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    General 
  • Adorkable: A sweet-hearted Nice Guy with a love for cats and a penchant for making goofy faces with his armor? Alphonse definitely qualifies.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Both canons have their own takes on the characters and themes of the story. Add the multitude of fandom interpretations and headcanons to that, and you have a colorful hodge-podge of different (and sometimes conflicting) ideas and analyses. This in addition to both versions of the story being very good and having passionate fanbases, has caused many a flame war.
  • Alternate Self Shipping: The popular slash pairing of Greed (the second incarnation) and Ling. While ultimately different people, Greed shares the same body as Ling. Pairing any the Homunculi may count as they're emotions of Father that he removed from himself.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Edward Elric: Obnoxious Bratty Half-Pint or lovable and fun protagonist?
    • Along the same lines, is Al a good foil for Ed, or just really, really annoying?
    • The differences in certain characters between the 2003 anime and the manga/Brotherhood tend to make them lightning rods for the "which version is better" debate. Scar and Izumi in particular tend to generate a lot of discussion. Most of it can be found on Tumblr, or in the history of this very wiki.
    • Father and Dante, the main antagonists of both versions, are notable examples, and often spearhead the franchise's infamous "Which version is better?" arguments. Common complaints for both characters include questionable writing and characterization, generic motives, and lacking the coolness and popularity factor of their minions. Most fans, though, seem to agree that both fit their respective continuities in terms of theme and narrative scope, and which one you prefer largely comes down to personal tastes.
      • Father is praised for being genuinely threatening villain who nearly succeeds in his plan and poses a serious challenge to the protagonists, as well as for his extensive and rich backstory with Hohenheim; however, he also receives criticism for a perceived lack of personality, arguably coming across as more of a Generic Doomsday Villain than a fully realized character.
      • Dante, conversely, is praised for her despicable personality and pettiness, as well as for being an Abusive Parent to her homunculi "family" and an effective Shadow Archetype for Edward; she receives criticism, however, for a noticeable lack of threat compared to Father, as well as perceived blandness, debatably coming across as a stereotypical vain, jilted lover.
  • Broken Base: Members of the fandom are generally very vocal about which series they prefer over the other. Mentioning your preference over either can, and will provoke very passionate responses asserting the contrary. Downplayed, however, as most fans agree that both series are still quite good and very few wouldn't recommend watching both (or admit that each version is a decent series on its own terms).
  • Can't Un-Hear It: For many fans, it's impossible to forget the voices of the English Dub, chief among them being Vic Mignogna as Edward Elric.
  • Die for Our Ship:
    • Rosé for those who ship Ed and Winry.
    • On top of Rosé, Winry has also been on the receiving end of anger from Yaoi Fangirls because of this trope - although the fact that she's close to both Elric brothers means most of them will just ship her with the other one instead.
    • Mostly subverted with Riza, perhaps because her relationship with Roy is close enough to the line between platonic and romantic (in the manga/Brotherhood - it doesn't get elaborated on much at all in the 2003 anime) that fanfic writers can easily shift her into the former role if they'd rather Roy be with Ed or Hughes.
    • Gracia Hughes also luckily avoids Die for Our Ship because Roy/Hughes shippers find Hughes' love for her similarly adorable. Most Roy/Hughes fiction is either pre-Gracia (taking place when Roy and Hughes were in the Military Academy together), polyamorous or Alternate Universe.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Being an Ensemble Darkhorse has been passed down the Armstrong line for generations!! Both the Major General and her brother are definite favorites of the fandom.
    • Greed is probably the most popular Homunculus behind Envy, even in the 2003 version, where he's a much more minor character compared to the more badass and plot-significant Envy.
    • Maes Hughes, for being a hilarious Doting Parent of a Knife Nut. His death is still considered to be one of the, if not the, saddest deaths of all anime.
    • Just about every chimera for their interesting designs and abilities, especially the Devil’s Nest chimera since most of them are killed very shortly after introduction.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: While during the times of its serialization there were a lot of Ship-to-Ship Combat within the fandom, majority of new fans and old seem to be still fond of "Royai", the ship referred to the platonic/romantic relationship between Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye. As of 2021, it has the most fan fiction works out of any other couple, with fan arts still getting tens of thousands of notes on platforms like Twitter and Tumblr. Word of God herself admitted to getting a lot of fan mails asking the nature of their relationship, to which she had to answer with Subordinate Excuse as to why they didn't end up together in the end.
  • Gateway Series: The 2003 series was a major part of the mid-00s anime boom. Both series have turned a lot of fans on to anime and have a lot of appeals even outside of the otaku subculture. It doesn't hurt that the franchise was an Adult Swim/Toonami flagship for many years.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: Maes Hughes is very popular with the American fanbase, much to the surprise of the Japanese creators.
  • Ho Yay: Has its own page.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The war between the military state of Amestris and the ethnic tribe of Ishvalans. What makes this quite disturbing among Western readers and viewers is that, despite Word of God claiming they're based on the Ainu people, the Ishvalan share many similarities to Middle Easterners and their religion with Islam on a superficial level - the Ishvalans follow a monotheistic religion that forbids occult and sorcery as well as having very strict rules. In addition, Ishvalan culture is shown to be incredibly insular and tribalistic and has a tendency to engage in revenge violence, and they are portrayed as brown-skinned and living in a desert region. The Amestris are shown as a modernized state resembling Europe with the technology as advanced as radios and automobiles and having quite a lot of freedom. In addition, the populace looks very Caucasian, with a fair diverse amount of brunettes, blonde blue-eyed peoples, redheads, and other features associated with real-life whites. So the war brings to many Western readers analogs to the current war on terror in the Mid-East as well as the Iraqi and Afghani wars. As the war gets more brutal, reading or watching FMA to anyone unfamiliar with Middle Eastern culture or the mangaka's comments on the worldbuilding would be quite uncomfortable.
      • The war itself was triggered by a military officer (who was actually Envy in disguise in the manga) shooting a child. This is eerily prophetic of the Black Lives Matter movement, where protests and riots were caused by police officers shooting children, among many other unarmed victims.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Selim Bradley. A human boy in the first anime and King Bradley (Pride)'s adoptive son. Bradley kills him in a fit of rage in the finale. In the manga and Brotherhood, Selim turns out to be Pride (Bradley is the manga's Wrath), oldest and deadliest of the Homunculi, and Bradley works for him.
    • The 2003 ending actually indirectly predicted how the manga would end. In both series Al sacrifices himself for Ed, in the manga to return his arm and in the 2003 series to restore him to life. Ed, in his attempt to return Al, decides to transmute himself. In the 2003 series he offers himself as the exchange while in the manga he ends up giving up his ability to perform alchemy.
    • Alex Louis Armstrong and Sig Curtis end up becoming Bash Brothers in the series. Seiji Sasaki, the seiyuu for Sig, took over as the voice of Recoome from Kenji Utsumi, the seiyuu for Armstrong, beginning in 2009.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • Hughes's death is one of the most well known in anime and almost everyone who has gotten into the series since the mid 2000s knows it. It was to the extent that Funimation ads for the 2003 series DVDs would spoil it.
    • Thanks to all the aforementioned memes, basically everyone knows about Nina Tucker's character arc: little girl appears, becomes mutant chimera, dies. The end.
  • LGBT Fanbase: The series is very popular with gay fans of the Bara Genre due to a preponderance of characters who fit The Bear and Big Beautiful Man archetypes. Ironically this is the result of Author Appeal on the part of the mangaka, who is a straight woman.
  • Memetic Psychopath: As a result of his crossing of the Moral Event Horizon, Tucker has become a shorthand reference/comparison for antagonists who abuse children and/or induce grotesque experimentation.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Making any kind of joke about Nina and her dog getting fused into a monstrous chimera evokes all sorts of backlash from the fandom, including but not limited to "No. Just... No" Reaction, "This is NOT OK", and Get Out!, among others. Which is why people do it. Obviously. (To make things worse, this joke also applies to the Year of the Dog, which comes around every 12 years.)
    • The fate of poor Nina has been immortalized by this shirt. To quote the link, there is a "special place in hell" for anyone who had the gall wearing it in public. note 
    • "It's a terrible day for rain" will often appear as a comment on any Tear Jerker.
    • FMA fans only know one joke. explanation 
  • Nausea Fuel: To this day, any FMA fan on the planet will feel sick to their stomach when little girls and dogs are mentioned in the same context. Or any time someone uses the word "dad... ddy..."
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Some fans of the manga feel this way about the 2003 series; conversely, part of the 2003 anime's fanbase considers it the far superior work. The majority falls somewhere in the middle, but the flame wars tend to drown them out.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: Royai for Roy Mustang/Riza Hawkeye, Edwin for Edward Elric/Winry Rockbell, Edvy for Edward Elric/Envy, Royed for Roy/Edward, Hyuroi or Hyuroy for Roy/Maes Hughes, LingFan for Ling Yao/Lan Fan and AlMei or AluMei for Alphonse Elric/May Chang.
  • Sacred Cow: Not liking the series or even saying it is just okay is anathema amongst anime fans.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat: Royai vs. Royed, Edwin vs. Royed, Edwin vs. Alwin, Royai vs. Hyuroi... let's face it, it's all over this fandom. But particular mention goes to Edwin vs. Ed/Rosé, the mother of all FMA ship wars coming off of the 2003 anime.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: In both versions, Envy is absolutely despicable and loathed yet manages to be one of the most popular, if not the most popular Homunculus. Arakawa herself was shocked to see how high Envy scored on the charts.
  • Wangst: Al's serious consideration that he might just be a fake-soul-in-armor that Ed created, and Winry and Pinako are in on the joke. It goes on long enough that it seems the audience is supposed to seriously be wondering if it's true, even though no one could actually buy it for a second. Even more so in the 2003 version, since, while it still happens in the manga and Brotherhood, he gets over it a bit sooner there.
    • Of course, this is also justified in the 2003 version by the fact that Shou Tucker demonstrates that it may indeed be possible to implant memories, as shown through his "Nina" clones.
  • What an Idiot!: Shou Tucker flat-out telling Edward that his wife left him the same time he made his talking Chimera. It doesn't take a master detective to see the connection. Hell, making Nina and Alexander into a Chimera was pretty boneheaded too. Even if the Chimera asking Edward to play with it didn't give him away, did he seriously think that Ed and Al, who were frequently in his house, weren't going to eventually notice that Nina and Alexander were missing?
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: While Vic Mignogna was universally praised as Edward's English dub voice, he also voices Ed during the childhood flashbacks when Ed is as young as five-years-old. Keep in mind that he was already in his 40s when he started voicing Edward.
  • Woolseyism: The English title (and Ed's English title), "Fullmetal Alchemist". The original Japanese title literally translates to "Alchemist of Steel"; "Fullmetal" is much more interesting to English speakers, evokes another piece of media about the horrors of war, and even explains why people assume Alphonse is "the fullmetal alchemist", as a full suit of armor definitely qualifies as "full metal".
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    Manga and Brotherhood 
  • Adorkable:
    • Edward can be this, especially when dealing with anything related to Winry and romance and his adorable overreactions over his height and anger at being called "little" brother.
    • Winry's unusual love for machines and tools is quite endearing.
    • Kain Furey, a small, meek, passive nerdy guy with slight Lovable Coward leanings and a love for animals. Later he takes a couple levels in badass, but he remains as adorable as ever.
    • Sheska the Cute Bookworm librarian is this to a T. Terribly awkward, stutters around just about everyone, so very nerdy, yet so very cute .
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • 4koma Theater. Scar. Winry's parents. Will never be able to look at him the same way again. We need a "Crowning Moment of Ridiculous" page, but "Funny" will do for now.
    • Did Bradley's last words show that he really did care about his family or that he didn't care about them at all? It's actually fairly obvious but people love to argue. On Bradley in general: Is he evil? Or just a Punch-Clock Villain that fully embraces what he is?
    • And then there's Truth. God Is Evil? Good Is Not Nice? Divine distributor of ironic punishment or just does it For the Evulz? It's up for debate.
    • Envy: Lovable gender-confused palm tree with a completely acceptable excuse for their psychopathy or monster who doesn't deserve a bit of the fandom? Moreover, was Roy justified in his actions when half-fighting, half-brutally torturing them or was it absolutely horrific and unethical?
    • Was Miles actually right about Grumman planning to let Roy and Olivier take the heat as traitors, while he swooped in to take over the government?
    • It's generally agreed from The Reveal about his spy network that Roy Mustang is exaggerating his reputation as The Casanova at least somewhat. But the degree to which he is - whether he's actually completely hopeless with women who aren't Riza (or even not into any women at all), or he just dates about the same amount as a typical affluent, attractive, single 29-year-old - is a question that's caused debate among the fandom. Roy's sex life is apparently Serious Business.
    • As Ed is defeating him, Pride laments on the family unit he was a part of. Underneath it all, Pride did love his mother; but before he zeroed in on her image he was imagining both parents. Was this just a non-important visual cue to transition into the more important image of his mother; or did Pride have some form of affection for Wrath as well?
    • Was Shou Tucker always a genuinely evil sociopath who never gave a damn about his family, or was he once a caring father who let his fear of poverty and failure lead him down a horrific path?
    • Is Father Obliviously Evil? He gives a speech that indicates he dosen't see anything wrong with what he's done and that he was just pursuing knowledge. Hohenheim is taken aback by his words and appears to be saddened at how his one-time friend couldn't move past his origins as a creature trapped in a bottle. The Truth, on the other hand, isn't buying it and says Father obviously knew what he was doing.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Ed and Al, to the point that Winry has to invoke He Will Not Cry, So I Cry for Him far more often than is healthy over the first half of the series. While Al literally can't cry until he gets his body back (and does express some angst for that, at least), it can still come off as a bit ridiculous for Ed.
  • Anvilicious:
  • Awesome Music: Brotherhood's soundtrack had a lot to live up to with the superb quality of the 2003 anime's track, but it more than delivered. The score is packed with beautiful, memorable, masterful pieces that perfectly convoy the wide range of emotion and moods the series requires.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • May became disliked by some fans during the last arc. While understandable that finding a Philosopher's Stone to save her clan is important, the fact that she listened to Envy, and was guilted into going back to Amestris by a Homunculus whom she had seen become a monster and whose untrustworthiness had been clearly shown, made it hard for some fans to stay attached to her. Yet others still admire her for choosing to save Hawkeye rather than pursuing the stone which could save her clan, and protecting everyone against Father when their alchemy was rendered ineffective and they were vulnerable.
    • While many enjoy Winry for her growing relationship with Ed, Adorkable love of automail, and her subplot with Scar, she also has some detractors who don't find it funny that she frequently beats Ed bloody for damage to his automail arm that usually isn't even his fault.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: A couple of instances in the Viz localization. First, the Japanese pronunciation of "Xerxes" is spelled out phonetically as Cselkcess. Second, Maes Hughes is promoted not to Brigadier General, but to Commodore, which is a naval rank (in a landlocked country to boot).
  • Broken Base:
    • Is Brotherhood's animation style bold, crisp, and original, or ugly, washed out, and far too cartoony?
    • Is Brotherhood a better adaptation of the manga or not? Somewhat of a separate question from the "which canon is better" debate, since even a lot of people who preferred the manga found things to dislike about Brotherhood adaptation-wise.
    • Are Roy and Riza 'obviously' in love with each other or just platonic? Or is it truly ambiguous? Same with Al and May. note 
  • Catharsis Factor: For many, the scenes where Lust and Envy are burned to death (or near death in Envy’s case) by Roy’s flame alchemy are extremely satisfying, due to their noticeably sadism than their siblings, as well as their roles in Maes Hughes’s death.
  • Cry for the Devil:
    • Scar at first just seems a ruthless Knight Templar Serial Killer who fanatically hates alchemy, fashioning himself the wrath of God personified. When his glasses that hide his red eyes are knocked off, he turns out to be an Ishvalan, whose people had been massacred by State Alchemists he targets. He's later shown to be once a good (albeit very strict) person who genuinely cares for his family and people.
    • Even Envy gets one In-Universe. They are Driven to Suicide when Edward points out that they are jealous of humans' inner strength and ability to make friends.
    • The manga does this for Wrath/King Bradley. He was part of an experiment to create the leader of Amestris which involved a Training from Hell beginning in childhood and then being put through a painful transformation into a homunculus. What makes the character somewhat sympathetic is that, because he had no real identity prior to the transformation, any human that did exist was killed, and you can see Bradley's Pet the Dog moments as the vestige of humanity in him. Nevertheless, he's still an extremely cruel Fantasy Counterpart Culture Adolf Hitler.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Though the series is full of likable people, Lan Fan is very popular among the Brotherhood fandom, despite only being a secondary character.
    • Ditto Sheska, who many fans lament the disappearance of in the manga, where she simply goes "poof" plotwise. The fact that she looks like a female Kensuke Aida doesn't help matters at all.
    • Amongst the bara fans, Scar is a big-time example. Darius and Heinkel were also popular enough in fanart to get a doujinshi.
    • In the manga poll, Greed I and II were ranked the 12th and 13th most popular characters respectively (the highest ranked Homunculus, only behind Envy). If they were both ranked as a single character (since they are the same person), then Greed would have scored higher, maybe even higher than Envy.
    • Kimblee, Kimblee, Kimblee. If the suit, the personality, and the powers didn't do it, the epic death scene certainly did.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Envy is a dick in every sense. They're just so damn awesome at it that the fans tend to find them amusing anyway. Kimblee also fits. Greed also seems to lampshade this trope as he alternates between Cool Evil and Cool Good at massive Face–Heel Revolving Door speed.
    • There's Wrath. A guy who can do all those feats of implausible awesome should have been here by default. He took down a tank. With a sword.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Lust, In-Universe in this case. And this canon's version of Kimblee has a huge number of fangirls.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Literally any anime that tries to overthrow Brotherhood as the #1 highest rated Anime on MAL. Most notably Attack on Titan and most recently Fruits Basket.
  • Faux Symbolism: Several Christianity references in the manga, most obviously the names of the homunculi. Even so, Arakawa says that "Christianity doesn't exist in that world."
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In one of the omake after Pride consumes Kimblee, Pride is seen spitting him out in disgust. A few volumes later Kimblee ends up depowering Pride from within and allowing Ed to reduce him to his true form in disgust.
    • Any moment where Ed's shortness and his sensitivity about it is played for laughs, after the revelation that it's because Al's body has been drawing nourishment from him to survive.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Van Hohenheim is named after Paracelsus, a.k.a. Phillippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim. In-story, the dwarf in the flask i.e. Father names him Van Hohenheim but initially suggests he take on the name Theophrastus Bombastus.
    • Executive Order 3066, Bradley's order to wipe out the entire Ishvalan people, is named for a not-nearly-as-bad-but-still-a-pretty-huge-dick-move Real Life executive order.
    • Lust being incinerated to death echoes Dante's Purgatorio, in which the lustful are made to pass through a wall of cleansing fire before passing from Purgatory.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • The very first episode of Brotherhood looks very, very different after you've watched the whole series. The first time around, the Freezing Alchemist is an Ax-Crazy, delusional maniac. We never really understand his intentions, only that he must be stopped. Crimes in Ishval? He's going to destroy us all? Save the country? Eh. The second time round... not so much.
    • The scene in Brotherhood where Ed and Al see Bradley while talking with his wife and son is already quite unsettling for them because they know that he's a homunculus, but it gets even worse if you know that his son is a homunculus, too. One has to feel sorry for Mrs. Bradley.
    • In a flashback to Xerxes, the king ordered a "waterway" to be dug around the kingdom. One of the workers comments "Nothing less to be expected from the King of Xerxes, he even thinks about commoners like us!" Eeeeugh.
    • Ed accuses Kimblee of being a pedophile after he compliments Winry, something he takes offense towards. In early 2019, Edward's English voice actor recieved multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct towards minors at anime conventions.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Ed mentions that if he ever went to see God, he'd probably get sent right back to earth. Guess what he does twice; once to escape certain doom, and again to save Alphonse in the final chapter. And that's without accounting for the very start of the story in the first place, meaning he's secretly speaking from experience and then it happens again.
    • Travis Willingham and Laura Bailey, who are the dub voices of Roy Mustang and Lust respectively, are now married. With that knowledge, just try to watch episode 19 without laughing at some point. This also makes Mustang talking about bringing Lust onto her knees into a whole 'nother context...
    • This got even better with Batman: The Telltale Series, where they voice the literal Dating Catwoman couple Harvey Dent and Selina Kyle. And the Batman alongside them has the voice of the second Greed.
    • Years ago, Vic and Cait did a funny/adorable marriage proposal skit at a con. We all know the last scene of the manga.
    • J. Michael Tatum took over Scar's voice for the Brotherhood dub. He and Winry's actress Caitlin Glass had already played a romantic couple in Baccano!.
    • The manga omakes had a number of gags that feature Mustang considering a mustache, and the idea being vetoed when he and his subordinates realize how silly it would look. Come the ending of Brotherhood, and Mustang is shown to have a mustache, which popular consensus seems to agree doesn't suit him. At all.
  • Idiot Plot: When the heroes reduce Envy to its larval form, Scar hands it to May and sends her home so she can give it to the Emperor and save her clan. Except that the only "secret of immortality" it knows is the creation of philosopher's stones, which May herself had recently said she would not want the Emperor to know because he'd perform the required bloodshed at once. There's no indication that there's any way to immortality that's nicer, but, even if there was, the little sadist probably wouldn't say it, because it likes nothing better than to see humans kill each other and delights in cruelty—even in its reduced state, it's uncooperative and gloats over the bad news it can give. Not to mention it can still do some harm, and tried to take Yoki hostage (failing mainly because well, Yoki). It's also a Manipulative Bastard of the first order, which Scar and Marcoh know from extensive personal experience. Not something, then, that any intelligent adult would put in the hands of a child as a gift for a self-serving Emperor. But the plot needed it and May in Central for the Final Battle, so that's what happened.
  • It Was His Sled: It's nearly impossible to avoid that King Bradley and his son are both homunculi, to the point where it's spoiled on one of the DVD covers! This is due to the fact that they're each a Walking Spoiler, meaning you can hardly talk about them without giving away details.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Regarding everything that happens once Father successfully activates the national transmutation circle:
    • Major Armstrong's Catchphrase "X HAS BEEN PASSED DOWN THE ARMSTRONG LINE FOR GENERATIONS!"
    • Izumi's Catchphrase of "I'M A HOUSEWIFE!"
    • OH SNAP SNAP, SPARK SPARK, IT'S TIME TO LIGHT UP THE DIGGY DIGGY DARK, I'M THE FLAME ALCHEMIST AND I'M GONNA BE FURHER, MY BEATS ARE HOT AND MY RHYMES ARE PURER!
    • Both real and theoretical remakes of older anime that adapt the entirety of the manga (instead of trailing off into a Gecko Ending) are often referred to as "[Title]: Brotherhood" or being given the Brotherhood treatment.
  • Misaimed Fandom: The series offers an example that beats the readers/viewers in the head with its message, but it's still missed by a good portion of the fandom. Roy Mustang destroying Envy in the most painful way possible isn't supposed to be enjoyed by the audience. Although Envy is a psychopath who had it coming for killing Hughes, and other characters like Riza and Edward do agree that Envy deserves to die, the audience is supposed to be worrying for Mustang's sanity, since he's coming dangerously close to Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and becoming what he hates. Killing Envy to avenge Hughes would completely destroy Roy's lifelong dream to purify the country/military and atone for the sins of the Ishbalan War. As such, the intended message of Roy's assault on Envy was that Vengeance Feels Empty, but a few fans either missed the point or didn't care. The Brotherhood anime clears this up a bit, largely with the way the voices sound: Roy's tone is clearly that of a savage madman who has completely lost it, and Envy sounds like a terrified ten-year-old child. Despite all of the above, some fans still insist that it is a badass moment, cheering at the nightmare of circumstances that led to it, and getting angry at people who try to stop him from doing it. Even on this very wiki, this argument still goes on, and the source for this page now includes a request to not make justifying edits, since we're tired of the arguing and we're not looking to start any fights.
  • Moe:
    • May Chang. Small and cute. Also badass, but that's another story...
    • Also Nina, Elicia, and any cat that finds its way into Alphonse's armor...
    • Lan Fan can be pretty Moe in her more vulnerable moments, particularly while she's recovering from losing her arm.
    • Selim Bradley, even after The Reveal that he's a villain.
    • Arakawa herself doesn't seem too fond of the concept, having complained about in one volume's opening pages.
      Hiromu Arakawa: MOE, MOE, MOE! Everything's coming up MOE! Enough already!
  • Narm Charm:
    • After Father swallows Hohenheim, he looks like he's pregnant. This is offset by the fact that Father's One-Winged Angel is absolutely terrifying.
    • Father's appearance before swallowing a god also qualifies. How ridiculous it looks only makes the shit that much crazier.
    • The aforementioned eyecatches actually manage to come off as pretty badass in episode 44, where they're played just after the title character's triumphant and unquestionably awesome reentry into the series after being missing for an episode.
    • The ham-tastic delivery Father's dub voice actor does as he pulls God down to earth would normally induce huge spiels of laughter in any other scenario. In this one, it induces that nervous, Oh-my-god-I-feel-my-brain-breaking-MAKE-IT-STOP sort of laughter.
  • Nightmare Retardant: If something terrified you in a volume, chances are the omake will make fun of it in a such a way you'll never be able to take it seriously again.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Shou and Nina Tucker. Outside of the odd dream sequence and a cameo in the prequel "Volume 0" gaiden, the pair only appear in one chapter/episode of the series, but that's all the time they need to become two of the most memorable characters in anime. Shou Tucker is remembered as one of the most loathsome and evil characters in a series full of sadistic and nightmarish antagonists, while Nina's heartwarming bond with the Elrics and subsequent tragic fate is the source of the franchise's most infamous tearjerker.
  • Paranoia Fuel: The Homunculi; they control everything. Everything. The massive war that happened years ago? The Homunculi started it. The horrible human experiments? The Homunculi started them. The president? He's one of them, and so is his son. There is almost nothing horrible happening in Amestris that the Homunculi didn't cause.
  • The Producer Thinks of Everything: Hiromu Arakawa leaves no plot thread hanging and no character wasted. Here are some examples of the details she puts into the work.
    • The "transmutation marks" that appear when performing alchemy aren't there just for show; several alchemists are able to notice these markings and deduce what's been hidden.
    • Fu uses an assortment of explosive weaponry as part of his arsenal, and they noticeably explode with in colorful clouds. His flash bombs come in handy when fighting Pride, and when he makes his entrance on the Promised Day, the colorful clouds serve as Five-Second Foreshadowing for his entrance.
    • The transmutation and damage done to the statue of Leto in Liore in the beginning? Still unchanged when Hohenheim and Al revisit the location later in episode 42.
    • There is no Translation Convention present. Ed and Al can't understand the message Greed relays from Ling because it's in Xingese script—they have to talk to Lan Fan to get the translation. One of the primary issues in understanding Scar's brother's research is that it was written in ancient Ishvalan script, and Scar is the only person that knows it.
    • On a related note, Greed can't read Ling's message, either. Inhabiting Ling's body doesn't magically give him the ability to read a language that Greed hadn't actually learned himself before.
    • Yoki is the bona fide Butt-Monkey of the series, but the time he spent as the chief of a mining town comes in handy when Ed and co. have to travel through mining tunnels during a freezing storm.
    • Equivalent Exchange is never broken, and characters will explain when an action they're doing isn't violating the law. It's not human transmutation to make meat look like a corpse. Ed has to thin out Al's armor in order to repair the parts of him that are destroyed.
    • Al's "hair" (the plume of the helmet of his armor) has to be cut off when Ed uses it to entangle Buccaneer's chainsaw arm. Al is never shown with the full plume afterwards, despite his character design being unchanged up to that point.
    • Greed generates his Ultimate Shield from his body. As his body has similar composition to a human's, it must be carbon-based, and Ed figures out how to transmute it into something softer. Later in the series, when Ed replaces his automail arm with a carbon-fiber model, he is able to transmute it into Greed's Ultimate Shield, which comes in handy against Pride.
    • Plenty of characters use an adversary's Logical Weakness to beat them, such as alchemists' dependence on transmutation circles, homunculi's human-based chemistry, King Bradley's blind spot, and Pride literally being a Living Shadow.
    • Al's body beyond the Gate of Truth has atrophied and become disheveled due to it not being used in the real world. Additionally, the arm Ed gets back after Al sacrifices himself is pale and has longer nails from disuse.
    • Gluttony was created to emulate the Gate of Truth. The eye inside his belly looks nearly identical to the real one, except that his eye's iris is slit, while the real one's iris is round. Additionally, Gluttony and Truth share the same mouth design.
    • It's not spelled out until the end, but Truth is always shaped like the person who opens the gate. Truth does tell those who visit him that "I am you".
    • When Truth speaks, it's with an overlapping masculine and feminine voice. We find out towards the end that the combination of a masculine and feminine being is considered a "perfect being".
    • Every person who enters the Gate of Truth has a unique pattern on the gate, representing the knowledge the user has. Father's gate is blank.
    • Ed nearly receives frostbite when he marches into the Grim Up North with automail rubbing against his skin.
    • Automail can work as a replacement for limbs, but it requires functional nerves to get them to move. In addition, they malfunction under stress and require regular maintenance, so they aren't perfect-and-better replacements.
    • Roy doesn't have a weakness to water like users of fire from other works. After all, water is made of hydrogen and oxygen, which can be transmuted into highly-flammable hydrogen and oxygen gas. While there are several scenes with characters telling him to back off when he gets wet, due to his gloves being unable to spark, he also gets to show off his ability to transmute water into gas during his fight with Lust.
    • Why does Wrath age and why can't he regenerate like the rest of the homunculi? As explained in his backstory, the souls within his Philosopher's Stone fought in him until only one remained. In contrast, the other homunculi kept all of their souls and burn them in order to keep living.
    • This also explains why Greedling is still able to regenerate, despite having been made in a similar way. Ling accepted Greed willingly instead of trying to fight him, so Greed's Philosopher's Stone retained all of its souls.
    • The first character in the first anime opening theme isn't Edward. The audience doesn't get to find out his identity and significance until almost 2/3 of the way through the show, in episode 40. Any viewers who had come into Brotherhood after having read a significant amount of the manga will immediately recognize him as a younger Hohenheim, who strongly resembles Ed, but isn't completely identical.
    • The anime manages to work in foreshadowing from the first episode—which would otherwise just be Filler—into a later episode, when Ed realizes what McDougal meant in his actions. In particular, "the shape that this country's in" turns out to be meant very literally.
    • The fourth anime ending theme shows two hands reaching for and holding each other, and that's not generic symbolism. The larger hand is Hohenheim's, and the smaller one is Alphonse's.
    • Ed never forgets being unable to fix the tragedy of Nina. He wistfully mentions the events to Truth at the end when explaining how he was never more than "just a human".
    • All of Mustang's living subordinates—even the ones put out of commission early on—return to help him on the Promised Day.
    • Izumi has a soft spot for children; she takes pity on Ed and Al after learning that they have no mother, and she warmly lauds the miracle of life after listening to Al giddily explain when Winry delivered a baby. Izumi had lost a baby twice; first due to a miscarriage, and second with attempting human transmutation. She understands firsthand just how precious a child's life is.
  • Rewatch Bonus: A lot of the things that Selim says in the first half of the series take on a whole new meaning after it's revealed that he's Pride all along, such as him talking about his wanting to see his father or his interest in Ed.
  • Rule of Symbolism: When Roy is talking about how all his loyal men (and woman) have been taken away, while going over the chess pieces representing them, the bishop in the panel is tipped onto its side.
  • Superlative Dubbing:
    • The English dub is widely considered so, like its predecessor before it—possibly more so as nearly all the original cast is brought back (unlike in the original Japanese track) and have experience for the roles. Even the newcomers for Al, Scar, etc. manage to capture the spirit of their characters. In particular, Travis Willingham's deeper and more confident delivery as Mustang is considered a big improvement, as he'd had several years to hone his craft since doing the first series.
    • The same applies for the Latin American dub. The voice acting for the series is considered great. And many voice actors reprised their roles in both series.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: For some, Lust’s potential was wasted in this version, as she is seemingly set up as a major antagonist, only to be killed off rather quickly whereas all the other homunculi survive until the final arc in the plot. Especially since unlike some of the other homunculi like Gluttony or Sloth, she was not one-note.
  • Ugly Cute:
    • Envy's chibi true form is guaranteed to make you giggle or want to hug them even when they're being broiled alive. Perhaps even more in that case.
    • Also, Gluttony. He's short, fat, and kind of awkward-looking, but he also acts just like an excitable little kid most of the time. It can really make you want to hug him when Lust dies.
    • Slicer could count, when he's reduced to just a helmet.
    • Bido may be short, bald, scaly, and funny-looking, but he ends up being very cute all the same, especially given his Undying Loyalty to Greed. And that makes it all the more heartbreaking when that loyalty gets him killed.
  • Values Dissonance: The "Drink your milk, Edward" Running Gag can come off as this to Western audiences. Edward makes it clear from a young age that he does not like milk at all, yet other characters (Winry in particular) continue to pressure him to drink his milk well into his teenage years, and will usually remind him that he's short for his age and needs his milk to grow taller along the way, inevitably pissing him off. While Edward's "Don't call me small!" rants are a Running Gag in and of themselves that never fail to be hilarious, Western audiences may be wondering, "What part of 'Edward doesn't like milk' do you not understand?" In Japan, however, leaving your food/drink unfinished is viewed as very rude, regardless of whether you like it or not. It's made all the more jarring in that the story is set in a country that's based on early 20th century Europe rather than Japan, but Edward, for all his bravery and dedication to those he cares for (especially his younger brother, Alphonse), can hardly be described as polite, so it's quite fitting for him.
  • Woolseyism: Xing's answer to alchemy (renkinjutsu) is rentanjutsu. This word refers to Chinese alchemy, but actually using something like "Oriental alchemy" or "Xingese alchemy" would get pretty stale and unwieldy after a while. The rentan refers to the goal of Chinese alchemy, the elixir of life. Drawing off of this, Funimation dubbed it as "alkahestry", after alkahest. As a universal solvent, alkahest was another hypothetical goal of alchemy and would have had valuable medicinal applications; if you understand the reference, "alkahestry" manages to convey Chinese alchemy's greater concern with medicine than with gold and sounds exotic next to "alchemy". The substance was supposedly invented by Paracelsus, whose birth name was Von Hohenheim, and the fictional Von Hohenheim was the inventor of Xingese alkahestry.

     2003 Anime 
  • Angst? What Angst?: Being kidnapped and nearly killed by a serial murderer would traumatize most people for life, but Winry seems to bounce back pretty quickly.
  • Acceptable Targets: In the series, it's military corruption and racism. In the movie, it's Nazis and their othering of Jews and Romani people.
  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Hohenheim gets a lot more of it here than he did in Brotherhood (where he's seen as more unambiguously benevolent): is he a wise atoner who feels bad for all the Body Surfing he's done or a suicidal Jerkass whose excuse to abandon his children and wife Trisha doesn't cut the test and who unintentionally helped the Nazis?
    • Scar gets a lot more of this in this version of things, as he never gives up violence or joins the heroes' side. Arguably that's the point: the 2003 anime is not as anti-violence as the manga and Brotherhood are, and wants the viewers to ask serious questions about how much power for change someone like Scar has in a system that is stacked against him.
  • Ass Pull: Some consider the Alternate Universe twist as this. There is some Foreshadowing in that most of the images in the gate of truth are real-world historical events that have nothing to do with the universe of the show, and other brief connections between their world and ours (Dante going into a Christian church and saying it was "for an old religion that died out"). But you'd have to be very attentive to catch all that on your first watch, without already knowing about the twist.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Michiru Oshima's score is considered to be a masterpiece. The openings and endings aren't anything to sneeze at either.
    • Several tracks stand out in particular, such as Bratja and Dante's various themes.
    • The "Kelas" dance song from the movie soundtrack.
    • "Regret", the song played entirely on the harmonica that plays during Mustang's flashback of the Ishbal war in Episode 13.
    • "YOU'RE GETTING ATTACKED BY GERMAN ZEPPELINS, HAVE SOME BEETHOVEN".
    • They used Chopin's "Tristesse" ("Sadness") etude for the final scene at the Gate and for Edward's last appearance in the show. The piano piece is accompanied by strings and it's heartbreakingly beautiful. (It's also a common choice of classical music in anime soundtracks, especially for ending episodes, but it is particularly well-placed here for how it expresses the bittersweetness of the ending.)
  • Base-Breaking Character: Pride, Wrath and Rosé are among the most polarizing characters. In the case of the latter, this is probably why she suffers Die for Our Ship more often than Ed's other love interests (with the exception of her double in Conqueror of Shamballa). In Wrath's case, he and Pride are not well liked as "replacement Homunculi" (ironically, they're almost a flip-flop of the manga version, where Wrath is the president and Pride is a creepy little kid), and Pride/King Bradley in particular is hated for going through a mix of serious Badass Decay and Adaptational Villainy, and overall not getting much of a backstory or characterization. Wrath does have a substantial numbers of defenders, though.
    • Kimblee, even among 2003 series purists, is hated by some fans for lacking any of his more noble qualities from the manga and for coming off as a generic mad bomber. However, some like him for his unapologetic cruelty and defend that the 2003 series was made before the manga fleshed his character out.
  • Broken Base:
    • Is the 2003 anime adaptation the superior work, merely a very well-done Pragmatic Adaptation, or a completely unacceptable mess that perverts the original source material?
    • Was the 2003 anime's ending excellent and original, passable, or a convoluted mess?
    • Is Winry's and Edward's relationship familial or romantic? Or better said: "Who is supposed to be Ed's TRUE love interest?" In theory, it is supposed to be Rosé, but in practice she ends up acting more like a character with an unrequited love, rather than an actual Love Interest. To muddle the waters further, by Conqueror of Shamballa, the movie has much more Ship Tease between Winry and Ed than with Noah, and Rosé gets none.
    • Was Rosé's subplot of Rape as Drama and being turned into a (presumed) Love Interest and the Big Bad's choice for a new vessel a neat idea to show the horrors of war and humanity, or an stupid "grimdark" move that doesn't have any real relevance in the plot? It could be cut out and the plotline wouldn't be affected by its removal at all (as she recovers rather fast, as if nothing happened), and it only serves to push her in the role of love interest and utterly destroys the Aesop that Ed told her of moving on and standing up on her own, as she ended up becoming Cornello's replacement.
    • The plot twist of the Gate being connected to an Alternate Universe and alchemy being fueled by the souls of the alternate universe is pretty divisive, with some considering it a brilliant way of twisting the concept of equivalent exchange and showing that true equivalent exchange was impossible... and others just feel that regardless of its foreshadowing, it felt like a crazy twist mainly done for the sake of surprising the audience.
    • The Homunculi being the result of Human Transmutation. On the one hand, this gives the Homunculi more backstory, and some feel it made them far more interesting characters than in the manga. On the other hand, their existence goes against the story's theme of All Deaths Are Final, especially since some of them start to regain memeories of their former lives. Another point of contention is the Homunculi's human remains being their Kryptonite Factor. Some think that it's an interesting twist, but it gets cheapened by the fact that most of the Homunculi were once people connected to the main cast, so they end up knowing whose grave to dig. Some think that it takes out a lot of the strategy it took to beat the Homunculi in the manga.
  • Designated Villain: Ed temporarily plays this role in "The Phantom Thief"; he's supposed to seem like an Inspector Javert for wanting to track down and arrest Psiren, but given the fact that she's a thief and a liar, is causing property damage and tries to kill him later, it's hard to see his actions as unjustified. The ending somewhat frames both Ed and Psiren as right, as it's clear no sane person would allow Psiren to run free like Ed, but Psiren's thievery really is looked upon favorably by the townspeople.
  • Die for Our Ship: Rosé gets it a lot from some Edwin shippers and Yaoi Fangirls. Even with all the horrible things that happened to her, getting an expanded role in this version did not help her with shippers. And in turn, a lot of Ed/Rosé fans hate Winry; Yaoi Fangirls generally tend to leave her alone, though, as it's more common for them to make AlWin Ship Mates with RoyEd.
  • Draco in Leather Pants: Envy gets even more of this (sometimes) than he does in Brotherhood, likely due to people finding his motivation of being the failed transmutation of Dante and Hohenheim's son, and resenting his father and half-brothers due to being abandoned more understandable (never mind he's a total sadist and gleefully enjoys toying with their victims by taking the shape of their loved ones). But it's to the point where some fangirls seem to forget that he's so evil; some of them even ship him with Ed!
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Many FMA fans really like the anime version of Sloth. Some even prefer her to the manga's version, which is quite a feat, since the other two "replacement Homunculi" (Wrath and Pride) are divisive. It probably helps that she has a little more depth than Manga!Sloth, and that she's not too hard on the eyes either.
    • Lust's expanded role and backstory in this version and eventual Heel–Face Turn made her incredibly popular with the 2003 fanbase.
    • Similar to Lust, Marta's larger role and her companionship with the Elrics won her a lot of fans.
    • Scar gets more focus in the 03 fandom as well, likely due to being drawn as younger (and sexier), being more of an Anti-Hero who never quite joins the heroes' side, his backstory with his unrequited love for the woman Lust used to be, and the greater focus on the Ishbalan characters in general.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Lust. Even more so here, where she gets deeper characterization and an arc, making her a fan favorite.
    • Envy seems to get around pretty well in fanfiction for one of the most unambiguously evil characters in the series.
  • Fanon Discontinuity:
    • "Conqueror of Shamballa never happened" is one of the most common types of FMA Fix Fic. At the very least, fandom likes to disregard or work around its ending (which traps Ed and Al forever in our world, a universe away from all their friends and family — aka, away from nearly all of the people they're shipped with in fanfiction).
    • The two early filler episodes, episode 4 "A Forger's Love" and episode 10 "The Phantom Thief," are usually considered pretty skippable, especially the latter as it has no connection to the series' larger plot of characters (where episode 4 arguably provides some foreshadowing, and is thematically similar to other early episodic adventures involving the homunculi). Episode 10 is just a parody of/homage to other anime that were popular around the time of the first anime's release.
  • Foe Yay: Because Greed is the incarnation of one of Dante's lovers, he involuntarily feels affection towards her and is drawn to her home, despite the horrible things she does to him.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Roy Mustang quotes The Art of War during his battle with Ed in episode 13 "Fullmetal vs. Flame."
    • The Movie, The Conqueror of Shamballa, is a much richer experience if you're familiar with the history of Germany in the 1920s. It's to the extent that not knowing anything about it might detract from the experience, if the numerous incredulous Tumblr posts accusing it of Godwin's Law (for including Nazis and the Munich Beer Hall Putsch) are any indication.
  • He's Just Hiding!: A considerable amount of people insist that by the end of the series, Dante was just dragged back down into the lost city while trying to fend Gluttony off and eventually died due to her body rotting completely. Other group insists that she might have survived. Nevermind that in Conqueror of Shamballa Gluttony is a gargantous obese monstrosity that roams around the subterranean city that is incredibly fast and unhinged, attacking everything in sight, leaving any possibilities of her having prolonged her time before her eventual demise very unlikely.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In episode 22, Envy asks Ed if he wants him to turn into a taller version of Ed. Then comes episode 50 and we find out Envy was Hohenheim's first son and looks a lot like a taller version of Ed.
    • At the end of the (non-canonical) OVA "Kids", there is a prominently displayed photograph of an elderly Ed shaking hands with an important-looking, formally dressed man who bears a moderate resemblance to Barack Obama. (The OVA was made more than three years before he was elected President of the United States.)
    • In RWBY Vic Mignogna voices Qrow, who affectionately calls his niece "pipsqueak." This is funny enough due to Ed's Berserk Button, but then at the end of Season 4 he gets to say it to a guy voiced by Aaron Dismuke.
    • In episode 15, when Roy admonishes Hughes for not helping in the fight against Scar, Hughes responds with "I'm as normal as they come and this is a contest of freaks! What do you want me to do, shoot my slingshot at him?". Sonny Strait, Hughes' voice actor, would later go onto voice someone who is quite proficient with a slingshot.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • The twist that behind the Gate is "our world" has long since stopped being a spoiler, expected as the series is a major Gateway Series and one of the most popular anime (especially shonen anime) of the New Millennium. The Movie only made it less of a spoiler.
    • The Big Bad's identity and plans, that is Dante and seeking to preserve her inmortality by causing wars to make people desperate enough to create a Philosopher's stone (so that she then can snatch it without any effort) are supposed to be a big reveal, but the controversy behind the character has made it very well known, even to those that haven't seen the anime completely.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Envy was a big one for this series, despite being even more evil here. Ed in particular is even more of a "fandom bicycle" among the 03 fans, since he never got a canonical love interest in this version.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Crossed by the Homunculi several times. Envy crosses it with the murder of Hughes and enjoys dancing over it again and again. Depending on who you ask, Bradley's came with either Marta or Selim's murder, or The Reveal that he engineered the Ishbalan War to try to make a Philosopher's Stone, and wants Lior to be a repeat of Ishbal. Dante's comes when we learn about her body-swapping, even before it's revealed just how many lives she's taken in her centuries-long quest for immortality.
    • Villain of the Week Majhal crosses it when he tries to transfer the soul of a young child into a doll shaped in the likeness of his lost love.
  • Narm: Has its own page.
  • No Yay:
    • Dante hitting on Ed. It gets even worse when you consider that she's mainly doing it to "be loved by the son of Hohenheim."
    • There's also a bit of Les Yay between Dante, in Lyra's body, and Rosé... which wouldn't have been that bad, were it not for the fact that Lyra's body was rotting and she wants to take Rosé as her next one.
    • And then there's the fangirls who ship Kimblee with Archer. As if the fact that they're both psychopaths wasn't bad enough, one of them is a half-mechanical cyborg! If it was ''because'' they're both psychopaths, that might not be so bad, but that's clearly not the case.
    • The episode with Psiren, where she repeatedly unzips her outfit in front of Ed, and makes some decidedly seductive remarks? At this time, Ed is 15 years old.
    • The tendency of Envy to be a Launcher of a Thousand Ships among some parts of the fanbase, tends to have this reaction among the rest.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble: There's significantly more unintentional Incest Subtext this in this version than in the manga/Brotherhood, which is a large part of the reason that Ed/Al is as popular of a ship as it is (probably the second most popular slash pairing after Roy/Ed). The brothers' worry about one another ends up unintentionally coming across as more romantic than familial, especially since Ed gets less Ship Tease with Winry in this anime than he does in the manga and Brotherhood.
  • Rewatch Bonus:
    • Everything "Lyra" does after Greed comes to Dante's mansion.
    • The twist about where the Gate leads is actually pretty well foreshadowed if you pay attention to some seemingly superfluous details (like the visions Ed recalls from when he was in the Gate, or music characters are humming/whistling). It's way easier to pick up on re-watch after you know that twist.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: The 2003 anime was hugely popular when it first aired, both in Japan and among English-speaking fans, though even then it had some detractors who didn't like how much it deviated from the original manga (particularly with its Darker and Edgier tone). When a more faithful anime adaptation of the manga aired in 2009, it eventually supplanted the 2003 anime in the popular zeitgeist completely. Nowadays, it's difficult for many anime fans to see just how popular the 2003 anime was, especially those who were too young to have watched it when it first came out.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Dante's Breaking Speech to Ed. She flat out denies that Equivalent Exchange is real, pointing out how many times people do not receive what they sacrificed. Even though we are not supposed to sympathize with Dante, it is hard to deny that Villain Has a Point. Many people in universe and in Real Life work hard and receive very little. There is even a trope for this: Hard Work Hardly Works.
  • Squick: The scene where Izumi Curtis eats that crumb off of the island boy's face was done in a manner that suggested it was supposed to come off as sweet, but it ended up more gross than anything.
  • Stoic Woobie: Lust. Mustang can give off this impression sometimes, considering his guilt over his part in the Ishbalan war.
  • Superlative Dubbing: Formal reviews of the series rarely pass up mentioning the overall quality of the voicework in the English version. It helps that all of the actors involved loved the series to death and put their hearts into it.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: It's notable that many (though certainly not all) of the complaints about the series come from fans of the manga, rather than from fans who saw it as a stand-alone series. Conversely, it's not unheard of for those exposed to the franchise through the 2003 anime to sometimes have this attitude towards Brotherhood.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Despite the Adaptation Expansion with the Homonculi and their backstories, Gluttony is the only one who never has his backstory revealed. With his childish behavior and the fact that he looks like a giant baby, he could have been the Homuculus that was transmuted from Izumi's miscarried child instead of Wrath.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: Psiren. Meant to be a Classy Cat-Burglar with sympathetic motives for her crimes... except each and every time those motives are shown to be lies, and she even tries to murder Ed. Her motivation for wanting to give the town visibility (and even then, it's ambiguous whether she actually cares about that) is kind of drowned out by that. The only thing that keeps her moderately sympathetic is that the city clearly doesn't want her to stop her crimes or be caught and were happy with their police force's incompetence.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Envy. Although, unlike in the manga/Brotherhood, he does get a canonical gender at the end.
  • Wangst: Some people find it excessive the way this version handled Al's identity crisis after his confrontation with Barry the Chopper. In the manga and Brotherhood anime, Winry gives him a stern talking-to and he quickly snaps out of it. Here, he gets an additional episode to stew over it and even when he comes to his senses, it has lingering effects on his later Character Development.
  • What an Idiot!: Both involving homunculi and their deaths:
    • Wrath takes Ed's sample of Mrs. Elric's remains into himself to deny Ed using them on Sloth. Wrath fuses with Sloth. Ed and Sloth figure out what is very stupid about this immediately. Sloth even lampshades it!
      Sloth: Wrath... you fool...
    • Pride when he strangles Selim for bringing in his Achilles' Heel - giving Mustang the chance to use it against him - rather than telling Selim to run away with it. The fact that he had it in his house and trusted Selim with the key to the safe holding it without any knowledge that it could kill him is full-on Bond Villain Stupidity Unless, of course, he truly believed no one would ever guess his son has his secret, so it would be safer with him.
    • Al has two of these in the final third, like stopping Martel from killing Kimblee, thus making him responsible for everything Kimblee does afterward, and holding on to the idea that Sloth is his mother long after it's clear that she's trying to kill both him and Ed. To be fair on the second one though, even though he knows it's not his mother, Sloth still looks and has memories of her. She even acts like her to toy with the Elric brothers and it happens to work far better on Alphonse. Another instance was in Conqueror of Shamballa. Why didn't he just transfer his soul into a suit of armor again and seal the gate on the other side? It's not like there weren't any lying around. It would have seriously saved the Elric Brothers the trouble of having to leave their loved ones behind (to be fair, this is somewhat justified in that if he had done it, he could have died or end up in horrible condition if his soul was kept split).
    • Dante gets this near the end. When Gluttony's constant whining over Lust's death annoys her, she decides it would be a great idea to sap him of his sentience and turn him into a mindless animal. That in itself isn't too dumb, until you realize that she does this with no fail-safe to keep the cannibal Homunculus who already lacked self-control with sentience docile in-case he got a little hungry. Can you guess how Dante met her demise?
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: The 2003 anime portrays the plights of the Ishbalans and the town of Lior as having heavy parallels with The War on Terror and the xenophobia against Muslims that pervaded the early 2000s, especially with the people of Lior being Race Lifted from light-skinned Amestrians in a mountainous region to a different, darker-skinned ethnic group in a desert region. This is despite the fact that Word of God says she based the Ishbalans on the Ainu, the indigenous people of northern Japan who now mainly live in her native Hokkaido. Jacob Chapman goes into detail about these allegories here.
  • Woolseyism:
    • In the episode with "Warehouse Thirteen", one of the characters mentions that the house only appears at night, and that it's a "Were-house". The pun works brilliantly in English.
    • The second opening from Episode 43 on ("We searched for [the Philosopher's Stone]... and we found it") is narrated by Ed in the dub, while Al narrated the opening before that. In the original Japanese, Al also narrated the second opening.
    • The original French dub for TV had translated "automail" as "mécha-greffe" (mecha-transplant), which sounded more impactful and evocative to a French audience. It was also very liberal in its use of coloquialisms and profanity for foul-mouthed characters like Ed. This was mostly undone in Dybex's DVD version however, where the original term "automail" was restored (presumably to align with the manga's translation) and the familiarity greatly toned down, to many fans' dismay. On the other hand, the same DVD version corrected the biggest gripe people had with the TV version − the inexplicable removal of Roy's miniskirt gag.

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