the northern wall of briggs

can we talk about Olivier Armstrong 

can we talk about Olivier Armstrong


Brotherhood to Manga Conversion

Here it is, my little project! A full list of the chapters as they appear in each of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood’s 64 episodes! It’s a bit rough but it could be helpful for cross examination, edits, etc.

All I ask is for you to keep in mind that the anime and the manga don’t always neatly coincide, a lot of the time the events appear in slightly (or not so slightly) different orders and I didn’t/couldn’t keep track of the exact numbers. I do always list the chapters that appear in each episode however, if not the page number or scene in question. (And if I do include the page number, it’s close but not exact. I could be a little off depending) Let me know if you find any mistakes!!

But all in all FMAB is an excellent representation of its manga so please enjoy!


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Color Pie Friday: Fullmetal Humans

Years after enjoying Fullmetal Alchemist, I finally got around to enjoying Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. I don’t always watch anime, but when I do I try to make sure I’m watching something good. People may argue about which series was better, but they’re so different that it’s difficult to compare. If you’ve only watched one series, go watch the other. Brotherhood sticks closer to the manga, but the original’s liberties make for a great, albeit wildly different, story.

Since today is Color Pie Friday, you might have an inkling of what’s going to happen. That’s right, it’s time to look at the characters from the series. I’ll be focusing on the incarnations from Brotherhood, as that’s the version I watched more recently and is probably the one more people are familiar with. The downside there is that Brotherhood features waaay more characters (unsurprisingly), so I won’t be able to cover them all. So here’s what’s happening. Today I’ll be looking at eight humans and next week I’ll be looking at the eight homunculi.

I think it goes without saying that there will be spoilers ahead, but I just clarified that anyway.

The Little One

The titular character’s central motivation is a quest for knowledge. From a young age, Edward Elric was enamored with his father’s alchemy books. He seemed to have a natural talent for the science and the series shows his aptitude as a state alchemist, the youngest ever. This drive to know more centers Ed in Blue.

With a great passion for learning comes a great passion for just about everything. Ed doesn’t half-ass anything in his life; he is always diving head-first into the next adventure. He’s also prone to lashing out at others for small offenses. He’s emotionally high-strung, even when it doesn’t show. Ed is Red.

Ed also has a decent amount of Black in him. Much of this comes from his personal quest to get his arm and leg back. After all, it was his hubris over death that cost Ed his limbs in the first place. He sees the military as a means to his own end, generally ignoring the goals of his superiors. This personal strength gives Ed the follow-through that keeps him moving forward in even the most helpless moments.

Finally, as I discussed last week in my article about four-color identities, Ed probably has a little White in him. We know he’s steadfastly against killing, especially after failing to transmute his mother. The dead should stay dead. He also sacrifices a huge part of himself to save his brother’s soul (and ultimately rescue Al’s body). The self-sacrifice and moral code may independently jut out from the Red parts of his personality, but together make a better-than-not case that Ed is a rare instance of a character with a four-color identity.

The Fully Metal One

Alphonse Elric, Ed’s younger brother, is centered in Blue for the same reasons. Both children studied alchemy from an early age and both children have calculating minds adept at quickly analyzing situations. Al favors pondering more than his brother, however, as he lacks Red in his personality.

Also contrary to his brother’s brusque attitude, Al is the paragon of politeness. He’s nice to just about everybody, even the villains of the series. He’s always respectful of others and values life even more so than Ed. These traits give him a strong White component to his personality as he grows to be the moral anchor of the brotherhood.

Finally, Al does also have a bit of Black in him. Like Ed, Al’s main goal is to get his body back. He struggles with this goal more than his brother, however, a conflict arising from the White side of his identity. It’s probably also worth noting that Al tapped into the terrifying powers of a philosopher’s stone when the situation called for it.

It’s merely a coincidence that the walking suit of armor falls into Esper’s colors.

The Tinkering One

Winry Rockbell is Ed’s faithful automail mechanic and childhood friend of the boys. She is a passionate laborer and is always searching for the newest techniques and trends in the automail field. She’s always scolding Ed for breaking his automail, but this is because she’s very much in love with Ed. Her care for her friends and passion for machines makes her a great example of a mono-Red character.

The Teaching One

Izumi Curtis is the woman who taught Ed and Al alchemy after their mother died. Her methods aren’t so much academic as they are phenomenological. She leaves the boys on an island to survive for themselves. Her teachings also have a martial component that focuses on building strength and presence of mind. All these things push more into Green’s sense of wisdom than Blue’s sense of knowledge. Izumi’s aggression and instincts place her in the mono-Green camp.

The Ancient One

Van Hohenheim, the father of Ed and Al, is a tough nut to crack. To begin, he’s definitely White. He’s horrified when the Homunculus sacrifices the people of Cselkcess in order to gain immortality. It eats away inside Hohenheim that he was part of the profane act and he spends much of his life trying to atone for it.

Hohenheim leaves his wife and sons when he learns that the Homunculus seeks to sacrifice the people of Amestris too. Putting his own family aside to save an entire nation is the epitome of a White action.

I’m pretty sure that Hohenheim is also Green and Blue. As a product of the original sacrifice, he’s the only one that has enough power, knowledge, and experience to combat the Homunculus. This very much plays into Green’s line of thought regarding destiny. Hohenheim didn’t get to choose this life; Hohenheim has to come to terms with the fact that thousands of souls were forced inside him. He also takes time to dwell with each and every soul inside of him. Their names, their stories, their fears. Coming to terms with the power literally inside him is a key part of Hohenheim’s growing wisdom.

Hohenheim doesn’t use Green means to solve his problems, however. In order to reverse the transmutation circle the Homunculus turned Amestria into, Hohenheim has to use his knowledge of alchemy to engineer a circle that reverses the process. His own gifts combine with his analytical mind to outsmart his enemy.

Ultimately, Hohenheim is Green/White/Blue (Bant).

The Ambitious One

Roy Mustang, the Flame Alchemist, seeks the highest position in the government: Führer. He wants to be the head honcho, a very Black motivation. Why he wants to wield the power of Amestris is very White, however. Mustang lived through the atrocities of war and thinks that he can bring the nation to peace if he’s in charge. Ultimately, Mustang cuts a lot of (bad) people down on his way to the top.

Mustang’s powers revolve around Fire, making him flavorfully Red. He’s also quite emotional, however, and often lets his anger get the best of him. Sometimes this is a powerful motivator, such as when Mustang kills Lust. That inner rage can give him the focus and power necessary to overcome adversity.

Put together, these traits make Mustang White/Black/Red, or Mardu.

The Beautiful One

Alex Louis Armstrong, the Strong Arm Alchemist, is a chronic supporter of the Elric brothers. His watchful eye and cheery disposition has saved Ed and Al more than once. Few members of the military are trustworthy allies by the end of the series, but Armstrong is among the most loyal. His dedication to protecting the Elrics and their mission places Armstrong squarely in White.

As the Strong Arm Alchemist, Alex focuses on his own muscular strength in combat. Building his body has given him a distinctive and brutal combat style that would be right at home in Green. This makes Armstrong a Green/White character.

The Independent One

There are lots of characters that influence the story later in the series, but the last one I chose to talk about today is Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong, Alex’s older sister. Why? Because she’s a fantastic example of a mono-Black protagonist.

Olivier is the master of her domain. She runs Briggs’ Fortress, a titanic wall in the northern region of Amestria. Her control of the fort is absolute; orders are carried out without question and Olivier knowingly disobeys her superiors is she doesn’t agree with them. Trusting people is not her forte; she always assumes that people are looking to exploit others. This is a classic Black worldview.

Self-reliance, one of Black’s core traits, forms the core of Olivier’s ideas as well. Her forces are comprised of individually powerful soldiers that are trained to act autonomously in battle. Even when aiding the Elric brothers in their investigation of military corruption, Olivier leverages others to gain power and influence among her peers. Like Mustang, she sees this upheaval as an opportunity to grab the seat of the Führer.

Sorry If I Missed Your Favorite Character

Seriously, I could probably write for a whole year with how many characters get involved in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. But this is a Magic blog and I would probably get bored after a few weeks. I think a large part of what makes the heroes of this series such a dynamic ensemble is that they cover every part of the color pie. Plenty of these protagonists get into conflicts with one another at different points in time, adding to the drama of the show.

Join me next week, planeswalkers, when I look at eight homunculi.