Saturday, July 10, 2010

Fullmetal Alchemist

Just started watching the second series of Fullmetal Alchemist called Brotherhood. For those who don't know this is another anime series. It is probably my most favorite anime series yet. It follows the story of two brothers who are alchemists. I have decided to talk a bit about some stuff from the series.

First I will tell you a bit about the story. ***There are spoilers for those who have not seen the series so BEWARE.*** And I will not speak in the same order that the original series happens; I will try to present things in the correct chronological order.

The boys, Edward and Alphonse, grow up with their mother. When they were around 9 and 8 years old, their mother got sick and died. By this time the brothers were talented at the art of alchemy, a science of understanding, deconstructing and reconstructing matter. Well the brothers are extremely distraught over this loss and they vow to bring her back no matter what. When they finally have the materials and knowledge to attempt the transmutation of humans, they attempt to bring their mother back. In the process of committing this taboo, Edward loses his left leg and Alphonse loses his entire body. They end up creating something that is not human at all. Edward cannot lose his mother and brother, so he binds his brother's soul to a suit of armor that was in the room by giving up his right arm. Al awakens in a suit of armor without a real body. He brings his older brother to their neighbor who works with mechanical prosthetic limbs called automail. They give him a new arm and leg. This is the basic motive for the rest of the series. The brothers wish to get back their bodies by any means necessary.

Ok, so that was way more than a bit, but I assure you there is almost nothing of their actual adventure here.

So the boys spend the entire series trying to get their bodies back. Along the way Edward becomes a state alchemist, which is essentially a soldier. He works as part of the military and tries to find out the military's secrets on the philosopher's stone. The stone has mystical powers and doesn't follow the law of equivalent exchange. "Humankind cannot gain anything without giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy's first law of equivalent exchange." This is the only way that Ed and Al could get their body's back to normal. If only it were that simple.

The boys run into all kinds of trouble and meet many people both good and bad that they befriend or defeat. They find out a lot about both the stone and themselves. Some of these lessons have a science versus religion type of light to them. Others have a political corruption type of story. So many ideas that are almost inspirational. Through the troubles the brothers become stronger and bond together more than ever before. They face enemies that are diabolical and some who were simply steered in the wrong direction.

There is so much more behind the story that I have no mentioned, but I have actually driven way off track. I have given much more about the story than I originally planned. Oh well.

I was originally writing this because I wanted to reveal some of the themes and lessons learned from the story.

Probably the most memorable lesson that the brothers learned in the series was "humans are not gods". The brothers learned this many times through the series. They originally believed that they had unlimited power and potential. They were able to do anything. Then they try to bring back their mother. This is the first time they see it. Then again later on. Ed feels helpless when he tries to save his one childhood friend after his arm has been taken (without it he is not easily able to transmute anything). He is trying to fight with a huge disadvantage and feels completely helpless. He is scared for the first time in the show during this instance. Then later he is unable to save a girl after she was transmuted into a chimera by her father. This episode by the way was the second saddest point in the series. I can't help but tear up. Another time one of their close friends is killed in cold blood by things whom the brothers were after. He had a wife and a child that were left behind. This is the saddest part of the series. This one I actually start crying at. The brothers lose so much and really do find out that they are not gods. They are humans that are restricted by the limits of the human condition. It is a lesson that everyone has to learn on their own. Scientists aren't gods, athletes aren't, musicians aren't, military men, businessmen, workers, no one. No one is a god. We are all just helpless humans trying to survive in a world that is too big for us.

There were also a lot of things that happen in the series that revolve around political corruption. It happens early that the brothers get leads on the stone that involves several high ranking officials in the military. There is more than meets the eye however. This revelation of several officials being against the country has others questioning more than just these few. This is how the friend of the brothers' is lost. He finds out somethings that he shouldn't have. It progresses with other people discovering even more about the corruption. The series closes with a horrible revelation that more than a few people are not who they say they are.

The after-story is a much more confusing topic, so I will not talk about that. It leads more into religion and parallel universes and stuff like that. If you want to really find out the whole story, watch it yourself. Fullmetal Alchemist, then the movie Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa.

There is also the second series that I discussed earlier. This series is much the same as the first. It is just longer and the story is actually in a less-confusing chronological order. There are also a few parts that are changed a bit. But so far much of the story is the same. I don't know what will happen with the rest of the series though. I will just have to see. Well that will be all for now.

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