"There's no such thing as a painless lesson. They just don't exist. Sacrifices are necessary; you can't gain anything without losing something first. Although, if you can endure that pain, and walk away from it, you'll find that you now have a heart strong enough to overcome any obstacle. Yeah... a heart made Fullmetal."This page deals with Hiromu Arakawa's original manga and its direct anime adaptation (titled Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood). For the loose 2003 anime adaptation, please see Anime.Fullmetal Alchemist.Fullmetal Alchemist
— Edward Elric
(Japanese title Hagane no Renkinjutsushi
) follows the story of the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse. The brothers live in a world where those who know how to do so can practice the art of alchemy (transmuting one material into another or reshaping it into new forms). After a failed attempt to bring their mother back to life using human transmutation — a forbidden, taboo practice of alchemy — costs Ed his right arm and left leg (now replaced with artificial "automail" limbs) and leaves Al as a soul affixed to an empty suit of armor, the young brothers set out to find the legendary Philosopher's Stone, an artifact said to allow any form of transmutation without Equivalent Exchange.
Since the State tightly controls knowledge about the Philosopher's Stone, Edward takes — and passes — the State Alchemist Examination to become "a dog of the military" and gain access to the State's information. In addition to their own search, the brothers also do the government's work by solving problems no matter where they end up — though, just as often, trouble finds them first. As the Elrics dig deeper into the mystery of the Philosopher's Stone and search for a way to create one, they stumble onto truths about their family and friends, the military, and even the very nature of alchemy itself — and they also discover a vast conspiracy led by dark forces who wish to use their search for their own reasons.
In 2003, the manga was very loosely
adapted into an anime series
. While it followed the story at first, it quickly spun off in another direction
, and ended up with an entirely different conclusion altogether
. However, this was pretty much inevitable, as the manga was released in a monthly magazine, and for the weekly anime to not overshadow the manga, even with oodles of filler
, would've been impossible. For more information on this series, as well as the tropes and characters involved exclusively in its own canon, check out its own page
In 2009, as the manga was wrapping up its final arc, a new anime series, entitled Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
, was announced, which would follow the manga's story much more faithfully, with little to no filler, while quickly skimming through material already covered in the 2003 series so that it could get to where the 2003 series went off-track. Almost all of the original cast of the 2003 series' dub reprised their parts, to boot. For anyone who wants to watch an accurate animated adaptation of the original manga; this is the series to watch.
After the end of Brotherhood
, a movie set within the series
— Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos
— began its Japanese theatrical run on July 2, 2011; it showed in select North American theaters in early 2012. Unlike The Conqueror of Shamballa
(a film based of the first anime series), this film exists as a side-story to the manga/Brotherhood
In the US and Canada, Viz Media
licenses and publishes the manga series, while Funimation
(which fans can watch the first four subbed episodes on Hulu
, both of which also contains the first four dubbed episodes, or on Funimation's website
, which offers all of the dub episodes for subscribers). (Elsewhere in the English-speaking world, Brotherhood
is licensed to Manga Entertainment
in the UK and Ireland, while Madman Entertainment
distributes both the show and the manga in Australia and New Zealand.) Brotherhood
still airs on the re-booted Toonami
in its new timeslot of Saturday nights at 3:30 AM (Eastern Time).
Fullmetal Alchemist provides examples of the following tropes: