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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 Alchemist".

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 another limb.

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.


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