Fullmetal Alchemist is an award-winning manga, anime, and video game franchise created by Hiromu Arakawa and published by Square Enix. It has since been lauded as one of the greatest manga/anime franchises of all time. Edit
"Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is Alchemy's First Law of Equivalent Exchange. In those days, we really believed that to be the world's one and only truth." - Alphonse Elric, describing the fundamental law of Alchemy.
It is the early 20th century in an alternate universe: one where Alchemy - the science of acting on the basic structure of the world, breaking things down and then reshaping them as desired - is the preeminent field of science. Almost anything can be fashion and refashioned via alchemy, provided the alchemist is willing to pay the price.
Edward Elric is just such an alchemist. While he and his younger brother Alphonse attempt to bring back their dearly departed mother, an accident - a miscalculation - occurs. Ed loses his left leg; Al his entire body. Ed captures his brother's soul and binds it into a huge suit of armor, at the cost of his right arm.
Edward has prosthetic "automail" limbs implanted to enable him to move and fight. Every storyline chronicles the Elric brothers' quest to find the fabled Philosopher's Stone, a catalyzing agent that can bypass the fundamental law of Alchemy, in the hopes of restoring their bodies back to normal.
Edward joins the state military, becoming the youngest person ever to be verified a state-ranked alchemist, and is entitled the "Fullmetal Alchemist," a title that makes reference to both his metallic anatomy, and "metal" stubbornness.
The Manga, written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa, began serialization in August 2001 with Square Enix (then Enix) and was completed in June 2010. It remains one of the most most popular mangas worldwide.
In 2003, the original manga was loosely adapted for television by Bones Animation. It ran for 51 episodes across two seasons. Fullmetal Alchemist quickly became, and still is, one of the most celebrated and popular anime series in Japan. In 2005, a major motion picture, Conquer of Shamballa, was released in Japan.
In 2009, a second adaptation was released by Bones Animation, dubbed "Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood." The 64th and last episode aired July 4, 2010. It follows as faithfully as possible the manga series. One last film is expected.
Since 2005, Square Enix have developed five games based on the original anime on PlayStation 2, Nintendo DS, and Nintendo Wii. Unlike the celebrated manga and anime series, the video game franchise has enjoyed only lukewarm reception, mostly due to having little to no semblance on the actual canon of either series.