Original Fullmetal Alchemist Anime Had an Extremely Dark Ending Before ‘Brotherhood’ Rectified it 6 Years Later

'Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood' finally gave Ed and Al as well as fans the very thing they were robbed of by the original series.

Original Fullmetal Alchemist Anime Had an Extremely Dark Ending Before ‘Brotherhood’ Rectified it 6 Years Later

SUMMARY

  • 'Fullmetal Alchemist' and its remake 'Brotherhood' had brutally different endings because of the time during which they were created.
  • The original anime from 2003 robbed fans of a happy ending and gave a brutal, dark end that separated the brothers.
  • On the other hand, 'Brotherhood' redeemed the manga by giving the fans as well as the brothers the very thing that the original series couldn't: Ed and Al's sweet, cherished brotherhood.
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The Fullmetal Alchemist anime series, both the original one and the remake Brotherhood, are some of the most invaluable projects that anime fans have ever been gifted with. Encircling around the inevitable theory of how every gain requires a sacrifice, the series won a lot of hearts along the way throughout the time that it aired onscreen.

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Fullmetal Alchemist
Fullmetal Alchemist

But despite being created on the same manga, both anime series differ drastically, especially when it comes to their finales. While the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime had an extremely dark and unhappy ending, its remake Brotherhood more or less rectified it six years later in what can be described as “more faithful to the source material” manga remake. And now we know why.

The Original Fullmetal Alchemist Anime Had A Brutally Dark Ending

The end scene of Fullmetal Alchemist (2003)
The end scene of Fullmetal Alchemist (2003)

The Fullmetal Alchemist manga originally circulates the storyline of two brothers from the country of Amestris, Edward (Ed) and Alphonse Elric (Al), who are on the receiving end of the gift of alchemy — the supernatural ability to transform matter. However, this very alchemy takes a toll on them when they try to resurrect their mother who dies from stress cardiomyopathy.

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While performing the ritual of alchemy, Ed ends up brutally severing his right arm and left leg, and his brother Al’s entire body becomes unusable. Thus, to heal themselves back to their original forms, Ed puts on prosthetic limbs while binding his brother Al in a large steel armor to replace their deformities, becoming ‘Full Metal Alchemists’ who set out on their journey to seek out the Philosopher’s Stone.

In the original anime series and the continuing film Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa (2005), Al sacrifices himself to bring his brother Ed back from the dead using a human transmutation, as the Law of Equivalent Exchange states: “Man must pay an equal price in order to obtain anything.” While this brings back Ed with all of his limbs back as well, Al dies in the process.

When Ed wakes up and realizes that his brother sacrificed himself just to save him, he does another transmutation to sacrifice himself to bring back Al, taking an unprecedented leap of faith in the hope of bringing everything back. Except this time, because of some unexplained magic, Ed manages to not die either, and live until the end.

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Yet this was hardly a happy ending as even though Al gets brought back from the dead, he gets reverted back to the age he was before the start of the series, losing all of his memories about everything that happened afterward. On the other hand, while Ed continues to live and even gets his limbs back, he stands on the other side of the gate: in Munich, Germany, 1923, to be more precise.

Written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa, this manga story notably went into production for an anime series in its very early days. Since anime versions are quicker to cover the storyline as compared to the manga, this original anime from 2003 soon ran out of source material to adapt, and the remaining content in the anime’s story was comprised of original material created for the same.

Because of this very reason, the finales of both the original series from 2003 (and film) and the manga’s second anime series adaptation version six years later, i.e. Fullmetal Alchemists: Brotherhood, differ so much in their respective themes and end plots, with one adapting a brutally dark end while the other leaving the space for a happy ending.

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Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood Allowed Ed And Al A Happy Ending

Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009)
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (2009)

While the original one-season series from 2003 Fullmetal Alchemist left audiences heartbroken with a brutally dark and devastating end, its manga remake six years after the original one (and after the manga series was notably more progressed than when the original anime was created) changed everything and rectified this very ending to a happier one.

As compared to the original one which saw the law as an absolute and unchangeable one, the 2009 Brotherhood anime series saw the two brothers interpreting the Law of Equivalent Exchange differently and as something imperfect that could be rebelled against and proven wrong. As Al narrates at the end of Brotherhood:

“Man cannot obtain anything without paying a price,” he said. “By paying the price of effort, everyone will certainly be able to obtain something.”

All in all, through this bittersweet message and a considerably happier ending, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood gave the brothers as well as the fans the very thing that the original anime series robbed them of: Their sweet, cherished brotherhood.

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You can stream Fullmetal Alchemist on Netflix, and Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa on Crunchyroll.

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Written by Mahin Sultan

Articles Published: 1108

Mahin Sultan is a News Content Writer at FandomWire. With almost one year's worth of experience in her field, she has explored and attained a deep understanding of numerous topics in various niches, mostly entertainment.

An all-things-good enthusiast, Mahin is currently pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Commerce, and her love for entertainment has given her a solid foundation of reporting in the same field. Besides being a foodie, she loves to write and spends her free time either with her nose buried in a good book or binging on COD or K-dramas, anime, new movies, and TV serials (the awesome ones, obviously).

So far, Mahin's professional portfolio has more than 500 articles written on various niches, including Entertainment, Health and wellbeing, and Fashion and trends, among others.