Fullmetal Alchemist Anime
Introduction by Coin Flip
Alchemy is a concept no one in our world really thinks
about. However, in the world of the Elric brothers, Alchemy
is the driving force behind the world. Edward and Alphonse
Elric are both alchemists. Edward, the older (and far
smaller) of the two, a certified state alchemist, is the
main protagonist of the series. He possesses scars of hefty
prices paid in taboo alchemy; most notably his two
prosthetic metal limbs (called Auto-Mail) that replace his
right arm and left leg. His nickname is the "Fullmetal
Alchemy, on its own, is a relatively simple force. There is
no real magic behind it, no inner power tapped by the
wielder, and in that regard, it is a bit different from the
concept of magic in other tales. It is the combination of
science and magic. The medium is called a transmutation
circle. A transmutation circle (hereby called "Circle") is
simply a drawing on a flat surface. You can make it in ink,
water, sand, or blood. And a surprising amount of Circles
are composed of the latter. Alchemy is not magic in that it
does nothing that couldn't be done by science. The output of
the Circles is always equivalent to the input. This concept
of "equivalent trade" rules the world of alchemy.
The first example of alchemy is a broken radio being fixed.
A circle is drawn in the dirt, the broken radio parts are
placed in, and the radio starts working immediately.
The Elric brothers know alchemy in and out. They know the
prices especially dearly. The younger Elric brother,
Alphonse, is not what you expect. He is always "wearing" a
suit of armor. However, the word "wearing" must be used with
the understanding that he cannot take it off. Al's soul is
tied to the suit of armor. The suit of armor is his body.
There isn't anything inside. The Elric brothers are orphans.
Their father disappeared when they were young, and their
mother died a while later. The two brothers loved their
mother dearly, and were desperate to get her back, even if
only for one second. So they performed a taboo act of
Alchemy, which is never supposed to be performed because of
the horrible consequences involving it. The Elric brothers
attempted to transmutate their mother's body, and reattach
the soul to the body. However, on the concept of equivalent
trade, a price had to be paid for them to do this. Alphonse
lost his body and his life, and Edward lost one of his
limbs. Ed managed to reattach Al's soul to a new body by
drawing a transmutation circle on the armor. It cost him
Now the two search for the legendary Philosopher's Stone,
which would abolish equivalent trade in Alchemy and allow
them to get back their old bodies. Their journey is
documented in the story of the Fullmetal Alchemist.