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    General 
  • Accidental Aesop: While Edward's anime-style freakouts about people commenting on his height are Played for Laughs, a good bit of his insecurities come from the fact that he is short and this causes people to not take him seriously - both in and out of universe. (See Base-Breaking Character)
  • 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:
    • 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 a 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. note 
      • 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.
  • 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, Travis Willingham as Roy Mustang, and Laura Bailey as Lust.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: For years, Roy/Ed was the most popular pairing of the show, surpassing both the heavily teased Royai, aka Roy/Riza, and the Official Couple, Edwin, aka Ed/Winry. However, by the 2020s, interest started to shift more towards Royai, as the ship gained more traction in recent years and Roy/Ed became less popular due to Squick over the age gap between the adult Roy and teenaged Edward. As of 2022, Royai has beaten out Roy/Ed for the most fan fiction works of any other couple in the franchise on Archive of Our Own, though Roy/Ed still remains as Edward's popular ship. This also only applies to the Western fandom, as Roy/Ed still has the most fanworks overall on the Japanese side.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Probably the biggest misconception that enrages fans is saying that Alphonse is a robot. He is not; he is a human soul bound to a suit of armour after he and his brother's attempt at human transmutation inevitably went horribly wrong.
  • Fan Nickname:
    • Hoho and Hohopapa for Hohenheim, Scarbro for Scar's brother, Sexyhobo/Gar for Scar (no, really!), Shinri-kun or Truth-kun for the guardian of the Doors of Truth, Greedling or GreedLin for Greed once he takes over Lin/Ling's body (Ed does use "Greedling" in Episode 45 of Brotherhood).
    • Bob the Blob/Proto-Father for Father's original form, Mr. Monopoly, Colonel Clean (a.k.a. Sparkleman), Palm Tree, Shota McShadowrape, Ninaxander, the Pimp Suit, Fetus!Envy, and Godfather.
    • The 2003 series is sometimes referred to as Feelmetal Alchemist, thanks in no small part to its very emotionally driven tone.
  • Franchise Original Sin: In an instance somewhere between this and "Common Knowledge", fans often say that Brotherhood rushes through the early chapters of the manga previously covered by the 2003 anime because the creators assumed viewers were familiar with that part of the story. In reality, Brotherhood director Yasuhiro Irie has confirmed they were not influenced by the 2003 anime and used only the manga as a "Bible." The faster pacing in Brotherhood is because the 2003 anime was much slower paced than the manga was, and Brotherhood's goal was to be Truer to the Text. See the Nina story in particular; some fans argue Brotherhood doing it in one episode versus two like the 2003 anime dilutes its impact, but the story took up only one chapter of the manga, a chapter that Brotherhood adapts almost word-for-word in "An Alchemist's Anguish." note .
  • Friendly Fandoms: With Mean Girls, of all things, thanks to October 3rd being a significant date to both fandoms.
  • 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.
  • Hype Backlash: The fact Brotherhood has been ranked as the #1 anime (mind you, the MAL ratings are in no way objective) on MyAnimeList has gone to the heads of a particularly obsessed group of fans, who will use every single way to trash other anime just so FMAB can stay at #1. Naturally, this made the franchise a prime target for backlash, with calls of it being overrated becoming increasingly louder as the 2010s went on. By the early 2020s it's practically become taboo to like the anime there, with bot accounts being the one thing to maintain the rating.
  • Incest Yay Shipping: Elricest (Alphonse and Edward) is a fairly popular ship among the fandom, though much moreso with 2003 fans than in the manga-verse due to the former series focusing on their relationship a lot more. The ending to the series, with them being on the other side of the Gate away from their friends and in turn from love interests, only helped.
  • 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.
  • Superlative Dubbing: The English dubs of both series are quite well-regarded; they usually rank just under Cowboy Bebop in "Best Anime Dub" rankings.
  • 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.
  • Values Resonance: Edward being short and having people either not take him seriously for it or write him off is somethin a lot of short men can relate to - as heightism towards men is very very real. This caused a bit of a divide when the manga and Brotherhood ended with Ed having a growth spurt in the three year Time Skip, giving the idea that people will grow eventually even when people tend to stop between the ages of 18-20
  • 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.
  • What The Hell, 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".

    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? Before being sealed away, he protests that he was just pursuing knowledge and that he doesn't understand what he's done wrong. Hohenheim is taken aback by his words and saddened at how his former 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 that 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.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The third Brotherhood episode adds in a scene where Cornello uses his Philosopher's Stone to bulk himself into a muscular giant...and Ed still beats him. It has no impact on the plot, and while Alchemy altering the body is common, it isn't established it can do something to that extreme.
  • 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 
    • Whether or not Edward should have physically grown as much as he did. Some view it as a way to symbolise his character growth throughout the series, and point out that after all, Ed is only 15-16 years old while he is 18 at the end, which is often when people finish growing. Others view it as Innocently Insensitive because it gives the impression that short men who are discriminated against for their height can apparently just become taller, and Ed's issues with nobody taking him seriously were fixed by simply growing.
  • Catharsis Factor:
  • Cry for the Devil:
    • Scar at first just seems like 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 have once been a good (albeit very strict) person who genuinely cared 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.
  • Diagnosed by the Audience: Kimblee's high intelligence and his odd morals, along with his generally abnormal behaviour, makes it quite obvious that there is something different going on in his head compared to everyone else.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Envy has a rather devoted following despite being a murderous psychopath who enjoys killing and torturing humans and is personally responsible for the killing of another fan favorite character. In the manga and Brotherhood, he takes delight and pride in the fact that he ignited the Ishbalan War by shooting a small child while in the guise of a moderate Amestrian officer — who ended up getting court martialed for his actions. As Ed astutely points out, this means Envy is responsible for the Ishbalan genocide, the creation of Scar as a killer and the deaths of the Rockbells. Envy also kills Hughes while impersonating his wife and later taunts Roy about the murder while again looking like Hughes' wife, deriving near sexual pleasure from it. In the first anime]], he abuses Wrath when the latter becomes obsessed with trying to revive Sloth after her death, takes on the form of Hughes while Ed is fighting him, and actually manages to kill Ed. And yet, many of the fans still love him.
    • Solf J. Kimblee is also similar in terms of personality and popularity; he is the second villian fan favorite after Envy. Kimblee kills humans for fun, and nothing more. He is responsible for mass genocide and is perfectly fine siding with a race that wants to destroy humanity. Yet, fans say his interesting personality make up for the fact that he is an insane murderer. It helps that, despite being clearly insane, he's not a raving lunatic and honestly seems to believe the screwy philosophic he espouses, giving rather poignant descriptions of other characters that there is no reason to believe he's simply making up for shits and giggles. Having the strength of will to survive being subsumed by one of the strongest homunculi, which of course stems from his aforementioned killy-focused personality, and then manages to drag said homunculus out of his plans for body-snatching and dying with a smile scores him major badass points with the fans, as well as proves that he is actually serious about what he believes because he turned against Pride due to the hypocrisy of his body-snatching plan.
    • What fanboys don't get about Lust is that, while she is beautiful, the whole point of her character is that you shouldn't automatically fall for a character just because of her looks, because if you do, you might either get betrayed, or get killed.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Maes Hughes, the friendly competent Badass Normal whose death becomes an important part of Roy Mustang, still consistently scores very high in popularity polls, even 20 volumes later.
    • Another is Jean Havoc, The Woobie who can never get a girlfriend who isn't a homunculus, and gets paralyzed before helping out the coup with supplies.
    • Lan Fan is also very popular among the Brotherhood fandom, despite only being a secondary character.
    • 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.
    • Being an Ensemble Dark Horse has been passed down the Armstrong line for generations!! Both the Major and his sister are definite favorites of the fandom.
    • Amongst the bara fans, Darius and Heinkel are quite popular.
    • Greed is probably the most popular Homunculus behind Envy, especially considering how minor of a character the former is compared to the latter.
      • 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.
    • Barry the Chopper has quite a fan following despite being a minor character who dies less than halfway through the series, mainly due to his Ax-Crazy and Crazy Is Cool characteristics.
  • Evil Is Cool:
  • Evil Is Sexy:
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception: Wondering how Führer King Bradley/Wrath can be both a Führer and a King will get you corrected by displeased fans. Führer is his title, King is his actual first name... well, to anybody who doesn't know his actual actual identity as Wrath of the Homunculi.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Literally any anime that tries to overthrow Brotherhood as the #1 highest rated Anime on MAL — expect the anime to be shoved down from the top spot by 1-point review bombs shortly after. Affected series include Attack on Titan, Gintama, Fruits Basket, Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, and even the original Fullmetal Alchemist adaptation.
  • Fan Nickname: Due to his lack of name, fans had to be rather creative with giving the gold-toothed doctor a name. Some variations include "Bastard Doctor with the Gold Tooth," "That Bastard in White," "Gold-Tooth Bastard", or "Bastard Doctor Who Slit Riza's Throat."
  • 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."
  • 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 received multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct towards minors at anime conventions.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Jerks Are Worse Than Villains: While the series' main villains, the Homunculi, have performed some extremely cruel acts and have a plan of mass genocide, they still have plenty of fans due to their scheming, charisma, and powers, as well as the fact that they aren't human. Instead, the title for "most hated character in the entire series" goes to Shou Tucker, one of the most infamous examples of Abusive Parents in anime, since he turned his own daughter and dog into a chimera, just to keep his job. This opinion is even shared by the mangaka herself, as in the "In Memoriam" strips at the end of each manga volume, Shou is the only character to go to hell. Other characters like Envy, Wrath, and Kimblee get to go to heaven.
  • Love to Hate:
  • Memetic Badass:
    • THIS PRACTICE OF BADASSERY HAS BEEN PASSED DOWN THROUGH THE ARMSTRONG FAMILY FOR GENERATIONS!!! Pretty much any member of the Armstrong family is liable to get this, no matter how small their role in the story is.
    • Roy Mustang. He closes his wounds with FIRE. He also never cries, it just happens to rain sometimes. And when he's fuhrer all female officers will wear TINY MINI SKIRTS!!!
    • King Bradley. You don't bring a tank to a Bradley fight! You don't bring a Bradley to a tank fight!
    • Izumi doesn't even need vital organs to kick your ass! SHE'S A HOUSEWIFE!
  • 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. 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. But 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 Ishvalan War. As such, the intended message of Roy's assault on Envy was that Vengeance Feels Empty. However, a few fans either A) missed the point of the scene, or B) got the point but didn't care. The Brotherhood anime clears this up a bit with the voice acting: Roy's tone is that of a savage madman who has completely lost his mind, while Envy sounds like a terrified child as Mustang burns them alive. Despite all of the above, some fans still insist that this is a badass moment, cheering at the nightmare of circumstances which led to it, and getting angry at people who point out how terrible the whole situation became. Even to this day, the argument still goes on. The source for this very page now includes a request to not make any more justifying edits, since we're tired of all the arguing and we're not looking to start any more 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.
  • Obvious Judas: It's not difficult to figure out that something is wrong with Shou Tucker before he fuses his daughter and dog into a chimera and it's revealed that he did the same thing to his wife two years prior. Mustang sombrely recounts that the first talking chimera he transmuted was in pain and suicidal, he wears Scary Shiny Glasses, and has an asocial personality, neglecting his daughter in favor of his research and leaving her feeling lonely. He still manages to be genuinely horrifying when the sheer lengths of what he would go to to keep his State Alchemist certification come to light.
  • 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.
  • Realism-Induced Horror: The main reason why Shou Tucker is such a disturbing and loathsome villain is this. While most villains in the series very much belong to a fantasy world, Shou Tucker is someone who could actually exist in real life. He looks and acts just like a normal person would and appears to be a loving family man to boot. Therefore, you would never suspect him to be a cold-hearted sociopath who's willing to sacrifice his own family just to keep his job. What's worse is that he doesn't even believe he's done anything wrong and believes anyone else would have done the same thing if they were in his position. Remove the use of alchemy from the story and you've got an Abusive Parent who hurts his family because he believes he's way more important than he actually 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.
    • Similarly, the Running Gag of Winry badly beating up Ed for the damage to his automail arm comes across as a pretty straight example of Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male nowadays. If the roles were reversed, the scenario certainly would NOT be Played for Laughs. It doesn't help that the damage inflicted on Ed's arm usually isn't even his fault, which can almost come across as Blaming the Victim.
  • 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.

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