10 Things You Didn't Know About Fullmetal Alchemist

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Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the most popular manga and anime in history. Most anime fans know the show's basic premise: the Elric brothers' quest to return their bodies to normal after a botched attempt to bring their mother back from the dead using alchemy. But there are plenty of behind the scenes Fullmetal Alchemist facts you may not know anything about. 

Even if you've seen both FMA 2003 and Brotherhood, you might not realize the Ishvalans – a fictional ethic group who experienced persecution at the hands of Amestrian soldiers – are actually based on the real Ainu people, an indigenous group native to Hokkaido.

Other things you didn't know about Fullmetal Alchemist could include the fact the creator of the original manga, Hiromu Arakawa, got the concept of equivalent exchange not from principles of alchemy, but from what her parents told her about working hard on their dairy farm.

Just like the main storyline, the behind the scenes of this show is full of secrets. 

  • 1
    152 VOTES

    The Original Manga Has A Memorial Section

    The Original Manga Has A Memorial Section
    Photo: user uploaded image

    Death occurs so often in Fullmetal Alchemist; it can be easy to ignore individual demises that don't involve major characters in favor of moving on with the plot. The show creator Hiromu Arakawa refuses to allow readers to forget, though.

    After each manga volume, there's a memoriam section for deceased characters' names and likenesses. The memorial panel has only been left blank six times, proving how rare it is for characters to exit the story unscathed. 

    Before the final volume, Arakawa wrote, "Spoiler prevention in effect for the final volume" instead of listing out deaths.

    The memoriam section shows the creator's respect for her characters and likely her respect for human life.

    152 votes
  • 2
    196 VOTES

    Hiromu Arakawa Interviewed Real WWII Veterans

    Hiromu Arakawa Interviewed Real WWII Veterans
    Photo: Viz Media

    Fullmetal Alchemist creator Hiromu Arakawa planned to write extensively about characters going through the pain of war, so she wanted to make sure she got all the facts right.

    To achieve this, Arakawa interviewed WW2 veterans to learn about their experiences as soldiers. As a result of Arakawa's interviews, several characters in the show exhibit symptoms of PTSD.

    Though her interviews were sometimes harrowing, they were also occasionally funny. In volume 15 of the manga, Arakawa drew an illustration of herself asking one of the veterans about his eating habits.

    196 votes
  • 3
    169 VOTES

    The Show Creator's Parents Influenced Certain Concepts

    Hiromu Arakawa got many of the ideas about alchemy and the other philosophical constructs that crop up in Fullmetal Alchemist from both Eastern and Western sources. However, one of the series' central constructs, the law of equivalent exchange, came from a far more personal source: her parents. 

    Arakawa grew up on a dairy farm in Hokkaido, and if you didn't work, you didn't eat. She shared:

    If you are lazy, you will only suffer hardships at the end. Our ancestors were the pioneers who came over to Hokkaido, their stories were passed down by word, but they lived in perfect accordance to the principle of equivalent trade.

    This probably means Edward Elric would actually make a great farmer.

    169 votes
  • 4
    132 VOTES

    The English Voice Actors Created A Fan Video

    It's not just the fans who love Fullmetal Alchemist enough to make fan works. The people involved in the show's production honor the show too.

    The English voice actors created a short fan video called Fullmetal Fantasy, in which everyone cosplays as their respective characters. According to Vic Mignogna, who funded the film with his own money, Hiromu Arakawa expressed her approval.

    The video has been featured multiple times at anime conventions, but can no longer be shown due to copyright issues. 

    132 votes
  • 5
    124 VOTES

    The Show Creator Bought Military Prop Guns For Artistic Reference

    It's clear Hiromu Arakawa cares deeply about representing the culture and history she draws from to create the Fullmetal Alchemist world.

    However, Arakawa also cares about accuracy in less abstract areas. In order to correctly draw the weapons in her anime, she actually bought replica prop guns for reference. Her characters use guns appropriate for their time and station. Riza Hawkeye uses two FN Model 1910s and a Karabiner 98K—a WWII German sniper rifle.

    Arakawa kept the prop guns in her office while drawing the manga. 

    124 votes
  • 6
    127 VOTES

    The Franchise Has A Recurring Background Character

    The Franchise Has A Recurring Background Character
    Photo: Viz Media

    If you're not a major Fullmetal Alchemist buff, the name Mobuo Mobuta might not mean anything to you. If you're a devout fan, though, you know Mobuo is a recurring background character who appears throughout both the manga and the anime.

    His name, which is Japanese for minor character, was revealed in the Perfect Profiles data book. He has no personality or role, but he pops up whenever a random background character is needed. 

    127 votes