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Hiromu Arakawa and Fullmetal Alchemist

Page history last edited by Caroline Dougherty 11 years, 8 months ago


Hiromu Arakawa and Fullmetal Alchemist (Hagane no Renkinjutsushi)




Anime: 51 episodes (finished), animated by Bones

Manga: 77 chapters (and counting)



Arakawa-san’s early life



-         Raised on a dairy farm in Hokkaido

-         Had five sisters

-         Constantly drew, especially in textbooks

-         Influences: Suiho Tagawa, the author of Norakuro, and Hiroyuki Eto, the author of Mahoujin Guru Guru for Shonen GanGan



Creation of Fullmetal Alchemist



-         Arakawa-san’s first serialized work; serialized in Square Enix’s Monthly Shonen GanGan

-         At first, just the idea of using the Philosopher’s Stone, but after more research into Alchemy, grew into Fullmetal Alchemist; “I was more attracted to the philosophical aspects of it than the practical ones.” – Hiromu Arakawa

-         Setting based on Arakawa-san’s travels through Europe; specifically modeled after post-Industrial Revolution England

-         Has an ending planned for the manga, but wanted the anime to be different from the manga, so they evolved separately, diverging after Episode 33 (anime) and Chapter 29 (manga)

-         While she knows plot-points, she doesn’t know how characters react; she grows along with her characters





Plot of Fullmetal Alchemist



“After their mother's death, Edward Elric and his younger brother, Alphonse, try using alchemy to bring her back to life. Unfortunately they do not fully take into account the Law of Equivalent Exchange which requires a sacrifice of equal value to what one hopes to achieve. Not only do they fail to revive their mother but Edward loses an arm and a leg and Alphonse loses his entire body, forcing his soul to remain confined to an empty suit of armor. Seeking a way to restore their bodies, Edward becomes a State Alchemist and the brothers begin a long search for the legendary Philosopher's Stone, an object purported to allow its users to ignore the Law of Equivalent Exchange.” - IMDb






Major Characters



-         Edward Elric: A stubborn and heard-headed youth with an Automail arm and leg, Edward became a State Alchemist at the age of 12, earning the title Fullmetal Alchemist. He has no greater love than that for his brother, Alphonse, and the two search for the Philosopher’s Stone, only to find there is more to Alchemy than they could ever know.

-         Alphonse Elric: After Al’s body was destroyed in the failed human transmutation of their mother, Edward sacrificed his arm to attach Al’s soul to a suit of armor. He constantly accompanies Edward on their search for the Philosopher’s Stone.

-         Scar: An Ishballan out for revenge for the Ishbal Massacre by the State, Scar kills State Alchemists by deconstructing them with his mysterious right arm, which seems to beget nothing but destruction.

-         The Homunculi: Mysterious villains clad in black, the Homunculi each have the names and personalities of one of the seven deadly sins – Gluttony, Lust, Envy, Greed, Wrath, Sloth, and Pride.




Themes of Fullmetal Alchemist



Equivalent Exchange:



“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.” – Alphonse Elric



-         One of the first themes Arakawa-san developed for the series

-         Reminiscent of her life on the dairy farm; "Those who don't work, don't get to eat!"

-         “That’s why people work hard at anything they do, ‘cause it pays off.” – Edward Elric



Ishballans vs. The State:



“Well, there’s something that’s had me afraid. Those red eyes.” – Edward Elric



-         The Ishballans were displaced by the State after the Ishbal Massacre; they are no longer free

-         Exemplified by Scar’s vendetta against State Alchemists

-         Has its roots in Arakawa-san’s upbringing in Hokkaido, where there are many Ainu, Japan’s indigenous people

-         "My ancestors were farmers and homesteaders who displaced Ainu and stole their land from them. But ironically enough, some of my own relatives have Ainu blood in them. That seems complicated, but it's just an everyday fact of life to have neighbors of differing ethnicity." – Hiromu Arakawa



Science vs. Religion



“Science will find a way. Science is the answer to everything. If I were you, I'd drop the scriptures and pick up an Alchemy book. We're the closest things to gods there are.” – Edward Elric



-         Ed’s blind faith in science always finds him at odds with religious peoples, such as Scar, the Ishballans, and people of Liore

-         The brothers later find that science can’t encompass everything, and there are many unanswerable questions



The Outsider



“Long ago, this body did have a holy name, given by God… but that person died years ago, from a life of sin, malice, and retribution.” – Scar



-         Scar: Self-exiled from his people for his brother’s work with Alchemy (which is forbidden to Ishballans), and his search for revenge; exiled from Amestrian society because he is Ishballan.

-         Edward Elric: Despised by many because he became a State Alchemist at a young age, or because he is short; despised by his military peers because he is young and headstrong.

-         Alphonse Elric: Due to his soul attachment to empty armor, Alphonse strikes fear of the unknown to those who discover his secret.





Manga Moosings - Hiromu Arakawa: http://www.mobuta.com/arakawa/

And my vast knowledge of Fullmetal Alchemist


See also: Anime 

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