Fanart Friday returns, reminding you to drink your milk so you don't end up as a midget-midgy shorty-short like Ed. Or my roommate. Last week, we got all girly with our favorite shoujo series, but this week we're focusing on a worldwide favorite--Hiromu Arakawa's Fullmetal Alchemist!
I'm usually a lot harder on newer titles as opposed to older ones, but Fullmetal Alchemist won me over very quickly with its really well-developed characters and solid adventure-story structure. Having an intense, terrifying conspiracy under the surface, along with fast and smart action made it even better. Fullmetal Alchemist is a favorite of anime and manga fans all across the world, so of course fans are going to be inspired to make fanart! Just beware--the series ended a while ago, so I'm gonna be pretty liberal with the spoilers!
DISCLAIMER: None of the art presented is the property of myself or Crunchyroll. All characters and series are tm and © their respective creators and corporate owners. All art is the creative property of their respective artists. Any artists who wish to have their work removed from this article may contact me, and appropriate action will be immediately taken.
If there's one thing that Fullmetal Alchemist is about, it's brotherhood family. Unlike plenty of other anime and manga where families are either incredibly dysfunctional (Hunter X Hunter's Zoldyck family) or trying to get into each others' pants (Kiss X Sis), it's refreshing to see two siblings who actually act like siblings.
But on the other hand, the series also talks quite a bit about duty and responsibility. In a strange twist for a shounen title, Fullmetal Alchemist talks about the consequences of war not only for the civilians caught between warring sides, but the soldiers who have to basically commit atrocities in the name of their government.
Finally, the series talks about what absolute power is, and the consequences--and cost--of using it recklessly. Ed and Al are on a quest to get their bodies back, but is it worth it? They already failed once bringing their mother back, and with people dying all around them, should they see this through to the end?
If you've only seen the first anime, this guy's going to be a total stranger to you--but Ling (and his awesome bodyguards) are one of the best parts of the manga and Brotherhood.
But really, truly... the single best part of Fullmetal Alchemist is this guy, Major Alex Louis Armstrong. LET HIS MUSCLES CLEANSE ALL YOUR DOUBTS AND WORRIES AWAY!
The Dwarf in the Flask--or "Homunculus," or even "Father," whatever you want to call him--is a really intense and terrifying villain. Building him up from fairly early on in the series, I don't think he even showed up in the 2003 anime--they had to come up with their own (still pretty intimidating) villain for the endgame.
For the Japanese dub, Lust is portrayed by Kikuko Inoue. For the English dub, she's played by Laura Bailey. I'd call this a win-win situation. <3
WHOA HOLY CRAP. Gluttony's normally kinda cute... which means that when he shows his true colors, it's not pleasant at all.
On the other hand, I never really liked Envy. Revealing his true form only proved that he was as much of a monster on the outside as he was on the inside.
Greed's not really that bad of a guy... he's just a jerk. He doesn't have any designs of ruling the world or killing a bunch of people, he just wants stuff.
But once Ling takes over as Greed, does he really have the same motivation? I'd say... kinda? I guess? Things change pretty quickly when the "new" Greed is created.
Just to make things clear--that thing called Wrath in the 2003 anime is not the embodiment of wrath. It was the embodiment of emo, and terrified screaming. Fuhrer King Bradley is a more appropriate embodiment of wrath, and he shows why, with a callous disregard for all human life.
Creepy little kids are pretty hit-or-miss--it's a kid for crying out loud, they're very easy to defeat even in large numbers--but Pride is someone you don't mess around with. When you have a creepy little kid and massive shadow demons trying to eat all your limbs, it's best to just turn and run.
Sloth is not only physically the strongest Homunculus, he's also blindingly fast, which is absolutely terrifying. His literal sloth--as in laziness--also makes a hell of a lot more sense than the 2003 anime's Sloth, who... turned into water?
Looking at the 2003 anime's Homunculus (left) and the actual bad guys from the manga and Brotherhood (right) side-by-side, it's kind of jarring. Granted, the 2003 anime built up toward a pretty good conclusion, but some of the changes they made feel kind of strange.
While we're talking about freaks of nature, we can talk about--oh hell, I can't do it. Hohenheim goes through so much just trying to undo all the crap that he's only partially responsible for. He's a man's man! Just not quite as manly as Armstrong.
Or any Armstrong, really, with Olivier Mira Armstrong proving that rule. In addition to portraiture, wood-cutting and various other skills passed down for generations through the Armstrong lineage, I'm beginning to think that they have a "you must be this badass to keep the family name" requirement.
Actually, on that note, I love how Fullmetal Alchemist doesn't have the typical stereotypes for female characters, like "the super-moe one" or "the one with really big boobs." They're characters in a story first and foremost, and the series has little to no fanservice.
Ed and Al are pretty awesome on their own, but they don't hold a candle to their teacher, Izumi Curtis, or her brawny husband Sig. Watching Izumi effortlessly fight two spry kids while reading a book was impressive.
Mei Chang and her fierce pet panda Xiao-Mei are here to kick ass and take names! At first, they seem like total token characters, but they end up being surprisingly important to the rest of the story!
Now, I love Hawkeye and all, but who the hell names a dog Black Hayate? And in Japanese, he's called Black Hayate-Gou (ブラックハヤテ号), implying that it's a unit number instead of a name!
Er, uh... no, no, it's a perfectly fine name!
Y'know, there's enough moving parts in Ed's automail arm that he could easily transmute it into like... a chainsaw or a grenade launcher, but sticking with something simple and effective like a blade works just fine.
It's part of why I like Mustang's abilities--nothing fancy, he just lights 'em up.
Sorry, Lan Fan... it's never gonna happen. Never ever.
With his tanned skin, frosted tips, and sick tribal tats, Scar looks like kind of a tool. While he grimly murders his way through his first few appearances, he actually turns out to be a pretty cool guy!
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Al is gentle, considerate, loves small animals and takes care of his friends. He also balances out the Elric brothers by being a much better physical fighter than Ed, which is hilarious--who knew that the little brother would be the tougher one?
Here's the "ending party" for the last storyarc--honestly, I'm surprised the bad guys fared as well as they did! Then again, the good guys had a lot going against them...
Let's get one last look at the Elric brothers before we call it a day. These guys make for great, conflicted heroes, and their journey sucks. It's not an adventure, it's a quest for redemption that turns into a bloody fight for survival.
Although I have to admit, the load is made a lot lighter by these dorks.
Once more, with feeling: HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGHES T_T
And on that wholly depressing note, I think we're done for today!
As always, your art is welcome here, regardless of your skill level or experience--send me your work and I'll make sure to include it in a future installment! For those of you wanting to get a head start on next week, we'll be having a spoooooooky HALLOWEEN-themed edition!
What are your favorite moments from Fullmetal Alchemist? Do you prefer the manga, the 2003 anime, or the 2009 reboot Brotherhood? Sound off in the comments!
Once again, thanks for checking out Fanart Friday, and I hope everybody has a great weekend!