Full Metal Alchemist, a renowned manga series written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa, has captivated audiences worldwide with its unique blend of action, adventure, and philosophical undertones. One of the most intriguing aspects of the series is the concept of State Alchemists, a special class of alchemists employed by the Amestrian State Military.
These individuals are granted significant privileges and resources in exchange for their services, making them a vital part of the Full Metal Alchemist universe.
What is a State Alchemist?
Before diving into the list of State Alchemists, it’s important to understand what this title entails. A State Alchemist is essentially a government-sanctioned alchemist in the fictional country of Amestris. They are given the rank of ‘Major’ in the military and are expected to use their alchemical abilities to serve the state. In return, they are granted access to vast resources and classified information, which they can use to further their research and personal goals.
The process of becoming a State Alchemist is rigorous and demanding. Candidates must undergo a thorough examination process, which includes a written test to prove their aptitude for alchemy, a psychological evaluation to assess their suitability for military service, and a practical demonstration of their alchemical abilities. Once certified, they must present their research annually to maintain their license.
The State Alchemists
Now, let’s delve into the known State Alchemists in the Full Metal Alchemist series. Each of these characters brings their unique abilities and personalities to the table, adding depth and complexity to the narrative.
Edward Elric, the protagonist of the series, is known as the Fullmetal Alchemist. He earned this title due to his prosthetic limbs made of a fictional metal called ‘automail’. Edward is a prodigious alchemist who became the youngest State Alchemist at the age of 12. His primary motivation for joining the State Alchemists was to gain access to resources that could help him restore his brother Alphonse’s body, which was lost in a failed human transmutation experiment.
Edward is known for his exceptional skill in transmutation, which involves changing the physical properties of an object. He is also one of the few alchemists who can perform alchemy without a transmutation circle, thanks to the knowledge he gained from a traumatic encounter with the Truth, a mysterious being that governs the laws of alchemy.
Roy Mustang – The Flame Alchemist
Roy Mustang, also known as the Flame Alchemist, is a key character in the series. He earned his title due to his unique ability to control fire using alchemy. This is achieved through the use of custom-made gloves made from “ignition cloth,” which create sparks when rubbed together. By altering the concentration of oxygen in the air, Mustang can control the intensity and direction of the flames he creates.
Mustang is a highly ambitious individual who aims to become the Fuhrer (leader) of Amestris. He is a charismatic leader with a strong sense of justice, and his ultimate goal is to reform the military and create a better future for the country.
Alex Louis Armstrong – The Strong Arm Alchemist
Alex Louis Armstrong, or the Strong Arm Alchemist, is a larger-than-life character known for his muscular physique and over-the-top personality. He comes from a long line of alchemists, and his alchemical style, known as the Armstrong Alchemy, has been passed down through his family for generations.
Armstrong’s alchemy primarily involves the transmutation of objects into weapons, making him a formidable opponent in combat. He is also known for his ability to create intricate sculptures using alchemy, a testament to his artistic flair. Despite his intimidating appearance, Armstrong is a compassionate and emotional individual who deeply cares for his comrades.
Shou Tucker – The Sewing-Life Alchemist
Shou Tucker, infamously known as the Sewing-Life Alchemist, is a character who leaves a lasting impact despite his brief appearance in the series. Tucker specializes in bio-alchemy, specifically the creation of chimeras – creatures formed by combining two or more different species.
Tucker’s claim to fame was creating a chimera that could understand and speak human language. However, the horrific truth behind his achievement – that he used his own wife to create the chimera – leads to his downfall. His actions serve as a stark reminder of the ethical boundaries that can be crossed in the pursuit of knowledge and success.
Solf J. Kimblee – The Crimson Alchemist
Solf J. Kimblee, also known as the Crimson Alchemist or the Red Lotus Alchemist, is a character who embodies the darker side of the State Alchemists. Kimblee’s alchemy involves the manipulation of the elements to create explosions, a power he uses with deadly efficiency.
Kimblee is a sociopath with a fascination for destruction and the aesthetics of death. He played a significant role in the Ishval Civil War, where he used his alchemical abilities to commit mass murder. His character serves as a stark contrast to the more morally upright State Alchemists like Edward and Mustang.
Tim Marcoh – The Crystal Alchemist
Dr. Tim Marcoh, known as the Crystal Alchemist, is a character burdened by guilt and regret. Marcoh was a leading researcher in the development of the Philosopher’s Stone, a powerful alchemical substance. However, the realization that the creation of the Stone involved the sacrifice of human lives led him to defect from the military.
Marcoh’s character arc is one of redemption. Despite the atrocities he committed in the past, he seeks to atone for his sins by using his knowledge to help others. His character provides a nuanced perspective on the moral dilemmas faced by the State Alchemists.
Isaac McDougal – The Freezing Alchemist
Isaac McDougal, or the Freezing Alchemist, is a character introduced in the Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood series. McDougal is a former State Alchemist who defected from the military after the Ishval Civil War.
McDougal’s alchemy involves the manipulation of water molecules to create ice or generate heat, making him a formidable opponent. His character serves as an early antagonist in the series, and his actions set the stage for the larger conflict to come.
Basque Grand – The Iron Blood Alchemist
Basque Grand, known as the Iron Blood Alchemist, is a high-ranking officer in the Amestrian State Military. Grand’s alchemy involves the manipulation of iron, which he uses to create weapons and shields.
Grand is a stern and ruthless individual who is unafraid to use his alchemical abilities for destructive purposes. His character represents the militaristic and authoritarian aspects of the State Alchemists.
Giolio Comanche – The Silver Alchemist
Giolio Comanche, known as the Silver Alchemist, is a character who appears in the 2003 anime adaptation of Full Metal Alchemist. Comanche’s alchemy involves the manipulation of silver, which he uses to create various weapons.
Comanche is a veteran State Alchemist who has served in the military for many years. Despite his advanced age, he is a formidable opponent who is not to be underestimated.
The Gold-Toothed Doctor, whose real name is not revealed, is a State Alchemist who plays a crucial role in the creation of the Homunculi, artificial human beings with immense power. The doctor is a master of medical alchemy and is responsible for many of the unethical experiments conducted by the military.
The Gold-Toothed Doctor is a character who embodies the darker aspects of alchemy. His actions highlight the potential for abuse of power and the ethical dilemmas associated with the pursuit of knowledge at any cost.
Lesser-Known State Alchemists
In addition to the characters mentioned above, there are several other State Alchemists who are mentioned or appear briefly in the series. These include:
- Corniche R. Royce
- Jack Crowley
- Lute Zaxophone
- Seraphy Royce
These characters may not have significant roles in the narrative, but their presence adds to the richness and complexity of the Full Metal Alchemist universe.
The Role of State Alchemists in the Narrative
The State Alchemists in Full Metal Alchemist serve as a reflection of the series’ central themes. They represent the dual nature of alchemy – a tool that can be used for both creation and destruction. They also embody the ethical dilemmas associated with the pursuit of knowledge and power.
Each State Alchemist is a unique individual with their own motivations, strengths, and weaknesses. Their actions and decisions shape the course of the narrative, influencing the lives of the main characters and the fate of the fictional country of Amestris.
Whether they are heroes, villains, or somewhere in between, the State Alchemists are integral to the Full Metal Alchemist series. They add depth and complexity to the narrative, making it a compelling exploration of power, ethics, and the human condition.
The State Alchemists in Full Metal Alchemist are a diverse group of individuals, each with their unique abilities, motivations, and moral compasses. They serve as a mirror to the complexities of power, ethics, and the pursuit of knowledge – themes that are central to the series. Whether they are heroes, villains, or somewhere in between, these characters add depth and richness to the Full Metal Alchemist universe, making it a truly compelling narrative