A Monster for Every Season: Summer 2
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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
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    An Ishbal tribunal might. Also, how much of what has happened is classified information? I think the official story is that Mustang, the Elric brothers and Co. lead a counter insurgency against a plot against Bradley.
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    My memory was that Bradley was completely exposed as a Homunculus and they spread the whole truth about what had actually been going on. Not sure if that's actually what happened - that was just my vibe from the way things played out in the end.

  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Ionathus View Post
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    My memory was that Bradley was completely exposed as a Homunculus and they spread the whole truth about what had actually been going on. Not sure if that's actually what happened - that was just my vibe from the way things played out in the end.
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    "The assault led by brigade general Armstrong and Colonel Mustang have foiled the plans of a group within the government to enact an alchemical experiment putting the population in jeopardy. Through their bravery, the insurgents have swiftly taken control of the parliament and the army headquarters. Generals Klemin and Edison tried to take advantage of President Bradley's absence to put this terrible plan in action. They have been arrested and the troops under their commands have just surrendered. Finally President Bradley, returned from overseeing maneuvers in the East, as well as his son Selim have tragically died during the fighting. Colonel Roy Mustang will pursue the efforts of the late president to restore security and reinforce national unity..."

    So, it seems they're keeping Bradley and Selim's true nature a state secret.
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  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Fyraltari is correct - the official line is that Mustang and Grumman are heroes of the people for foiling a dastardly plot by {insert Father's puppets here} to unseat the glorious and beloved King Bradley, who was unfortunately killed in action, and whose doting wife is eternally grateful and gave a full-throated endorsement to them to run the nation in his stead. The most likely circumstance is that Grumman will be Fuhrer for a couple of years, retire again or die of old age, and then Mustang will take over for a decade or more.

    There is plenty of room for conflict in the future - Grumman or Mustang could decide to betray one another before a transition for instance, Amestris' neighbors could seek revenge for the decades of pogroms, and Truth only knows what will happen when Selim Bradley comes of age - but for right now Grumman and Mustang are comfortably running the show.
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  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
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    Fyraltari is correct - the official line is that Mustang and Grumman are heroes of the people for foiling a dastardly plot by {insert Father's puppets here} to unseat the glorious and beloved King Bradley, who was unfortunately killed in action, and whose doting wife is eternally grateful and gave a full-throated endorsement to them to run the nation in his stead. The most likely circumstance is that Grumman will be Fuhrer for a couple of years, retire again or die of old age, and then Mustang will take over for a decade or more.

    There is plenty of room for conflict in the future - Grumman or Mustang could decide to betray one another before a transition for instance, Amestris' neighbors could seek revenge for the decades of pogroms, and Truth only knows what will happen when Selim Bradley comes of age - but for right now Grumman and Mustang are comfortably running the show.
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    I would like to think that Selim has a good future ahead of him, to the point where I sometimes wonder if there couldn't be an excellent idea for a sequel following him navigating his life as a late teen/young adult while all of Amestris' chickens start coming home to roost.
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  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    What's the deal with Selim Bradley?

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    When Elric beat Pride, Pride left behind a tiny embryo/fetus/infant. Elric left it alone. Is that Pride in a smaller form? If so, why let it live?

    Or was Pride created the same way Wrath was created, by injecting a human being with a philosopher's stone? Did Elric destroy the homonculus, allowing the human Selim to mature?

    The original Pride was the first and worst of the homonculi. It was possessed by a multitude of human souls from the stone, of which the most proud were dominant. I'd be extremely reluctant to leave him alive, even as an infant, for fear of what he'd mature into. It's not like he's a human with good points and bad; he was the vice of Pride personified.



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    Brian P.
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  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    What's the deal with Selim Bradley?

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    When Elric beat Pride, Pride left behind a tiny embryo/fetus/infant. Elric left it alone. Is that Pride in a smaller form? If so, why let it live?

    Or was Pride created the same way Wrath was created, by injecting a human being with a philosopher's stone? Did Elric destroy the homonculus, allowing the human Selim to mature?

    The original Pride was the first and worst of the homonculi. It was possessed by a multitude of human souls from the stone, of which the most proud were dominant. I'd be extremely reluctant to leave him alive, even as an infant, for fear of what he'd mature into. It's not like he's a human with good points and bad; he was the vice of Pride personified.



    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
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    It wasn't clear how he was created but I get the understanding he was made unlike either Pride or the rest of the Homunculi, and if I had to guess I would say that he was a much larger portion of Father then most of the rest. But what he was at the end was a Homunculus with a totally expended and possibly destroyed philosophers stone and an infant body that now seems to age normally and genuinely believes he is human. Ironically, the worst possible fate for Pride.
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    What's the deal with Selim Bradley?

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    When Elric beat Pride, Pride left behind a tiny embryo/fetus/infant. Elric left it alone. Is that Pride in a smaller form? If so, why let it live?

    Or was Pride created the same way Wrath was created, by injecting a human being with a philosopher's stone? Did Elric destroy the homonculus, allowing the human Selim to mature?

    The original Pride was the first and worst of the homonculi. It was possessed by a multitude of human souls from the stone, of which the most proud were dominant. I'd be extremely reluctant to leave him alive, even as an infant, for fear of what he'd mature into. It's not like he's a human with good points and bad; he was the vice of Pride personified.



    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
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    Full Metal Alchemist has an ultimately positive outlook on humanity. No one is born evil, just shaped that way by circumstances and other people. For all the talk of the homonculi being the excised sins of the Dwarf in the Flask, it's not actually true. Father is still Proud, Envious, Wrathful, Lazy, Gluttonous, etc. While the homonculi are still able to show a range of emotions beyond their own sin. Now that he is rid of Father's influence and raised as a normal human boy, Selim will most likely grow up to be just that. Even if he should somehow recover Pride's memories, all Pride really wanted was the acknowledgment of his Father and he realized in his last moments that the Dwarf in the Flask would never give him that, and that he truly loved Wrath and Mrs. Bradley.

    Also, Ed ripped out almost all of the philosopher's stone making up his body to reduce him to this state, meaning that Selim no longer has the enormous powers Pride has.

    And finally we see in the end that Selim is compassionate towards a wounded bird AND that Mustang and Grunman are keeping a close eye on him and would kill him if they deemed it necessary.
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  8. - Top - End - #68
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Dragonus45 View Post
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    It wasn't clear how he was created but I get the understanding he was made unlike either Pride or the rest of the Homunculi, and if I had to guess I would say that he was a much larger portion of Father then most of the rest. But what he was at the end was a Homunculus with a totally expended and possibly destroyed philosophers stone and an infant body that now seems to age normally and genuinely believes he is human. Ironically, the worst possible fate for Pride.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
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    Full Metal Alchemist has an ultimately positive outlook on humanity. No one is born evil, just shaped that way by circumstances and other people. For all the talk of the homonculi being the excised sins of the Dwarf in the Flask, it's not actually true. Father is still Proud, Envious, Wrathful, Lazy, Gluttonous, etc. While the homonculi are still able to show a range of emotions beyond their own sin. Now that he is rid of Father's influence and raised as a normal human boy, Selim will most likely grow up to be just that. Even if he should somehow recover Pride's memories, all Pride really wanted was the acknowledgment of his Father and he realized in his last moments that the Dwarf in the Flask would never give him that, and that he truly loved Wrath and Mrs. Bradley.

    Also, Ed ripped out almost all of the philosopher's stone making up his body to reduce him to this state, meaning that Selim no longer has the enormous powers Pride has.

    And finally we see in the end that Selim is compassionate towards a wounded bird AND that Mustang and Grunman are keeping a close eye on him and would kill him if they deemed it necessary.
    These sum it up, but I wanted to add:

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    Remember that throughout Brotherhood, Ed doesn't kill anyone - not the homunculi, not the (sapient) chimera, not the corrupt members of the military, anyone. The sole exceptions are perhaps a few of the Mannequin Soldiers, which are not really alive anyway (being closer to constructs or zombies), and Father himself - and for the latter, even then Ed didn't actually kill him, he just finished the destruction of Father's Stone which prompted the backlash that dragged Father back to face The Truth. Sparing Pride/Selim while neutralizing his ability to do harm thus fits this version of Ed like a glove.

    The reason for this is simple - Brotherhood, far moreso than FMA2003, focused on the core philosophy of One Is All, All Is One. Having Ed kill anyone, including Pride, would undermine that philosophy - because if you truly believe One is All, then all life has value, even homunculus life (and moreover, the formless, shapeless lives in each of their stones). The brothers in Brotherhood are thus pacifists.

    Granted, adhering to such a philosophy is comparatively easy/convenient when you have folks like Mustang, Armstrong and Scar around to kill off the truly irredeemable bad guys like Lust, Sloth and Wrath for you, but the point stands


    Ed in 2003 is much different. In that earlier series, the core philosophy focuses more around Equivalent Exchange (and its myriad flaws.) It ends up being a much darker story/protagonist as a result.
    Last edited by Psyren; 2022-08-19 at 04:31 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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  9. - Top - End - #69
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    To be fair Manga Ed also comes to understand the flaws of Equivalent Exchange, it's just less focused on. Note that the way the Gate works also changes between the two anime, and that has implications for the trading.

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    In 2003 the trades with the Gate are implied not to be equivalent, and ends with Ed figuring out what you have to trade to bring somebody back. In the manga the trades that Truth make are considered equivalent, and Al realises that means that you can do them the other way.

    In theory the Elric brothers in the anime could have got their bodies back by returning the knowledge they were given. But unfortunately that is not actually something that can be done, because Truth already has the knowledge. Which is another flaw of Equivalent Exchange, that the value of items can vary dependent on the recipient.

    Hence the philosophical rejection of the principle at the end of the manga. Alchemy might say that you can't do anything but change the shape, but you can still improve stuff, and leave it better than it was.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
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  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    And, I've finished the series. I enjoyed it, which sounds like faint praise, I know, but I generally don't wax long about things unless I've got a lot to say about them.
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  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    And, I've finished the series. I enjoyed it, which sounds like faint praise, I know, but I generally don't wax long about things unless I've got a lot to say about them.
    So what did you think of the choice the brothers made? Are the philosopher's stones worth the price it takes to create one? The brothers boast they will get a philosopher's stone "at any cost" -- to get their problems fixed "no matter what". Except that "no matter what" turned out to be a very big "WHAT". They chose a different path. What did you think of their choice?

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    Last edited by pendell; 2022-08-23 at 03:54 PM.
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    So what did you think of the choice the brothers made? Are the philosopher's stones worth the price it takes to create one? The brothers boast they will get a philosopher's stone "at any cost" -- to get their problems fixed "no matter what". Except that "no matter what" turned out to be a very big "WHAT". They chose a different path. What did you think of their choice?
    "Sheriff Bourne: You were truthful back in town. A man can get a job, he might not look too close at what that job is. But a man learns all the details of a situation like ours, well, then he has a choice.
    Mal: I donít believe he does."

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    "We'll get a philosopher stone at any cost" is a statement born out of ignorance... they don't even CONCEIVE of the cost at the beginning, so "at any cost" is an understandable hyperbole. About the 5th Laboratory and their run-in with Chopper and the other one, they realize the cost of what they're looking at, and back away from "at any cost". Hoenheim, with his longevity, did things with the souls inside a stone that they wouldn't be capable of, but their decision to not discard the stones that existed, and instead make them useful, was also, IMO, a moral choice... leaving the stones around made them potential weapons, while using their power to improve the world took them out of the equation while respecting the lives that created them.
    The Cranky Gamer
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Hall View Post
    "Sheriff Bourne: You were truthful back in town. A man can get a job, he might not look too close at what that job is. But a man learns all the details of a situation like ours, well, then he has a choice.
    Mal: I donít believe he does."

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    "We'll get a philosopher stone at any cost" is a statement born out of ignorance... they don't even CONCEIVE of the cost at the beginning, so "at any cost" is an understandable hyperbole. About the 5th Laboratory and their run-in with Chopper and the other one, they realize the cost of what they're looking at, and back away from "at any cost". Hoenheim, with his longevity, did things with the souls inside a stone that they wouldn't be capable of, but their decision to not discard the stones that existed, and instead make them useful, was also, IMO, a moral choice... leaving the stones around made them potential weapons, while using their power to improve the world took them out of the equation while respecting the lives that created them.
    Y'know, that coat you're wearing looks kinda ... dark-colored. Almost brownish.

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    The only way I could better their choice would be is there was some way to release the souls inside; although I don't know how possible that is. I do know that the Crimson Alchemist seemed to survive intact inside Pride's stone after he was devoured. Is it possible to destroy the stones and release those trapped inside? Or does using them have that effect, I wonder?


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    Brian P.
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Y'know, that coat you're wearing looks kinda ... dark-colored. Almost brownish.
    It was on sale.

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    The only way I could better their choice would be is there was some way to release the souls inside; although I don't know how possible that is. I do know that the Crimson Alchemist seemed to survive intact inside Pride's stone after he was devoured. Is it possible to destroy the stones and release those trapped inside? Or does using them have that effect, I wonder?
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    They covered this, I thought... you CAN release the souls, but if they don't have their own bodies to go back to, they're just GONE.
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  15. - Top - End - #75
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
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    The only way I could better their choice would be is there was some way to release the souls inside; although I don't know how possible that is. I do know that the Crimson Alchemist seemed to survive intact inside Pride's stone after he was devoured. Is it possible to destroy the stones and release those trapped inside? Or does using them have that effect, I wonder?
    That's one thing where I feel like the series could have meandered more.

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    There's some hints that they would be able to. Hoenheim quite clearly was genuinely able to communicate with the souls in his stone, given that them retaining personality was a shock in the last exchange. The souls from Xerxes are probably gone outside of Hoenheim, but the modern Amestris-made stones are so much newer that it seems like the possibility of them being still intact should have been thought of. Father does a thing in the final fight where he goes "Look, I'll make a human!", and it is implied that it is one of his stored souls rembodied.

    At that point it was probably late enough in the series that that sort of philosophical sideline would have been distracting, and I suppose the ambiguity makes the moral choices - and every character involved makes a different one - less clear cut.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
    Y'know, that coat you're wearing looks kinda ... dark-colored. Almost brownish.

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    The only way I could better their choice would be is there was some way to release the souls inside; although I don't know how possible that is. I do know that the Crimson Alchemist seemed to survive intact inside Pride's stone after he was devoured. Is it possible to destroy the stones and release those trapped inside? Or does using them have that effect, I wonder?


    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
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    Kimblee survived as a distinct soul because he had an exceptionally strong personality that wasn't bothered by being subsumed in a Philosopher's stone. Ling managed much the same feat. With enough time, you CAN get the individual souls back, but it took Hohenheim hundreds of years to manage it and could only do so because he was the host.

    We also see that you can reverse the Philosopher's Stone creation process, because Hohenheim does it. He reverses the nationwide transmutation and returns the people of Amestris's souls to their bodies.

    So, why not do it for the others? Because there are complications.

    Firstly, the reverse alchemical transmutation required very specific conditions, just like the transmutation it was reversing. It had to be done during a solar eclipse. That's not easy to replicate.

    Secondly, the people within the stones have no bodies. To get those people back you would first have to drag their bodies back from beyond the Gate...and the only way we see to do that is Edward giving up his alchemy to bring Alphonse's body back. Now trying doing it for the hundreds/thousands of people in those Philosopher's Stones.

    In other words, it might someday be possible. But it's a feat nobody currently knows how to do, and it's a feat that's on par with curing death. And even if you can someday get them back, will the people you bring back still be sane?

    I think the choice to mercy kill them by using the Stone for noble purposes is the best compromise under the circumstances. The characters would bring the people back if they could, but they recognize the odds are astronomically low. And every day they spend trying to fix the problem is a day those people spend in "a vortex of anguish".

    Last edited by Rodin; 2022-08-23 at 06:03 PM.

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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Rodin View Post
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    I think the choice to mercy kill them by using the Stone for noble purposes is the best compromise under the circumstances. The characters would bring the people back if they could, but they recognize the odds are astronomically low. And every day they spend trying to fix the problem is a day those people spend in "a vortex of anguish".

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    Exactly this. Creating philosopher's stones is morally wrong. What do you do with existing stones? If there were a simple way to undo the stone, that would be the best option (as it would end the torment they were under)... but if you could simply undo a philsopher's stone, this would be a very quick anime. So the second best option is "quickly use up the stone, freeing the people inside", which doesn't seem to be any worse than existing within the stone, and has the advantage of being faster.
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

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    Note that Marcoh can also destroy stones, although it's unclear exactly how. It's possible he releases the souls, but also possible he just uses them up extremely fast.

    Hohenheim's trick also took a lot of energy. We have no idea exactly how many souls were involved,or how much energy each soul gives, but the implication is that it's a lot.

    One thing that I've wondered is if Father and Hoenheim can do Alchemy without using their stones. We never see them doing it, but Hoenheim lived as a normal alchemist for years. It's just this big question mark, I'm not sure the souls inside him would be very happy being used up to fix a barn.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zelphas View Post
    So here I am, trapped in my laboratory, trying to create a Mechabeast that's powerful enough to take down the howling horde outside my door, but also won't join them once it realizes what I've done...twentieth time's the charm, right?
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    How about a Jovian Uplift stuck in a Case morph? it makes so little sense.

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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

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    Everyone has a Gate that powers personal-level alchemy (or at least the potential to, if they learn how to use it.) For proof, Father still had his Gate even after his stone was completely used up (visible behind him in the penultimate Truth scene). So I would say that no, Hohenheim is not going around burning souls every time he fixed the kids' swing set
    Quote Originally Posted by The Giant View Post
    But really, the important lesson here is this: Rather than making assumptions that don't fit with the text and then complaining about the text being wrong, why not just choose different assumptions that DO fit with the text?
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

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    Sure both Father and Van Hohenheim can do alchemy without stones; it's just that if they use ordinary alchemy they're bound by the law of equivalent exchange, same as everyone else. It means they can't do the miraculous feats possible with philosopher's stones, and for every thing given by alchemy in the ordinary way something of equal value must be given in return.

    The physicist in me wonders how entropy factors into this equation; there's always a certain amount of energy lost as heat in any reaction, which implies there can never be a completely equivalent exchange. Thus, the alchemist must put in more energy than they take out in order to get the equivalence -- if you put in 30 kilojoules of energy and 6 are lost as waste heat , you're only going to get 24 back. So if you want 30 kilojoules you're going to need to put in something closer to 35-40.

    Maybe this is why you can't get the dead back? Because even offering a human life in exchange isn't equivalent, due to the loss as a result of entropy?


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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
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    Sure both Father and Van Hohenheim can do alchemy without stones; it's just that if they use ordinary alchemy they're bound by the law of equivalent exchange, same as everyone else. It means they can't do the miraculous feats possible with philosopher's stones, and for every thing given by alchemy in the ordinary way something of equal value must be given in return.

    The physicist in me wonders how entropy factors into this equation; there's always a certain amount of energy lost as heat in any reaction, which implies there can never be a completely equivalent exchange. Thus, the alchemist must put in more energy than they take out in order to get the equivalence -- if you put in 30 kilojoules of energy and 6 are lost as waste heat , you're only going to get 24 back. So if you want 30 kilojoules you're going to need to put in something closer to 35-40.

    Maybe this is why you can't get the dead back? Because even offering a human life in exchange isn't equivalent, due to the loss as a result of entropy?


    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
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    I'm not sure the second law of thermodynamics applies to the setting, but it's not clear when you think of the weirdness of how the actual power of alchemy, and Alkahestry, being drawn directly from earth itself. Alchemy from the violence of tectonic plates rubbing against one another (I know there is some confusion about this thanks to Father mucking about with things but that is the actual power source) Alkahestry from a much more mystically oriented ley line kind of explanation. There could well be an issue of needing to put in more "energy" for the sake of converting material without loss, but the source could well be unlimited so that becomes moot. Or it isn't and alchemists are draining the earths core of it's heat and they will all die a few million years sooner. Entropy definitely doesn't fit in when it comes to loss of materials when they get reshaped by alchemy though. If nothing else people would have noticed that the math in their circles was off.
    Last edited by Dragonus45; 2022-08-24 at 02:09 PM.
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by pendell View Post
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    Sure both Father and Van Hohenheim can do alchemy without stones; it's just that if they use ordinary alchemy they're bound by the law of equivalent exchange, same as everyone else. It means they can't do the miraculous feats possible with philosopher's stones, and for every thing given by alchemy in the ordinary way something of equal value must be given in return.

    The physicist in me wonders how entropy factors into this equation; there's always a certain amount of energy lost as heat in any reaction, which implies there can never be a completely equivalent exchange. Thus, the alchemist must put in more energy than they take out in order to get the equivalence -- if you put in 30 kilojoules of energy and 6 are lost as waste heat , you're only going to get 24 back. So if you want 30 kilojoules you're going to need to put in something closer to 35-40.

    Maybe this is why you can't get the dead back? Because even offering a human life in exchange isn't equivalent, due to the loss as a result of entropy?


    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Entropy is a major concept/theme in 2003; it's a bit more handwaved in Brotherhood.

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    In 2003: The energy that goes into alchemy comes from the souls of people dying in our real world and passing through their gate, a link Dante exploits to dispose of Hohenheim and later attempts to dispose of Ed. Hohenheim is also decaying over the course of centuries in 2003. 2003's two worlds are also mirrors of one another, with a lot of familiar faces showing up in similar roles (e.g. Hughes is a soldier in both, Alphonse and Edward are scientists in both etc.)

    In Brotherhood: The energy that goes into alchemy is geothermic, which is presumably why transmutation circles must usually be drawn
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    or projected
    onto a solid surface. This is also what allows Father to interfere with alchemy throughout Amestris, because his various philosopher's stone materials are flooding throughout the ground and acting as a buffer between alchemists and their connection to the earth. Brotherhood is also a bit more magical than 2003 in that Xing's practice of qi manipulation let's them power an entirely new form of alchemy (alkahestry) that gets its power from by the background energy produced by living things and connected by leylines, and which Father fails to understand or possibly even care about (directly leading to his downfall.) In addition, Hohenheim is implied to be truly immortal - or at the very least, if entropy is a thing, he is dying far, far more slowly in Brotherhood than in 2003 until the point where he actually uses his stone up against Father.
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
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    Hohenheim's trick also took a lot of energy. We have no idea exactly how many souls were involved,or how much energy each soul gives, but the implication is that it's a lot.

    One thing that I've wondered is if Father and Hoenheim can do Alchemy without using their stones. We never see them doing it, but Hoenheim lived as a normal alchemist for years. It's just this big question mark, I'm not sure the souls inside him would be very happy being used up to fix a barn.
    This is pretty explicitly answered

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    When Hoenheim is doing Mysterious things (that later turn out to be him setting up the reversion circle), we see him picking out specific souls and apologizing to them - "Forgive me, I have to use you". He wouldn't be doing that if he'd been using them for anything except at great need.

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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    About the stones
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    So someone was saying that using the stone already made rather than destroying it is somehow better. Do the souls from a destroyed stone pass on? Or are they somehow destroyed? Do we know? It seems to me that using the stone is more likely to erase these souls, consuming them to power the effect you are after, in which case, breaking the stone and at least hoping the souls released move on to an afterlife is the far more moral option. Even if they get destroyed in both cases, destroying the stone now is ending their torment today, not a hundred years in the future when you finally do enough alchemy to make it fall apart. Yes you could do good with the existing stone, but at the cost of continuing the torment of the thousands of souls trapped inside.
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Traab View Post
    About the stones
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    So someone was saying that using the stone already made rather than destroying it is somehow better. Do the souls from a destroyed stone pass on? Or are they somehow destroyed?
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    Is there a difference? There are no hints of an afterlife in any sort in FMA. I suppose the only one who knows for sure is Truth, and I don't want to imagine the price they'd ask for answering that question.
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
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    There are no hints of an afterlife in any sort in FMA.
    I've heard this before, but...

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    We do have that scene after Father is destroyed where the Dwarf In The Flask is face to face with Truth, and is told that "we have a special place for you". That sounds a lot like a soul facing divine judgement to me.

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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Gnoman View Post
    I've heard this before, but...

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    We do have that scene after Father is destroyed where the Dwarf In The Flask is face to face with Truth, and is told that "we have a special place for you". That sounds a lot like a soul facing divine judgement to me.
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    My copy of the manga doesn't have that line. But it does have the Dwarf saying "I don't want to go back there." Which implies that he's being sent back to where he originally came from. And that's just the thing, at the end of the day, we never find out how the ancient Xerxian alchemist made or captured the Dwarf in the first place. Is he even related to humanity or is he completely different (worth noting that his Gate is completely blank)? I don't think we can draw many conclusions regarding human souls from his fate.
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Fyraltari View Post
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    My copy of the manga doesn't have that line. But it does have the Dwarf saying "I don't want to go back there." Which implies that he's being sent back to where he originally came from. And that's just the thing, at the end of the day, we never find out how the ancient Xerxian alchemist made or captured the Dwarf in the first place. Is he even related to humanity or is he completely different (worth noting that his Gate is completely blank)? I don't think we can draw many conclusions regarding human souls from his fate.
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    This is a Japanese anime and I understand how the culture thinks, so here's my theory.
    Remember when the Truth spoke to the Dwarf in the Flask? The Dwarf asked who he was. The Truth replied that (he? she? I'll use "they") were part of everything, so in a sense "I am you."

    Based on this, and seeing how this played out in Kingdom Hearts ("all hearts begin in darkness, and all so end") , behold, my hypothesis:

    All souls originally came out of the Truth. They are all parts of Truth. There is some natural mechanism by which they are brought into this world as individual souls and put into human bodies which is unexplained , but it happens. The alchemist of the ancient civilization tried to mimic this approach by artificially extracting a piece of the Truth using Van Hohenheim's blood as a catalyst, dragging it through the gate , and giving it existence in the physical world: This artificially-created soul, a part of Truth just as others, was our friend Dwarf in the Flask.

    Just as souls come out of the Truth, so they return to the Truth when their time is done. The Dwarf was taken back into the Truth when he was kicked out of the physical world; I suspect ALL souls follow the same journey. How happy they are as part of the Truth depends on what kind of creature they are. The Dwarf wasn't thrilled at all to go back, but I think someone like Elric wouldn't feel anywhere near the same level of crushing despair because he has a very different relationship to the Truth.

    So that's my opinion: The souls which separated from the Truth at birth return to it and are re-integrated into this Whole on death. This reintegration is either a blissful or excruciating experience, depending on the individual soul's experience of the Truth.

    If this is what truly happens -- for we know that souls absolutely are a thing in the world of FMA -- the question then becomes what happens to souls consumed when using a philosopher's stone. Do they return to the Truth as well? Or are they annihilated?

    If the first, it's debatable whether it's better to use them or to release them. If I were such a soul, I'd prefer to be used by someone who would make the world a better place. If the second, ANY use of a philosopher's stone for any reason is a crime greater than anything possible in our world , the obliteration of a soul, and its use is inexcusable in any case save absolute necessity of preventing someone else from using one. Likewise, the creation of one is a crime above all real-world crimes.

    If you want my opinion (which would probably be why you've read so far), I'd lean toward the first explanation -- if those souls are part of the Truth and the Truth is in the soul, then it would be pretty much impossible for any mere mortal power to destroy. If that were so, humans would be more powerful than the Truth, and that is something we absolutely never see happening in the show.

    ETA: And now that I've had a bit more time to think upon this, I want to expand on it.
    You may recall , in the series, that Father spun off the seven homonculi, later reclaimed Greed and Gluttony, then re-created them again. I think that this separation-reintegration-separation is a microcosm of what happens to all beings in their world with respect to the truth. We know the Dwarf wants to be god. By creating souls from himself, and then taking them back into himself, he is imitating god, practicing for the role.



    Respectfully,

    Brian P.
    Last edited by pendell; 2022-08-24 at 08:40 PM.
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    I ultimately don't think souls can be destroyed any more than matter or energy can. (And souls in this universe can very well take the form of both.)

    Individual consciousness/personality can be lost - the length of time that takes being dependent on the soul in question and how they came to be disembodied - but much like objects, that's just an arrangement (of thoughts/memories rather than atoms.) In both cases, the quintessence is still present even when you destroy or unmake the arrangement. And in some cases, the arrangement even survives being disembodied (see Kimblee for example.)
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    Default Re: Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Psyren View Post
    Entropy is a major concept/theme in 2003; it's a bit more handwaved in Brotherhood.

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    In 2003: The energy that goes into alchemy comes from the souls of people dying in our real world and passing through their gate, a link Dante exploits to dispose of Hohenheim and later attempts to dispose of Ed. Hohenheim is also decaying over the course of centuries in 2003. 2003's two worlds are also mirrors of one another, with a lot of familiar faces showing up in similar roles (e.g. Hughes is a soldier in both, Alphonse and Edward are scientists in both etc.)

    In Brotherhood: The energy that goes into alchemy is geothermic, which is presumably why transmutation circles must usually be drawn
    Spoiler: minor finale spoiler
    Show
    or projected
    onto a solid surface. This is also what allows Father to interfere with alchemy throughout Amestris, because his various philosopher's stone materials are flooding throughout the ground and acting as a buffer between alchemists and their connection to the earth. Brotherhood is also a bit more magical than 2003 in that Xing's practice of qi manipulation let's them power an entirely new form of alchemy (alkahestry) that gets its power from by the background energy produced by living things and connected by leylines, and which Father fails to understand or possibly even care about (directly leading to his downfall.) In addition, Hohenheim is implied to be truly immortal - or at the very least, if entropy is a thing, he is dying far, far more slowly in Brotherhood than in 2003 until the point where he actually uses his stone up against Father.
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    Manga Hohenheim is at least implicitly not truly immortal, although it's not certain if just living uses up his stone considering hownquickly he ages when he only has his original soul left I'd ever on the side of yes Similarly 2003 Hohenheim's situation is a bit more complex, he's used the Stone to jump bodies multiple times, and each time his body rots faster, but his current body has lasted a couple of decades without falling apart. He at the very least took years to get to where Dante did in months.

    Actually, I kind of want a 2003 prequel set at the dawn of Alchemy. You could end the series with Hohenheim creating the stone.

    Also I kind of got the impression that Xerxian alchemy was qi-based, and that Father taught the geothermal stuff at least partially so he could have control over it's use. It's still likely that Xerxes didn't know about or use the leg lines that Alkhastry does, we never see more than the barest bits of it, at a rough guess I'd say it likely looked like a more primitive version of Ishvallan alchemy without the universal circles.
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