Follow TV Tropes


Fanfic / The Switch Glitch

Go To

Here I was, huddled in a ball and crying. I was being so lame. Edward Elric was nothing like this. He was tough, strong, and he swore like a sailor.

The Switch Glitch is a Fullmetal Alchemist fanfiction written by Zilo Sugarpill. It takes a commonly-used plot (fan finds mysterious way to switch bodies with a main character) and explores the ramifications of exactly what might happen if an untrained teenager was impersonating the Fullmetal Alchemist.


The trouble begins in the first arc when 14-year-old Risty May Fernandez promises to use a chain letter sent by a crazy fangirl. The letter guarantees it will send her to her favorite anime, but Risty May fails to follow the instructions properly. She gets a headache and passes out on her bed, and when she wakes up finds herself in Edward Elric's body.

Thus Risty May takes on the challenge of impersonating Ed until she can find a way to get back to her own body. Unfortunately, this is nowhere near as easy as it might sound. Ed has a lot of enemies, and Risty May is unfortunately not an Instant Expert in alchemy. Add to that that she's a timid girl easily moved to tears who has to worry about not ruining Ed's reputation or getting herself killed in the process.

Meanwhile, Ed wakes up in a strange place, suddenly in a girl's body. He doesn't even try to impersonate Risty May and has to work with Risty May's best friend Zoe Ferguson (and later, Risty May's mother Rose) to get himself home via the mysterious chain letters...


In the second and third arcs, the original plot of accidental bodyswapping is summarily scrapped for a more traditional fan-falls-into-anime-world plot. Risty May has her hands full trying not to "spoil" the series and ruin it, while also attempting to avoid the all-seeing Homunculi, except for Envy, who she likes. And yes, she does fall for Ed, who doesn't really show any signs of reciprocating her feelings. As if that wasn't enough, the story is going off the rails, and it's up to her, with Zoe's help, to fix it, without dying or getting her arms ripped off.

The story is complete and has a sequel up, which is currently being updated. There are also two side stories, one focusing on Envy's thoughts about to Risty May, and the other something of an AU/crack/Omake mashup of what might have happened if an OOC King Bradley threw Risty May a birthday party to disguise random attempts on her life.


Examples of Tropes Include:

  • Action Girl: Zoe at the beginning, and Risty eventually.
  • Adults Are Useless: Zoe's opinion on every adult, except for Rose Fernandez and Izumi Curtis (who quickly earns her respect via a beatdown).
  • Anyone Can Die: Averted for most of the story, until Al gets possessed, now all of a sudden OCs and canon characters alike are dropping like flies. Noa, Envy, Luludja, a freshly-introduced OC named Lukas, and Ed himself all get offed within two chapters.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: The chain letters.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Zoe gets one when she comes to apologize to Risty May.
  • Artifact Title: The plot stopped being about bodyswapping about a third into the original, but even the sequel carries the title on (most likely for familiarity's sake).
  • Ascended Fangirl
  • Awesome Mc Coolname: Risty May's full name is Marista May Lidia Fernandez.
  • Back from the Dead: A humanized Envy appears in the sequel, and of course we can't forget Ed reviving after being dead for at least a day.
  • Badass Normal: Zoe doesn't know a lick of alchemy, but can hold her own in a fight.
  • Berserk Button: It’s a pretty bad idea to make Risty upset or depressed. Not because of what she’ll do, but what the Gate will do.
  • Black Best Friend: Flipped—Risty May is the half-black, half-Hispanic main character, while Zoe is the White Best Friend.
  • Big Damn Kiss: In the Gate, no less.
  • Big Eater: Risty references this near the beginning of the sequel, her efforts to regain the weight she lost in the Gate.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: They tried (hard) with Risty, they succeeded with poor Al
  • Break the Cutie: Yeah, there's a lot of that.
  • Boobs of Steel: Zoe officially has a much bigger rack than Risty May, and is a much better fighter.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: An interesting variation, in that Risty believes she could tell Ed that she loves him, but keeps it a secret on account of not wanting to add to his burdens.
  • Can't Live Without You: Earlier on, Risty fears dying in Ed's body because she believes that both of them will die. Later, after they switch back, they gain a Psychic Link that is a more straightforward use of the trope.
  • Chekhov's Hobby: Risty May's participating in gymnastics for five years as a child. Which leads to...
  • Chekhov's Skill: Risty learning some fighting techniques, first from Izumi and later Ed, which she is then able to use to hold her own against possessed!Al.
  • Colon: Cancer: The Switch Glitch: The Movie: The Extras, the section with extras in Zilo's profile.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Ed and a possessed Al get into it hard, with the former getting beaten to nearly a pulp and the latter barely reacting to any injuries he receives.
    • Then it gets reversed, once Risty joins in, to the point where the one up there who wasn't flinching from anything resorts to screaming his lungs out in sheer terror as he gets repeatedly punched in the face.
  • Cute Clumsy Girl: Risty May, so much. She can even trip and fall over nothing.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Though not touched on very much, Word Of Zilo says that Zoe used to be a gang member, which is the explanation for her fighting skills. Sakura, of course, takes the cake.
  • Dramatic Irony: Hoo boy. Sakura condemns Risty May as a monster because the latter murdered her brother and sister and several innocent bystanders at a fair. (though Sakura doesn't realize Risty was possessed by the Gate at the time) Then, when Sakura goes back in time to preemptively kill a 4-year-old Risty, at a fair no less, Astrid interferes and very pointedly calls her out on how monstrous her actions are.
  • Driven to Suicide / I Cannot Self-Terminate: Risty asks Sloth to drown her because of her thinking she's responsible for Zoe's and Scieska's death.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: EdwardsWife77.
  • Easily Forgiven: Risty May simply refuses to get mad at Envy, even though he tries to kill her almost every time they meet (at least until Dante tells him to pretend to befriend her). Finally, she does get mad at him when he abandons her for no reason—but she still forgives him again when she finds out why. Envy himself seems to be angrily baffled by her attitude towards him.
  • Enemy Within: Al and Risty get hit with this hard.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Risty May, but she gets better.
  • Fangirl: Risty May to some extent, EdwardsWife77 much more so. Of course, now that we know that EdwardsWife77 is a boy, that changes things.
  • Flash Step: One variation of the chain letters is the ability to travel nineteen feet in any direction. Astrid uses this to save a four-year-old Risty from Sakura.
  • Flaw Exploitation: Envy uses Risty's fangirly affection to properly manipulate her. The question is, is that what he's still doing...?
    • Probably not, considering the fact that possessed!Al just shanked him dead.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: The entire plot of the first arc, and the reason for the title.
  • Freudian Excuse: Sakura’s got a doozy.
  • Gender Misdirection: You'd think the name EdwardsWife77 would be fairly unambiguous, and it's even referenced by the character as "the perfect disguise".
  • Get A Hold Of Yourself Man: Izumi does this to Risty after the latter cuts her hair off.
  • Goshdang It To Heck: Risty May goes a step further than this and makes up her own swear words. Her cousin Astrid follows suit.
    • Which makes it all the more jarring when she finally does swear at Envy.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Risty May and Zoe.
  • Hyper-Awareness: Risty's mom Rose is able to tell just from IMing back and forth, that EdwardsWife77 wear glasses, is a lot smarter than she writes, and oh yeah, is actually a boy.
  • Important Haircut: Risty May hacks her hair off in a fit of upset rage, seeing it as symbolism of her weakness and girlyness.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: Messed with. Ed wastes zero time trying to reach a possessed Al and instead beats the crap out of him. Of course, this is a part of a plan to scare the Gate into giving Al back.
  • Informed Ability: In her profile, Risty May is described as having slightly above average intelligence. This is mentioned a grand total of once in the actual story.
    • And at the beginning of the story, she fails a math quiz. See The Ditz.
  • Informed Flaw: Apparently Risty May is slightly overweight, jobless, and terrible at most of the skills/classes she takes up, such as needlework and psychology. In an aversion, her clumsiness and lack of alchemy prowess are actually portrayed more than once and come into play in several situations, both for laughs and drama.
  • Instant Expert: Amazingly averted. Risty May practices alchemy on and off for months and still can't do much more than blow things up.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Risty wants Ed to be happy. Oh, and Al too.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Zoe keeps an entire list of fanfic cliches.
    • Not only that, Risty May often mentions that things aren't going the way they usually do "in the fanfictions".
  • Meaningful Name: Sakura Suremay.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The necklace Izumi makes for Risty.
  • Mind Hive: The Gate does everything as a group, of course, including possessing Al.
  • Mindlink Mates: Ed and Risty, if they finally get together officially.
  • Missing Mom: More appropriately, Mom In Another Dimension.
  • More Than Mind Control: Sloth uses this tactic to get Risty May to Face–Heel Turn.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Though it wasn't his fault at all, post-possessed!Al shows this mildly after waking up.
  • No Periods, Period
  • Oddly Named Sequel: The sequel is called "The Switch Glitch: The Movie". It's still a fanfic though.
  • Omake
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: EdwardsWife77.
  • Our Time Travel Is Different: Both Instantaneous and Unseen are used.
  • Parental Substitute: Izumi for Risty May. Zoe gets two: Risty May's mom Rose and Izumi in the epilogue.
  • Psychic Link: Ed and Risty develop one after switching back. See Synchronization.
  • Put on a Bus: Zoe disappears from the story after Ed and Al leave the Rockbells, pops up once in the epilogue, and doesn’t return until well into the sequel.
  • Sadistic Choice: Who do you sacrifice, yourself or your friend? More specifically, do you allow the Gate to possess you, or your brother's girlfriend, so they can jet off on a murder spree?
  • Schedule Slip: It went from being updated weekly/bi-weekly to every three months if you’re lucky.
  • Ship Tease: All the EnvyxRisty scenes. No exceptions.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: In a sense. The sequel, which focuses more on drama and complicated plots, contains less Omakes than the original, though they still pop up from time to time after a particularly heavy chapter.
  • Shout-Out: While trying to come up with body swapping solutions, Risty wonders if she and Ed could both inhabit his body, like "those dudes from YGO". Also, Risty’s mom swapped bodies with Sailor Moon.
    • Roy (the one on our side of the Gate) ends up holding a gun upside down, and Rita (the Riza look-alike) asks him sarcastically if he plans to fire it with his pinky.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Risty May's alchemic specialty.
  • Synchronization: Ed and Risty have the ability to speak to each other's minds, and have to mantain the same level of health (i.e. they both get sick at the same time) and consciousness (i.e. passing out, dying, though falling asleep doesn't seem to count). They theorize that it's because they each still have a piece of the other's soul in their body from when they switched.
  • Taking the Bullet: Of all people, Envy does this, though it doesn't help the situation much.
  • The Ditz: Even though she's supposed to be something of a genius, Risty May usually says and does silly things and at one point walks straight into a moderately obvious trap.
  • The Glomp: Risty May tends to hug people. A lot.
  • The Nicknamer: Zoe
  • The Pollyanna: Risty May, although she has moments where she breaks down.
  • Theme Naming: All of the chapters have a regular title, and then one or two alternate titles which are always "Don't (Insert Action Here)" such as "Don't Spoil" and "Don't Run Without A Plan". The sequel scrapped that entirely, except for one chapter named "Don't Deny Your Feelings" (even though feelings are still denied in it).
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: It can get a little confusing how exactly the chainletters are used to time travel.
  • Tsundere: Zoe is a definite Type A, really only going deredere for Risty May.
  • Unintentional Backup Plan: A really nice one during the climax of the sequel. Ed's getting hammered pretty hard by Al, but musters up enough strength for one last strike—and then Risty appears and helps take Al down.
  • Unstoppable Rage: In the climax of the sequel. Ed's faking it, though.
  • Walking the Earth: Obviously, considering the source material, but Risty also does some solo-earth-walking in the sequel.
  • What Would X Do?: Risty at one point adopts a "WWZD" or "What Would Zoe Do" attitude to deal with a difficult situation. It didn't really help.
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech: Risty uses one of these on herself to Heel Face Turn Back.
  • Would Hit a Girl: Ed mentions at least once how he’d like to punch Sakura in the face.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Considering that two main characters and possibly Hitler are being used towards the Big Bad's ultimate goal, it certainly's the plan: Al gets possessed, kills enough people to power the Gate, Gate babies go free. Risty gets possessed, kills enough people to power the Gate, Gate babies go free. Ed can't do anything because the Gate is both stronger than him and wielding the body of someone he cares about. They just didn't plan on Ed having his own plan...
  • Younger Than They Look: In the sequel, both Al and Risty are chronologically 18, but mentally 15. Al still acts mature for his age, though.
  • You Monster!: Sakura uses this on Risty, several times.

The Switch Glitch also has the occasional Omake after chapters. Tropes specific to the Omake, side stories, or Author's Notes include:

  • Cliché Storm: "Fullmetal Shoujo Drama High" and "Fullmetal Shounen Action High". The latter even references a couple of tropes and the "OVER 9000" meme.
  • Continuity Nod: Suspendospense, the emotion-sapping drug.
  • Crack Pairing: LustxRisty, PridexRisty, ProfanityxEnvy.
  • Insistent Terminology: "Ess. Authoress."
  • Parody Sue: May Sue Reigh, who can sing doors open. Also spoofed in the Omake about Risty May winning the "No. 1 Mary Sue" award.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: From the birthday side story: "Um, I mean, aren't you evil without me having any idea whatsoever that you're a Homunculus named Pride who wants me dead?"


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: