full metal alchemist
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Symbols & Symbolisms You See In FMA: Flamel, Ouroboros, And Whatnot, Designated thread for everyone to post what you find out on Wikipedia
post Nov 12 2005, 11:10 PM
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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.

QUOTE ("Wikipedia")
"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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post Mar 22 2006, 05:56 AM
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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.

Errare est humanum


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Posts in this topic
- BakaOnna   Symbols & Symbolisms You See In FMA: Flamel, Ouroboros, And Whatnot   Nov 12 2005, 11:10 PM
- - Molecular Alchemist   To be honest, I kinda knew all that stuff already ...   Nov 13 2005, 12:30 PM
- - BakaOnna   QUOTE(Molecular Alchemist @ Nov 13 2005, 12...   Nov 14 2005, 02:50 PM
- - EdElricsGal93   There's a mention of Fullmetal Alchemist on Wi...   Nov 15 2005, 02:49 AM
- - EdElricsGal93   Exactly! It's funny, I was thinking about ...   Nov 16 2005, 03:35 PM
|- - FrozenWater   I personally think you're all reading too deep...   Nov 16 2005, 07:10 PM
|- - Hyuga Akurei   Theophrastus Bombast von Hoenheim aka Paracelsus w...   Nov 19 2005, 02:53 PM
- - Yugi Taylor   I find it interesting how much of the philosophy i...   Nov 17 2005, 10:06 AM
- - Dingbat   Duh. Of course none of us here in their right mind...   Nov 17 2005, 02:22 PM
- - BakaOnna   I just thought it was interesting how that much re...   Nov 17 2005, 09:35 PM
- - The Krazy one   Uhh Ever noticed the Cities represent real life pl...   Nov 19 2005, 12:14 AM
- - Antimony   Lots of crosses appear in FMA, too, and everybody ...   Nov 20 2005, 03:00 PM
|- - popogeejo   QUOTE(Antimony @ Nov 20 2005, 09:45 PM) 3...   Mar 22 2006, 06:09 AM
|- - Hyleaus   QUOTE(popogeejo @ Mar 22 2006, 07:54 AM) ...   Mar 22 2006, 10:55 PM
- - Martin Easth   the symbolism in FMA is extremely developed and it...   Jan 21 2006, 06:06 PM
- - popogeejo   But Golems were made of stone and 30 foot tall. Gl...   Mar 23 2006, 03:19 AM
- - Hyleaus   I was concerned more with the symbolic creation vs...   Mar 23 2006, 03:33 AM
- - Keoni   QUOTE(Hyleaus @ Mar 23 2006, 03:18 AM) 36...   Mar 23 2006, 06:41 PM
- - Hyleaus   QUOTE(Keoni @ Mar 23 2006, 08:26 PM) 3680...   Mar 23 2006, 10:58 PM
- - _azztro_   and from what i know (i'm not sure if this is ...   Mar 26 2006, 09:43 PM
|- - popogeejo   QUOTE(_azztro_ @ Mar 27 2006, 05:28 AM) 3...   Mar 29 2006, 04:35 PM
- - SCARED4LIFE   Wow....I didn't know half of what you guys sai...   Mar 29 2006, 04:21 PM
- - Damascus   I think the symbolism and philosophy underlying FM...   Mar 29 2006, 04:51 PM
- - popogeejo   The Orburos is also a symbol for Imortality as it...   Mar 29 2006, 04:56 PM
|- - Philosopher's Stone   Since ancient times, popular imagination has circu...   Mar 29 2006, 11:24 PM
|- - Philosopher's Stone   It should also be noted that Golems actually origi...   Mar 29 2006, 11:37 PM
- - Damascus   Well, you seem to have a fair bit of research behi...   Mar 30 2006, 12:43 AM
- - Bader   ~ Flamel Crest Of Ed/Al/Izumi/& other alchemst...   Sep 10 2006, 05:10 PM
- - sweety_pie   'It is called a flamel. It is kind of the oppo...   Sep 10 2006, 05:16 PM
|- - Bader   QUOTE(sweety_pie @ Sep 10 2006, 05:16 PM)...   Sep 10 2006, 05:18 PM
- - popogeejo   QUOTEWow thanks for that information! It still...   Sep 10 2006, 05:47 PM
- - Tombow   @Bader - Could you kindly switch that pic to attac...   Sep 11 2006, 12:58 AM
- - Bader   So do you guys think it is possible that the line ...   Sep 12 2006, 03:47 PM
- - Ailuro   Maybe if there was also a Nicholas Flamel in the H...   Sep 12 2006, 04:12 PM
- - MonsterEnvy   Perhaps Flamel was one of the alchemists making th...   Sep 12 2006, 06:19 PM
- - lag master1   I was wondering if the symbol was ever used in the...   Sep 13 2006, 08:14 PM
- - sweety_pie   That symbol was used by a real alchemists named Ni...   Sep 13 2006, 08:24 PM
- - Sin Of Envy   QUOTEPerhaps Hohenheim even stole his body... Int...   Sep 14 2006, 05:48 AM
- - sweety_pie   I found out yesterday that 'The Mark of the Al...   Oct 1 2006, 07:17 PM
|- - Tombow   QUOTE(sweety_pie @ Oct 1 2006, 10:17 PM) ...   Oct 2 2006, 12:40 AM
- - Chiyo   I'm getting so confused, its been years since ...   Oct 2 2006, 02:25 AM
|- - Tombow   QUOTE(Chiyo @ Oct 2 2006, 05:25 AM) 45402...   Oct 2 2006, 03:08 AM
- - Chiyo   Oh I know Tombow, but I didn't know if it woul...   Oct 2 2006, 03:28 AM
- - Tombow   ^^ Yeah, that's true about Flamel's proces...   Oct 2 2006, 03:31 AM
- - sweety_pie   @kitty chow - I think I missed something, 'ca...   Dec 22 2006, 12:51 PM
- - GREEDisGOOD   Although this symbol is called a 'flamel' ...   Jan 13 2007, 08:05 PM
|- - Popogeejo   QUOTE(GREEDisGOOD @ Jan 14 2007, 03:05 AM...   Jan 13 2007, 08:10 PM
- - Chibi_Girl29   kinda... long story i guest... the serpent symboli...   Jul 31 2007, 02:09 PM
- - gunslinger alchemist   wasn't there a story in the Bible somewhere Wh...   Aug 13 2007, 10:06 PM
- - Anomia Grey   Gunslinger (btw is this a Stephen King refference?...   Nov 21 2007, 11:48 AM
- - LittleFullMental   A flamel eh? i always thought it was a caduceus......   Mar 29 2008, 09:02 AM
- - Sagara   Well... the simbol in FMA is not precisely the cro...   Aug 23 2008, 07:35 PM
- - Nights   That interpretation is awesome, Sagara. Was that f...   Sep 7 2008, 12:58 AM
- - Edward Cardinal Elric   A few individuals have made reference in this thre...   Sep 7 2008, 09:37 PM
- - Rain-Alchemist   This is interesting, but you lost me at page one.....   Dec 21 2008, 03:19 PM
- - layniebug   QUOTE (BakaOnna @ Nov 13 2005, 02:10 AM) ...   Jun 3 2009, 11:30 AM
- - sundance   ~ Ed And Izumi's Cross: What are they? ~ so ...   Jun 11 2009, 05:47 AM
- - Lanzer   In FMA, there is a symbol on the back of Ed's ...   Jun 15 2009, 02:39 PM
- - Forsaken Love   nyah~ I knew the whole thing about the ouroborus j...   Jun 16 2009, 08:29 AM
- - The-Haughty-Queen   I'm not sure if this is the right thread to po...   Jan 4 2010, 03:31 PM
- - wacholder   I'm actually starting a Thesis Paper with Full...   Mar 1 2012, 11:44 PM

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