There always is a time for any anime/manga casual reader that he/she truly becomes a fan, usually because of a series that manages to completely blow the reader away. For me, it was the 2003 anime Fullmetal Alchemist.
For those who don’t know, Fullmetal Alchemist is a manga written, created and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa, probably one of the most famous female mangakas. The catch, though, is that the manga ran until 2010, while the original anime adaptation aired in 2003, which means it diverged from the manga quite early on.
Well, Fullmetal Alchemist is, at its core, the story of two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, who lost a lot. Their bodies, their mom, their dad and even their childhood. All were lost. But they don’t give up and go through a journey to find again what they lost and meet a lot of people along the way. And this journey is what was truly wonderful about it.
The Elric brothers meet a lot of people along their journey and this allows the anime to touch upon a huge variety of themes, from parenthood to growing up to love to family to dealing with the past. All of these things amazed my young self and made me realize that anime could be deep and not just a passing entertainment.
But it also made me come to a wonderful realization: life is complex, contrasting both what is wonderful in humanity and what is savage about it. One scene that still impacts me to this day is when Ed realizes that life is part of a bigger cycle and that this cycle won’t stop, no matter how important our life may seem to be. That, at first, crushed my younger self. How could I not be important to the way the world worked?
But that was a necessary realization for me to reach. Life’s cycle doesn’t stop, but that doesn’t mean life isn’t important. While we could never hope to completely change the world, humans always strive to be as impactful as they can be and to live life to its fullest limits. And that is the biggest thing I took out of Fullmetal, but not the only thing.
It also showed me how important friendship is. Roy and Hughes bromance was, for a long time, what I thought was the perfect friendship: a deep connection between people who overcomes differences of distance, position and even family. Hughes seemed to annoy Roy, but that was just then joking around. Deep down, they understood each other and completed each other. Today, it is not my only ideal friendship, but it still is something that deeply impacts me.
After reading the manga and developing my own opinions, I realize that its latter part wasn’t as great as I originally thought, but this doesn’t negatively impact how powerful and impacting Fullmetal Alchemist is.
Fullmetal Alchemist truly defined a lot of things for me that I could never have realized on my own. Today, I know I own a lot to it and only now I realize just how much it influenced me. Now I fully understand how humane Ed and Al were during their travels and how powerful the relationships can be and how life is just a wonderful, wonderful thing.
Thank you for reading!