Magical Mondays: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and the Consequences of Alchemy

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Elric BrothersA while back I talked about Dragon Ball Z and how it handles death and raising the dead in a previous Magical Mondays post. To recap, I found the way Dragon Ball Z went about this to be lacking. DBZ didn’t offer nearly enough consequences or limitations on its magic, and as a result, the narrative suffered. Raising the dead—or rather, attempting to—is a big part of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and unlike DBZ, the story sets hard limits on its magic that are never broken. This means that the characters are never able to pull a deus ex machina and instead they have to operate within the story’s rules in order to learn about themselves and develop as characters.

Trigger warning for body mutilation up ahead.

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Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: Discrimination in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Elric BrothersI recently started rewatching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, and as the series is nearing its end again, I got to thinking about how it handles religion. The show does have some motifs in it that I would consider to be similar to Abrahamic religions—such as the monotheistic faith of Ishvala and Scar wearing a giant cross on his leg during his crusade—but for the most part, I would argue that any of the religions in the story are not representative of certain faiths. It’s hard for me to say whether or not Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has good religious representation, because while the story has numerous religious elements, it’s not all that concerned with exploring or developing its different faiths. Instead, the narrative is much more focused on exploring the realities of and condemning religious discrimination.

Spoilers for the anime below the cut!

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