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Tropes for the Fullmetal Alchemist Manga and Brotherhood
Tropes A to F (Berserk Button, Famous Last Words) | Tropes G to P | Tropes Q to Z (Ship Tease)

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  • The Quisling: The higher-ups in Amestris's military conspire with Father, motivated by promises of immortality and power, and willingly sell out their own country/humanity.

  • Racial Remnant
    • After the Ishvalan Rebellion years ago, most of the Ishvalans were massacred. The descendents of those who survived are now scattered all around Amestris.
    • Hohenheim and his sons are the last of the Xerxians.
  • Rank Up:
    • Lt. Col. Hughes is promoted two ranks to Brigadier General and stays a mostly important part of the story. However, he is promoted posthumously, and instead of being a major character he becomes a major plot point.
    • Colonel Mustang is also promoted to full General by the end of the series (his epaulets have three stars in the photograph).
  • Rant-Inducing Slight: Using words like "short" around Ed, even when not talking to him or about him, causes him to go ballistic, with a line like "WHO ARE YOU CALLING A (blown out of proportion version of what was actually said)?!?!" And yes, the caps are necessary. In the 5th Lab, he even does it to himself. (He mentions that maybe being short isn't such a bad thing, and then yells "...I just called myself a tiny little pipsqueak!!!)
  • Rasputinian Death: Most of the homunculi killed. Justified due to their Healing Factor; one must use up their Philosopher's Stone in order for them to die. Wrath in particular took a ridiculous amount of effort to kill.
  • Rated M for Manly: Armstrong. Sig Curtis. Then they meet.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • One of the three taboos of alchemy is that it is illegal to use Alchemy to create gold. The reason is clarified later on as being an economic reason: using Alchemy to create gold is the same thing as printing counterfeit money in our world since it essentially is printing money and disrupts the economy.
    • Ed's trip to Liore has him expose Cornello as a fraud who uses Alchemy to perform "miracles" and he and Al leave believing they've helped the town move on from his manipulations. It's revealed later that a sizeable amount of the townsfolk didn't just blindly accept the revelation that their rallying religious figure was a fraud, causing a massive riot that claimed the lives of a few people and nearly burned down the town. Envy showing up disguised as Cornello did not help at all since he made it look like Cornello was some kind of Tragic Hero.
    • Being a Handicapped Badass isn't as easy as you might think. Ed has to spent months getting used to his automail limbs, and even then they provide a major source of stress for him since they can be broken, and need regular maintenance to be kept in shape. Meanwhile, Jean Havoc gets impaled in the spine by Lust, and has his lower body nerves damaged to the point where he can't walk anymore. Mustang tries to convince him to keep fighting, but the damage is too severe for him to help, forcing him to retire from the military because of it. Basically, if a character has a handicap of some kind, the show doesn't shy away from portraying how debilitating said handicap really is.
    • It's explained early on the reason Alphonse doesn't just use Alchemy to fix damage to armor; doing so requires thinning out the rest of his body to fix the damaged area. Since Equivalent Exchange is still in effect, he'd essentially be pulling material from the rest of his armored body to fix it, which weakens the durability of said armor. Father being able to casually fix his damage without thinning out his armor serves as a major red flag for the brothers that Father isn't to be trusted since it bypasses Equivalent Exchange to do so.
    • Just because your nation calls you a hero for your military service doesn't mean you'll feel happy with what you had to do. The Ishvalan Civil War was a brutal conflict and many of those who were hailed as heroes developed major psychological issues as as a result, and none of them feel like heroes for taking the lives of other people because they were told to. Those who seemed to prosper from it are shown to be terrible people who were clearly not mentally well to begin with if they delighted in the bloodshed.
    • When Ling is separated from the other protagonists after arriving in Central City, and the authorities who find him collapsed in the street realise he doesn't have any travel documents, he's promptly carted off to prison as an illegal immigrant.
    • When Ed and Al travel to Briggs later on, it's revealed Ed was at serious risk of dying due to his automail being made from steel, which is not very cold resistant. Since the metal is attached to his body, the cold slowly would've given him essentially frostbite so severe he would have died unless the men of Briggs had found him and given him a new automail arm made from more cold resistant materials. Al by contrast doesn't have this issue because he has no flesh to worry about, which makes him the only one able to track down Scar's group when they are out in the snow.
    • During his fight with Mustang, Envy tries to do his usual Shapeshifter Guilt Trip by turning into Hughes. Envy steps out and tries to attack Mustang in the moment of confusion, only for Mustang to easily burn him anyway, with Mustang pointing out that his trick wouldn't work on him because he knows Hughes is dead and nothing can change that.
    • The finale reveals that despite Bradley being the Homunculus Wrath, the heroes had to lie about his fate because he was such a Villain with Good Publicity that revealing the truth would cause a nationwide Broken Pedestal that would lead to internal civil-war and undo all the hard work the heroes put into freeing their home from the grip of the Homunculus.
  • Really Dead Montage: Van Hohenheim gets one in the end credits for episode 63.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Hohenheim, Father, and nearly all the Homunculi (Pride in particular).
  • The Reason You Suck: Ed delivers one to Heinkel, telling Heinkel he isn't trying to create a world of truth, he's just running away from the true reality.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Mustang's male subordinates are all transferred to remote outposts on the borders of the country so that he can't make a move against the Government Conspiracy. It doesn't work.
  • Recap Episode: One of these kicks off Brotherhood's third season.
  • Recognition Failure: Al is addressed by Fuhrer King Bradley outside of the library and does not recognize him, to the horror of Lt. Hawkeye.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning:
    • Subverted with the Ishvalans. Although Ed does at one point remark that the reason Ishvalans' red eyes scare him when he first sees them is because the first Ishvalan he ever met tried to kill him. Otherwise, their red eyes are just an ethnic trait, not "Uh-Oh" Eyes, and the majority of the Ishvalans in the series are peaceful. It's suggested that more discriminatory Amestrians might share this view, however, as Miles wears shades specifically to hide his red eyes.
    • Played with with Scar. He never quite stops being a menacing figure, but he does eventually graduate to antihero status.
    • Cleverly inverted during Scar's flashback to the Ishvalan Civil War, wherein he views the Amestrians' blue eyes as something monstrous and menacing. Later during that flashback, we actually see him kill the Rockbells because he saw their blue eyes and automatically took them for enemies.
    • Played for laughs with several characters (Izumi in particular) when they're in a particularly devilish and/or comically violent mood.
    • Played straight with many of the antagonists—especially the homunculi—frequently when they're creeping/lurking in the shadows.
      • While they're normally a purplish-red anyway, Homunculus eyes occasionally get upgraded to round, evil red when they're really starting to get dangerous or menacing. An anime-exclusive scene (which technically was in the manga, but couldn't be properly shown in black and white) has the soldier Envy turned into change from blue-eyed to red just before shooting a little girl and starting the war.
      • Used as a plot device to let the audience know when Greed is in control of Ling's body and when he's not. (This gets less consistent as the two pair off more frequently.)
      • This happened with Kimblee when he attacks and kills Scar's family and later when he reveals to Ed that he has two Philosopher's Stones at his disposal.
    • Subverted with Al, since his armor body has slightly red eyes. (This is much more prevalent when he uses a Philosopher's Stone.)
  • Red Herring: Hohenheim and Father look similar, and the latter is shown getting off his throne and walking somewhere a little while before the former returns to his home and gives Edward a Breaking Speech. It turns out to be a coincidence; they both are different people, and the reason Father looks like him is because Hohenheim is his creator and when Father gained a physical form, made himself look like Hohenheim as a form of thanks.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
    • The fourth opening of Brotherhood presents Edward Elric and Alphonse Elric as this, respectively. Whether they actually are is up to the viewer's interpretation.
    • Ed is a Hot-Blooded Hair Trigger Tempered Bratty Half-Pint in a red Badass Longcoat. Roy is a laid-back Atoner and Chessmaster in a blue Badass Longcoat.
      • This dynamic is subverted later into the story - while Ed is brash and tends to jump into fights, he suffers his biggest setback because he chooses to be merciful during his fight with Kimblee, allowing Kimblee to survive and almost killing him in the process, whereas Mustang almost lets his anger and vengeance overtake him during his final fight with Envy, requiring Ed, Hawkeye, and Scar to talk him down from it.
    • Lust is the blue to Envy's red.
  • Redemption Equals Affliction: Doctor Marcoh has his face disfigured by Scar after regretting everything he did in the Ishvalan war.note 
  • Reflectionless Useless Eyes: In Ch. 102, Roy has these as a result of his sacrifice when he's forced (not as in threatened, physically forced) to perform human transmutation. Combined with Milky White Eyes in the manga and gray eyes in the anime.
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • Olivier's plan to infiltrate central command's ranks has her telling Bradley that she did kill Raven, and telling him that she deserved Raven's position more than he did because he was stupid enough to blab about the plan and get himself killed. Not only does this work, but her plan's audacity actually gets a laugh out of him.
    • Mustang and his forces use the order to kill Bradley's wife and the blowing up of Bradley's train as evidence that the Central Senior Command was trying to stage a coup against the Fuhrer, when in fact Mustang was himself the one staging the coup
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns:
    • One of Havoc's two guns stovepipes in chapter 37 of the manga, thus allowing Riza to jump into action. He is not shown throwing away the jammed gun, but we can assume he did, since he only carries one afterwards.
    • In Brotherhood, a spent round gets stuck in Riza's pistol when she is fighting the leftover Fuhrer candidates, thus enabling her enemies to capture her. (In the manga, she merely runs out of ammo). It actually made sense in this case, because the fight was at such close range that she didn't have time to clear the jam before she had a sword at her throat.
  • Remake Cameo: Young Hohenheim is played in the dub by Aaron Dismuke, Al's VA in the first anime.
  • Reminiscing About Your Victims: Barry the Chopper really likes doing this in the manga.
  • Retraux: The flashback to Ed and Al throwing Yoki out of Youswell is presented as a silent film.
  • The Reveal:
    • In the film Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, is revealed that the whole city is a giant, tridimensional transmutation circle designed to create a Philosopher's Stone.
    • The fact that Ashleigh, Julia's brother, isn't really his brother. Or is He?. Foreshadowing from the beginning, and during the whole movie, since you always can see Melvin/Atlas' scars. A savvy viewer may also notice Colonel Herschel's disfigured face, which can be seen even when he's wearing his mask, through the eyeholes and mouth. If one picks up on both this and Melvin/Atlas's scars, most of the critical plot twists in the story can be worked out.
  • Reusable Lighter Toss: Lampshaded after it is tossed.
  • Reverse Mole: When Zampano calls Envy to let them know of Marcoh's location. It turns out he did this at Marcoh's request, to lead Envy into a trap.
  • Ribcage Stomach: Gluttony gets a ribcage mouth in his belly when he gets dangerous.
  • Rich People:
    • The Armstrongs are loaded, being aristocracy and all. They seriously consider buying some elephants as souvenirs.
    • Although there are jokes about him being a cheapskate, Edward has a seemingly bottomless State Alchemist's "research budget", meaning that money is not an issue for the brothers' constant train journeys and hotel stays, automail repairs, and paying off Ling's astronomical room service bills. The "equivalent exchange" he gives Sheska is enough to transfer her mother into a new hospital. Think about how expensive long-term medical care is.
    • Roy also throws money around casually, paying his female informants well, carrying enough on him to buy a flower seller's entire stock and swanning around in expensive-looking suits. It would seem that being a State Alchemist is a pretty sweet deal, financially.
    • State Alchemists getting paid loads and loads of money for their "research" is actually the driving force behind Shou Tucker's "unorthodox" actions earlier on in the series so yes, you could say it is a rather well-paid job.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter:
  • Right-Hand Attack Dog: The chimera guarding Father's lair.
  • Rivers of Blood: Gluttony's stomach, a dimension unto itself that expands infinitely on all sides, has an ankle-deep coating of blood on the floor.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • Mustang after Envy reveals they killed Hughes themself. Subverted/defied in that the other characters have to talk him down, noting that if Mustang lets revenge get the better of him, it will make him that much worse a person for it. While it is certainly satisfying to see Envy get what's coming to them, we're clearly supposed to be scared and worried for Mustang's sanity.
    • Gluttony kind of freaked when Lust got charbroiled, and he grows monstrous when he finds the person who did it.
    • Riza's reaction when she thought Lust killed Roy.
  • Rousseau Was Right: The story certainly does not shy away from the brutalities that humans eagerly partake in; as the Homunculi observe it is incredibly easy to make them turn on each other. However, at the end of the day people still have the capacity to overcome their mutual hatred and combine forces against a greater threat, and to find fulfillment and companionship in healing the damage.
  • Rules of Orphan Economics: While not technically orphans, Ed and Al are left on their own. They inherited a nest egg from their mother, get taken in by Pinako, and Ed makes a nice living once he becomes a state alchemist, so money is never a problem.
  • Running Gag:
    • Edward being called short and him spazzing out about it.
    • In Chapter 45 Mustang and Hawkeye confiscate a rich couple's car at gunpoint; later in Chapter 82 Ed and the chimeras steal the same couple's car (again at gunpoint) to make a getaway. The couple were first seen in Rush Valley just before Winry starts squeeing over the automail in the shop window.
    • There's also one that occurs in the manga with Fuhrer Bradley: Whenever he pays congenial or casual visits, he always gives someone a melon. Though not constant, it happens in various chapters.
    • People mistaking Al for the Fullmetal Alchemist, due to his armor body. Ed eventually lampshades this.
    • Roy's Heroic BSoD when Hawkeye calls him useless.
    • In episode 3: Ed getting jumped on by Shou Tucker's dog.

  • Sand In My Eyes: Or rather, "It's raining." This is also an Ironic Echo to earlier in the series, when Riza points out that "You're useless when it's raining."
  • Satanic Archetype: Father, the Big Bad, is a creature who seeks to usurp The Truth, which identifies itself as God, and tempts humans to evil to achieve his ends. Father is assisted by his "children", who are named after the Seven Deadly Sins. Interestingly, Father is introduced looking like a Grandpa God, bathed in light, although his true form is some variety of Humanoid Abomination made of shadow.
  • Save the Villain: Subverted when the others stop Roy from killing Envy, not because they want Envy to live, but because they don't want Roy to give in to his anger. They just plan to kill Envy themselves.
  • "Save the World" Climax: While Ed and Al start off with a fairly simple quest to regain their old bodies, the final battle has them and the rest of the heroes fighting to stop Father from destroying the world by absorbing the Gate of Truth.
  • Say My Name:
    • Hilariously subverted with "Father!" "My vintage suit of armour!".
    • Subverted with Roy and Riza. "Colonel!" "Lieutenant!!!" Honestly, you'd think it was their Catchphrase to yell each other's rank...
    • "Alphonse!!"
    • LAN FAN!!!
    • YOUNG LORD!!!
    • "ED!!!!"
    • "Brother!"
    • "FU!!!"
    • Everyone present yells Edward's name when he finally gets the upper hand on Father in the final battle.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses:
    • This is the first clue that Shou Tucker might not be a nice person.
    • Zig-zagged with Hohenheim; these show up when he's getting dangerous, but also when he's doing something dorky.
    • Hughes, when he thinks of his daughter.
    • Scar, back when he had Cool Shades.
    • The Gold-Toothed Doctor.
  • Schizo Tech: The world mixes 1920s tech with alchemy and cybernetic limbs. Justified — alchemists can force almost any chemical reaction and rearrange things on the molecular level, which could explain some of the advancements.
    • The carbon fiber in the cold-weather automail is something that shouldn't be within the technological capabilities of a roughly 20s-era civilization. A lot of the Briggs-developed tech falls into this as well. The tank, for example, is of a design that does not look like anything we had in the 20s but resembles post-WW2 tanks. On the other hand, despite their mechanical advancements there do not appear to be any sort of aircraft.
    • The Amestrian military uses a bizarre mix of firearms. For the most part, the handguns are World War I era, the rifles and machine guns are World War II era, and the submachine guns are Cold War era.
    • Mustang also makes reference to a film cliche while specifically mentioning it as happening in the "movies and novels", suggesting that film got a head start in this universe as well if its a common enough occurrence to mention.
  • Scooby Stack: Hawkeye, Mustang, Havoc, Al, and Barry the Chopper pull one off in front of the Third Lab, while chasing Barry's human body.
  • The Scream:
    • Hohenheim, when he realizes he has become immortal at the cost of his entire civilization.
    • Scar, when he sees that the Ishvalan capital is completely destroyed.
    • Al, when Gluttony swallows Ed and Ling.
  • Secret Test of Character: It took two years, more pain and anguish than any other pair could take, the loss of their mother, the loss of their bodies, and the loss of each other for Ed to find his answer. And finally, after all the fighting and struggling, the Truth of the Universe accepts Ed's final sacrifice, smiles and says: "Good answer."
  • Self-Inflicted Hell: The Truth invokes this as an ironic punishment as payment for trying to play God. Specifically:
    • Ed tried to rebuild his family, and loses the leg he stood on and his remaining family as payment.
    • Al wanted to feel his mother's warmth again, and lost his body and ability to physically feel.
    • Izumi tries to revive her stillborn baby, and loses her reproductive system.
    • Since Mustang held a strong vision for Amestris, he loses his sight and the ability to see what will become of his country.
    • Finally subverted when Ed tries to bring back Al again in the finale; since Ed offers his physical ability to perform alchemy, denying himself his life specialty and the ability to bring back the dead (as he did with Al), The Truth sees Ed has learned his lesson and gave a large offering, and allows Al's body to return.
  • Self-Surgery: Roy Mustang cauterises a large wound to his own abdomen using flame alchemy after Lust stabs him under Laboratory 3.
  • Sensor Character: Xingese warriors like Lan Fan have the ability to detect the Qi of others. Lan Fan can detect the homunculi because of their twisted life energy.
  • Serial Killer:
    • Barry plays this for laughs, if you can believe that.
    • Scar plays this seriously, as he specifically goes after State Alchemists.
  • Servile Snarker: Variation with Riza's occasional tendency to yell at her 'boss'. "WHY DID YOU SHOW UP?! ARE YOU SOME KIND OF AN IDIOT?" Played for Laughs, especially because Roy shakes it off; if anyone else yelled at him that way, it's doubtful he would be so calm, but he is No Badass to His Valet.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: The Homunculi are themed after them.
  • Sexy Figure Gesture: In the manga, this is how Barry the Chopper describes Lust - he says, "She looks like this," and traces the hourglass shape with his hands.
  • Shadow Archetype: Father to Hohenheim.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The Sacred Star of Milos. It occurs in some ambiguous (potentially plot-hole-inducing) place in the timeline of the series and conveniently leaves Ed and Al no closer to their goal of restoring their bodies. Star IS a philosopher's stone but it gets destroyed/used up by the end of the film. Since the film takes place in Milos and Table City, far from the main plot, it has no impact on Father's plan. Within the film itself, Milos declares independence from both Amestris and Creta which would suggest some measure of change in the status quo, but since it's a tiny city-state sandwiched between two major military powers (which are explicitly stated to be mobilizing forces in retaliation), their freedom probably won't last. Especially considering Milos' military forces consists of a guerrilla terrorist group, the only chance in hell it has to survive is if the main FMA plot wraps up before either Amestris or Creta decide to quell the insurrection.
  • Shame If Something Happened:
    • Bradley does this to Ed, concerning Winry, after he tried to quit the military.
    • Also Kimblee, who practically waves Winry's life in front of Ed's face simply because he felt like being an asshole that day.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: Envy is still subject to conservation of mass, as seen by the deep footprints left by their human form. The chimerae, however, don't seem to be affected by this (or are at least less obviously so—it's possible they're still heavier than normal humans, but the effect isn't nearly as dramatic if so).
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Envy loves this tactic. Eventually backfires on them when Roy responds to them turning into Hughes by getting considerably angrier.
  • Sharing a Body: Greed and Ling's relationship starts out as standard Demonic Possession, but after a lot of Fighting from the Inside, willingly trading the body back and forth, and gaining a healthy respect for each other, it evolves into this.
  • She Is Not My Girlfriend: Ed does this so vehemently that he literally busts his gut! Another time he gives poor Hayate a tea-bath with an impressive Spit Take. It Makes Sense in Context.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Mother of Truth, the military is full of them, with the Ishvalan Civil War giving most involved PTSD (with the rest being insane to begin with).
    • Mustang's experiences gives him the desire to climb the ranks and become Fuhrer to save his country and turn it around (and then imprison himself for what he did). While he tends to seem adjusted, his facade drops several times to show that Mustang can barely keep himself composed at times.
    • Hawkeye goes from a friendly if aloof woman to a traumatized Cold Sniper. Like Mustang, she also believes she deserves to be tried for what she's done. While more honest then Mustang about it, she's made herself dedicated to his dreams that the thought of him dying is enough to make her go full Death Seeker.
    • Armstrong is straight up sent home an emotional wreck after being responsible for several Ishvalan fatalities and breaks down clutching a dead child. He believes that getting sent home is his greatest failure, and his own sister considers him a coward for it. Not helping is that his self-deprecation is worsened by Olivia, who rubs in how weak he feels about himself.
    • Hughes looks like he doesn't have any emotional baggage on the surface (constantly rattling on about his family and how adorable they are), but he is deeply traumatized, with his eyes not reflecting any light (except when he's with his family). Its made clear that his family was the only thing that makes him feel any joy now, and if not for them and Mustang, he'd of been a broken man.
    • Dr. Knox's experience has left him scarred and incessantly bitter (resulting in his wife and son leaving him), and doesn't like talking about it at all.
    • Dr. Marcoh is credited with inventing the Philosopher's Stone during the war, but was so wracked with guilt he deserted and spends the entire series as The Atoner. He also tries to get Scar, a member of the race nearly wiped out in the war, to kill him at one point.
  • Ship Tease: Winry and Ed, Mustang and Hawkeye, Ling and Lan Fan, Al and's clear why the shippers love Arakawa.
  • Shipper on Deck: For a series where romance is downplayed in favor of story, there seem to be a LOT of in-universe shippers. In fact, most of that Ship Tease seems to be coming from other characters.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • Armstrong is a Walking Shirtless Scene, much to other characters' dismay.
    • Ed has a tendency to tear his shirt in order to show off his arm (and his abs), not that anyone minds.
    • Ling loses his jacket-thing and goes around shirtless for a while (yay!).
    • Roy, when he kills Lust.
    • Father, when he reverts to his younger form.
  • Shooting Superman: Although shooting Homunculi isn't completely useless, since they do have a limited amount of times they can regenerate, most of the people shooting them have no idea of this. So, from their perspective, it may just be better to run away.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Ed references The Fly (1958) as an example of transmuting people, with a person and a fly becoming a fly-man. Even if that was solely in the realm of movies, it gave Ed the inspiration to try human transmutation.
    • At one point, Kimblee says "the life force is strong with you."
    • There are many references to historical alchemists, their beliefs and practices littered throughout the manga.
    • The scene in Gluttony's stomach where Ed boils a shoe into food is likely a reference to the Charlie Chaplin film The Gold Rush—Ed refers to getting the idea from a film he saw. note 
    • On their first visit to Rush Valley, Winry starts Squeeing over a "Gotts 11th Year Model Automail". Compare Götz von Berlichingen's Real Life prosthetic hand.
    • The chimeras, especially the ones who worked for Kimblee, seems to be based on zoanthropes.
    • Giolio Comanche the Silver Alchemist is a lot creepier once you notice the similarities to Cowboy Bebop's Mad Pierrot. (Less creepy if you see Rich Uncle Pennybags instead).
      • One of the residents of Rush Valley bares a remarkable similarity to Jet Black, complete with similar robotic limbs.
    • Father's apotheosis is eerily similar to the awakening of Lilith in End of Evangelion.
    • Possibly coincidental, but Envy's Eldritch Abomination form could be a shout out to Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan. The cover depicts a creature covered with human bodies, like Envy. The connection? In some religious mythology, the Leviathan is a representation of the sin Envy.
    • The mannequin soldiers are very similar in nature and looks to the mass-production Evangelion.
    • Another possibly coincidental example: during Edward's fight with Kimblee, he slashes his right transmutation circle. That circle contains a triangle which contains a circle. The slash wound divides the circle in two exact halves. A line, a circle, and a triangle - where we saw it before?.
    • Hughes' military identification code is USO-800. This is likely shoutout to Uso 800 potion from Doraemon.
    • The military order that changes the fighting in Ishval from a Civil War to a War of Extermination is 3066. note 
    • The Konami Code is visible on Fuery's locker in Chapter 47.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • We are repeatedly shown instances of Ed experiencing tremendous pain in his automail and becoming nauseated, sometimes to the point of being violently ill, when there are severe changes in barometric pressure. This is Truth in Television for people in the real world who have metal body parts. Ed suffers the symptoms to a greater extent than most because almost half his entire body is metal, but the nature of the suffering is very accurate.
    • Roy Mustang uses his gloves to create fire. It doesn't work on rainy days, but if he's a closed-off area with enough water, he can just separate the water into hydrogen and oxygen and use a source of sparks to ignite it. He can't do it in the rain because it's too open, and separating the molecules would endanger everyone around him. Also, the snapping sound he makes is the gases reacting, not the sound of him actually snapping his fingers.
    • When Riza empties her revolver at Lust she only fires five rounds before it clicks empty, yet it is clearly a six-shot revolver. Assuming a similar pace of small-arms development in Amestris compared to the real world, transfer-bar safeties are likely still a novelty. As such, Riza would need to leave the hammer over an empty chamber to prevent slamfire.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
  • Shut Up, Kirk!:
    • Kimblee turns Al's Shut Up, Hannibal! speech into this.
    • Additionally, Wrath's dying moments amount to this when Lan Fan confronts him. Telling somebody whose grandfather you just killed that you have no regrets and then dying with a smile on your face is a pretty devastating response.
  • Sibling Team: Ed and Al
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts:
    • Hughes for his family.
    Hughes: Not just my daughter! *sparkle* I'm proud of my wife too!!
    • At times, Sig and Izumi. There's even a scene where they have giant hearts floating off of them!
    • Lust and Havoc in the omake comics.
  • Simplified Spellcasting: Those who can perform alchemy by clapping (i.e. Ed, Al, Izumi, Roy), and those who have a circle at the ready, such as on a glove or tattooed onto one's body (such as Roy's gloves, Armstrong's gauntlets, and Kimblee's palms). This allows for a specialized alchemical technique to be at the ready without having to draw a circle.
  • Sinister Minister: Father Cornello in the first two manga chapters.
  • Sinister Whistling: Envy happily whistles when Mustang agrees that humans are easily manipulated. Additionally, in the manga, Envy often has musical notes added into their dialogue, though they are removed in the English version.
  • Slasher Smile:
    • Envy and Kimblee do this a lot when about to commit acts of villainy, as they're pretty psychotic.
    • Riza, in chapter 94, to great effect.
    • Also Mustang came pretty close on one panel in ch. 95.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: Level 5, as men and women are frequently shown to be equally competent in terms of tactical and physical fighting skill. For every badass State Alchemist like Roy Mustang, there's an equally skilled Badass Normal like Riza Hawkeye.
    • Making it more complex: out of the whole cast in which 20+ alchemists are seen there are a grand total of two female alchemists and neither of them are State Alchemists. That said, they're not state alchemists because they don't want to be; they would be eagerly welcomed if they chose to join the military and one of them is, in fact, scouted by Bradly himself and turned down.
    • Still more so: Izumi Curtis will, loud and proud, declare herself a House Wife while beating the fuck out of a Humonculous to save her student, the male protagonist.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Quite idealistic on the whole; but the darker side of humanity is also depicted on more than one occasion. Contrast with the first anime, which is a lot more cynical.
  • Slipknot Ponytail: Hawkeye during her showdown with Envy. Actually rather justified, since her hair was in a clip which sprang open while Envy was throwing her around the catacombs.
  • Social Darwinist:
    • A heroic example with Olivier Armstrong and everyone at Briggs. They're firm believers in 'survival of the fittest', and it turns them into a scarily effective fighting force.
    • A villainous example: Kimblee.
  • Social Services Does Not Exist: Although it's only briefly touched on in flashbacks, Riza's upbringing comes across as particularly unhealthy. She was raised by her widower father in a neglected and overgrown house described as squalid by his student. She mentions having been afraid of her father and his alchemy, which makes it all the more disturbing that he tattooed his apocalyptically destructive flame alchemy research onto her back.
  • The Sociopath: Aside from everybody described on the character page, there's the King of Xerxes, who was perfectly willing to go along with Father's plan to slaughter his people for immortality.
  • Something Only They Would Say:
    • Ed and Ling try to verify that the other isn't Envy.
    Ed: Hold on…
    Ling: What?
    Ed: You're not Envy in disguise, are you?
    Ling: Oh, come on! Do you want me to recite the entire room service menu from top to bottom?
    Ed: Okay, you're the real Ling.
    Ling: And how do I know you aren't the impostor, you li-
    Ling Okay, it's you.
    • Hawkeye plays with this in chapter 94, ratting Envy out by setting up but subverting Bluffing The Imposter.
  • Sound of Darkness: Pride's dark tendrils make a slithering noise.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • When referencing the various historical conflicts used to carve the blood crests, they seem to have taken place within the span of a year or two. (The uprising in Liore, for example, while the bloodshed at Briggs only lasted for a couple of days at maximum.) The Ishvalan war lasted seven years because, in the manga, the neighboring country of Aeurugo did what many countries do when a rival is undergoing internal conflict: supplied the rebels with arms and other materiel.
    • Mei and Scar deal a severe blow to the plans of Father and the Homunculi, since they have no way to account for Mei's Alkahestry and Scar's particular brand of Alchemy.
  • Speak of the Devil: It happens a few times that people are talking about Scar and two seconds later Scar and his group walk past them or up to them.
  • Special Effect Branding: The sparks from alchemy use are normally blue, but when homunculi regenerate or someone uses a Philosopher's Stone, they're red. Possibly to denote the consumption of human soul energy in the transmutation.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • Lior/Liore/Reole
    • Resembool/Risembul/Riesenburgh/Liesenburgh
    • Olivia/Olivier Miller/Milla/Mira Armstrong
    • Solf/Zolf/Zolof J. Kimble/Kimblee/Kimbley/Kimbly
    • Lin/Rin/Ling
    • Mei/May Chan/Chang
    • Riza/Liza/Lisa/Risa (and her using the Code Name "Elizabeth" doesn't help)
    • Scieszka/Sheska/Scieska
    • Ranfun/Ran Fan/RanFan/Lan Fan
    • Roze/Rose with or without an acute accent
    • This is not helped by the manga and anime using different official spelling: Lin (manga)/Ling (anime), Ranfan (manga)/Lan Fan (anime), Who (manga)/Fu (anime), Reole (manga)/ Liore (anime).
    • In the official manga alone the spellings change constantly. One page of the manga has Ling's name tag bracelets say "LING YAO" but the jail guard in the next panel saying "So your name's Lin Yao, huh?".
    • Ishval/Ishbal also sees similar inconsistency.
    • Brotherhood pins down the correct name for "Xerxes" with the picture of a map and confirms Olivier Mira Armstrong's name. This is also a Tomboyish Name, or just flat out As Long as It Sounds Foreign, considering Olivier's French for "Oliver."
  • Spit Take:
    • Ed does a pretty spectacular one after Hawkeye suggests that he's in love with Winry. Poor Hayate gets soaked too.
    Riza: Amusing. He's weak to direct hits.
    • Prior to that, in Brotherhood, he scores a hilarious one when they first discover Ling in Rush Valley's streets.
  • Spoiler Opening: Quite a few, but the majority of them would only be obvious to the people who know the story beforehand. Tropes Are Not Bad: The things that do happen are indistinguishable from the many things that don't happen so you can never tell without knowing in advance. Not to mention some of the sequences are completely vague and can be interpreted as metaphors to the things happening at the point in the plot.
    • The appearance of a young Hohenheim in the first opening. But he looks incredibly like Ed, so most people don't realize who it really is.
    • Downplayed. Also Greedling and Sloth make an appearance alongside Wrath, Gluttony and Envy in the third opening sequence, "Golden Time Lover," before they actually debut in the series. Admittedly Sloth isn't that big a reveal, most people would just go "who's that big guy? Oh, so that's what Sloth's gonna look like." But the opening debuts only an episode before Ling becomes a Homunculus. This opening also shows Kimblee tipping his hat in farewell surrounded by a red typhoon of souls—which is EXACTLY what happens near the end.
    • The fourth opening spoils Greedling's defection and shows him fighting Wrath, as well as the Alkahestric Reverse Circle.
    • The fifth one spoils Roy's blindness and being the last sacrifice, Father's One-Winged Angel form, and the nationwide circle activating. And the last one, it spoils hard. That said, it's easy to interpret this as simply being a warning of what might happen if the heroes fail as opposed to something that actually will happen.
  • Spontaneous Weapon Creation: Alchemists can transmute weapons using the mass of floors or walls, although not many ever actually do so.
  • Spotting the Thread: Envy often falls victim to this trope. The first time is when they're impersonating Maria and Hughes notices a lack of a mole. It happens again much later, when they impersonate Roy and panic when Riza suggests they are on a First-Name Basis. Turns out she's lying and thus manages to smoke Envy out.
  • Standard Evil Organization Squad: The Homunculi.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: When a thief steals Ed's watch, they spend most of a chapter chasing her through the city. She vaults over walls and bounces off pillars Ed throws up, and when Al transmutes the ground around her into a birdcage, she just kicks her way out. She's stopped by Winry grabbing her wrist.
  • Starter Villain:
    • Manga: Father Cornello, a Sinister Minister who uses a fake philosopher stone to keep a stranglehold over a small town. He's killed by the Homunculi at the end of the first chapter.
    • Brotherhood: Isaac McDougal, the Freezing Alchemist, a rogue State Alchemist who is trying to use an ice wall to destroy the city. He's killed by Bradley at the end of the first episode.
  • Step into the Blinding Fight: There's a fight scene in the dark that renders the heroes unable to fight very well. Gluttony solves the problem by using his sense of smell.
  • Stepping Stones in the Sky: How Wrath survives his train blowing up.
  • The Stinger: These cruelly start showing up partway into the anime, starting at episode 8 and sporadically appearing until episode 49. They are missable but often fill in minor plot-relevant details.
  • The Stoic:
  • Storming the Castle: The final assault on Central.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Envy the green monster.
    • One could say that Sloth died lying down on the job.
    • Riza and her backstory.
    • Heinkel, a lion chimera, has a solo fight against Pride.
    • Fuhrer Bradley, also known as Wrath. Fuhrer is homophonous in English with furor, which is synonymous with wrath.
    • It cost Ed an arm and a leg to save Al's soul.
  • Stereotypes of Chinese People: The characters from Xing.
  • Strictly Professional Relationship: Roy Mustang and his direct subordinate Riza Hawkeye claimed to have Strictly Professional Relationship. Of course, Everyone Can See It but the military has an anti-fraternization law. They'd like to have more than a professional relationship and sometimes they slipped a bit, but they just have to. According to Word of God, she couldn't marry Mustang and Hawkeye because that would be against military regulations. Which implies that they would get married, if it weren't for that law.
  • Strong Family Resemblance:
    • In his youth, Hohenheim look startlingly like an older Ed.
    • Winry is nearly identical to her mother Sarah save for the hair.
  • Stylistic Suck: Brotherhood's first ending is made to look like a child's crayon drawing. Real mature, Edward!
  • Subordinate Excuse:
    • Riza Hawkeye and Roy Mustang.
    • There are some hints near the end that this may have been the case with Olivier and Buccaneer as well.
  • Succession Crisis: The whole reason Ling, Lan Fan, Fu, and May are even in Amestris, as the emperor of Xing is ailing and will give the throne to whichever offspring/clan gives him the secret to immortality.
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: Played for laughs.
    Colonel Mustang: When I'm Führer, there will be changes. That day, all female officers will be required to wear... TINY MINISKIRTS!
  • Sufficiently Analyzed Magic:
    • Alchemy is considered a science. Alchemists do research like scientists, and those alchemists employed by the state are required to demonstrate the results of their research once a year in order to continue receiving funding (although the main characters do less research and more fighting with alchemy). In the manga there's a debate over the difference from alkahestry, with the two drawing on different power sources.
    • In Amestris it's commonly said that alchemy began in the kitchen. Which is fitting, since preparation of food is about the most common chemistry people actively do and historical alchemy is the predecessor to chemistry.
    • The manga posits the idea that "god" is not separate from the world but rather is the entirety of the world considered a living organism, observing the universe and itself for billions of years.
  • Super-Deformed: Will often happen to emotional characters in comical moments.
  • Super-Power Meltdown: Father IMPLODES due to being unable to carry God.
  • Super Reflexes: Subverted by Sloth; he's super-fast, super-strong, and as nimble as an 18-wheeler.
  • Supporting Leader:
    • General and Major Armstrong are the ones who lead the Briggs troops against the hordes of undead during the coup but they didn't take part directly in the final boss battle (which Mustang did).
    • Mustang gets a lampshade in one of the bonuses at the end of the first graphic novel:
    Mustang: In volume 2 we will be switching protagonists and the series will be retitled "Flame Alchemist".
    Ed: No it won't!
  • Suppressed History: The tablet of Xerxes, broken off in a key place. It tells of exactly how the empire fell, using alchemy to turn war zones into a giant Philosopher's Stone.
  • Surprise Checkmate: Colonel Mustang achieves one over General Grumman in their last game together. The anime version occurs in episode 13 "Beasts of Dublith".
  • Survivor Guilt: A whole slew of the them.
    • Scar, whose brother died in his place.
    • Ed, who got away with the loss of just an arm and a leg while Al lost his whole body.
    • Just about ANY person who was involved in the Ishvalan war and isn't one of the bad guys. Especially Roy, Riza, Alex, and Marcoh.
    • Hohenheim, who is partially responsible for the genocide of an entire race of people.
  • Symbolic Mutilation:
    • This is extremely prevalent here, where Jerkass God's law of Equivalent Exchange dictates that the price of victory is enduring Symbolic Mutilation as a form of Ironic Hell. The Handicapped Badass main character Edward lost the arm that allowed him to perform alchemy and the leg on which he stood, damaging his pride by forcing him to depend on others. Similarly, his brother, who attempted to resurrect their mother in order to feel the warmth of her presence again, lost his entire physical being, now unable to feel anything at all. Their teacher, longing for her dead child, loses her reproductive organs; the Wide-Eyed Idealist Mustang is blinded.
    • Not directly invoked by said Jerkass God, but still relevant: action guy Havoc gets paralyzed; the Incorruptible Pure Pureness Nina gets gruesomely fused with her dog and then murdered; the silver-tongued Kimblee has his throat torn out; the desperate-to-help Lan Fan loses her arm; the list goes on from there.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: The 4-Koma Theater clip "The Cursed House" portrays Shou Tucker as being driven to transmutation from his wife's unrealistic expectations of what he, as an alchemist, can do for her, which ultimately ends up with her trying to slip wolfsbane into his food. This is seen to take place before Shou transmutes Nina and Alexander, so Shou doesn't end up redeeming himself.

  • Take a Third Option:
    • Used and then deconstructed in Al's exchange with Kimblee.
    Al: Hey, why are you saying there are only two options? It's strange to think that only one of those can be granted. Why don't you consider the possibility of getting our bodies back, and at the same time, saving everyone? I think that in order for humanity to progress, we must seek a possibility without being bound by principles.
    Kimblee: Then you should prepare for another possibility. The possibility of you two not getting your bodies back, and not being able to save anyone either.
    • In Chapter 108, Ed is faced with the dilemma of using a Philospher's Stone to bring Al back (something he's promised never to do), or allowing Hohenheim to sacrifice himself. Ed instead decides to sacrifice his ability to perform alchemy.
  • Take Care of the Kids: As seen in a flashback, Master Hawkeye's dying words to Roy urge him to "take care of my daughter."
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Played unusually: When this happens to Envy it's both after they'd already been beaten in combat and done completely by accident.
  • Talk to the Fist:
    • Ed does not appreciate listening to Tucker. The only reason he didn't beat him to death was because Al snapped him out of it.
    • During the fight with Envy, Roy fries Envy's eyes every time they try to start gloating about how humans suck.
  • Tank Goodness: The Briggs army brings in a tank at one point.See Tempting Fate.
  • Tear Off Your Face: In the film Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, Atlas did this to Julia's brother, Ashley. Could count as Nightmare Fuel when you realize that, when he did it, Ashley was still alive.
  • Technically Naked Shapeshifter: Envy
  • Tele-Frag: When Edward gets his arm back, while not explicitly pointed out, you can see a few parts of the broken automail sticking out around his shoulder. One can assume that they had to be surgically removed afterwards.
  • Telepathy: Ed tries using Al's arm after being eaten by Gluttony for Rule of Funny to contact him. The omake expands on who was contacted.
  • Tempting Fate:
  • Terrible Trio: Lust, Envy and Gluttony almost always act as a team, with Lust leading.
  • That Man Is Dead:
    • Scar threw away his name after survivng the genocide of Ishval and declaring himself on a personal war against state alchemists.
    • The homunculi who were once human, the second Greed (Ling) and Wrath (Bradley). Several times Ed calls out "Ling" when encountering "Greed" and Greed answers back "It's Greed." Bradley was actually a Tyke-Bomb who doesn't even remember (or care about) his real name, and stopped being human a long time ago. The thing with Greed and Ling has more to do with the fact that they have two personalities with one controlling the body. It takes a while for them to start working together. The reason that the former identifies himself is less a case of Insistent Terminology and more to clarify which is the currently dominant personality.
  • Theme Naming: The homunculi are each named after one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Most of the military characters are named after weapons, vehicles, and companies from World War II.
  • There Are No Therapists: No one is around to help the protagonists through their massive trauma. Well, considering the time period...
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill:
    • Roy Mustang's fighting style when he gets PISSED. Roy literally has to burn through several hundred lives to deplete the Philosopher's Stone that powers each Homunculus.
    • Wrath vs. Greed (the first time). Also, Briggs loves this trope. If artillery, explosives, or a tank can be involved, they will be. Even if it means driving a tank indoors.
  • These Are Things Man Was Not Meant to Know:
    • Human transmutation—arguably the Central Theme of the whole series.
    • The creation of Philosopher's Stones.
      Marcoh: My research is the work of the Devil. And it can only lead straight to Hell.
  • Those Two Bad Guys: Lust and Gluttony play this role in the early stages of the story, with Envy joining later on to become a Terrible Trio. Also, the Slicer Brothers, who idiosyncratically share a body.
  • Those Two Guys: Maria Ross and Denny Brosh, though not nearly as much in Brotherhood as in the first anime.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill: Ed, who gets a lot of flak for it because he's in the military. (Though a few of his detractors admit they felt the same way at his age.) Also, during the final battle, Roy's squad use this policy against fellow soldiers.
  • Time Skip:
    • About six months over winter, between chapters 83 and 84 (episodes 45 and 46 of Brotherhood), giving the heroes a chance to plot offscreen.
    • Also the two year time skip in the middle of chapter 108/episode 64, after Father is defeated and Hohenheim dies by Trisha's grave.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Al, once he gains the same transmutation ability as Ed.
    • Falman, despite being on the verge of wetting himself, refused to get out of King Bradley's way during the battle at Central HQ. Now put yourself in his shoes and dare say you wouldn't get out of there screaming like an infant child.
  • Too Many Mouths: The true forms of Father and Pride.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth
    • When Pride swallows Kimblee, Kimblee is able to stay conscious enough to distract Pride at a critical moment, due to Kimblee loving the sounds of all the tortured souls in Pride's stone.
    • When Father attempts to assimilate Van Hohenheim, it turns out Van Hohenheim has befriended every soul in his body, leading to... unfortunate side effects for Father.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: The climax takes place over a total solar eclipse. Justified, as eclipses are meaningful in alchemy — the sun and moon unite to form "a perfect being".
  • Tragic Bromance: Mustang and Hughes. They had planned on rising through the ranks of the military together, and Mustang is devastated when that plan is cut short by Hughes's murder at the hands of the homunculi. After that, a good part of Mustang's motivation for fighting the homunculi is to find Hughes's killer and avenge him.
  • Training from Hell: Ed and Al had to survive on an island for 6 weeks during their training with Izumi, while Izumi herself was left to survive in the arctic with nothing but a knife for 6 months. She's actually going easy on them!
  • Translation Convention: Cleverly executed in the manga, where foreigners, like the Xingese characters, are signified to be speaking their native tongue if they are given horizontally shaped speech bubbles (compared to Amestrian dialogue which is always in vertically shaped speech bubbles). Unfortunately this isn't something easy to convey in anime format so instead the characters are just always portrayed as speaking the same language regardless of race or ethnicity.
  • Tricking the Shapeshifter: How Hawkeye outwits Envy.
    Hawkeye: (to Envy disguised as Mustang) When we're alone together the Colonel always calls me 'Riza.'
    Envy: Shit, you two are together!?
    Hawkeye: Just kidding.
    Envy: Crap!
    Hawkeye: Thanks for falling for it. Now do me another favor and die.
  • The Trickster: The homunculi, especially Envy. Father was one back when he was confined to a test tube.
  • True Companions:
    • Roy Mustang and his subordinates are this. They mix it up with the Band of Brothers subtrope.
    • Heck, most of the sympathetic members of the military are this.
    • He might deny it, but Greed and his band of followers were also this before they were slaughtered by Bradley. It also turns out that this was Greed's greatest desire.
  • Truer to the Text: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was to be a far more faithful retelling of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. The earlier anime adaptation, in this case, was quite popular in its own right, but at the same time, it left fans of the manga livid. That said, many fans found Brotherhood lacking as well, in large part due to some of the stuff that was condensed to avoid repetition from the earlier series.
  • Try Not to Die: Mustang gives this as his only order to his subordinates before they storm the capital.
  • Tsundere: Winry and Izumi. Winry is type B, which means she's normally 'dere' but can get 'tsun' when someone annoys her (often Ed). Izumi is type A as she seems to be 'tsun' when not putting up a "sweet housewife" front, but is unbelievably 'dere' with her husband.

  • Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: 'The Military Festival' gaiden.
  • Understatement: While in Gluttony's stomach and having met up with Envy, Ling comments to Ed that based on their footprint size in the previous fight, Envy "might be a little bit bigger than they look." Cue the transformation into the giant monster. (Ed has managed to destroy smaller buildings.)
  • Undisclosed Funds: Ed offers Sheska money from his research budget after hearing her story and receiving her help with transcribing Dr. Marcoh's notes. The image on Ross's and Sheska's faces says it all.
  • Unfinished, Untested, Used Anyway: The activation of doll soldiers. The villains are losing, so the military decides to use them, and scientists warn him that the tests aren't done yet. However, he ignores the warning, activates them and both get killed.
  • Unfriendly Fire: Really, don't mess with your soldiers in front of Basque Grand.
    • Unfortunately glossed over in the Brotherhood anime, but there were many soldiers who were either uncomfortable or outright disgusted with the genocidal Ishvallan war, to the point that some of them killed their commanding officers (Basque Grand included) in retaliation, and those who witnessed what happened chose to look the other way.
  • Uniqueness Decay: At the start of the series, the Philosopher's Stone was sought out as a one-of-a-kind, mystical object that could defy the laws of physics in-universe. Philosopher's Stones, as Ed and Al discover, do have incredible power, but they aren't that uncommon. The only problem is the ways of making one.
  • The Un-Reveal: Despite being asked by multiple people and it being a point of significance for him, Scar never reveals his true name.
  • Un-Sorcerer: Edward eventually gives up his ability to perform alchemy in order to bring Al's body back.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: The heroes' plan to stop Father isn't revealed to the audience until it gets put in action — after Father activates the Nationwide Transmutation Circle, Hohenheim's counter-circle returns the Amestrian souls to their bodies, while Scar and the Ishvalans' counter-circle removes the barrier between Amestrian alchemists and the tectonic plates. It works.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Subverted when Riza goes into one when she thinks Lust kills Roy but it only puts her further in danger. Played straight when Roy finds out Envy was the one who killed Hughes; he completely curbstomps Envy, and it takes his teammates to stop him.
    • When Al sacrifices his soul so that Ed can get his arm back, Ed goes extremely berserk on Father...and HOW!
      "Get up, you novice! It's time you learned why you're not in our league!"
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Poor Hohenheim had no idea what helping his little 'friend' in the flask would lead to... which happened to be the destruction of his country and everyone in it, and a centuries' old conspiracy which required the deaths of untold millions of people.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: The cornerstone of the Government Conspiracy, for the upper levels of the military at least. The real masterminds don't have such 'lofty' aspirations. Ultimately subverted even then, however, as much like the King of Xerxes before them, the aging upper military repeatedly demonstrates that it's fear of death rather than creating utopia that drives their actions.

  • Vague Age: Most of the cast, with the exception of Ed (15), Al (14), Winry (15), Ling (15), and Roy (29-30), don't have their ages given in the story. Although Trisha and Hughes's ages can be worked out if pays close attention to their tombstones.
  • Vehicular Theme Naming: A majority of the military characters are named after World War II military vehicles. Armstrong, Mustang, Hawkeye, Hayate, Bradley, etc.
  • Villain Decay: Envy starts out being manipulative, clever, and competent enough to be an infiltrator. Then they get soundly beaten by Marcoh and May, gets their power back, and gets curb-stomped by Roy. By this point, Envy is portrayed as barely smarter than Gluttony and can't even land one blow. Justified — Envy's primary skills are disguise and manipulation. Against someone who's not falling for their tricks, they only have their combat abilities, which are definitely outclassed by the main characters.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: All of the protagonists begin the story pursuing their own goals for reasons that don't really have to do with the villains (Get their bodies back, overthrow the government, find the secret of immortality to become emperor of Xing, etc.) but their actions actually help Father's centuries-old plan. Once they start to encounter it, they're forced to redirect their efforts to simply stopping it.
  • Villainous BSoD: Happens to Greed after killing Bido. This triggers the memories of his first self.
  • Villainous Rescue: Kimblee manages to distract Pride in the nick of time.
  • Villain Over for Dinner: Bradley/Wrath, finally fed up with the actions of the Elric brothers and company after having ignored it for the most part, sits down to have a nice chat with Winry in order to bring her up as a weakness against Edward later (granted, they didn't know about the whole business yet at that point in time; but when it's brought up again as a threat they have learned of the secret, so the effect of the trope remains the same). Couple of episodes down the line, Edward and Al are caught chatting with Bradley's wife and Selim for an interesting twist.
  • Vocal Dissonance:
    • Al in his armor.
    • Father, during the climax; he keeps the voice of an elderly man even after transforming to look like Ed/young Hohenheim.
    • Envy's regular voice slips out every so often when they're transformed. Depending on who they're disguised as, it can sound pretty weird.
  • Vocal Evolution: In the English dub of Brotherhood, Maxey Whitehead took a few episodes to learn how to properly imitate Aaron Dismuke's younger voice (since he'd gotten older and no longer sounded like he did during the original show's dub), but when she finally figured out how to do it, she nailed it.
  • Voice of the Legion: Envy, Pride, and Father all get this in their true forms. It actually sounds like a simple reverb effect most of the time, with the exception of that one highly disconcerting occasion where Father laughs out of sync.
  • Voices Are Mental: Whatever voice comes out of Greedling's mouth will belong to whichever of the two is in control.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot:
    • Ed is overcome with emotion and exertion and vomits (twice) when he has to dig up the thing he and Al created when trying to resurrect their mother.
    • Whenever Izumi vomits blood from stress. Played for laughs, for some reason.

  • Wacky Marriage Proposal:
    Ed: Equivalent exchange. I'll give you half my life... So give me half of yours!
    Winry: You really are dumb. You want half? I'll give you all of it.
  • The Walls Have Eyes: Pride is mostly made up of darkness, this, and incredibly creepy grins.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene:
    • Alex Armstrong, with the added bonus of being so cartoonishly overmuscled that it's practically Fan Disservice.
    • Ed appears to be unable to so much as walk within ten feet of a bladed object without his shirt dissolving to show off the sort of physique girls dream about.
    • There was also the scene when Mustang came to kill Lust. He was shirtless but wearing his coat, which was completely open and revealing his Mr. Fanservice chest and abs.
  • War Is Hell: If there's ever been a manga that did a good job of showing what a war can really be like (alchemists aside), this is it.
  • Wham Episode: All manga chapters following chapter 99 may cause screaming, ranting, stress, crying, irritation, cursing, shock, headaches, nausea and lack of sleep. Read at your own risk/discretion—especially chapter 104 which has caused all of the above. You Have Been Warned.
  • Wham Line:
    • When Edward realizes Shou Tucker forced his wife and daughter to become chimeras:
    Chimera: ...that person...Edward...Big Brother Ed...
    • When Edward reveals the truth about making of Philosopher's Stone:
    Edward:: The main ingredient for the Philosopher's Stone... is a living human being!
    • One from The Sacred Star of Milos:
    Lt. Colonel Herschel: Don't you remember me, Atlas? Before you peeled off my face, people knew me as Ashleigh Crichton.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: While Arakawa mainly does a good job of resolving all plot lines, there are unresolved bits that slip by.
    • Sheska never appears beyond the early parts of the storyline, even though other early characters such as Nina and Yoki reoccur.
    • The scene where Winry gives Ed her earrings has no follow-up.
  • What If?: In a gag comic at the end of volume 20, Ed starts a long string of "What Ifs":
    Ed: The reason I failed last volume was because I didn't think to myself, "What if Kimblee has another philosopher's stone?" So from now on, I need to think about all the "what ifs" in the world, and live more cautiously!
    Al: Wow, big brother! Very wise!
    Ed: What if I hit my head on the doorway? What if I get my precious antenna caught in the door-jamb?
    Ed: What if I grow 30 cm while I'm asleep? What if I can't fit into any of my clothes that following morning? What if no one recognizes me because I'm so tall?
    Ed: What if all the women in the world won't leave me alone because of my height, large income and deep intellect? What if they all start fighting one another over me? What if I incite a national emergency? Oh no ... [Type: Gundam, Close Combat]
    Al: This guy has totally lost it.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: This trope is explored through the Homunculi, chimeras, and Animated Armor. Hohenheim in particular gets an episode dedicated to him debating whether he can call himself a human or if he's a monster.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: Mustang's way of killing Lust was to simply apply more and more fire until she finally stopped regenerating.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: The last two pages of Chapter 108.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Volume 15 contains one to Ishval.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Hohenheim decides to find a way to become a normal human again once he has a family. He dies in front of his wife's grave with a smile on his face.
  • Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: Used to depict the dead at the end of each volume.
  • Wisdom from the Gutter: Kimblee to Roy during the Ishval massacre:
    Don't avert your eyes from death. Look straight ahead. Look squarely at the people you're killing. And don't forget them. Never... forget them. Because they won't forget you.
  • Wishful Projection: May hears about the Fullmetal Alchemist from various people, and forms a mental image of a tall, gentlemanly prince... and is horrified to find the short, rude reality. She later forms a similar image of Al's real body, after Alphonse, offended that she would think him similar to his brother, provides an exaggerated opinion of his own traits.
  • World of Badass: Jaw-dropping alchemical feats and combat skills are just run-of-the-mill in this world.
  • World of Buxom: Author Appeal. Any girl old enough to have them, has them, sometimes to hilarious proportions. Take Olivier, who has difficulty buttoning up her uniform. (Averted with Lan Fan and adult Mei, as Xingese people tend to have slight figures.)
  • "World of Cardboard" Speech:
    Scar: Your face tells me you had absolutely no idea. It's true. I can do that as well. Although until a moment ago I had neither the confidence nor the imagination to make it work...I spent ages thinking about what I should be doing. And this is the answer I found waiting for me. The result of my brother's research. The power to reconstruct.
    • Al's confrontation with Kimblee and Pride involves one being given to him, then he gives one of his own. First, he and Heinkel are pretty much screwed, when Heinkel urges him to use a Philosopher's Stone to win, with the reason being that while he would never do such a thing for selfish reasons, there's no reason why he can't do it to save others. He also tells him that to use up the souls in the Philosopher's Stone would also let the people it consumed fight, through Alphonse, which is what they would want. Partway through, Kimblee asks him why not use the Stone to get his body back and leave everyone else behind, saying that one will cost the other, per Equivalent Exchange. Alphone's response is that it's not two choices, he can and will to do both.
  • World of Muscle Men: Part of the Author Appeal: Hiromu Arakawa thinks men should be muscular and big, and women should be bosomy and curvy. Specifically, in one of the omake in volume 12, "Men should be buffed and women should be vavoom!" Even The Hero who is The Napoleon is still tremendously ripped, as revealed during his many, many, shirtless scenes.
  • Wouldn't Hit a Girl:
    Edward: I'm gonna kick her butt!!
    Alphonse: Kick her butt? I mean, if it was a guy that would be one thing, but...You're gonna beat up a girl?
    Edward: I'm not sexist!
    • Greed plays it straight.
      • He first tries this on Izumi, and is immediately shown why it's an awful idea, as Izumi proceeds to figure out how to break his Ultimate Shield — which took Ed a whole fight and a lot of injury — and Curb Stomp him in about two seconds.
  • Would Not Shoot a Good Guy:
    • When they rebel against the military, Mustang and co. avoid fatally wounding any of the soldiers going after them. Subverted by Olivier and her subordinates.
    • This is also subverted by Mustang's crew as a sort of psychological warfare. Leaving the men alive showed how easy it was for them and served as a way to mock the superior officers, thereby making them angry and clumsy.
  • Would You Like to Hear How They Died?: Kimblee to Scar, and later to Maj. Miles. Also, Envy to Roy. It doesn't end well.
  • Wrench Wench: Winry and her grandmother Pinako.
  • Wretched Hive:
    • Metaphorically speaking, this is Father's lair. A place where all the worst of Humanity's sins live personified? That fits.
    • For a more literal version, there's Amestrian Military Central Command. All the higher-ups are in on Father's plan, even if they don't know they're being played. And they're willing to do whatever it takes to achieve their promised immortality.

  • Xanatos Gambit:
    • Grumman, given an estimated two hours or so of thinking time, manages to turn the situation of the Fuhrer President himself overseeing the annual training exercises into a situation he simply cannot walk away from without a victory. He does this by leaking information about a planned attack on Central. If the Fuhrer stays, Central is defenseless. If he leaves, Central is defenseless and Bradley gets dropped down a ravine by a well-placed train bomb. Bradley being who he is, though, his exit from the story wasn't permanent. Still a very impressive feat, though.
    • Hohenheim's Umbral Circle failsafe. In the event that Father succeeds in transmuting the entire nation into a massive Philosopher's Stone, minutes later the eclipse's umbra would align with crests made from the lucid and cooperative souls from Hohenheim's own internal stone all willing to make a Heroic Sacrifice, undoing Father's dive once more over the Moral Event Horizon and leaving Father unable to effectively contain the Truth. Who's the Unwitting Pawn now, ya little Slasher-Smiling gas cloud?
    • The blood crest for the country-sized transmutation circle at Fort Briggs. Our Heroes find that the base seems to be the location for one, so they're concerned there'll be a bloody mess amongst the ranks. Turns out that Kimblee roused the antagonistic Russian-like northern neighbors into attacking the fort under the ruse that there were traitors among the Briggs soldiers. There weren't. The result? Briggs once again proves impregnable and the attacking force is completely wiped. The Briggs soldiers weren't the blood crest, but ended up making it.

  • You Are Worth Hell: When he asks her to be his bodyguard/conscience, Riza tells Roy that she'll follow him into Hell itself if that's what it takes. This turns out to be very true — and very mutual.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Invoked by Ed and Al. They burned their house down, specifically so that they could not settle back down again. Of course, they do pop by for a visit every now and then.
  • You Killed My Father:
    • After Hughes' death, every time Roy has the chance to talk with a villain or a potential bad guy, he coldly asks them whether they killed Hughes, alternatively if they know who did it. When he does get a "yes" out of someone, all hell breaks loose.
    • In the film Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos:
      • Atlas did this to Julia's parents.
      • Subverted for Julia's brother; he was alive all along.
  • You Monster!: Early in his duel with Herschel at the climax of The Sacred Star of Milos, Ed invokes this against his opponent.
    Ed: How could a monster like you be Julia's brother?!
  • You No Take Candle: Invoked by Ling when an angry mob confronts Ed for destroying most of Rush Valley while chasing Lan Fan.
    Ling: So sorry! I no understand much ranguage of this country! Okay, bye-bye now!
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: Chapter 91: "Hearing you agree with me makes me mad for some reason..."
  • Your Head Asplode:
    • Scar's motif for killing people. (Said almost word for word in the English outtakes).
    • Pride, when he dies.
    • In The Sacred Star of Milos, Herschel does this to Atlas.

  • Zerg Rush: The strategy to defeat Father eventually boils down to the heroes throwing everything they've got at him.
  • Zero-Approval Gambit: After the telephone booth incident Mustang "kills" Maria Ross. Her partner and parents (presumably) hate him, and the military, Ed, and the reader are convinced that he will do anything to get to the top. Turns out he (very convincingly) faked it.

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