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Ep. 51: Was Ed Selfish?
post Mar 28 2005, 11:37 PM
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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!
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post Mar 29 2005, 01:22 AM
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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!
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Posts in this topic
- fullmetal_gradstudent   Ep. 51: Was Ed Selfish?   Mar 28 2005, 11:37 PM
- - Otoki Tomoe   First of all, I donít know how to do the spoiler t...   Mar 29 2005, 12:53 AM
- - utsukushii   I think that what Ed did in the last episode was n...   Mar 29 2005, 04:30 PM
- - Ryo the Enigmatic Alchemist   It realy wasnt selfish at all, Ed wanted to bring ...   Mar 29 2005, 05:29 PM
- - Wise_Alchemist   Ed's actions in my opinion were SELFLESS He s...   Mar 29 2005, 06:34 PM
- - clothalchemist   First, great topic and discussion. I think both ...   Mar 30 2005, 12:18 AM
- - armor-alchemist   I think, we can't really say whether or not Ed...   Mar 30 2005, 12:42 AM
- - Guest   I don't think Ed is selfish at all, he's v...   Mar 31 2005, 01:25 AM
- - armor-alchemist   I still can't agree that he is completely self...   Mar 31 2005, 07:43 AM
- - xyzknight   You know what they say, everything someone does is...   Apr 1 2005, 01:25 AM
- - Duo Himura   Yeah, but if you take that outlook doesn't sel...   Apr 1 2005, 08:09 PM
- - fullmetal_gradstudent   Hmm, after reading some of these posts, I think I ...   Apr 1 2005, 08:44 PM
- - Guest   I must say- very interesting... --- I was sort of...   Apr 1 2005, 08:46 PM
- - The General P.   Sry, I forgot to sign in...   Apr 1 2005, 08:57 PM
- - ~FMAgurl~   Wow, you people write really long posts(I don...   Apr 1 2005, 09:25 PM
- - xyzknight   Umm...Perhaps he was talking about the trailers ou...   Apr 1 2005, 09:53 PM
- - Fullmetal Fangirl   I reckon he was really selfish in the first eps. ...   Apr 1 2005, 10:42 PM
- - Edo-mame   *Will be chalked full of spoilers so proceed with ...   Apr 2 2005, 04:31 AM
- - Fullmetal Fangirl   Edo...I hate him...thast my opinion anyway...selfi...   Apr 2 2005, 04:55 AM
|- - ~FMAgurl~   QUOTE(Fullmetal Fangirl @ Apr 2 2005, 04:55 A...   Apr 3 2005, 05:42 PM
- - Ravashi   **spoilers** It is really nice if you look at ...   Apr 2 2005, 04:07 PM
- - Edo-mame   Fullmetal Fangirl: You hate Edo but he's in yo...   Apr 2 2005, 10:37 PM
|- - Inuyasha7271   QUOTE(Edo-mame @ Apr 2 2005, 10:37 PM)Fu...   Apr 9 2005, 10:26 PM
- - Ravashi   No I meant before that...Winry litarly says ...   Apr 2 2005, 11:44 PM
- - ScarredSweetheart   What Ed did could be thought of as selfish. But, r...   Apr 3 2005, 06:48 PM
- - Edo-mame   QUOTE(ScarredSweetheart @ Apr 3 2005, 07:48 P...   Apr 4 2005, 11:38 PM
- - Duo Himura   QUOTE(fullmetal_gradstudent @ Apr 1 2005, 10:...   Apr 5 2005, 04:47 PM
- - angelchan   I think when Ed was ten, binding Al to the armor f...   Apr 8 2005, 07:49 PM
- - Edo-mame   QUOTE(Inuyasha7271 @ Apr 9 2005, 11:26 PM)So ...   Apr 10 2005, 01:00 AM
- - armor-alchemist   *quote from Edo-mame* From the second that Edo dec...   Apr 14 2005, 02:04 PM
- - Edo-mame   Uh... what exactly did I say to contradict myself?...   Apr 14 2005, 06:02 PM
- - armor-alchemist   I think back then I had this thought "uhh, wh...   Apr 14 2005, 08:43 PM
- - Edo-mame   I see, I see. But I did say that he was selfish wh...   Apr 14 2005, 09:45 PM
|- - blackrider76   QUOTE(Edo-mame @ Apr 14 2005, 08:30 ...   Dec 9 2005, 08:17 PM
- - armor-alchemist   no I mean even later... like, at the later part of...   Apr 14 2005, 09:48 PM
- - Ashirii-Chan   QUOTE(fullmetal_gradstudent @ Mar 28 2005, 11...   Apr 14 2005, 10:11 PM
- - Edo-mame   I just noticed something today when I was watching...   Apr 15 2005, 08:46 PM
- - armor-alchemist   ... I don't think that's what his "di...   Apr 15 2005, 09:35 PM
- - Kaiko   I don't think what Ed did in Ep. 51 was selfis...   Apr 16 2005, 12:05 AM
- - Edo-mame   I guess I took it too literally... though to me it...   Apr 16 2005, 12:54 AM
- - armor-alchemist   nanah, that was good tho... cuz I really won't...   Apr 16 2005, 12:38 PM
- - Gr33D   lol, " Hope it's ok for a newbie to start...   Apr 19 2005, 06:01 AM
- - Full Metal Elf   Wow...great topic. I'm getting all emotional ...   Dec 4 2005, 12:09 PM
- - The Great Asparagus   ah, how can our dear beloved edo be selfish? when...   Dec 4 2005, 09:01 PM
- - Red Shadow   It was Al who used the Philospher's Stone, eve...   Dec 24 2005, 06:01 PM
- - blackrider76   True, True, it is possible that they are the same ...   Dec 27 2005, 03:44 PM
- - The Great Asparagus   Actually, when I start thinking about swirly thing...   Dec 27 2005, 07:43 PM
- - Cozzer   I think Ed has some kind of "Survivor Syndrom...   Dec 29 2005, 12:31 PM
- - IceAlchemistBabe   In my opinion Ed wasn't selfish, Either way it...   Jun 29 2008, 12:59 PM

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