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 “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, 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.
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.
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.