Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood final episode was aired in July 2010! To commemorate the anime’s finale’s 10th year anniversary, we have listed the show’s top 20 characters based on their personality and complexity, as well as their contribution to the story.
Fullmetal Alchemist has a fantastic array of characters, so having to limit this list to 20 characters was somewhat of a challenge because not everyone could be included (sorry, Kimblee. Maybe next time).
May is an adorable girl with an equally adorable pet; and we are forever grateful that she is not your typically annoying child character coming to Jar-Jar Binks your story. May Chang has the same goal as Ling: she seeks the secret of the Philosopher’s Stone. May ends up teaming up with Scar, humanizing someone who had for the most part been considered one of the Elric Brothers’ most dangerous antagonists.
May’s contributions to the story are embedded in her interactions with others: she is key to Scar’s change of vision, Marcoh would probably not have been so eager to help the man who disfigured his face if May had not been around, and her return to Central Command allows Envy to regain their true form. In a nutshell, May has made both good and bad decisions, but we don’t expect our characters to be perfect. The fact that May understands what she is doing and knows when she has truly made a mistake makes her human.
Best Moment: When she comes to realize that the Edward Elric of her dreams is a short and tacky boy with a very bad temper. Her reaction will stick in our minds for ages to come.
Hohenheim was so close to becoming a cliche. No, that’s unfair. He was never close to becoming a cliche. We were just made believe that he was a cliche. This was a clever tactic since we were shown Father without knowing that he was not Hohenheim at all. The cliche would have been that the heroes’ father was the villain, of course; a tactic that has been done without thinking after George Lucas applied it so brilliantly in the original Star Wars trilogy.
Above all, Hohenheim is a character that decides to help millions instead of a few, exemplified as we learn that the reason he left his wife and kids was to spread souls contained inside him at various points of Amestris. This is a long process that requires a lot of patience, and one that has a huge impact on Father’s plans.
Despite Edward’s anger towards his father, and Hohenheim’s overall strange demeanor when interacting with his sons, he is loving human; this shocks Edward after he witnessed his father crying over the last message his beloved wife wanted him to hear.
Best Moment: Hohenheim’s absolutely best moments are all in the flashbacks. Getting to know he was a Xerxes slave, and his interactions with the Dwarf in the flask are priceless to the story, answering some of the most mouthwatering questions through the series.
An early favorite. Maes Hughes exemplifies human kindness, being sort of the Elric Brothers’ dorky parental figure once they start working for the military. He also is loves his wife and daughter, named Gracia and Elicia respectively. That love, bordering in infatuation, becomes a great running gag during the first arc.
He is charming, loyal, and smart. In fact, too smart for his own good. Before the story continued to evolve, revealing all of Father’s plans, Hughes has already deciphered what was happening. Of course, he is unable to share this information with anyone (not even the viewers know at that time) since he is attacked by Lust and then murdered by Envy during the end of the arc. His death teaches the Elric Brothers just how dangerous their journey will become, and it’s the first cataclysm of the things to come.
Best Moment: His overall demeanor during his daughter’s birthday party is hilarious. He passes from cute when witnessing (alongside Winry) just how adorable his daughter is too downright Soprano when intimidating some boys.
Gluttony is a baby. Quite literally. His demeanor is such that it’s impossible to catalog him as a true villain. He is simply following the orders of his own father, and the other Homunculus that take care of him. His bond with Lust is very strong, resembling that of a protective elderly sister and her younger brother.
He is one of the first Homunculus to be introduced (alongside Lust), thus being a member of the original three that were considered the primary antagonists during the first arcs. In fact, the way he asks Lust for permission to eat other characters is absolutely terrifying, still sending chills down our spines (goodbye, Father Cornello’s corpse!).
After Lust dies, Gluttony wants to avenge her by eating Mustang. This is when we see that Gluttony is a Defective Portal of Truth, Father’s failed attempt at creating the real one. Gluttony’s true form is grotesque, and it’s so puzzling to think that once he swallows things they will be forever lost in a dimension full of absolutely nothing. Gluttony disappears from the story once Father recreates a tiny one after seeing that his regenerative abilities had been exhausted. Gluttony rememarges again close to the final arc, having grown to his normal size and assisting and now assisting pride.
Best Moment: After Gluttony eats Envy, Ed, and Ling, which leaves him without a clue of what to do. As Gluttony talks with Al and agrees to take him to Father, we truly see Gluttony’s innocence, and how he would be like if he were not following anyone’s orders. This is the moment when we realize just how much we want to take care of Baby Gluttony. Honorable Mention: Did anyone else hold their hearts as Gluttony cried for Lust to help him as Pride devoured him?
Scar is the opposite of Mustang. While Mustang seeks redemption after his role in the Ishval Civil War, Scar seeks vengeance. This is why Scar is initially presented as a villain, and someone Edward and Al have to constantly fight. The Ishvalan’s role during the initial arc is to terrorize Central City by murdering state alchemists that took place in the atrocious genocide. Monopoly Man look-alike Giolio Comanche and the much hated Shou Tucker are among his many victims. It also later revealed that Scar was the one who murdered Winry’s parents, setting him as an even bigger antagonist.
However, Fullmetal Alchemist is a series of complex storylines and three-dimensional characters. As the story progresses, we learn the reason behind Scar’s hatred and begin to sympathize with him. After teaming up with May Chang, one of the few characters who never sees Scar as a dangerous murderer, Scar’s personality and story arc start to change. His interactions with Edward, Winry, and fellow Ishvalan Miles greatly take a positive effect on him.
Best Moment: When Scar is about to kill Edward as the young boy protects Winry, he remembers how his brother tried to protect him against Kimblee. The contrast between the past and the present permeate his consciousness, and he hesitates, thus unable to take Edward’s life.
Winry is the Edward and Al’s longtime friend and Edward’s personal automail engineer. Winry is mostly oblivious of everything the Elric Brothers do as state alchemists and the looming danger every citizen of Amestris, herself included, faces.
When she joins Edward and Al in their adventures, Winry is not a clumsy sidekick that deters the sibling’s journey. In fact, she takes full responsibility to make sure that Edward and Al accomplish what they want. When she is sent to Briggs as a hostage (unbeknown to her), and she learns of the Ed and Al’s plans as well as what the enemies intend to do, she proposes to join the group. During this arc, Winry’s quick thinking provide an exceptional plan that helps the group to escape from Kimblee.
Winry is a clear reminder of the home Edward and Al lost, as well as the innocence and comfort of the mundane life they don’t live. While not being an important player in the story, Winry’s emotional impact on Scar, Al, and Edward in particularly, play an important part in how those characters grow.
Best Moment: When Winry encounters Scar a second time, but now has processed her emotions and how she feels about the man who murdered her parents. While she still can’t forgive him, she decides to live by her parents’ example and help the man’s wounds.
Now, the eternal question: if Ling and Gluttony engaged in an eating contest, who would win? While Ling’s sudden loss of energy and immediate need to eat a lot is the character’s running gag, Ling is a very interesting character. He has traveled all the way from Xing to find the secrets of the Philosopher’s Stone and thus become an emperor. This goal is essentially the same as May’s, but Ling’s path takes him somewhere far more different and dangerous, and his body ends up becoming Greed’s container. Ling manages to stay there and interact with Greed, and from time to time is even able to take over his body.
Ling’s magic as a character is all in the relationships he builds. The bond he has with Fu and Lan Fan can’t be overlooked, particularly the many instances where we see how much he cares and worries about Lan Fan. Similarly, he creates a strong bond with Greed, ultimately giving the Homunculus everything he ever wanted.
Best Moment: When Ling cries next to Fu’s dead body. His voice cracks, his tears flow, and the pain of having lost someone so important to him resonates with all of us.
Greed is the fifth character to be introduced as a Homunculus (Bradley was there from the beginning, but the nature of his being was revealed later on). Greed continued to say and remind people that he wants everything, thus making him a complex Homunculus that jumps back and forth between being part of the heroes and the villains. It’s not that he is necessarily neutral, he simply wants the best for him first. For that reason, he always considers what benefits best, which is one of the main reason he does not side with Father.
Because of Greed’s nature, he can’t be considered a true antagonist; and his role in the series does not bloom until he has flashbacks of the life he had prior to possessing Ling’s body. Eventually, he sides with Ed to not be alone, and when he perishes thanks Ling and Ed for having given him everything.
Best Moment: When he rebels against Father, carbonizing his arm and severely weakening him. It was always great seeing Greed being the rebellious child all the way to the end.
Father is an incredible villain. He is determined to achieve what he wants without caring for anything and anyone else. He annihilated the entire population of Xerxes to get his immortal body, and through war and genocide expanded the country of Amestris so its population could be sacrificed as well (and act that was technically successful, but was later frustrated by the efforts of our heroes). Father is also full of character flaws or sins he decides to get rid of as he creates his Homunculus. These children of his also matter little to him, as he shows no concern for any of them. Father also claims to want knowledge and achieve perfection, and does not comprehend how wanting those things could be a bad thing, hence his very short discussion with Truth before he is taken away.
Father is, of course, the major antagonist and player in the series. His actions not only shape how the story moves, but also how the story got there in the first place. As a result, the final and most decisive battle is against him. His defeat is the most important goal of the journey despite returning Al’s body being mentioned throughout the show as what the Elric Brothers ultimately seek. This is shown when Al refuses to get his body back so he can fight Father. The Elric Brothers understand that, even though they want their bodies back, dealing with Father’s threat is their number one priority.
Best Moment: When Father consumes God. This jaw-dropping moment showcases just how far Father will go to acquire what he wants, and the fact that he wants so much makes us wonder what would be next on his list.
The first Homunculus Father created, yet the last one to be introduced. Pride is incredibly dangerous and terrifying. There’s basically no human who could pose a danger to him. Being Selim Bradley gives a fun juxtaposition between what looks as the most innocent character and the most dangerous Homunculus.
Pride is also second-in-command, as shown when he gives orders and scolds his siblings. When we first hear Pride’s voice scolding King Bradley, we knew we were dealing with a horrifyingly powerful Homunculus. Pride is also cruel, not hesitating to eat Gluttony to acquire his powers. He also eats Kimblee as if he were doing him an honor, but the logic behind his reasoning is simply missing.
Best Moment: When Pride introduces himself to Lieutenant Hawkeye and threatens her. After that interaction, no one could blame poor Riza for being afraid of whatever lurked in the shadows of her own apartment. Honorable Mention: Seeing Pride panic as Edward is about to destroy his container, memories of his mom and dad being the last things he can see.
King Bradley is introduced as a kind leader, though that soon changes as we see that he asked the army and state alchemist to obliterate the Ishvalans. Wrath understands what his role is, and will do everything he can to ensure that Father’s plans are fulfilled. This is clearly exemplified when we notice that he could have prevented Lust’s death, but since he knew it was not the right time to show his face as a Homunculus, decided not to intervene. King Bradley is also extremely dangerous, being a very fast Homunculus and so skillsfull with his sword he looks like a mixture between a Sith and the T-1000 from Terminator.
Interestingly, Bradley shows some complexity deep within him. He does seem to love his wife, having chosen her himself. This is similar to Pride’s realization of how it felt like to have a real family, something Father had always craved and envied.
Best Moment: Wrath has multiple fights that are astonishingly excited and superbly animated. Such fights include those against Scar, Ling and Lang Fan, and how he charges Central Command and blows up the tank Briggs soldiers had built. However, his battle against Greed/Ling, Fu, and the absolutely amazing Buccaneer (whom we would have loved to include on this list had he had more screen time) was absolutely amazing, and among the best in anime history.
Lust was gone both at the right time and way too soon. We say at the right time because her death was meticulously timed, but her character was so good and intricate that we wish she had endured all the way to the end. I mean, is it really fair to lose her at the end of the second arc when Sloth is right there until the end? Sure, Sloth’s fight against Olivier, Izumi, Alex, and Sig is amazing, but replace Sloth with any other Homunculus and the fight would still have been terrific. When Lust is introduced, we see that she is the one in command, telling Gluttony what to do (as it’s their mother-son/big sister-younger brother relationship), and reprimanding Envy after the Maria Ross fiasco. It would have interesting to see how her relationship was with Pride since all the other Homunculus despised being with him.
Lust gets the gears running during the first arc, making sure that Father’s plan are set in motion. She also keeps a close eye on Edward and Mustang, fearing for their safety as potential human sacrifices when Scar is murdering state alchemists left and right. Lust is also, alongside Envy and Gluttony, part of the original trio of villains we see during the first arcs, and the one who does the most during that time. Lust is smart, patient, and cruel. She simply does not hesitate to murder someone she no longer deems useful and establishes no connections with the humans she interacts.
Best Moment: Her final words. After Lust is incinerated alive, she dies with pride, telling Mustang that being defeated by a man with eyes so cold and lacking hesitation was not such a bad thing; and then she adds that she can’t wait to see those same eyes clouded with agony. That line lingers all the way to the end, when Mustang attacks Envy so viciously Riza and Edward end up intervening to protect the Homunculus and save Mustang from his own wrath, and when Mustang ends up losing his eyesight after he is forced to perform a human transmutation. Lust’s last words are such a subtle and brilliant foreshadowing that only comes to light at then end.
Dear, handsome, beautiful, funny, and gentle Alex Louis Armstrong. What would have happened to the first arc of the story without his precise comic relief? As the series progressed and the story dealt with darker and more complex topics, Major Armstrong’s role when helping set the narrative becomes even clearer.
His role during the last arc also implements that impeccable comedic relief of his; and as he teams up with his sister to fight Sloth we get some of the best action sequences in the show, and some of the greatest chemistry between two characters (the Armstrong siblings working together is incredibly sweet and empowering, and Major Armstrong teaming up with Sig Curtis because of their incredibly physique is comedic gold).
Alex also has something that sets him apart from all the other alchemists and military personnel who participated in the Ishval Civil War: he didn’t complete his duties. While he was responsible for some atrocious actions during the war, he ultimately decided is to disobey the orders of an oppressive regime that was conducting genocide. This decision might have hinder his military career and affected his reputation, but his integrity remained intact.
Best Moment: Major Armstrong truly has some magnificent moments, and choosing one is particularly difficult (his battle with Scar, when he fights with his sister, when he fights Sloth alongside Olivier Armstrong, Izumi Curtis, and Sig Curtis). However, if we had to go for only one moment, it would be when Major Armstrong visits Edward at the hospital and ends up scaring (and perhaps scarring) both Elric Brothers. Honorable Mention: When General Armstrong tells his subordinates that their behavior is quite suspicious.
Olivier is a B-A-D-A-S-S. No buts. When her character is first introduce we come to find a tough general that is so firm and just that everyone serving her has put her on a pedestal. That level of loyalty and respect exemplifies her strong and unique personality and why she is among Fullmetal Alchemist’s best characters. It’s also very funny seeing just how different she is from her brother. It’s also worth noting that when General Armstrong talks about Edward’s height (or shortness), Edward does not react with rage as he does with everyone else throughout the show. That’s how scary Olivier is.
During the last arc, General Armstrong plays a very important and decisive role in the capital as the soldiers from Briggs stage an attack using a tank they fabricated inside her mansion (rightfully so after inheriting it). Armstrong also fights Sloth first by herself and then alongside her brother in what are some nail-biting scenes.
Best Moment: As Roy’s forces start attacking Central City, General Armstrong mocks some high-ranked men in Central Command due to their false sense of security. Afterwards, she reminds them that she is not like Roy Mustang, who’s been carefully using his alchemy to injure soldiers without causing casualties. In a split second, she shoots Lieutenant Gardner in the head, thus reminding audiences that she is the one heroic character who will not hesitate to kill her opponents. Honorable Mention: When Olivier kills Lieutenant Raven at Fort Briggs. Be honest, that scene gave you goosebumps.
Al’s personality differs greatly from that of his brother. He is kinder and far more optimistic. He is quick to forgive, and at times acts like an armored Pinocchio that could easily be manipulated into doing things that work against his benefit. However, Al is not stupid. This balance is perfectly shown when he sacrifices himself to trick and immobilize the very dangerous Pride.
Al works alongside Ed, initially as some sort of side kick (Ed is the Fullmetal Alchemist, Al is an empty suit of armor), but then is quickly shown to be an independent agent who shares the same goal as his brother. Once Al is also able to perform alchemy without the need of a transmutation circle, he becomes even more powerful and independent.
Al is very protective of those he loves, a trait that is constantly shown throughout the series. He saves Riza and encourages her to keep fighting, he uses himself as bait to render Pride useless during a vital fight, he uses his empty suit armor of a body as a shield to protect May from Father’s blast, and even tried to protect a chimera that moments before was his enemy from dying at the hands of King Bradley.
Best Moment: When Al’s soul sees his body in the Gate and refused to take it back because of how frail it is, understanding that a body like that won’t be able to help those he loves. This is the moment Al has been waiting for so long. His quest coming to an end right in front of him, and yet, he decides to leave for those he loves. Al is always true to himself.
If you ask her, she’s just a housewife. Izumi Curtis’s introduction as a simple housewife is as legendary as the many things that have been passed down the Armstrong line for generations. Alongside Major Armstrong, she’s the only other figure that truly intimidated the Elric Brothers; and the fact that both Edward and Al know how to fight and use alchemy is attributed to her teachings.
Izumi is very important to the story not only for having been the Elric Brothers’ teacher, but also for the revelation that the baby she had transmuted hadn’t been hers. This news shakes her to the core, and releases her from the guilt and pain of having lost her baby two times. This information also serves the Elric Brothers well since it confirms that they had also failed to bring back their mother.
Not to mention her enormous role during the final arc. Without her, many major characters would have perished.
Izumi is strong, and not even once loses an ounce of her integrity (never even considering becoming a state alchemist). It’s no wonder she commands so much respect and admiration, particular from Ed and Al.
Best Moment: When she introduces herself to the townspeople as she prevents a river from flooding. The scene is perfect, even showing her vomit blood (a brilliant moment of shocking humor that becomes poignant once we understand the reason behind it).
Riza Hawkeye is loyal, quiet, smart, and incredibly dangerous. Another example of how to make strong and compelling female characters, which are luckily abundant in Fullmetal Alchemist. Lieutenant Hawkeye is the most valuable member of Mustang’s team, serving as his confidant and right-hand person. Though her closeness with Mustang is such that the show plays with the idea of whether they were romantically involved or not, Riza and Mustang always keep things professional, showing that a strong relationship between two people does not necessarily have to be romantic.
Her role throughout the series becomes more and more important as she faces many challenges, which include fighting Gluttony, Lust, and Envy, and keeping her cool when Pride threatens her (who else wouldn’t be terrified about whatever lurks in the shadows after such encounter!). However, her most important part happens towards the end of the last arc, when she confronts Colonel Mustang during his battle with Envy, thus saving the colonel from being consumed with rage; she later serves as the Mustang’s eyes when facing Father, again showcasing how close they are.
Best Moment: When Riza shoots Lust nonstop after the villain informs her that she has murdered Mustang. We never see the Lieutenant act like this, losing what is usually a very controlled facade and diligent behavior. The reaction shows the sheer raw emotion she felt upon hearing the news, and how Mustang’s apparent death causes her to give up on everything.
Envy is by far the most complex Homunculus. Envy is sadist, cruel, humorous, proud, and jealous. The full complexity of their personality in unveiled throughout the show, and it’s almost like unwrapping a Christmas present ever so slowly. Envy is part of the three first Homunculus we see, the classic trio of Lust, Gluttony, and Envy we all adore. However, as the series progresses, we come to understand that Envy was the one who pulled the trigger (quite literally) during the Ishval Civil War. Envy is extremely old, and their existence has been marked by instigating human conflicts that result in riots and genocide. To make things worse, Envy takes extreme joy in seeing humans suffer, the sensation being their extasis.
Envy is genderless, and is able to take on any form they want. Envy’s true form is that of an enormous lizard-like monster, and when under their original form a small parasite. Their preferred form is that of a cute (his words), androgynous human.
During the first arc, Envy is structural in the riots that nearly destroyed the city of Reole, the destruction of the Fifth Laboratory, and murders Hughes. As their role becomes more important, we come to learn that Envy also helped start the Ishval Civil War by posing as an Amestrian soldier and shooting a kid. Whenever Envy reveals one of their actions, Ed shows shock and anger, which makes things even more interesting when Ed shows compassion for the Homunculus.
Best Moment: When Envy tells Ling and Ed that they started the Ishval Civil War. Seeing the flashback with the Amestrian soldier with his red Homunculus eyes and Envy’s signature malevous smile about to shoot a defenseless kid is indeed one of the most shocking scenes in the whole series. Honorable Mention: When Envy has an absolute meltdown after Ed uncovers that they are simply jealous of humans. “Bye-bye, Edward Elric.”
The idealist State Alchemist Roy Mustang is one of the strongest figures throughout the entire series. His stoic demeanor and sense of duty always putting others, including Edward, on edge. He also possesses a heated rivalry with General Armstrong, and a small and loyal team who follows him even when Mustang’s enemies split the group so as to keep Mustang under control. Mustang is, along the Elric Brothers, one of the principal players in the story, and one whose actions come to define some story arcs.
During the first arc, Colonel Mustang he is presented as some sort of cold figure within the military, though as the series starts exploring his story and intentions, we get to see that he is a calculating man who wants to make sure the country and its government change; an ideal that grew inside him after taking part in the Ishval Civil War. His journey is one not only of self-redemption and atonement, but one that seeks to change Amestris itself.
Colonel Mustang is also the only alchemist who knows flame alchemy, an extremely powerful and dangerous form that made him a hero during the Ishval Civil War and the only state alchemist whose skills the Homunculus truly worried about (as stated by Pride). His combat ability is such that Mustang defeated two powerful Homunculus by himself.
During the last arc, he helps orchestrate a coup d’etat and storms Central City and later Central Command. Here Mustang shows both his greater assets and his biggest weaknesses, being almost corrupted by rage when facing Envy. Ultimately, Mustang is able to overcome these character flaws and face Father alongside other protagonists including Lieutenant Hawkeye, who serves as his eyes after Truth took his sight.
Best Moment: During his fight against Envy, Colonel Armstrong shows a determined fury that corrupts him with such greatness that it becomes difficult to separate good vs. evil. It is a beautiful portrayal of human rage, and how even those who can be considered good can succumb to it. Honorable Mention: When Mustang is forced to perform human transmutation and Truth ends up taking his sight. This is a perfect metaphor. Yes, kiddos, life is an unfair asshole.
Edward is complex. Very complex. His innocence was to some extent extinguished after performing human transmutation to try to bring back his mother, and then having to sacrifice his arm for a soul binding transmutation so he wouldn’t completely lose his brother. Ed can come off as proud and stubborn, not to mention short-tempered (particularly when someone talks about his height). He doesn’t like to be treated like a kid, as evidence of his interactions with Hughes and Major Armstrong. However, he is very intuitive and compassionate, having promised himself to never kill anyone and figuring out why others act the way they do. It is for this reason that Ed understands other complex characters like Envy and Scar. Ed is also not as optimistic as Al, and it takes him longer to forgive his father for leaving them.
It would be a waste of time to say that the titular character helps the story move forward, but there, I said it. However, if we think of how many stories flow like rivers, completely unaffected by the main characters actions and decisions, then it’s important to state that Edward makes things happen. He actively does things that affect what the antagonists do, culminating with his battle against Father.
Best Moment: Being the center figure of the series, Ed has multiple brilliant moments. However, if we had to pick one, it would be the first time he sees Al inside the Gate and promises him to come back for him one day. This moment is full of raw emotion, as Ed is coming face to face with his brother’s body for the first time in years. Not to mention that Al is looking extremely weak. Seeing Ed beg his brother to take his hand and then promise to come back for him is both devastating and reassuring, and gives us (the viewers) the ultimate understanding that the brother’s journey is more than possible. Honorable Mention: When we see what’s inside Ed’s pocket watch. Heartbreaking.
So there you have it! That’s our list of the top 20 Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood characters based on their personality, complexity, and contribution to the story. Because we know there are many FMA Brotherhood fans out there, tell us: what are your favorite characters?