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Fullmetal Alchemist, a Japanese manga series, is written by Hiromu Arakawa. It was firstly issued in monthly Shonen manga anthology magazine, published by Square Enix between July 2001 and June 2010. It contains 27 volumes. The manga is also adapted into two animated series and two movies. The first animated series, Fullmetal Alchemist, aired on television from 2003 to 2004, followed by a remake titled Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood in 2009.
The series is set in a fictional universe of the 20th century. It examines the social aspects of human life, like insuperable brother’s love, family, friendship, war, sacrifice, discrimination, etc. It is primarily focused on two brothers, Edward and Alphonse, also known as the Elric brothers, and Alchemy is the focal point in the series.
Fullmetal Alchemist combines mixed genres like science fiction, action, adventure, comedy, drama, and fantasy. Mind-boggling and unexpected plot twists, strong characters, epic character moments, laudable fight scenes, and a blend of action and humor have made it a favorite of children and adults alike. The most commendable things about the series are character portrayal and development.
One of the protagonists, Izumi Curtis, a master alchemist skilled in Martial art and a loving housewife, became a favorite of young girls and boys alike. Before we explore the fascinating and admirable character of Izumi Curtis, let’s recall what happened in the series to refresh your memory and to help you understand her in a better way.
Izumi’s Role in the Plot of the Series
Edward and Alphonse Elric lived with their mother, Trisha, in Resembool. Their father, Van Hohenheim, a famous Alchemist, left them suddenly when they were too young to remember. Trisha fell ill and lost her life to an epidemic. The Elric boys were traumatized due to their mother’s death and their father’s absence.
They took a plea to a woman skilled in martial arts and Alchemy, Izumi Curtis, to take them as her pupils, and teach them the skills of physical combat and Alchemy.
Ed and Al felt lonely after the death of their mother, and that’s when Ed came up with the idea of bringing their mother back through the human transmutation-a forbidden act with grave consequences. After the failed attempt, Ed lost his arm and a leg, while Alphonse lost his whole body, and his soul got attached to metal armor. Ed later got an automail arm and leg attached to his body by Winry and Pinako Rockbell.
Edward was advised by Lt. colonel Roy Mustang to become a State Alchemist and avail state resources and research material to bring their bodies back. Edward became the youngest state Alchemist with the title of Fullmetal Alchemist at the age of 12. They burned down their home to never go back. They began their journey of finding the mythical philosopher stone to restore their bodies.
The Elric brothers traveled across the country. In Central, they got attacked by an Ishvalan war survivor, Scar, who was on an Alchemist killing spree to avenge the deaths of the Ishvalan people. A clue given by Dr. Marcoh led them to a laboratory where philosopher stones were forged and faced the homunculi there.
Homunculi were the seven evils in the series: Lust, Gluttony, Envy, Greed, Sloth, Pride, and Wrath. Later, it was revealed that they were forged by “Dwarf in the Flask” (The Father) using his blood. He wanted to achieve godhood by assimilating the being beyond the Gate of Truth on the Promised Day.
Ed and Alphonse, with the help of Lt. Colonel Ross and his subordinates, uncovered the Government and military high command’s involvement with the homunculi and set out the journey to erase them.
Through Hohenheim, they found out about the Promised day. The Elric brothers, Roy Mustang, Scar, Izumi, and others faced the father in the final battle. He was defeated and dragged by Ed into the Gate of Truth, and Ed gave up his alchemy abilities to restore Al’s body.
The series depicts the Elric brother’s journey of rectification and fighting the evils. Their paths crossed with other protagonists with similar aims. Ed and Al owed their alchemical abilities and Physical combat skills to their master, Izumi Curtis.
She trained them to not only be physically strong but mentally as well. Izumi was a beacon and mentor throughout their journey. They shared a common curse, as she too performed the act of human transmutation. Izumi’s training and teachings left a profound effect on their lives, and their journey was a representation of what they learned from her.
Izumi’s dark past, loss, illness, and use as a human sacrifice did not come into the way of her strength and courage. She fought till the end with vigor and never gave up.
Characters That Played a Paramount Role in Izumi Curtis’s Life
To understand Izumi better, let’s take a look at the characters that were closest to her.
The Elric Brothers
Edward and Alphonse were the two young Alchemists. After they lost their mother, they decided to pursue the art of Alchemy. This search led them to a Master Alchemist, Izumi Curtis. Izumi hesitated in the beginning and refused their plea. But when someone mentioned that they lost both their parents, she agreed to teach them.
Izumi took the hard road with the boys. In the preliminary round, she deserted them on an Island in Yock Island for one month. The first rule was to not use Alchemy, and the second was to learn the meaning of “One is all, all is one.” If they were successful, she would take them as her pupils. The boys did not disappoint their master, and their journey of love, companionship, and respect started on that island.
Izumi loved the boys as her own. They came to her life as compensation for not having a child. She held them close to her heart, and she was nothing but a mother to them. Izumi cared for them and loved to cook food for them, and she openly called them family.
The Elrics respected her as their elder, and she was the only person the Elrics could turn to in times of hardship. During the train trip to Dublith to see their master, their trust was noticed when Alphonse asked Edward why they were going. Edward replied that he wanted to regain his physical and mental strength, and she was the only person who could help him.
Izumi was the one who protected them, backed them up, and fought for them when they needed it the most. She forgave them when she learned about their transgression and attempt at human transmutation. She understood the pain of losing both parents at a very young age.
Izumi was a source of guidance for Elrics till the end. She was their confidant, sensei, and, nonetheless, mother.
Sig Curtis, a big strong man with muscular stature, was the doting husband of Izumi Curtis. They owned a meat shop in Dublith and led a happy married life. Izumi and Sig met in the northern regions fighting off the bears. It was love at first sight, and though they both were rather tough from outside, they were completely smitten by each other.
Izumi and Sig adored each other and were an excellent paradigm of a healthy relationship. The way they conversed with each other in incredibly soft and romantic language was just beautiful and song to ears.
Izumi took great pleasure in calling herself a ‘passing housewife.’ and considered it her only achievement in life. My favorite was when after taking down a giant Sloth, Olivier asked her who she was, and Izumi said, “just a passing housewife and an Alchemist.” Her persona of being tough and monstrous turned all into roses when she was near Sig. She took pride in Sig’s love.
Sig and Izumi were protective of each other, or I’d rather say they were obsessed with each other. They took exceptional care of each other and held each other’s back till the very end. Sig fought alongside Izumi to overthrow the Amestrian Government and even followed her when she went to Devil’s Nest.
She thought highly of her husband and called him a ‘fine’ man. The way they both fought Sloth together was nothing but a relationship goal. Like any other wife, she used to get jealous when women wooed Sig. Still, when the perverted Chimeras were flirting with Izumi, Sig felt the same.
The way an angry-looking and tough man like Sig turned into a man-child near his wife was adorable. He was her protector, even though she was not the type of woman who needed protection. The way he went angrily for Hohenheim’s throat when he ‘stabbed’ Izumi showed how much he valued her and how afraid he was of losing her.
Their love language was Izumi throwing knives at Sig and Sig catching them between his fingers. They held each other in times of hardship, and Sig greatly regretted not knowing Izumi’s intentions of bringing her dead child back. They both shared the grief of not having a child, but Sig always comforted his grieving wife and took great care of her during illness.
Izumi Curtis, A Passing Housewife!
Izumi, an Amestrian, aged 36, is a grown woman of a slender, well-toned athletic figure and tall height. Like any other Amestrians, she has a fair skin tone, with deep and dark eyes. She has mid-length hair, often worn in box braids and tied in a high ponytail, with few streaks coming out framing her face. She is depicted as a strong and tough woman with muscles.
She has a Flamel tattoo of deep blue shade above her left breast. Izumi mostly wears a white-colored, long, button-down collared blouse that reveals her cleavage of flowing backside. She wears grey-fitted pants reaching just above her ankles and open-toed slippers with letters W.C. on them. Although this attire remained throughout the series, she can also be seen wearing grey half-sleeved shirts with black fitted black pants.
Izumi Curtis, a self-taught alchemist, martial artist, strong-willed, and independent woman, was nothing but the epitome of female empowerment and modern femineity. She was kind, loving, soft-hearted, and brave. Izumi was everything a strong woman should be. Her persona reflected how mentally strong she was and how firm her beliefs were.
A Woman of Great Resolute:
Izumi was a brave woman. She survived on North Briggs Mountain for a month with nothing but a machete to gain the apprenticeship of Silver Steiner. She faced extreme cold weather, wild animal attacks, and assaults from Briggs mountain patrol. She was given the names like “Drachma Spy” and “A Mysterious Mountain Woman.” She learned that Steiner was dead after coming back from the mountain. From then she decided to continue Alchemy training by herself.
Izumi never failed to stand up for what she believed in. She never turned her back on the battlefield. She fought in front rows, and her combat style was a treat for action lovers.
A Fearsome Trainer
It would not be an understatement to say that she was intimidating. Her presence in a room demanded attention from everyone. She left a strong impression on every person she encountered. Whether it was the Elric brothers, King Bradley, Alex, and Olivier Armstrong, everyone was impressed by her strength and martial arts, and of course, her alchemy skills.
She was a disciplinarian and a strict teacher. She did not hesitate to beat up the boys to teach them a lesson. She was hardening them and preparing them for the perils of the world. Her way of training was unique. The scene where she was reading out the rules of alchemy while fighting them was my favorite. Whatever the boys learned about Alchemy or Martial arts, it was because of her.
Not only did they revere her, the Elrics feared her to death. The mere thought of facing the teacher sent chills through their spines, and they did not want to disappoint her at any cost. The scene of them shivering at the thought of facing their teacher was hilarious. Even Sig told them not to get themselves killed by her. When they reached Dublith, they jokingly said that “they hope she isn’t home.”
A Spiritual Leader
Izumi was a spiritual leader. Upon losing all the battles, they turned to her to regain their mental and physical strength. She was the only one who could take them out of a dark tunnel and put them on the right path.
Izumi had vast knowledge of martial arts and alchemy. The boys went to her to know more about the philosopher stone. But she said she did not know about it as she was not interested. Her lack of interest was not from a lack of curiosity. She had faced the Truth and crossed paths with it once, and she did not go down that path again. She had already risked everything, and she was not ready to do it again.
Izumi was the one who coined the term “one is all, all is one.” She was a curious and open-minded person, which allowed her to observe her surroundings and understand that all living things were connected.
Her attempt at human transmutation to bring her stillborn child did not change her only physically but also mentally. She lost several organs as a result of performing the forbidden act. She became ill and was often seen vomiting blood after doing strenuous work.
She never complained about it and accepted her fate. It was not that she did not want to rectify her mistake or bring her health back, and she was just too afraid to traverse that path again. It depicted how much self-reflection and self-realization she had. Sig and Izumi met Hohenheim in the central, where he rearranged her organs to make them work to the fullest. Her health did get better, but her organs were never retrieved.
Izumi was intelligent and insightful. She gave the boys the biggest lessons of life. Izumi taught them to survive independently and on their own, and she taught them how to survive when nothing and no one was there.
She believed that the first rule of Alchemy was to learn to live without it. When Sig mentioned that boys must be suffering alone, she replied that there was no substitute for real-life experience. A teacher could never teach them what they could learn by being on their own.
Her teaching techniques were remarkable, and it could be witnessed through the mental and physical capabilities of the Elric brothers.
Izumi disdained the military and did not want to be a part of it. When King Bradley asked her to become a state Alchemist, she refused mockingly, saying that ‘Is this country so strained as to require the help of someone like me?.’ She even got angry at Ed for becoming a dog of the military.
A Mother After All
Despite her stern and authoritative nature, Izumi was usually motherly and tender toward children. It might be because she could not have children of her own. Izumi often illustrated this side of her personality towards the children around the town.
She showed this same kindness towards Edward and Alphonse when she learned that they were orphaned. She even sent Alphonse away before she passed away to save him from yet another agony of seeing someone he cared for die.
Izumi was emotional and understanding. She sensed that her pupils had made the same mistake as her and regretted not telling them before about her attempt, as that could have stopped them from doing the same. Izumi understood what the boys went through and forgave them. She removed them from her pupil ship but treated them as her friends and colleagues. She even agreed to help Alphonse bring his memory back and find a way to go back as before.
Izumi was humble and had a humanist nature. She reaffirmed the importance of doing things with her own hands whenever possible and how dangerous it was to lean on alchemy as a crutch. Because of this belief, she was not seen performing Alchemy as much as others.
Izumi was a self-taught, extremely skilled, and knowledgeable Alchemist who excelled in alchemy’s research and combat. She could consciously manipulate matter and natural energy, and her alchemy focused more on her immediate surroundings.
Izumi preferred creating large spears as metal weapons during combat (Edward could be seen doing the same following his master). From creating a wall to control the flow of water, knocking out the opponents by disrupting the flow of ions in their nerves, and restraining individuals by manipulating earth and stone, she could do it all within a matter of seconds.
Izumi’s alchemical and combat style was almost theatrical and over-the-top, as it could be seen where Ed got his flashy alchemy style from. Her signature style was a concrete fist coming out of the ground to throw away her opponents.
Transmutation without Circle
Izumi was among the few alchemists who could perform alchemy without the transmutation circle. She had opened the gate of the Truth by performing human transmutation, and she owed this ability to that failed attempt. Izumi could transmute by touching her palms together and creating an energy circulation with her arms.
She used her own will as a substitute for the necessary runes. Her transmutations were not only instantaneous but also versatile, and her mixture of alchemy and combat was unique and impressive.
Izumi was known for her theatrical style of combat and martial arts. She was undoubtedly one of the strongest characters in the series who could take down giants like Sloth with her only one arm. She could handle and subdue multiple opponents and was extremely powerful in armed and hand-to-hand combat. Her ginormous strength and beastly powers were even superior to the Armstrong siblings.
Some Epic Scenes of the Series
Izumi vs Sloth
One of the most epic scenes in the series was when Izumi took down a giant-like sloth with the help of her muscular (and ‘fine’) husband. The Armstrong siblings and armed forces were losing the fight against homunculus as he could retrieve another life within seconds.
They were exhausted and almost ready to give up. That’s when Izumi entered through a door that she transmuted, and her entrance was hilarious. She and Sig fought and beat down Sloth within seconds. When Olivier asked who she was, she replied that she was just an ordinary housewife and an alchemist.
Izumi and the Devil’s Nest Pub
It was Izumi and Ed who rescued Alphonse from Greed and his Chimeras. They kidnapped him and took him to the Devil’s Nest to extract information about attaching a soul to the armor. Izumi’s strength, vigor, and protective nature were displayed as she fought off the homunculus.
Izumi, a savior for the people of Resembool!
The first encounter The Elrics had with Izumi was when the people of Resembool were faced with heavy rains and floods, and the water barriers were broken down. Izumi was passing from the town when she heard people crying for help. She came to the scene and built a berm using her alchemy skills that stopped water from overflowing. Elrics, inspired by her alchemy, decided to become her pupils and learn from her.
The Promised Day
Izumi was one of the five human sacrifices (humans who survived opening “The Gate”) brought into the lair by “the father” on the Promised Day. They were forced again to open the gate by the father. Izumi and the other four human sacrifices unleashed their combined effort to defeat him. She transmuted alchemical spikes to shoot and collapse a column on him but failed. She was saved from a blast by Hohenheim acting as a shield.
Why Do I love Izumi Curtis?
Izumi Curtis, a woman with strong arms and a soft yet persistent heart, will always be my favorite female protagonist ever portrayed in any manga. The inclusion of independent and courageous women by Arakawa in the Fullmetal Alchemist was a top-notch act.
It was impressive and way ahead of its time that she made women have the same (and even superior) powers as men and made them stand out from the rest of the characters. The fact that the heroes have learned what they know from a woman made this manga special for me. Izumi’s character had great depth and dimension, and it was relatable as well.
She portrayed women’s qualities to the finest. She didn’t make her one-dimensional hero of the series who could not make mistakes. She made her vulnerable. She made her human. The depiction of how Izumi made a mistake and learned a lesson from it and how it changed her is remarkable.
I loved this humanistic yet romantic aspect of her character. She was not perfect, but she was not claiming to be. She owned her dark past instead of running away from it. The fact that she limited the use of Alchemy in her daily life and reaffirmed doing things with her own hands showed her level of guilt. She learned that not everything of desire could be gained, but she did it the hard way.
I loved Izumi as a mother. The love she had for her child was unimaginable and extraordinary. She went to the extremes of performing the cursed act of Human transmutation to bring her child back. She was intelligent and knew what the consequence would be, but still, she did it.
This showed what a child means to a mother and the extent she can go for her child. The depiction of a dead child’s soul crawling towards Izumi on the Promised Day and her reaction to it was heart-wrenching.
When she learned from Ed that the child she transmuted was not her actual child, Izumi was relieved that she did not put her child through death again. She felt happy and a different type of satisfaction and this was the extent of her love for her child.
She found a family in Elrics and treated them like her own children. Their relationship was the best part of the series. The mutual respect, love, care, compassion, and understanding they shared were unparalleled.
I also loved Izumi as a wife. Her acting around Sig was heartwarming, and their love was exemplary. Izumi regretted making her husband go through what she did, and she lamented that Sig had to see her ill. Their relationship shaped her character and left a profound impact on her personality.
I adored Izumi as a fighter too. Her fight sequences were a treat for action enthusiasts like me. Her theatrical and flashy combat style was awe-inspiring, and her fight scene with Sloth was spectacular.
Izumi is a woman who was warm and kind in her relationships and strong enough to beat down giants single-handedly. The amalgamation of all these aspects in her character made her memorable and a favorite for me.
Trivia and Fun Facts
Have you ever wondered what W.C on Izumi’s sandals stood for?
Izumi Curtis could be seen wearing sandals that had letters W.C imprinted on them. These initials are believed to stand for “water closet.” They are slippers commonly used in Japanese culture for casual use in the house. It is fascinating and a clear example of her humble personality and apparent pride in being a kind and simple housewife.
Do you know when and how Izumi met the love of her life Sig?
Izumi first encountered Sig in the Northern Briggs region when she was just 18 years old. Izumi was carrying a dead bear on her shoulders when she accidentally bumped into Sig. Their encounter was nothing short of a scene out of the movie. She was immediately fascinated by him. Sig picked up the bear and gazed at Izumi’s eyes. They called it love at first sight, and it was the start of their never-ending love. They got married and settled in Dublith.
Do you remember Izumi’s rage at being called old?
Just like any other middle-aged woman, Izumi hated being called old. Although she was in her thirties, she looked particularly young for her age, and it was unfair to call her an old lady. Her reaction to the word was uproarious.
Do you know the meaning Izumi’s name holds?
Izumi could mean Spring or Fountain in the Japanese language, and Spring represented birth or a new life. It was ironic for a character like Izumi, who lost her only child and could not bear more children due to failed attempt at human transmutation. While Fountain perfectly suited her, it represented a person in touch with her inner depths, including positive and darker sides.
Do you know Edward and Alphonse used the same Flamel symbol as Izumi?
Izumi Curtis bore the Flamel symbol tattooed on the left side of her chest. The exact mark was imprinted on the back of Edward’s red coat and the left shoulder of Alphonse’s armor. This mark represented their tutelage and homage paid by them towards their teacher, Izumi Curtis.
Question: Did Izumi die in Fullmetal Alchemist?
Answer: Izumi’s death was not shown in the manga. But in the sequel “Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa,” it was revealed that she succumbed to her prolonged illness and died. Although her internal injuries were reduced by Hohenheim, she still lost the battle for her life. In her last days, she sent Al away to save him from watching a loved one die again.
Question: Was Sig also an alchemist?
Answer: No, he was not an alchemist despite his intimidating and powerful personality. He had great physical strength and a muscular body (over which he bonded with Alex Armstrong). He was a simple butcher who ran a butcher shop with his wife, Izumi, in the southern Amestrian town of Dublith.
Question: Which organs did Izumi lose?
Answer: Izumi lost several internal organs owing to her failed attempt at human transmutation. It was not mentioned which organs she lost. But it was believed that they were her reproductive organs, as she became permanently unable to carry a child again.
Question: Was Izumi an Amestrian?
Answer: Yes, she was. She was born and raised in the western region of Amestris and was named Izumi Harnet on her birth.
Question: Which Homunculi did Izumi fight in the Fullmetal Alchemist?
Answer: Izumi, a master Alchemist, faced and beat down the homunculus Sloth along with her husband. She rescued Alphonse from Greed, and she also came face to face with “The Father” on the Promised Day.
Fullmetal Alchemist Izumi Curtis Character Guide: Final Thoughts
Izumi, a self-trained alchemist and highly skilled martial artist with strength, courage, vigor, and kindness, inspires many young children, especially girls. She will go down in history as one of the best female protagonists to ever exist in the world of manga.
Her personality oozes out charm and character. The way Arakawa made a woman the master of the main protagonists is exemplary. She is what a determined, independent and self-sufficient, and modern woman looks like.
Despite being so staunch and rugged, she never lost her femineity which is depicted through her kindness, motherly instincts, love for her husband, and care for The Elrics. Her character is not only written beautifully but also executed to perfection. Her physical strength, mixed with the warmth and softness of her heart, makes everyone fall in love with her.