As far as I know, Edward Elric is the only State Alchemist who doesn't wear a uniform. Why was he treated differently? Did he have a special rank or something?

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This is Edward current 'Uniform'

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These are some state alchemist, all of them wearing a uniform.

  • 2
    I think this is because the ones wearing the uniform also work full-time as soldiers, whereas Ed would only have to work as such if there were a state of emergency declared.
    – Cattua
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 4:31
  • 2
    only 2 of them are state alchemist in that picture
    – Esqarrouth
    Commented Mar 3, 2014 at 8:35

2 Answers 2


It appears that in the Fullmetal Alchemist universe, those who are state alchemists are not necessarily in the military hierarchy per se, even if they have a rank equivalent to major.

Yes, there are alchemists such as Mustang, Basque Gran, Armstrong, etc. who are active members of the military, but there are also other state alchemists who, while involved in the military state alchemist program, are not involved in the military full-time as those I mentioned earlier are.

An example of this would be Shou Tucker, who we never see wearing a uniform, but is a state alchemist. Given that Edward similarly seems to not be involved in the military as a soldier on a daily basis, it makes sense that he doesn't wear a uniform.


Three theories:

  1. The two alchemists in the picture, Mustang and Armstrong, were in the military when they became state alchemists during the war in Ishval as is the case with the vast majority of state alchemists we see in the series. it could be the case that after the war, state alchemist became a more broad term.
  2. For some state alchemists, like Ed, not wearing a military uniform helps with more clandestine activities as there are many places Ed and Al go where the military is disliked.

  3. It could also be the fact that Ed doesn't like the fact that he's beholden to the government and doesn't want to wear a reminder of that everywhere he goes.

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