Fullmetal Alchemist. Manga series written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa and known as "The Steel Alchemist", "Full Metal Alchemist", "FMA" or "Hagaren", short for Japanese). His first anime adaptation was directed by Seiji Mizushima and the second by Yasuhiro Irie. It was published in August 2001 until it ended in June 2010.
It aired from October 4, 2003 to October 2, 2004 in Japan. From November 6, 2004, until March 18, 2006, a full English-speaking version of Fullmetal Alchemist was broadcast in Canada and the United States. Meanwhile for Latin America, Fullmetal Alchemist dubbed in Venezuela and is broadcast by Animax and Sony Spin. The anime abides by the basic plot and idea of Arakawa's manga, through to the middle of the work. Later on we can see that the Fullmetal Alchemist anime has parted its own way far from the manga.
The story centers on the brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric, who live in a small town in a fictional country called Amestris, who want to restore their bodies through the Philosopher's Stone after a failed attempt to resuscitate their mother through alchemy, who dies of a terminal illness, leaving the brothers alone.
This was most definitely a failed attempt if you ask me given that its cost was that of Alphonse losing his body, completely. Not only this, but Edward left leg completely in the same event. Edward attempted desperately to help his brother. His intention was to keep him on Earth, living, and in order to do so, Edward willingly sacrificed his right arm in exchange for Alphonse's soul. This was the only possible option. Edward is forced to attach Al's soul to an armor. The next rushed Ed's body to Automail Rockbell, a company run by close friends of the Elric. It was in that company that Edward's severed limbs were replaced by something that goes by the name of "Automail" (metal prostheses that are meant to act and behave as if they were actually part of a human body, and these were attached to the body by the means of atrocious surgical procedures and a complex process of physical rehab).
After a year, the brothers burn their house so that they can never go back on the path they have chosen (a wandering life until they can recover their original bodies). Roy Mustang convinces Edward to take the "State Alchemist" exam. As a State alchemist, the first duty is to the military or Fuehrer, which is why State alchemists are commonly known as "military dogs." To aid his research, Ed took the State Alchemy exam, and went on to become a state alchemist. The most important aspect is that Ed can perform Alchemy without the need for a transmutation circle. It was at this point where Ed could actually have access to the investigation far beyond the reach of the majority of the civilian population. He was given a pocket watch with the ability of amplifying the alchemy powers. Later on, Ed comes to discover that, actually, "Steel Alchemist" is actually his State Alchemist name.
Aspects of the series
The series takes place in a fictional universe with a steampunk style, similar to the one after the European Industrial Revolution, where alchemy is one of the most advanced scientific techniques known to man, but not all characters are capable of using it, since that it takes a certain kind of skill to learn to master its properties. In the manga and the second anime series, the inhabitants of Xing use a type of alchemy called "alkahestry," which focuses on wound healing. Also, the characters in the series are divided into different races: the majority of these races are human beings, who have been mutated through alchemy.
In "Fullmetal Alchemist" the most notorious races, in addition to humans, are Homunculi, a group of creatures with a human appearance that have the ability to regenerate from any wound due to possessing false fragments of the Philosopher's Stone; and the Chimeras beings made mixing two or more living people of different genetic structures with an animal through alchemy.
• Ed Elric, is the youngest state alchemist
• Edward Elric: Known as "Alchemist of Steel". He is the youngest state alchemist in the series' history, as well as being the protagonist.
• Alphonse Elric: Edward's younger brother and next to him looks for the philosopher's stone in the hope of recovering their bodies.
• Roy Mustang: Known as the "Fire Alchemist". He holds the rank of Colonel in the State Armed Forces, although at the beginning of the series, when he first meets Edward and Alphonse, he was Lieutenant Colonel.
• Winry Rockbell: Childhood friend of the Elric brothers. Winry is an Automail mechanic and usually repairs Edward's mechanical limbs when Edward breaks them.
Reception of the series
Both anime and manga have been highly successful in and outside of Japan. In a ranking published by TV Asahi on the hundred most popular anime of 2006, Fullmetal Alchemist reached first place. In 2009, Fullmetal Alchemist was the fourth best-selling manga in its home country. Also, the series has won several awards, such as the Anime Grand Prix in the best anime category, the American Anime Award in five different categories, and the Shōgakukan in the shōnen category, although this time it was tied with the Yakitate !! Japan series.
The first volume of the series' light novel, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Land of Sand, was praised by the “Ain't It Cool News” reviewer, who commented that while it contained nothing new for the series, it was interesting enough to that the followers of the series could enjoy it. The reviewer viewed the volume as "a work for young readers to be aware of some obscure aspects of politics, economics, and human nature." Charles Solomon of the Los Angeles Times pointed out that the novel has a different approach than the anime series, since with the volume The Land of Sand the Elric brothers manage to "create a stronger and more sympathetic bond between them".