Template:Fullmetal Alchemist (manga)
"There's no such thing as a painless lesson. They just don't exist. Sacrifices are necessary; you can't gain anything without losing something first. Although, if you can endure that pain, and walk away from it, you'll find that you now have a heart strong enough to overcome any obstacle. Yeah...a heart made Fullmetal."—Edward Elric
Fullmetal Alchemist (Japanese title Hagane no Renkinjutsushi) follows the story of the Elric brothers, Edward and Alphonse. The brothers live in a world where those who know how to do so can practice the art of alchemy (transmuting one material into another). After a failed attempt to bring their mother back to life using human transmutation -- a forbidden, taboo practice of alchemy -- costs Ed his right arm and left leg (now replaced with artificial "automail" limbs) and leaves Al as a soul affixed to an empty suit of armor, the young brothers set out to find the legendary Philosopher's Stone, an artifact said to allow any form of transmutation without Equivalent Exchange.
Since the State tightly controls knowledge about the Philosopher's Stone, Edward takes -- and passes -- the State Alchemist Examination to become "a dog of the military" and gain access to the State's information. In addition to their own search, the brothers also do the government's work by solving problems no matter where they end up -- though, just as often, trouble finds them first. As the Elrics dig deeper into the mystery of the Philosopher's Stone and search for a way to create one, they stumble onto truths about their family and friends, the military, and even the very nature of alchemy itself -- and they also discover a vast conspiracy led by dark forces who wish to use their search for their own reasons.