33

The first step of alchemy is understanding. That means, understanding the raw materials you are going to use, and how to break them down. It also means to understand the resulting item. You can't make something you don't know anything about. A radio is a very simple device. It contains little to none electronics, and is rather easy to understand. An ...


33

According to Maria Ross (episode 9, 3:42), all State Alchemists carry a military rank equivalent of Major.


31

The main setting of FMA is in Amestris, which is a pastiche of various European countries, in particular, England. (See the answers to this question for more details.) We can readily see that English is used in-universe, for instance, when Hawkeye corresponds with Roy, writing in vol. 19 of the manga: Note that many character names are not actually "English"...


30

It's a slightly modified version of the Sephirothic Tree of Life as defined by Robert Fludd, who was a physician with interests in Kabbalah and other religious mysticisms. The globes (called Sephiroths) are thought of as being ways in which the universe shows its truths to humanity. They're also printed with the words God used in creating the universe in ...


28

Although I can't find any reliable source, it seems that both are based on Saṃsāra : The repeating cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth (reincarnation) within Hinduism, Buddhism, Bön, Jainism, and Yoga. Source: Wikipedia This represents both the Six Paths of Pain (also Rinne is the Japanese Name for Samsāra) and the "one is all, all is one"-thing in ...


26

In their concept, they are very much alike. In their implementation, they are starkly different. Similarities First, it is very important to say that there is hardly a single definition of alchemy. Some of its first mentions are from texts hundreds of years old, but most highlight three things: Transmutation of base metals (usually to gold), creating a ...


24

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 ...


23

Firstly, it's worth noting that the difference in their strength is perhaps not as drastic as it appears. Though Al's body has essentially wasted away, you can see that Ed's right arm is significantly weaker than his left arm as he did not have it during during the series (or for several years before), in which he had a lot of physical improvement. ...


22

@kuwaly's answer covered most of it, but here's a bit more information as well. What's so special about an automail? It's basically a prosthetic limb which has been optimized for fighting. Its name comes from auto- (as in "automotive") and -mail (related to armor). They were originally designed to give more freedom of motion to uses of prosthetics, but ...


22

There's a few things in play here. Greed is often forced to share control of his body as a result; his host is a far superior fighter against certain opponents later in the series. However, his host has no control over the hardening of the shield. So, Greed puts the shield on, then lets his host take over (since he is a superior warrior). Likely the reason ...


22

The Truth is a cruel, cruel thing. It takes away the part of the body that "fits" the person best, to provide the cruelest irony. When Father is speaking to the sacrifices, he says why each one (less Hohenheim) lost what they did. Edward lost his ability to stand on his own; Alphonse lost his only way to feel warmth; Izumi could no longer bear ...


22

There are a few different things to address here. First off, Edward and Alphonse are fully human. This is actually addressed when Alphonse first finds out about his dad's origins. Essentially, he contains a philosopher's stone within himself, but he is still biologically human. Click to enlarge. Second, remember that all humans are philosopher's stones. ...


21

Truth himself (itself?) states, Who am I? One name you might have for me is the world, or you might call me the universe, or perhaps God, or perhaps the Truth. I am All, and I am One. So, of course, this also means that I am you. I am the truth of your despair, the inescapable price of your boastfulness. Truth is a being which has no physical form, and a ...


21

Alphonse can always do alchemy, throughout the whole show. The only times he cannot perform alchemy are the same times that Edward cannot; Now, in the beginning of the show, he does not perform alchemy often because he needs to draw transmutation circles to be able to. Drawing transmutation circles takes time, and is not often practical in fights or other ...


21

Warning: Unmarked spoilers follow. It seems there are four different components you're addressing here, so I'll make the differences for each one clear. Van Hohenheim Van Hohenheim, also known as slave #23, was a citizen of Xerxes and a regular human being who was employed by King Xerxes' alchemist. This alchemist was an experimenter, and managed to create ...


20

There's a pretty good description here. To summarize it, automail is a prosthetic limb that connects directly to the nervous system and requires no external power because it uses the electrical signals from the brain as its power. They were originally created to be weapons but then became sophisticated enough to use as a prosthetic limb. There are a few ...


19

After searching everywhere for the day looking this up before someone else finds the answer, he appears to be Mobuta Mobuo. He is actually a background character that was actually placed in their as a joke as said in an interview with Arakawa Hiromu in the Perfect Guidebook (Hagaren Kenkyujo DX). He was also a gag character in the Mangas and hardly anyone ...


19

This is probably difference in translation. In the manga it is made pretty clear. The entire conversation is about Al only. Look at the following transmutations and the sacrifices. Ed sacrificed his leg and Al his body for their Mother. Ed sacrificed his hand for Al's soul. Al gave his soul for Ed's hand. Ed gives up his transmutation gate for Al's body and ...


18

It's called the Flamel (yes, named after Nicolas Flamel, purported to be an alchemist who sought the Philosopher's Stone). It is most noticeably similar to the symbol of Hermes, a god of alchemy, and also the Rod of Asclepius, which you may recognize from ambulances as the EMS symbol. It is not a religious symbol, nor is it ever explained to have a ...


18

Edward couldn't affix his mother's soul, because she was already long dead. It isn't made so obvious, but actually a few years pass between the mother's death, and then the boys training with Izumi, before they try and resurrect her. He was able to attach Al's soul to the armour because it was still present, in the body of the creature they tried to ...


17

Hohenheim is named after Paracelsus, a man whose name's last portion (at birth) was "von Hohenheim". Paracelsus practiced medicine, alchemy, and other sciences, much like Hohenheim. In the vein of alchemy, Paracelsus also had a significant similarity to Hohenheim. He claimed to have made a homunculus out of bodily fluids, as described in De homunculis: ...


17

Alchemy is just like most skills; the process of learning it is arduous, and some people will naturally be better than others. From a young age, Edward and Alphonse Elric were exposed to alchemy, especially as their father had been a brilliant alchemist and left a gargantuan collection of books behind for the kids to read. This, however, was in addition to ...


17

Unmarked spoilers for both Brotherhood and the 2003 series follow. You're missing a key bit of information: they did gain something for their loss[1], just as Izumi did. The boys gained the knowledge of what was beyond the gate. Unparalleled truths of alchemy reside beyond the gate, and no mortals are ever allowed access to it—unless they commit the ...


16

First, there is no official word on this. None of the Hiromu Arakawa (the original writer) interviews go into depth as to what the transmutation circles even do, much less how they are created. Neither of the FMA Perfect Guide books mention transmutation circles to any strenuous degree, though it is mentioned that Alphonse has more practice drawing them than ...


16

I'm going to answer based on the manga, because I still have not seen the Brotherhood anime. I think this is just fine, as it seems that the anime streamlined the ending a bit. This is going to be spoilerific, but scarcely more than the question itself, so I'm not putting all of it in spoiler tags. Let's start at the core of the issue. You say that Father "...


16

The FmA Wikia seems to indicate that the picture is Tree of Life (also known as World Tree or Tree of Emanations or Arber Sephiroteca), as described by a 17th century English Paracelsian physician Robert Fludd. I'm having a hard time finding additional information about the diagram, but the EvaGeeks Wiki has a page that describes the different parts in more ...


15

Hiromu Arakawa, the mangaka, states that she was not influenced greatly by any specific country, but rather a collection of European countries during the Industrial Revolution, as stated in the answers to this question, sourced back to an interview in Newtype USA, January 2006. While I'm sure Arakawa took inspiration from her own country's history, too, the ...


15

Let's take a look at the events at the end of FMA - I'm using the manga. Hohenheim offers to use himself to get Alphonse back, out of paternal duty. Ed refuses because what happened to him and Alphonse was their own responsibility. Notice that in FMA, there's this sort of emphasis on personal responsibility for one's actions (e.g. Riza's comments about ...


15

I do not know if this was covered in Brotherhood, but in the manga the name Van Hohenheim was given to slave 23 by This happened in episode 40, or chapter 74 in the manga. Fun fact, Hohenheim was first going to be called Theophrastus Bombastus Van Hohenheim, but the name was too long for him to remember, so a shorter version was chosen. As I understand it ...


15

The two continuities As you may know, there are essentially two versions of the Fullmetal Alchemist anime - the 2003 version, called simply "Fullmetal Alchemist", and the 2009 version, called "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood". The 2003 version deviates from the manga part-way through, while the 2009 version sticks to the manga all the ...


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