Differences between Fullmetal Alchemist anime and manga

Anime adaptations often differ from their manga source material, and Fullmetal Alchemist is no exception. The anime adaptation deviates quite significantly from the manga, as it was produced before the manga had concluded. This resulted in the anime creating its own version of the story, with only one-third of the series based on the original manga storyline.

While Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood, the later adaptation, followed the manga almost identically, the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime had to create its own storyline to continue the series. Exploring the differences between the anime and manga reveals how much they differ from one another.

One of the most significant differences between the two versions is the increased political relevance in the anime. While the manga touches upon themes such as the Ishvalan race, the anime elevates this element, making it a focal point in some scenes. The plight of the Ishvalan people is presented quite vehemently through the depictions of the invasion of Ishvala and their resulting slums. Themes of colonialism and racism are also ardently presented in the anime, pushing the focus on racial injustice and imperialist attitudes.

Another key difference is the focus on worldbuilding. The manga features detailed aspects of the Fullmetal Alchemist world, showcasing vibrant scenes from the nation of Xing and presenting icy views of the Northern country of Drachma. However, the anime adaptation failed to capitalize on this factor, presenting a streamlined perspective of each nation with minimal scenes and characters.

In terms of characterization, the anime version is considered to be the superior version as its characters are much more relatable. The characters are written in a way that shows them struggling with their flaws over and over again. Even the villains have their motives rooted in reality, and their viewpoint of the world isn’t changed by a simple altercation with the protagonist, giving them a much-needed depth that the manga doesn’t offer.

Lastly, the anime adaptation has increased censorship, as creators are forced to tone down the profanities and make the scenes more family-friendly due to its larger audience, especially younger viewers. While this doesn’t necessarily affect the anime series in any way, removing Edward’s brash personality and attitude removes an element of relatability.

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