Fullmetal Alchemist (manga)/Tropes A-F

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Tropes for the Fullmetal Alchemist manga and Brotherhood

Entries A-F


  • Abhorrent Admirer: Barry the Chopper, to Riza.
  • The Abridged Series: FMA Bridged, which can be found here.
    • There's also the currently inactive - FMA the Abridged made by Fullmetal Force, which can be found here here
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Wrath's swords, shown to slice through a tank, bullets, artillery shells, and glass bottles. Also Lust's absurdly sharp nails, which have given her the nickname The Ultimate Spear among her peers.
  • Abuse Is Okay When It Is Female On Male: Nobody sees a problem with Winry beating Ed with a wrench whenever he pisses her off.
  • Accidental Pervert: In a chapter in the manga and the corresponding episode in Brotherhood, Winry walks into her room without noticing Edward already in there and starts undressing. By the time she realizes she's not alone, she's already uncovered some Underboobs. She almost goes ballistic on him (and everyone else who comes in hearing her scream).
    • Watch it here. [1]
  • Achilles' Heel: Alphonse's blood seal. For Roy, being a fire alchemist, it's water, but only because it disables his spark glove. Since Roy's actual alchemy deals in flammable gases (like hydrogen), if you do drench him, you'd better pray he doesn't have a backup flame source, 'cause you just gave him a WHOLE lotta fuel for his alchemy.
  • Action Girl: Hawkeye, Olivier, Lan Fan, May Chang.
  • Action Mom: Izumi.
  • Actually Four Mooks: The Slicer Brothers.
  • Actually, That's My Assistant: Al is not the Fullmetal Alchemist, despite what people may think upon meeting him and Ed.
  • Aerith and Bob: Ed and Roy. Paninya and Solf.
  • Affably Evil: Quite a few villains, but Greed, Kimblee and Wrath are probably the best examples.
  • A God Am I: One of the main themes of the story, not to mention Father's plan.
  • Alchemy Is Magic: Although it's presented as a science, alchemy in this series is very much fantastical.
  • All Deaths Final: Verified by Edward going off an offhand remark Hohenheim makes. Bringing back the dead via alchemy isn't just taboo, it's completely and utterly impossible, and any attempt to do so will result in a completely unrelated soul in a completely unrelated body. Things that Truth takes don't qualify as "dead", however, which is how Ed can successfully get Alphonse's body back at the end.
  • Alliterative Name: Edward Elric and Alex Armstrong.
  • All There in the Manual: The omake comics have revealed a few things, such as how flame alchemy really works--by changing oxygen concentration in the air so the spark from the finger-snap explodes exactly where and as big as needed. Of course, the technique's Mundane Utility is also revealed--making women swoon due to oxygen poisoning so Mustang can catch them and easily woo them.
  • Alternate Character Reading:
    • The reading "Homunculus" (ホムンクルス) has been written as both "Artificial Human" (人造人間) and "the little one in the flask" (フラスコの中の小人). Fun fact: BOTH ARE TRUE.
    • The "Milos" in The Movie's title is written as "hill of grief" (嘆きの丘).
    • Kimblee's State Alchemist title has caused translation problems, given that the word guren means "crimson", but the kanji its spelled with (紅蓮) means "red lotus".
      • This is accurate within the Japanese language as well, guren meaning both "crimson" and "red lotus" simultaneously.
      • He's alternately called the "Crimson Lotus Alchemist" by some translations and sources for that exact reason. Not to mention that since crimson refers to a darker red, it doesn't change the meaning at all.
  • Altum Videtur: A few examples on the soundtrack: "Lapis Philosophorum" ("philosophers' stone"), "Ante Meridiem" ("before noon"/A.M.), "Philosophorum Omega" ("philosophers' omega").
  • Amnesiac Dissonance: After being killed, Greed is recreated and while he has the same personality, he's loyal to Father and more malicious. After unknowingly killing one of his former followers, his memories return, he freaks out and then turns face.
  • Anachronism Stew: The series is set in the early 20th century... with mechanical prosthetics that are far more advanced than anything we have now. They don't seem to have advanced nearly as much in terms of technology in other areas, depending on whether you want Amestris to be pre-first-world-war or pre-second-world-war Germany. Of course, everything more advanced in this world is only due to Alchemy, and there appears to be an even gap between technological progress and magical progress.
    • Fridge Logic points out that pharmaceuticals ought to be, as a result, on a par with (either) time period in Real Life, except it doesn't seem to be so. Fridge Brilliance, however, would like us to note that modern pharmaceuticals branched out from alchemy pretty much purely from the works of Paracelsus. Hello, Hohenheim.
    • Also, not severely glaring or anything but given the distinctly European setting, it's slightly unusual that there are characters named "Izumi", "Yoki", "Hakuro", and "Hayate".
  • Ancient Conspiracy: Oh so much. Turns out that even the very creation of Amestris and modern alchemy were all part of Father's 450 year plan.
  • And I Must Scream: The fate of the human souls used to make the Philosopher's Stone.
    • Also the final fate of the dwarf in the flask after The Truth gives him his own special brand of punishment: despair for the conceited.
  • Animals Hate Him: Once Father starts carrying out his Evil Plan, dogs in Amestris start barking like crazy. Hohenheim is also a target of this.
  • Animated Armor: Al, of course. Barry The Chopper and the Slicer Brothers from the Fifth Laboratory also count.
  • Anime Chinese Girl: May
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: The homunculi each personify one of the Seven Deadly Sins. It's eventually revealed that Father created them by giving them a portion of his personality, and that they are named after the "sin" they are created from.
    • It's curious to note that whilst Envy (in the end), Pride, Sloth, Wrath, Gluttony and Greed (especially Greed) all show their namesake sin in their personality, Lust never really shows any Lust...
      • Gluttony shows just as much, if not more, signs of his namesake sin than Greed. His catchphrase is even "Can I eat him/her/it now?" Lust might not be as blatant as some of the other sins, but there is a reason why she is one of the hottest characters.
      • Lust does show her sin, but it's not the type of lust most people think of: it's bloodlust.
      • None of them show the said sin quite so much in the manga or Brotherhood, rather they are a target of Father's misunderstanding. He hungers for knowledge, so Gluttony is a gate of truth, Lust has her appearance because that's what Father believes to be a target to human lust, Pride is the son because a son is a father's pride and joy, etc. Though Greed and Gluttony show their qualities, they show enough traits of victims. Others, Lust and Sloth most notably, minimally show the sin.
  • Anti-Hero: Arguably, Scar.
  • Anti-Villain: Greed, who has headed in the direction of Anti-Hero as well (or at least sort of a Lovable Traitor in an Enemy Mine situation)
    • Isaac McDougal, The Freezing Alchemist in the first episode of Brotherhood, is an unhinged Shell Shocked Senior who kills multiple soldiers. He's motivated by disgust over the genocide in Ishval. Anyone who's read the manga can easily see where he's coming from.
    • Greed also doubles as a Noble Demon. He's going to treat his henchmen well because, after all, when word gets out that he's good to them more people will want to work for him.
    • Scar, to the people who don't see him as an Anti-Hero.
  • Anyone Can Die: At some points, it was like a lottery.
    • Actually subverted, since most of good guys make it alive to the series finale. However, injuries are portrayed rather realistically here like when Havoc got paralyzed.
  • Apocalypse Wow: Chapter 104. Father eats the souls of everyone in the country, turns into a giant, and then eats Truth.
    • And then it all comes crashing down when it turns out that Hohenheim had prepared his own transmutation circle, using the moon's shadow, to restore the souls of the people of Amestris. It's not enough to thwart Father completely, but it's enough to prevent his apotheosis.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Subverted. Denny slaps Al, and gets a sore hand for his trouble.
    • Played straight in the same incident with Maria Ross and Ed, whose face is not made of metal, and she successfully calls him out on his reckless charge into the 5th Lab.
    • Winry averts the Fridge Logic of this by hitting Al in the head with her wrench.
  • Arms and Armor Theme Naming: All the military characters are named after actual planes, tanks, weapons, and other technology from World War I onward.
  • Art Evolution: Ed as of the very first chapter looks rougher than he did in, say, chapter 104... (Though this is at least in part due to him getting older.)
  • Artificial Human: The Homunculi.
  • Artificial Limbs: Ed, of course. Also Paninya (and roughly half the residents of Rush Valley), Buccaneer, Bald, Den (a dog), and later, Lan Fan.
  • Ascended Meme: Fans started using the number 503 to represent the Ed/Winry pairing, based on a brand of jeans of the same number produced by a company called Edwin. In a later chapter of the manga, the creator gives a nod to this, as Ed is shown to be staying in hotel room 503 (though this is more of a Shout-Out).
    • From the manga, people started calling the second Greed "Greedling" to tell him apart from the original Greed in conversation, and because the human used to create him was called Ling. When Ed meets him again, he decides he's going to call him this.
  • Assimilation Plot: What the higher-ups at Central take Father's scheme to be.
  • The Atoner: Dr. Marcoh, Mustang, Hawkeye... in fact, many of the characters who were part of the Ishval war and regret what happened. Also Ed and Al, after their attempt of the taboo. And Scar. Redemption is a major theme of the story.
  • Author Appeal: Hiromu Arakawa thinks men should be muscular and big, and women should be bosomy and curvy. That probably won't surprise anyone. The Armstrong siblings (with the exception of those two sisters who look like Alex) exemplify this principle.
    • Even Edward isn't immune; despite his height problems, the guy's massively ripped, though not quite the level of Armstrong. But still enough to make him smoking.
  • Author Avatar: Hiromu Arakawa draws herself as a talking bipedal cow in omake strips. She also has a cameo appearance in this form in the original anime series.
    • In the Broken Angel and Curse of the Crimson Elixir games, the cow is a rare but powerful alchemic item. She runs around and bops enemies with an oversized pen.
  • Ax Crazy: Barry the Chopper, though he prefers meat cleavers. Envy gets like this whenever he loses restraint. Then, of course, there's the psychopath Solf J. Kimblee.
    • And in chapter 95 (episode 54 of Brotherhood), Mustang was going BOOM-crazy against Envy. He calmed down, though.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Almost everyone, save maybe Yoki and Denny Brosh.
  • Babies Ever After: Shown in the final picture montage of Chapter 108. Even applies to Black Hayate.



Cornello: This time I will have to send you to God myself!
Ed: Nope. God hates us. Even if we go, He'll just send us back!

  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Mustang tends to clean up nicely in a snazzy period suit when not in uniform, but the prize goes to Kimblee, easily being the symbolic Man in White in manga and anime with his pristine all-white suit, Badass Longcoat, Fedora of Asskicking and pink Scarf of Asskicking.
    • Badass Long Hair: Ed certainly qualifies. As do Hohenheim, Ling, Lanfan, Izumi, Riza, Olivier, Miles, Kimblee, and even mohawk-sporting Buccaneer. You'd actually be hard-pressed to find a character in this series with long hair who ISN'T badass.
      • Long hair in FMA:B/manga = badass! Nuff said.
    • Badass Mustache: Alex Louis Armstrong and Fuhrer Bradley.
      • Buccaneer has a badass fu-manchu.
        • And don't forget Basque Grand.
    • Badass Normal: Hughes, Olivier, Riza, Havoc, Fu, Ling before he becomes possessed by Greed. Also, Lan Fan used to be one, but now she has an automail arm so she can't really count as "normal" anymore.
      • She's a now a Handicapped Badass!
      • If warrior monks count as normal, then Scar used to be one before he was given his Red Right Hand.
      • Don't forget Sig Curtis.
      • BUCCANEER. Cut down not once but twice by Wrath/Bradley, he lands the first hit on Wrath in the whole series by taking the sword that he was impaled with and using Fuu's almost-corpse as cover to stab Wrath in the stomach.
      • Bradley himself should earn a special mention here. Sure he's a homunculus, but compared to his siblings, this doesn't heighten his abilities or even give him regenerative properties, and only gives him the power of being the Ultimate Eye. Which is certainly helpful, but all the swordfighting and his incredible reflexes? That's his own. And if he's that difficult to beat when he's 60, imagine what a terror he would've been if he were younger.
      • Ed after he sacrifices his Gate of Truth and therefore his ability to do alchemy.
    • World of Badass: Somewhere around the housewife and the little girl punching people's faces in it becomes apparent that any random person may have ass-kicking potential.
  • Badass Pacifist: Winry, the Rockbells, and Scarbro.
  • Bad Guy Bar: The Devils' Nest
  • Bare Your Midriff: Envy. Winry's work clothes.
  • Battle Couple: Izumi and Sig Curtis.
    • Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye have the "battle" part down, at least. The "couple" bit is arguably in the works.
      • It's now been outright confirmed by Word of God in the third art book.
    • Ling fights alongside Lanfan with spectacular results, but like with the aforementioned Roy and Riza, the "couple" part is complicated.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Ed and Winry.
    • Averted with Roy and Riza, who are nearly always respectful, professional and conscientious towards one another, with the occasional very small, very subtle nod to their past.
  • Berserk Button: Ed if you insult his height or threaten Winry, and a lesser Berserk Button when people mistake Al for Fullmetal Alchemist (due to obvious reasons); Winry whenever Ed damages his automail.
    • Talking about Al's soul being affixed to armor like it's the coolest thing in the world is not a conversation to have with Ed. It will end badly.
      • For that matter, talking about anything related to the event four years prior is dangerous.
    • Ed's most frightening berserk button moment came when he realized what Tucker did to his daughter.
      • The Viz translation of the manga implies that it was very close to being one for Al too:

Alphonse:Mister Tucker, one more word out of you... and I'll be the one to snap.

    • If, for any reason you force Al to sacrifice himself, YOU'RE DEAD!!! Ed may have gotten pissed at Tucker, but that was a mild tantrum compared to what he did to Father.
    • Harming Mustang's subordinates is a very, very bad idea. Or maybe the worst idea ever. In particular, never, ever, ever touch Hawkeye. Just fair warning. And in return, don't you dare lay a hand on Mustang. Hawkeye will just keep on shooting.
    • Harming Olivier's subordinates is an even worse idea.
    • Harming Hohenheim's kids is the worst idea, ever. Hell, just insulting his kids is sending you straight into an asskicking.
    • Don't call Envy "Ugly". You'll just make him/her angry, and you won't like him/her when s/he's angry.
    • Izumi Curtis will murder you multiple times if you dare to call her "old", "hag", or anything of the sort.
    • Don't harm Lust, unless you want to get eaten by Gluttony.
    • If you took part in the Ishval Massacre, be expecting a beatdown - if not bloody murder - by Scar. Also if you're a State Alchemist, or get in between him and a State Alchemist, or get in his way at all...
      • When Dr. Marcoh admitted to Scar that he not only helped in the Massacre but also experimented on Ishvallan/Amestrian soldiers he promptly asked Scar to kill him. Scar didn't because his knowledge of Alchemy would be useful, but did beat him up and then melt his face. So...don't push Scar's Berserk Button.
      • He's been getting slightly better about that lately...
    • Don't look down on Kimblee.
    • Lan Fan if you insult/belittle/threaten Ling.
    • Similarly (though perhaps less explosively) telling Ling his underlings or anyone else he cares about are expendable will ensure you an angry Xingese prince.
      • Same for Greed, as a matter of fact. Which at least partly explains why they made such a good body-sharing tandem.
    • Y'know what? Just don't even look funny at ANYONE. That's probably the only way to avoid an asskicking.
  • Berserker Tears: Oh, Ling. T_T Hawkeye when Lust says she killed Mustang.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: After Shou Tucker transmutes his dog and daughter into a talking chimera, Ed beats the ever-living crap out of him and Al has to stop his brother from killing him with his bare hands. Tucker takes this chance to gloat about having to dirty your hands to get things done. Al doesn't take to this very lightly. Considering his status as a Gentle Giant Genius Bruiser Badass Bookworm, this isn't exactly the smart thing to do.
  • Beyond the Impossible: Defied. You cannot beat Equivalent Exchange, no matter what you do.
    • Not that will stop Ed and Al from Walking the Earth to do research into finding a new law at the end of the series, of course.
    • Played straight with Kimblee near the end. maintaining his conscious after assimilation by Pride, and then holding him back from fleeing his body. The former alone is stated to be impossible and demonstrated as such by Father.
  • Bicep-Polishing Gesture: Armstrong, constantly. Sig Curtis joins in occasionally.
  • Big Bad: Father. Which is ironic, considering his name...
  • Big Damn Heroes: Multiple times, especially in later chapters. Hohenheim even lampshades it.
  • Big Eater: Ling Yao and possibly Lan Fan. However, Gluttony tops them.
    • By her own admission, Olivier may be one. When Mustang offered to take her to dinner, she replied "Please. I'd eat you out of house and home."
  • Big Friendly Dog: Winry's dog Den and Nina Tucker's dog Alexander. Black Hayate is a Little Friendly Dog.
  • Big Good: Hohenheim.
  • Big Guy, Little Guy: Al and Ed. Translation from a 2006 interview: The reason Al is in a huge suit of armor is to make him a large-sized character, contrasting to the short-sized main protagonist.
  • Big No: Greed, after killing Bido and getting his memories back.
    • Major Armstrong gets a few during his fight with Olivier in episode 45 of Brotherhood. They only add to the humor of the scene.
    • Ed in chapter 107, when Al sacrifices his soul in exchange for Ed's right arm.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: The Xingese Royal Family.
  • Bishie Sparkle: The entire Armstrong family.
  • Bishonen: Parodied when May Chang imagines what the Elrics must look like.
    • Roy Mustang plays it pretty damn straight.
    • Major Armstrong, as far as Hiromu Arakawa is concerned. She loves muscled men like him.
  • Bishonen Line: Father crosses this with a vengeance. He goes from bearded old man to vaguely humanoid blob of shadows to giant black version of one of the cyclops soldiers to teenage Hohenheim. Or as he's identified in-story, the one who looks like Fullmetal without the automail.
  • Blade Below the Shoulder: Ed can transmute his automail arm into one, and Lan Fan's automail also includes one; Lust's Ultimate Lance is a variation, and similarly, Greed sometimes does this with his arm, using the razor-sharp claws he has in his Ultimate Shield form.
  • The Blank: The Truth/The World/God (what Ed meets behind The Doors) is pretty literally a blank. Except that creepy Gluttony-esque grin, and occasionally some stolen limbs.
    • If you look closely, you realize that it takes on the shape (outline) of whoever it's talking to.
  • Blatant Lies: Olivier does it hilariously in chapter 67, while speaking one-on-one with Raven.
  • Blessed with Suck: Sure she's easily one of the most powerful alchemists ever, but in gaining the ability to transmute without a circle, and by extension kick the bad guy's ass with alchemy in a heartbeat, Izumi lost some internal organs and the ability to have children.
    • In a way, even though it is portrayed as mostly a helpful and necessary power, Alchemy in the long term is shown to be very detrimental to both those who practice it and those who don't, as Alchemy is ultimately the main source of strife within the series. Alchemists by definition are blessed with suck.
      • May Chang reveals that this is only true in Amestris where the philosopher's stone Father made is blocking the natural energy of the earth. Otherwise it would be powered by the natural energy released from things like volcano's and earthquakes. This is why Father was able to stop Ed and Al from using alchemy while Scar and May Chang can still use their alkahestry.
    • Being a State Alchemist is a pretty sweet deal...if you don't mind being a slave in all but name to a corrupt, ridiculously trigger happy military dictatorship, and being viewed as a freak, sellout or worse by citizens.
  • Blood Knight: Kimblee
  • Bloody Murder: Isaac McDougal transmutes blood from his wounds into spears.
  • Board to Death: An event during the Ishval war described in flashback by both Barry the Chopper and Dr. Marcoh. A group of members working for the Army were involved in the operation to make a miniature philosopher's stone for combat use. When they went to the meeting to set this plan into operation, they provided the ingredients for the stone. Dr. Marcoh was the one who carried this out.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Pretty much outright stated with Lan Fan and Ling. Strongly hinted at with Roy and Riza.
  • Body Horror: Envy can take advantage of this. His ultimate form consists primarily of masses upon masses of human bodies he otherwise compresses within him, which explains his ludicrous density and weight. Oh, and he's remarkably sloppy with them, too. If he bites down on his "tongue" a little too quickly, the pieces will go flying off.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Barry is the dark side of this in the manga, along with Ax Crazy and a dose of Heroic Sociopath.
  • Book Ends: Almost. Take a look at Ed at the end of chapter one. Now, take a look at him at end of the penultimate chapter. He even says practically the same line:
    • A straighter version would be the beginning and ending narration of the first anime. The series begins with two lines of narration about how nothing can be learned or gained without pain and sacrifice. The series ends with the same lines, plus two more lines accentuating that you can overcome that pain and gain back even more than what you originally lost.
      • Even straighter is the first and last pages of the manga. They are practically the same, and it is implied that they take place at train stations. There's only two key differences: In the first, we see Ed and Al arriving; in the last, we see Ed leaving. Also, we get to see how much Ed has progressed (both physically and mentally) from the beginning to the end of the series, with bonus points for having sense both in-story and in a meta kind of way.
    • Father's punishment by Truth mirrors the first time Ed opened the Gate. Truth even uses the same words that it said to Edward.
  • Brains and Brawn: Ed and Al, respectively. Although Al isn't stupid and Ed isn't weak. It can perhaps be said that Ed and Al alternate in these roles.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:

"More like a joke than gossip... Scar feeding cats, undying humans, King Bradley is a homunculus..."

    • Watch closely, in both the manga and the anime, the episodes during and possibly just before The Devil's Nest. If you read the sign outside (and also the board on the wall inside) you will see a list of meats available:


  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Throughout the manga, there are extra comics about the characters reactions and hopes about a popularity poll. This includes discussions about how much 'screen time' they've had in recent chapters and at one point Scar using alchemy to blow up the author when he reads that he has tied with her way low on the poll.
    • And the side story where Ed and Mustang have a fight.

Hughes: We don't have many pages left, so let's get it going!

    • In volume 14, when Ed comes out of the shower naked and finds out May is inside Al's armor, the guard comes in and says "Stop acting like you're in a manga!"
  • Break the Cutie: The Elric brothers most prominently, with Winry trailing not far behind.
    • Riza's in there somewhere too, if you take the time to think about her Backstory. (Back Story?)
    • How could anyone forget Rose? She hoped and prayed that Father Cornello could bring her boyfriend back, and the Elric brothers proved her wrong. Good thing it happened that soon and not later...
  • Break Them by Talking: The Homunculi positively love doing this, especially Envy, Lust, and Wrath.
    • Kimblee, being a sociopathic, Mad Bomber of a philosopher, gives out a fair share of his own to various characters.
      • More than anyone in this series. Kimblee always, ALWAYS has the last word in any philosophcal/moral debate, shutting up even the main protagonists. The only way anyone manages to quiet him down is to rip his throat out. But wait! even when DEAD he manages to deliver one last brain-breaking statement to Pride that leads to his utter defeat. Take that!
    • Envy had his taste of his own medicine in the end.
    • There was one (plus Kneel Before Zod) even on an episode preview:

"Poor, confused humans: feel this suffering, for it is proof that you are alive. Then, with both hands on the ground, kneel before me."

  • Breathless Non-Sequitur: While Winry is working on Ed's arm, she asks herself why she had to fall for such an idiot.

Ed: What?
Winry: Nothing.

  • Brought Down to Normal: Ed and Ling. Excluding that Greed is now gone for good, no one minds.
    • Pride counts as well, having been reduced to the form of a powerless toddler after his "container" was destroyed. His memories were presumably erased in the process and Mrs. Bradley is now raising him as a human child. It's unclear if the power loss is permanent, though.
      • Exactly how did that little birdie in the last chapter/episode get injured, anyway...?
  • Bunny Ears Lawyer: Maes Hughes is either this or Obfuscating Stupidity.
    • A little bit of both, actually.
  • The Bus Came Back: In this case as an ice cream truck.
    • Full of weapons.
  • Butt Monkey: Yoki. Every scene after his intro is comic abuse. Well, almost every scene


  • Call Back: In the final chapter, Ed and Al tell their reasons for searching for another rule to replace Equivalent Exchange and going wandering again, and there's only two. To repay all their friends' kindness, and because neither of them ever forgot about how not being able to save Nina felt.
    • Something of a minor one, but in Episode 33 Scar stabs Kimblee in the stomach with a pole. Kimblee gives an inspiring rant about how being close to death is exhilarating for killers. Less than a dozen episodes later, Kimblee blows up the building he and Ed are fighting, and Ed winds up getting stabbed in the same place with a girder. He uses his soul as a philosophers' stone to heal it, saying that if he's going to show mercy he'd better get used to paying the price.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Ed to Hohenheim.
  • Came Back Strong: Ed and Al both nearly die when they try to resurrect their mother. They barely survive and gain the ability to use alchemy without circles, and Al also is literally Made of Iron though that does have its own drawbacks.
  • Came Back Wrong: The Elrics' mother, Trisha, and any other attempts at bringing the dead back to life. Until it turns out it wasn't actually her/them.
  • The Cameo: Dante from the first anime appears as an elderly woman in Episode 58 of Brotherhood.
  • Camp Gay: Garfiel.
  • Canon Foreigner: Isaac McDougall, the Freezing Alchemist, appears in the anime but not the manga.
  • Car Fu: Yoki gets a CMOA when he uses a car to ram Pride, saving several people in the process.
  • Casting Gag: Aaron Dismuke, who voiced Al in the 2003 anime returns as the voice of Young!Hohenheim.
  • Cast from Hit Points: The Philosopher's Stone is a variation, allowing transmutations to be powered by nothing more than the human souls stored within. Ed later uses what he's learned to sap at his own lifespan to heal mortal wounds.
  • Cast of Snowflakes: Arakawa is practically the manga queen of this trope.
  • Catch Phrase: One that has been passed down the Armstrong line for generations.
    • It's not even exclusive to the Major. Olivier also uses it, after Sloth kills the officer she'd been keeping hostage:

Olivier: Hmpf... I suppose I should be grateful to you, homunculus. You spared me from having to stain, with the blood of that coward, this cherished blade that has been passed down the Armstrong line for generations!

    • Also, whenever Ed is insulted (or when he thinks he is being insulted): Who are you calling a ___ smaller than a ___!
    • Izumi's "Just a housewife"-replies could count.
    • "Can I eat him?"
    • "What a bother..."
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: Happens on occasion.
    • One especially entertaining example occurs between Ling and Greed, during the battle with Gluttony in the woods.

Greed: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAA! Oh, man! You're really kicking ass! And where did you get that girl? You been hiding her all this time?
Ling: Oh, you know me. I'm full of surprises. *slams Gluttony into the ground*

  • Chainsaw Good: Buccaneer, a captain in the Briggs brigade, has several different automail arms he goes through, one of which is the "Crocodile": basically a chainsaw with a serrated clamp over it.
  • Character Development: The Elric brothers mature a lot in the story. Ed even looks older and tougher as the story goes on. Winry, Scar, Hohenheim, Roy, Ling and a few others also get a lot of development.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: The animation in Brotherhood really helps drives these examples home. Let's see, in a series where the actual weapon-to-weapon, fist-to-fist fighting is done very realistically, there's Giolio Comanche the Silver Alchemist. Just before Scar gets his hands on him, he manages to do this weird, non-alchemic attack that lets him spin around like a top and defy gravity. He has full control over this move as shown when he hovers in place for several seconds. Next, all you have to do to give a rotting human body the ability to dodge hails of bullets is jam an animal mind into it. Barry the Chopper's body is the example here.
    • Armstrong deserves mention for being able to take hits from Sloth, a homunculus who is strong enough to lift tanks and can charge in straight lines faster than the eye can follow. In another instance, a human/bull hybrid scrapes him along a wall for twenty feet with enough force to crack stone, but only manages to give him a minor cut above his eye. There also seems to be no limit to the weight he can lift. It's worth noting that his whole family is like this to a greater or lesser extent which may make this an example of extremely good genetics. Puts a whole new spin on the whole "This method of ______ has been passed down the Armstrong line for generations!" thing...
      • Those examples are nothing compared to what Izumi Curtis can do. She single handedly picked up Sloth and THREW him into the air. And it didn't LOOK like any alchemy was used at all. Maybe it's the power of aikido.
      • Aikido is a martial art based on using the opponent's strength and movement against them. What Izumi did was grab Sloth and use his own momentum to flip him into the air. There was no lifting involved - she just isn't that strong, nor does she need to be.
  • Cheerful Child: Nina Tucker and Elicia Hughes.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: Kimblee's Philosopher's Stone. He gets it during Ishval, uses it as a bribe for Edward to attack Briggs (he refuses), and loses it while fighting Ed. Heinkel picks it up after the fight and delivers it to Alphonse to help him fight Kimblee and Pride about 15 chapters and a few in-story months later. Toward the end of that fight, Al gives the Stone to Dr. Marcoh, who heals the wounded Heinkel, who proceeds to finish Kimblee. The three of them, and Yoki, escape to Central to join the main battle. It seems like a well done Chekhov's Gun, but the stone has one last use in the final chapter: being used as the toll to get Mustang's sight back and fix Havoc's legs.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: In Brotherhood, the events of chapter 3 are only given a very brief mention in episode 4.
    • In the manga: an unnamed alchemist with a gold tooth who was skilled at using Philosopher's Stones to heal, and was employed by Central to patch up Kimblee, appeared in one panel of a chapter,halfway through the story. Then he was found sitting right at the centre of the labyrinth at HQ, about to "get this show on the road" in chapter 98, roughly two real-life years later.
      • Said unnamed alchemist is also the one who oversaw the creation of King Bradley, and in fact was the very person injecting the Philosopher's Stone into the young man. This happened back in chapter 53.
    • Remember the candidates who didn't get a chance to be injected with the Philosopher's Stone in the effort to create Wrath? You didn't think they'd disappeared, did you?
    • Remember when Hohenheim put some of his Philosopher's Stones in the earth? Well, they finally found their use.
    • Remember that lighter in episode 19? Neither did Lust.
    • In the final chapter, the goddamn gate of truth!
    • You name it, it's saved the day at least once. Ed picturing his soul as a Philosopher's Stone to heal his mortal wound in episode 41? Guess how he manages to take down Pride? Scar's brother's research on reconstruction? Guess how Scar takes down Wrath? Al's goddamn transmutation circle blood seal? Yeah, guess where that comes in handy…
  • Chekhov's Skill: Yoki, of all people, displays this. When on the run from Kimblee through an abandoned mine (chapter 70), his experience as the former head of a mining town (from chapter 3) allows him to read tunnel maps to allow his group to reach safety without getting horribly lost. In this manga, that's a LONG time for a callback.
    • Rabbit snare traps also are an example of this trope. Ed and Al develop the skill during their month-long isolation that starts their training with Izumi. Ed uses his damaged and detatched automail arm as bait to catch Lan Fan in a snare trap. This then inspires her to use her severed arm as a diversion against a pursuing Wrath.
    • Remember that one time in episode 41 where Ed gets stabbed with a girder? And everyone who watched the original series thought they were going to see a repeat of the final fight between Ed and Envy? And then, instead of dying, he used his soul as a Philosopher's Stone to heal himself? Guess how, during the final battle, he invades Pride's soul and tears him apart? Bet you didn't see THAT one coming!
  • Chekhov MIA: Hohenheim.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: The Truth.
    • Greed, Envy, Gluttony, and Kimblee also fit this trope a lot of the time.
    • Pride is this trope incarnate. Multiple grins simultaneously, even. Father also had this, back when he was a dwarf in a flask, pre-countrywide-transmutation on Xerxes.
  • Chess Motif: "My pawn, my knight, my rook, my bishop and my queen..." Mustang uses one of these terms as a codename/nickname for each of his five loyal subordinates, with himself as the king. Fuery is the pawn, Havoc is the knight, Breda is the rook, Falman is the bishop, and Riza is the queen. When Bradley breaks up the group, sending the men to distant outposts and making Riza his own assistant in order to hold her hostage for Mustang's good behavior, Mustang pulls the pieces out of the chess box slowly and laments their loss.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Everybody does it at least once.
  • Child Soldiers: Ed became a "dog of the military" at age 12 and could be sent to the front any time. Later on, he's called out to "do his duty" by Kimblee. He doesn't take it well, partly because Kimblee's using Winry as a hostage to force his cooperation.
    • Al can count considering his young age, but he's only a fence example considering he isn't a part of it. Still he's usually dragged along with his brother on whatever adventures they're in, putting them in the same sort of dangers and having both of them experience the same traumas.
  • The Clan: Of the Xingese Royal Family, which apparently has 43 heirs, Ling and May included, who seem to all be willing to tear each other to shreds over who will inherit the empire.
  • Clark Kenting: Riza lets her hair down and wears glasses when she has to go incognito. It's surprisingly effective, actually. Except against Wrath's Ultimate Eye.
  • Clothing Damage: Ed seems to project an aura that causes his shirts to dissolve. Armstrong, on the other hand, just goes bare-chested all the time because he's weird.
    • Or, he flexes his muscles and his clothes are RIPPED TO SHREDS and/or disintegrate. The same applies to Sig Curtis when the two of them meet, although Sig keeps his clothes on most of the time.
    • Ed's right sleeve is often the victim of conveniently placed attacks to dramatically remind the audience that yes, his arm is still metal and yes, it hasn't exploded again.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Hohenheim is not like us; neither is his mirror image, Foil, Pygmalion figure, metaphorical son and brother, caricature, and Shadow Archetype all in one, Father.
  • Code Name: Every state alchemist gets one. It's where the series gets its title -- Fullmetal is Ed's code name. The Homunculi also have code names of sorts, though not all of them are stated in-series (Wrath is the Ultimate Eye, Greed is the Ultimate Shield, and Lust is the Ultimate Lance).
  • Colonel Badass: Roy Mustang. So much so that when word gets out that he's coming to the front lines, his allies need brown pants.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Masterfully inverted during the Ishval flashback in Brotherhood, where everything is depicted in monochrome except for the characters' eye color. In this flashback, though, the Amestrians, who were the attacking party, had blue eyes, while the Ishvalans, who were the victims, all have red eyes.
  • Compliment Backfire: It's more like gentle teasing, but you'd think a suave guy like Mustang could pull it off...

Roy: But wow, this place brings back memories, Lieutenant. It reminds me of your crying face. I'd like to see honest tears like that from you again someday.
Riza: I thought you despised liquids. Since they make you useless.
(Mustang sweatdrops).

  • Conspicuous CG: Used liberally; especially noticeable in Envy's true form.
    • And in episode 61, where all the souls are returned to their bodies.
  • Continuity Nod: A long time after he died, the remains of Barry The Chopper are still there under research lab #3 when the coup de'tat and the attack on Father begin. Darius even fights with his trademark cleaver.
    • Similarly, the aftermath of Ed's fight with Cornello is still in Liore when the town is revisited late in the series.
  • Corner of Woe: Al visits it occasionally.
    • Also, Yoki.
  • Couldn't Find a Pen: Used as a gag in an Omake.
  • Credits Running Sequence
  • Creepy Child: Pride, who is also an Enfant Terrible.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Played straight with Ed and Al in the Japanese version. Averted with Ed in the English version, but unlike the first anime, Al plays it straight in Brotherhood's dub.
  • Cross-Popping Veins: A lot. Ed sometimes seems to have them permanently.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Hohenheim, Havoc, Fuery in the warfront.
    • Ling usually is just tying to weasel a free meal out of anyone he can and generally making Ed look silly, but if you threaten Lan Fan or anyone else that he cares about, he can fight well enough to keep up with Wrath.
    • Sloth sort of qualifies. Although he is gigantic, imposing, and incredibly strong, you don't find out until almost the end that He is THE FASTEST homunculus, and he normally moves slowly just because moving at lightning speed to beat the living crap out of people is "such a bother."
    • Hughes is totally in love with his family (and he's not shy about making sure you know that). He actually would've killed Lust AND Envy had they been normal people and not Homonculi because of his skill with push knives.
    • Armstrong is an overemotional goofball with a tendency to rip off his shirt, but when he puts on his game face, he can go toe to toe with SLOTH in a BOXING FIGHT.
  • Crucified Hero Shot: Greed -- censored in the English version of the manga, and in Brotherhood.
    • And, in ch. 101, Roy gets this when Bradley pins both his hands to the ground. With two goddam swords. Ow.
  • Cry Cute: Roy lampshades the trope, telling Riza he'd like to see her cry again, as she had such 'pure tears'.
    • This is kind of funny, considering she was pretty much a total wreck at the time.
  • Crystal Dragon Jesus: Father Cornello's cult has their clothing based off of Catholic priests, but with a Greek god and a secret army plan added.
  • Curb Stomp Battle: The first fight between Scar and the Elric Brothers is this. They eventually catch up with him, though.
    • Any battle Wrath takes part in is one of these, right up until he underestimated Fu and Buccaneer. It's all downhill for him from there.
      • Even then, he still manages to fatally wound the two aforementioned characters. Scar was almost killed while fighting him, even though Bradley had only one eye, and was bleeding out of his many, MANY wounds.
    • The fight between Mustang and Envy in Chapter 94 is basically just 20 solid pages of this, with Envy getting set on fire, interspersed with brief intervals during which Envy tries to think up ways to not get set on fire. None of them work, and some of them lead to him getting shot.
    • The final beatdown of Father in 108. And there was much rejoicing.
  • Cursed with Awesome: If Ed's arm wasn't mechanical, he'd have lost it several times over by now. Although you could argue that he wouldn't be in a position where he could lose his arm so much if he didn't have a mechanical one to begin with.
    • Brought up in one chapter. Two chimera wanted to use the Philosopher's Stone to make themselves human again, but after their cool powers help save their lives, they start to rethink their situation.
    • Al seems to realize this, as he gives up his chance at getting his real body back because the armor would be better in a fight, which is about to go down.
      • Don't forget, Al's real body was quite emaciated from years of malnutrition and disuse. This is the main reason he sticks to the armored body, since his real body is barely strong enough to even stand (also, it doesn't help that he's naked and wouldn't have the time or means to get dressed).
  • Custom Uniform: Partially averted, since most people in the military seem to conform to their uniform, even the tippity-top brass, with the exception of the titular character: Ed seems to be able to get away with a red cloak. The only means of identifying him as part of the military is his pocketwatch.
    • Then again, the same goes for Tucker and Kimblee (except in the flashbacks). Presumably the rules are a little more flexible for State Alchemists.
      • It seems more to do with combat status. Characters in the military wear the official uniform when involved in combat operations (or on or near the front lines in the Ishbal flashbacks). Ed, Tucker and so on can get away with not wearing the official uniform because they're not involved in a combat situation. Sort of Fridge Brilliance when you remember what the main purpose of uniforms is. Kimblee is actually ex-military (considering he killed his commanding officers) so he's no longer really able to wear the uniform.
  • Cut the Fuse: Bradley stops Fuu's Taking You with Me attempt with bombs strapped to his stomach by doing this, in addition to slicing Fuu's stomach.
  • Cute Bruiser: May, master of alkahestry (Xingese alchemy).
  • Cute Kitten: A Running Gag in the omakes.
  • Cute Shotaro Boy: Alphonse was this before his soul was placed in a suit of armor. Ed, when he was little, also qualified.
    • Also Selim Bradley... at least before his big reveal
  • Cuteness Proximity: Al loves small animals. Scar loves small animals.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Examined through Scar's character.


  • Daddy's Girl: Elysia Hughes
  • Dark Action Girl: Lust - she nearly oneshots Colonel Mustang's team, and if Roy didn't live, things would be bad.
  • Dark Is Evil: Most of the homunculi, being eerie pale skinned brunettes who dress in all black, but especially Father, Envy and Pride's horrifying true forms.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Greed post-Heel Face Turn (and "Greedling"); all of the chimeras.
  • Dark-Skinned Blond: Most Ishvalans, it would seem.
  • Darker and Edgier/Bloodier and Gorier: Brotherhood is more violent than the first anime, and the Media Classifications reflect it; at least two episodes are rated TV-MA by Adult Swim, and some of the DVD boxes are rated MA15+ in Australia. (The original anime was never rated higher than TV-14 in America and M in Australia.)
  • The Dead Have Names: Van Hohenheim has quite a list of them. They're all the souls trapped inside him, and over the centuries he's talked to all of them, convincing them to stand with him in his fight against Father.
  • Death by Irony: Every Homunculus who has died has gone out in a manner thematically appropriate to the associated Deadly Sin:
    • Greed (original model) was boiled down for his most valuable part.
    • Lust was burned to death by a man well known as a serial dater.
    • Gluttony was eaten.
    • Envy committed suicide out of sheer self-loathing at his enemies' pity.
    • Sloth was worn out by a long fight.
    • Wrath's Death by Irony is all over the place, both for his character and his Deadly Sin. After effortlessly dodging every wrathful charge that came at him, he's mortally wounded by a sneak attack. He gets into one last fight for kicks with Scar, who just recently tossed aside his Revenge Before Reason mentality. His Ultimate Eye gets blinded by the solar eclipse, a symbol of the god he claims doesn't exist, which gives Scar the opening needed for the final blow. Lan Fan shows up as Wrath's body is breaking down; he offers her the chance to strike him down vengefully for killing her grandfather; she refuses, and he dies with a smile, proclaiming he lived a good life. Finally, after everything blows over, he's hailed as a beloved martyr by the people who he secretly despised. Whew!
    • Pride was broken brutally, psychologically and physically, by some of the humans he so despised. While he doesn't die, his prideful personality vanishes and he is humbled by living as a human.
    • Greed (second model) pulls a Taking You with Me on Father, and, while acknowledging that he hasn't gotten "everything in the world", is willing to sacrifice himself for his friends who have "given him enough", finally feeling content with what he has. Father then finishes off Greed, the Homunculus with the potentially most durable body, by biting him in half.
    • Father is destroyed from the inside by Greed after trying to re-power himself with his Stone, and then is taken out by Ed with a punch. He ends up at the Gate and encounters Truth, and then it sentences him to an And I Must Scream within the Gate from whence he came.
  • Death by Origin Story: Trisha Elric, Mr. Hawkeye, the Rockbells, Scar's family, most Ishvalans, and all but one of the Xerxians.
  • Death Glare: The Fuhrer, Alex Armstrong, and Mustang.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The Führer (meaning "leader" in german) of Amestris, effectively the president and prime minister is named King Bradley.
  • Destructive Savior: Most alchemists are capable of being this, Edward being the poster child of this trope with Alex Armstrong following close behind, but they can just as easily repair the buildings and streets.
  • Determinator: Edward to the extreme.
    • Eleven years old, bleeding out from where he used to have a leg, improvising a blood seal to save Al's soul and giving up his arm in the process. Yeah, Ed qualifies.
    • Also Izumi: even though she's lost some of her internal organs after failing to revive her child through human transmutation, she's still able to get up and kick serious ass through sheer bloody-minded toughness.
    • Lan Fan, who cuts off her own injured arm to throw an in-pursuit Bradley off her and Ling's trail, and later manages to recover and rehabilitate from the grueling automail surgery in 6 months, outdoing Ed's already miraculous one-year recovery.
      • It's actually even better than that. She wasn't totally recovered from her surgery. She still kept fighting. And WON.
    • Fuhrer President King Bradley is a peerless warrior who won't let any amount of opposition prevent him from advancing. In his final fight against Scar, even after Scar has alchemically torn off his arms at the elbows, as Bradley falls, he catches his falling sword in his teeth and slashes Scar one last time.
    • Hell, the author herself. When the deadline of when the anime would overtake the yet-unfinished manga was dangerously close (she was involved to make sure it would follow the manga's ending), she put in the effort to dish out several 100 page chapters in order to finish the manga in a short amount of time.
  • Devour the Dragon: Pride devours Gluttony to replenish his Philosopher Stone and gain Gluttony's ability to follow others by smell, though that may have been simply an added bonus.
    • Father eats the goddamn TRUTH.
  • Did Mom Just Have Tea with Cthulhu?: Bradley/Wrath, finally fed up with the actions of the Elric brothers and company after having ignored it for the most part, sits down to have a nice chat with Winry in order to bring her up as a weakness against Edward later (granted, they didn't know about the whole Wrath business yet at that point in time; but when it's brought up again as a threat they have learned of the secret, so the effect of the trope remains the same). Couple of episodes down the line, Edward and Al are caught chatting with Bradley's wife and Selim for an interesting twist.
  • Did Not Do the Research: A very minor example. In one episode of the dub Ed is reciting the periodic table to distract himself from his feelings for Winry, and he skips Boron.
    • Fridge Brilliance: That could actually have been intentional, suggesting he's not fully succeeding.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Father eats the Truth.
    • And then Ed punches him in the face. Repeatedly. And it is AWESOME.
  • Dieselpunk
  • Disappeared Dad: Hohenheim
  • Disconnected by Death: Hughes.
  • Discontinuity Nod: A possible one in Chapter 108 against the ending of the first anime series, when Hawkeye wonders if Ed will sacrifice himself to get Al's body back.

Hawkeye: You don't think Edward will sacrifice himself, do you...?
Roy: No. He knows the fear and despair of being left alone... He wouldn't put Alphonse through that.

    • It may not be the case as Arakawa stated that she enjoyed the first anime's ending.
    • These are all over the place if you look. For example, the fact that Selim, Bradley's possible Morality Pet in the first anime turns out to be the one pulling BRADLEY'S strings. Or how the manga deliberately goes back to show that dead people can't be brought back to life.
  • Disney Death: Just about EVERYONE IN AMESTRIS (minus a few major characters) have their souls absorbed by Father during his ascension. Fortunetly, they just absorbed rather then killed outright, and Hohenheim (having seen this coming) managed to ressurect everyone with no ill effects beyond some mild trauma.
  • Dude in Distress For a hypercompetent hero with scientific/magical powers and two artificial limbs, Ed sure gets helplessly pinned an awful lot.
  • The Dog Bites Back (Almost) literally, as Kimblee gets his throat ripped out by one of the Chimeras who was previously forced to work for him (he's actually a lion, not a dog).
  • Doesn't Like Guns: Ed.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The author has commented that the whole Ishval situation was inspired by the plight of the Ainu people, which is unsurprising given that she's from Hokkaido.
    • Most Western fans have little to no clue of who the Ainu people are, or their relation to Ishvalans. Ironically, though, they notice a strong (but likely accidental) resemblance to the Islamic peoples of the Middle East (single god, desert-dwelling, very traditional yet advanced culture and a reverence for not messing with "God's creations"), and given that Amestris seems pretty well based on a certain European power and the time period of the show (self-proclaimed to be in the 19-teens), it's very easy to see why everyone west of the Ganges would come to that conclusion.
      • Not only Westerners. Interestingly enough, track #20 of the second Brotherhood OST, Land of Ishvala, has a decidedly Oriental/Arabic tone.
    • She has also said she gets ideas from befriending people in complicated personal situations, like disabled people, war refugees, and (wait for it) a former Yakuza. The similarity between Riza's concern for hiding her tattoo and the social stigma a bearer of Yakuza tattoos has to endure in Japan is actually made fun of in a yonkoma.
    • If you look at Maes Hughes' grave, the date of his death is 1914. 1914... now where have I heard that date before? The situation of the country goes downhill from there really fast. Soon Amestris (or at least the part Ed and Al visit) seems to have collapsed into war. Sound like World War I to anyone else? ...And would that make Hughes Archduke Franz Ferdinand?
    • Glorious Mother Drachma?
    • The scene in The Sacred Star of Milos where Atlas tries to take Julia's blood has some very rape-y overtones.
  • The Dog Was the Mastermind: The Homunculus Pride is little Selim Bradley. In fairness, the biggest clue to his identity is his speech patterns in the original Japanese, which wouldn't get through to an American reader. One translator did pick up on this and correctly predicted his identity.
  • Don't Look Back: Ed and Al burn down their house as a reminder to never turn back until they can get back to normal. Ed even keeps the date etched into his pocket watch.
  • Double Entendre: The homunculus named Lust is also referred to as the Ultimate Lance. (She's a woman, but I mean come on!)
    • Come on?
    • Greed is quick to point it out in episode 14.
    • Also see Chapter 106, page 25. Poor Roy.
  • Dramatic Irony: The very next scene after Hughes dies is a lighthearted scene with Ed, Al, and Winry, talking about what they're going to talk about the next time they meet him and his family. Cue Requiem of the Brigadier General and his Meaningful Funeral.
  • Dramatic Wind: what every opening and closing credit sequence is filmed in.
  • Dreadlock Rasta: Izumi Curtis.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: One can make a strong case about Envy, whose usual form looks perfectly female but for its obvious booblessness
    • In a troubling scene in a recent chapter, Envy does a Gracia impression to taunt Roy about how he killed Maes and, with his usual body language... looks like a male transvestite.
    • Word of God stated that Envy's gender is ambiguous, even to Envy. Many fans take this to mean that Envy is genderless. May be a justification for the fetus-like look of Envy's abhorrent true true form.
    • Having looked at other figures, Envy's 'normal' form has more of a masculine build to it. Despite the ambiguous look, including clothing preference, Envy seems to favor the male form. More envious of the male strengths (and their more pronounced physical features) than the female ones (and less fanservice-y), or just Author Appeal?
  • DVD Bonus Content: Each one comes with a short series of animations adapted from the manga's bonus Yonkoma. Four of the DVDs also come with adaptations of more dramatic short stories from the series.


  • Early-Bird Cameo: Father, Solf J. Kimblee, Hughes and Armstrong all pop up in the first episode of Brotherhood. Slave Hohenheim is in the first shot of the opening.
    • Note that that last one can very easily be mistaken for an older Ed with his arm intact. Family resemblance is a wonderful thing.
    • Izumi and Sig can be seen in the background fairly early in the manga.
      • In episode 9 of Brotherhood they walk across just behind Winry when she first arrives in Central.
    • Inverted hilariously for Yoki in Brotherhood; despite the writers knowing that he'll join Scar's team later on, Brotherhood chooses to skip the seemingly-filler episode in which the Elrics first defeat him. Instead he retells the entire thing in flashback when they meet later and is enraged to find that they neither remember nor care.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
    • Where to start... Ed gets his arm back and starts a family but goes through hell, loses a few years off his life, as well as his ability to do alchemy. Ling saves his clan and becomes emperor, but only after losing a bodyguard, having another maimed, and being temporarily turned into Greed. Mustang eventually gains the power to help the Ishvalans, but only after losing his sight and planning a near suicidal coup. And that's only three characters!
  • Easily Forgiven: Averted quite nicely for the most part, especially with Scar, who is never actually forgiven for his actions at all. He is, however, given the chance to seek redemption at the end, but whether he achieved it or not is, as they say, another story.
  • Easter Egg: A character keeps popping in the manga and the anime by the name of Mobuo Mobuta. This page accounts some of the page appearances he's been in.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Hohenheim, maybe. Also Bradley acts very similar to this until the Greed arc, at which point he changes completely.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Father, perhaps most explicitly portrayed during the events of Chapter 104.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Father opens the gate and rips the souls of nearly every living thing on Amestris, with only a select few humans and homunculi remaining.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: In the Ishval backstory.
  • Empty Piles of Clothing: Happens to Al after the failed human transmutation.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Used to take down Cornello.
  • Episode Title Card
  • Equivalent Exchange: Trope Namer and the foundation of Alchemy.
  • Esoteric Motifs:
    • Ouroboros: All the homunculi have Ouroboros tattoos. We still haven't seen where Pride's is, though. Ed, Al and Izumi sport the Flamel.
    • The symbol for Amestris (as seen in its flag, other banners and military badges) is a white dragon, a figure often associated with Arthurian legend and some mythical tales in Asia. The dragon is also engraved in all State Alchemists' pocket watches, circumscribed by a hexagram, which is also a well-known religious symbol.
      • By extension, teenage Hoenheim. The fact that he looks like a taller, blonder version of Ed is pretty sweet too.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: One of Hohenheim's many souls, named Zuul, was mentioned to be a terrible criminal seemingly beyond rehibilitation, but agreed that Father needed to be destroyed for what he had done.
    • Many characters react with horror to Pride's cruelty and callousness toward his allies particularly when he ate Gluttony, even Kimblee. Even more surprising is when in chapter 106, Kimblee, previously devoured by Pride, rebels against him out of disgust at Pride's hypocrisy, and helps distract him long enough for Ed to destroy him
  • Everyone Can See It: Arakawa loves this trope to death. See Shipper on Deck and Ship Tease entries below.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: Princess May Chang. Also, in the English translation of the manga, the Briggs Bears sometimes refer to General Armstrong as "the Princess."
  • Evil Counterpart: King Bradley arguably serves as this to several characters, but Ling is the most obvious example. They are both figures with authoritative positions, but while Bradley sees the people f his nation as little more than cannon fodder, Ling strongly believes in the idea that people with power exist to serve those who don't. The parallels become even stronger when Ling becomes a human-based homunculus like Bradley, but unlike Bradley who lost his original soul (in addition to all the other souls in his Philosopher's stone rendering him unable to regenerate like other homunculi) in the process of becoming Wrath, Ling manages to assert and maintain his consciousness within Greed. It is also interesting to note that Bradley was the 12th candidate for Führer and Ling is the 12th crown prince of Xing.
    • Greed himself serves as a counterpart to Bradley, as he too values the existence of his underlings and as stated before becomes the only other human-based homunculus
    • Scar is a counterpart to Bradley, being a devoutly religious ex-monk who was a victim in the civil war that atheistic Bradley led and, like Bradley, a warrior without a true name.
    • Even Roy has his parallels with Bradley due to his A Father to His Men nature and desire to become Fuhrer to better Amestris.
      • Another parallel is that Fuhrer Bradley's first name is King and Mustang's first name, Roy means "King" in French.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: Den growls at Hohenheim, although that is a subversion since he isn't evil. Possibly he senses that Hohenheim isn't altogether human.
    • Animals reacting badly on the Promised Day.
    • Black Hayate is given the honorary rank of Second Lieutenant because of his ability to detect the presence of Homunculi, and in fact attacks Gluttony to protect Riza. He's also shown alerting Riza to the presence of Barry the Chopper (only in Brotherhood).
  • Evil Eye: King Bradley
  • Evil Twin: Hohenheim and Father play with this trope, though not quite literally.
    • Father also resembles Ed in some of the later chapters.
  • Evil Costume Switch: After Ling becomes Greed, he drops his Xingese-styled clothes in favor of an all-black suit and a Badass Longcoat. Subverted in that it didn't stay as "Evil Costume Switch" for long.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Subverted. Everybody assumes Al is the Fullmetal Alchemist because he's wearing a giant metal suit.
  • Expressive Mask: Played with a bit. Al's face doesn't move, of course (outside of humorous moments), but things like rain, light and shadow are often used to give emotion to his face. Also, when drawn in "chibi" style, his face can be more flexible.
    • Same with Barry the Chopper.
  • Expy: Jean Havoc's characterization and design originates from an earlier Arakawa manga, Shanghai Youma Kikai, along with those of Lust.
    • Dorchet/Dolcetto/what have you is a human/dog hybrid, with a ring around his pupil, and he's loyal to his master to a fault. These traits come from the Military Dogs (sound familiar?) from Arakawa's first professional manga, Stray Dog.
    • Lan Fan's design is nearly identical to the main heroine of Raiden-18, yet another one/two-shot from Arakawa.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Gluttony.
  • Eyepatch of Power: King Bradley.
  • Eyes Always Shut: Falman, Dr. Marcoh, and Ling. Later, when Ling is possessed by Greed, it's more shown on how his eyes are open or closed as to who has control. A related convention is used with King Bradley: when his one eye shown is open, he's getting serious. When BOTH eyes are open, he's about to freakin' kill you.
  • Eye Scream: Mustang boils Envy's eyes multiple times.
    • Chapter 104 presents us with Pride having his right eye removed...
    • The process of Bradley becoming a homunculus cause his eye to melt.
  • Eyes of Gold: Ed, and also Al before he got stuck in his Animated Armor. They got it from their dad, and it's a sign that they're ethnically Xerxesian.


  • Faceless Eye: In a chilling scene in chapter 104, once Father essentially ascends to godhood, the eye which is in the center of the Gate replaces the sun.
  • Face Stealer: Played straight in the film Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, is revealed that Atlas did this to Julia's brother.
  • Fake Memories: Barry the Chopper suggests to Al that his memories aren't real, that Ed created him himself, and the human boy Al never existed. He's just screwing with him for giggles, but Al believes him until Ed and Winry set him straight.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Solf J. Kimblee's, although slightly averted due to his soul being incorporated by Pride before actual death. In the Brotherhood anime, after having his throat ripped out by chimera Heinkel, Kimblee's dying gasps for breath is a horrifying mix of oxygen-deprivation and drowning in his own blood. The sound is disturbingly realistic in its portrayal by Kimblee's seiyuu Hiroyuki Yoshino.
  • Fandom Nod: 503 as shorthand for Ed/Winry shipping, Ed calling the new Greed "Gree(d)ling".
  • Fan Service: Lust and Winry's skimpy outfits; Ed, Ling and Armstrong's constant shirtlessness. Several gratuitous bath/shower scenes, for Riza, Winry and Ed. The opening to season five, in which a very clearly maturing Ed is asleep and looking downright beautiful, may also count.
    • Though to be fair, Armstrong's shirtlessness may count as Fan Disservice.
    • Winry's Underboobs shot probably counts for this.
    • Winry's bath scene as well. More than enough cleavage.
    • Roy's Shirtless Scene when he kills Lust. As if he needed any.
    • In the scene at the end of episode 46 of Brotherhood, we're treated to a good three to four seconds of observing Riza put on a holster and jacket. Except the view goes from just below her nose into some very impressive cleavage, considering that she's fully covered wearing what seems to be a fairly thick-fabric turtleneck (and there is still plenty of *ahem* movement on display).
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: Xing with China and Amestris as a mix of Industrial Revolution and World War era Europe. Drachma's soldiers look like that of a Tsarist Russian Army while the Briggs troopers' attitude and their snow uniforms resemble that of the Red Army Siberian units during WW 2. The ancient nation of Xerxes seems to be a cross of Greece and Persia. The Japanese-exclusive Mangaverse/Brotherhood games suggest that Aerugo is FMA's version of Italy.
    • Fun fact: Amestris was the wife of Xerxes, King of Persia.
  • Far East: Xing
  • Fatal Family Photo: Explicitly pointed out by Roy, who uses it to warn Hughes against talking about his girlfriend on the battlefield. However, a photo of Hughes' family actually plays a direct role in his death.
    • Also played with with Hohenheim, who gets shot repeatedly just after showing his family picture to a young mother but is near-invincible and technically immortal.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: The people of Xerxes who became disembodied, dehumanised souls making up Envy's true form.
  • A Father to His Men: Roy Mustang is a prime example. Olivier also counts, if not for the fact that the "Briggs Bears" can hold up on their own. But when they really need her assistance, Olivier can be a really terrifying Mama Bear To Her Men.
    • Ling qualifies, though he's royalty rather than military personnel. He's got a really protective streak when it comes to his bodyguards.
  • Fedora of Asskicking: Kimblee sports a very, very fine hat he does.
  • Femme Fatalons/Wolverine Claws: Lust; her fingernails are an actual weapon.
  • Fighting From the Inside: Ling, once he's possessed by Greed.
    • You could also say this of Kimblee when he interferes with Pride's attempted takeover of Ed's body.
    • Greed himself pulls this on Father as he's being reabsorbed for good, using his carbonization ability to turn Father's body into charcoal.
  • Figure It Out Yourself: Izumi gives one month for Ed and Al to figure out the meaning of "All is One, One is All" before they begin their official training.
  • Finger-Snap Lighter: Roy, of course.
  • First Episode Spoiler: Al is an empty suit of armor and Ed has two artificial limbs.
  • Five-Man Band: The members of Team Mustang.
  • Flat Earth Atheist: Ed doesn't believe in God, which is strange given that he has met the man.
    • He once once went so far as to say that if he and Al ever went to see God that they would probably just be sent back. They did, and they were.
    • Making this even stranger is how Ling noted once during Brotherhood's 26th episode "Reunion" that Ed's transmutation motion resembles a prayer stance.
    • Although, no one besides Father (and maybe Hohenheim) seemed to think of The Truth as God until Father's plan to absorb Him was revealed.
    • Actually, it's more like he knows from personal experience that God doesn't grant favors, rather than not actually having belief that God exists.
  • Foreshadowing: Lots. Especially prevalent in the first episode of Brotherhood.
    • A particularly emotional one (if you know the whole story, potentially making it Fridge Brilliance/Fridge Logic) is depicted in the second opening sequence of Brotherhood, when Mustang battles Lust. In the manga, Mustang brutalizes Lust by constantly scorching her with the aid of a transmutation circle carved on the back of his own freakin' hand, until he finally kills her off for real. These events take place in episode 19 of Brotherhood.
    • An especially chilling example appears in Episode 9's Post Episode Trailer, featuring a 3-second shot of a certain phone booth...
      • Also one that's basically an in-series Funny Aneurysm Moment. During his fight with Lan Fan, Ed defeats her by leaving his automail arm as a decoy/booby trap. He explains that he got the idea from a common trick in hunting. Later on, Lan Fan eludes Wrath who's trying to kill her by chopping off her own (REAL!) arm as a decoy.
        • Could be this troper looking too much into things, but when Edward and the first Greed's battle is interrupted by the arrival of the military, Greed's words when he leaves are "See you later, kid," not "Goodbye." He gets killed soon after that, but comes back ... he really does see Edward "later."
        • Think that's looking too much into things? Try asking yourself why Marcoh calls the Philosopher's Stone "the Devil's research".
    • Does anyone else remember what Dominic said at Rush Valley!? He said that if Ed had lighter automail he'd get taller, and when Ed gets his automail replaced at Briggs he comments on how much lighter it is, and a few chapters later becomes taller
    • When callously rejecting the Ishvalan leader's offer to take his own life and spare those of his people, King Bradley is told by one of the leader's envoys that he shall suffer the hammer of God. Guess who kills him.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Averted hard in Chapter 108, when Al reveals that he and Ed never forgot about their inability to save Nina, referring to an incident that occured 102 chapters ago and three years ago in-story. Major Tear Jerker when one of the chimeras asks his motivation for his journey of roaming the land seeking to right the wrongs done by alchemy. His simple reply is, "...There was a little girl that we weren't able to save."
  • Four-Philosophy Ensemble: Roy as Cynic, Ed as Optimist, Riza as Realist, Al and Winry as Conflicted.
  • Four-Star Badass: Olivier, Bradley.
  • Freak-Out: A massive one in Scar's Backstory. He wakes up with his brother's arm and (understandably) completely loses it, killing Winry's parents in the process. The priest who was a wise, humanist and Martial Pacifist man becomes a serial killer driven by revenge.
  • Functional Magic: Alchemy
  • Funny Background Event: When the forces of good prepare to attack Central Headquarters you can spot the presence of Izumi Curtis as a pair of scary red eyes in the background.
  • Funny Money: The Amestrian Cen's value is apparently roughly equivalent to the Yen.