Anime Alchemy

I recently started with an anime which had been on my to-watch list for quite some time. In fact, I remember getting acquainted with the name Fullmetal Alchemist back from the days when I had first got introduced to the world of anime through the TV channel, Animax. Anime hadn’t quite captured my interest back then. As a result, Dragon Ball Z remained the sole anime I would tune into for a long time. However, over the last three years I have had the pleasure of watching some great animes (read Steins;Gate, Death Note et al). So, I finally decided to give Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood a shot after all these years. I couldn’t have been gladder that I did.

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Great plot, fascinating characters

The show revolves around the art of Alchemy, as made obvious by the title. Going by the show’s definition, it is the art of comprehending, deconstructing and reconstructing matter.

The key aspect of the art (or science) of Alchemy is the Law of Equivalent Exchange. It states that in order to obtain or create something, something of equal value must be lost or destroyed.

Quite subtle really; often ascertaining values can be tricky. This is something the protagonists, the prodigious Elric brothers, find out the hard way when they commit taboo by trying to resurrect their dead mother. From there on, they start their journey for redemption. Quite the journey it has been so far!

Edward, the elder brother, enlists in the military as a state alchemist; a glorified human weapon. A number of fascinating characters enter their lives and a good number of them leave as well. I am 15 episodes in with 49 more to go. But the show’s already vying for a spot among my all-time favorites with a thought-provoking plot and well-crafted characters. Themes of redemption, revenge, power and relationships are explored. The search for the legendary philosopher’s stone is a classic case of humans (and other beings as well in this case) trying to become something greater than mere mortals through forbidden means. The stone is said to allow the wielder to bypass the necessity to abide by the Law of Equivalent Exchange you see.

It’s a fascinating show to say the least. Hopefully, it will get better as it progresses and some days down the line another post would review the complete show.

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