Edward Elric (エドワード・エルリック Edowādo Erurikku?), commonly nicknamed Ed, is a fictional character and the main character of the Fullmetal Alchemist anime and manga series created by Hiromu Arakawa. Edward, the "Fullmetal Alchemist", is the youngest State Alchemist in the history of the fictional country of Amestris. His left leg was mystically severed in a failed attempt to resurrect his dead mother, his right arm taken in the exchange for his brother's soul. His missing limbs have been replaced with sophisticated prosthetics called automail; he and his younger brother, Alphonse Elric, scour the world in search of the Philosopher's Stone in the hopes of restoring their bodies. Ed has appeared in other media from the series including video games, original video animations (OVAs) and light novels.
Numerous publications in various media have been written on the subject of Edward's character. Reviewers praised Edward as a balance between the typical clever kid and the stubborn kid persona. Additionally, his comedic moments have been celebrated as the best moments in the series. His Japanese and English voice actors, Romi Park and Vic Mignogna, have both been praised for their performances as Edward Elric and have won several awards for their work. Numerous pieces of merchandise have been released bearing Edward's likeness, including key chains and action figures.
Creation and conception
Author Hiromu Arakawa integrated several social problems into the plot, such as the way Edward and Alphonse live as brothers after the death of their mother, Trisha. She also looks at how the brothers help people all over the country to gain an understanding of the meaning of family. Arakawa has noted that Edward is one of her favorite characters from the series, although she denied having the same personality as him when one of her assistants mentioned it. Although she claims she has not thought of the characters' birthdates, Arakawa noted that she decided Edward's birthdate during the series' serialization. During a chapter in which it was mentioned that Edward was about to be 16, winter was about to begin in Hokkaido, Arakawa's birthplace, so it was decided Edward's birthdate would be in winter. The director of the first anime series, Seiji Mizushima, says that in the development of the story Edward "evolves and devolves"; Mizushima comments that Edward is continuously overcoming inner struggles in order to determine how to grow up. The appearance of his automail in the anime is used to symbolize the intangibles of his character, making viewers note that Edward lost something important.
In the Japanese version of Fullmetal Alchemist's anime adaptations, Edward has been voiced by Romi Park. In the English version, the role has been played by Vic Mignogna. Mignogna has stated that performing Edward may be his biggest voice acting achievement since fans do not compare him with Park, noting that their voices are not similar and that he did not plan to sound like her.
Edward Elric is the youngest State Alchemist to be selected by the State Military of the country, having achieved the rank of Major at age twelve, receiving the title of the "Fullmetal Alchemist" shortly after from military head, King Bradley. He and his younger brother, Alphonse, seek to obtain the legendary Philosopher's Stone in order to restore their bodies after a disastrous failed attempt to bring their mother back to life through alchemy. Edward was born in a small town named Resembool, where he lived with Alphonse, and both of his parents, Trisha Elric and Van Hohenheim. When Hohenheim embarked on a journey and Trisha died of an illness several years later, the two young boys were taken after by their neighbor, Pinako Rockbell. During that time, the brothers concentrated on studying alchemy in the hopes of bringing their mother back to life and trained with a skilled alchemist named Izumi Curtis. When they returned home from their training, they proceeded to try the taboo art of human transmutation but failed, costing Edward his left leg and Alphonse his entire body. Edward then performed a second transmutation, sacrificing his own right arm to bind Alphonse's soul to a nearby suit of armor.
His father's early disappearance, the death of his mother, and a failed human transmutation play pivotal roles in Edward's story. Edward's motivation stems from a love for his brother Alphonse, whom he is desperately seeking to restore to a human form after their alchemy accident. Often, he feels a heavy guilt that the problem is his fault to begin with and thus is his responsibility to solve. On the other hand, Edward behaves in a childish manner about his short height; he tends to overreact to any comment about it (and often misinterprets the words) in a fit of rage. Despite all of the obstacles that Edward tackles in the story, he still displays a childish personality regarding things he despises, such as needles and milk. He is extremely idealistic and strongly believes in the concept of Equivalent Exchange, that every outcome requires an equal payment, using it as his personal philosophy. Despite his occasional bouts of immaturity, he has been shown many times to be a selfless, strong, independent and mature young adult that gains a reputation as a "hero of the people".
Edward's automail limbs were designed by his childhood friend, Winry Rockbell, and her grandmother Pinako. Edward often fights by transmuting his forearm of his automail into a blade. Winry is occasionally kept busy repairing Edward's automail, as Edward regularly breaks them during fights. In both the anime and manga, Winry is an extremely important person to Edward. In the first anime series, romantic feelings are hinted at but never explicitly stated. In the manga and second anime series, Winry admits to being in love with him, and Edward exhibits similar feelings toward her though he constantly denies it until the series' end in which he confesses to her.
Unlike regular alchemists that normally use transmutation circles, Edward has the special ability to create alchemical currents in his body simply by connecting his hands. This is a direct result of seeing the Gate of Truth, the source of all alchemical knowledge, while attempting to resurrect his mother in the failed human transmutation. In the manga, this knowledge is great enough to save his own life, as he heals a would-be fatal wound. In addition to his alchemical abilities, Edward is a formidable fighter as a result of his training with Izumi, who had extensively trained both brothers in martial arts when they were young after their mother died.
During their search for the Stone, they become the targets of Scar, an Ishbalan and the homunculus. When Edward and Alphonse discover that the homunculi and the Philosopher's Stone are related, they work together with Lin Yao and Roy Mustang in order to find them. However, after the Elric brothers meet the first homunculus "Father", they are forced to keep working with the military by high-ranking officials who are secretly using their friends from Resembool as hostages. Unable to protect their friends, Ed and Al go to the north of the country to request help from Olivier Mira Armstrong. Shortly after arriving there, the State Alchemist Solf J. Kimblee takes Winry to the north to keep forcing him to work. When they are ordered to capture Scar, they decide to ask him to help them to move Winry to a safe place. Once they succeed, Ed starts working with the reformed homunculus Greed, who is in the body of Lin, and finds out that Father plans to make a human transmutation out of the entire country. Ed, Al, and all of their allies thus unite in an effort to bring down Father. They make their way into the underground complex where Ed is planned to be used as a sacrifice for Father's transmutation. While battling Father, Ed loses his automail arm rendering him unable to perform alchemy. Alphonse, on the brink of death due to damage to his blood seal, transmutes his soul and restores Ed's original flesh-and-blood arm. After defeating Father, Ed manages to restore Al to normal by sacrificing his ability to use alchemy. Soon after, Ed decides to research alchemy by heading out west.
First anime series
Although Edward has the same background and characteristics in the manga and anime, Edward meets different people and fights against variable enemies. In the first anime, Edward learns the secret to destroying a homunculus during his encounter with Greed, whom he kills in an effort to save Alphonse. When he learns of Scar's creation of a Philosopher's Stone, Edward saves the people of Lior from being sacrificed for its creation. Alphonse is kidnapped by Dante and Edward seeks him out. During his fight against the homunculi, Edward is killed by Envy, but Alphonse uses the power of the Philosopher's Stone to successfully heal Edward's body and restore his soul. In doing so, however, Alphonse's armor is used up and he disappears. After being revived, Edward sacrifices his own life to bring back his brother in exchange. As a result, Edward finds himself on the other side of the Gate, a parallel world, while Alphonse recovers his original body. Determined to return to Alphonse, Edward becomes involved in rocketry research in Germany, with the intention of using that technology to return to his home world. In the feature film, Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa, set two years after the end of the anime, Edward has been living in Germany and looks for a way to return to his world. At the film's end, he decides to stay in the parallel world along with Alphonse so that they may try to protect both worlds.
In other media
Edward also appears in almost all the Fullmetal Alchemist original video animations (OVAs). In the first OVA he appears as a super deformed version of himself at the movie's wrap-up party; in the second, he appears shortly as an old man living in modern-day Tokyo; and in the third OVA, he plays a part in the battle against the first anime's homunculi. As the series' titular character, Edward is playable in all Fullmetal Alchemist video games. The three games for the PlayStation 2 – Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel, Curse of the Crimson Elixir and Kami o Tsugu Shōjo – feature exclusive stories in which the Elrics keep searching for the Philosopher's Stone. In the Nintendo DS game, Fullmetal Alchemist Dual Sympathy, he and Alphonse replay the first anime series. He is also featured in the Fullmetal Alchemist Trading Card Game. There are two character CDs featuring tracks based on Edward's character. The first is named Hagaren Song File – Edward Elric (Hagaren Song File – エドワード・エルリック?) and the second Theme of Edward Elric. Both albums were performed by Ed's Japanese voice actress, Romi Park. He also appears in each light novel written by Makoto Inoue which continue Ed and Al's search for the Philosopher's Stone and at the same time feature different stories from the ones appearing the manga and the anime.
Vic Mignogna, who performs the voice of Edward in the English dub, was the winner in American Anime Awards in the category "Best Actor" for voicing Edward. Edward won the Twenty-sixth Annual Animage Readers' Poll in the "Favorite Male Character"; Romi Park, who voices Edward in Japanese, won in the "Favorite Seiyu" category. In the July 2009 issue of Newtype, Edward ranked at the top of the survey Male Character Rankings. In the August 2009 issue his rank changed to fourth. Edward's character was well received by manga readers; in each of the popularity polls made by Monthly Shōnen Gangan he has ranked first. Several pieces of merchandise have been released in Edward's likeness, including plush toys, action figures, and key-chains. In the Anime Awards 2006 from About.com, Edward won in the category "Best Lead Character – Male". He was also seventh in IGN's Top 25 Anime Characters of All Time with writer Chris Mackenzie saying, "[Edward] and his kid brother Al make one of the best action-comedy teams in recent memory".
Several publications for manga, anime, and other pop culture media have provided both praise and criticism on Edward's character. IGN writer Hilary Goldstein praises Edward as the perfect balance between the typical clever kid and the stubborn kid persona, explaining that this allows the character to "float between comical moments and underlying drama without seeming false." Additionally, Melissa Harper from Anime News Network praises Edward's facial expressions as some of the most humorous highlights of the series, including also the moments in which he reacts quite violently to comments about his small stature. They also praise him for not being a stereotypical shōnen character as it is noted that he has "very real skills, relationships, and personality". Samuel Arbogast from T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews also comments that the interaction between the Elric brothers as they travel is interesting, and praises their humor scenes as they help to balance the dark parts of the series. Judge Joel Pearce from DVD Veredict Review commented on Edward's journey, considering it very complex morally because he is trying to do good within a morally questionable organization. Lydia Hojnacki from Manga Life listed Ed as one of the reasons she likes Fullmetal Alchemist, noting the progression of the character's personality throughout the series, from simple maturity to a deeper sensitivity.
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