Fullmetal Alchemist (anime)

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
120 Hagane no Renkinjutsushi 581.jpg
"Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is Alchemy's First Law of Equivalent Exchange. In those days, we really believed that to be the world's one, and only, truth."
Alphonse Elric, from the first Opening Narration

This page covers the loose 2003 adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist. For tropes related to Hiromu Arakawa's original manga and its direct anime adaptation, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, see Fullmetal Alchemist (manga).

Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric live in a world where alchemy is possible, although governed by the law of Equivalent Exchange ("to obtain, something of equal value must be lost"). As young boys, the Elrics—who showed promise in alchemy at an early age—lost their mother, and in their grief, they attempted to bring her back to life via the forbidden practice of human transmutation. Ed and Al paid a steep price for their hubris: the former lost an arm and a leg (which were replaced with mechanical limbs), while the latter became a soul attached to an empty suit of armor. The Elrics seek to return their bodies to normal by pursuing the Philosopher's Stone, an artifact believed to allow alchemists to perform any form of alchemy (including human transmutation) without the necessary Equivalent Exchange. In order to make real progress in their search, Ed becomes a State Alchemist, working for the government to help solve their problems while he and Al research the Stone's existence. During their adventures, Ed and Al discover startling truths about their world, alchemy, the Philospher's Stone, their own family, and the forces working to manipulate the Elrics' search and lead them towards the Stone (for a much more sinister purpose than what the brothers have in mind).

This show Overtook the Manga about halfway through its run, but rather than running numerous Filler episodes to make up for it, the anime's writers consulted with Hiromu Arakawa to craft a wholly different ending to the story. The approach makes this show is Pragmatic Adaptation, but one made with approval from (and the encouragement of) the original mangaka. A theatrical film -- Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa—resolved a number of plot threads left hanging after this show's conclusion.

Fullmetal Alchemist can be watched in its entirety on Netflix, YouTube and Hulu.


Tropes used in Fullmetal Alchemist (anime) include:
  • Absolute Cleavage: Lust and Izumi
  • Acceptable Breaks From Reality: In Real Life, Fritz Lang looked nothing like King Bradley and is almost 30 years younger at the time, but it hardly takes away from the story.
  • Achilles' Heel: Alphonse, the homunculi.
  • Adaptation Distillation: A good section of the fandom admits this series covers most of the plot points covered by Brotherhood's first thirteen episodes in far better fashion—which, incidentally, explains exactly why Brotherhood rushed past those points in the first place.
  • Adaptation Expansion: The show either worked in or expanded numerous scenes imported from the manga. Episode 13, "Fullmetal vs. Flame", combines two side stories (Ed vs. Roy and Fury finding a home for Hayate), a 4-koma ("MINISKIRTS!!!"), and Ed's search for information regarding Dr. Marcoh.
    • Hughes' also received an expanded character arc, which turned him into a more prominent character prior to his death. His death scene also ended up far longer and more dramatic.
  • Adolf Hitler: Gets a few cameos in The Movie.
  • Adult Swim: One of their biggest anime properties in the mid-2000s, and consequently a major Gateway Series during that time period.
  • Adventure Towns: The Elrics visit some in the early episodes.
  • Aerith and Bob: One of these names does not sound very European: Ed, Al, Roy, Izumi. Can you spot it?
  • Afraid of Needles: Ed
  • Alas, Poor Villain Lust in this version committed many crimes in pursuit of her goal, which in this version was to become human. She was even wise enough to realize that Dante was never going to honor the deal and use the Philosopher's Stone to make her or any of them human, so she decides to try helping Ed and Al by assisting them in taking down the other humonculi. With her help they manage to weaken Sloth, but thanks to Sloth manipulating Al, she escapes and then Wrath arrives and thanks to him being able to use alchemy, uses the same method to drain all the red stone shards from Lust, and then he executes her. Before dying, she relents that maybe one of the reasons she was so desperate to become human was, because she both feared and longed for death, hoping that she might gain a soul which would mean she was free.
  • All Deaths Final: Alchemy cannot revive the dead. Those who try to do so end up making homunculi -- and end up losing at least part of their body as Equivalent Exchange.
    • The only subversion to this rule occurs after Envy kills Ed, since Al -- at this point, a walking Philosopher's Stone -- performs the world's first perfect human transmutation.
  • Aloof Big Brother
  • Alternate Continuity: To the manga.
  • Anachronism Stew: A fleet of giant rocket-powered transport planes... In the Weimar Republic? Stupid Jetpack Hitler!
    • Also appearing in the series at various points (presumably as Easter Eggs): a string of modern real-world flags, not at all early-20th-century-looking comic books, and Snyder's pretzels.
  • Animated Actors: The Chibi Party OVA.
  • Animated Armor: Al, of course. And Barry the Chopper, as well as several others in Lab 5 such as The Slicer Brothers.
  • Animation Bump: The series as a whole is animated quite well, but the larger action scenes and key dramatic moments such as the failed transmutation, the death of Hughes and the discovery of Shou Tucker's chimera and the subsequent confrontation definitely get a boost.
  • Anti-Villain: While many of the villains receive a lot of humanization, Scar ends up so sympathetic that he nearly qualifies as an Anti-Hero toward the end. Lust also become more sympathetic toward the end.
  • Anyone Can Die: Hughes, Nina, Alexander, Scar, and Ed.
  • Asshole Victim Basque Grand, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, Pride, Shou Tucker, Archer, Kimblee, and Dante.
    • Ed and Al themselves have moments where you DO feel sorry for them, but then there are other times where they couldn't have set themselves up for failure any better if they tried, which can lead to seeing them as this.
  • Arch Enemy: Envy to Ed, Pride to Roy, Kimbley to Scar.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Barry to Al. "How do you know your memories are real?"
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Ross to Ed.
  • Art Evolution: The tone darkened over time, and quality of the animation increases. Ed ages considerably over the show, as does Winry.
  • Artificial Human: The homunculi
  • Artificial Limbs: Ed of course being the main example, but many people show up who have them.
  • Ascended Extra: Rose, General Hakuro, Basque Grand, Shou Tucker, Sheska and Marta are all given larger roles in comparison to the manga.
  • The Atoner:
    • Roy
    • Scar over time.
    • Hohenheim.
    • Lust at the very end.
  • A Wizard Did It: The rules of alchemy, the Gate and Amestrian technology are much more vaguely defined in this series compared to the manga and (to a lesser extent) Brotherhood. This, combined with the Gecko Ending and Darker and Edgier approach, constitutes the primary reason for the Broken Base regarding the first series.
  • Ax Crazy: Barry the Chopper. Envy gets like this whenever he loses restraint. Then, of course, there's Zolf J. Kimbley.
  • Badass: Ed, Roy, Izumi, Scar, Envy... A lot of them, really.
  • Badass Bookworm: Every single alchemist. The two main requirements for performing alchemy are knowledge of what we know as chemistry and being in good shape. Shou Tucker and Izumi are the exceptions. Tucker turns up with his torso practically bent backwards on the back of a bear that walks on two legs. Izumi, Incurable Cough of Death aside, can beat Al in a straight fight without alchemy or half of her internal organs, but isn't much of a bookworm.
  • Badass Moustache: King Bradley AKA Pride
  • Bad Guy Bar: The Devils' Nest
  • Bad Samaritan: Homunculi sent into the world to trick unsuspecting alchemists into thinking they're helping, and then tricking them into making Philosopher Stones for them.
  • Bait and Switch Credits: I'm sorry, when did those serpent things show up? Oh right, never.
    • The credits from both seasons also show a number of fight scenes with Edward against Envy, Lust and Gluttony (all at once), which are patently impossible by this point. In fact, while most of the scenes are or can be taken as symbolic, the only scene in either season's credits that even resembles something that happens on-camera is Ed and Scar clashing in the second season's credits—and that scene takes place at night in a ruined city in the credits but in broad daylight in a normal city when it actually happens.
    • Of all the battle scenes depicted in the third and fourth opening and fourth ending sequences, hardly any occur between the characters or in the locations shown.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Envy, Wrath and Winry. The first two are guys.
  • The Baroness: Dante in the series, Eckhart in The Movie.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Subverted. At first it seems like Ed and Winry will go this route, but towards the end it becomes clear that they're Like Brother and Sister.
  • Berserk Button: Don't EVER call Ed short. Or imply it. It hurts his feelings, pisses him off, and may end with you being hospitalized and humiliated. And then you'll be ashamed for being beaten by a shrimp.
    • A more dramatic, one-time example: Ed does not take Tucker's Not So Different speech well.
    • Don't ever insult Winry's skills as an automail mechanic. (Or break it. She'll throw a wrench at your head.)
    • Don't get in the way of Envy killing Hohenheim or make fun of him for it. Just mentioning Hohenheim in front of him will piss him off.
    • If you're a State Alchemist, do not get in Scar's way. This changes after his Character Development, but he will make an exception for Kimbley.
  • Beta Test Baddie: The homunculi
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • Alluded to when Al tells Ed that he'd want bloody revenge should Ed ever be murdered.
    • Tucker, Bradley and Dante, who initially seem like kind and understanding authority figures, turn out to be something much worse.
  • Bicep-Polishing Gesture: Armstrong, constantly.
  • Big Bad: Dante
  • Big Brother Worship: Al towards Ed.
  • Big Eater: Ed, but Gluttony embodies the trope quite literally.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Alexander And later a chimera.
  • Big Good: Hohenheim
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: Al loses his body when he and Ed botch an attempt to revive their mother, creating a villainous duplicate instead, Ed hates his father, Dante is technically the Elrics' Evil Stepmother, another homunculus is one of her former lovers, and two other homunculi are Ed and Al's half brother and Izumi's son.
  • Bishie Sparkle: Armstrong and his entire family.
  • Bittersweet Ending: In the end, Dante is defeated and Amestris is free from her manipulation of the government through King Bradley, but Ed is stuck in the world on the other side of the Gate apart from Al, and Al has lost the memory of his travels with Ed. Hawkeye and Mustang survive and have each other, but Mustang's dream of taking over from Bradley and righting the wrongs of his regime are crushed.
    • The Conqueror of Shamballa fixes some of this, while adding a Bittersweet Ending of its own: Al regains his memories and the brothers are reunited, but choose to strand themselves on Earth to ensure the Gate is sealed forever, and Winry gets left behind again.
  • Body Horror:
    • Human transmutation.
    • The fate of Tucker, his dog, and his daughter.
    • Wrath and his self-transmuting.
  • Body Surf: Dante and Hohenheim.
  • Book Ends: The "Humankind cannot gain" speech is narrated by Al throughout the series to reflect what has been learned over the course of the story.
  • Brains and Brawn: Ed and Al, respectively.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: "WHO DID YOU CALL A SUPER MINI SHRIMP YOU'D NEED A MICROSCOPE TO SEE!?"
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the start of one episode, Roy calls to complain he hasn't appeared on screen for a few episodes.
  • Break the Cutie: Rose, and arguably both of the Elric brothers.
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Maes Hughes is either this or Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • But Now I Must Go: Whenever the Elrics leave an AdventureTown.
  • Call Back: Just like its source material, this series loves its Call Backs. Expect nearly everything that happens in the first half of the series to be referenced at least once at some point in the second, if not sooner.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Ed to Hohenheim.
  • Canon Foreigner: Lyra, Frank Archer, Dante, Wrath, Sloth, many of the single-episode characters (e.g. Majahal and Lujon) and every new character introduced in The Movie.
  • Came Back Wrong: Every single homunculus. And Nina Tucker.
  • Celibate Hero: Ed
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The anime starts out pretty lighthearted but eventually becomes dark. Just when it seems like it's going to get lighthearted again, it goes back to being dark and just gets worse from there until there are little to no comedic moments and it's just a flat-out tragedy.
  • Cheerful Child: Nina and Elicia, although the latter is a lot more subdued after her father's death.
  • Chekhov MIA: Hohenheim
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Lyra, a wind-using alchemist and Yoki's lackey, is a seemingly innocuous addition to the anime's Youswell episode; she later becomes the container for the Big Bad via Grand Theft Me.
  • Child Soldiers: Ed became a "dog of the military" at age 12.
  • City of Canals: Aquroya
  • Classy Cat Burglar: Psiren
  • Code Name: Every state alchemist gets one. It's where the series gets its title.
  • Conspicuous CG: The armor soldiers and airships in The Movie.
  • Cooldown Hug: Ross does this to Ed when he's exposed to red water and gets a power overload.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Mugear
  • Costume Copycat: The Tringham brothers.
  • Creator Cameo: Director Seiji Mizushima makes a blink-or-you'll-miss-it appearance in episode 13; manga author Hiromu Arakawa's bovine self-caricature makes several stealth appearances throughout the series.
  • Creepy Child: Wrath
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Ed and Al are voiced by women in Japanese, but not in English. Envy, however, is voiced by a woman in both versions. It contributes to his/her/its creepiness quite effectively.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Hughes
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Cornello's cult has their clothing based off of Catholic priests.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: Pretty much every battle with the homunculi will result in this unless you have a body part of whomever the Homunculus is a result of from human transmutation.
  • Culture Chop Suey: At least one scene has Ed eating rice out of bowls with chopsticks in what is otherwise a setting based on early twentieth century Europe.
    • They tend to sit and bow in a Japanese manner, despite being European. You can see Japanese flags in early episodes, despite Japan being nonexistent and especially not the modern flags.
    • In one episode, Breda is playing shogi with several of Mustang's men, explaining that it's a game from "a country in the east". So yes, the Fullmetal Alchemist world does have a Wutai (which presumably is where Izumi hails from).
  • Cursed with Awesome:
    • Edward's automail
    • Scar's arm
    • The homunculi, who are practically immortal and possess amazing superpowers, yet bitterly resent their existence and supernatural forms.
  • Cute Kitten: The episode "Fullmetal VS Flame" features them.
  • Cut Song: "Melissa" (the first opening song) and "Undo" (the third) were unused in the North American airings of the series; "Ready Steady Go" (the second opening) replaced them instead, with the opening finally changing once "Rewrite" (the fourth) comes along in the final stretch of the series.
  • Damsel in Distress: Rose
  • Darker and Edgier: The series as a whole compared to the manga and Brotherhood.
  • Death by Adaptation:
    • Yoki, Scar, Doctor Marcoh, Selim Bradley and Izumi Curtis all die, but live in the manga.
    • Inversely, Shou Tucker dies in the manga, but lives in this. If you can call it that.
  • Demoted to Extra: Selim Bradley, who becomes a major character in the manga, appears in only a few scenes and has a completely different identity in this.
  • Death Course: Played for laughs (also as a Shout-Out to Raiders of the Lost Ark) when Ed sets off a series of traps in Lab 5.
  • Death Is Cheap: Very much subverted.
  • Death Seeker: Hohenheim shows shades of this.
  • Depending on the Writer: Some of the episodes written and/or directed by staff outside of the core team have odd visual/setting/plot/tonal inconsistencies. The most Egregious example is likely episode 10, which feels like it belongs to a different show altogether.
  • Determinator: Ed
  • Did Not Do the Research: The Movie provides an interesting case, because the writers released a booklet detailing the fact that they had done quite a bit of research. But they obviously chose to take creative liberties anyway for the sake of the plot.
  • Disappeared Dad: Hohenheim
  • Disconnected by Death: Hughes
  • Distant Finale: The (non-canon) Kids OVA shows Ed in 2005 in our world, having just turned 100 years old.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Obvious allusions to Nazism, Catholicism, imperialism in the Middle East, and to colonialism tout court. Ishbalans even offer striking parallels with Native North Americans. The Ishbalans were originally based on the Ainu, but also seemed to have allusions to the Middle East and Islam (Ishbalans are monotheists and have similar beliefs). Odds are that they were based on several different Truth in Television parallels. Despite the similarity of certain Amestrian religions to Christianity, it is mentioned that Christianity ceased to be practiced in Amestris several centuries ago, presumably around when alchemy first became successful, causing the split between their timeline and that of the world on the other side of the gate--that is, early-20th-century Europe.
  • Driven to Suicide: Mustang almost went there.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Izumi dies offscreen between the end of the show and the start of The Movie.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady:
    • Envy, who looks almost perfectly female (and has a female, albeit androgynous-sounding, voice actress) save for his lack of breasts. His outfit doesn't help matters.
    • Barry the Chopper when he was human.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Barry the Chopper (is dealt with by the Elrics in the flesh well before they encounter him as a possessed armor at Lab 5), and Lyra (shows up as Yoki's lackey in Youswell and later becomes Dante's servant...and body).
    • Easier to miss: Izumi and Sig can be spotted with their backs to the camera at a train station in an early episode, Frank Archer can first be seen as one of many soldiers at Hughes' funeral, and Envy's dragon form and Haushofer show up in the final episode before going on to play larger roles in The Movie.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: For the first dozen episodes or so, the writers don't all seem to be on the same page regarding the laws of alchemy and particulars of Amestris, leading to such oddities as alchemy being used on remote targets, Ed knocking Al into a river without concern for his blood seal, signs appearing in Japanese, a reference to alchemy use causing physical exhaustion that is never mentioned again, and Ed transmuting flowers out of snow. One particular error in the broadcast version, wherein Ed discovers he can use alchemy without a transmutation circle by punching his fist, was even modified for the DVD release (to a shot of Ed clasping his palms together).
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: In the last episode, Hohenheim tells Ed that this is what he and his brother have been doing all along.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Used to take down Cornello.
  • Epilogue Letter: Sheska to Winry.
  • Episode Title Card
  • Equivalent Exchange: The foundation of alchemy.
  • Esoteric Motifs: All the homunculi have Ouroboros tattoos.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When Dante erases Gluttony's mind, turning him into a creature of pure hunger, even Envy looks a little bit horrified.
  • Everyone Loves Blondes: Winry for Ed and Roy for Hawkeye.
  • Evil Eye: King Bradley/Pride
  • Evil Mentor: Dante, the elderly pharmacist introduced as Izumi's alchemy teacher, turns out to be the Big Bad.
  • Expy: The police inspector in Episode 10 is an obvious Shout-Out to Inspector Zenigata of Lupin III. Long gray coat, long bearded face, old-fashioned hat, preference for handcuffs - Ed even calls him "Ossan" in Japanese.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Gluttony
  • Eyepatch of Power: King Bradley
  • Eyes Always Shut: Falman
  • Eye Scream: In the finale, Hawkeye arrives too late to protect Mustang from Archer. He doesn't die, but he was shot in the eye.
  • Fake Memories: Barry the Chopper suggests to Al that his memories aren't real, that Ed created him himself, and that Alphonse Elric never existed.
  • Fan Nickname: Hoho and Hohopapa for Hohenheim and Scarbro for Scar's brother.
  • Fan Service:
    • Psiren, Lust, and Winry's skimpy outfits
    • Ed and Armstrong's constant shirtlessness.
    • Izumi's revealing attire.
  • Fatal Family Photo: Hughes' death, where Envy uses the photograph to morph into his wife.
  • Femme Fatale: Lust is practically the archetype of this.
  • Femme Fatalons/Wolverine Claws: Lust again.
  • Foreshadowing: In regards to the manga version. Example 1: Mustang's defeat of Pride in the final episode has a lot in common with his defeat of Lust in the manga (both homunculi impale him with their respective weapons during the battle, and both are ultimately killed by Mustang burning them with his bare hands until their regenerative abilities are exhausted. Example 2: At the end of the anime, Mustang loses an eye. In the manga, he goes completely BLIND. Example 3: Hawkeye emotionally shoots Archer to death after thinking Roy is dead. She does the same in the manga to Lust, but it doesn't work in the latter case.
  • Functional Magic: Alchemy
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Winry
  • Gecko Ending: It diverges from the manga in many aspects, some from the very beginning, and divorces from the source entirely about halfway through.
    • This isn't frequently recognized, but plot points from the manga continue to show up in the anime right up until the last few episodes, the final definitive points they have in common being Ed and Al meeting Hohenheim in Risembool and Ed exhuming his mother's grave. The context of these points is merely altered more significantly in the second half of the series than the first.
  • General Ripper: Frank Archer
  • Genius Ditz: Sheska
  • Gentle Giant: Al and Armstrong
  • Geometric Magic: Again, alchemy
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The anime in general is quite dark and violent for a Shonen series, but more specifically some of the later episodes sneak in some rather heavy sexual innuendo, such as Hawkeye's dream in episode 37 (wherein the dub is only too happy to play up the suggestive subtext), and later more seriously in the form of the not-so-subtle implication that Rose was raped and impregnated by Amestrian soldiers during the rebellion in Liore.
    • As an aside: During the series' run on Adult Swim, the final episode (and only the final episode) aired with a special disclaimer warning of "extreme violence". The episode in question is not significantly gorier than many previous ones (such as one, for example, in which a character appears to have their throat slit quite graphically onscreen, which was aired unedited and with no disclaimer); the reason for the additional disclaimer is suspected to be the scene in which Bradley throttles his own son to death.
  • Glasses Girl: Sheska
  • Good-Looking Privates: Most of the military characters.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars:
    • For Scar it's not just an Incredibly Lame Pun; that's how he actually got his name.
    • King Bradley/Pride.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: How the Elrics got in their current condition.
  • Government Conspiracy: The homunculi have infiltrated the upper echelons of government in order to conduct large-scale experiments and incite conflicts in the hope of obtaining more and better Philosopher's Stones for Dante. They even caused the Ishbalan war.
  • Grand Theft Me: Dante. Hohenheim used to do this, but apparently stopped after meeting Trisha Elric and having kids.
  • Green Rocks: Red rocks, actually: the red stones. Their abilities include healing injuries, amplifying alchemical power (temporarily bypassing equivalent exchange, though not without the risk of a rebound), and giving the homunculi extra "lives".
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Armstrong and Sig Curtis have a "flex off" in the episode Assault on South Headquarters.
  • Hannibal Lecture:
    • The homunculi positively love doing this.
    • Shou Tucker gives one to Edward, leading to Shut UP, Hannibal.
  • Healing Factor: The homunculi
  • The Heartless: Dante
  • The Heavy: Envy is this on a personal level due to his hounding of the protagonists, while Pride turns out to be this on a more national level. The actual Big Bad is more The Man Behind the Man.
  • Hellish Pupils: The homunculi
  • Hermetic Magic: Yet again, alchemy.
  • Heroic BSOD: "Edward, my friend..." Ed does not react well.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: More than once.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: Scar went from a victim of genocide by alchemy to hunting down and killing every state alchemist he could find; with alchemy. He eventually becomes aware of this.
    • ...which does not stop him from murdering 7,000 Amestrian infantrymen as his dying act.
  • He Will Not Cry, So I Cry for Him: Ed irritably asks Winry "What are you crying for?" after she admits to having opened his pocket watch. She replies "Because you won't, neither of you will! So now I'm crying for you both!"
  • Hidden Villain
  • Historical Hilarity: Fritz Lang shows up in The Movie and acts as a genial comic relief mentor to Ed. He correctly guesses that Ed is not a native of Earth and discusses the subject of parallel words with him at one point, wondering what his otherworldly double would be like. Ed gives him a sideways look but doesn't let on his counterpart is a genocidal war criminal dictator: King Bradley aka Pride. Makes sense, given that Lang was Jewish and his counterpart is basically the alternate universe version of Adolf Hitler.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Dante, in trying to get Gluttony to get over Lust and help make the Philosopher's Stone. She transmutes away all his reason, turning him into a mindless monster. When the Elrics ruin her plan to create the stone and she tries to escape, Gluttony eats through the floor of the elevator she's on and goes after her despite her trying to reason with him.
    • Also when Bradley reveals his most treasured possession (the skull of the man Dante created him from) to his son Selim, imparting its importance, but not its meaning on the boy. Selim later rescues it from the family safe and brings it to his father during Roy's attack on the Fuhrer's mansion. Bradley freezes up in the presence of the skull and loses his regenerative capabilities, allowing Roy to immolate him.
    • Mugear. He tried to get red stones processed so they could be used as alchemic modifiers and killed Nash Tringham when he objected. He's killed in a cave-in after the mining of the red stones causes the cave to collapse.
  • Housewife: And God knows Izumi won't let you forget it!
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Sig and Izumi. She is of average size, but Sig makes up for it by being utterly enormous.
  • Iconic Item: Ed's watch, red coat and armblade, Roy's gloves, and Al's armor.
  • I Choose to Stay in The Movie.
  • Identical Grandson: The (non-canon) Kids OVA gives use Ed's three great-great-grandchildren, who are identical to Edward, Alphonse, and even Winry.
  • Identical Stranger:
    • The Earth versions of several Amestristan characters: Fritz Lang (King Bradley), Maes and Gracia Hughes, Alfons Heidrich (Alphonse Elric), and the two gypsies driving the truck that pick Ed and Al up at the end of the movie (Scar and Lust).
    • Heidrich's coworkers are human versions of Greed's chimeras, and one of them bears a strong resemblance to Yoki.
  • Idiot Hair: Edward
  • If You Can Read This...: Any book on alchemy shown onscreen is copied from Dungeons & Dragons player's manuals on alchemy. Evidently, Amestris runs on a D20 system.
    • On the other hand, the letter Ed is writing to Winry in episode 7 actually does consist of him boastfully describing his exploits in the State Alchemy Exam (albeit in slightly questionable English) and reveals quite a bit about his character at that point in the story.
  • Image Song: In order; Ed, Roy, Al, Winry, Hughes. There's also a few group songs, two with all five.
  • Immortality Immorality: Hohenheim and Dante.
  • Immune to Bullets: Lampshaded.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Edward towards the end.
    • This is how Ed unintentionally kills Greed.
  • Implacable Man: All the homunculi.
  • Imposter Forgot One Detail: Pointed out to Envy by Hughes when the former is trying to imitate Maria Ross. Hughes is able to realize she is fake because Envy's version of Ross does not have a mole underneath her right eye.
  • Improbable Age: Edward becomes a state alchemist at twelve.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Riza Hawkeye. She earns her name.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Trisha, Izumi Curtis, and Alfons Heidrich in The Movie.
  • Instant Runes: Sometimes averted, sometimes played straight.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Marcoh talked Roy out of shooting himself.
  • It Gets Easier: Ed breaks down crying and does a How Dare You Die on Me! after killing Greed, but kills Sloth, who looks like his mother, with cold precision.
  • It Got Worse:
    • The poor Elric brothers...
    • Poor Rose, too.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Pinako, apparently, was pretty hot back in the day.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Edward, Roy, Izumi, and Greed.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Psiren
  • Just Between You and Me: Causes Cornello's downfall in an Engineered Public Confession.
  • Just Friends: Ed pulls this off with three different women: Winry, Rose, and Noa.
  • Just Like Robin Hood: Catburglar (and local celebrity) Psiren.
  • Karma Houdini: General Hakuro. You can infer what happened to him after the fall of the dictatorship, but we're never shown what happened to him.
    • Shou Tucker as well. He turns himself into a chimera and loses whatever sanity he may have had, but doesn't get any punishment past that.
  • Kill It with Fire: Roy Mustang, codenamed the Flame Alchemist. Go on, guess what he does with his alchemy.
  • Killed Off for Real: [[spoiler:Trisha (illness), Cornello (eaten by Gluttony), Majahal (fell on his own sword), Nina (via Scar), Basque Grand (via Scar), Mugear (cave-in), the younger Slicer Brother (suicide), the older Slicer Brother (seal destroyed by Lust), Marcoh (eaten by Gluttony), Yoki (stabbed by Lust), Barry the Chopper (via Scar), Maes Hughes (shot by Envy), Law and Dorochete (killed by Lust and Gluttony), Lujon (stabbed by Lust), Lyra (body taken over by Dante, eviscerated by her in her body), Greed (impaled by Ed), Marta (impaled by Pride), Kimbley (via Scar), Scar (gunshot wounds), Lust (stabbed by Wrath), Sloth (evaporated by Ed), Selim (strangled to death by Pride), Pride (burned by Mustang), Archer (gunshot wounds from Hawkeye), Izumi (succumbed to illness), Wrath (sacrificed by Al), Gluttony (sacrificed by Al), Envy (sacrificed), Hohenheim (suicide), Heidrich (shot by Rudolf Hess), and Eckhart (shot by a Hughes Expy) in the movie.
  • Kill the Cutie: Poor Nina Tucker.
  • Kindhearted Cat Lover: Al, perhaps a bit too much...
  • Knife Nut: Hughes
  • Knight Templar: Frank Archer. To him, using humans as guinea pigs and massacring entire towns are completely justified if it's for the good of the nation/military.
  • Kryptonite Factor: The homunculi become vulnerable when they come into close proximity to the body of the human of whom they are a Shadow Archetype.
  • Large Ham:
    • Armstrong
    • "I LOVE DOGS!!!" and "All female officers will be required to wear...TINY MINISKIRTS!" Travis Willingham refers to this incarnation of Mustang as "Armstang" - a mix of Mustang and Armstrong (a role he also auditioned for but didn't get).
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Perhaps a case of Sidewinder Karma - Wrath kills Lust, the only person the manchild-like Gluttony ever cared for. Then Dante inadvertently turns Gluttony into a mindless monster and he gets trapped in the sunken city beneath Central, supposedly never to be seen again. Between the end of the series and The Movie, Wrath pulls a Heel Face Turn and helps Al to get back to the last place The Gate was seen: the sunken city. Upon their arrival, they're attacked by a monstrous and mutated Gluttony, who's out to kill Wrath for what he did to Lust. Gluttony inflicts a mortal wound on Wrath, but that was Wrath's plan all along. While Gluttony munches on Wrath like a chew toy, Al transmutes both of them to summon the Gate, and Wrath freely accepts his fate.
  • Life Energy:
  • A Light in the Distance: Edward and Alphonse's mother, Trisha Elric, would light a lantern to use in order to help guide her sons home.
  • Love Makes You Crazy: Majahal
  • Loss of Identity: To an extent, the homunculi.
  • Lower Deck Episode: "Flame Alchemist", in which the Elrics do not appear and Mustang and his crew take the spotlight.
  • Made of Iron: Al, in a quite literal sense.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: This trope lies at the very core of the show and of its reveals.
  • Magic From Technology: Alchemy is used as an explanation for the Steampunk setting.
  • Manly Tears: Armstrong does it a lot. Ed and Roy to a lesser extent.
  • Marth Debuted in Smash Bros: Quasi-example: the Licensed Game, Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel, was released in the US just two and a half months after the anime's Adult Swim premiere, but was localized before the dubbing of the anime began; thus, all of the US voice actors were cast for and recorded the game before starting on the first episode.
  • Martial Pacifist: Scar's master.
  • Meaningful Funeral: Hughes
  • Meaningful Name: The Fuhrer is named King Bradley although in his case it's justified. There's also sharpshooter Riza Hawkeye and, on a subtler level, Roy (Roi means "king" in French. Guess who wants to replace King as Fuhrer?). Scieska is Polish for 'path', and she is a living path to lost documents.
  • Meganekko: Sheska
  • Mercy Kill: Scar does this to Nina and Alexander.
  • Miniature Senior Citizens: Pinako.
  • Minor Crime Reveals Major Plot: Whether we're talking about the Elric Brothers' human transmutation attempt to revive their mother or Maes Hughes getting killed because He Knows Too Much, we end up coming into some horrifying revelations not only about the power in Amestris being secretly controlled by a body-snatching bitch and her set of homunculi created from such attempts at bringing loved ones Back from the Dead as Ed and Al's own mother, but also about the very nature of alchemy in itself being Powered by a Forsaken Child.
  • Mister Exposition: Fritz Lang in The Movie.
  • Mood Whiplash: This is more common early in the series. Later, things become much more consistently unfunny.
  • The Movie: The Conqueror of Shamballa. It wrapped up some of the anime's loose ends.
  • Mistaken Identity: Al is almost always mistaken for Ed by someone they are meeting for the first time due to Ed's code word and Al's appearance.
  • Mysterious Parent: Hohenheim
  • Mythology Gag: Ling Yao and Xiao-Mei appeared in cameos.
    • Hiromu Arakawa's self-caricatures (in which she depicts herself as a cartoon cow) make cameo appearances in a couple of late episodes.
  • The Napoleon: Ed, and he is not happy about it. He does get visibly taller over the course of the series, and in the The Movie, he's only slightly shorter than average-sized characters.
  • Necromantic: Trying to bring back the dead with alchemy is a bad idea.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Scar's arm, on occasion. It's initially introduced as simply having the power to deconstruct matter. However, it also has a number of other functions, including a scene where it levitates the letters off of Marcoh's encoded notes, decodes the information, and feeds it into Scar's brain Granted, it is revealed that it is sort of an incomplete Philospher's Stone, so it's more complicated than Manga!Scar's arm, but still.
    • The homunculi a couple of times.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The first half of the series is all about Ed and Al unwittingly doing the legwork for Dante and the homunculi, the second half is about them trying to undo all the damage. Examples include creating Sloth; overthrowing Cornello and causing a civil war in Lior; shitcanning Yoki, which leads to Lyra going to work for Dante; encouraging Hughes to look into Lab 5/the homunculi; accidentally setting Greed free; finding Dr. Marcoh and exposing him to the homunculi; finding Wrath and letting the homunculi get their hands on him; ect.
  • Nietzsche Wannabe: Kimbley, Envy and Dante.
  • Nigh Invulnerability: Homunculi are not impervious to damage anymore than a normal human is, but can regenerate it right away. (Though the rate of regeneration seems to vary between them, e.g. Pride is able to regenerate almost instanteneously, while Wrath's regenerative abilities seem considerably less developed, and Lust falls somewhere in between.) They don't have great armor, just tons and tons of Hit Points, with the specific exception of Greed, whose special trick is turning his body into super-armor.
  • No Name Given: Scar and his brother.
  • No Fourth Wall: One of the OVAs casts the audience as a new alchemist.
  • Nosebleed: "When I become Fuhrer, all female officers will be required to wear...TINY MINISKIRTS!"
  • Not So Different: This happens often throughout the first part of the series. In order: Cornello, Majhal, Bald, Tucker, Barry the Chopper, and Psiren. Ed eventually lampshades this. Wrath also invokes this trope a few times, gleefully pointing out how he wound up with Ed's sacrificed arm and leg and how Izumi more or less took him (and Al) on as surrogate sons and Replacement Goldfishes for Wrath--her actual son.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Hughes
  • Ocular Gushers: Al, despite not having any tear ducts. Also Armstrong whenever he sheds his Manly Tears.
  • Oedipus Complex: Ed, but Envy even more so. Wrath has his parental issues too, but they're directed more at his mother, Izumi.
  • Older Than They Look: Marta looks like she's in her 20s, but is actually old enough to be Ed and Al's mom.
  • "On the Next..."
  • Opening Narration: There are two different ones; the first is by Alphonse, the second is by Edward (in the dub at least, Al did the second narration originally).
  • Over Enthusiastic Parents: Hughes, so much.
  • Overprotective Dad: Hughes
  • Overtook the Manga: A somewhat unusual case, in which the creator of the manga specifically asked the people making the anime to do this, since the manga was nowhere near being completed at the time the anime came out.
  • Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette: Lust and Wrath
  • Path of Inspiration: Cornello's cult.
  • Parental Abandonment: Poor Elric brothers.
  • Phlebotinum Breakdown: If you don't know your stuff, alchemic reactions can backfire on you pretty spectacularly. Even if you do know your stuff, alchemic reactions can backfire on you pretty spectacularly. As ANYONE who committed taboo can attest...
    • Roy Mustang forgets he can't make fire in the rain when he first encounters Scar, and another character has to jump in with pistols to save him.
  • Pinocchio Syndrome: The homunculi. Lust in particular.
  • Playing with Fire: Roy Mustang, code-named "Flame Alchemist".
  • Plot Based Photograph Obfuscation: Hohenheim's face is obscured on the only family picture the Elric's have.
  • Post Episode Trailer
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: Used as The Reveal no less than three different times.
  • The Power of Blood: Used in Ed and Al's attempt to bring their mother back.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: In spite of being really different from the manga, the anime has still received critical acclaim.
  • Prisoner of Zenda Exit: Greed is cornered by Envy and Sloth, and, declaring that he wouldn't be stupid enough to fight two homunculi at once, jumps to a convenient boat below carrying his minions.
  • Product Placement: In episode 26, there's a blink-and-you'll miss it appearance of... Snyder's of Hanover. Yes, the pretzel company. Apparently Amestris has very modern snack foods.
  • Psycho for Hire: Kimbley and Barry the Chopper
  • Psychopathic Manchild: Gluttony
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The old chestnut, the first movement of Beethoven's Fifth, is used to surprisingly great effect for The Reveal of what's on the other side of the gate. It really gives you the feeling that you've suddenly been transported from the fantastic world of the anime to the "real" one.
    • Chopin's "Tristesse" shows up in the denouement of the final episode.
  • Puss in Boots: Hughes and Hawkeye
  • Putting on the Reich: King Bradley
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: Greed's minions
  • Rape as Drama: Rose's rape turns her into a near-catatonic mute.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Hohenheim, Dante, and most of the homunculi.
  • Reality Subtext: Vic Mignogna is quite religious in real life, which makes the fact that he plays Edward amusingly ironic.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Scar, Lust, and Wrath
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: All Ishbalans have red eyes, but it's really subverted. At first this seems to be played straight with Scar, but Ed later realizes that being scared of Scar's red eyes was a racist reflex. More fitting into the trope, the homunculi have purple eyes.
  • Replacement Goldfish:
    • The homunculi. Wrath and Sloth are a particularly poignant example, as they were made as Replacement Goldfish, and then adopted each other as replacement goldfish for their creators. The real kicker is that their creators then adopted each other as replacement goldfish.
    • Earlier, Barry attempted to convince Al that he is one of these, created by Ed.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: Black Hayate
  • Sand in My Eyes: Or rather, "It's raining."
  • Save Both Worlds: In The Movie. From Nazis.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Shou Tucker
  • Schizo-Tech: The world mixes 1920s tech with alchemy and cybernetic limbs.
    • And full-body prosthetics.
    • Clothing and morals are also modern.
  • Schrodingers Cat:
    • Tucker, who died after one appearance in the manga but has a larger role here.
    • Also Selim Bradley, who's killed in the anime, but has a significant role in the manga as Pride.
  • Screwed by the Network: Not really screwed, per se, but despite still owning the rights to it, Adult Swim has not aired the series since Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood premiered.
  • Serial Killer: Barry the Chopper, the Slicer brothers, and Scar.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: The homunculi
  • Shadow Archetype: The homunculi are largely the "shadow" of the deceased person whose human transmutation backfired.
    • Several characters have other characters who parallel or mirror them in some form. Examples include:
      • Tucker to Edward
      • Dante to Edward
      • Scar to Alphonse
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Envy loves this tactic, but it's subverted hilariously when Envy takes Roy's form against Edward. "I don't think you could've picked an easier target!"
  • Shiny Midnight Black: Lust, Wrath, and Pride's hair.
  • Ship Sinking: EdWin, EdRose and pretty much every major Ed-ship was sank in the anime when Ed and Al go to the alternate dimension forever.
  • Shirtless Scene: Armstrong is a mobile Shirtless Scene. Ed has a tendency to tear his shirt in order to show off his arm.
  • Shooting Superman: Note to train hijackers - shooting Al won't help, all that happens is the bullets will ricochet off him and hit you.
  • The Short Guy with Glasses: Fuery
  • Shorttank: Winry
  • Shown Their Work: Conqueror of Shamballa is a fairly accurate portrayal of the political climate in 1920s Germany. Although there were some obvious deviations from the actual history, they were clearly intentional.
  • Shout-Out: The Gate heavily resembles "The Gate of Hell" sculpture minus some the Biblical figures.
    • The two Protagonists' last name is Elric
    • The first scene of the fourth opening animation is likely a visual homage to a similar scene Fritz Lang's Metropolis.
    • When Ed goes into Laboratory 5, he trips a number of traps just like the ones in Indiana Jones. There's even a giant boulder!
  • Shut UP, Hannibal: Ed gives one to Shou Tucker.
  • Sickeningly Sweethearts: Hughes for his daughter. They even have an Image Song together! How much cuter do you get than that?!
  • Silent Credits: Right after Hughes' Meaningful Funeral.
  • Slasher Smile: Envy, Wrath, and Kimbley do this a lot.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: This series is on the cynical end of the aisle, whereas the manga is more idealistic.
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Kimbley used to be the second type during the Ishbalan war.
  • Spell My Name with an "S":
    • Noa/Noah
    • Solf/Zolf/Zolf J. Kimbley/Kimbly
    • Scieszka/Sheska/Scieska
    • In some cases, the subtitles and liner notes for the same DVD spell the same name differently.
  • Spot the Imposter: "The Other Brothers Elric".
  • Steampunk
  • The Stoic: Hawkeye
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: Pretty much the plot of Conquerer of Shamballa. Hitler only has a minor cameo in the story, and it's actually his backers, the occultist Thule Society, that are responsible for the crazy plot.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Hawkeye and Sloth
  • Supporting Leader: Roy
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Lust's theme is one of "Clair de Lune".
  • Thanatos Gambit: When Greed realizes that he's going to die anyway, he provokes Ed (who had never killed anyone up to this point) into killing him. As he's dying, he reveals the Kryptonite Factor of a homunculus so that Ed will be able to take out the other homunculi.
  • Theme Naming: Most of the military characters are named after weapons, vehicles, and companies from around World War II. The homunculi, meanwhile, are named after the seven deadly sins, and their master Dante is named after Dante Alighieri, author of The Divine Comedy.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Envy towards Hoenheim.
  • Thirteen Is Unlucky: Warehouse 13 is fodder for a ghost hunt episode. It actually turns out to be Warehouse B, and Mustang's men are just a bunch of panicky idiots.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: In The Movie. Taken to disturbing levels by Earth's Hughes, who's simultaneously a comic relief character and a Nazi supporter.
  • Title Sequence Replacement: The Adult Swim run used only two of the series' four Title Sequences.
  • Together in Death: Wrath and Izumi in The Movie.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: Al, once Barry screws with his mind.
  • Transformation of the Possessed: Dante’s physical deterioration although with Empty Shells instead of hosts.
  • Transgender: Being a shapeshifter, Envy can change his gender at will.
  • Trapped in Another World: What happens to Ed in the end. An even bigger twist? It's a version of our world.
  • Trickster: The homunculi, to a certain extent.
  • Tsundere: Winry and Izumi. Ed can sometimes be viewed as a male example.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Conqueror of Shamballa ends with Ed and Al never being able to return to Amestris again.
  • Vain Sorceress: Dante
  • Villain Episode: "Reunion of the Fallen", which is damn depressing to boot.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Quite a few of them.
    • Envy flies into a homicidal rage after Dante sends Hohenheim through the Gate, depriving him of the chance to kill him.
    • Wrath flips out after Edward kills his "mother", Sloth (with his help, no less). Gluttony falls into a depression when Ed tells him Wrath killed Lust.
    • In The Movie, Eckhart just loses it all together once she crosses over to Amestris and has her paranoid delusions "confirmed".
    • Dante has one after the final confrontation while trying to flee the scene. She rants angrily about how the Elrics have squandered the Philosopher's Stone, knowing full well that she most likely won't have enough time to create a new one before her current body rots away. To her credit, though, she manages to restrain herself well, even when a mindless Gluttony decides to pop in for a visit...
    • Pride gets into a rage after his adopted son, Selim, brings his remains to him when he was fighting Roy. He proceeds to strangle him, and breaks his neck.
  • Villainy Discretion Shot: During the several centuries he lived with his lover Dante, Hohenheim joined her in killing people and stealing their bodies in order to remain young. He did repent, though, and planned on dying of old age in his current body.
  • Villainous Crossdresser: Barry the Chopper in his first appearance. It's really creepy. Also played with with Envy.
  • Walking Spoiler: The Big Bad.
  • Wasted Song: The ending themes were further truncated in the American broadcast.
  • Welcome to The Real World
  • Wham! Episode:
    • Hughes' death.
    • Episode 7, "Night of the Chimera's Cry".
    • The Reveal that Pride is King Bradley. Holy crap.
    • The Reveal as to exactly what a Philosopher's Stone is comprised of.
    • Episode 50, simply because Ed DIES. So far in this anime, anyone who has died stays dead, period. So when Ed gets stabbed by Envy, a lot of people thought he was really dead.
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Apparently being a chemistry geek gives you the power of immense badassery more often than not. Well, since this "chemistry" involves remaking the world around you pretty much at a whim, it makes sense that most alchemists would turn out to be Badass Bookworms. Also, it's mentioned at one point that you must be physically fit to use alchemy, so alchemists need to stay in shape to remain effective. Al and Ed practice martial arts for that purpose, which is why they're reasonably Badass even before they join the military. As for the other alchemists we see, well, most of them are soldiers...
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Homunculi and chimeras.
  • Wig, Dress, Accent: Ed changes the color of his hair and wears platform shoes at one point in the series.
  • Wrench Wench: Winry
  • Xanatos Roulette: Dante's plan.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Ed and Al do it on purpose; It Got Worse for Ed, and Al later joins him. Willingly.
  • Zeppelins from Another World: Literally. At the end of the anime, they're Ed's cue that he's not in Amestris anymore. He's in London during World War I.