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KingBradley08
Alright, I will admit, I was a big fan of the first FMA anime. Though it had some significant plot holes, and I wasn't super fond of the ending at the end of the movie, I still feel the story as a whole is very deep and holds together quite well.

I know there are a lot of haters of the first anime out there, especially those who are out to make it seem like the manga and brotherhood are PERFECT in comparison and LEAGUES beyond the 2003 anime. Some people, I believe, take this a little too far. It's kind of a natural human reaction that when someone hears someone praising or bashing something and they disagree with that, that they feel they need to take it in the opposite direction, sometimes to the extreme. With this in mind, it really, really bothers me when people go as far as to say that the manga and Brotherhood don't have any plot holes, the story holds together WAY better than the first anime, it's perfectly crafted with no inconsistencies from beginning to end, etc. If some people would get off their manga/Brotherhood high horse and stop to think about it for a second, while the manga and Brotherhood may be good stories overall, they also have their plot holes. In my opinion, the first anime did have some big plot holes, but Brotherhood as at LEAST as many, if not more, lesser plot holes that may add up to be even more significant than the ones in the first anime.

Futhermore, no one seems to be talking about them anywhere on the internet, so I decided to go straight to the source, join this site, and point out all the ones I could think of here, in the hope that people will be realistic and realize that they exist, and maybe even treat the 2003 anime with a little more respect. Here we go (note- I've seen the entire Brotherhood series, but only read pieces of the manga, so please point out/let me know if some of these are explained in the manga but not in Brotherhood); in no particular order:


List of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood/manga plot holes

#1) The first time Father reabsorbed Greed, he COMPLETELY reabsorbed him into his body, as in he became like he was before he gave birth to Greed. The second time he reabsorbed Greed, Greed not only retained his consciousness, he somehow was able to nullify Father’s alchemy/regeneration and turn his body into charcoal (or weak carbon), which, for some reason, Father wasn’t able to turn back to flesh, despite the fact that he STILL had THOUSANDS of souls within him. Also, it was stated his body was supposed to be MADE OF Philosopher’s Stones, not contain one like the Homunculi (in other words there’s no part of him, except for his soul, that’s not a Philosopher’s Stone). However, when a hole was punched him him, they are all suddenly seen escaping. When Father punched a hole in Hohenheim (and when he was shot many times in the manga), the souls didn’t escape. Also, how could Father destroy Greed just by biting down on him, especially if he was in such a “weakened” state?

#2) Father’s arm was still inside of Ling AFTER he removed all of his Philosopher’s Stone and Greed. How was Ling able to survive being run through if Father removed his Philospher’s Stone? Seems this was done/stretched just for the sake of convenience to the plot.

#3) Also, did Ling actually figure out how to gain immortality with the Philosopher’s Stone he took back to Xing? If not, why did he become emperor? And if he didn’t learn how to insert it into himself to make himself immortal while in Amestris, who’s to say the emperor simply wouldn’t have taken it from him to use on himself? In the manga, May said that the emperor is the kind of person who might do that, hence why she didn’t want to take back to him the method of creating the Stone, or the fact that it’s composed of human souls—because he just might actually try to make one to prolong his life.

#4) King Bradley constantly keeps his Ultimate Eye covered with an eyepatch. Yet somehow, he is still able to use it to dodge and predict anything and everything. He also removed this patch when fighting Greed/Ling at Central HQ, commenting that, like when he fought Ling before, that it was his “blind spot.” So, he is able to, at least partially, see through what we assume is a completely opaque material (or it could just be inconsistent writing either way—he can use it when covered by his eyepatch, but it’s still somehow his “blind spot?”). However, Buccaneer is able to stab him by thrusting his sword through Fu into Bradley, impaling both of them, commenting that “even with Godlike eyes, there’s no way you can dodge an attack that you can’t see!” A solid, opaque object (Fu) was blocking Buccaneer, just like how Bradley’s eyepatch is a solid, opaque object. Seems like this was done for convenience of the story.
-->#4a) A supplement to that: How would Bradley be able to avoid a _hail_ of bullets? Some of the bullets/artillery shells would block from view some of the other bullets/artillery shells, especially when facing a whole platoon or army. Futhermore, when he was still rising up through the ranks as a young man, wouldn’t it be possible that some of the higher caliber bullets could pass through the men nearby/in front of him who were blocking his view and still be able to hit him without him seeing them? He explained to Greed that his Ultimate Eye is the reason he was able to “dodge flying bullets on the battlefield” and rise to his current rank, but situations like the ones just mentioned must have arisen at some point, right?
-->#4b) Also, the ONLY thing I can think of to explain that is that his eyepatch appears opaque from the outside, but allows him to at least partially see through it from the inside? Even this is somewhat of a stretch, though, in my opinion.

#5) Why do Selim and King Bradley act like father and son even when no one is around or when they think no one is around? They seem to have an inconsistent relationship (sometimes occasionally when no one is around, their roles will switch; Selim is Pride and older than/senior to King Bradley/Wrath). Also, why would Selim drop over and over again to his mother and others around him that he admires/likes/wants to be like the Fullmetal Alchemist all the time? Wouldn’t it be smarter not to do that, as a homunculus? And how come his eyes glaze over and he gets so excited when he meets Alphonse? I don’t think he could be that good of an actor—it’s not all that believable. Neither is his complete personality change from when we think he’s just a normal boy, Selim Bradley, to when we find out he’s actually Pride. It’s just not portrayed/developed well, in my opinion.

#6) Why the HELL would Lust think it’s okay to kill both Alphonse and Roy Mustang? NONE of the other homunculi, including Father, EVER try to kill EITHER of them, EVEN when they discover the nationwide transmutation circle, AND stumble across Father’s lair. Even after Lust is killed, they never take it even close to that level by trying to harm or eliminate any of them. Totally inconsistent and ridiculous. Lust is also aware of Father and the other homunculi’s motives and what they are and are not willing to do, and that totally goes against that. She would’ve majorly screwed things up/made things difficult for Father if she had actually killed them, and I’m sure none of the other homunculi would’ve been happy with her if she had done that OR handled it in the way she did.

#7) Pride doesn’t seem to be injured in the same way as the other homunculi when fighting Heinkel, and isn’t seen regenerating, but still comments his Philosopher’s Stone has been weakened from fighting him. This is odd and inconsistent.

#8) How could Edward know what would happen when he made himself into a Philosopher’s Stone to invade Pride? He could’ve been lost in the torrent of souls or sucked in by Pride; he has no idea what would’ve happened.

#9) Is Pride’s “true form” shadows or the small infant seen after Edward defeats him? They’re completely different substances. Selim says he needs a new “container” when his body is breaking down , but what’s left when he is defeated IS a container. Also, Hohenheim remarks that Father made Pride in his image—as a mass of shadows, implying that the SHADOWS may actually be his real body. Hard to make sense of this.. it seems a little inconsistent.

#10) Father DOES seem to genuinely care for his “children” at first (except for Greed, whom he only melted down and reabsorbed because he openly rebelled against him and was potentially a big liability). He toasts the rest of the homunculi goodwill after reabsorbing Greed, calls Gluttony “my son” and takes care to recreate him with all of his former powers and memory intact after his Stone runs out, AND seems to confirm by his reaction Hohenheim’s accusation that the REAL reason he expelled his sins and created the Homunculi is because he wanted a family. Yet all of a sudden he abandons Pride, and Edward does convince Pride (or at least gets under his skin about it) that Father doesn’t care about him. This COULD be interpreted as Father simply wanted to take care of business and then return to Pride, or thought Pride could handle himself. Things don’t QUITE add up no matter which way you look at it.

***#11) Scar: this is a big one. So, it’s eventually discovered when he’s fighting King Bradley that before the Promised Day, he tattooed his left arm with his brother’s reconstruction array. So, he uses his right arm to destroy surrounding materials and sever Bradley’s arms, and his left arm to CREATE spikes which rise up from the ground. HOWEVER, it has been stated many, many times throughout the series, the three steps of alchemy are: understanding, deconstruction, and reconstruction. In other words, you have to 1) Know what you’re deconstructing, 2) BREAK IT DOWN, and 3) reconstruct it. That arm ONLY has the array for RECONSTRUCTION on it. Therefore, he shouldn’t be able to transmute ANYTHING without using BOTH of his hands (or perhaps even clapping them together first like Kimblee did to perform his alchemy), to deconstruct and THEN reconstruct it. The only thing I could POSSIBLY see his left arm being able to do (and this is a stretch, since it’s been made very clear you HAVE to go in order with those three steps of alchemy and there haven’t been any other cases of an entire step being skipped in the manga or in Brotherhood) without his right arm is bonding things together, like turning hydrogen and oxygen in the air into water, etc.

#12) Mustang—If he couldn’t see, how could he clap his hands and create that barrier from the ground when fighting Father with Hawkeye? He couldn’t see what material, or at least what kind of stone, he was transmuting. It’s possible he just already knew since he’s been in HQ a lot, but not necessarily in that particular area of HQ. Edward couldn’t break Buccaneer’s automail arm when fighting him for the first time near Briggs Fortress because he didn’t know what it was composed of (he thought it was made of iron, but it wasn’t). Also, if I remember correctly there are other times when characters used deconstruction without knowing what they were deconstructing.

#13) Sloth didn’t need to be hurt/killed as many times as the other Homunculi, especially Envy/Lust—look how many times they are “killed” vs. the few times Sloth is killed. Yes he suffered massive damage each of those times, but Lust/Envy often had their WHOLE BODY incinerated; one time Mustang even took Lust’s Philosopher’s stone out and it had to regenerate her body from NOTHING, which is equivalent to destroying her ENTIRE BODY once (Sloth never incurred that much damage), and regenerating it once.
-->#13a) Note: I admit this MAY be because Sloth is bigger and therefore has much more mass than the other homunculi, therefore takes more energy to regenerate his whole body; still though, that might be a stretch.

#14) Why didn’t Edward keep his automail as diamond-hard carbon when fighting Father? It wouldn’ t have been destroyed then, most likely. It seemed to be in this form when fighting Pride in Father’s lair, because he was able to block his attacks. Did he THEN transmute it back afterwards?? Why? Seems like this was done SOLELY so that Alphonse would later transmute his soul to restore his flesh-and-blood arm, when in fact that situation was easily avoidable by Edward.

#15) Greed- I think it’s idiotic that Greed doesn’t fully (or even close to fully, really) harden his body when fighting others, especially homunculi. I know he explained that he doesn’t LIKE to because it covers his handsome face, but if that’s the case, WHY would he break it out almost right away when fighting Edward and Izumi, and then NEVER use it again until the VERY end as Greed/Ling (junk like this has been done in other anime series too—a character will go full-out in his first appearance, but then never do that again for the rest of the series, even when his life is in danger; it’s just done to “punch up” the story or something at the expense of inconsistency)? Had he done this, instead of simply only hardening his arms as he usually does, he wouldn’t have been captured and melted down by father, would basically be nearly invincible when fighting (except against alchemists) and could make short work of his opponents, and most importantly, had NO REASON to run away from or be scared of Bradley when he attacked him in his residence and Bradley tried to decapitate him. This is DEFINITELY done for the convenience of the story, in my opinion. No fun having a character that’s too powerful or invincible, so we’ll just make it that he’s too dense to figure out he could win ALL his fights and not get himself into NEARLY as much trouble if he just completely used his powers rather than half-assing it. Total crap. Bradley could never beat him if he fully used his Ultimate Shield, and neither could Pride. Making it so he doesn't utilize it fully most of the time when he easily could only creates forced and artificial tension/drama.

#16) The thing with Greed being able to regenerate but Bradley not being able to just isn’t explained well, or at least fully (yeah, you could argue his thing about explaining that after fighting the Philosopher’s Stone when first becoming Wrath he was left with one soul and therefore couldn’t regenerate.. but I don’t buy it. How could he have any powers as a homunculus anyway with just ONE soul, like any ordinary humans? Their super speed/strength/etc. assumedly comes from the stone, which contains a multitude of souls). Although Bradley’s missing ability to regenerate might explain his aging (all the other homunculi who can regenerate don’t age, although not enough time passed to see if Greed/Ling would age), it still seems like this was done for convenience—he’s already hard to kill with his Ultimate Eye, so he would’ve been impossible for the characters to kill if he could regenerate as well.

#17) The thing about Hohenheim dying at the end because he ran out of Stone.. I don’t buy it. He should’ve become a normal human if he had only his soul left. Furthermore, Bradley said he was left with only one soul after becoming Wrath, and Hohenheim is very similar to a Homunculus anyway (the structure of his body is identical to Father’s). Bradley didn’t deteriorate into nothing and/or die after this, and neither should Hohenheim have. Maybe my argument is a stretch here, but I still think it’s dumb that he died at the end just because he only had one soul left.

#18) Eclipses don’t usually last as long as was depicted; Father should’ve started his transmutation RIGHT before the moon completely covered the sun, not right when it did. By doing that he risked the eclipse ending and the circle surrounding the eclipse dissipating before opening the Sun’s door/gate.

#19) Although Alphonse was very upset when he met his body in front of the doors when his soul left his armor body after it was transported to Father’s lair along with Edward, Izumi, and Mustang, because he knew that it was so atrophied and weak that he wouldn’t be able to use it to fight… WHAT could he have traded to get it back??? The body was calling his soul to it, as in the body probably wanted his soul to return to it in the gate/doors. Did Alphonse really think he could just take his body back to Father’s lair without paying a price? This part definitely doesn’t add up. AND Alphonse is an accomplished alchemist who’s even seen the Truth; there’s no way he could be so dumb or ignorant as to not know that he’d have to pay something to get his body back and couldn’t just “take it with him” just because. Makes no sense at all. If anything, trying to unite his body and soul would end with BOTH being trapped in the gate/doors. Although, really, Alphonse probably should have just stayed there, at least for a period of time (if that was an option), without uniting with his body, so that Father wouldn’t have a fifth sacrifice to use.

#20) Aren’t Ed, Al, Izumi, Mustang, and Hohenheim supposed to be human _sacrifices_?? They weren’t sacrificed at all; they were fine at the end, and Father even had to try to kill them AFTER the eclipse transmutation was over because they were clearly not dead. What was their role in the transmutation, why were they even required? I think if these were five random Alchemists that the reader was not familiar with OR were just people that the homunculi forced to perform human transmutation who weren’t major characters or important to the plot, Arakawa would’ve written it so that they would’ve died. But obviously no one would want to see five major characters die, so it was, in my opinion, done for convenience of the plot.

#21) Mustang should’ve lost his eyes, not just his eyesight, in the human transmutation, just like Judau did in the “Blind Alchemist” side story. This is just straight inconsistency, which in my opinion arose most likely because 1) readers didn’t want to see him without his handsome face, i.e. missing eyeballs & scars around his eyes, 2) the author intended his sight to be restored later (psh, like I never saw that one coming.. he kept his eyeballs to make that easier to happen for God’s sake). You could argue the punishment might’ve been lesser because it was a FORCED human transmutation that was performed against his will, but still—that might be a stretch. I mean he even gained knowledge from the doors/gate in exchange—he could use the clapping transmutation after that, so it was a legit human transmutation.

#22) Why would Father and the other homunculi have waited till the last minute to finish up SO much of this stuff? They had over 400 years. If Sloth was even slightly slower in carving the tunnel, it never would’ve worked out. They should’ve gotten on the thing with Ishval and Briggs WAY earlier. Also, letting Mustang roam (relatively) free instead of holding him like they did Marcoh allowed him to rebel and could have cost them dearly.

#23) Forcing someone to perform a human transmutation is ridiculous anyway, in my opinion. I think Arakawa might’ve painted herself into a corner with that one (just couldn’t figure out how to make it so Marcoh or Mustang would willingly perform human transmutation, or accidentally developed them so much that it would’ve then been very out-of-character to do that), and used that as an “out.” By the way, one of the sacrifices is going to be a Philosopher’s Stone in human form (Hohenheim)? How do you know that’s even gonna work?? He’s not actually a human anymore. Wouldn’t that screw things up? How do you know if that would even work out? Plus, you think it’s gonna be easy to subdue a human Philosopher’s Stone? Finally, Hohenheim has powers equivalent or near-equivalent to Father; if he HADN’T reached Father’s lair first, or hadn’t come in time, would father actually have been able to use alchemy to transport him there like he did with Ed, Al, Izumi and Mustang? Who’s to say he wouldn’t be able to resist something like that, considering he and Father are identical?
AND Father tried to steal his Philosopher’s Stone before the eclipse transmutation? Wouldn’t that kill him and therefore eliminate him for use as a sacrifice?
-->#23a) Come to think of it, much of the way Father planned his grand scheme seems rather poorly thought out and could have easily failed.

#24) Why did Father return to his original ball-of-shadows form when he was brought before the doors/gate at the end? Hadn’t he said before, when Hohenheim destroyed his body and it was revealed that his shadow form had grown to adult size, that he had evolved beyond that form in the 400 years since he was a ball of shadows in Xerxes? To me this is equivalent to a human infant growing up into an adult in the country of Amestris, then being reduced back to an infant when brought before the doors.

#25) I almost decided to let this one go, but alas, here we go: we’ve discovered that Father used the machine in his lair to spread the Philosopher’s Stone in his body throughout Amestris to dampen the effects of alchemy in that country, and to “turn off” alchemy there when needed. However, we’ve also discovered that Philosopher’s Stones usually have a size proportional to how many souls they contain. The number of people in Xerxes when the populace there was transmuted into a Stone was at least one million (AFTER using the stones in his body to perform some alchemy, and setting up his own nationwide transmutation circle, Hohenheim stated that he had a little over 500,000 souls in his body). With all of the people there, Xerxes is much smaller in physical size than Amestris. So, would half of the souls in Xerxes really be enough to completely cover the ground in Amestris (or really under the ground, but you know what I mean)?

***#26) Long-distance transmutation- ah, this is a big one, and one of my favorite (or least favorite) plot holes in the manga and Brotherhood. It’s said that alchemy is incapable of long-distance transmutation, while alkahestry (also known as "rentanjutsu") is. The long-distance transmutation is done by drawing a transmutation array on the ground, putting knives in each of the points of the array, reading the “dragon’s pulse” to understand where the flow of chi in the Earth lies and in what direction(s) it’s flowing, throwing ANOTHER set of knives at a distant object in the same formation as the original set of knives, and then transmuting. HOWEVER, there have also been instances of somewhat long-distance alchemy transmutation in the manga. Kimblee is seen doing it when he kills Scar’s family. Edward is seen doing it when chasing after Paninya in the mountainous area of Rush Valley (this is the most obvious example, ESPECIALLY in Brotherhood). And there are many other instances of that happening throughout the series; an alchemist is able to transmute a distant object or set of objects, often by letting the alchemic energy they’re using flow through the ground, or a nearby wall or path. Yet the Elrics are very surprised when they see May do her long distance transmutation, when they themselves are capable of similar or near-similar feats. I just don’t think this was thought out very well by Arakawa beforehand, or she slipped up and wrote some inconsistencies without thinking about it, because I’m still not entirely sure of the difference between long-distance alkahestry transmutation and just transmuting a not-so-nearby object using alchemy.

*A lot of plot points, including the ones above, seem to arise from dumb luck, and involve poor planning/leaving things to chance on the part of several characters, and it often seems like the author didn’t think it all the way through. AND it seems like a lot of the inconsistencies also arise from, as mentioned before in some places, for the sake of CONVENIENCE to the story. Things like that really cheapen it, in my opinion.

*Finally, not exactly a PLOT HOLE but something that’s still always bothered me: I don’t find Olivier very convincing or realistic as a character. She was STILL mad at her brother EVEN after she found out the war in Ishval was a manufactured atrocity, done for the purpose of completing Father’s plans? Also, he didn’t RUN AWAY from the battlefield like a coward, he was tired of being the cause of death for innocent people—he knew what was happening was wrong. And why does she hate Mustang? Is he really a “rival” for her? He’s two ranks below her. Is Alex Louis Armstrong or Edward (the equivalent to a major) a “rival” for the higher-ranked Mustang (a major is also two ranks lower than a colonel)? And why are they rivals at all if she doesn’t even want to become Fuhrer? Inconsistent, in my opinion. And, she’s unreasonably harsh on people, (in a way that makes you question how someone like her got to such a high rank), to the point of being dangerous or even mentally unstable or murderous.
penguintruth
Some of these are as silly as the plotholes of the first series. And by that, I mean some of them aren't as big of plotholes as you think.

Though how Roy can get his eyesight back using the Philosopher's Stone is beyond me. Even if you follow the reasoning that he was forced into a human transmutation, why should Truth care? Hohenheim said that Izumi cannot regain what she lost again because that was her sin, so why should Roy? For that matter, how does Edward know that sacrificing his Gate is enough to get back Alphonse?

Olivier probably didn't have a problem with the war. The only part of Father's plans she really got angry about was that her and her soldiers were being manipulated. To her, no matter what the reason, cowardice is cowardice, and Alex certainly didn't do anything to try to stop the massacre. If he had turned on the military she would probably have had more respect for him, since she's more than willing to turn against her superiors if it suits her.

She's a bit of a vicious b***h. That's why I love her.
KingBradley08
QUOTE (penguintruth @ Jul 7 2010, 11:03 PM) *
Though how Roy can get his eyesight back using the Philosopher's Stone is beyond me. Even if you follow the reasoning that he was forced into a human transmutation, why should Truth care? Hohenheim said that Izumi cannot regain what she lost again because that was her sin, so why should Roy? For that matter, how does Edward know that sacrificing his Gate is enough to get back Alphonse?

Well, Edward was able to get back his arm and his brother, so I bet Izumi could even find a way to get back her internal organs (that is, if Hohenheim.. hadn't.... rearranged them..... maybe not such a great move after all, lol), if nothing else by trading her door of truth like Edward did. I mean it kind of makes sense.. a Philosopher's Stone is made of souls, and each soul is worth quite a bit in the world of alchemy, so I bet he could trade some or all of it back for his eyesight.
KEKU
QUOTE (KingBradley08 @ Jul 7 2010, 11:29 PM) *
[Well, Edward was able to get back his arm and his brother, so I bet Izumi could even find a way to get back her internal organs (that is, if Hohenheim.. hadn't.... rearranged them..... maybe not such a great move after all, lol), if nothing else by trading her door of truth like Edward did. I mean it kind of makes sense.. a Philosopher's Stone is made of souls, and each soul is worth quite a bit in the world of alchemy, so I bet he could trade some or all of it back for his eyesight.

That wouldn't work. As explained at the end, Mustang couldn't do that because if he sacrificed his Gate, then he wouldn't be able to get back again.
RaphieL
Japanese manga doesn't always have to make sense you know. sleep.gif
Tombow
<General Reminder to everyone>

On our board, we go by the idea that all FMA fans are welcome to our board, regardless of their preferences, and also we don't promote "hater vs hater" talks among FMA fans on our board, whereas more fact and logic based discussions on the subject are encouraged. smile.gif

"Plot hole" is a very valid discussion topic, in my opinion, and if we can discuss FMA:Brotherhood plot holes here "unbiased" (i.e. without "FMA-1/FMA:B is better than FMA:B/FMA-1" undertone,) I think this may produce some interesting and informing discussions here.
Please keep that in mind when you add your posts. smile.gif (just a general reminder, especially for new members who are not used to our board yet. ^^)


---

@KingBradley08 - I would like to discourage turning this thread into another "FMA-1 supporter vs FMA:B (and/or FMA manga) supporter" thread, and hence I edited your original thread title and changed it to somewhat of more "neutral"("boring" XD) tone. I hope you don't mind. smile.gif
(By the way, welcome to our board! ^^)


===============

Sorry for the interruption, and now please go back to "FMA:B anime plot holes" discussions. biggrin.gif
hawkflame
A lot of the "plot holes" you listed aren't really plot holes per se- I mean, whether or not they're called "sacrifices" is just a semantics issue; would it really have mattered what they were called? It's not really inconsistent that Truth took Roy's eyesight rather than just his eyes- Truth metes out whatever punishment it feels fits the "crime" and is not necessarily fair on a case by case basis.

And as far as Wrath's abilities go- there's never been any indication that any of the homunculus' abilities have anything to do with the number of souls in their stone. Homunculi abilities don't necessarily have anything to do with alchemy in the first place (alchemy can't give you super speed, for instance) so why would they be powered by the souls?
Anomia Grey
I think a lot of the plot holes come with FMA being a serialised comic published in monthly installments as opposed to a novel that's written out and planned all at once - it's hard to keep track of all the subtleties, and keep the quality of the writing consistent throughout such a large stretch of time. Arakawa also said that one of her sources of inspiration for FMA was B movies - so while there's no doubting there are some deeper questions in FMA, especially about conceit and human dignity and whatnot, I read in an interview she sees herself as more of a comedy writer that tries to perk sad stories up with comedic moments (well, FMA does have it's fair share of heart breaking moments). But the point is, she might not have ever really cared that much on the coherence of alchemy - as original as it is, it is nonetheless only a prop.*

That being said, I'm still not happy with some of the plotholes - #11, 14 and 19 are all good points, and #3 has been bothering me ever since I read the last chapter. My personal solution to the latter is that the king died before they got there anyway, but it is a bit annoying.

Another one that bothers me (let me know if you brought it up and I missed it)

#27 When Father was crawling towards Ed to... eat him, or whatever you want to call it, if Mei had enough strength to cast a long distance transmutation circle, why didn't she just hit father, or built a wall between him and Ed, or do anything other than sacrifice Al? Al sacrificing himself for an arm seems so much against the whole 'you have no right to throw away your life' moral of the story. Oh, FMA, we know you love shirtless Edward handing it to the villain the old fashioned way more than anything, but really now - after you've wowed us with counter transmutation circles and character reveals and all that jazz, you make Al (and the rest of the cast) look like retards just to have the fight end with Ed punching father in the face?

To be fair, I felt Ed's last transmutation seriously eclipsed (no pun intended) Father's demise. It just felt that that was what we had been waiting for, and it felt in a way detached from the final battle and all that. It was indeed a brilliant and original conclusion to the brother's journey, and definitely in tune with Ed's character development, but I felt it didn't really need the whole Promised Day thing to happen.

*sighes* I'm happy i got that out. Now on to the previously mentioned plotholes:

#1) Uh, this is where I once again invoke the magic of character development** - I think that 'souls' are able to retain more or less of an individuality when separated from their minds and bodies and stuck into a PS according to who they were in life. Most voices are drowned out in general outcry of thousands of confused and tormented souls, but strong willed individuals can stand their own, communicate with the other souls (Hohenheim), and even destroy the receptacle (Greed, Ed, Kimbley). Unlike the first anime, brotherhood never explicitly states any difference between the souls of homonculi and those of humans (Father has a personal Gate of Truth, which we know all humans do), and Pride being 'domesticated' by the end of the last chapter further enforces this. We don't know that much about the first Greed, but I guess he had neither Kimbley's unnatural tolerance to despair, nor Edward or Hohenheim's inner strength to stay in one piece and take out Father from within. But as we've seen in 106 (or 105?i can't be bothered to check) when Father revived those Xerxesians, souls that had been part of an undiferentiated whole immediately resumed their own personalities when given a body. So Greed didn't immediately return to his old self, but soon regained his memories once nudged. The second time he was swallowed, he was no longer powered by an internal vacuum, but by the awareness that he was on his way to becoming a more complete entity than father ever was...

Alright, I'm a bit sleep-deprived and this isn't doing any good to my argumenting skills. I'll re-edit with some more comments when I'm a bit more coherent, I hope I made some sense in there.

* I think the 'real-life' alchemical texts and beliefs that inspired Arakawa are generally more serious business - people never seem to make up their mind about it, but alchemical texts seem to have been just as much about reaching a more enlightened state of mind as hey were about proto-scientifical chemical experiments. The process of creating a philosopher's stone was a symbol for the stages of development of the novice on his way to a So I started off quite sceptical ('oh this flashy silly stuff has nothing to do with actual alchemy but I like the guy in the armour so yeah let's give it a go') but then was really surprised when Al got turned into the Philosopher's stone, or Edward turned his soul into one just as he was reaching maturity as a character, and yes know I might be looking too much into it, but every once in a while FMA has shown that Arakawa (or the anime writer) has done his research, and I will always love the show(s) for it.

** Could this be a trope? ^^
JackDawkins
QUOTE (Anomia Grey @ Jul 8 2010, 08:25 AM) *
#27 When Father was crawling towards Ed to... eat him, or whatever you want to call it, if Mei had enough strength to cast a long distance transmutation circle, why didn't she just hit father, or built a wall between him and Ed, or do anything other than sacrifice Al? Al sacrificing himself for an arm seems so much against the whole 'you have no right to throw away your life' moral of the story. Oh, FMA, we know you love shirtless Edward handing it to the villain the old fashioned way more than anything, but really now - after you've wowed us with counter transmutation circles and character reveals and all that jazz, you make Al (and the rest of the cast) look like retards just to have the fight end with Ed punching father in the face?


I've seen so many people bring this up....


With a lot of these "plot holes" or "more reasonable options" that people come up with they seem to be forgetting the fact that a story is being told here. As much as someone might like to believe that FMA will work this way the plot won't always move in the direction that makes the most sense all factors considered - it will move in the direction that actually moves the plot forward.

If Mei had attacked Father, or built a wall between him and Ed, or done anything else but sacrifice Al where would that have left us story-wise? Father could turn around and attack Mei, or destroy the wall, or do any number of things that would have still left Ed armless and trapped and Al in a most undesirable position.

And Al sacrificing himself wasn't something done completely irrationally with only the power of brotherly love on his part. He was in a position where he couldn't do anything to help, as well as the fact that his blood seal was cracking so he would have died. His brother was in a position where he couldn't do anything to help and in a position where he was about to die. What Al did was the best option. He knew his soul would go back to his body - Ed would get his arm back and be able to do something again - and he had complete faith in his brother to come back and get him. So he didn’t consider it as “throwing away his life”. It was actually a very wise thing to do strategically. It makes a lot more sense than just attacking Father or delaying the inevitable and probably putting everyone in an even worse situation.

And it actually moved the story forward.
KingBradley08
QUOTE (Tombow @ Jul 8 2010, 08:42 AM) *
@KingBradley08 - I would like to discourage turning this thread into another "FMA-1 supporter vs FMA:B (and/or FMA manga) supporter" thread, and hence I edited your original thread title and changed it to somewhat of more "neutral"("boring" XD) tone. I hope you don't mind. smile.gif
(By the way, welcome to our board! ^^)


That's ok, I don't mind. Thanks for not changing the body of the text smile.gif. I agree, I don't want this to turn into a childish hater-vs-hater discussion, but I still don't think I took it too far with that wink.gif. People seem to be getting into it and talking, and I'm very happy about that! lol.
black~hayate
I like your points. Some more or less.
I also have something to add!

When Father was completely crazy and tried to get the souls of the north soldiers for a philosophers stone, he screamed "Gimme a stooooone noooooows!" Well, okay. He tried to make a new philosophers stone with their souls. But WHY? He was standing five minutes before that besides PRIDE with tons of souls inside him. With a philosopher's stone inside him! He just could have grabbed Pride and absorb him. Then the Fullmetal Gang wouldn't be able to beat him for sure. This is also questionable.
KingBradley08
QUOTE (JackDawkins @ Jul 8 2010, 12:04 PM) *
QUOTE (Anomia Grey @ Jul 8 2010, 08:25 AM) *
#27 When Father was crawling towards Ed to... eat him, or whatever you want to call it, if Mei had enough strength to cast a long distance transmutation circle, why didn't she just hit father, or built a wall between him and Ed, or do anything other than sacrifice Al? Al sacrificing himself for an arm seems so much against the whole 'you have no right to throw away your life' moral of the story. Oh, FMA, we know you love shirtless Edward handing it to the villain the old fashioned way more than anything, but really now - after you've wowed us with counter transmutation circles and character reveals and all that jazz, you make Al (and the rest of the cast) look like retards just to have the fight end with Ed punching father in the face?


I've seen so many people bring this up....


With a lot of these "plot holes" or "more reasonable options" that people come up with they seem to be forgetting the fact that a story is being told here. As much as someone might like to believe that FMA will work this way the plot won't always move in the direction that makes the most since all factors considered - it will move in the direction that actually moves the plot forward.

If Mei had attacked Father, or built a wall between him and Ed, or done anything else but sacrifice Al where would that have left us story-wise? Father could turn around and attack Mei, or destroy the wall, or do any number of things that would have still left Ed armless and trapped and Al in a most undesirable position.

And Al sacrificing himself wasn't something done completely irrationally with only the power of brotherly love on his part. He was in a position where he couldn't do anything to help, as well as the fact that his blood seal was cracking so he would have died. His brother was in a position where he couldn't do anything to help and in a position where he was about to die. What Al did was the best option. He knew his soul would go back to his body - Ed would get his arm back and be able to do something again - and he had complete faith in his brother to come back and get him. So he didn’t consider it as “throwing away his life”. It was actually a very wise thing to do strategically. It makes a lot more since than just attacking Father or delaying the inevitable and probably putting everyone in an even worse situation.

And it actually moved the story forward.


I disagree with you. Changing the consistency of the story, going against earlier established rules, not explaining things well, and people somehow coming out on top in conflict situations almost purely due to dumb luck are "cheap," in my opinion. Anyone can do that; it's the same as a comic book death-- when someone who dies suddenly comes back later and their death is 'explained away,' it totally cheapens the whole thing. That's a reason why I don't like Yu Yu Hakusho very much: a lot of times a character will arrive with a certain power or ability, or a character will use a certain power or ability right away, or totally go all out in a fight... and then never use it again for the rest of the series, even when their life is in danger. That series also seems to have a fair amount of "out of the blue" resolutions of conflict and deus ex machinas.. something that FMA Brotherhood & the manga is not always entirely above.

A story that REALLY holds together well and it consistent can really wow its viewers/readers. It's possible to do both, have a great story that's also consistent from beginning to end. Arakawa was on the way to that... and I think maybe she could've done it if she really, REALLY thought some of this stuff through more (I'm also annoyed that Bones rushed her at the end just so they could finish Brotherhood in time; I KNEW it was a bad idea to start Brotherhood so soon because of that).

That being said, let me say this about Father approaching Edward to consume his soul: first of all, WHY didn't anyone else nearby step in to help? Everyone just yelled at him; Izumi, for example, easily could have stepped in and at least gotten his attention, put up a barrier between him and Ed, or just attacked him flat out. However, especially considering the fact that NO ONE ELSE WAS DOING ANYTHING to try to save Ed, I do agree with Al's decision-- it was one false move and his soul would be gone for good. So, while his soul is still barely in this world, why not trade it back for the full price: Ed's arm? I feel it's portrayed a little clearer in the manga that, literally, that was IT-- his blood seal was already starting to react to the cracks in the armor that had reached it. It was also an amazing moment when it actually happened; I just wish Arakawa had taken an extra page or two to create a situation in which no one else COULD have reached Ed except for Alphonse (and May).
JackDawkins
^

Well I’m not saying that a lot of things you’ve mentioned aren’t problems in the story. A lot of them are – gave me something to think about.

But when people say things such as “Why didn’t such and such do this in such and such situation instead…” those aren’t problems in the story unless they severely conflict with reason, prior characterization, and/or the set up of the working world. I don’t think the scene with Al violated any of that so I don’t consider it an issue.

As for anyone else helping him - I was under the impression that everyone else was too injured from the blast to immediately do anything, and even though it could have been illustrated a little better (I agree with that), it falls under that category of being necessary to move the story forward so I can forgive it.


Also, isn't that first paragraph a bit drastic of a comparison? I think the manga's done a pretty bang up job with staying consistent and explaining things (Brotherhood not so much). And no one has ever died and come back from the grave - that I can recall. And I can't think of anything that I'd consider a deus ex machinas. Though they did overuse the 'last minute saves' a bit towards the end - I expect a certain amount of that from a series like this.
essa
I don't know if this is the right topic for this or if someone has already pointed out, but I've got a question...

I was just re-watching some of the last episodes in fma and while I watched the episode when ed hides in resembool, in his talk with Winry he says that the promised day might be the day they'll recover their bodies or the day when a great tragedy will hit the country.
Well, after seeing the way they recovered their bodies, couldn't they have done it in another day? Because the promise day didn't give them anything to get their bodies back... ok, maybe Ed wouldn't have the idea of sacrificing his gate but still, I think it doesn't make sense what he said. oO were they waiting for the promised day because they knew they'd fight better with the bodies they had? I dunno, I'm confused xD
Tell me your thoughts ^^;
AXavierB
If Hohenheim's body is made of philosopher's stone, how are Ed and Al human? In fact, how could he even impregnate Trisha? You'd think his sperm would be made of philosopher's stone too.

If Bradley only has one soul in his philosopher's stone, why doesn't Father just add some more? Wrath would have been unbeatable if he could regenerate.

Father chose the homunculi's powers. Why would he make it so Pride's powers only work with a light source? Why would he tack on an arbitrary weakness that would put Pride at a disadvantage in pitch darkness? I guess you could say it's simply the substance Pride's "shadows" (as well as Father's true form) are made out of that can only materialize if there's light, and Father didn't have any control over that, but in that case, wouldn't Father have the same weakness? Why did no one ever think of depriving him of a light source when he was in that shadow blob form?

Why is Pride's fetus form amnesiac while Envy's still has its entire mind intact? Also, how can this form age? Why do Pride and Envy seem to be the only homunculi who have these miniature forms inside their "containers"? They're also the only homunculi who seem to be capable of parasitically possessing other bodies.

That raises the question, how come Pride can only possess those of a similar genetic background while Envy can possess Yoki? Pride says himself that Ed can be his new container because they both have Hohenheim's blood.

Father was created with Hohenheim's blood. Why, then, does his final scene with Truth imply that he came from inside the Gate?

Ed states that each person's Gate contains all alchemical knowledge. But doesn't this contradict Father's demonstration that the planet's Gate has even more knowledge (nuclear fusion, siphoning souls without an array, creating giant shock waves/particle beams, etc.)?
Ducard
<Hello Ducard, where is this quote coming from? Please kindly include the quote source (where/from which post you took that quote from). Thank you. ^^ ~Board staff>
QUOTE
When Father was completely crazy and tried to get the souls of the north soldiers for a philosophers stone, he screamed "Gimme a stooooone noooooows!" Well, okay. He tried to make a new philosophers stone with their souls. But WHY? He was standing five minutes before that besides PRIDE with tons of souls inside him. With a philosopher's stone inside him! He just could have grabbed Pride and absorb him. Then the Fullmetal Gang wouldn't be able to beat him for sure. This is also questionable.

Likewise, Father's entire collection of Philosopher's Stones was spent on the zombie army. Why didn't he keep around any spare Stones?
penguintruth
QUOTE (Ducard @ Jul 8 2010, 05:38 PM) *
<Hello Ducard, where is this quote coming from? Please kindly include the quote source (where/from which post you took that quote from). Thank you. ^^ ~Board staff>
QUOTE
When Father was completely crazy and tried to get the souls of the north soldiers for a philosophers stone, he screamed "Gimme a stooooone noooooows!" Well, okay. He tried to make a new philosophers stone with their souls. But WHY? He was standing five minutes before that besides PRIDE with tons of souls inside him. With a philosopher's stone inside him! He just could have grabbed Pride and absorb him. Then the Fullmetal Gang wouldn't be able to beat him for sure. This is also questionable.

Likewise, Father's entire collection of Philosopher's Stones was spent on the zombie army. Why didn't he keep around any spare Stones?


Especially considering that the homunculi army was just meant as a way of giving the generals something to do.

Another problem being, why did they all wait until the last minute to find a fifth sacrifice? I mean, he waits a hundred or so years for this opportunity, and on the last day isn't sure there'll be a fifth sacrifice? Since it is apparently possible to FORCE somebody to do this, they could have done so years earlier for insurance. Sure, it costs damage to Pride, but they would have had years to give him a new body or regenerate with more Philosopher's Stone.
ShadowCat17
About the long distance transmutation, I think the difference may be that the long distance target does not necessarily have to be of the same object as the local transmutation circle. Whenever Scar or Ed or Kimbley do those long-range style things, it's always the same object/material that is being manipulated, whereas when Mei does it, it does not have to be connected
MustangSally
QUOTE (KingBradley08 @ Jul 7 2010, 10:15 PM) *
#12) Mustang—If he couldn’t see, how could he clap his hands and create that barrier from the ground when fighting Father with Hawkeye? He couldn’t see what material, or at least what kind of stone, he was transmuting. It’s possible he just already knew since he’s been in HQ a lot, but not necessarily in that particular area of HQ. Edward couldn’t break Buccaneer’s automail arm when fighting him for the first time near Briggs Fortress because he didn’t know what it was composed of (he thought it was made of iron, but it wasn’t). Also, if I remember correctly there are other times when characters used deconstruction without knowing what they were deconstructing....

#21) Mustang should’ve lost his eyes, not just his eyesight, in the human transmutation, just like Judau did in the “Blind Alchemist” side story. This is just straight inconsistency, which in my opinion arose most likely because 1) readers didn’t want to see him without his handsome face, i.e. missing eyeballs & scars around his eyes, 2) the author intended his sight to be restored later (psh, like I never saw that one coming.. he kept his eyeballs to make that easier to happen for God’s sake). You could argue the punishment might’ve been lesser because it was a FORCED human transmutation that was performed against his will, but still—that might be a stretch. I mean he even gained knowledge from the doors/gate in exchange—he could use the clapping transmutation after that, so it was a legit human transmutation.

#22) Why would Father and the other homunculi have waited till the last minute to finish up SO much of this stuff? They had over 400 years. If Sloth was even slightly slower in carving the tunnel, it never would’ve worked out. They should’ve gotten on the thing with Ishval and Briggs WAY earlier. Also, letting Mustang roam (relatively) free instead of holding him like they did Marcoh allowed him to rebel and could have cost them dearly.


Re: #12 Why would he need to? It's not like he was in a strange place - he was in an area he was extremely familiar with. He'd grown up in Central(his foster mother has her business there), he had worked in Central for at least a year, in fact he worked in the area where all this took place, in and around headquarters. He knows what sort of rocks and soil make up the area, both underground and I'm imagine what most of the government area buildings and walkways were made out of.

If them not showing us how various alchemists know exactly what any particular object is made out of is considered a plothole it's certainly one the first anime AND the manga shared. It would be incredibly boring to watch. smile.gif I just assume this is the sort of stuff alchemists are taught, basic knowledge, that their years of study would include the compositions of major areas of the country. And that they also, by habit, find out what makes up any areas they are staying in. It's not like Roy was in Xing. biggrin.gif He was someplace he was very familiar with. I have no doubt he would know what the ground in and around Central HQ is made out of.

As for his eyes, both losing his sight and getting it back - The Truth takes whatever it wants, to the degree it wants. Why did Truth take Al's whole body but only Ed's leg? Because they were kids and it takes 1 and 1/4 kids to make up one adult? Why Al's body, when it was Ed's idea? They both wanted their mother's warmth so that excuse doesn't really "stand". So Truth not being entirely logical is right there within the basis of the story.

I do think that the fact that Roy was forced into it against his will would probably be taken into account when it came to getting his site back. As I understood it, they didn't use the PS to cure him, they used it as trade for his eyesight(or at least that is how I interpreted it) - so he didn't need to give up his door or anything else. The PS has multiple souls, even after helping Havoc, I'm sure there would have been more than enough to trade for one man's eyesight. (With regards to the fact he had "gained" knowledge(see clappy alchemy) - it was still against his will - we've already seen that the black hands can pull someone through the gate against their will)

Now as for letting him roam free, why not? They let everyone else roam free. Who knows, they may have hoped that Maes Hughes' death would have caused him to break out the human transmutation but he didn't. As for his rebelling, there were a couple of times when Bradley mentioned how some humans surprised them, they may have been arrogant enough to think that with Riza essentially a hostage, Roy wouldn't make any further serious moves against the government and then they could threaten her and get him to perform human transmutation. Bradley was clearly shown on more than one occasion to believe that they wouldn't have much a problem getting Mustang to do what they wanted him when the time came.

The "bad guys" underestimating "the heroes" through their own blind spot(usually arrogance) is a tried and true plot device of stories of all types - I wouldn't really call it a plothole.

QUOTE
Also, did Ling actually figure out how to gain immortality with the Philosopher’s Stone he took back to Xing? If not, why did he become emperor?


That wasn't covered in the story, so I don't see how it could be considered a plot hole. It isn't a plot hole just because they don't tell you that part of the story. smile.gif For all we know, by the time they got back to Xing, the emperor had died and Ling came back and with RanFan and her clan and now Mei probably and her clan plus the knowledge he'd gained as part of the whole Amestris fight(meaning life experience, he'd learned how to treat allies, etc) he may have been able to get the Emperor's job without actual use of the PS. Or he may just have "demonstrated" how the PS can increase the power of something(he may not be an alkehestrist but I'm sure his clan has one or Mei is now an ally) as a way of finagling the position.

QUOTE
Why the HELL would Lust think it’s okay to kill both Alphonse and Roy Mustang? NONE of the other homunculi, including Father, EVER try to kill EITHER of them, EVEN when they discover the nationwide transmutation circle, AND stumble across Father’s lair.


Again I don't see how that is a plothole. She ended up dead, karma bit her in the butt if nothing else. She herself implied she wasn't really supposed to do kill them - I'd say her "lust" for their deaths overcame her good judgment.
KingBradley08
QUOTE (MustangSally @ Jul 9 2010, 01:55 PM) *
QUOTE
#12) Mustang—If he couldn’t see, how could he clap his hands and create that barrier from the ground when fighting Father with Hawkeye? He couldn’t see what material, or at least what kind of stone, he was transmuting. It’s possible he just already knew since he’s been in HQ a lot, but not necessarily in that particular area of HQ. Edward couldn’t break Buccaneer’s automail arm when fighting him for the first time near Briggs Fortress because he didn’t know what it was composed of (he thought it was made of iron, but it wasn’t). Also, if I remember correctly there are other times when characters used deconstruction without knowing what they were deconstructing....

#21) Mustang should’ve lost his eyes, not just his eyesight, in the human transmutation, just like Judau did in the “Blind Alchemist” side story. This is just straight inconsistency, which in my opinion arose most likely because 1) readers didn’t want to see him without his handsome face, i.e. missing eyeballs & scars around his eyes, 2) the author intended his sight to be restored later (psh, like I never saw that one coming.. he kept his eyeballs to make that easier to happen for God’s sake). You could argue the punishment might’ve been lesser because it was a FORCED human transmutation that was performed against his will, but still—that might be a stretch. I mean he even gained knowledge from the doors/gate in exchange—he could use the clapping transmutation after that, so it was a legit human transmutation.

#22) Why would Father and the other homunculi have waited till the last minute to finish up SO much of this stuff? They had over 400 years. If Sloth was even slightly slower in carving the tunnel, it never would’ve worked out. They should’ve gotten on the thing with Ishval and Briggs WAY earlier. Also, letting Mustang roam (relatively) free instead of holding him like they did Marcoh allowed him to rebel and could have cost them dearly.


Re: #12 Why would he need to? It's not like he was in a strange place - he was in an area he was extremely familiar with. He'd grown up in Central(his foster mother has her business there), he had worked in Central for at least a year, in fact he worked in the area where all this took place, in and around headquarters. He knows what sort of rocks and soil make up the area, both underground and I'm imagine what most of the government area buildings and walkways were made out of.

If them not showing us how various alchemists know exactly what any particular object is made out of is considered a plothole it's certainly one the first anime AND the manga shared. It would be incredibly boring to watch. smile.gif I just assume this is the sort of stuff alchemists are taught, basic knowledge, that their years of study would include the compositions of major areas of the country. And that they also, by habit, find out what makes up any areas they are staying in. It's not like Roy was in Xing. biggrin.gif He was someplace he was very familiar with. I have no doubt he would know what the ground in and around Central HQ is made out of.

As for his eyes, both losing his sight and getting it back - The Truth takes whatever it wants, to the degree it wants. Why did Truth take Al's whole body but only Ed's leg? Because they were kids and it takes 1 and 1/4 kids to make up one adult? Why Al's body, when it was Ed's idea? They both wanted their mother's warmth so that excuse doesn't really "stand". So Truth not being entirely logical is right there within the basis of the story.

I do think that the fact that Roy was forced into it against his will would probably be taken into account when it came to getting his site back. As I understood it, they didn't use the PS to cure him, they used it as trade for his eyesight(or at least that is how I interpreted it) - so he didn't need to give up his door or anything else. The PS has multiple souls, even after helping Havoc, I'm sure there would have been more than enough to trade for one man's eyesight. (With regards to the fact he had "gained" knowledge(see clappy alchemy) - it was still against his will - we've already seen that the black hands can pull someone through the gate against their will)

Now as for letting him roam free, why not? They let everyone else roam free. Who knows, they may have hoped that Maes Hughes' death would have caused him to break out the human transmutation but he didn't. As for his rebelling, there were a couple of times when Bradley mentioned how some humans surprised them, they may have been arrogant enough to think that with Riza essentially a hostage, Roy wouldn't make any further serious moves against the government and then they could threaten her and get him to perform human transmutation. Bradley was clearly shown on more than one occasion to believe that they wouldn't have much a problem getting Mustang to do what they wanted him when the time came.

The "bad guys" underestimating "the heroes" through their own blind spot(usually arrogance) is a tried and true plot device of stories of all types - I wouldn't really call it a plothole.

QUOTE
Also, did Ling actually figure out how to gain immortality with the Philosopher’s Stone he took back to Xing? If not, why did he become emperor?


That wasn't covered in the story, so I don't see how it could be considered a plot hole. It isn't a plot hole just because they don't tell you that part of the story. smile.gif For all we know, by the time they got back to Xing, the emperor had died and Ling came back and with RanFan and her clan and now Mei probably and her clan plus the knowledge he'd gained as part of the whole Amestris fight(meaning life experience, he'd learned how to treat allies, etc) he may have been able to get the Emperor's job without actual use of the PS. Or he may just have "demonstrated" how the PS can increase the power of something(he may not be an alkehestrist but I'm sure his clan has one or Mei is now an ally) as a way of finagling the position.

QUOTE
Why the HELL would Lust think it’s okay to kill both Alphonse and Roy Mustang? NONE of the other homunculi, including Father, EVER try to kill EITHER of them, EVEN when they discover the nationwide transmutation circle, AND stumble across Father’s lair.


Again I don't see how that is a plothole. She ended up dead, karma bit her in the butt if nothing else. She herself implied she wasn't really supposed to do kill them - I'd say her "lust" for their deaths overcame her good judgment.


Ok, all of you make some points I'd like to address soon, but for now, I'd just like to point out, for those who think the reason Ling became emperor in the way that he did is because the original emperor died before he returned: don't forget, the emperor was to name his successor BEFORE he died (and if the successor was to be named AFTER his death, who would be the one to name him/her? And who would be ruling Xing in the meantime while waiting for a successor to be named?).

The whole point of leaving Xing to come to Amestris was to find something to bring back to the emperor that would impress him enough that he would name that person as his successor (in May and Ling's case, this 'something' was immortality). Had he died before Ling returned, the chances he would've named Ling his successor WITHOUT having known that he had found the Philosopher's Stone and/or gained immortality are fairly low (and remember, Ling was in Amestris from the moment he appeared in the show until the very last episode); as there were dozens of other sons and daughters he could have chosen from. Even if Lan Fan had told the emperor Ling had gained immortality, or brought him the message Ling wrote for her telling her he had found the Philosopher's Stone, what reason would the emperor have to believe her? The clans of Xing are so cutthroat about making sure that THEY become the next royal clan that they're willing to kill each other without hesitation. Considering how far they would go, they would have no credibility if they tried to tell the emperor that their prince/princess had gained immortality; they could just as easily lie about it to curry the emperor's favor.. but it wouldn't be believable without proof.
AXavierB
I came up with a crack theory that Lust was secretly trying to sabotage Father's plan by killing sacrifice candidates.
Anakishi
@KingBradley08 – I understand all your points, and I respect the fact you bothered to look at all those “plot holes” in a more rational fashion, so you won’t sound biased. I agree with you in some of these, and others not so much; I’ll comment on a few of them later.
I just wanted to point out it’s a work of literature, monthly serialized over 9+ years, and it doesn’t necessarily have to make complete sense in its entirety, and like JackDawkins already said, the plot is not something that moves naturally forward, sometimes it needs twists and strategic moves to make the story progress. Though I’m an amateur, I’ve written some novels myself, so I know it all too well: it’s extremely hard to keep track of all the minor details and loose ends you leave throughout your work. The longest I worked on a book was about 2-3 years. I need to ask: can you even begin to imagine what it’s like to work on a single piece for 9 years? Cause I can’t.
I’m saying this because you can’t just throw all these minor points and blame the author, implying that she/he doesn’t have any planning or organization, didn’t research enough, and so on. It looked (to me, at least) like you were insulting Arakawa’s skills and saying she just puts up stuff there without thinking things through, coming up with a deus ex machina for everything afterwards, and that’s a total lie. She impresses as someone who does their homework, someone eager to make parallels between fictional and real – putting up real alchemy references, for instance –, someone who cares to tie up loose ends and who gathers a reasonable amount of information before stepping onto certain subjects. I wish every artist had that kind of passion for their work. Sorry for going off-topic, I guess the “Hiromu Arakawa appreciation month” thingy just got me. tongue.gif

Anyway, onto the “plot holes”:

#1: What Anomia Grey said. And I’ll add: we don’t know enough about what Father’s body is composed of: AFAIK, it doesn’t need to be plain simple PS. And if he was already in a state he had to block attacks with his bare arms, I guess he couldn’t afford to change his body from charcoal back to flesh.

#7: ? your argument is odd and inconsistent. Although it doesn’t show off, he IS regenerating from Heinkel’s attacks, that’s why it consumes his PS.

#8: Edward took a guess. It was risking it or dying: which would you prefer?

#12: This one seems to me a bit of a misunderstanding. There’s nothing stating you have to know everything about the object you’re transmuting. For all I know, Roy simply imagined a basic element that’s present in every stone (like, I don’t know, CaCO3?) and transmuted that element to create something, disregarding the rest. (well, that’s just the way I think alchemy works – if not, he would have to know the exact concentration of all elements in the air in order to make his flames, including pollution and particles in suspension)

#14: Another misunderstanding of how materials work (I just took construction materials class this semester, btw, so it’s still fresh happy.gif): first of all, there’s no such thing as a perfect material. Remember automail is a complex system of engineering, and this system is also fragile (one screw left behind, and the whole is screwed, no pun intended). So, to change completely the material it is made of causes major instability on the structure, like when plates go against each other, gears get smashed because of changing volume or weight, etc. I believe it was on FMA-1 that Ed told Scar he changed the metal of his automail to “keep him guessing”, but didn’t wanna keep doing it, since it “messes up the structure”. So, I can only see 2 possibilities: 1) that, yes, Ed changed the automail back after fighting Pride, to keep it from malfunctioning, or 2) Ed didn’t, and that lack of stability was just what got the automail to break down so easily (I’d go for option 2).

#17: yeah, without his PS Hohenheim reverted to a normal human being… a 400+ year old human being. I think that’s what killed him, and not the lack of PS. It’s totally different from Bradley’s case; he’s just 60 years old, as we all know.

#19: I agree, totally, it was definitely strange how Al just presumed he could grab his body and leave with no problems. Just like when Ed met it, he just wanted to drag it to the doors with him. rolleyes.gif

#20: didn’t even read that completely. Maybe you could try digging out the expression on the original version, next time – just a friendly advice, so you won’t do it again. In Japanese, it reads as 人柱 (hitobashira): “hito” means person, human, and “bashira” comes from “hashira”, meaning pillar. So the literal translation would be “human pillar”, and this “sacrifice” was just a poetic license of the translator (seeing as by that time no one knew what it meant) that became later a mistranslation.

#21: others have replied, that Truth takes whatever it wants, and the PS was used as the toll to regain what he lost, not as an amplificatory for medical alchemy. There is, however, one thing that’s always bugged me: why, when you come back to the Doors after seeing the truth, you can choose what you want to trade and what you want to get back? It is rather interesting: seems like you have to be aware of the trade going on to be in control, otherwise it’s up to Truth to decide.

#22: uh… laziness? laugh.gif It often happens when you have to, say, deliver a paper: you have months to prepare it, but you leave it all to the last week! /joke. But yeah, Father looks pretty disorganized.

#24: I believe it is symbolism (literature is full of symbolisms, not only logic). It fits Truth’s words to Father, that he thinks he has grown so much by using others’ powers, when in the end he, himself, didn’t evolve at all.

#25: Father’s PS doesn’t fuel all of Amestris alchemy: it acts as a cushion between it and the real fuel, the earth’s crust.

Other than that, I agree with you on #2, #4, #6, #10, #13 and #15. Finally, I wanted to point out things left “under explained” are not always plot holes. I don’t know how much time you’ve spent watching this community, but the fun part of discussing each chapter is usually the questioning of parts that are not easily understandable, when people come up with their own theories on how things played out. It’s almost like a game, and I think it adds a lot to the work.
You can argue that I made solutions up for most of the problems you posted, but I say you, sometimes, can make up problems where there aren’t any. happy.gif
AXavierB
I just felt I should point out that even though hitobashira translates as "human pillar", a human pillar is by definition a type of sacrifice. They were people buried alive in the foundations of buildings because this practice was believed to make buildings more structurally sound.
JackDawkins
QUOTE (AXavierB @ Jul 9 2010, 06:11 PM) *
I just felt I should point out that even though hitobashira translates as "human pillar", a human pillar is by definition a type of sacrifice. They were people buried alive in the foundations of buildings because this practice was believed to make buildings more structurally sound.

Still don't think it's something you should really nitpick about. I figure that term "human pillar" for Ed and the rest is more symbolic than anything. They became the "foundation" for Father's plan. And the terminology being used probably kept the Japanese audience wondering exactly how they would be implemented since it was pretty safe to assume they weren't actually going to be buried alive in building foundations.
ScarMySoul
QUOTE (AXavierB @ Jul 8 2010, 04:39 PM) *
If Hohenheim's body is made of philosopher's stone, how are Ed and Al human? In fact, how could he even impregnate Trisha? You'd think his sperm would be made of philosopher's stone too.


^^ I don't see how THAT has anything to do with anything.... he was human after all, Father just made him immortal... he still bled, he was punched in the face at one point if I recall and bled... so in a sense he was still "alive" despite being filled with souls...
shiroe
@KingBradley08

To answer some of your points:

#2) Father’s arm was still inside of Ling AFTER he removed all of his Philosopher’s Stone and Greed. How was Ling able to survive being run through if Father removed his Philosopher’s Stone? Seems this was done/stretched just for the sake of convenience to the plot.

Remember the time Hohenheim put his hand into Izumi's abdomen to rearrange her insides? She wasn't hurt after he removed his hand after that. Alchemists the level of Hohenheim or Father can do things like that with ease, even when he's on the verge of death.

#4) King Bradley constantly keeps his Ultimate Eye covered with an eyepatch. Yet somehow, he is still able to use it to dodge and predict anything and everything. He also removed this patch when fighting Greed/Ling at Central HQ, commenting that, like when he fought Ling before, that it was his “blind spot.” So, he is able to, at least partially, see through what we assume is a completely opaque material (or it could just be inconsistent writing either way—he can use it when covered by his eyepatch, but it’s still somehow his “blind spot?”). However, Buccaneer is able to stab him by thrusting his sword through Fu into Bradley, impaling both of them, commenting that “even with Godlike eyes, there’s no way you can dodge an attack that you can’t see!” A solid, opaque object (Fu) was blocking Buccaneer, just like how Bradley’s eyepatch is a solid, opaque object. Seems like this was done for convenience of the story.

Although the Ouroboros (sp?) tattoo is on his left eye only, I believe that both his eyes have the same power, whichever power it is. The tattoo is just a homunculus' birthmark, it doesn't necessarily mean their homunculus power comes only from the body part in which it's located. The reason Bradley constantly keeps his left eye covered with an eye-patch is simply to hide his tattoo and his real identity. It doesn't keep him from using his Ultimate Eye power though, because he still has his right eye which has the same power. When covering his left eye with an eye-patch though his left side becomes his blind spot, because the Ultimate Eye can't see through objects. That's why he had to remove it in some tough fights. Because, well, having both your eyes are better than having just one.

-->#4a) A supplement to that: How would Bradley be able to avoid a _hail_ of bullets?
Because he's friggin' King Bradley of course. tongue.gif

#5) Why do Selim and King Bradley act like father and son even when no one is around or when they think no one is around? They seem to have an inconsistent relationship (sometimes occasionally when no one is around, their roles will switch; Selim is Pride and older than/senior to King Bradley/Wrath).

Uhm, I may have missed it, so could you provide an example of when they act like father and son and nobody is around?

Also, why would Selim drop over and over again to his mother and others around him that he admires/likes/wants to be like the Fullmetal Alchemist all the time? Wouldn’t it be smarter not to do that, as a homunculus?

How so? It only makes him look like a cheerful little boy in front of other people, which is exactly what he wants. And even if Pride sincerely wants to learn about alchemy, why would that be a plot hole?

#7) Pride doesn’t seem to be injured in the same way as the other homunculi when fighting Heinkel, and isn’t seen regenerating, but still comments his Philosopher’s Stone has been weakened from fighting him. This is odd and inconsistent.
...
#9) Is Pride’s “true form” shadows or the small infant seen after Edward defeats him? They’re completely different substances. Selim says he needs a new “container” when his body is breaking down , but what’s left when he is defeated IS a container. Also, Hohenheim remarks that Father made Pride in his image—as a mass of shadows, implying that the SHADOWS may actually be his real body. Hard to make sense of this.. it seems a little inconsistent.


Regarding Pride, he's my most favorite homunculus and also the one I'm curious about the most. There're many questions about him which remain unanswered even after the manga is over, including the things you said above. But I wouldn't call those plot holes, or inconsistent. I think it's intentionally left ambiguous.

#10) Father DOES seem to genuinely care for his “children” at first (except for Greed, whom he only melted down and reabsorbed because he openly rebelled against him and was potentially a big liability). He toasts the rest of the homunculi goodwill after reabsorbing Greed, calls Gluttony “my son” and takes care to recreate him with all of his former powers and memory intact after his Stone runs out, AND seems to confirm by his reaction Hohenheim’s accusation that the REAL reason he expelled his sins and created the Homunculi is because he wanted a family. Yet all of a sudden he abandons Pride, and Edward does convince Pride (or at least gets under his skin about it) that Father doesn’t care about him. This COULD be interpreted as Father simply wanted to take care of business and then return to Pride, or thought Pride could handle himself. Things don’t QUITE add up no matter which way you look at it.

Eh, there's nothing wrong with the way you interpreted it (the bold part). I don't know what don't add up. ^^;

#13) Sloth didn’t need to be hurt/killed as many times as the other Homunculi, especially Envy/Lust—look how many times they are “killed” vs. the few times Sloth is killed. Yes he suffered massive damage each of those times, but Lust/Envy often had their WHOLE BODY incinerated; one time Mustang even took Lust’s Philosopher’s stone out and it had to regenerate her body from NOTHING, which is equivalent to destroying her ENTIRE BODY once (Sloth never incurred that much damage), and regenerating it once.
-->#13a) Note: I admit this MAY be because Sloth is bigger and therefore has much more mass than the other homunculi, therefore takes more energy to regenerate his whole body; still though, that might be a stretch.


We've never shown the entire fight between the Armstrongs and Sloth, there was some flashing through the middle part, so Sloth may have been killed more times than we could actually see. It could also be possible that Sloth has never had so many souls as Lust or Envy to begin with.

#17) The thing about Hohenheim dying at the end because he ran out of Stone.. I don’t buy it. He should’ve become a normal human if he had only his soul left. Furthermore, Bradley said he was left with only one soul after becoming Wrath, and Hohenheim is very similar to a Homunculus anyway (the structure of his body is identical to Father’s). Bradley didn’t deteriorate into nothing and/or die after this, and neither should Hohenheim have. Maybe my argument is a stretch here, but I still think it’s dumb that he died at the end just because he only had one soul left.

Yeah, I believe he did become a normal human in the end, ONLY a human who has lived some hundreds years. No normal human can live that long. In the end, he died of old age, which is very reasonable imo.

#18) Eclipses don’t usually last as long as was depicted; Father should’ve started his transmutation RIGHT before the moon completely covered the sun, not right when it did. By doing that he risked the eclipse ending and the circle surrounding the eclipse dissipating before opening the Sun’s door/gate.

I don't get what is even the matter here. O_O

#20) Aren’t Ed, Al, Izumi, Mustang, and Hohenheim supposed to be human _sacrifices_?? They weren’t sacrificed at all; they were fine at the end, and Father even had to try to kill them AFTER the eclipse transmutation was over because they were clearly not dead. What was their role in the transmutation, why were they even required? I think if these were five random Alchemists that the reader was not familiar with OR were just people that the homunculi forced to perform human transmutation who weren’t major characters or important to the plot, Arakawa would’ve written it so that they would’ve died. But obviously no one would want to see five major characters die, so it was, in my opinion, done for convenience of the plot.


This has already been pointed out by others. Yeah, 'human pillars' by its meaning in Japanese history is close to 'human sacrifice' anyway, but literally, it just means they (Ed, Al, Izumi, Roy and Hoho) are 'foundations' for Father to carry out his plan. I agree with JackDawkins that it's more symbolic than anything.

#21) Mustang should’ve lost his eyes, not just his eyesight, in the human transmutation, just like Judau did in the “Blind Alchemist” side story. This is just straight inconsistency, which in my opinion arose most likely because 1) readers didn’t want to see him without his handsome face, i.e. missing eyeballs & scars around his eyes, 2) the author intended his sight to be restored later (psh, like I never saw that one coming.. he kept his eyeballs to make that easier to happen for God’s sake). You could argue the punishment might’ve been lesser because it was a FORCED human transmutation that was performed against his will, but still—that might be a stretch. I mean he even gained knowledge from the doors/gate in exchange—he could use the clapping transmutation after that, so it was a legit human transmutation.

No way. Truth just doesn't want the same thing twice. smile.gif Actually, what others have said.

To be honest, most of the things you called plot holes don't look like ones to me at all. Some just look like nitpicking in the story telling or the way the characters think. Although you did have some good points, like #6, #11, #19, #22, #26. And I was wondering about #14 at first but Anakishi's answer made perfect sense and I agree with him/her.

And like others, I also think that just because I have trouble understanding some parts of the plot it doesn't automatically mean they're plot holes. Maybe it's just me missing something from the story or it's never meant to be fully understood in the first place.
AXavierB
QUOTE (ScarMySoul @ Jul 9 2010, 06:53 PM) *
QUOTE (AXavierB @ Jul 8 2010, 04:39 PM) *
If Hohenheim's body is made of philosopher's stone, how are Ed and Al human? In fact, how could he even impregnate Trisha? You'd think his sperm would be made of philosopher's stone too.


^^ I don't see how THAT has anything to do with anything.... he was human after all, Father just made him immortal... he still bled, he was punched in the face at one point if I recall and bled... so in a sense he was still "alive" despite being filled with souls...


I may be mistaken, but it seemed to be implied that his body was literally made of philosopher's stone, not that he simply contained one. And if the latter really is the case, how is he any different from a homunculus?
Fullmetal Hippo
I've got some plot holes/moments that don't make sense:

- Everytime Al sees his body at the gate while in his Armor his body TALKS, even though Al's mind, soul and everything that enables him to speak are attached to the ARMOR.

- Well, this one is more of a question. When Edward went to the Gate, he saw "God", who took his limbs in equivalent exchange. Meanwhile, Father's whole plan was to wait for an eclipse because that's when "God" would appear. Are there two "God"s, and Arakawa just didn't feel like mentioning the IMPORTANT one until the moment he appeared, or did the God guy Ed saw at the Gate just get really really big? Assuming they ARE the same, why couldn't Father have just gone to the Gate and eaten the guy there?

- So, in the end, Ed sacrifices his own gate, and therefore the ability to use alchemy, in order to bring Al back. Then Mr. God-guy responds to this by saying "That is the correct answer, Alchemist. You have beaten Truth. Take it all," yadda yadda yadda. Ok, so let's say I want to bring my dead dog or someone back. I can just give up alchemy and bam, human transmutation is a thing! That being said, why don't they just get together a band of old dying people, teach them how to do alchemy, and make them give up that ability to bring back everyone? It's supposed to be impossible to bring people back, but apparently not in the manga/Brotherhood...


penguintruth
The thing is, Alphonse wasn't really dead, he was just stuck at the Gate, so it was still possible to get him back.

My problem is, how the hell did Edward know that was toll enough? Or did he not and just wing it?
Vlyse
QUOTE (Fullmetal Hippo @ Jul 10 2010, 04:53 PM) *
I've got some plot holes/moments that don't make sense:

- Well, this one is more of a question. When Edward went to the Gate, he saw "God", who took his limbs in equivalent exchange. Meanwhile, Father's whole plan was to wait for an eclipse because that's when "God" would appear. Are there two "God"s, and Arakawa just didn't feel like mentioning the IMPORTANT one until the moment he appeared, or did the God guy Ed saw at the Gate just get really really big? Assuming they ARE the same, why couldn't Father have just gone to the Gate and eaten the guy there?


Everyone has their own gate and Truth/God, including Father. As Father stated in episode 60, the whole planet had its own Truth that contained more knowledge than any one person's Truth could ever have. The planet's Truth is what Father absorbed.

--

On #10 about Father abandoning Pride to get more Philosopher's Stones:

I agree. If Father wanted more PS, why didn't he just absorb Pride instead of trying to get Greed's? I feel that was avoided out of convenience for Kimblee's closure.
AXavierB
I'm pretty sure when Al's body talks and moves of its own will at the Gate, the implication is that it's being controlled by his Truth. Ed's Truth took his arm and leg, and integrated them into itself. Al's Truth took his whole body, so it simply appears as Al. And thus it is able to speak and move on its own.
JackDawkins
QUOTE (Fullmetal Hippo @ Jul 10 2010, 03:53 PM) *
I've got some plot holes/moments that don't make sense:

- Everytime Al sees his body at the gate while in his Armor his body TALKS, even though Al's mind, soul and everything that enables him to speak are attached to the ARMOR.

- Well, this one is more of a question. When Edward went to the Gate, he saw "God", who took his limbs in equivalent exchange. Meanwhile, Father's whole plan was to wait for an eclipse because that's when "God" would appear. Are there two "God"s, and Arakawa just didn't feel like mentioning the IMPORTANT one until the moment he appeared, or did the God guy Ed saw at the Gate just get really really big? Assuming they ARE the same, why couldn't Father have just gone to the Gate and eaten the guy there?

- So, in the end, Ed sacrifices his own gate, and therefore the ability to use alchemy, in order to bring Al back. Then Mr. God-guy responds to this by saying "That is the correct answer, Alchemist. You have beaten Truth. Take it all," yadda yadda yadda. Ok, so let's say I want to bring my dead dog or someone back. I can just give up alchemy and bam, human transmutation is a thing! That being said, why don't they just get together a band of old dying people, teach them how to do alchemy, and make them give up that ability to bring back everyone? It's supposed to be impossible to bring people back, but apparently not in the manga/Brotherhood...

- Al's Truth is wearing Al's body. Since everyone has their own Gate/Truth like Vlyse said, it was simply Al's Truth talking.

-Pantheism. Read about it.

-No one ever was brought back. Al never died. He was just "taken" by the Gate, which is entirely different and unrelated to actual death.
Fullmetal Hippo
QUOTE (JackDawkins @ Jul 10 2010, 10:21 PM) *
-No one ever was brought back. Al never died. He was just "taken" by the Gate, which is entirely different and unrelated to actual death.


I was assuming that since the Truth guy said "Take it all," you could use your Gate in exchange for lives as well, because he was essentially paying for Al's life.
JackDawkins
QUOTE (Fullmetal Hippo @ Jul 11 2010, 03:27 PM) *
QUOTE (JackDawkins @ Jul 10 2010, 10:21 PM) *
-No one ever was brought back. Al never died. He was just "taken" by the Gate, which is entirely different and unrelated to actual death.


I was assuming that since the Truth guy said "Take it all," you could use your Gate in exchange for lives as well, because he was essentially paying for Al's life.

When Truth said "Take it all," he meant Ed could take back everything that was taken from him. His brother, body and soul, and his leg (though Ed chose not to take that one) but not anything that wasn't taken by the Gate, which would include human lives that had run out and ceased to exist separately in the world. The dead can never be brought back to life but things taken by the Gate can be regained if you pay enough - and your own Gate happens to be enough to pay for it all.
ScarMySoul
QUOTE (AXavierB @ Jul 9 2010, 08:56 PM) *
QUOTE (ScarMySoul @ Jul 9 2010, 06:53 PM) *
QUOTE (AXavierB @ Jul 8 2010, 04:39 PM) *
If Hohenheim's body is made of philosopher's stone, how are Ed and Al human? In fact, how could he even impregnate Trisha? You'd think his sperm would be made of philosopher's stone too.


^^ I don't see how THAT has anything to do with anything.... he was human after all, Father just made him immortal... he still bled, he was punched in the face at one point if I recall and bled... so in a sense he was still "alive" despite being filled with souls...


I may be mistaken, but it seemed to be implied that his body was literally made of philosopher's stone, not that he simply contained one. And if the latter really is the case, how is he any different from a homunculus?


Well they had a human shell with human feature and human attributes, but Father made Hoenheim in his own image in a way if you call it that, made him immortal by making his body function and never die by having millions of souls to create millions of philosopher stones inside of them both. If you remember he went throughout Amestris and pulled out some of his stones or souls if you will to help aid in the counter attack on Father. Hoenheim even stated that if they kept attacking father they would force him to use up all of his stones. Same with Hoenheim himself. Father also told him after he destroyed Xerses, to go and live his life anyway he saw fit, and who knows, maybe Hoenheim didn't think he could have children and it was a long shot that he did...
StormGoddess
QUOTE (KingBradley08 @ Jul 7 2010, 10:15 PM) *
***#11) Scar: this is a big one. So, it’s eventually discovered when he’s fighting King Bradley that before the Promised Day, he tattooed his left arm with his brother’s reconstruction array. So, he uses his right arm to destroy surrounding materials and sever Bradley’s arms, and his left arm to CREATE spikes which rise up from the ground. HOWEVER, it has been stated many, many times throughout the series, the three steps of alchemy are: understanding, deconstruction, and reconstruction. In other words, you have to 1) Know what you’re deconstructing, 2) BREAK IT DOWN, and 3) reconstruct it. That arm ONLY has the array for RECONSTRUCTION on it. Therefore, he shouldn’t be able to transmute ANYTHING without using BOTH of his hands (or perhaps even clapping them together first like Kimblee did to perform his alchemy), to deconstruct and THEN reconstruct it. The only thing I could POSSIBLY see his left arm being able to do (and this is a stretch, since it’s been made very clear you HAVE to go in order with those three steps of alchemy and there haven’t been any other cases of an entire step being skipped in the manga or in Brotherhood) without his right arm is bonding things together, like turning hydrogen and oxygen in the air into water, etc.


Scar's tattoo was a combination of alchemy and eastern alchemy, right? And in eastern alchemy, May said there's this "flow" that they understand to make long-distance alchemy work. She also said it can be applied to human's body (like when she poked Marcoh's back and his foot hurt). So it's possible that he used his left arm's deconstruction and, by understanding that flow, connected it with his right arm, it wasn't just that obvious. I don't think he also needs to clap his hands. I don't remember his brother clapping his hands when he transmuted his arm to Scar. That's how I see it. But feel free to disagree with me lol my thoughts are in a mess right now I'm not even sure if my grammar is understandable. unsure.gif
AXavierB
He wouldn't need to clap his hands. The only reason Kimblee has to clap his hands is because when he does that, his two triangles come together to form a pentacle, which is the shape that powers his explosive transmutations.
Tezrath
The same way that Mustang never had to clap his hands before when he was wearing his gloves, or Armstrong with his iron gauntlets. The alchemy 'array' is already transcribed on the material (whether that 'material' is a set of gloves, or tatoos doesn't make any difference)

A construction array would already have all three steps 'built in' from my understanding of it. Witness Armstrong and his gauntlets. He creates projectiles out of whatever material is handy. And he certainly doesn't need to clap the two gauntlets together to do so
KingBradley08
QUOTE (Tezrath @ Jul 14 2010, 12:22 AM) *
The same way that Mustang never had to clap his hands before when he was wearing his gloves, or Armstrong with his iron gauntlets. The alchemy 'array' is already transcribed on the material (whether that 'material' is a set of gloves, or tatoos doesn't make any difference)

A construction array would already have all three steps 'built in' from my understanding of it. Witness Armstrong and his gauntlets. He creates projectiles out of whatever material is handy. And he certainly doesn't need to clap the two gauntlets together to do so


That's the thing though-- Scar's arrays DON'T have all three steps built in; they're different from any of the other arrays in the series, (especially considering they're a very unique blend of alchemy and alkahestry) including the ones worn by Mustang and Major Armstrong. For most of the series he can only deconstruct, because that's what that array is for-- deconstruction ONLY. Conversely, at the end of the series his right arm bears the array for reconstruction ONLY. That was the point-- one arm deconstructs, the other reconstructs, as was intended by Scar's brother.

Because each of the arrays don't have all three steps built in, I thought maybe if he clapped his hands together like Kimblee, he'd be able to "complete" them or combine them in order to perform all three steps, allowing for a complete transmutation. In the manga and Brotherhood, Kimblee is not able (as far as I know) to transmute without clapping his hands together-- because each hand only has HALF of the complete array tattooed on it. When the opposite and contradictory symbols of sun and moon on his hands, as well as the rightside-up and upside-down triangles come together, they form the true symbol-- a hexagram with the sun and moon inscribed in it. These contradictory symbols coming together allows Kimblee to create instability in matter, rendering it explosive. I thought a similar principle would make sense for Scar-- slam the opposite symbols for deconstruction and reconstruction together, and you'll be able to use both for a single, full transmutation which involves BOTH deconstruction and reconstruction (the same as ALL other transmutations in the series, the only difference being he uses the flow of Chi in the earth rather than the energy of tectonic plates in the crust), the same way Ed clapping allows him to create a circle and construction equation (himself, or possibly his mind or what's in his mind) for a single transmutation.

Finally, NOT doing so and still being able to fully transmute contradicts the principles established in the series. Each symbol on each arm does not have all three steps "built in," they only have the second step -- deconstruction -- built into one, and the third step --reconstruction -- built into the other (and of course, scar must perform the first step in his mind by deducing what material he is performing alchemy/alkahestry on). So one arm can't do all three.
AXavierB
I just realized this yesterday, but wouldn't Ling have been a sacrifice candidate? Didn't he technically see the Gate when he, Ed and Envy escaped Gluttony's stomach? I figured it would be the same for him as it was for Hohenheim being dragged through the Gate when Father created the first philosopher's stone.
Cool & Twisted
QUOTE (AxavierB)
I just realized this yesterday, but wouldn't Ling have been a sacrifice candidate? Didn't he technically see the Gate when he, Ed and Envy escaped Gluttony's stomach? I figured it would be the same for him as it was for Hohenheim being dragged through the Gate when Father created the first philosopher's stone.


No no only Ed saw the gate
KEKU
QUOTE (penguintruth @ Jul 10 2010, 06:14 PM) *
The thing is, Alphonse wasn't really dead, he was just stuck at the Gate, so it was still possible to get him back.

My problem is, how the hell did Edward know that was toll enough? Or did he not and just wing it?

I would have thought the opposite. That sacrificing his entire Gate would be worth more than he was getting back. Seeing how it contains an immense amount of knowledge.


But it was brought up that Truth told him to "take it all", so I'm guessing that whether or not the Gate was worth more or less than what Ed was trying to regain is irrelevant.

Still, would have been interesting if he could have just sacrificed part of his Gate to get back just what he needed. And maybe transmute what was left into a smaller door. Which would hopefully still work and he'd be able to get out through it. =P
Selene2000
As for scar, i just think that since the symbols on his arms are a mix of both alchemy and rentanjutsu, shouldn't they have a unique quality to them?
Also, the throught just occured to me, and it might not even apply to anything... but here goes lol. The designs on his arm go all the way around right? In a way, it is also a circle. Since he has to tuch something to destroy it, wouldn't it be the equivalent of drawing a circle on ex. the wall and touching it? the only difference would be that the design was already written on his arm.
AXavierB
When Envy was fighting Ling in the forest, he transformed into Lan Fan to make Ling stop attacking. This made sense in the manga because Envy had previously encountered both Ling and Lan Fan. But in Brotherhood, that scene was cut, and I don't think Envy and Lan Fan had ever met. How did he even know what she looked like?
Kasumisty
As I recall, he was watching them in a dog form from the bushes as they were coming out from the hut.
Walawalawolf
Hello all. I just got done about 2 days ago watching Brotherhood for a second time, and had a question about it. While looking for the answer on Google, I stumbled across this lovely site, and saw this thread. I know this is an old thread, and if you don't like old threads being resurrected let me know and I'll be sure not to do it again, but I just really wanted to answer these questions. I'm in a debatable sort of mood so let's see what happens. biggrin.gif My response after each quote, and they might be a little rushed 'cause I just typed out a whole bunch of things just in time for my computer to shut off. >.<


QUOTE (KingBradley08 @ Jul 7 2010, 09:15 PM) *
#1) The first time Father reabsorbed Greed, he COMPLETELY reabsorbed him into his body, as in he became like he was before he gave birth to Greed. The second time he reabsorbed Greed, Greed not only retained his consciousness, he somehow was able to nullify Father’s alchemy/regeneration and turn his body into charcoal (or weak carbon), which, for some reason, Father wasn’t able to turn back to flesh, despite the fact that he STILL had THOUSANDS of souls within him. Also, it was stated his body was supposed to be MADE OF Philosopher’s Stones, not contain one like the Homunculi (in other words there’s no part of him, except for his soul, that’s not a Philosopher’s Stone). However, when a hole was punched him him, they are all suddenly seen escaping. When Father punched a hole in Hohenheim (and when he was shot many times in the manga), the souls didn’t escape. Also, how could Father destroy Greed just by biting down on him, especially if he was in such a “weakened” state?

The first time Greed was completely dead, and turned into technically a liquid form of the Philosphers Stone, kind of like the red water from the first one. Second time he was alive inside of him, kind of like how the souls of the people of Xerses could talk to Hohenheim and whatnot, like how he was alive inside of Lin. He couldn't turn his body back into flesh because by the time Greed did that he had used up all of the power in his stone, which is why he was going after Ed to either turn him into a stone or it having something to do with them being of same blood so he'd get more energy that way. The blood part is just a theory. The punching a hole in Father part was doable due to all of the energy running out of the stone. He died from that punch, which is why all of the souls were set free. Why the souls didn't go out of Hohenheim was because he didn't die from it, and or his stone wasn't out of energy.



QUOTE (KingBradley08 @ Jul 7 2010, 09:15 PM) *
#2) Father’s arm was still inside of Ling AFTER he removed all of his Philosopher’s Stone and Greed. How was Ling able to survive being run through if Father removed his Philospher’s Stone? Seems this was done/stretched just for the sake of convenience to the plot.

Not true. Greed turned the stone into charcoal, Lan Fan cut it off, the arm disappeared since it was no longer attached to Father, Greed heals Lin, Greed was put into Father. He was about half in Lin and half in Father, and when part of the homunculi gets separated from the main half it disappears and reforms onto the main half, which was inside Father.



QUOTE (KingBradley08 @ Jul 7 2010, 09:15 PM) *
#3) Also, did Ling actually figure out how to gain immortality with the Philosopher’s Stone he took back to Xing? If not, why did he become emperor? And if he didn’t learn how to insert it into himself to make himself immortal while in Amestris, who’s to say the emperor simply wouldn’t have taken it from him to use on himself? In the manga, May said that the emperor is the kind of person who might do that, hence why she didn’t want to take back to him the method of creating the Stone, or the fact that it’s composed of human souls—because he just might actually try to make one to prolong his life.

I'm pretty sure he knows due to his experience with Greed, but mainly he was taking it back to keep the emperor happy for the short amount of time he has left to live, then he would use it on himself to become immortal, according to the manga, and pretty sure the anime also. It's more of a kiss arse move to the emperor.



QUOTE (KingBradley08 @ Jul 7 2010, 09:15 PM) *
#4) King Bradley constantly keeps his Ultimate Eye covered with an eyepatch. Yet somehow, he is still able to use it to dodge and predict anything and everything. He also removed this patch when fighting Greed/Ling at Central HQ, commenting that, like when he fought Ling before, that it was his “blind spot.” So, he is able to, at least partially, see through what we assume is a completely opaque material (or it could just be inconsistent writing either way—he can use it when covered by his eyepatch, but it’s still somehow his “blind spot?”). However, Buccaneer is able to stab him by thrusting his sword through Fu into Bradley, impaling both of them, commenting that “even with Godlike eyes, there’s no way you can dodge an attack that you can’t see!” A solid, opaque object (Fu) was blocking Buccaneer, just like how Bradley’s eyepatch is a solid, opaque object. Seems like this was done for convenience of the story.
-->#4a) A supplement to that: How would Bradley be able to avoid a _hail_ of bullets? Some of the bullets/artillery shells would block from view some of the other bullets/artillery shells, especially when facing a whole platoon or army. Futhermore, when he was still rising up through the ranks as a young man, wouldn’t it be possible that some of the higher caliber bullets could pass through the men nearby/in front of him who were blocking his view and still be able to hit him without him seeing them? He explained to Greed that his Ultimate Eye is the reason he was able to “dodge flying bullets on the battlefield” and rise to his current rank, but situations like the ones just mentioned must have arisen at some point, right?
-->#4b) Also, the ONLY thing I can think of to explain that is that his eyepatch appears opaque from the outside, but allows him to at least partially see through it from the inside? Even this is somewhat of a stretch, though, in my opinion.

This is one of those cartoon triumph over fact / real event moments. I guess the only thing that could really help explain it is he's an excellent fighter. He was trained in everything he needed to become the leader of Amestris, so I'm sure fighting with an eye patch on would be part of that training. Also, it is a blind spot for him, but like I said he probably had training for it. Also he is a humonculus so that could also very well contribute to him being super fast and godly with a sword.



QUOTE (KingBradley08 @ Jul 7 2010, 09:15 PM) *
#5) Why do Selim and King Bradley act like father and son even when no one is around or when they think no one is around? They seem to have an inconsistent relationship (sometimes occasionally when no one is around, their roles will switch; Selim is Pride and older than/senior to King Bradley/Wrath). Also, why would Selim drop over and over again to his mother and others around him that he admires/likes/wants to be like the Fullmetal Alchemist all the time? Wouldn’t it be smarter not to do that, as a homunculus? And how come his eyes glaze over and he gets so excited when he meets Alphonse? I don’t think he could be that good of an actor—it’s not all that believable. Neither is his complete personality change from when we think he’s just a normal boy, Selim Bradley, to when we find out he’s actually Pride. It’s just not portrayed/developed well, in my opinion.

This is all show for the viewers. This is one of those ignore story for a bit and let's focus on fooling the viewers for plot twists and suspense. And for the whole "Pride acting older then Wrath at some points" part, Pride technically is older. He was made before Wrath, he was the first humonculus.



QUOTE (KingBradley08 @ Jul 7 2010, 09:15 PM) *
#6) Why the HELL would Lust think it’s okay to kill both Alphonse and Roy Mustang? NONE of the other homunculi, including Father, EVER try to kill EITHER of them, EVEN when they discover the nationwide transmutation circle, AND stumble across Father’s lair. Even after Lust is killed, they never take it even close to that level by trying to harm or eliminate any of them. Totally inconsistent and ridiculous. Lust is also aware of Father and the other homunculi’s motives and what they are and are not willing to do, and that totally goes against that. She would’ve majorly screwed things up/made things difficult for Father if she had actually killed them, and I’m sure none of the other homunculi would’ve been happy with her if she had done that OR handled it in the way she did.

Again, another suspenseful story twist for the viewers. "Oh no, with Roy and Havoc dead and Riza giving up completely, however will Al defeat Lust?!" Strays a bit from the story to give the audience a more interested view on the show.



QUOTE (KingBradley08 @ Jul 7 2010, 09:15 PM) *
#7) Pride doesn’t seem to be injured in the same way as the other homunculi when fighting Heinkel, and isn’t seen regenerating, but still comments his Philosopher’s Stone has been weakened from fighting him. This is odd and inconsistent.

I believe he uses the stone to protect himself in a way so he doesn't die so many times like Gluttony did. That's really the only explanation I could think of. Or perhaps he is just made differently from the rest of them. He was the first one, after all, and I've never seen him bleed throughout the whole series.



QUOTE (KingBradley08 @ Jul 7 2010, 09:15 PM) *
#8) How could Edward know what would happen when he made himself into a Philosopher’s Stone to invade Pride? He could’ve been lost in the torrent of souls or sucked in by Pride; he has no idea what would’ve happened.

He used his experience from getting out of Gluttony in this case, and when he sealed up his own wound when he was impaled when falling down the mine shaft. I don't think it quite works the way you put it, just sucking him in. He did know what would happen because of those experiences or else he wouldn't have done it. Also, pretty sure a philosophers stone is more powerful then his mass of souls.



QUOTE (KingBradley08 @ Jul 7 2010, 09:15 PM) *
#9) Is Pride’s “true form” shadows or the small infant seen after Edward defeats him? They’re completely different substances. Selim says he needs a new “container” when his body is breaking down , but what’s left when he is defeated IS a container. Also, Hohenheim remarks that Father made Pride in his image—as a mass of shadows, implying that the SHADOWS may actually be his real body. Hard to make sense of this.. it seems a little inconsistent.

It's like Envy. Envy has the "ultimate" form which is that big green dog creature, and a true form which is the little lizard thing. Prides true form is the little infant. With the container part, Envy too needed a "container" when he turned into the lizard, so he could have his powers back. It's more a figure of speech I guess then what it actually means. As for the Pride being Fathers image, just because he said that doesn't mean it's his true form. I can't quite explain it, but that is just a phrase that doesn't have to mean what it says.



QUOTE (KingBradley08 @ Jul 7 2010, 09:15 PM) *
#10) Father DOES seem to genuinely care for his “children” at first (except for Greed, whom he only melted down and reabsorbed because he openly rebelled against him and was potentially a big liability). He toasts the rest of the homunculi goodwill after reabsorbing Greed, calls Gluttony “my son” and takes care to recreate him with all of his former powers and memory intact after his Stone runs out, AND seems to confirm by his reaction Hohenheim’s accusation that the REAL reason he expelled his sins and created the Homunculi is because he wanted a family. Yet all of a sudden he abandons Pride, and Edward does convince Pride (or at least gets under his skin about it) that Father doesn’t care about him. This COULD be interpreted as Father simply wanted to take care of business and then return to Pride, or thought Pride could handle himself. Things don’t QUITE add up no matter which way you look at it.

Deep down he did want to be like a human, but I believe it was all just "playing house." He pretends to care, pretends to love his family, when he's about to die he drops the charade and goes off to save himself. I just think he was manipulating them into doing what he wants, honestly. I don't think there was any real care or love in it.



(I'm over the number of quote tags I can use in one post, so I'm using quotation marks "..." for the next one. xp)

"***#11) Scar: this is a big one. So, it’s eventually discovered when he’s fighting King Bradley that before the Promised Day, he tattooed his left arm with his brother’s reconstruction array. So, he uses his right arm to destroy surrounding materials and sever Bradley’s arms, and his left arm to CREATE spikes which rise up from the ground. HOWEVER, it has been stated many, many times throughout the series, the three steps of alchemy are: understanding, deconstruction, and reconstruction. In other words, you have to 1) Know what you’re deconstructing, 2) BREAK IT DOWN, and 3) reconstruct it. That arm ONLY has the array for RECONSTRUCTION on it. Therefore, he shouldn’t be able to transmute ANYTHING without using BOTH of his hands (or perhaps even clapping them together first like Kimblee did to perform his alchemy), to deconstruct and THEN reconstruct it. The only thing I could POSSIBLY see his left arm being able to do (and this is a stretch, since it’s been made very clear you HAVE to go in order with those three steps of alchemy and there haven’t been any other cases of an entire step being skipped in the manga or in Brotherhood) without his right arm is bonding things together, like turning hydrogen and oxygen in the air into water, etc."

I've seen other alchemists in the show that had the two different ones on each hand be able to do alchemy without clapping. You mentioned Kimblee as an example, I've seen him do his work without clapping at all, and I'm sure he has them both on different hands, but it's hard to tell because they're just a sun and a moon if my memory serves me right. Armstrong also does not have to clap, nor did the magician looking guy in episode 15 (My memory is .... at the moment haha.) I think as long as it is on their body somewhere they don't need to circulate it by clapping, they could already do it. What sets them apart from Ed, Al, Izume and Mustang however, is the 4 of them don't even need transmutation circles.



Bah I didn't realize until I had gotten this far you had so many points haha. >.< I'll continue this later, feel free to leave me feed back or comments on my theories / answers. biggrin.gif Hope to meet and talk with you all soon, I'm sure this will be a great site to discuss one of my favorite shows. smile.gif
molokidan
Lots of good questions and plot holes brought up in this thread. I just went through the entire series in one go, and I was shocked at all the major plot holes I found, since people always go on and on about this series. Maybe I just misunderstood some plot points, but there were some things that really jumped out at me.

1. Kimblee being in jail. Why would he be in jail for that long, JUST to be brought out all of a sudden? It seems so random or conveniently-timed because of the flashback. And he wasn't mentioned at all beforehand. You'd think if they had someone that capable at their disposal, they would put him somewhere where he could be useful. And it's hard for me to believe an ambitious man like that would just be content to sit in jail for years for no reason...

2. Marcoh destroying Envy's philosopher stone? If he could do that, then why the hell didn't he do it to Lust when she first came and threatened him (ALONE...and remember, she was someone weak enough to be killed by Roy.)...or when all the other times Homunculi came to threaten him. I mean...you could chalk it up to him being apathetic or wanting to run, but it makes too little sense or seems too stupid for a man smart enough to figure out how to make Philosopher's Stones.

3. Why was Envy not killed afterwards? This is the person that Scar arguably wants to kill the MOST, and there was no merit in keeping him alive, since they just handed him over to the Xing girl anyway. That part seemed really sloppy...

I think there were more, but I can't remember...I enjoyed the series, but the lack of real, detailed explanation about the alchemy seals and techniques kind of took away some of the excitement for me. Since the author has basically put no limits on herself, she can just make up stuff as she goes along so basically everything's fair game, which kind of ruins the suspense IMO.
hawkflame
QUOTE (molokidan @ Dec 31 2010, 12:18 AM) *
Lots of good questions and plot holes brought up in this thread. I just went through the entire series in one go, and I was shocked at all the major plot holes I found, since people always go on and on about this series. Maybe I just misunderstood some plot points, but there were some things that really jumped out at me.

1. Kimblee being in jail. Why would he be in jail for that long, JUST to be brought out all of a sudden? It seems so random or conveniently-timed because of the flashback. And he wasn't mentioned at all beforehand. You'd think if they had someone that capable at their disposal, they would put him somewhere where he could be useful. And it's hard for me to believe an ambitious man like that would just be content to sit in jail for years for no reason...

2. Marcoh destroying Envy's philosopher stone? If he could do that, then why the hell didn't he do it to Lust when she first came and threatened him (ALONE...and remember, she was someone weak enough to be killed by Roy.)...or when all the other times Homunculi came to threaten him. I mean...you could chalk it up to him being apathetic or wanting to run, but it makes too little sense or seems too stupid for a man smart enough to figure out how to make Philosopher's Stones.

3. Why was Envy not killed afterwards? This is the person that Scar arguably wants to kill the MOST, and there was no merit in keeping him alive, since they just handed him over to the Xing girl anyway. That part seemed really sloppy...

I think there were more, but I can't remember...I enjoyed the series, but the lack of real, detailed explanation about the alchemy seals and techniques kind of took away some of the excitement for me. Since the author has basically put no limits on herself, she can just make up stuff as she goes along so basically everything's fair game, which kind of ruins the suspense IMO.


1) Kimblee was foreshadowed long before the flashback or his release from prison. He first appeared in the manga in the Lab 5 story arc where they showed him sitting in prison with his hands in stocks, and he was in the first episode of Brotherhood. And he wasn't in prison for no reason. He was in prison because he killed several high ranking officers. NOT having someone like that locked up would raise a lot of questions, plus he wasn't just randomly released- they released him when they needed him, that's it.

2) Marcoh never did that before because prior to allying himself with Scar and May and co., Marcoh was a coward, and he was also in fear of the homunculi retaliating against the village he served as a doctor. But by the time they trapped Envy, Marcoh had changed. He was tired of being afraid, tired of being a coward, and decided to stand up for himself. Just because one has the means or ability to take someone down doesn't mean one will be able to do it. You have to be in the right frame of mind too.

3) Scar is a different person than he was the last time he had faced off against Envy. If he was interested simply in revenge, then yes he would have killed him. But that's no longer the case. Instead his experiences with May and Marcoh and particularly his encounters with Miles and Winry in episode 39 turn him into someone who wants to make things right and not just be so angry and bitter all the time. What he did was try to take a now-powerless Envy out of the equation, help May save her clan, and put her out of harm's way. His compassion for her and her situation was stronger than any sense of vengeance he had at that point.
molokidan
Thanks for that explanation, they make sense, and it clears a lot of things up.

There's just one final thing I don't understand. Did we ever get full explanation what Hoenheim was doing when he left his family? Was there ever actual justification made for him to leave his family? Or did he just decide it was "time" to go converse with the rest of the souls within him?
mellulah
QUOTE (molokidan @ Dec 31 2010, 05:23 AM) *
. There's just one final thing I don't understand. Did we ever get full explanation what Hoenheim was doing when he left his family? Was there ever actual justification made for him to leave his family? Or did he just decide it was "time" to go converse with the rest of the souls within him?


Hoenhiem had figured out what the homunculi's plan was and went to confirm it and to set up the counter circle.
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