The Human Condition... with Magic!
FMA was to me what Harry Potter was for many others. I waited with bated breath each week for Onemanga to upload the newest chapter. I watched every episode of the original, saw the films, cried for Nina and Alexander, Gaped at Al's unstable blood bond, shivered at the revelations of the philosopher stone and stood there in awe at the final chapter's brilliantly obvious play on the series rules. 11 years of magic that has changed how I take in a good story.
Alchemy is so dang awesome and it's cool that threads the fine line of acceptable break from reality, rule of cool, and showing their work while all the while being a brilliant chekovs gun and bookend. Viewing it for the first time was like watching a fusion of Jackie Chan, Last Airbender, Dragon Ball and the matrix. Cool, sleek and fast! There was no emphasis on the power itself but on what it did! It was used with grace and guile! Who uses an Ammonium gas explosion from a tube of TNT to incapacitate a group of Killer beastmen with Enhanced Senses?! Other shows would light the TNT and RUN with it.
The Story was so simple. Two boys wanting to make amends for their mistakes. It's relatable from the outset. There's no escapist message to inspire the audience, just an emotion every human has experienced: "the want to fix a mistake." It's a humble message that blossoms forth into beautiful and grotesque pastures. Kimblee's Bloodlust, Tucker's Greed, Hawkeye's Loyalty, Armstrong's Gentility, Ed's Determination, Al's Heart, Ms Hugh's Grief. All of it used to color the struggles of these boys and the people they meet as well as their triumphs. It's all there to remind you that the world has issues and to accept and keep on moving. It's all there to make you care for these boys but naturally as it leads you through the world of their lives.
The best part of this series was how it loved to show you how it's done. It showed off what it knew of science with a keen edge. It guided you through every emotion under the sun and some that are cloistered in our darkest recesses. It beat you down with stuff that's soul crushing and real. It did one thing though. It showed you how a power of love ending can be done without it being forced and with it being within the rules of the series. it showed you how to make people rave and how to end so well they shut up and celebrate That it's Really Over