(鋼の錬金術師, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi
?, literally "Alchemist of Steel"), is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa. The world of Fullmetal Alchemist
is styled after the European Industrial Revolution. Set in a fictional universe in which alchemy is one of the most advanced scientific techniques known to man, the story follows the brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric, who want to restore their bodies after a disastrous failed attempt to bring their mother back to life through alchemy.
The manga was serialized in Square Enix's Monthly Shōnen Gangan
magazine (starting August 2001 and ending June 2010) and currently has 25 tankōbon
volumes. It was adapted into an animated television series of 51 episodes by Bones from October 4, 2003, to October 2, 2004, later followed by a film sequel that concluded the story of the anime. Fullmetal Alchemist
would later spawn a second series called Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
, which first premiered in Japan on April 5, 2009. Another feature film will follow the end of Brotherhood
. A multitude of spin-off novels, original video animations (OVAs), drama CDs, soundtracks, and video games have been adapted from the series. A collectible card game, multiple supplementary books, and a variety of action figures and other merchandise based on the characters of the series have also been released.
The manga has been licensed by Viz Media for publication in the United States, with twenty-two bound volumes released currently. Although there are no major differences with the Japanese version, some pages have been edited to avoid minor references to western theology. Funimation Entertainment has dubbed the anime episodes in the United States and Canada, and has also released them in all English-speaking DVD regions. The English version of the film premiered in a limited number of U.S. theaters on August 25, 2006, and was later released on DVD. Funimation and Destineer have also been releasing the video games from the series.
In Japan, the Fullmetal Alchemist
manga has enjoyed exceptional sales of 40 million volumes sold as of 2009. The English release of the manga's first volume was the top-selling graphic novel during the year 2005. In two TV Asahi web polls, the anime was voted #1 most popular anime of all time in Japan. It was nominated in six of the eight categories for which it was eligible at the American Anime Awards in February 2007, winning awards in five of them. Reviewers from several media generally had positive comments on the series.
Edward and Alphonse Elric are two alchemist brothers searching for the legendary catalyst called the Philosopher's Stone, a powerful object which would allow them to recover their bodies (which were lost in an attempt to bring their mother back to life through alchemy). Born in the village of Resembool from the country of Amestris (アメストリス, Amesutorisu
?), the two brothers lived there with their mother. Their father, Van Hohenheim, left home for unknown reasons and years later, their mother, Trisha Elric, died of a terminal illness leaving the Elric brothers alone. After their mother's death, Edward became determined to bring her back through the use of alchemy, an advanced science in which objects can be created from raw materials. They researched Human Transmutation, a forbidden art in which one attempts to create or modify a human being. However, this attempt failed, ultimately resulting in the loss of Edward's left leg and Alphonse's entire body. In a desperate effort to save his brother, Edward sacrificed his right arm to affix Alphonse's soul to a suit of armor. Some days later, an alchemist named Roy Mustang visited the Elric brothers, and he told Edward to become a member of the State Military of the country to find a way to recover their bodies. After that, Edward's left leg and right arm were replaced with automail, a type of advanced prosthetic limb, created for him by his close family friends Winry Rockbell and her grandmother Pinako.