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Film Friday- Fullmetal Alchemist

Film Friday- Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist has been adapted into two anime television series, two animated films—all animated by Bones studio—and light novels. Funimation dubbed the television series, films and video games. The series has generated original video animations, video games, supplementary books, a collectible card game, and a variety of action figures and other merchandise. A live action film based on the series was also released in 2017. In two TV Asahi web polls, the anime was voted the most popular anime of all time in Japan. At the American Anime Awards in February 2007, it was eligible for eight awards, nominated for six, and won five. Reviewers from several media conglomerations had positive comments on the series, particularly for its character development, action scenes, symbolism and philosophical references.

Themes

The series explores social problems, including discrimination, scientific advancement, political greed, brotherhood, family, and war. Scar’s backstory and his hatred of the state military references the Ainu people, who had their land taken by other people. This includes the consequences of guerrilla warfare and the amount of violent soldiers a military can have. Some of the people who took the Ainus’ land were originally Ainu; this irony is referenced in Scar’s use of alchemy to kill alchemists even though it was forbidden in his own religion. The Elrics being orphans and adopted by Pinako Rockbell reflects Arakawa’s beliefs about the ways society should treat orphans. The characters’ dedication to their occupations reference the need to work for food. The series also explores the concept of equivalent exchange; to obtain something new, one must pay with something of equal value. This is applied by alchemists when creating new materials and is also a philosophical belief the Elric brothers follow.

Plot

Edward and Alphonse Elric live in the rural town of Resembool with their mother Trisha, their father Van Hohenheim having left without a reason. Edward since bore a grudge against their father as he and Alphonse showed a talent for alchemy before Trisha died of the plague. After finishing their alchemy training under Izumi Curtis, the brothers attempt to bring their mother back with alchemy. But the transmutation backfires and in law with equivalent exchange, Edward lost his left leg while Alphonse was dragged into the Gate of Truth. Edward sacrifices his right arm to retrieve Alphonse’s soul, binding it to a suit of armor with a blood seal. Edward is invited by Roy Mustang to become a State Alchemist to research a way to restore Alphonse’s body, passing his exams while given the title of Fullmetal Alchemist back on his prosthetic automail limbs and use of metal in his alchemy. The Elrics spent the next three years searching for the mythical Philosopher’s Stone to achieve their goals. One such lead resulted in them exposing a corrupt religious leader in the city of Liore while unaware of events occurring behind the scenes by the mysterious Homunculi.

Following their time with the State Alchemist Shou Tucker, which taught them a horrific lesson, the Elric brothers had a near-death experience from encountering an Ishbalan serial killer labeled as Scar who targets State Alchemists for his people’s genocide in the Ishbalan civil war. After returning to Resembool to have Edward’s limbs repaired by their childhood friend and mechanic, Winry Rockbell, the Elrics meet the guilt-ridden former State Alchemist Dr. Marcoh who provided them with clues to learn that a Philosopher’s Stone is created from human souls. After the Homunculi hindered them by destroying the hidden laboratory, the brothers are joined by Winry as they attempt to find an alternate means to restore themselves. At the same time, Mustang’s friend Maes Hughes continued the Elrics’ research and ends up murdered by a disguised Envy when he learned of the Homunculi’s plan.

After their defeat at the hands of Scar, the Elric Brothers decide to visit their teacher Izumi Curtis in the city of Dublith, hoping that she might be able to train them in higher forms of alchemy. which backfires when she discovers their failed attempt at Human Transmutation. Izumi tells the Elrics how she committed human transmutation on her stillborn child, following which she expels them as her apprentices, though following a determined argument, she allows them to stay with her for extra training. following which Alphonse is captured by the rogue homunculus Greed, who then ends up being captured by Amestris’ president King Bradley, who is revealed to be the homunculus Wrath. When Greed refuses to rejoin his fellow Homunculi, Greed is consequently melted down by and reabsorbed within the Homunculi’s creator, Father.

After running into the Xingese prince Lin Yao, who is also after a Philosopher’s Stone to cement his position as heir to his country’s throne, the Elrics and Winry return to Central City where they learn of Hughes’s death with Lieutenant Maria Ross framed for the murder. Mustang fakes Maria’s death and smuggles her out of the country with Lin’s help so he can focus on the Homunculi. The events that follow result in the death of Lust, revealing that a Philosopher’s Stone forms a Homunculus’s core along with an upcoming event the Homunculi are working towards. Meanwhile, Scar forms a small band with the Xingese princess May Chang, who also seeks the stone, and a former military officer named Yoki whom the Elrics exposed as a corrupt official.

Following an attempt to capture Gluttony using Lin’s sensory skills, the Homunculus end up accidentally swallowing Edward, Lin, and Envy into his void-like stomach, with the two humans learning the Homunculi orchestrated Ametris’s history over the centuries. Gluttony takes Alphonse to meet Father as the others manage to escape from Gluttony’s stomach, meeting Father who considered killing Lin for not being one of the human sacrifice like the Elrics. But Father instead makes Lin the vessel of a new incarnation of Greed with the Elrics attempting to escape upon seeing Scar. Edward has Envy admit to having caused the Ishbalan civil war. Soon after, with Winry used against them as a hostage, the Elrics are allowed to continue their quest as long as they no longer oppose Father. Mustang receives a similar threat with his subordinates scattered to the other military branches. At the same time, finding Dr. Marcoh held captive, Scar spirited him out of Central as Scar’s group head north.

The Elrics eventually reach Fort Briggs under the command of General Olivier Armstrong, revealing what they know following the discovery of an underground tunnel beneath Briggs made by the Homunculus Sloth. The brothers soon learn from Hughes’s research that Father created Amestris to amass a large enough population to create a massive Philosopher’s Stone. Forced to work with Solf J. Kimblee, a murderous former State Alchemist and willing ally of the Homunculi in tracking down Scar, the Elrics make their move to save Winry and split up with Kimblee’s chimera subordinates joining them. As Edward is joined by Lin and Greed, who regained his former self’s memories, Alphonse encounters Honenheim in Liore. Honenheim reveals he was made an immortal when Father, once simply known as Homunculus, arranged the fall of Xeres four centuries ago to create his body while giving half of the sacrificed souls to him. Honenheim also explains he left his family to stop Father from sacrificing the Amestrisan people to achieve godhood by absorbing the being beyond the Gate of Truth on the Promised Day.

The Promised Day arrives and Father prepares to initiate his plan using an eclipse and capture the human sacrifices to trigger the transmutation, the protagonists having assembled days prior and orchestrate an all-out attack on Central with Sloth, Envy, and Wrath killed in the process while Gluttony was devoured by Pride. But despite the opposition, Father manages to activate the nationwide transmutation once the Elrics, Izumi, Hohenheim are gathered along with Mustang after being forced by Pride to perform Human Transmutation. But Hohenheim and Scar activate countermeasures to save the Amestrians, causing Father to become unstable from housing the absorbed superior being within him without the souls needed to subdue it. Father is confronted above ground where the protagonists battle him to wear down his Philosopher’s Stone while he attempts to replenish himself, Edward managing to defeat the gravely weakened Pride before joining the fray.

Alphonse, whose armor is all but destroyed, sacrifices his soul to restore Edward’s right arm while Greed leaves Lin’s body and sacrifices himself to weaken Father’s body enough for Edward to destroy Father’s Philosopher’s Stone. This causes Father to implode out of reality while dragged into the Gate of Truth from which he was created. Edward sacrifices his ability to perform alchemy to retrieve a fully restored Alphonse, Lin receiving a Philosopher’s Stone while promising May to be a just ruler. Hohenheim takes his leave and visits Trisha’s grave where he dies with a smile on his face. The Elrics return home months later, still motivated by those they failed to save in learning new forms of alchemy to prevent repeated tragedies. This leads to the Elrics leaving Ametris two years later to learn about other cultures and their knowledge, with Alphonse leaving for Xing in the east while Edward heads westward. The epilogue finishes with a family photo of Alphonse, May, Edward, Winry, and Ed’s and Winry’s son and daughter.

Other Tuesday- Character Special: Fullmetal Alchemist

Other Tuesday- Character Special: Fullmetal Alchemist

Edward Elric 

Edward “Ed” Elric, the “Fullmetal Alchemist”, is the youngest State Alchemist in history, joining the program at the age of 12. He and his younger brother, Alphonse, scour the world in search of the Philosopher’s Stone, in the hopes of restoring their bodies. Edward lost his left leg in a futile attempt to revive his mother, Trisha, using Alchemy, and lost his right arm in exchange for attaching Alphonse’s soul to a suit of armor. Edward now employs the use of metal prosthetics, known as automail, as replacement limbs. However, as attempting to resurrect a human opens a portal called the Gate of Truth to allow the committer/s to see the Truth , Edward gained great knowledge of the universe as well as the powerful ability to perform transmutations without transmutation circles. Edward is smart, brave and even bold, but also has a prideful tendency to be harsh and arrogant. He harbors a sharp sensitivity to his short height; a recurring gag in both manga and the anime series is for Edward to overly react to people who call him short.

Alphonse Elric 

Alphonse “Al” Elric, is Edward’s younger brother. Together, both of them scour the country in search of the Philosopher’s Stone in the hopes of restoring their bodies. Unlike Ed, who lost one of his legs in the failed attempt to revive the brothers’ mother, Al lost his entire body. At the last moment, and at the cost of one of his arms, Ed sealed Al’s soul in a giant suit of armor, making Al almost invulnerable.

Winry Rockbell 

Winry Rockbell, a childhood friend of Edward and Alphonse Elric, lives in Resembool with her grandmother, Pinako Rockbell, who raised her after the death of her parents during the Ishbal War. Her parents were killed by Scar in a blind rage. Winry is a practicing and gifted automail mechanic, following in her grandmother’s footsteps, continually designing and maintaining Edward Elric’s automail prosthetics. Winry is often used as an unwitting hostage by the homunculi to ensure the Elrics’ subservience to the State. A running gag in the series is that she will violently attack Edward whenever he upsets her in some way, usually whenever he breaks his automail in combat. She and Edward get married in the concluding moments of the manga. In the first anime, her parents were executed by a younger Roy Mustang under Military order.

Roy Mustang 

Colonel Roy Mustang, the “Flame Alchemist”, is a State Alchemist and Edward’s direct superior. He is promoted to Brigadier General at the end of the series and is a General in the epilogue. He aims towards becoming the next Führer of Amestris, heavily relying on the support of his loyal subordinates to propel him along that path. Mustang would find this path interrupted by the murder of his best friend and confidant, Maes Hughes, afterward, beginning an almost behind-the-scenes investigation into finding the true culprit.

Riza Hawkeye 

First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye is Roy Mustang’s most trusted and dearest subordinate. She often carries out many of the tasks he is too lazy to do, acts as his personal assistant, and protects him from danger. She holds a strong sense of admiration for him, even willing to put her own life at risk; Roy returns this, and occasionally refers to her as “My Queen”, his chess code name for her. She also doubles as his voice of reason, keeping cool in heated situations, and scolding him when he allows his emotions to get in the way. Riza and Roy seem to share a close relationship as she identifies him as her most precious person. Riza specializes in firearms, particularly sniper rifles, and can hit nearly any target with lethal accuracy. In the series, she adopts a dog named Black Hayate from Kain Fuery that she raises with stern discipline; when Hayate urinates indoors, she fires a number of warning rounds at the wall around the dog to reinforce that doing so is against established protocol.

In the form of a tattoo on her back, Riza bears the final notes to her father’s work on Flame Alchemy, and his legacy as an alchemist and Mustang’s teacher. After seeing what Mustang was capable of during the Ishbal War with such ability, Riza begs Roy to burn the tattoo, fearing the damage future flame alchemists could cause. Riza is reassigned as King Bradley’s personal assistant to be used as a hostage when Mustang learns the homunculi control the State. When she discovers that King Bradley’s adopted son, Selim, is a homunculus as well, she sends her discovery to Mustang in code as soon as she can. She eventually defects from the military to help Mustang overthrow King Bradley. Arakawa received various questions regarding the future of her relationship with Mustang and commented that, while Hawkeye stays with Mustang, a marriage would still be possible despite military regulations.

Manga Monday- Fullmetal Alchemist

Manga Monday- Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist is a Japanese shōnen manga series written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa. It was serialized in Square Enix’s Monthly Shōnen Gangan magazine between August 2001 and June 2010; the publisher later collected the individual chapters into twenty-seven tankōbon volumes. The world of Fullmetal Alchemist is styled after the European Industrial Revolution. Set in a fictional universe in which alchemy is one of the most advanced scientific techniques, the story follows two alchemist brothers named Edward and Alphonse Elric, who are searching for the philosopher’s stoneto restore their bodies after a failed attempt to bring their mother back to life using alchemy.

The manga was published and localized in English by Viz Media in North America, Madman Entertainment in Australasia, and Chuang Yi in Singapore. Yen Press also has the rights for the digital release of the volumes in North America due to the series being a Square Enix title. The manga has sold over 70 million volumes worldwide, making it one of the best-selling manga series. The English release of the manga’s first volume was the top-selling graphic novel during 2005.

Manga

Written and drawn by Hiromu Arakawa, Fullmetal Alchemist was serialized in Square Enix’s monthly manga magazine Monthly Shōnen Gangan. Its first installment was published in the magazine’s August 2001 issue on July 12, 2001; publication continued until the series concluded in June 2010 with the 108th installment. A side-story to the series was published in the October 2010 issue of Monthly Shōnen Gangan on September 11, 2010. In the July 2011 issue of the same magazine, the prototype version of the manga was published. Square Enix compiled the chapters into twenty-seven tankōbon volumes. The first volume was released on January 22, 2002, and the last on November 22, 2010. A few chapters have been re-released in Japan in two “Extra number” magazines and Fullmetal Alchemist, The First Attack, which features the first nine chapters of the manga and other side stories. On July 22, 2011, Square Enix started republishing the series in kanzenban format.

Viz Media localized the tankōbon volumes in English in North America between May 3, 2005, and December 20, 2011. On June 7, 2011, Viz started publishing the series in omnibus format, featuring three volumes in one. Yen Press has the rights for the digital release of the volumes in North America since 2014 and on December 12, 2016 has released the series on the ComiXology website. Other English localizations were done by Madman Entertainment for Australasia and Chuang Yi in Singapore. The series has been also localized in Polish, French, Portuguese, Italian, and Korean.

Light novels

Square Enix has published a series of six Fullmetal Alchemist Japanese light novels, written by Makoto Inoue. The novels were licensed for an English-language release by Viz Media in North America, with translations by Alexander O. Smith and illustrations—including covers and frontispieces—by Arakawa. The novels are spin-offs of the manga series and follow the Elric brothers on their continued quest for the philosopher’s stone. The first novel, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Land of Sand, was animated as the episodes eleven and twelve of the first anime series. The fourth novel contains an extra story about the military called “Roy’s Holiday”. Novelizations of the PlayStation 2 games Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken AngelCurse of the Crimson Elixir, and The Girl Who Succeeds God have also been written, the first by Makoto Inoue and the rest by Jun Eishima.

Manga reception

Along with Yakitate!! Japan, the series won the forty-ninth Shogakukan Manga Award for shōnen in 2004. It won the public voting for Eagle Award’s “Favourite Manga” in 2010 and 2011. The manga also received the Seiun Award for best science fiction comic in 2011.

In a survey from Oricon in 2009, Fullmetal Alchemist ranked ninth as the manga that fans wanted to be turned into a live-action film. The series is also popular with amateur writers who produce dōjinshi (fan fiction) that borrows characters from the series. In the Japanese market Super Comic City, there have been over 1,100 dōjinshi based on Fullmetal Alchemist, some of which focused on romantic interactions between Edward Elric and Roy Mustang. Anime News Network said the series had the same impact in Comiket 2004 as several female fans were seen there writing dōjinshi

Setting

Fullmetal Alchemist takes place in an alternate history, in the fictional country of Amestris. In this world, alchemy is one of the most-practiced sciences; Alchemists who work for the government are known as State Alchemists and are automatically given the rank of Major in the military. Alchemists have the ability, with the help of patterns called Transmutation Circles, to create almost anything they desire. However, when they do so, they must provide something of equal value in accordance with the Law of Equivalent Exchange. The only things Alchemists are forbidden from transmuting are humans and gold. There has never been a successful human transmutation; those who attempt it lose a part of their body and the result is a horrific inhuman mass. Attemptees are confronted by Truth, a pantheistic and semi-cerebral God-like being who tauntingly regulates all alchemy use and whose nigh-featureless appearance is relative to the person to whom Truth is conversing with; the series’ antagonist, Father, and some other characters, claim and believe that Truth is a personal God who punishes the arrogant, a belief that Edward denies, citing a flaw in Father’s interpretation of Truth’s works.

Attemptees of Human Transmutation are also thrown into the Gate of Truth, where they receive an overwhelming dose of information, but also allowing them to transmute without a circle. All living things possess their own Gate of Truth, and per the Gaea hypothesis heavenly bodies like planets also have their own Gates of Truth. It is possible to bypass the Law of Equivalent Exchange (to an extent) using a Philosopher’s Stone, a red, enigmatic substance. Philosopher’s Stones can be used to create Homunculi, artificial humans of proud nature. Homunculi have numerous superhuman abilities unique among each other and look down upon all humanity. With the exception of one, they do not age and can only be killed via the destruction of their Philosopher’s Stones.

There are several cities throughout Amestris. The main setting is the capital of Central City, along with other military cities such as the northern city of Briggs. Towns featured include Resembool, the rural hometown of the Elrics; Liore, a city tricked into following a cult; Rush Valley, a town that specializes in automail manufacturing; and Ishbal, a conservative-religion region that rejects alchemy and was destroyed in the Ishbalan Civil War instigated after a soldier shot an Ishbalan child. Outside of Amestris, there are few named countries, and none are seen in the main story. The main foreign country is Xing. Heavily reminiscent of China, Xing has a complex system of clans and emperors, as opposed to Amestris’s government-controlled election of a Führer. It also has its own system of alchemy, called Alkahestry, which is more medical and can be bi-located using kunai; in turn, it is implied that all countries have different forms of alchemy.