Fullmetal Alchemist

Alt title: Hagane no Renkinjutsushi

TV (51 eps)
2003 - 2004
Fall 2003
4.204 out of 5 from 75,555 votes
Rank #321

Once upon a time, two brothers passed the happy days of their childhood by studying alchemy, which is governed by the equal transfer principle: an eye for an eye -- you can't get more than you give. But these brothers tried to defy that law, and a horrific accident resulted. Now, the older brother, Edward, is called the Full Metal Alchemist because of his metal limbs, and the younger, Alphonse, is a soul without a body, trapped within the confines of an automaton. Together they search for the power to restore themselves, to find the lives they lost so long ago...

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StoryFull Metal Alchemist takes place in a world that seems similar to our own, but not as technologically advanced. Trains and steam powered engines are used a great deal, and the science of alchemy is far more prevalent than machines of our time. In alchemy, there is the rule of equivalent trade: you must give something of equal value in order to get something. And above all else, human transmutation is against all rules of alchemy, and does not work... or so it seems. Rumors have it that the Philosopher's Stone can give the alchemist the ability to even raise the dead, but it is long since sought after and never found. Enter Al and Edward, two young boys who attempted this heinous act once their beloved mother died. The act failed, causing Ed to lose his arm and leg, and Al to lose his body, trapping his soul in the body of a machine. Full Metal Alchemist follows Ed and Al as they search for the Philosopher's Stone to get their bodies and lives back... and that's just the beginning. Full Metal Alchemist is, in a word, brilliant. It's hard to explain exactly why it was so good, so you'd probably just have to see it for yourself. There is a perfect blend of comedy, action, intrigue and excitement all in one. Filler episodes are wonderful and fly by quicker than a bullet train. I never at any point in the series was bored, even for a second. In the beginning, there are a great deal of mini-arcs that deal with events in a certain town or location, but all are still somewhat involved with the main plot. Once the end of the series rolls around, you realize that all of these seemingly unconnected events or places really ARE connected, or come back into play somehow. This comes down to FMA's epic nature at heart, and maybe that's why it was so good, who knows. FMA is an extremely dark series, with plenty of very messed up scenes and ideas. "Wow" came to mind many a time when something gruesome happened yet again, and this continues throughout the entire series. There are plenty of twists and turns along the way (with one really major one near the end), most of which will surprise you and catch you off guard. There is also a plethora of character development and characters in general, all of whom have a rich background and history. The empathy we feel when a character is killed, for example (or hurt in any way) is present throughout the entire series because of how well the character interactions were presented in tandem with the plot. Truly, there aren't enough good things I can say about the story... it reels you in in the first few episodes and holds on tight till the final act (which is a very beautiful yet open ending, setting itself up nicely for the movie). There are barely any series I see that make me want to watch the next episode so badly, and this is one of them, for 51 episodes in a row. A 10? Can't give it anything less. AnimationThe animation style for FMA was superb, and held a perfect balance of serious scenes and comedic chibis. Let's face it, the comedy played a big part in the series, and comic relief was badly needed in harsh scenes. The longest running joke was Ed being called short, and his irritation always manifested itself by him turning chibified for a few minutes. Whereas this would annoy me in most series, it seemed totally appropriate in FMA. Colors used were incredibly bright and vibrant, and character designs looked, well, normal for a series in this time period. The alchemy was definitely the most impressive part, showing us beautiful special effects and sequences. I believe a bit of CG was used, and was seamless, but I could be wrong on that point. Backgrounds were gorgeous, monsters were creepy, and the violence and disturbing parts were animated in a very... well... disturbing fashion as well. I can't think of anything that could have been done better in this case. Fantastic. SoundThere are barely any series that I see that make me want to get the soundtrack, and this is one of them. There was a piano tune in the later half of the series that was haunting and gave me chills every time it was played. Every piece fit the series in some way, from the upbeat lighthearted tracks to the moody depressing ones. Orchestral music dominated the series, mostly piano and violins.Even the intros and outros (except the last two outros, which were pretty terrible) shone. I don't usually rate the music score on the intro/outro, which is why this still gets a 10. Flawless music all the way around, and enchanting enough to make me want to buy the soundtrack, which is a really big deal in itself. CharactersI honestly can't see how anyone could think the characters score should be lower than a 10. All the characters, even the secondary ones, were developed extremely well. Al and Ed, obviously, had the most revealed about their pasts and motivations for the future, but even the bad guys and non-important folk seemed to have twists and depth attached to them in some way. We see characters grow close and drift apart. We see characters born, and characters die unexpectedly. We see masks cast aside from familiar faces, showing us that what the people we thought we knew, we really didn't at all. Everyone has layers that are peeled back and shown to us slowly... and in general, it was done in the most effective way possible. OverallI can't say enough good things about this series, but I feel like watching it for yourself would make you understand why I gave it a perfect score. Everything about the series is flawless, from the epic and involved story to the pacing and mood, to the music and animation and depth of characters. It really is rare for a series like this to come along that not only succeeds at keeping your attention for 26 episodes, but for 51. What are you waiting for? Check this out as soon as you can.


Fullmetal Alchemist is a well known anime about a fantasy universe where alchemy is real. It actually tackles a lot of serious issues, while providing a story about 2 brothers trying to fix their past mistakes. I could write an entire essay on why this anime is good, but I'll put it simply. I'm not one to be hyped up by other's expectations. This anime is among the most popular but I went in feeling cynical as usual. I wouldn't have watched this if it wasn't 50 episodes as I have trouble watching long anime series. I almost gave up at ~45 episodes (not because of the anime itself) but the fact I was so close to end and the great story kept me going. After just a few episodes I realised that this anime is worth the praise its gotten. This has everything, comedy, action, sci-fi fantasy, seriousness and even heartwrenching sad moments. Dare I use realistic to describe this anime? The story is very good, its not a simple good guy vs bad guy story and there are reasonable twists and turns. It initially takes a while to get going but even then the start has a lot of backstory. The ending was good IMO and even if you aren't satisfied, the very faithful movie sequel ties up all loose ends. Animation was decent, nothing amazing, nothing terrible. I'm happy to say ecchi is pretty much non-existent, though they try to have a go with the Phantom Thief episode. It looks pretty cool TBH and for the time, the animation was up there. The music during the anime itself is very good, getting the right moods with some epic sounds. Due to this anime being 50 episodes it has 4 intros/outros. The music in these are amazing. I got the soundtrack after watching this because I couldn't live without the awesome music. The voiceovers are also great and the english dub is done surprisingly well. A few odd people tend to find Alphonse's voice annoying but I liked it. Characters are awesome. Again, like the story the characters aren't simple good/evil human beings, they make mistakes and have their motives. Even the antagonist(s) have some backstory/reasoning allowing the viewer to understand why they behave the way they do. Among my favourites were Maes Hughs *salute* and Roy Mustang who is a well fleshed out character. One aspect of this anime that I enjoyed immensely was the subtext. It makes you think about various important topics like war, crime, killing, scientific progress, the value of life, the list just goes on. Despite going into this with a cynical mindset this anime is a must-watch for anyone who like anime, especially when followed up by the sequel movie: Conqueror of Shamballa. Definitely among my top 5 favourite anime of all time, if not the top 3. I look forward to eventually watching FMA: Brotherhood, I've heard its just as good. Family-friendliness Rating: 2/5 Overall the characters are modest with a few exceptions like the Phantom Theif and some characters with large breasts (lower is better) Overall Rating: 10/10 (higher is better)


Full Metal Alchemist is an up and coming anime that is causing a lot of buzz. Its mix of historical and fastasy elements are creatively combined to appeal to those from all genres. While it is a longer anime (51 episodes), very few of the episodes should be missed because of the anime's progressive nature. Everything in this anime, no matter how confusing, adds up to deliver something different, crazy, and unique. The Story Set in the early 1900s in a modern world where Alchemy developed as the primary science, the story focuses on two brothers: Edward (Ed) and Alphonse (Al) Elric. After an alchemy accident in which Ed lost his arm and his leg and Al lost his body, the two brothers set out in search of the Philosopher's Stone, a legendary object that will restore the two brothers to their original bodies. Along the way, they meet a collection of characters who help them or hinder them on their quest for the Stone: the boy's childhood friend, Winry Rockbell; Auntie Pinako, Winry's grandmother; Roy Mustang, a colonel in the army; a collection of demons called Homonculus, and a mysterious man named Scar. Most of the episodes focus on Ed and Al in their quest, but others focus on Mustang and other members of the army and the origins of the Homonculus. Grade: A. The characters are popular, and many have elicited their own 'fan clubs' - particularly Ed and Roy. The series ends on a happy note, despite the fact that some of the loose aends never get tied up properly. The Art Full Metal's art does a good job of making sure to change with the characters - i.e., if the character grows up, they are drawn to look older. It manages to stay true to the art in the manga, a mix of cartoon outbursts and free-flowing art that fits well with the story. Each of the explosions, transformations, and fights are all well drawn and well coreographed. Grade: B+. While the art is reflective of the nature of the anime, it's something we've seen before, but still appreciate. If you really like Hiromu Arakawa's art, there are two Full Metal Alchemist artbooks that are very cute and give additional insights about character designs. :-) The Music The music for Full Metal is a mix of catchy pop and rock songs along with classical instrumentals. Many of the main themes in Full Metal carry a classical connotation (many using a choir for vocal) that is remniscent of composers popular in turn of the century Europe, while others have a bouncy, pop nature that reflects the happy moments in the anime. Grade: B+. The music isn't necessarily unique, but it has a sort of mass appeal that listeners enjoy. Overall Grade: B+ While the anime can be depressing, it posesses enough charisma to keep viewers enthralled in its magic. As action animes go, it is more on the flashy side with regards to its explotions and transformations, but it keeps the viewer entertained. Though it moves slowly at times, the anime moves fast enough to keep the viewer on their toes. It possesses a number of elements that elicit attention, particularly in relevance to the story line. It's a great anime for fans of other action animes like Rurouni Kenshin and Bleach and for those with an interest in history. There is also a movie that comes after the anime, which helps to wrap up the series (sort of - the attempt to wrap up the loose ends from the series is overshot), along with a few OVAs that explore a different side of the storyline. There is also a second series called Full Metal Alchemist:Brotherhood that is airing right now that more closely follows the plotline of the manga. Happy Watching!

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