With this list, I’m taking a look at five of my favorite characters from the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise. I enjoyed the manga and the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood anime quite a bit, so I’m excited to examine my five favorite characters from this franchise.
I should add that rather than being a Top 5 list, this list will be presented in alphabetical order by first name.
Edward Elric is the Fullmetal Alchemist (aka the main character of the franchise). When he and his younger brother, Alphonse, tried to use alchemy to bring their dead mother back to life, Ed lost one of his legs and one of his arms. This was the “equivalent exchange” for trying to bring his mother back and for attaching his brother’s soul to a suit of armor before it disappeared. Ed receives automail (a kind of prosthetic) to replace his arm and leg.
Ed goes through a lot of character development over the course of the series. He starts out as a State Alchemist who is in search of the Philisopher’s Stone, hoping that this artifact will help recover Alphonse’s body and Ed’s arm and leg. But during their journey, he encounters grief through the deaths of people he meets and becomes close to, witnessing the birth of new life, being hunted by a serial killer intent on killing all State Alchemists, learning the true history of the world they live in, and more. We also see Ed become closer to his childhood friend, Winry Rockbell.
Through all of the experiences that Ed has throughout the course of the series, he really evolves as a character. I guess this shouldn’t be too surprising, though, since he is the main character. He goes through a “Hero’s Journey” that changes him for the better. But his evolution as a character is interesting to watch, which is a large part of why I like Ed so much as a character.
Olivier Mira Armstrong
Olivier is the sister of Alex Louis Armstrong, a comical alchemist known as the Strong Arm Alchemist. With how serious, strict, and stoic Olivier is, it’s surprising that these two are related! But with these differing personalities, they manage to balance each other out. As the Major General in charge of Briggs Fortress, she has to be tough. She is more than willing to disregard the orders of superiors if she disagrees with them, though, and because of this, her subordinates will only answer to her.
As the story progresses, Olivier does retain the toughness she is known for when she’s first introduced, but it does tone down a bit as her character evolves and develops. Even when she’s depicted as being so stoic and cold early on, though, it’s implied that she cares a lot about her subordinates and her family. But Olivier’s cold exterior begins to thaw somewhat after she encounters Ed and Al at Briggs Fortress, and learns a truth about the military that she hadn’t expected.
I really like how she’s such a foil to her goofy brother, and I think that’s what really endears me to her. I think she really adds something to the franchise and is one of many reasons why I overall find Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood to be a stronger anime than the original Fullmetal Alchemist.
First Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye is the most trusted subordinate of Roy Mustang. While she tends to act as his personal assistant, she’s pretty darned skilled when it comes to firearms. Riza also serves as Mustang’s voice of reason and keeps her cool in heated situations. However, she can be strict when she needs to be, such as when she’s shown disciplining her dog, Black Hayate. But she also shows a compassionate side, especially when dealing with the Elric brothers.
Riza is one several of the awesome female characters in this series. While she’s pretty badass, she’s also shown to have an emotional side when we see a subplot about a tattoo that Riza has, which involves both her and Mustang. I’ve always kind of shipped Riza and Roy, because I think they kind of act like a couple already. While this was never explored the series, I didn’t think not exploring this weakened Riza’s character any.
Roy is a State Alchemist known as the Flame Alchemist, and he is Ed Elric’s superior. He’s intelligent and arrogant, but he’s also playfully manipulative. Roy also has a kind of charisma to him.
When we first meet Roy, he doesn’t entirely come across as a likable character. We do get to see some softer moments with him, like when he’s interacting with Riza Hawkeye and Maes Hughes, but his arrogance is his main trait. But as the series progresses, Roy starts losing this arrogance and is shown as being a paternal commander who cares about those who serve under him. Roy’s backstory in the Ishbal Civil War really helps the viewer to have a better understanding of Roy, who he is, and why he’s the way he is.
This arrogant badass evolves so much by the end of the series, thanks in large part to a major event that happens to him near the end the story. When I first encountered Roy in the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime, I never could have imagined including him in this kind of a list.
Winry is Ed’s childhood friend, who is adept at mechanical repairs and automail. She’s the mechanic that Ed turns to whenever he needs his automail looked at. Winry is intelligent, kind, optimistic, and sincere… but she can also have a short temper, especially where Ed is concerned. This temper comes from the fact that Winry cares about him so much, so she becomes easily frustrated if she thinks Ed has done something stupid or isn’t taking care of himself.
Not only is Winry a good foil for Ed, she’s also an important character in the series. She plays an important part in Ed’s evolution as a character and is also one of the strong female characters that are included in the franchise. Winry is ultimately Ed’s “rock,” the person he can always turn to and knows that he can trust will be there for him. I think Winry’s intelligence helps her balance out the personality traits of the important women of the series. Olivier and Riza are portrayed as being badass women who are competent with weapons and fighting, and Winry shows that in this world, women can be smart and caring as well as being strong.