Fullmetal Alchemist Beginner’s Guide: Everything You Need To Know

What if anything was possible if you knew the recipe and were willing to pay the price? full metal alchemist takes place in such a world, a steampunk reinvention of our own reality where alchemists can do just about anything. At the same time, however, all this power and control comes at a price. Those who are unwilling to pay that price or who have misunderstood the enchantments they are invoking will find themselves desperately wishing they had not meddled with forces beyond their comprehension.

Edward and Alphonse Elric are two such alchemists, and now they must roam the lands in hopes of righting the wrongs their irresponsibility has caused. As Edward wields two false limbs and Alphonse is permanently trapped in a suit of armor, they must battle rogue alchemists while trying to fix their bodies. However, if this all sounds a bit confusing, fear not, as this Fullmetal Alchemist beginner’s guide will have you ready to sit down with the series in just a few minutes.

Who created Fullmetal Alchemist?

Hiromi Arakawa is the mangaka behind Fullmetal Alchemist. He was inspired to write the story during his own reading about the ancient practice of alchemy and how those who believed in the magical art always sought out the fabled Philosopher’s Stone, a mythical artifact that could change one thing into another.

The socially aware Arakawa also wanted to cover social issues that paralleled our own reality. With this goal in mind, he spoke to people from all walks of life, including refugees, war veterans, and former Yakuza members. Still, even with all these heavy, heady themes at the helm, he wanted the series to remain enjoyable, so Arakawa made sure to inject plenty of humor into the story.

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What is Fullmetal Alchemist about?

full metal alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist follows the brothers Eduardo Y Alfonso Elric. After the loss of their mother to illness, the two study their father’s alchemy books in hopes of finding a way to resurrect her. Unfortunately, Edward loses a leg and Alphonse’s entire body is lost in the equivalent exchange. Worse, they don’t get his mother back from him, so finally, in one last desperate attempt, Edward switches his arm to bind Alphonse’s spirit to a nearby suit of armor.

The two later enlist in the military as state alchemists and travel across the country trying to bring rogue alchemists to justice. Still, the two never give up their hope that they can get their bodies back and live an ordinary life again. However, as they uncover new secrets from the government agency they serve and encounter mysterious creatures called homunculi, the brothers realize their lives are about to get more complicated than ever.

What is the difference between the two series?

There are two anime series based on the Fullmetal Alchemist manga. The first is simply titled full metal alchemist and follows the basic plot of the manga for much of its run. However, Arakawa, who created the manga, encouraged the animation studio Bones to create a different ending than the one she came up with. For this reason, the further the series progresses, the more it departs from the source material.

Since some fans were disappointed with these changes, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood came to be. The newest series, Brotherhood, is a more faithful retelling of the original story, although it still contains many plot elements and storylines from the first adaptation.

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Where to watch Fullmetal Alchemist


Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is available to watch on various online platforms including Crunchyroll, Funimation, HidiveY Hulu. It is also available to purchase physically on Blu-ray.

The original series, on the other hand, is a bit harder to track down these days. Fortunately, we discovered that the series is available to watch ad-free on Zoro.to. However, depending on how you view things from a moral point of view, you may not agree to watch the series on the site as they do not have an official license to stream it. If that’s the case, you might consider buying the series in its physical form on Amazon.

Where to read Fullmetal Alchemist manga

The home of all things Fullmetal Alchemist, including manga, art books, and novelizations, is Viz Media. You can also order collections through Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

If you prefer to read it digitally, you can do so through Comixology or Amazon’s Kindle service.

What about the Fullmetal Alchemist movies?

full metal alchemist
full metal alchemist

There are multiple movies that take place in all iterations of this series. The first is Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa. This film picks up the cliffhanger at the end of the original series and concludes by bringing the Elrics’ story to an end and showing their final battles with the remaining homunculi.

Next up is Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood – The Sacred Star of Milos. This movie is generally considered to be non-canon, but it serves as an entertaining extension to the world of the second anime nonetheless.

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Finally, there are two live-action adaptations of the series on Netflix. Although none were particularly well received, you may still find them valuable as a curiosity or a Sunday afternoon distraction.

Anime You Should Try After Fullmetal Alchemist

If you like the dark magic and horrible alchemical creations of Fullmetal Alchemist, as well as his heroes in search of redemption, crazed is a great option to dive in next. However, keep in mind that Berserk is much darker than Fullmetal Alchemist and contains much more disturbing and adult elements.

If you’re looking for something newer that has state magic users fighting rogue elements, fire force could be worth it. The series focuses on pyromancers trying to stop the entire world from burning down, you guessed it: fight fire with fire.

Finally, Death Note follows a young man battling forces he definitely shouldn’t mess with, but imagines the opposite outcome, which is that his protagonist commands the magical tome and uses it to change the world.

READ NEXT: Neon Genesis Evangelion Beginner’s Guide: Everything You Need To Know

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