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Mini Dragon Group (ages 6-7)

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Fullmetal Alchemist : Brotherhood [TOP]

Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric are raised by their mother Trisha Elric in the remote village of Resembool in the country of Amestris. Their father Hohenheim, a noted and very gifted alchemist, abandoned his family while the boys were still young, and while in Trisha's care they began to show an affinity for alchemy and became curious about its secrets. However, when Trisha died of a lingering illness, they were cared for by their best friend Winry Rockbell and her grandmother Pinako. The boys traveled the world to advance their alchemic training under Izumi Curtis. Upon returning home, the two decide to try to bring their mother back to life with alchemy. However, human transmutation is a taboo, as it is impossible to do so properly. In the failed transmutation, Al's body is completely obliterated, and Ed loses his left leg. In a last attempt to keep his brother alive, Ed sacrifices his right arm to bring Al's soul back and binds it to a nearby suit of armor. After Edward receives automail prosthetics from Winry and Pinako, the brothers decide to burn their childhood home down, symbolizing their determination and decision of "no turning back," and head to the capital city to become government-sanctioned State Alchemists. After passing the exam, Edward is dubbed the "Fullmetal Alchemist" by the State Military, and the brothers begin their quest to regain their full bodies back through the fabled Philosopher's Stone under the direction of Colonel Roy Mustang. Along the way, they discover a deep government conspiracy to hide the true nature of the Philosopher's Stone that involves the homunculi, the alchemists of the neighboring nation of Xing, the scarred man from the war-torn nation of Ishval, and their own father's past.

Fullmetal Alchemist : Brotherhood

There are many paths by which alchemists can transmute the various substances of the world, with some alchemists being said to transmute by way of the Four Classical Elements (Water, Earth, Fire, and Air) and some by way of the Three Essential Principles (salt, sulfur, and mercury), but the basic tenet at the very foundation of all alchemy is that of Equivalent Exchange.

Inside the circle are specific alchemical runes. These runes vary widely based on ancient alchemical studies, texts, and experimentation, but correspond to a different form of energy, allowing the energy that is focused within the circle to be released in the way most conducive to the alchemist's desired effect. In basic alchemy, these runes will often take the form of triangles (which, when positioned differently, can represent the elements of either water, earth, fire or air), but will often be composed of varying polygons built from different triangles. For example, the hexagram is a commonly used base rune in Transmutation Circles because it creates eight multi-directional triangles when inscribed and can, therefore, represent all four classical elements at once. Other, more esoteric runes (including astrological symbols, symbolic images and varying lines of text) are prevalent and represent a multitude of other, specific functions for the alchemical energy that is released.

A Transmutation Array is similar to a transmutation circle in that it is used to circulate the energy used in a transmutation. However, unlike a transmutation circle, the runes are not confined to the circumference of the circle and may use the circle only as a small aspect of their function. In some instances, a transmutation array may not even be a circle at all, using different concepts to bring about the circulation or release of the energies involved. Transmutation arrays are often found as full body tattoos on alchemists due to the shape of the human body. It is also possible that the non-cyclical nature of transmutation arrays amplifies the 'destruction' stage of alchemy, as they are seen on places such as Scar's right arm and as a circle in the Grand Arcanum (exclusive to the 2003 series). It is shown in the 2009 anime that reconstruction is also augmented by transmutation arrays as shown with both Scar and his brother's other arms.

Unfortunately, these experiments have given birth to a dark and sinister side of alchemy. Whether out of despair, malice or inquisitive hubris, several alchemists have been known to attempt the application of transmutation to the human body and/or soul, in essence, playing God with human lives. But, just as the Law of Equivalent Exchange applies to the transmutation of non-living matter, devastating rebounds can occur in Human Transmutation because human lives and souls are priceless according to the flow of the world.

Attempts to bring deceased human beings back to life are the most common practices to be called Human Transmutation and play a significant role in the Fullmetal Alchemist series. Using various experimental theories and methods, multiple alchemists in the manga and anime have endeavored to resurrect dead loved ones, but such pursuits are always failures, forbidden by the flow of the universe and alchemy itself.

In addition, for having trespassed in God's domain with Human Transmutation, the initiating alchemists are essentially called into The Gate of Truth to face God itself. Being pulled through the gate grants alchemists great alchemical and universal knowledge - in exchange for paying a physical toll which usually takes the shape of the body parts "taken" by the rebound - and the ability to perform transmutations without a circle.

Another terrible form of Human Transmutation is the manipulation of human souls. Though appearing on no official records, there have been experiments with Human Transmutation involving the extraction of souls from their matter bodies and the alchemical binding of said souls to inanimate objects usually by way of a rune drawn in blood on the object itself. Though not all the specifics of soul binding have been made clear, it has been explained that the iron in the blood bonds alchemically with the iron in the object (as most instances of soul binding has used metal armor as a vessel) and the blood itself remains bound to the soul of the person from which it was taken. The Blood Runes themselves differ based on the theories and style of whatever alchemist performed the binding, but the three different Blood Runes that have been revealed depict a spark or flame (presumably signifying a soul) hemmed in by other symbols in a blood-drawn Transmutation Circle that suggests a soul trapped within a container. In essence, these souls exist in the mortal plane without their bodies, are able to manipulate the objects to which they are bound and communicate verbally with beings around them but, of course, there are caveats.

Chimeric Alchemy is a branch of bio-alchemy that seeks to alchemically "marry" two dissimilar life forms into a new creature, but even though this science skirts the line of playing God, the prohibition of Human Transmutation forbids alchemists from incorporating human beings into the practice of chimera production. However, there are alchemists who flout this decree and step across the threshold into monstrous experimentation. Shou Tucker, the Sewing-Life Alchemist, was the first recorded alchemist to successfully create a Human Chimera, passing his crime off as a full-animal chimera capable of human speech until his second attempt was exposed to the military, but (as with Soul Binding) the Amestrian government has also been experimenting with this, having created several human-animal hybrids of increasing versatility.

In the manga, alchemy is said to have been taught to Amestrians over 350 years prior to the start of the series by a mysterious man known as The Philosopher from the East and is explained to harness the diastrophic energy that is released from the movement and collision of tectonic plates deep within the Earth's crust to power transmutation. As practitioners of Alkahestry understand alchemy differently, they are able to sense that the source of Amestrian alchemy's power is not diastrophic energy, but more akin to the movement of many, many human beings, suggesting that the origins of alchemy may, in fact, be rather sinister. It is revealed late in the series that, while the earthen energy source does exist, alchemy in Amestris is actually powered by Philosopher's Stone energy, being fed through a nationwide network of underground tubes from Father's body into the earth between the surface and the crust to act as a barrier between Amestrian alchemists and the true energy. Additionally, the ancient nation of Xerxes appears to have had an advanced understanding of alchemy that mirrors, but may be different from, the contemporary Amestrian understanding.

In the 2003 anime, though it has another origin for the energy of transmutation, alchemists who attempt to create objects outside their range of skill are left exhausted, suggesting that at least some of the energy comes directly from their bodies. At the end of the anime series, it is explained that the energy powering transmutation is actually the energy of departed human souls passing through The Gate to the alchemical world from our world, negating the concept of Equivalent Exchange altogether.

In a world where an advanced science of alchemy allows practitioners to transform and control various elements, brothers Edward (Vic Mignogna) and Alphonse Elric (Maxey Whitehead) are prodigal young alchemists who literally lose parts of themselves in an attempt to resurrect their dead mother in FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: BROTHERHOOD. Alphonse loses his entire body and Edgar sacrifices his arm and leg in order to attach his brother's soul to a suit of armor. The brothers are forced into military service where they battle enemies of the state while searching for a powerful object called the philosopher's stone which they believe will help them return their bodies back to normal.

One of the biggest differences between Fullmetal Alchemist and Brotherhood lies in its villains. Both versions of the story feature the Homunculi as recurring enemies for the Elric brothers, and since these characters appear early, their basic function and overarching seven deadly sins theme remain consistent. However, the backstory of each Homunculus and their true nature are completely altered. In the initial 2003 anime series, each Homunculus is the unintended consequence of an alchemist attempting human transmutation - the "sins" of alchemy returning to haunt the creator. Lust was born when Scar's brother tried to resurrect his girlfriend, Sloth was the result of Ed and Al trying to bring back their mother, Wrath appeared from Izumi's failed transmutation, and Greed, Envy, Pride and Gluttony were all created by the series' arch-villain. In Brotherhood, the entire Homunculus origin changes - all of the creatures are simply made by the main villain, Father.


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