moment listed on this page. Ed. Kept. His. Promise.
Towards the end of Brotherhood, May Chang finds a Philosopher's Stone, the thing she's in the country to find in the first place. She starts to run for it, but Roy pleading with the dying Riza to open her eyes catches her notice and she decides to save the woman instead, declaring her "more important."
In the manga when Trisha tells Hohenheim that she loves him despite being a 400-year-old soul jar who inadvertently caused the death of Xerxes' entire population (half of the souls of which are now contained in his body) before a photographer takes a family photo (the one that kept being shown throughout the series). Then comes the reveal of why Hohenheim's face has been obscured in said photo every time it's shown. He's crying. Obviously we're not the only ones who were touched by what Trisha said.
In a scene exclusive to the penultimate episode of Brotherhood, after the final battle is over and done with, Armstrong walks right up to Hohenheim and personally gives him a very well-deserved "thank you" on behalf of the entire country for all the work he and his boys did to save it.
When May is introduced, we learn that she's heard of the Fullmetal Alchemist and imagines him as a tall, brave, and noble guy who will help her save her clan. When she actually meets Edward and finds that he's nothing like she imagined, she's devastated and insults him. During a later conversation with Alphonse, she misconstrues a few of his comments into thinking that his real body is like her daydreams about Ed and quickly latches on to him. Several chapters later, Al finally regains his real body, and it's an emaciated wreck that can barely support him. May's response? She glomps him, crying with relief and joy.
Episode 18 of Brotherhood (or chapter 41). After a series of things going bad: Hughes died, King Bradley is really a villain, Ed and Al blame themselves for Hughes' death, and now Mustang went crazy with revenge and killed Ross. So it was a nice moment where we finally catch a break from the depression and get so see that Mustang actually had a Gambit to have Ross Faking the Dead.
It's really, really minor, but when Al regains his memory of the Gate in Chapter 30, in the middle of the images that make up the flow of information behind the Gate, there's a small picture of Hoheinheim holding baby Al in his arms and playing with his little foot. D'awwww.
At the end, Ed stops braiding his hair because he finally accepted Hohenheim as his father.
When Al and Pride are trapped together in an inescapable dome, Al wonders if if Mrs. Bradley is in the conspiracy. Pride states, no, she just thinks he's Selim, her adoptive son. He goes on to mention the time when Selim almost got hit by a car and Mrs. Bradley rushed to protect him. Even though Selim was in no real danger (Being Pride), he was still touched by how quick the mother went to her son's aid. "So...this is a mother." He then mentions that of all the humans, she's the only one he feels the slightest bit of affection for.
That fact that Mrs. Bradley still adopted him after learning his true nature and he was regressed into his true form (which ironically is a little baby) really speaks volumes of her character. She even breaks down crying when Ed returns Pride to her.
Even better? It pays off. The last we see of Selim Bradley/Pride, he's become the Cheerful Child he once pretended to be, all thanks to Mrs. Bradley's determination to raise him right.
Episode 50: Roy's reaction when the "Xingese official" turns out to be Havoc. Particularly in the dub, he sounds absolutely delighted.
Hohenheim returning to Trish's grave after the battle is over and dying with a smile on his face. After centuries of wallowing in self-pity, its nice to see him happy in his final moments. What's more his grave is set next to his beloved wife as well.
Considering his admission of his desire for True Companions, his Heroic Sacrifice to pave the way for Father's defeat, and his Last Words acknowledging Ed and Ling for fulfilling said desire, all listed in higher detail above, Greed's protectiveness towards his possessions in the early stages becomes that much more heartwarming in hindsight.
In one of the openings, Ed's smiling in his sleep dreaming about his mother while Winry watches. The animation is just gorgeous and makes it so sweet.
When Ling tells May that when he's emperor, he intends to protect and befriend her clan, and all the clans in Xing, she tells him he's greedy to want so much. Ling's response? To note that Greed must have rubbed off on him.
Hughes going outside to call Mustang after being attacked instead of using the inside phones. He ends up killed, but it spared the life of the secretary who would have very likely been killed along with Hughes for being a witness.
From the final volume of the published books, one last scene after the gag comics - the manga's equivalent of "post-credits". Trisha and Hohenheim are reunited at last.
After the Elrics get thrashed by Scar, the scene where Hawkeye walks over to Ed and gently puts her coat around his shoulders.
After Ishval, Roy is depressed and lethargic over all the killing he had to do and how he's perverted his alchemy by turning it into a tool for murder. The men under his command tell him that, whatever else, they are grateful for how his alchemy saved their lives and thank him.
2003 Anime version
Rose's "Ed... Get up, Ed! Get up! And move forward!" in episode 41 of the first anime.
Wrath reuniting with Izumi in death in the movie. The content look on his face as he walks into her open arms is so touching.
The Kids OAV. "In 2005, Edward Elric will be 100 years old...somewhere in our world..."
Winry hugging Ed after briefly reuniting with him in Conqueror of Shamballa.
In "The Stray Dog" it looks like Roy has gone all Inspector Javert, hunting Ed and Al down for the military on accusations of treason. When he finally corners them, though:
Roy: I'm not chasing you because I was commanded to. I'm doing it because I'm pissed. Now why the hell did you two run away without asking for my help first!?
In the movie, right at the end, when we see Al deciding to follow Edward to the other side of the Gate and to stay with him. His smile when he shows up, Edwards face at seeing him - it's suffice to say it never fails to procure some odd mist into my eyes...
There's a scene early on where an exhausted Ed and Al are sleeping back to back on the floor in a room. Al's taken all the blankets, and Ed's covered himself with his jacket rather than take them back, despite Al needing neither blankets or even sleep.
A very interesting Meta Example: At Anime Weekend Atlanta 2010, one of the panels had Voice Actors Vic Mignogna, Travis Willingham, and Laura Bailey behind a curtain, and several of the characters each of them had played on screen (one of whom was Vic Mignogna as Edward Elric). You were allowed to come up and ask a character a question, and the voice actor would answer it as that character. One fan asked Ed (Vic) if he could sing 'Happy Birthday' for her. After he was done, Tohru (Fruits Basket) compliments Ed on his singing voice, then says, "I think you're the perfect height." The whole auditorium went Awwwww. A video of the panel can be seen here.
This story (at about 4:20) told by Vic Mignogna at Northern Michigan Anime Convention 2009. During a signing with Laura Bailey, Caitlin Glass, and Colleen Clinkenbeard in New York, a girl came up to the table and began crying, stating that Fullmetal Alchemist had helped her get through a difficult time. She then walked around to reveal that she had a prosthetic leg. They all signed it for her.