Warning: This post assumes that you’ve already finished FMAB in its entirety as there will be spoilers ahead.
Fullmetal Alchemist is a series that has long been highly regarded and respected by many anime fans since its manga debut in 2001 and subsequently its anime adaptation in 2003, followed by its stellar 2009 re-adaptation Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
Growing up as a child I watched Fullmetal Alchemist ever since it first aired on Adult Swim in 2003, I knew it was an excellent series by consensus but at the time I didn’t understand why. It wasn’t until spring 2016 that I decided to watch the entire series of Brotherhood from beginning to end and I soon understood why it is highly praised.
It took until my third watch-through of the series to regard it as one of my most favorite anime of all-time. My only criticism with it is that the comedic moments got a bit overbearing, but seeing how the series is pretty dark the comedic lighthearted moments brought levity to not only the viewers but also the characters as well (Because they surely needed it). But I’m not here to simply review this series but to express what I got out of it because I find more value in that.
Arakawa Hiromu crafted a very human story, a story that displays humanity with all our imperfections but also our strengths. It’s a story about sacrifice, coming together for the common good, perseverance, death, war, racism, cabals, etc. Fullmetal Alchemist is a series that gets to the core of what it means to be an imperfect being in an imperfect world. It’s quite fitting how the Law of Equivalent Exchange, where one can’t receive something without giving something of equal value in return, forms the basis for the entire plot of the series. The creation of this work of art is like alchemy in itself the way the author put it together.
While watching Brotherhood I couldn’t help but feel that I was gazing into a magical cauldron, one that is composed of many elements that make up the world of Fullmetal Alchemist. There are many metaphors that can be applied to reality and worlds in general, for the world is like a cauldron. One in which each and every one of us play an essential role, where our choices shape who we are and the world that we live in. It’s as if there’s this mysterious force which I call God that breathes and travels through us whereby we’re all connected, hence the saying “One is All, All is One.” As in the case of Brotherhood many people “good” and “bad” entered the Elric Brothers’ lives thus shaping their understanding of themselves and their world. For what truly mattered the most about this series was not so much the end result of their journey but the detours along the way.
Recently I came to a realization in my own life, that it seems that God handpicks certain individuals to enter the scene. I’m a man with a lot of acquaintances but very few friends and when a friend does enter my door they come unexpectedly. This has occurred very recently with a certain woman (We’ll call her “Yarden”) that I work with at Domino’s Pizza. I saw Yarden for the first time during the month of January when I started working there. Over the course of March we suddenly began to become acquainted with each other. The more I learned about her, her interests, and who she is as a person, I began to fall for her.
From then on she became a reason for me to be more excited to come to work. I don’t know if Yarden realizes the feelings that I have for her, or if she’s with anyone already but those don’t matter to me. These strong emotions I feel aren’t sexual, and I’m a man who’ll reserve my body for marriage me being Muslim. I want to tell Yarden how I feel and that I desire to get to know her more as a soul and hope to collaborate with her.
This occurrence is very much relevant to what I got out of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, that there are people who enter our lives that play an essential role in our personal stories. There’s so much that I want to talk about with Yarden, so many things I’d like to share with her. I learned things about me that I’d otherwise learn at another time in life or never if I hadn’t met her. As a creation we are created in God’s image, for we are perfect in design but at the same time we’re imperfect. We all at some point in our lives have a desire to become perfect or more complete human beings. We know we have faults about us that are undesirable such as greed, lust, envy, pride, gluttony, sloth, and wrath; all of which are conveniently the antagonists of Fullmetal Alchemist.
The Dwarf in The Flask thought that by ridding himself of sin, his fallibility, that he’d become a perfect being. But in the end he merely stepped into a ball game that he would never be ready for. Thus when God confronted him, He pointed out that the reason for his downfall was that he didn’t believe in himself. The homunculi in FMA scorned human beings and praised their superiority over the population. They thought that they were perfect while we were insignificant. But boy were they wrong to a certain degree, because being not human they didn’t understand just how powerful we are as a creation. We have much untapped potential within ourselves that we don’t know about or choose not to bring out, or that is deliberately hidden from us from those who wish to keep us in a state of ignorance.
I’m a person who likes to express my ideas, who likes to think, but there are times where excessive speaking and less listening gets the better of me. Meeting Yarden made me come to a realization. We have a fascination with wanting to become awake, to ascend the Matrix, but at the end of the day we merely dream of being awake. True awakening is a painful process that requires patience and much due diligence, to not only realize that there’s much to what’s going on beyond the 3D level of reality but coming to know our inner world as well. As far as I know, I don’t know if I’ll ever truly be awakened but I at least want to be someone who listens, for one who doesn’t listen equates to one who can’t see.
Fullmetal Alchemist is a series that communicates to me that it is okay to be imperfect knowing that if I persevere I’ll be okay. It lets me know that if someone such as Alphonse loses his entire body yet still persists in his objective, then that tells me that I’m not doing enough. I can’t imagine the hardships involved in overturning an agenda that puts an entire country in great peril, that is supported by the very institutions that were supposedly put in place to serve the people. Knowing that I’m free to make mistakes, to mess up as many times as possible in Life Online, is a breath of fresh air for me. Yes I’m fallible and there’s comfort in knowing that, no I’m not perfect and I’m okay with that.
Writing this post has made me more comfortable with living with who I am in this life. I’ve made terrible mistakes that I’m not proud of early on in life, mistakes that if anyone else knew about their perception of me would greatly change. I don’t know what awaits me in the Afterlife, and I’m still afraid of death, but whatever lies beyond for me is what I’ll deserve in the end. Death for many of us is a very unknown thing, many of us don’t know what will happen. Despite all of our accumulated knowledge of the 3D universe, still are we unbeknownst to it. I hope that whatever I have to share about my life is of benefit to you the reader and may you experience Life Online at your own pace.