"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. In those days, we really believed that to be the world's one and only truth." - Alphonse Elric, describing the fundamental law of Alchemy.
It is the early 20th century in an alternate universe: one where Alchemy - the science of acting on the basic structure of the world, breaking things down and then reshaping them as desired - is the preeminent field of science. Almost anything can be fashion and refashioned via alchemy, provided the alchemist is willing to pay the price.
Edward Elric is just such an alchemist. While he and his younger brother Alphonse attempt to bring back their dearly departed mother, an accident - a miscalculation - occurs. Ed loses his left leg; Al his entire body. Ed captures his brother's soul and binds it into a huge suit of armor, at the cost of his right arm.
Edward has prosthetic "automail" limbs implanted to enable him to move and fight. Every storyline chronicles the Elric brothers' quest to find the fabled Philosopher's Stone, a catalyzing agent that can bypass the fundamental law of Alchemy, in the hopes of restoring their bodies back to normal.
Edward joins the state military, becoming the youngest person ever to be verified a state-ranked alchemist, and is entitled the "Fullmetal Alchemist," a title that makes reference to both his metallic anatomy, and "metal" stubbornness.
The Manga, written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa, began serialization in August 2001 with Square Enix (then Enix) and was completed in June 2010. It remains one of the most most popular mangas worldwide.
In 2003, the original manga was loosely adapted for television by Bones Animation. It ran for 51 episodes across two seasons. Fullmetal Alchemist quickly became, and still is, one of the most celebrated and popular anime series in Japan. In 2005, a major motion picture, Conquer of Shamballa, was released in Japan.
In 2009, a second adaptation was released by Bones Animation, dubbed "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood." The 64th and last episode aired July 4, 2010. It follows as faithfully as possible the manga series. One last film is expected.
Since 2005, Square Enix have developed five games based on the original anime on PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo Wii. Unlike the celebrated manga and anime series, the video game franchise has enjoyed only lukewarm reception, mostly due to having little to no semblance on the actual canon of either series.
Differences Between The Anime and Manga
- In the manga, Doctor Marcoh does not die
- In the anime Tucker somehow turns himself into a chimera, and in obsessed with bringing Nina back, but in the manga Scar killed Tucker and Nina/Alexander at the same time.
- Barry the Chopper does not die
- In the manga, Greed is defeated by Wrath and subsequently boiled alive by Father. In the anime, he was killed by Ed.
- In the manga, Lust is killed by Roy rather than Wrath.
- In the manga Envy has no apparent relations to Hohenheim or Ed.
- In the manga a second Greed appears.
- Gluttony's death is different in the manga.
- The main villain of the manga is Father, while the main villain of the anime was Dante.
- Greed was never held at laboratory 5 in the manga.
- Greed's chimera friends were killed by Wrath in the manga.
- The Wrath of the manga is Pride in the anime, while Pride has yet to be truly seen in the manga.
- Dante and Colonel Archer do not exist in the manga, while the Xing characters and Father do not exist in the anime.
- Kimbley has yet to have an important part in the manga.
- Sloth is not in anyway similar to Trisha Elric, in fact, we have yet to see an actual clear picture of sloth in the manga.
- Lust in the anime is trying to help Scar and Edward, however in the manga, she's not half as nice....
- In the anime Lust is killed by Wrath, and in the manga, Roy is the one who kills her.
- In the manga homunculi are not created from a human transmutation that was given a Philosopher's Stone, though we haven't been told how they're made yet.
- The date on Edward's watch. Oct.3.11 (manga) and Oct.3.10 (anime)
- The city that disappeared in one night. In the anime, it's an old city that is under Amestris, but in the manga, it is the city of Xerxes, (that's now in ruins) which was once located in the Great Desert between Ishvar and Xing.