The bonds of brotherhood

What price would you pay to get back someone you love? How far would you go to atone for a mistake?

In “Full Metal Alchemist”, Edward and Alphonse Elric lost their mother when they were still children but they have a plan to bring her back. The brothers live in a country where people use the powers of alchemy in their everyday lives. The Elrics are geniuses when it comes to alchemy where one could transmute things. The concept of equivalent exchange was drilled into them at an early age: Humans cannot gain something without losing something of equal value.

They do a human transmutation but Edward loses a leg in the process. Poor Alphonse loses his body and only the quick thinking of his brother saves his soul. Edward gives up his right arm but manages to affix his sibling’s soul to a suit of armor.

Edward gets fitted with mechanical limbs or automail. A state alchemist named Roy Mustang drops by because of their letters about their long missing father. He plants a seed in their minds when he suggests they apply to become state alchemists. Edward decides to do so but disuades Alphonse so that only he would have to serve as a dog of the military. They learn about the Philosopher’s Stone which they believe can restore Edward’s limbs and Alphonse’s body. Their search for the red stone would test the brothers and pit them against foes both tragic and comic.

I have never read the manga of FMA and have only seen the 51-episode anime and the movie, “Conqueror of Shambala” which is a sequel of sorts to the series. Despite its ending, I consider “Full Metal Alchemist” one of the best series ever created. It makes you think, the characters are complex people and the storyline is amazing. I loved many of the characters and was shocked that one of my favorites was killed. (I won’t say who so as not to spoil the story for y’all.)

Throughout the series, you don’t doubt that the brothers love each other. Sure they have a childhood gal pal, their old teacher and meet new friends. But when the foundation of their world crumbles, all they have is each other. And the Elrics know that. I highly recommend this series.

I wish I could say the same for the movie which I loathed. The movie tied up several loose ends from the TV show but I don’t think it does the series any justice. I didn’t like how some of the main players in the anime were given short shrift here, I thought the villain was one-dimensional and I couldn’t care less about the new characters.

Anyway, skip the movie and just watch the series. You won’t regret it.

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