HAGANE NO RENKINJUTSUSHI
HAGANE NO RENKINJUTSUSHI
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Xingese Alchemy Discussions, Caution! Much Spoilers
Arantzain
post Nov 18 2006, 12:04 AM
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~ Xing And Alchemy! ~

So, I'd love to hear people's thoughts about what differentiates Xing's alchemy from Amestris'. (And please, don't feel you have to read the entire post. In fact, just tell me what you think if you'd rather not read any of it. I'm just curious, and these are just my guesses/ideas.)

(For those interested, the ZOMGFTA translation notes for the Return of Scar have a short discussion of the different terminology they use to describe the different powers, and chapters 53-58 or so, have relevant details for review.)

So, my best guesses are as follows:

I think the use of different terms for Xing's Alchemy-like-Power and Amestrian Alchemy is significant.

In case you're wondering because you didn't catch the differences (and I didn't, actually):
Renkinjutsu is Alchemy.
Rentanjutsu is "pharmacy," rendered as "Geomancy."
Ryuumyaku (a technical term used in Mei's description of Rentanjutsu) refers to lines of magnetic force. ZOMGFTA identifies these as Yin/Yang --the concept is more familiar to me as ley lines.
Chi or Qi is the "life force" or "energy flow" present in all things. (What I would call an animus. Well worth looking at the Wikipedia short on it. There are a lot of interesting connections between chi and health and healing.)

Anyway, so I don't think I'll get much argument on the first point. Arakawa doesn't name anything at curious. But what's the significance?

Well, we've seen ScarBro studying books from Xing, and discovering something strange about their alchemy, though we don't know what, just yet. He incorporated this knowledge into the tattoos on his arms --one arm for creation, one for destruction.

Mei catches sight of the Destruction Arm on Scar, years later, and identifies the symbols on it. "That is geomancy. The art of knowing and using the power of chi. That is what makes up the flow of our country's geomancy." We've seen Mei use Geomancy several times: in repairing that mine, in destroying the water tower during her confrontation with Edward and Al, in healing Scar's leg, and healing Marcoh's face.

When she heals Scar's leg, she draws a pair of lines resembling a cross on his thigh. The point where the two lines meet is the bullet wound. She tells Scar and Yoki that, "Just as there is a flow of power in the earth called Lung-Mei, there is also a flow of power in the bodies of humans. I cannot fix anything where that flow has stopped. It's also impossible to do things like grow back a missing arm." She adds that Scar's tattoo is a mixture of Retanjutsu and Rekinjutsu.

I suspect that the dead and the Homunculi are examples of beings who are beyond Mei's reach, whose flow of "chi" has stopped for good. If she can sense the "chi" lines in the earth and the body, it would also explain her reaction to Father and the Homunculi. Maybe Mei can see them walking around, but sees their energy signatures are either 1) dead, or 2) impossibly confused. (Perhaps a tangle of energy as a result of taking the lives of all those people in Xerxes, sticking them into Philosopher's Stones, and then feeding off the stones?) Either of which'd be plenty creepy.

Anyway, so during his confrontation with the Elrics in his secret laboratory, Father does something that "turns off" Alchemy in the area. Hohenheim feels this, even across an immeasurable distance. Neither Elric brother can do anything; and none of the Alchemists summoned to deal with the mess overhead can do anything either. However, both Scar and Mei still have their powers. The obvious connection is that both use a form of Retanjutsu. So, what's the difference? I have some guesses but I'd like to hear what other people think too.

While Ed, Ling, and Envy were chilling in Gluttony's gut, they discovered an old Alchemical array from Xerxes for a "normal human transmutation." This had a symbol for "throwing God to earth" incorporated. Hmmn.
  • The legend of the Sage of the West and the array they discover suggests that someone was coaxing Xerxes along the alchemical path towards Human Transmutation, the Philosopher's Stone --something big and destructive, whatever it was. (Envy never does confirm Ed's guess, so we can't be sure.)
  • Also, I'll bet a commission for fan-fiction that the Sage from the West was Father.

So, what happened to Xerxes?

Ed speculates that someone (Father, perhaps) tried to use the array on the roof that he saw in Xerxes and in Gluttony's belly to transmute a human from a human, opening the gate. It's not yet very clear what the relationship is between killing a bunch of people, creating the philosopher's stone, opening the gate, and attempting human transmutation.
  • We know that the resident of the Gate identifies itself as Truth, and as God.
  • We know that Human Transmutation opens the Gate. (And lets you petition or interact with God/Truth.)
  • Transmuting a human to a human has also opened the Gate. (As above.)
  • Part of the array that Edward draws for human transmutation states that God Inverted (Casting God Down) results in a Male and Female Dragon joined (Hermaphroditism, the Perfect Existance.)
  • The Philosopher's Stone takes human souls as its ingredients, in an alchemical reaction.
  • The relationship between the Soul and the Gate isn't clear. The Soul could be the "road" or "passage" to the Gate; it could be what typically enters the Gate (like in Christian Heaven) when someone dies.
We can't forget that Alphonse' body is in there too, of course, and I don't think that's supposed to happen, so something's clearly wrong at the entire foundations of the Gate/God/Truth system. But let's say for giggles that the Soul is supposed to go into the Gate when someone dies, and maybe contribute to Truth, or to God, once it gets in there.
  • Then stealing souls and using them in Philosopher's Stones would be denying the souls to Truth/God, to use them for your own purposes and power.
Sort of like setting yourself up as God, diverting souls to your own Gate. And we know that Father tried that --Gluttony's the result.

I don't think any of these are especially out-there conjectures, most of us have probably come up with these things on our own. But I'm just trying to get some stuff out there, even if it gets nitpicked to death or ignored.

Anyway: whyever and however it happens, Xerxes vanishes in a night. Poof.
  • Maybe when Xerxes was destroyed, Xing and Amestris were cut off from one another, and their respective forms of Alchemy took different paths as a result.
Now, Father is clearly pretty well established in Amestris.
  • If he were the Sage of the West, then Father would have had to come to Xerxes out of Amestris. And once Xerxes was destroyed, perhaps he returned to Amestris, where he's been chilling all this time, building himself into that tubing. Ick on the tubing.

Why would he do that? Wellllllll, guesses, but--
  1. Maybe because Xerxes didn't work out?
  2. Or maybe Xerxes did work out, but only halfway?
  3. Maybe that's what Hohenheim is --the halfway success, or maybe the human that Father transmuted from a human? Or heck, another homunculi? Certainly Father doesn't refer to him as though he's a human, "It wouldn't have died, but for it to have had children?"
Just some thoughts.

Last point, and this is the only actual original thinking I have to contribute to this discussion, but did you notice the array used for Human Transmutation and the array that Mei uses for her combat Retanjutsu? Both have five points. They're shown either as stars in circles, which we would call Pentagrams.

The Pentagram is the symbol of the Five Elements. Five Elements, because besides the traditional Earth, Water, Air, and Fire, there is the Animus, the Idea or Spirit. (Think Captain Planet, here. tongue.gif)

Many belief systems that adopt the Pentagram as a symbol acknowledge that all things have some kind of awareness or spirit. You'll sometimes hear them called Animists. Funny, that sounds an awful lot like the notion of "Chi."

I don't think that the difference between Xing and Amestrian Alchemy is as simple as a Five-Pointed Array vs. Other Arrays. If Father's group was in any way involved in what happened with Xerxes, they already know about the fact that the Human Transmutation array is a pentagon, and they probably came up with it.

So, in theory, they'd be able to counter it . . . right? But they can't or don't.

Maybe the difference is that where Rentanjutsu uses "chi" --uses all five elements, maybe even simultaneously, Rekinjutsu focuses on four elements, or uses the elements independently of one another?

Beh, I dunno. I would really like to hear people's thoughts on this, though!

-Rantza


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Karlykitten
post Nov 18 2006, 10:34 AM
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.....wow. That's alot of info about Rentanjutsu.

And the idea of the Sage from the West being Father actually makes sense...

With the whole chi thing, maybe that's how Ran Fan can sense homunculus? Like instead of focusing on chi, focusing where there's no chi?

If I don't make any sense, I'm sorry. ^^


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Arantzain
post Nov 18 2006, 02:00 PM
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No, I agree on the chi thing completely. ^^

It's a longstanding plotpoint that the folks from Xing can sense the Homunculi. I'm interested, though, in why they can --I mean, do all Xingese have "chi-vision" or something?

*laughs* But yar, you made perfect sense.

-Rantza



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Nevyn
post Nov 18 2006, 10:51 PM
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QUOTE(Karlykitten @ Nov 18 2006, 11:34 AM) [snapback]475240[/snapback]
With the whole chi thing, maybe that's how Ran Fan can sense homunculus? Like instead of focusing on chi, focusing where there's no chi?

If I don't make any sense, I'm sorry. ^^


You make perfect sense, but what you say isn't consistent with how Ran Fan describes homunculus (specifically Envy) in Chapter 37. She senses many souls all concentrated within the one body (which is what makes it abnormal).
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pawnedbyme
post Nov 19 2006, 06:40 PM
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That was very confusing and how long did it take for u to come up with all of that? I agree with the sage being father but i didn't understand most of the reganjustu explanation part.
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MonsterEnvy
post Nov 20 2006, 12:44 PM
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Wow, I'm impressed with the sheer amound of this... I've seen some of it before, but it's still impressive. I've interspersed some little comments, have fun taking a look at them.


QUOTE (Arantzain @ Nov 18 2006, 02:04 AM) *
So,
I think the use of different terms for Xing's Alchemy-like-Power and Amestrian Alchemy is significant.

In case you're wondering because you didn't catch the differences (and I didn't, actually):
Renkinjutsu is Alchemy.
Rentanjutsu is "pharmacy," rendered as "Geomancy."
Ryuumyaku (a technical term used in Mei's description of Rentanjutsu) refers to lines of magnetic force. ZOMGFTA identifies these as Yin/Yang --the concept is more familiar to me as ley lines.
Chi or Qi is the "life force" or "energy flow" present in all things. (What I would call an animus. Well worth looking at the Wikipedia short on it. There are a lot of interesting connections between chi and health and healing.)

Anyway, so I don't think I'll get much argument on the first point. Arakawa doesn't name anything at curious. But what's the significance?

I'd like to add one more- ougonjutsu. Someone around the forums stumbled on this term a while ago, and it's been used as a proxy term for 'perfect alchemy.' In essence, Japanese alchemy has three types, the first two being renkinjutsu and rentanjutsu, and the third ougonjutsu. If memory serves correctly, they literally mean metal changing technique, elixir making technique, and gold forming technique respectively. Ougonjutsu is thought to be the final form of alchemy, a combination between rentanjutsu and renkinjutsu. It's quite possible that Scar's Brother and Hawkeye were ougonjutsushi, as Hawkeye-sensei mentioned the 'ultimate alchemy' and Scar's brother demonstrated alchemy completely different from renkinjutsu and rentanjutsu (see more further down)


QUOTE (Arantzain @ Nov 18 2006, 02:04 AM) *
Well, we've seen ScarBro studying books from Xing, and discovering something strange about their alchemy, though we don't know what, just yet. He incorporated this knowledge into the tattoos on his arms --one arm for creation, one for destruction.

Mei catches sight of the Destruction Arm on Scar, years later, and identifies the symbols on it. "That is geomancy. The art of knowing and using the power of chi. That is what makes up the flow of our country's geomancy." We've seen Mei use Geomancy several times: in repairing that mine, in destroying the water tower during her confrontation with Edward and Al, in healing Scar's leg, and healing Marcoh's face.

When she heals Scar's leg, she draws a pair of lines resembling a cross on his thigh. The point where the two lines meet is the bullet wound. She tells Scar and Yoki that, "Just as there is a flow of power in the earth called Lung-Mei, there is also a flow of power in the bodies of humans. I cannot fix anything where that flow has stopped. It's also impossible to do things like grow back a missing arm." She adds that Scar's tattoo is a mixture of Retanjutsu and Rekinjutsu.

As we see in the Ishbal flashback, Scar's tattoo is neither rentanjutsu nor renkinjutsu, but something more. Renkinjutsu does not heal, and rentanjutsu cannot reattach limbs, but Scar's brother manages to attach his own arm to Scar, which is something that's a combination of both. This makes one think that perhaps he is an ougonjutsushi.


QUOTE (Arantzain @ Nov 18 2006, 02:04 AM) *
I suspect that the dead and the Homunculi are examples of beings who are beyond Mei's reach, whose flow of "chi" has stopped for good. If she can sense the "chi" lines in the earth and the body, it would also explain her reaction to Father and the Homunculi. Maybe Mei can see them walking around, but sees their energy signatures are either 1) dead, or 2) impossibly confused. (Perhaps a tangle of energy as a result of taking the lives of all those people in Xerxes, sticking them into Philosopher's Stones, and then feeding off the stones?) Either of which'd be plenty creepy.

I disagree- they can merely sense chi, which is the energy of the soul. If they can sense one chi or another, and assuming there are some differences between each chi, it would be elementary for Mei, Fuu, or RanFan to tell if a soul has hundreds or thousands of chi. It might come into play again to tell who Pride is (incidentally, any character who has ever been in close proximity to Ling, RanFan, Fuu, or Mei is not Pride.) It might also be useful in Greedling's case, as the intense differentiation between the chi of a deadly sin as the uppermost soul and Ling's chi is doubtless noticable, allowing them to tell who is currently dominant.


QUOTE (Arantzain @ Nov 18 2006, 02:04 AM) *
Anyway, so during his confrontation with the Elrics in his secret laboratory, Father does something that "turns off" Alchemy in the area. Hohenheim feels this, even across an immeasurable distance. Neither Elric brother can do anything; and none of the Alchemists summoned to deal with the mess overhead can do anything either. However, both Scar and Mei still have their powers. The obvious connection is that both use a form of Retanjutsu. So, what's the difference? I have some guesses but I'd like to hear what other people think too.

While Ed, Ling, and Envy were chilling in Gluttony's gut, they discovered an old Alchemical array from Xerxes for a "normal human transmutation." This had a symbol for "throwing God to earth" incorporated. Hmmn.
  • The legend of the Sage of the West and the array they discover suggests that someone was coaxing Xerxes along the alchemical path towards Human Transmutation, the Philosopher's Stone --something big and destructive, whatever it was. (Envy never does confirm Ed's guess, so we can't be sure.)
  • Also, I'll bet a commission for fan-fiction that the Sage from the West was Father.

So, what happened to Xerxes?

Ed speculates that someone (Father, perhaps) tried to use the array on the roof that he saw in Xerxes and in Gluttony's belly to transmute a human from a human, opening the gate. It's not yet very clear what the relationship is between killing a bunch of people, creating the philosopher's stone, opening the gate, and attempting human transmutation.
  • We know that the resident of the Gate identifies itself as Truth, and as God.
  • We know that Human Transmutation opens the Gate. (And lets you petition or interact with God/Truth.)
  • Transmuting a human to a human has also opened the Gate. (As above.)
  • Part of the array that Edward draws for human transmutation states that God Inverted (Casting God Down) results in a Male and Female Dragon joined (Hermaphroditism, the Perfect Existance.)
  • The Philosopher's Stone takes human souls as its ingredients, in an alchemical reaction.

I have a lot to say about this one.

First, on the subject of the Sages- I first put forth the theory that Hohenheim was the Sage from the West and Father was the Sage from the East a while ago, and I've only found corroborating evidence since. I'm also of the opinion that they are both the same person, or, at least, were. Father attempted human transmutation in Xerxes, perhaps to make himself into a 'perfect human.' In any case, the transmutation failed, and he destroyed Xerxes, created at least one or eight perfect Philosopher's stones, and split into himself and a double, Hohenheim. Whether or not Hohenheim has a perfect Stone is debatable, though likely. If so, it's probably in his briefcase. Father keeps at least a part of it inside himself. He used it (or seven other stones, I'm not sure which, though I think that he split the perfect one into eight pieces) and made those into the homunculi. He taught alchemy to the Amestrians in its bastardized/specialized form of renkinjutsu, while Hohenheim did the same thing for the Xingese and rentanjutsu. Whether they lost ougonjutsu, never had it, or specialized it for their own needs is not clear. In any case, the two forms of alchemy are now so different that Father cannot take them away using his anti-renkinjutsu alchemy.

The stone needs to kill a lot of people because it takes their souls, which are pure energy. A soul gives a lot of alchemic power, and a lot of them will give almost unlimited power. Enough of them, perhaps, can even violate the laws of conservation and make a perfect stone- have so much energy that you can even transmute more energy out of it? I don't really know, something along those lines.


QUOTE (Arantzain @ Nov 18 2006, 02:04 AM) *
  • The relationship between the Soul and the Gate isn't clear. The Soul could be the "road" or "passage" to the Gate; it could be what typically enters the Gate (like in Christian Heaven) when someone dies.
We can't forget that Alphonse' body is in there too, of course, and I don't think that's supposed to happen, so something's clearly wrong at the entire foundations of the Gate/God/Truth system. But let's say for giggles that the Soul is supposed to go into the Gate when someone dies, and maybe contribute to Truth, or to God, once it gets in there.
  • Then stealing souls and using them in Philosopher's Stones would be denying the souls to Truth/God, to use them for your own purposes and power.
Sort of like setting yourself up as God, diverting souls to your own Gate. And we know that Father tried that --Gluttony's the result.

I don't think any of these are especially out-there conjectures, most of us have probably come up with these things on our own. But I'm just trying to get some stuff out there, even if it gets nitpicked to death or ignored.

I disagree. Gluttony was created as a naked guy in a trenchcoat who's supposed to run around flashing alchemists and, while they're still shocked and disgusted from Gluttony's 'truth' Father would sacrifice them. Instead, Gluttony didn't work as a false gate, so Father used him to eat evidence.

What the gate actually does and why it's there and why it's special- I have no idea. Feel free to speculate, but I feel your current idea feels anime-ish.


QUOTE (Arantzain @ Nov 18 2006, 02:04 AM) *
Anyway: whyever and however it happens, Xerxes vanishes in a night. Poof.
  • Maybe when Xerxes was destroyed, Xing and Amestris were cut off from one another, and their respective forms of Alchemy took different paths as a result.
Now, Father is clearly pretty well established in Amestris.
  • If he were the Sage of the West, then Father would have had to come to Xerxes out of Amestris. And once Xerxes was destroyed, perhaps he returned to Amestris, where he's been chilling all this time, building himself into that tubing. Ick on the tubing.

Why would he do that? Wellllllll, guesses, but--
  1. Maybe because Xerxes didn't work out?
  2. Or maybe Xerxes did work out, but only halfway?
  3. Maybe that's what Hohenheim is --the halfway success, or maybe the human that Father transmuted from a human? Or heck, another homunculi? Certainly Father doesn't refer to him as though he's a human, "It wouldn't have died, but for it to have had children?"
Just some thoughts.

My opinion on this is above. I'll throw out that Hohenheim is not a homunculus. I forget exactly why, but there are a lot of reasons and I was very convinced of it at one point. He does alchemy, he's had kids, and, as far as we know, there are only seven. I think that's been said quite firmly in the manga. It's possible... but highly, highly unlikely, considering Father made him and didn't simply destroy him when he became rebellious like Greed. He's had millenia, after all.


QUOTE (Arantzain @ Nov 18 2006, 02:04 AM) *
Last point, and this is the only actual original thinking I have to contribute to this discussion, but did you notice the array used for Human Transmutation and the array that Mei uses for her combat Retanjutsu? Both have five points. They're shown either as stars in circles, which we would call Pentagrams.

The Pentagram is the symbol of the Five Elements. Five Elements, because besides the traditional Earth, Water, Air, and Fire, there is the Animus, the Idea or Spirit. (Think Captain Planet, here. tongue.gif)

Many belief systems that adopt the Pentagram as a symbol acknowledge that all things have some kind of awareness or spirit. You'll sometimes hear them called Animists. Funny, that sounds an awful lot like the notion of "Chi."

I don't think that the difference between Xing and Amestrian Alchemy is as simple as a Five-Pointed Array vs. Other Arrays. If Father's group was in any way involved in what happened with Xerxes, they already know about the fact that the Human Transmutation array is a pentagon, and they probably came up with it.

So, in theory, they'd be able to counter it . . . right? But they can't or don't.

Maybe the difference is that where Rentanjutsu uses "chi" --uses all five elements, maybe even simultaneously, Rekinjutsu focuses on four elements, or uses the elements independently of one another?

Beh, I dunno. I would really like to hear people's thoughts on this, though!

-Rantza

HEART!

Really, it's an interesting idea, and quite possible. I need to have another look at Scar's tat when I get back to see if there is a pentagonal motif there too.

I'm looking forward to seeing you around in the chapter discussions!


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CSakuraS
post Nov 20 2006, 01:08 PM
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I'll write a longer reply when I have time later, but for now I'll just say this: Please don't take the "Geomancy" thing too seriously. ._. Chapter 45 was the second chapter Umeko and I ever scanlated and we were just starting out, trying to think of what to call "rentanjutsu." We've since concluded that it would be best just not to translate the term, because we didn't have much evidence that Rentanjutsu was Geomancy (though I'm pretty sure "lungmei = ryuumyaku" is correct), and I think that was the best decision considering that Viz also chose to call it "Rendanshu," which is a slightly more Chinese pronounciation of "Rentanjutsu."


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MonsterEnvy
post Nov 20 2006, 01:38 PM
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CsakuraS, can you remind me quickly of the literally translations of renkinjutsu, rentanjutsu, and ougonjutsu? I want to make sure that I didn't get them wrong... and, awesome avvy.


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CSakuraS
post Nov 20 2006, 04:29 PM
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Renkinjutsu (錬金術) means alchemy. When I look up Rentanjutsu in my dictionary, I get 煉丹術 and the definition "alchemy; art of making elixirs." However, the Rentanjutsu in the manga uses the kanji 錬金術.

The difference is that the kanji for "gold" in Renkinjutsu is replaced by the kanji for "red/red earth/pellet/powder/cinnabar" in Rentanjutsu. So from that, we can conclude that Renkinjutsu is representative of European alchemy, which focused on turning lead into gold, while Rentanjutsu is Chinese alchemy, which focused on making elixirs.

Incidentally, the first kanji for "Rentanjutsu" that I got from the dictionary is different from the kanji for Rentanjutsu from the manga. 錬 and 煉 are both pronounced "ren," but the 煉 kanji is used in place of 錬 in the Chinese word for alchemy (煉金術). Also, both "ren"s would be pronounced "lian" in Chinese, so the full Chinese pronounciation of Rentanjutsu is "liandanshu" (it seems Viz chose to go with a half-way Chinese pronounciation).

(Credit goes to everyone in this thread: http://community.livejournal.com/hagaren_m...733433#t733433)

EDIT: I looked up "ougonjutsu" in the dictionary and got these kanji for it: 黄金術 The definition is simply "alchemy," and when I looked up the first kanji, its meaning is "yellow." So...my guess is that it's only another word for alchemy, with perhaps more emphasis on the gold itself rather than the process of making gold.


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CSakuraS
post Nov 20 2006, 06:36 PM
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QUOTE
When she heals Scar's leg, she draws a pair of lines resembling a cross on his thigh. The point where the two lines meet is the bullet wound.
I think you misunderstood that part. ^^; Those lines are part of Scar's clothing.

How the ki/chi thing works for the Xing characters is that normal humans have only one soul. The homunculi have hundreds or thousands of souls, and that's why their ki is so distinct. In Bradley's case, he's a homunculus with only one soul, which is why Ran Fan thought he was only a human at first. In Al's case, they noticed that Al doesn't have the "flow of ki" that most humans do, because he's only a soul attached to a suit of armor. And for Father...well, he probably has tons more souls than the homunculi do, so that might explain Ling and Mei's strong reaction to him. Or it could be even more than just having a horrifying number of souls, because after all, he's not a normal "human."

Also, in Chapter 40, Fuu says that before the Western Sage came to Xing, their traditional alchemy was only "products of delusion and imagination" and couldn't even be clasified as actual alchemy. "They believed that mercury had the effects of immortality to the point that there's a story of three generations of the imperial family continuing to drink mercury until they died of mercury poisoning." But when the Western Sage came to Xing, their alchemy began to progress. The Rentanjutsu of the present is a combination of the traditional alchemy of Xing and the alchemy that the Western Sage brought over.

The alchemy of Amestris, however, was brought over by a survivor from Xerxes, who would come to be known as the Eastern Sage.

Now let's say that the Eastern Sage was Father. If Father was the one who taught the people of Amestris alchemy, then it wouldn't be difficult for him to decieve them into using an artificial form of alchemy that he can control (turning it on or off). After all, Envy said that they're using it without even really knowing what it is.

And let's say that the Western Sage was Hohenheim (because it seems Father doesn't know about the Xingese alchemy). Hohenheim could have taught the Xingese the "pure" form of alchemy from Xerxes, and with the Xingese emphasis on medicine, it would have developed into something new.

Now what's interesting is that the source of power for Rentanjutsu comes from the ground- a power called "lungmei" that exists all over the earth. Scar's brother noted that it sounds similar to the god Ishvara, who is an earth god. You'll also notice that Mei always draws a circle in the ground or plants her daggers in the ground in order to transmute. So is the earth the "pure" source?

Then what is Renkinjutsu's source? Is it Father? Mei says that there's a flow of power inside humans just like lungmei (she's probably referring to ki), so what if Renkinjutsu's source is the flow inside Father? Father seems super-powered enough to be able to support enough energy for people all around the country to use, and maybe that's the reason he's plugged up to the tubes? Because he needs to recharge? Maybe that's why he seems to be physically aging more than Hohenheim (assuming they're the same age)? But then again, Father also stamped his foot on the ground to cancel out Amestris's alchemy...

And what about Scarbro's alchemy that mixes Renkinjutsu and Rentanjutsu? Could it be that his hybrid alchemy gets its power from the "lungmei" of Rentanjutsu, but its technical aspects reflect that of Renkinjutsu? If that's so, then it would of course resemble the alchemy of Amestris to the point that Ed and co. wouldn't notice any difference, but Mei would notice because she can recognize its source.

This is all just speculation from me, btw...

QUOTE
Renkinjutsu does not heal, and rentanjutsu cannot reattach limbs, but Scar's brother manages to attach his own arm to Scar, which is something that's a combination of both.


It's true that Rentanjutsu specializes in medicine, so it probably has more capabilities to heal, but Marcoh was also healing people with Renkinjutsu. Of course, he was using the Philosopher's Stone as well, but when Roy also tried using the Philosopher's Stone to heal Havoc, he said that healing alchemy wasn't his specialty- he wanted to use the Stone to make up for that. So Renkinjutsu can be used to heal, just probably not as well as Rentanjutsu without an energy-booster like the Philosopher's Stone. This might be why we didn't see any healer alchemists in Ishbal, and normal doctors were sent in instead.

I do agree that it's probably because of the combination of Renkinjutsu and Rentanjutsu that Scarbro was able to attach his arm to Scar. Mei's line about not being able to grow an arm back with Rentanjutsu might have been foreshadowing for that part of the flashback. Which makes me wonder- if Ed and Al manage to mix the two types of alchemy together, would they be able to reattach Ed's limbs too?


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Tombow
post Nov 20 2006, 08:45 PM
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Thanks for the awsome posts, CSakuraS!! happy.gif

Just adding little attachment to her awsome post.;
QUOTE(CSakuraS @ Nov 20 2006, 07:29 PM) [snapback]476015[/snapback]
EDIT: I looked up "ougonjutsu" in the dictionary and got these kanji for it: 黄金術 The definition is simply "alchemy," and when I looked up the first kanji, its meaning is "yellow." So...my guess is that it's only another word for alchemy, with perhaps more emphasis on the gold itself rather than the process of making gold.
As you probably know, 黄金 (ougon) means gold, refined shiny golden colored gold, so I think 黄金術(ougonjutsu) is more or less pointing to the same thing as 煉金術(renking jitsu,) and both can be used interchangeably, tho 煉金術(renking jitsu) is more common name used for it, and yes, I think 黄金術(ougonjutsu) is putting more emphasis on the gold rather than the process of making gold, just as CSakuraS has posted. smile.gif


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Arantzain
post Nov 21 2006, 07:40 PM
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Thank you all. ^^

It's wonderful to have clarification on these points. I had somehow missed the reference to a Sage of the East/West dynamic, I'm glad to have that explained. The scenarios shared by CSakuraS and Monster Envy make a lot of sense in the context of all that's been revealed, I'll look forward to seeing them play out.

I kind of wonder, though-- if as CSakuraS speculates, "What if Renkinjutsu's source is the flow inside Father? Father seems super-powered enough to be able to support enough energy for people all around the country to use, and maybe that's the reason he's plugged up to the tubes?" --then what are Ed, Izumi, and Al doing with the claps?

Is it possible that Retanjutsu focuses on lung-mei, that Amestrian Alchemy derives its power from Father (perhaps even from the philosopher's stones in Father? If he has one?) and that Ed, Izumi, and Al are accessing power directly from Truth, because they've been through the Gate?

Except then, Ed and Al's alchemy didn't work when Father stopped them, so maybe it's Father they're (inadvertently?) channeling from?

Curious to hear thoughts on this, anyway.

Also, a couple of things I thought of reading this: "The difference is that the kanji for "gold" in Renkinjutsu is replaced by the kanji for "red/red earth/pellet/powder/cinnabar" in Rentanjutsu." This is supposedly because Rentanjutsu focused on elixirs, which I don't intend to argue. Wikipedia actually mentions that "the philosopher's stone of European alchemists can be compared to the Grand Elixir of Immortality sought by Chinese alchemists. However, in the hermetic view, these two goals were not unconnected, and the philosopher's stone was often equated with the universal panacea." Which is an interesting historical notation and direct commentary on the whole Ling-and-Mei-looking-for-Immortality subplot.

Cinnabar is more formally known as Mercury Sulfide. I mention this for two reasons. First, because the use of that particular character confirms what Master Fuu said about the focus on mercury in Xing's Alchemy --Mercury Sulfide is generally heated to liquify the mercury, which is then collected from the ashes of the fire.

The second reason is that Mercury Sulfide/Cinnabar is the physical representation of hermaphroditism. If you'll remember back to the Xerxes mural, that may be important --Ed said that the hermaphrodite was a symbol of perfect union, and of human transmutation.

Mercury is a sort of "perfect medium" in European alchemy, capable of conveying the nature or soul of a thing unchanged from state to state. (Rather like transmuting a living human.) Sulfur is symbolic of Passion and Will --two characteristics I would say are as necessary for a Human Transmutation as any physical component.

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Alhazred23
post May 9 2007, 02:02 PM
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~ Driving Forces..., SPOILERS: How are the various alchemies different? ~


The subject of how alchemy is powered has been raised in recent chapters as a point of difference between the alchemy of Xing and the alchemy of Amestria. Namely, Xing alchemy seems to uses the ambient magnetic field of the earth to power transmutations, while Dr. Marcoh states that Amestrian alchemy supposedly uses tectonic stress as the source of its power - though the implication seems to be that this is not, in fact, the real source of power for Amestrian alchemy.

I'd postulate that the real source of power for Amestrian alchemy is human souls, hence Mei's feeling that there are a 'great number of people squirming around' under Amestria. Father could 'turn off' Amestrian alchemy at will by shutting off the flow of power from the human souls trapped beneath Amestria, but could not stop Scar and Mei from transmuting because both of their alchemies are based on the Xing equasions that draw on the ambient magnetic field.

If this were true, it would mean that every alchemist trained in Amestria has been drawing on the souls of those killed in the many wars conducted since the founding of Amestria; not a pleasant thought from a moral standpoint. Amestrian alchemy also might not function at all outside of Amestria. Ed and Al will probably 'convert' over to Xing alchemy at some point in the future, especially if they plan to go up against Father.

One wonders where Flame Alchemy stands; it was apparently a new technique developed by Riza's father, and exhibits a few properties that other alchemies don't, and he believed it to be the 'strongest' alchemy. Roy has been shown to transmute gasses in the surrounding atmosphere, for instance, which allows him to produce flames at great distances. All other alchemists have thus far only been shown transmuting solids and liquids, though that doesn't necessarily preclude them from transmuting gasses as well.

Is it possible that its powered in the same way as Xing's alchemy? That would put an interesting twist on things... though the master's words and his gristly and sudden death seem to indicate that he opened The Gate at some point. I think it's possible that a Xing alchemist attempting to transmute a human being would not open The Gate upon failure; the seem to be totally bewildered by the nature of the homunculi, and if human beings could be transmuted by Xing alchemy, they wouldn't be in search of immortality...
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Fujihakama
post Oct 13 2007, 05:45 PM
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O.o .......Information......overload..... But I think I get what you're saying. biggrin.gif
At some point Ed and Al will probably learn some Xingese alchemy.


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post Nov 2 2007, 11:34 AM
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Alhazred, I'm glad someone asked raised this issue, these are things I've been thinking about a lot lately. All seems very plausible, but there are some uncertainties.

First, Renkinjistu. Brought to Amestris by the Sage of the East, which most people identify with Father, it is, as Alhazred mentioned, said to be powered by tectonic stress. So let's accept the theory that this is plain bogus, and that Father is the source of the souls that fuel transmutations. Amestrian alchemists transmute objects by following the tradition Father has started - it all makes perfect sense, but what confuses me is the fact that those who have the ultimate control of this Father-invented alchemy are those who have gained knowledge from behind the Doors, which clearly predate Father and Renkinjitsu, and over which Father has no control of.

And then there is another question. How come the alchemical array that fixes Al's soul to the armour didn't stop functioning when Father "shut down" Renkinjitsu? I can't remember whether Ed exchanged his arm for Al's soul, or the knowledge required to fix Al's soul to the armour... I'm inclined to think it's the second variant, and that means the alchemy Ed performed is something diferent from both Renkinjitsu and Rentanjisu...

Also, the question whether Rentanjitsu has anything to do with the Doors is also interesting... I believe there is a 3rd kind of alchemy, the original alchemy of Xerxes, that is closest to the Truth behind the Doors, and that is strongly interwoven into both Rentanjitsu and Renkinjitsu...but then again this is just speculation.

I'm sorry if I misused any terms, I don't speak Japanese... and sorry if I said stuff that's already been debated. I'm still new to the forum, if there's a better topic to debate this in, please let me know. happy.gif


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Military specialist searches for a magic rock recipe to get his brother out of a can. In one version of the story, the rock is their father, in the other version the rock is us.
Or: Children see a Thing Man Was Not Meant To Know, run around country looking for another one.
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