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I'll just copy my post from the other forum I posted in.
I realized that there was a lot more symbolism in FMA then I thought. I knew there was a lot of symbolism when I first watched it. There was the whole idea of humoculus and being named after the seven deadly sins. The idea of the deadly sins were used in Dante Aligieri's Divine Comedy, and Dante is the person controlling the homunculus.
In addition, a lot of the symbols used in the series are real symbols used, like the snake and cross or the Ouroboros, which is the what I'm mainly focusing on.
So I was browsing through curious articles are Wikipedia when I came across this in the Ouroboros article.
"Homunculi represent the seven deadly sins in the series and which were created by various alchemists in the attempt to bring humans back to life. This reflects an outstanding similiarity to Jung's belief of Ouroboros as an archetype of Death & Rebirth, as the Homunculi themselves are reborn humans made by alchemists. It is also interesting to note that Homunculi have a tendency to come back to life after being killed, and furthermore bring about their own demise, thus a snake biting its own tail and recreating themselves. The tatoo itself has some special abilities as well when touched by an alchemist. On a related subject, all alchemists in the series use Alchemy arrays which are circular designs (again circulating power as a tenet of both the symbol of Ouroboros and Alchemy itself within the series). Some alchemists however, have the ability to clap their hands together thus forming a circle with their body and arms, once again manifesting the power of Alchemy through circulating power." (Collective Essays on Archetypes of Modern Culture)
The Fullmetal Alchemist ouroborus contains another symbol within the circle. The symbol, in alchemy, is the seal of solomon. While the symbol has other obvious meanings, in the context of alchemy it represents the union of the fire symbol (up pointing triangle) and the water symbol (down pointing triangle). In alchemy the union of elements in opposition is symbolic of both transmutation and ultimately the quest for the Philosopher's stone. Fullmetal Alchemist Ouroborus Fullmetal Alchemist Ouroborus
In Fullmetal Alchemist, several characters adopt the symbol of a snake fixed on a cross. That symbol can be taken as the opposite of the Ouroboros. The winged snake on the cross representing the fixation of the volatile. As the Oroborus represents the cycle of birth and death, the snake on the cross represents fixed continuing life.
Wow, I've never noticed it before until now. The ouroboros symbol representing Death & Rebirth, while contrary, the snake and cross symbol representing continuing life. Plus the whole human transmutation thing forming the creation of the homunculus.
And contrary to most beliefs, alchemy isn't only the transmutation of metals into gold. It's also the transmutation of a person's soul and the spiriual transformation of the self.
Damn, I sound like my English teacher with this post.
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Currently watching: Utawarerumono, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni, Fate/Stay Night, Jyu Oh Sei, Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Ouran High School Host Club, Bleach
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QUOTE(Martin Easth @ Jan 21 2006, 07:51 PM) [snapback]341049[/snapback]
the symbolism in FMA is extremely developed and it is everywhere in the series so if you want you can spend some 200-300 hours analyzing all episodes in detail. I had thoughts about doing that but even if I do it and write a long report on it, all people I know would only think that I copied it from the internet.
I think that you can look at the series as using 'symbolism;' however, I don't think that such is the creators' intention. Often in Japanese epic plots whether it be anime or video game. Probably what happened is that someone had an idea, and they wanted to do a bit to make the show seem somewhat more interesting and so add some research to it. The idea was probably alchemy and creating life... well, what are the downfalls to doing this: homunculi; what are common criticisms of alchemy i.e. witchcraft... Religion... reference to the middeast where religion is run amok.
As far as video games go, anyone who's read a lick of mythology can tell you that name and concept borrowing is everywhere. Whether it be from the Semites: Gilgamesh, or from the Greeks: C(k)eberus. I'm not too as knowledgeable on Eastern mythology, maybe someone can help here. Also, I think that Norse mythology is sadly underrepresented. Upon review, I can think of only one reference: In The Legend of Zelda Link's horse Epona shares her name with the Norse god of Horses.
I really enjoy the fact that this Japanese 'borrowing' tradition goes on. It's fun to know where names come from, but I don't think that the names are necessarily symbolically motivated. I think that they are really just looking for cool names a lot of the time. I can't tell you how many times I've searched for mythological names when I play RPG's and the like. It makes things a bit more interesting.