The story of Full Metal Alchemist is one of the most compelling stories in anime and manga, to date. Author, Hiromu Arakawa does a phenomenal job of challenging the viewer/reader to think outside of their comfort zone. The series covers so many themes that range from war and propaganda to self- purpose, and family. Once you're done reading or watching the series, you will have a new outlook on life.
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Another compelling component of FMA is its characters. These characters are not typical Shonen characters. And Edward Elric is not a typical Shonen protagonist. However, sometimes they're certain traits of his personality that remind you he still is.
10 Underrated: Unique Character Design
For a long time, Shonen protagonist often had a formulaic character design. It usually consists of a rather rebel look with spiky hair, to match. For example, Ichigo, Naruto, and Goku, all follow this formula. Ed Elric, however, does not. He doesn’t possess spikey hair, instead, his hair mainly remains in a braid. One could say Ed Elric does possess a rebel look. It's true he does, but his design is still different from other Shonen protagonists.
9 Overrated: He’s Obnoxious
Ed Elric may have been a breath of fresh air to the Shonen world, but there are still traits of his personality that make him a typical Shonen protagonist. He can be very obnoxious. Throughout both series, the eldest Elric brother can be seen, talking back to his superiors, (Mustang), being a loudmouth, and throwing tantrums. Al shows more maturity than him, and he's the younger brother.
8 Underrated: Ed’s Hilarious
FMA and FMA: Brotherhood is both widely known for their comedy, despite its dark tone. That said, Ed Elric has a knack for making fans laugh. His insecurity about his height is too much, at times. Ed’s fights with Colonel Mustang are also a riot, as well.
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The main protagonist in Shonen often is written to be funny characters. FMA is a little darker than most, however. Moreover, the Elric brothers have a tragic backstory. So, for Ed to be able to laugh through that pain, is something else.
7 Overrated: Impulsive
Many Shonen protagonists fall victim to this trait. In One Piece, fans will more than likely see the main character, Luffy, acting on instinct rather than thinking logically. Ed Elric is no exception to this trope, either. Although he is extremely intelligent, the eldest Elric brother as a habit of thinking without acting.
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In fact, in Brotherhood, Colonel Mustang once sent Ed and Alphonse out of Central because he didn’t want Ed to interfere with his plans to uncover Hughe’s murder. The Colonel knows how brash Ed can be, so he wanted him far away from Central as possible.
6 Underrated: Genius Level Intellect
Edward Elric may be loud and rude at times, like a typical Shonen protagonist, but he does possess a genius-level intellect, which most don’t. The fact Ed is highly intelligent is refreshing to see in this genre. Throughout the story, Ed has displayed his intellect not just as an alchemist but as a fighter as well. Edward Elric often uses his wits to defeat an opponent as opposed to brute strength. For example, during his fight with Greed, the eldest Elric brother figured how to breakdown the homunculus's ultimate shield. He transmutes his shield from graphene to a graphite compound by using alchemy. Ed composes this plan after Greed tells him what his shield is made of.
5 Overrated: His Brother His A Far Superior Fighter
Edward’s a genius there is no denying that, however, when it comes to hand-to-hand combat, his younger brother is the latter. Ed divulges once he never beat his little brother in a sparring match. As the main protagonist, one would think Edward would be the better fighter, correct? Moreover, they both learned how to fight at the same time, during their time with Izumi. It’s just comical that Al ends up becoming the better fighter.
4 Underrated: His Main Objective
The main plot of most Shonen anime centers around the main character wanting to be the best, stopping the main antagonist, or a revenge story. This isn't the case for Ed and Al though. Ed and Al set out on a quest to find the philosopher stone, in order to get their original bodies back. This is something that they caused, by the way. After the tragic loss of their mother, the boys were willing to do anything to bring her back to life. This results in them commencing a human transmutation ritual, which is forbidden. As a result, Al loses his body and Ed loses his left leg. Ed then sacrifices his right arm to bring his brother back. The whole reasoning of their journey is something that they caused. It's not due them seeking revenge or them wanting to be the best; the Elric brothers are trying to right their wrong
3 Overrated: Too Temperamental
Edward Elric‘s temper can often get out of hand; for instance, when someone criticizes his height, he usually lashes out at the person. For someone who’s an alchemist and a soldier of the military, he needs to conduct himself in a more mature manner. His acting out like this could cost him his career. Alphonse acts more mature than he does. As a matter of fact, he’s of the voice of reason in these scenarios.
2 Underrated: Relatable
Edward may have done things that the average fifteen-year-old has not. But despite that, he still is relatable, among most Shonen protagonists. He often lives with regret like most of us. He also has doubts and fears. Lastly, Edward often has a difficult time opening to others.
This is mainly why he tends to lash out at others. It's possibly a defense mechanism to hide his true feelings. This is another reason why he consumes himself with alchemy. It's the only way the Ed Elric feels he can connect with the world. He even uses alchemy to hilariously ask out Winry. In the epilogue, she does end up marrying him, so at least it got his point across.
1 Overrated: Arrogance
Again, there is no denying that Edward Elric is smart, but sometimes, that can be to his detriment. In Brotherhood, for example, Edward was stirring up commotion in Central, to bring Scar out of hiding. Mustang stressed to him that his idea is bad, considering his last encounter with Scar resulted in him losing his automail arm. Due to his arrogance, the Elric brother teases Mustang for being afraid of Scar. Mustang is just being practical. He knows Scar is a very dangerous man and he wants to tread lightly while dealing with him.
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