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Hi guys, Asad here. Again with another character guide on one of my all-time favorite animes, Fullmetal Alchemist. It is a great series. Even MAL agrees as Brotherhood is ranked number 1 with the intriguing plots of the Elric brothers. And their journey, to restore their bodies, while meeting remarkable people along the way has captivated many.
As a whole, one of the fascinating features of the series is its many incredible characters. The way each character has their personality portrayed and how they are each facing their burdens; gets quite philosophical at times.
Before We Start, Learn These
Before we talk about the characters, here are some terminologies native to the series. This portion will serve as a glossary for any term particular to the series:
Automails are prosthetics in the Fullmetal Alchemist universe. These prosthetics are usually made of iron alloys or steel. They are directly attached to the nerves and have an adjustment period. They have to be regularly taken care of, else they’ll break or corrode. Specific weather conditions have their specific automails. Other than limbs, automails can be weapons as well.
Alchemy is an ability in the series. It mainly consists of three elements, i.e., Understanding, Deconstruction, and Reconstruction. Each part requires a deep understanding of the material being transmuted. Alchemists usually draw alchemy circles for the channeling of their powers. But those that have seen the Truth don’t need Circles. Alchemy works on the law of equivalent exchange.
All alchemists are forbidden from doing three things: Human sacrifice, Human transmutation, and Turning objects into gold.
The Philosopher Stone is not really a stone. It is liquid that is made of the lives of many individuals. Alchemists are usually restricted by the Law of Equivalent Exchange. But they can bypass it using the philosopher’s stone.
The stone is a myth at the beginning of the story. But as the story unfolds, the stone is found to be fundamental to everything.
Homunculi, are artificially created humans, sustained through a philosopher stone. They have a set number of lives meaning they have to be killed numerous times to die. In the series, there are eight homunculi. Each has its unique characteristic.
A State Alchemist is the Alchemist of the military. These are given the rank of Major, and their specialty is killing. Although, a State Alchemist also undertakes research. The military government provides the funding for the State Alchemist. Every State Alchemist is given a silver pocket watch by the government.
The Map of Amestris
The Map of Amestris is divided into five portions, i.e., East, West, North, South, and Central. Hostile countries surround Amestris. Drachma, Creta, and Aerugo are the neighboring countries. The most important one in the series is Xing, in the east, which is separated from Amestris by a desert.
The Most Important Characters Of The Series
Here is a list of the most loved characters that shape the story of Fullmetal Alchemist (the storyline and the character arcs from the manga will be followed here).
#1 Edward Elric
Edward, a talented alchemist, is the protagonist of the series. Ever since his childhood, Edward has been a curious and foolhardy boy. He is always straightforward about his thoughts and emotions. Although he becomes the youngest State Alchemist, he still has some childish quirks.
A short fifteen-year-old, Edward is characterized by his blonde hair with a ponytail. He wears a red cloak with the symbol of the Flamel. Having an automail for an arm, he covers his hands with white gloves. Edward’s leg is also an automail.
Edward is stubborn and petty. He is also a cynic and doesn’t shy away from saying things. But behind his demeanor, Edward is a softie. He cares for everyone that has helped him and his brother along their journey. Edward also feels responsible for the life of others.
Although not capable of expressing himself, his brother’s personality mediates Edward’s deficiencies. The relationship between the two brothers is one of the attractive elements of the manga.
Edward Elrich is surprisingly strong for his size. He can perform alchemy without the use of a transmutation circle. Edward makes use of the environment to give him an advantage in fights. As the manga progresses, Edward also learns to deconstruct and carbon hardening.
#2 Alphonse Elric
Alphonse is the younger brother of Edward. He is a year younger than Edward, but he looks up to him. Alphonse is talented in Alchemy, like Edward. But unlike Edward, he is soft-spoken and kind. Alphonse had lost all of his body during the transmutation of their mother. Edward has sacrificed his arm to affix his soul to the armor. Alphonse is often mistaken as the Fullmetal Alchemist for his appearance.
Alphonse is an empty, tall and large armor. The armor is steel-colored with a slight shade of turquoise. The armor itself has a unique design, i.e., the tuft of threads from the top of the head, the two parallel lines under each cheek like warpaint, and the loincloth around the waist. As if it symbolizes Native American culture. Alphonse’s armor has his brother’s alchemy circle.
Alphonse is more mild-mannered than his brother. To serve as a contrast to his brother, he is patient and calm. He keeps Edward’s short temper in control. His kindness is equal to both enemies and foes.
Due to his soul being fixed to the armor, Alphonse doesn’t get the same psychological growth as other children. This might be because his body doesn’t get to experience emotions. Sometimes, he regrets not being able to cry or laugh. It takes an emotional toll on Alphonse’s heart.
Alphonse is talented at fighting like Edward. His brother claims that Alphonse is even better at fighting than him. Since neither fatigue nor pain affects him, he becomes more formidable. Coupled his attributes with his large frame and Alphonse becomes unstoppable. Later on in the manga, Alphonse also becomes capable of using alchemy without a transmutation circle.
#3 Roy Mustang
Roy Mustang plays a vital role in the series. Labeled as the Flame Alchemist, Roy Mustang has high and lofty goals. He wants to become the Fuhrer of Amestris to change the world for the better. Roy is admired by his subordinates and inspires loyalty.
Roy is an attractive young man with messy dark hair and dark eyes. There are only rare occasions where Roy is seen out of his military uniform. Before an ensuing battle, Roy wears white gloves with the Flame Transmutation circle drawn on them.
Roy is a calm and collected character. He rarely shows emotions. For this reason, many people call him self-centered. He isn’t bothered by what his subordinates think. But he does care for them. His affection for his Subordinates is shown throughout the series.
To achieve his goal to become a Fuhrer, he is willing to do anything. Often, he avoids his paperwork, but when it comes time to do something in the field, he quickly seizes on the opportunity.
Although not possessing the physical prowess similar to other fighters, Roy Mustang is athletic. He moves quickly and steadily to use his fire alchemy. He channels his alchemy through his gloves by snapping his fingers. He is a talented alchemist even among the State Alchemists. Through his high intellect and political maneuvering, he obtains the rank of Colonel at a young age.
Scar is an Ishvalan survivor. Ishvalan is an ethnicity in the Eastern part of Amestris that was wiped out by the military when the civil war between the two factions took place. Scar is consumed by hatred of Amestrians and vows to kill all the dogs of the military, i.e., the State Alchemists.
Scar has brown skin color and red eyes, distinctive features of an Ishvalan. He usually covers his red eyes with black glasses. He is of tall height with a well-built physique. His right arm was lost during the civil war, so his brother attached his arm to Scar. The attached arm of his brother has alchemic runes tattooed on them.
Scar can always be seen brooding. Consumed with hate, Scar wants to kill all the Amestrian State Alchemists. He justifies his killing as an act of the Ishvalan God.
He is skilled in close combat. Despite having a large frame, he is agile. He can parkour and uses the environment adeptly. He becomes formidable by combining his combat skills with his power to disintegrate with his right arm. He uses his physical gifts well with his intelligence.
#5 Van Hohenheim
The father of the two Elrich brothers, the history of whom is shrouded until the later part of the series. But Hohenheim plays a crucial role in the story. He is an ancient being that has been able to live centuries due to being a human philosopher stone. His alchemy skills are extraordinary, and the Elrich brothers inherit their minds from him.
Hohenheim is a tall man with broad shoulders. Like Edward, he has long blonde hair held in a ponytail with two long strands coming from the center. He also has a blonde Old Dutch beard on a fairly squared face. The blonde color and the golden eyes indicate his Xerxesian heritage.
Hohenheim was once a slave. Given immortality, he lived his life with guilt. Not having any meaning to his life, he was hard on himself. That is until he met Trisha. He wanted his wife and boys to live. For them, he regretfully left his home.
The powers and abilities of Hohenheim come from his philosopher stone. He cannot age nor die. He can transmute objects without an alchemy circle. He can even perform alchemy without moving. Hohenheim can use his exceptional skills in numerous ways. But since he knows that he is using the life energy of the people of Xerxes, he feels ashamed.
#6 Winry Rockbell
Daughter of two doctors killed in the Ishvalan Civil War, Winry is an automail mechanic. She grows up in Resembool with the Elric Brothers and is their childhood friend. Winry has a caring attitude towards the Elrich Brothers. She wants to help them restore their bodies.
An attractive young woman, Winry has long blonde hair and blue eyes. She wears a bandana over her head. Her skin is pale. Winry’s casual clothes include a skirt and a black jacket over a sleeveless white blouse.
Winry has an energic personality. She is impulsive like Edward, but she is also empathetic. She is not afraid to show her kindness to others. Her romantic feelings for Edward are shaded by her hot-headedness. Although, she does not realize her feelings for him till the final portion of the manga.
Winry is passionate about automails. In many manga panels, her eyes twinkle when she sees a well-made automail. Her passion for automails has another reason as well. The body of Edward needs to be constantly examined. To help him better, she moves to Rush Valley to become a better mechanic.
#7 Maes Hughes
Hughes is a relatively normal military officer in a world of alchemists and homunculi. Being the best friend of Roy Mustang, Hughes wants Mustang to become the Fuhrer. He is a doting father and husband and loves his family very much. He has a likable personality that attracts others towards him. For this reason, his death is emotional.
Hughes is a tall man with black hair. He is usually seen in a uniform except when he is home. Over his eyes, Hughes wears square-rimmed glasses. He has a scruffy beard.
One of the most cheerful personalities in the series, Hughes is adored and respected by many characters. Sometimes other characters get irritated by Hughes’ loudness and openness to emotions. The Lieutenant Colonel is infatuated with his wife and daughter. He shows every single person their picture and keeps talking about them non-stop.
Working in the Investigation Office at Central, Hughes is bright. His intelligence leads to his death as the homunculi do not want their plans to leak that Hughes figures out. He is talented with knives but cannot hold back the immortal beings and is killed.
#8 King Bradley
King Bradley is the Fuhrer and one of the antagonists of the series. He is also a human-turned homunculus called Wrath. The youngest and the only that age.
King Bradly is an old man that wears an eyepatch over his left eye. He has short black hair and is never seen in the series without a uniform. He kind of has a bushy mustache. His right eye is green, while the other eye has the Ouroboros sign around the white. For fighting, he usually keeps a sword attached to his waist. But he uses two when he gets serious.
Bradley has two faces. The face he shows everyone else is the face of the kind Fuhrer that cares for his family and his people, who is kind and soft-spoken. He also runs away from work and likes taking strolls. But this face is only a façade. The other face is of the homunculus, whose a loyal servant of Father. He is Wrath. Being ruthless and uncaring, he will stop at nothing to execute Father’s will.
Bradley has superhuman strength and speed. He is adept at using swords as well. From having years of experience, first as being trained for becoming the Fuhrer, and second, for fighting many battles, Wrath becomes formidable.
He is not hesitant to target one’s weakness to win. In a one-on-one battle, he might be the most formidable antagonist. His ultimate eye ability allows his surroundings to slow down. And predict the movements of his opponents.
#9 Ling Yao
Ling Yao (aka Lin Yao) is not a native of Amestris. He comes from the country of Xing. During the story’s events, Xing is in turmoil as the current King is near death. The current King of Xing has multiple heirs vying for the throne. Ling Yao is the twelfth crown prince of Xing.
Xing aims to obtain the Philosopher Stone. It would allow him to become the next King of Xing. Caring for his people, he wants to lead the people of Xing to new heights and bury all the old hatred.
Characterized by his easy-going personality, Ying is a tall young man. Although fifteen, he looks for his age. His physique is athletic. Ying usually wears eastern clothes.
While Ying may seem light-hearted, he is passionate about his people. He knows his mission and is willing to do everything to execute it. But where Ying is determined, he also cares deeply about others. His compassion is displayed when his vassals are in trouble.
Ying is a skilled fighter who is knowledgeable about Eastern Martial Arts. His ability to use different kinds of weapons, combined with his shrewd acumen, make his fighting style distinct and unique. The charisma of Ying also helps him a lot as a leader on the battlefield.
#10 Alex Louis Armstrong
One of the most likable characters in the series. Louis Armstrong is a very kind military official and also a State Alchemist. He comes from the lineage of the aristocratic Armstrong family. For his strength and temperament, he is respected by many characters, such as the Elrich brothers and Mustang.
Standing at 212 cm, Major Armstrong is a tall man. Most characters in the story are shorter than him. He is completely bald except for a single tuft of blonde hair coming from his head. A thick blonde mustache covers his face. The facial features of the major are broad. But because of his blue eyes, Armstrong gives a kind aura.
The personality of Major Armstrong is what is known as deconstructing the stereotype. Although having a heavy physique and an aptitude to get stronger, the Major is soft-hearted. He gets emotional when a tragedy is told. Unlike most other characters, the major is slow.
The Major also likes helping people. During the Ishvalan war, he felt that he had failed considerable people. Not wanting to repeat the past, he makes an extra effort.
Major Armstrong has two main attributes. One is strength. The other combat alchemy. The fighting style of the Major combines the two in a variety of ways. Usually, the punches of Armstrong are strong enough to blow away the strongest of enemies. In close combat, the Major is difficult to face. The tenacity with which he fights is no joke either.
#11 Envy the Jealous
Envy is a homunculus created from the envy of Father. Envy can shape-shift. He has a loud personality which is hated by everyone.
Because he is a shapeshifter, he does not have a single form. Usually, he moves around as a young man with a thin build. Envy has long hair and violet eyes. He wears a black crop top and a skirt. His head also has a band with a triangle on it.
His forms are two. In the first one, he resembles a giant green chimera-like figure. Heads are protruding out of his shoulders. They actually represent the many lives of his Philosopher’s Stone. In his second one, he resembles a bug with a largemouth.
Envy can shapeshift. But even after shapeshifting, the body’s weight remains the same. Therefore, Envy packs a heavy punch. However, Envy cannot copy the skills of the person he imitates.
Envy also has the powers of immortality, regeneration, and self-sustenance.
#12 Lust – The Ultimate Spear
Lust is the first antagonist shown in the manga. From the start, she has a mysterious aura surrounding her. As the name implies, Lust uses seductive techniques to gain information and help Father with his motives. Her death is met at the hands of Roy Mustang.
Lust is a beautiful woman. Her skin is pale, and her flowing black hair cascades down her back. Her chest is adorned with an Ouroboros tattoo. Lust is usually in a black dress with black gloves.
Lust has a tendency to torture. She liked playing with her opponents through her intelligence. Lust is composed in most situations. But if she is backed into a corner, she lashes out.
Gluttony is attached to Lust like a pet is to a dog. But she did act motherly towards him. With Envy, she was always patronizing.
Like all the other homunculi, Lust has the powers of regeneration and enhanced physiology. Other than this, Lust has the Ultimate Spear. Using this ability, she can extend her fingertips into sharp claws. Hence, making her adept at long-distance battles.
# 13 Greed – The Ultimate Shield
Greed is a homunculus who has escaped his siblings. His avarice has a yearning for everything. Greed, however, is more than meets the eye. Even though he may not show it, Greed is more compassionate than his other siblings. He cares a lot for his subordinates.
Greed has two forms. One is a human form which is a tall, muscular man. His notable features included purple eyes with thin pupils and sharp teeth. In his homunculus form, his body becomes coated with grey carbon. Greed becomes invincible to bullets and missiles in this form, earning him the moniker Ultimate Shield.
His ambitions are summarized as wanting everything. He wants money, men, women, status, fame, and everything. Because of his nature, he runs away from his siblings, believing that he would not get everything if he continued to work under Father. So he went underground and became a crime lord.
Greed does not age and has rapid regeneration. After obtaining Ling Yao’s body, his Ultimate Shield becomes even stronger with the martial arts of Ling Yao.
#14 The Dwarf in the Flask – Father
Father is the main antagonist in the story. His goal is to become God. Known as the First Homunculus, he is created from the blood of Hohenheim. To become entirely rational, he cuts off his human elements in the form of other homunculi.
In his flask form, Father has a shadowy figure and an eye. The entity behind the Gate of Truth also has an Eye. It is suggested that the Dwarf was created from the eye as he resembles it a lot. But when a human, he resembles Hohenheim. Although his skin paler and he wars worn-out robes.
Father is an intriguing personality within the series. He yearns for perfection and wants to stand above anyone else. But Father has contradictions in his nature. Even though he says he doesn’t want a family, he has the homunculi call him father. Even if Father doesn’t want to feel emotions, Father still gets angry. He believes himself to be self-righteous. Maybe why the Gate of Truth consumes his whole.
#15 The Truth
The Truth is a vital character to the plot of the series. Although it may be considered more of a concept than a character itself, he does have material existence.
If a philosophical idea could be materialized, it would have the shape of Truth. The Truth takes the white silhouetted picture of the one trying to transmute humans. He is always white and is sitting across from the trespasser.
The Truth refers to himself as the One, The World, The Universe, All, the One, and You. It is the only self-description that the character gives. Some suggest that Truth is a personal God and the guilt tied to recreating a human person. Others believe that Truth gives the Alchemists what they want, yet he cannot provide them with everything as it will consume the alchemists.
Truth only has power if humans transgress natural laws and try to bring the dead back to life. He cannot be injured or hurt. The Truth works on irony. He “steals” what the Alchemist holds dear the most. This might be a form of his punishment. But Truth does this to make the transgressor realize to cherish what he has rather than what he doesn’t.
Question: Who is The Strongest Alchemist in Fullmetal Alchemist?
Answer: Following is the list of the top 8 most dominant alchemists.
• Van Hohenheim
• Tim Marcoh
• Roy Mustang
• Izumi Curtis
• Edward Elric
• Alex Louis Armstrong
The formidable antagonist Father is the strongest of them all. As he uses high-powered alchemy and can prevent others from using their abilities. He plays the role of the villain in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Most of his power comes from the fact that he is the original homunculus and the Philosopher Stone.
Question: Who are the Seven Homunculi in the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood?
Answer: Following are the seven homunculi created by Father from the philosopher stones, which were made from the souls of the Xerxes citizens in the Fullmetal Alchemist series ranked by power:
They are named after the seven deadly sins that Father discarded to become perfect
Question: Does Ling Become a Homunculus?
Answer: When Ling Yao lets the homunculus, Greed take control over his body, he gets the unique abilities of his philosopher stone, which are instant regeneration and ultimate shield. However, he loses those abilities when the Philosopher Stone is sucked out.
FullMetal Alchemist Character Guide: Final Thoughts
Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the greatest manga written. With the well-made plot and the separate engaging stories of the characters, it has secured its place in the hearts of millions. While having relatable content, Fullmetal Alchemist also makes one think about the nature of things.
I hope I have achieved my goal to enlighten you about the great personalities of these characters and make you want to start watching them. Until the next promised date, have fun reading the manga.