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Scar (スカー Sukā?, or 傷の男 Kizu no Otoko, translated as Scarred Man) is a fictional character from the anime and manga series Fullmetal Alchemist. His alias is derived from the prominent X-shaped scar that decorates his brow; he has no real name. He is a tragic criminal.

Character outline

Scar is a survivor of the genocide campaign during the Ishbalan Rebellion. While fighting Kimblee in the midst of the conflict, Scar lost his right arm as well as his family. With the last of his strength, his brother had attached his own arm, through means of alchemy, to Scar. Even if Scar wanted to finally break Ishbalan teaching and perform transmutation alchemy, he cannot because his right arm is only designed for destroying.

Scar is introduced in the series as a serial killer who targets State Alchemists as revenge for their involvement in Ishbal and breaking Ishbalan taboo of using Alchemy, killing Nina Tucker after her father made her into a Chimera as an act of Coup de grâce. Although he is not a prime antagonist in the manga, Scar establishes himself early on as one of the most often encountered dangers by the Elrics.

Scar is both a threat to the military and the Homunculi. His actions threaten to destroy several of the Homunculi's human sacrifices. As such, they have made many attempts to kill him, albeit unsuccessfully.

Although initially appearing quite harsh and cruel, Scar's tragic past and acts of sacrifice make him an anti-hero of sorts. The development of Scar's personality reveals odd quirks, such as an affinity for cute animals[4], that are often at odds with his appearance of a ruthless murderer.

Abilities

Scar himself is not an alchemist, and has very little knowledge of alchemic teachings. Scar's alchemy depends solely on his right arm's tattooed transmutation circle. His right arm was originally his older brother's which gives Scar the ability to use alchemy. However, instead of transmuting what he comes in contact with, he simply decomposes it into individual elements, completely obliterating the object.[5] In the anime, his arm is also an incomplete Philosopher's Stone which absorbs the souls of those he kills and gives him some subconscious knowledge of alchemy.

Scar uses his right arm to transmute an object (or living being) and stops at the second step, deconstruction/decomposition, to break the object down into its base elements. Stopping at the second step allows him to use alchemy without performing a complete transmutation and violating Ishbalan teaching (although since Scar's arm only has the tattoo for deconstruction, he could not perform transmutations even if he wanted to). In the anime, he usually uses this technique by placing his hand on a person's forehead and imploding their brains, blowing out the back of their skull. In the manga, he kills people by deconstructing their internal organs, tearing them apart from within. In the manga, Scar seems to have a certain amount of control over his arm's alchemy, shown when he states "no wonder my body disrupting attack didn't work".

Since Scar's alchemy can only destroy, he is often at a disadvantage during battles with State Alchemists, as he must get close to them in order to defeat them, while having no protection against their ranged attacks. Usually he tries to overcome this difficulty by sending alchemic energy through the earth and deconstructing the ground beneath his opponents' feet, which causes them to lose their footing, giving him time to close the distance with his speed. However, in Chapter 103 of the manga, while fighting King Bradley, Scar is able to perform reconstruction with his left hand as there is already the tattoo for reconstructing. Scar has also proven to be quite strong and agile. He is able to match both Edward and Alphonse Elric and even Gluttony to some extent. In the manga, he is revealed to be an Ishbalan Warrior Priest, highly trained in martial arts.

Plot overview

Scar attacks the Elric brothers in Eastern HQ, managing to destroy Edward's automail arm, and shattering Alphonse' armor as well. He is nearly caught by the military, but escapes into the sewers underneath East City, where he is found by Lust and Gluttony.[5] Unable to defeat them, he retreats by destroying the sewer. He is then treated at an Ishbalan refugee camp.[6] Scar then joins with the former military lieutenant Yoki and May Chang to go to Central.[4] When the Elric brothers try to beat him while capturing a homunculus, he is shot by Hawkeye. Just before Ed and Al beat him to the ground, May defends him and uses alchemy to escape.[7] He agrees to help May find her pet panda in thanks for saving him.[8]

Scar and May end up stumbling upon the Elric Brothers and Greed in the Homunculi lair, where Ed reveals to him the fact that Envy sparked the Ishbal rebellion.[9] As he escapes, he finds Dr. Marcoh in Father's hideout, who asks Scar to kill him. Scar agrees to fulfill Marcoh's wish in return for the true story behind the Ishbal Massacre.[10] After learning the truth behind his brother's research, Scar decides to spare Marcoh's life to help him learn more. Scar, Marcoh, Yoki and May make their way to the North where the secrets of his brother's research are hidden.[11] Scar encounters Kimblee on a train, where they fight, and Scar injures Kimblee, forcing him to escape.[12][13]

Later, while Scar is looking for supplies, he is ambushed by the human Chimeras Jelso and Zanpano, whom the Elric Brother manage to subdued while attempting to distance themselves from them. Scar quickly attacks the brothers, but is trapped them with his arm's movement disabled.[14] Though learning that Scar murdered her parents, trying to kill him in their last encounter, Winry Rockbell chooses not exact revenge on Scar, stating that it would be something her parents would do.[14] When they find out that Kimbley is near, Winry then proposes herself to being used as a "hostage" by Scar to provide cover for the Briggs army and Elric brothers, and to secure herself from Central's grasp. In the end, he and his group together with Winry, and the deflected Jelso and Zanpano through an unused mine tunnel under the city.[15] Scar then allies with Edward, Hohenheim, Mustang, and Olivier Armstrong in order to strike on the corrupted State Military controlled by the homunculi.[16] While attacking their base, Scar fights the homunculus King Bradley. It is also when fighting King Bradley, Scar revealed that he had used the studies in brother's research to now perform reconstruction alchemy with his left arm. After finally defeating Bradley, Scar uses the last of his strength to activate the transmutation circle that he secretly made around the city to stop Father's plan. Surviving these events, General Armstrong takes Scar and tells him that he will be free as long as he aides Miles, Armstrong's subordinate, in rebuilding the Ishbalan nation. Scar agrees and seen in a picture at the end of the final chapter with Miles.

First anime

Scar attacks the Elric brothers while they were looking for Tim Marcoh, managing to destroy Edward's automail arm, and shattering Alphonse' armor as well. Making his way to Central's Library, Scar is found by Lust and Gluttony, recognizing the former as his brother's dead lover. Unable to defeat them as the library is burnt to the ground, Scar barely survives as his wounds are tended to at an Ishbalian refugee camp. When the Elrics break into the military's Laboratory Five, to uncover the alchemic experiments that were conducted there, Scar follows them, saving Alphonse from serial killer Barry the Chopper and battling the Lust and Gluttony.[17] In laboratory Edward refuses Homunculi's offer to obtain a Philosopher's Stone by killing the prisoners held within the laboratory, which causes Scar to confront the Homunculi to save the Elrics.[18] Nursing injuries from this encounter, Scar returns to the refugee camp occupied by the remaining Ishbalans, only for it to be attacked by mercenaries posing as the State Military. Scar escapes with two children and an Ishbalan elder, and promptly runs into Alphonse once again. The younger of the children is then captured by the mercenaries, and Alphonse and Edward reach an uneasy truce with Scar to work together and rescue him.[19]

Through further study, Scar eventually comes to realize the true nature of his arm as an incomplete Philosopher's Stone.[20] Concluding that he needs the stone to stop the action of the State Military, he travels to the war-torn desert city of Lior and inscribes a gigantic transmutation circle around the city itself.[21] Learning of his presence there, the State Military arrives in force, along with the Elrics. Once again, Edward and Scar battle, but they are interrupted by Rose and Lyra, who are allied with Scar.[22]

State Alchemist Solf J. Kimblee leads a small army of chimeras into Lior, and with the evacuation nearly complete, Scar and Alphonse engage him in combat, which ends with Scar to sacrifice his arm before blasting a hole in Kimblee's chest. Kimblee, however, transmutes Alphonse's body into explosive material before dying.[23] To save him, Scar transmutes his remaining arm, and all the power and souls within it, into Alphonse's armored body. Scar uses the last of his strength to complete and activate the transmutation circle around the city, dying as the transmutation took place, and the Philosopher's Stone is completed - within Alphonse, saving his life and killing several groups of soldiers attacking Lior.[24]

Reception

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Script error In comparison to other characters from the series, Scar's rank in popularity polls from the manga published Monthly Shōnen Gangan has been low, having ranked 17th in the third poll along with the series' author, Hiromu Arakawa.[1] Critical response to Scar's character and development has generally been positive. Mania Entertainment's Chris Beveridge celebrated Scar's introduction in the second anime series Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, remarking that "we learn a good deal of recent history in a short time that paints a picture of exactly what’s going on".[2] While reviewing the second anime's second DVD, Sean Broestl from Anime News Network (ANN) was curious to who is such character as he is shown in the first episodes but he is never introduced. However, he was looking forward to see his introduction and how he would affect the Edward and Alphonse Elric.[3] His second fight against the Elric brothers in the manga and his confrontation with Winry Rockbell were praised by Sakura Eries from the same site who found the former to have its "own surprise moments" while the latter had her "on the verge of tears".[4] Carlo Santos from ANN also praised Scar's fights in following volumes from the manga, commenting that they contain "lots of exhilarating action and creative fighting moves".[5] Holly Ellingwood from Active Anime noted Scar to be "a character so much deeper than just a foil for the brothers" [Edward and Alphonse Elric] due to how along the series it is shown his backstory and it is explained why is he determinated to kill all the State Alchemists.[6]

References

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