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Alphonse Elric

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Alphonse "Al" Elric (アルフォンス・エルリック Arufonsu Erurikku?), is a fictional character in the Fullmetal Alchemist series, created by Hiromu Arakawa. Al has been featured in many types of media. He has been in manga's anime's, soundtracks, OVA's, movies, video games, and collectibles. Al used to be a human child, until he lost his body to an alchemic experiment to bring his dead mother back to life, but lost his body during the process but his brother, Edward Elric, made his brother a metal suit with his soul put into it.

Al's blood seal lies right below his neck, in the back, on the inside. The blood to keep him alive is his brother's blood. According to Edward, he needs to be careful whenever he reconstructs Al's body because he must keep the blood seal intact during the transmutation. If the blood seal is removed, Al's soul will be lost.

Creation and conception

Al's name in Japanese is supposed to mean what the nature of his character is. In Japanese, his nickname is written with the katakana "aru" (アル) to mimic the pronunciation of "Al." The hiragana "aru" (ある, pronounced exactly the same) would represent the verb "to exist". The Japanese have two verbs for "to exist" - one for animate objects such as people (iru), and one for inanimate objects (aru). A major theme of the show is if Al still exists as a person even when his soul is in his armor is still wandering, and his name takes on an additional layer of meaning with respect to this struggle to define what he has become.

Character Outline

Alphonse is a nice kid who loves stray cats. He is as well tries to be nice to everyone. He acts mostly childish but its only because he has a stunted maturity from not growing physically at all. When he's in his armor suit he stays the same age the whole time. Edward always feels bad for his brother for causing him to have to wear the armor that does not make him able to grow or have senses. Edward said he would die trying to get his body back but he believes that Al might lose his humanity from trying to get his body back with alchemy. Al doesnt want to die and doesn't want to be separated from his brother so Al has stops his brother from doing very dangerous things to him. Al's steel armor makes his brothers' weakness by people against him taking advantage of Al. Al sometimes feels that he is a bother to his brother but he has saved his brothers life quite a few times. Al is known to be Edwards counterpart. While Edward is demonstrated as violent, impulsive, stubborn, and loud, Alphonse is quiet, pacifistic, submissive, and strategical.

Since Al is bound to one of Hohenheim's antique suits of armor, he does not need to eat, drink, breathe, or sleep. Al's has wishes that he could hopefully do when he gets out of his armor. the first wish is to be able to eat apple pie. The second wish is to be able to sleep so that he does not have to spend his nights feeling lonely. Also, because of his armor most people who meet Alphonse automatically assume him of being the Full Metal Alchemist.

Edward and Alphonse are both very loving and close to each other; in their traumatic struggles, they retained their very sanity by becoming each others support beams and only friends.

Plot Overview

Al lived in a small town called Resembool, where he lived with his brother Edward, and their mom Trisha Elric and their dad Hohenheim, until Hohenheim went on a journey and many years later Trisha became very ill and suddenly dies, leaving the the two young brothers as orphans. Their neighbor, Pinako Rockbell, then began taking responsibility them. Afterwards they started studying alchemy and trying to do everything they can to bring their mother back to life. During that time they were able to train with a skilled alchemist named Izumi Curtis. When they return from their training of alchemy, they went to try the taboo art of Human transmutation but fail costing Edward his left leg, and costs Al his entire body. Edward then performs a second transmutation, sacrificing his own right arm to bind Al's soul to a nearby suit of armor.

Anime

After Kimblee uses alchemy to transform Al's armor into explosive material, Scar transferred all of his incomplete Philosopher's Stone into Al to save his life. As a result, Al became the Philosopher's Stone. Al learns that his body was lighter and his blood flow can come in contact with water. He also has gained the ability of performing alchemy without a transmutation circle, although this is due to him "remembering" the gate. He only uses alchemy twice after he becomes the stone because any alchemy he or anyone near him uses activates the stone and destroys a part of Al's body. Because he houses the Stone in his body, he becomes the primary target of Dante's attempt to cheat death, but not before he becomes a pawn in Shou Tucker's plot to resurrect Nina. Once captured by the Homunculi for Dante, Al was to be devoured by Gluttony to complete the Stone inside Gluttony's body. But when he saw his brother killed by Envy, Al uses the stone's power to restore Edward's body (including his missing limbs) and re-bind his soul to it. This destroys his own body as he used up the whole of the Philosopher's Stone in the transmutations.

Al becomes the Philosopher's Stone and regains full memory of his visit to the Gate. The concept of this is never fully ventured, due to his fear of the possible outcome effects of using the Stone's power. In the final episode of the series, he clearly uses alchemy without the need of any transmutation circle, in order to resurrect his dying brother.Then ed using his own body, reserects al.

Manga

In the manga Al develops the ability to perform alchemy without a transmutation circle, the same as Edward. When King Bradley impales Martel while she is inside Al's armored body, her blood spills onto his blood seal. This gives him a near-death experience, recalling to his mind his experience at the Doors of Truth. He realizes that he can transmute without a transmutation circle shortly thereafter. Also, in the manga, Alphonse is afraid that his armor will eventually reject his soul, which would mean his death.

A recent chapter proved the theory that Al's body was still in existence, as Edward finds it on a return trip to the Doors, malnourished and unkempt, but very much alive. He shows the true nature of his body, showing that even though his body is almost impossible to recover, he won't give up, and so neither should they. During Edward's near-death experience, Al is shown as blacking out and seeing his body in the midst of snowstorm. This suggests that his body is calling for his soul, showing the first sign of rejection. However, he manages to find the party and warns them, though Scar said that it is rather useless, since they had nowhere else to go. As of recent chapters, Al has been attacked by Pride and Gluttony, and was knocked out and possessed by Pride. However, with Ed's quick thinking and flash bangs, Pride's control over Al was broken. He then returned to the slum camp, where he met Hohenheim. Al came up with an idea to "beat" Pride. By Hohenheim using himself as a decoy, Pride moved all his shadows near him and was attacked by Al. Further distracted by Al, Hohenheim sealed Pride and Al in a large sphere made out of Earth. Al would be fine in there as he required no oxygen to survive. He started talking with Pride about how human he could be. At some point later Pride began banging on Alphonse's helmet, which Alphonse believed was just playing, in order to send a morse code through the earth to Father. This worked and Kimblee came and released Pride.

Appearances in Other Media

Besides the anime's and manga's Alphonse Elric has been in other media. He has been in a movie called Conqueror of Shamballa. Al also appears in almost all the Fullmetal Alchemist OVAs. In the first one as a super deformed version of himself at the movie's wrap-up party, and in the fourth OVA, he plays a part in the battle against the anime's Homunculi. Al also appears in all Fullmetal Alchemist video games on all platforms. He is also featured in several of the Fullmetal Alchemist Trading Card Game Alphonse is also in the additional yet non-canon Fullmetal Alchemist novels. In The Movie The Conqueror of Shamballa, Al's previous armor is shown as one of the soldiers Eckhart uses in her attempt to conquer Amestris. Al transfers a part of his soul into one, allowing him to talk with Edward in Munich (through the armor) for a short time. (However, the transmutation is temporary).

Character Reception

Several publications for manga, anime, and other pop culture media have provided critique on the character of Alphonse. AnimeOnDVD say Al is "quite the likeable character" and praised him in both Volumes 6 & 7. The first stating that "Al's slow descent into madness and disbelief over his own existence is interesting something that could make up a series all by itself. The review claiming thatEpisodes 25-28 saying "Getting more time with Al as an actual young boy is a nice change of pace" The site also commented for the Movie and how the characters had changed, the reviewer stated; "What I enjoyed the most from the changes was seeing just how similar yet different Al had become as he took on the role of his brother."

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