HAGANE NO RENKINJUTSUSHI
HAGANE NO RENKINJUTSUSHI
full metal alchemist
full metal alchemist
 



Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

4 Pages V   1 2 3 > »   
Reply to this topicStart new topic
Ep. 51: Was Ed Selfish?
fullmetal_gradst...
post Mar 28 2005, 11:37 PM
Post #1


Citizen
*

Group: Members
Posts: 31
Joined: 28-March 05
Member No.: 10,673



Hope it's ok for a newbie to start a new topic; I've looked through the forums and this issue doesn't seem to have been addressed.

I devoured the entire series last week and I think it's some of the best writing/character development I've ever seen in an anime, but the more I think about the ending, the more I believe that Ed betrayed all of the growing up and learning that he did throughout the series when he made his final transmutation. Let me explain...

In episode 48 Ed tells Izumi that he plans on destroying the philosopher's stone. This action would be the culmination of Ed's learning to be an adult and clean up his own mistakes (in the same vein as destroying the homunculus). It can be argued that one of these mistakes was binding Al's soul to the armor in the first place, the selfish act of a child too afraid to face life alone. Al pretty much comes to the conclusion that he should have died as he makes the choice to resurrect his brother. Al's sacrifice was beautiful, but more importantly, it put Ed in the position to be a true hero, to act with maturity and responsibility, making sure that no one ever searched for the philosopher's stone again. We're even led to believe this is what Ed will do when he tells Rose he plans on destroying the underground city. However, instead of facing the lonliness of surviving, ensuring the downfall of research on the philosopher's stone, and gracefully releasing his brother's spirit, Ed takes what I consider to be the selfish act of using alchemy again, leaving Al to take the hard and lonely road of survival without his brother. Worse, Al is perfectly positioned to continue the search for the stone, the very quest Ed wisely realized was nothing but trouble!

So, sorry for the long post, but I'm dying for someone to discuss this with. Any thoughts are much appreciated!


--------------------
Eternium elder: Fry, it is my duty to inform you that the fate of humanity, the fate of our race, indeed, the fate of all that exists and ever will exist rests with you. You are the single most important person in the universe.

Fry: Oh snap!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Otoki Tomoe
post Mar 29 2005, 12:53 AM
Post #2


Citizen
*

Group: Members
Posts: 87
Joined: 5-March 05
From: USA, for now
Member No.: 9,084



First of all, I don’t know how to do the spoiler thingy yet, so I’ll give everyone fair warning now:

Spoilers ahead! Beware! tongue.gif

Ok, I thought about this too, actually. At first, I thought Ed was selfish to basically refute his brother’s sacrifice and ‘kill’ himself after his brother had ‘died’ to bring him back (I use these terms of ‘death’ loosely here). But after some thought, I realized what it was that so strongly made up his character. It was his love for his brother, and the guilt he carried. I was always obvious to me that Ed blamed himself for every action leading them to episode 51—the decision to bring their mother back, the failed resurrection, his brother’s 'death', his decision to bind Al’s soul, and everything they went through in the series up until that moment. They were all things that Ed couldn’t repair no matter how hard he tried. And he tried so hard to make things easy on his brother—who was an innocent in his eyes. sad.gif Remember how protective he was? For example, when he went to dig up their mother’s remains to defeat the homunculus, he didn’t tell Alphonse until after she was destroyed because he didn’t want to hurt him and cause him undue stress.

I think that, initially, transmuting Al’s soul into the suit of armor wasn’t the act of a scared child… I think Ed realized (I would imagine even moreso after seeing “the gate”) that what he’d done was wrong and he didn’t want his brother to have to pay the price for a mistake that he felt was his alone. I think the actual mistake was throwing away the Law of Alchemy and everything their Sensei had taught them. Choosing to bind Al’s soul was an unfortunate repercussion. We’re also forgetting that Ed was only ten years old (or was it eleven?) at the time, and didn’t have the same sort of reasoning an adult would have in that situation. He did the first thing he could think of to mend a situation that gotten way out of his control. (And if you’ve read the manga, you may or may not agree that what Edward did was probably the best, given the situation… I’ll say no more though! Go read the manga! wink.gif )

Anyway, Edward made a promise to Al that he'd restore him to his former self no matter what the cost and I thought it was kind of sweet and befitting of him to make that final transmutation, despite that it twisted around what his brother had done. I hope what I’m going to say next makes sense, because I’m not sure how to explain it:

Through Al’s sacrifice, Ed was able to fulfill his promise. I saw it as Edward’s way of making amends for his mistakes and sins, even if that meant he had to sacrifice the one thing he refused to give up throughout the series. I mean, those two went through so much and put so much hard work into trying to find the Philosopher’s Stone, and Ed very nearly created it at the cost of other humans’ lives. But he didn’t. He wasn’t willing to sacrifice the lives of other people, just like he wasn’t willing to sacrifice the life of his brother. So I thought it was ironic and sad that in order to restore Al to his own body, Edward had to give up that one thing he’d been fighting so hard to hold onto—his relationship with his brother. By offering himself as equivalent exchange, he was finally able to make amends for all the mistakes he’d made.

And that, my friends, is what made me cry my friggin eyes out!

Also, I think (and by all means I could be way off…) that he realized that Alphonse would probably not pursue the Philosopher’s Stone if left to his own reasoning. Al isn’t nearly as impulsive a character as Ed is, and I think Ed understood this and had confidence enough in his brother to trust his judgment (even if Al didn’t remember all that had happened… which personally, I think is a pile of crap. I would be surprised if Al didn’t remember at least something of their time together). Oh… and did Edward really destroy the city when he made that final transmutation? I know that’s what he told Roze he was going to do, but I don’t recall the ending ever saying either way.

Like I said, I could be way off base here, but these are all just my opinions and by no means "the truth behind truths".

I agree with you totally that this an amazing series. Hands down, it’s the best series I’ve ever seen or read. I can’t say anything else even comes close. Hagaren is so unique and thought-provoking. The storyline is intelligent and the characters are deep and likeable. They’re also very human. Even the ones that aren’t human. I really felt a connection with the characters—especially the Elric brothers—and that’s something I really can’t say for anything else.

So hey, great topic! Maybe we’re both full of crap in our views, but it’s so nice to be able to discuss it with someone else! happy.gif


--------------------
IPB Image
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
fullmetal_gradst...
post Mar 29 2005, 01:22 AM
Post #3


Citizen
*

Group: Members
Posts: 31
Joined: 28-March 05
Member No.: 10,673



Great points all. I agree completely with your interpretation of Ed's initial decision to bind Al's soul; I just think it serves as a great demonstration of the acts of a desperate child.

I think to some extent my feelings about Ed's last transmutation being selfish have to do with my views on what alchemy (and the philosopher's stone in particular) symbolize in the series. Alchemy serves as a stand-in for science/technology/progress, which is revered by the Western civilization inhabited by alchemists and is feared/reviled by other societies. (The science vs. religion themes throughout the series really touch a nerve with me.) While I think you can argue that alchemy serves some good purposes in the show, I feel like the primary stance is that its destructive potential outweighs its benefits. The most clear example of this is the philosopher's stone, which I think is a metaphor for nuclear weapons. If you don't see the connection, think back on the episode where the Ishbal massacre is first described, very reminiscent of the US attacks on Japan in WWII, eh? We even see Ed's awareness of the nuclear attacks to come on "our" side of the gate when he's speaking with his father in London; Ed knows alchemy costs lives. To use alchemy upon returning to his world, even if it is to save his brother, is an act of selfishness. Even worse, because of Ed's actions, Al is going to continue to pursue alchemy and quite possibly go after the stone. I agree that Al is less impulsive than Ed and may make better decisions, but isn't Al the one who first got excited about going after the stone?

Anyway, thanks for reading. I'm glad to have a place to air my wacky ideas biggrin.gif


--------------------
Eternium elder: Fry, it is my duty to inform you that the fate of humanity, the fate of our race, indeed, the fate of all that exists and ever will exist rests with you. You are the single most important person in the universe.

Fry: Oh snap!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
utsukushii
post Mar 29 2005, 04:30 PM
Post #4


Citizen
*

Group: Members
Posts: 15
Joined: 28-March 05
Member No.: 10,632



I think that what Ed did in the last episode was not selfish at all, he said he wanted to return his little brother to his body NO MATTER WHAT THE COST. Sacrificing basically everything he had was the most unselfish thing, in my opinion. He lost his family (except for dad, who he doesn't like), his friends, and alchemy (which he worked so hard to master his whole life). That's my take.
This is a great series! I can't wait for the movie.


--------------------
user posted image
A painless lesson is one without any meaning.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Ryo the Enigmati...
post Mar 29 2005, 05:29 PM
Post #5


Citizen
*

Group: Members
Posts: 8
Joined: 25-February 05
From: Dallas, go on stalk me...im stalkin u
Member No.: 8,567



It realy wasnt selfish at all, Ed wanted to bring his brother back no matter what. He didnt know if he would die or not but he was planing on sacrificing his own life to bring Al back


--------------------
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Wise_Alchemist
post Mar 29 2005, 06:34 PM
Post #6


Citizen
*

Group: Members
Posts: 14
Joined: 22-March 05
From: The Gate
Member No.: 10,199



Ed's actions in my opinion were SELFLESS

He spent all his time looking for the solution to fix his and Al's body. All the hardships he went through, even becoming a dog of the military, to write the wrong of destroying his and Al's body! And then in the end after Al sacraficed himself for Ed, Ed finally returned Al to his body and brought him back to life! My opinion is Ed is very SELFLESS.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
clothalchemist
post Mar 30 2005, 12:18 AM
Post #7


Citizen
*

Group: Members
Posts: 4
Joined: 26-March 05
Member No.: 10,450



First, great topic and discussion. I think both of the main arguements stand.

Ed is both selfish and selfless. He was selfish to want to conclude his own mission of bringing back Al and thereby negating Al's wonderful gift of life for his brother (though maybe Ed doesn't realise fully what Al did for him as he was dead at the time). But he was also selfless to bring back Al and fulfill his mission knowing that he could not remain in this world.

As for Al's new mission, one hopes that Sensei will this time talk to him about the Philosopher's stone and the consequences of its uses.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
AA battery
post Mar 30 2005, 12:42 AM
Post #8


Brigadier General
*****

Group: Members
Posts: 1,842
Joined: 10-February 05
Member No.: 7,450
Gender: Not Telling



I think, we can't really say whether or not Ed was selfish or selfless at that time because he was desperate... of course, to him, his goal was to bring Al back to life so trying to transmute Al back is what was ideal, however, what if- (I think Ed never realized that Al's memory was also the price of the the transmutation until Hohenheim mentions it later) Al actually has his memories? Since Al has already tried the transmutation once, he might do the same again- because the two brother's promise was, to regain their original body TOGETHER. So... if just so happens that both of them did the human transmutation perfectly (one life -> another's life), this may go on in a never ending cycle (till one of them fails the transmutation)... ok, life is not perfect so that probably won't happen...

I guess I just wanted to say that seeing how desperated and... stressed out, strained out Ed was at that point, we can't really say whether he was selfish or selfless to the extreme there... I like how both side interpretrated this part up there biggrin.gif


--------------------
*June 11, 2013 - New Doujinshis Added*
Hi, I got a bunch of FMA merchandises (keychains, pencil boards, cards, figurines, book in figure red...etc) for sale at my LJ. Please visit my sale post here if interested! Thanks ^_^
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Guest_Guest_*
post Mar 31 2005, 01:25 AM
Post #9





Guests






I don't think Ed is selfish at all, he's very selfless. He wants nothing but for his bro to be back to normal and always blames himself for all that happens to Aru. He would take on any pain, suffering and misery to restore his Aru, like work for the military, die under Scar's hands for Al and in the end sacrifice everything he has and everything he worked for to restore his brother. For the whole series, I had never seen him demanding unreasonable things, although he did demanded for people to stop calling him short, it is not a selfish thought. And he probably thinks that Aru don't deserve to die in the beggining, episode 1, and in the end, episode 51, so he felt guilty and had to bring him back from the gate no matter what, he would sacrifice his heart, body and soul...He is the most selfless.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
AA battery
post Mar 31 2005, 07:43 AM
Post #10


Brigadier General
*****

Group: Members
Posts: 1,842
Joined: 10-February 05
Member No.: 7,450
Gender: Not Telling



I still can't agree that he is completely selfless... probably true that he is more selfless than selfish or maybe, selfish isn't the right word for it... probably the lack of consideration (is bringing Al back and leaving him the best choice? Al may end up worse off than death... *not gonna say all the possible scenerios that she has in mind*) and maybe over-confidence...


--------------------
*June 11, 2013 - New Doujinshis Added*
Hi, I got a bunch of FMA merchandises (keychains, pencil boards, cards, figurines, book in figure red...etc) for sale at my LJ. Please visit my sale post here if interested! Thanks ^_^
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
xyzknight
post Apr 1 2005, 01:25 AM
Post #11


Citizen
*

Group: Members
Posts: 29
Joined: 2-March 05
Member No.: 8,906



You know what they say, everything someone does is for himself. Here's an example-similar to Ed's:
Let's say god have told you that you have the choice-who will die: You or the rest of your family. In this case, both answers are selfish, because if your family dies, you will continue living, and if you die, you would not have to suffer the life without a family.

Even if it looks like someone does something for other people and not himself (like giving everything he has to poor people, donating all his money for a good cause, etc..) he,in the end, gets the feeling he helped some people, and that is what he wanted since he decided on doing those things.

So, Ed was selfish, like everyone in the series and everyone in the normal world (like you and me). That dosen't mean this is bad, though.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Duo Himura
post Apr 1 2005, 08:09 PM
Post #12


Citizen
*

Group: Members
Posts: 17
Joined: 29-March 05
Member No.: 10,733



Yeah, but if you take that outlook doesn't selfish lose its definition since, according to what you just said, everything is a selfish act? Kinda eliminates the point... Not that its necessarily wrong, just that it makes it impossible to debate this, really.

Frankly, regardless of Ed's particular inner motives at the time, whether he wanted Al to live for his own sense of accomplishment on some level, or to fulfil his promise, or whatever, he didn't think that he would survive the attempt at transmutation, since what he intended to offer was his own life, so you can't really accuse him of being selfish, if you ask me. I suppose you could do so if he wasn't sacrificing himself, but if he was truly being selfish, what would he gain from it? He thought he was going to die at the time, so I really doubt he was doing it for himself in any way, whether consciously or subconsciously. Though I can definately see the reasoning for the other side here.

Great idea for a topic Fullmetal Gradstudent.


--------------------
user posted image

Humankind cannnot gain anything without giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is Alchemy's first principal of equivelent exchange. In those days, we really believed that to be the world's one, and only truth.

Aku. Soku. Zan.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
fullmetal_gradst...
post Apr 1 2005, 08:44 PM
Post #13


Citizen
*

Group: Members
Posts: 31
Joined: 28-March 05
Member No.: 10,673



Hmm, after reading some of these posts, I think I want to rephrase my question a little. I realize Ed wasn't only thinking of himself when he performed his final transmutation (obviously!), but I still feel like it was a rash decision that didn't do justice to the trajectory Ed's character development took throughout the show. So, my new question is, did Ed make the most mature/best decision?


--------------------
Eternium elder: Fry, it is my duty to inform you that the fate of humanity, the fate of our race, indeed, the fate of all that exists and ever will exist rests with you. You are the single most important person in the universe.

Fry: Oh snap!
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
Guest_Guest_*
post Apr 1 2005, 08:46 PM
Post #14





Guests






I must say- very interesting...

--- I was sort of annoyed, but using alchemy (in FM) uses human lives too (just ones on the other side of the gate). The fact that Ed. continued to use alchemy even though he knew this, showed that he could use the philosopher's stone too. When his brother gives himself for ed., ed realizes that his brother never grew up, or have the experiences he (ed) did. That is why he sacrifices himself for his brother's benifit.

--- & one thing that really annoyed me (being in AP Physics) was that there was NO equivilent exchange in the movie. You need energy to create a reaction where you go from a state of high energy to low energy. (Ex. is it easier to break glass, or fuse it back to the state it was before it was broken.) At the end, or near end, we find out there is a price for everything, but it is never what one assumes. Ed however, does not learn this lesson. He THINKS he will sacrifice himself, but only sends himself to the other side of the gate, and does not think he paid a price until his father told him he lost the years he (ed) and his brother (al) spent togeather. I believe this means Ed is still a child, and this continues on all ideas left off after ep. 51

ed & al grow up, fight baddies, nothing is as they assume, ed->al, al wants ed, etc.




... &
How do you like my sig? Only if you know 日本語...
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post
The General P.
post Apr 1 2005, 08:57 PM
Post #15


Citizen
*

Group: Members
Posts: 3
Joined: 29-March 05
Member No.: 10,694



Sry, I forgot to sign in...


--------------------
戌は おいしい です.
Go to the top of the page
 
+Quote Post

4 Pages V   1 2 3 > » 
Reply to this topicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 

Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 29th August 2016 - 02:43 PM



Copyright ©2003-2004 PhoenixNetworks, LLC. All rights reserved.
Copyright Notice. Privacy policy. Acceptable Use Policy. Terms of Service.
Page Generation Time: 0.0655 seconds.
Currently Selected Stylesheet: css/default.css