A mother passes away due to illness. Desperate, the brothers perform Human Transmutation - a Taboo - and the Gate takes away their body parts as sacrifices.
Then, two embark on a journey in search of the Philosopher's Stone, a magical stone that makes anything possible with its ability to overshadow the Law of Equivalence.
It has been almost 12 years since I became a big fan of FMA, and my love for this anime will never fade away.
As the story advances, the mystery becomes deepened, and hypothetical theories emerge. All the unique characters interact with each other in the most heart-warming and/or intense ways, resulting in the audience crying out loud at the ending of the chapter.
Let's discuss how Full Metal Alchemist is one of the most legendary anime series.
First of all and most importantly, FMA teaches humanity lessons. There are seven deadly creatures (sins) called “ホムンクルス” (homunculus), who attempt to intervene in the path of Edward and Alphonse. They are the reflection of human species' weakness - Pride, Wrath, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Sloth, and Greed.
These evil ones are supposed to be treated very nicely by the brothers since they are horrible creatures who treat the innocent inhumanely and maliciously.
However, you surprisingly find yourself sympathizing with them as you learn about their background story - melancholic, miserable and unfortunate.
Next moment, you reach closer to the screen, secretly hoping that they do not die. This is because you realize that humanity even exists within the most inhumane creatures.
Greed and Edward cross their sword aggressively… and you would find yourself cheering both sides. Something about these homunculus are favorable even though they are opponents of our loved brothers, Ed and Alphonse.
Secondary, the Law of Equivalence is real. The absolute rule for alchemists is the Law of Equivalence (等価交換の原則),which theorizes that in order to obtain something, we require something else that is of equal value.
The brothers embark on a journey in search of the Philosopher's Stone, which overshadows the Law of Equivalence, allowing the owners to obtain anything they wish for.
It is hard to witness the young brothers going through a series of traumatic experiences and confront hardship in their cruel destiny.
Nevertheless, these are the lessons of principle for the brothers, showing how violating the law of equivalence results in severe punishment.
This topic is taken very seriously and helps the audience to consider ideology like "what can we do to sustain ourselves, without interfering the balance between equivalence?” and philosophical theory like “Is it really impossible to obtain something without sacrifices?”
Unfortunately, reality disappoints the brothers as the story advances - yet, the two overcome hardship, becoming stronger and wiser.
Moreover, FMA addresses our endless issue in society: Conflict and war. As the story progresses, the anime introduces Scar, a former warrior of Ishval. Having lost his family in the war, he promises himself revenge. However, his fate dramatically changes as he interacts with the brothers and results in unexpected consequences.
War and conflict appear to be eternal issues that burden our society today. People are greedy, egoistic, and profit-driven. In FMA, Fuhrer King Bradley declares the War of Ishval as ethnic cleansing. Cruel and inhumane, yet, real.
Nevertheless, Scar eventually shows mercy and even courtesy toward his adversaries. That indicates coexistence is possible regardless of race or the origin of birth.
“An alchemist who has opposed God… must be destroyed!!”
Furthermore, all the characters portrayed in FMA are incredibly diverse. FMA is basically 人種のサラダボウル (salad bowl of kind) including the funny, the heart-breaking, the heart-warming, the serious, the cold-blooded, the mysterious, the generous - you name it!
Moreover, all the characters entertain you with their unique personality. Each interacts with one another in an intriguing and sometimes complicated way, that contributes to the mainline of the story.
Yes, of course there is a sense of romance; for instance, the relationship between Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye and Colonel Roy Mustang intensifies as they overcome hardship together throughout series of battles, events, and share of sympathy. The pair bears extreme guilt, getting involved with the War of Ishval despite of their will to protect the citizens. Sharing such bitter fate, the two take care of each other.
Roy: “What on the Earth are you doing!?”
Riza: “You are useless on a rainy day - please step back, Colonel!”
Havoc: “Ah, he can’t release fire in this humidity”
Finally, Full Metal Alchemist has moved the hearts of millions of people across the globe with its rich story-line, unique characters, and a lovely and cheesy sense of humor. It is time to binge-watch the series again and savor the nostalgic feelings from the anime.