|“||This body comes with many inconveniences. But inconveniences don't make me miserable! There is no reason for you to pity me! My life was put back together with alchemy by my brother. If I deny myself, that would mean I'm denying my brother, along with alchemy. I believe in the potential that alchemy holds. I want to believe in it!||„|
|~ Alphonse Elric|
Alphonse Elric is the deuteragonist of the anime/manga series Fullmetal Alchemist. He is the younger brother of Edward Elric, whose soul is contained in a suit of armor due to him losing his entire body in a human alchemy transmutation. The story revolves around Ed and Al as they journey the world in search of the Philosopher's Stone to restore their bodies back to normal.
In the 2003 anime series, he is voiced by Rie Kugimiya in the Japanese version of the anime, and by Aaron Dismuke in the English version of the anime.
In the 2009 anime series, he is voiced by Rie Kugimiya in the Japanese version of the anime, and by Maxey Whitehead in the English version of the anime.
In his gunmetal-coloured steel armour body, Alphonse stands out as one of the tallest characters in the series, inching out such stalwart man-mountains as Captain Buccaneer and Major Armstrong while absolutely dwarfing his older brother, who only comes up to his elbow in the beginning of the series. As such, a running gag in the series is that he is frequently mistaken for being the famous "Fullmetal Alchemist" in place of his brother - the rightful bearer of the title. The helmet that comprises Al's face is adorned with a large, conical horn in the middle of the forehead, has a pair of parallel, horizontal vents beneath each half-moon eye hole and a fang motif just above the protruding chin. The top of the helmet also sports a ribbon of white hair that hangs down to the small of the suit's back. Later in the series, the hair is cut short during a skirmish with the Fort Briggs Mountain Patrol, much to Al's chagrin.
The trunk of the body also consists of a removable breastplate with a protruding, triangular shelf on the chest just below the throat guard, a high collar that extends out of the back and surrounds the rear and sides of the neck, and a large, circular leather patch on either side of the abdomen.
A breech cloth covers the groin and painted on the left shoulder is a red Flamel, signifying Alphonse's tutelage under the master alchemist, Izumi Curtis.
Al's armour body also appears to have a triple spike motif, as each shoulder is adorned with a trio of large conical spikes lined in a row and each elbow, knee and foot carries small, spiky protrusions as well. Al also appears to have a white band around his right leg which holds up a small weapons holster.
Inside the empty armour is a curtain of chain mail for the protection of its former wearer as well as a small alchemical rune drawn in Edward's blood, which binds Al's soul to the metal by way of the iron in both. Al's "Blood Seal" is unique - likely of Edward's own design - and denotes a small flame locked in place by multiple intersecting polygons.
|“||I won't leave you! I'm sick of watching people die and I can't just sit back and take it anymore! I won't let anyone else get killed! Not when I can protect them!||„|
|~ Alphonse protecting Lieutenant Hawkeye, saying he won't allow anyone else to get killed|
In many ways, Alphonse's calm and passive disposition exists as a foil to his older brother's more abrasive personality. Al is kindhearted, notably compassionate and patient almost to a fault, acting often out of protective selflessness for his loved ones, new friends and sometimes even toward his enemies (Scar is a particular example). Having had his psychological growth stunted at the age of ten due to loss of his physical body, Alphonse retains a childlike purity in the face of all his encountered horrors; however, despite his age, he has always displayed a significantly higher level of maturity than Edward. Though Al is as passionate as his brother, he has remarked that his anger takes longer to spark and jokes that he is always beaten to the punch by Edward's outbursts. Much of his personality are traits he inherited from his mother.
On the other hand, Al's heart does contain some darkness born from the tragedies of his life. Plagued with insecurities about his own uncertain existence inside a suit of armour, Al craves the human warmth of his former life in desperate silence, fears that he will never again know closeness, and is sometimes overwhelmed by the suspicion that he himself is not human. It is also revealed that Alphonse carries the added burden of blaming himself for the failure of his mother's resurrection and the subsequent loss of his brother's limbs. Whenever someone says it would be cool to have a suit of armour as a body, Al says that they should be careful what they wish for, since while it's saved his and Ed's lives several times, it also means he can't eat, sleep or even feel the air around him. At the same time, he doesn't like being pitied for his condition either, since as far as he's concerned, he brought it upon himself.
After the deaths of several people (Nina, Hughes and Martel), Alphonse decides that he won't allow anyone else to die, partially because he feels responsible for their deaths; he refuses to leave Riza to get killed by Lust even when she asks him to (due to the fact that she thought Mustang had been killed), saying he's sick of watching people die and he won't allow anyone else to get killed if he can do something about it, a trait Mustang wholeheartedly agrees with. He also refuses to abandon Heinkel to save himself from Pride and Kimblee, saying that he'll save them both despite the odds being very much not in his favour.
As Edward detests his own diminutive stature, Alphonse dislikes being reminded of his large size and often becomes melancholy when it inhibits or calls undue attention to him, lamenting that it was not his choice to become so big. As such, he displays a great deal of pleasure when others treat him as a child instead of the hulking brutish adult persona that his appearance gives off. Possibly as part of his desire for warmth and love, Alphonse displays a great affection for small cats and has developed a bad habit of picking up stray kittens that he finds over the course of his travels, hiding them inside his armour cavity from his disapproving brother.
On a more subtle level, Alphonse appears to have a great fondness for women as well. Particularly sensitive himself, Alphonse has a gift for complimentary and inspirational speech that surpasses even that of his brother's. While this does not negate the effect his armour body has on ordinary girls, it does allow him to leave an impression on the few women with whom he regularly associates such as May Chang, Riza Hawkeye, Lan Fan and Sheska. When his skills are necessary, Alphonse is often paired up with female comrades in situations where Edward is not present. In many of the omake, Arakawa makes Al's primary motivation finding a girlfriend.
Aside from the warmth of physical contact, what Alphonse misses most about having a human body seems to be delicious food. He keeps a journal of all the various foods he will eat upon returning to his body in order to keep his spirits up (a practice encouraged by Edward) and has stated that his fondest wish is to have some of Winry's apple pie.
Powers and Abilities
- Alchemy- Like his brother, he too can perform alchemy by clapping is hands on a transmutation circle.
- Armor Body- But due to his soul being attached to an armored body, Alphonse doesn't require food, drink, or sleep nor does he get fatigued from running of lifting objects, as this body gives him augmented strength.
- Soul Transplantation- He is able to transfer a piece of his soul into an armored body, due to him being bonded to one (Conqueror of Shamballa only).
- Hand-to-hand combat- Since Alphonse and Edward trained together in fighting in the beginning, the brothers learned how to fight by sparring against each other. Alphonse, can even hold his own whenever he does not use alchemy in any fighting situations, though he does not enjoy it, he is still able to fight alone when Edward is not around.
- In live action film, he is portrayed by Atomu Mizuishi. In the English dub of the live action film, he is voiced by Aaron Dismuke.
- His Japanese voice actress, Rie Kugimiya, also voiced Tia in Zetch Bell!, Kagura Sohma in Fruits Basket, Karin Kurosaki in Bleach, Ikuto Noguchi in Digimon Savers, Mizore Shirayuki in Rosario + Vampire, Miharu Rokujo in Nabari no Ou, Happy in Fairy Tail, Daisaku Bandai in Danganronpa 3: The End of Kibōgamine Gakuen and Anju in Kyoukai no Rinne.
- His first English voice actor, Aaron Dismuke, also voiced Hiro Sohma in Fruits Basket (2001), Kakeru Manabe in Fruits Basket (2019), Teenager Van Hohenheim inFullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Fuyuhiko Kuzuryu in Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School, Licht Jekylland Todoroki in Servamp and Leon Elliott in Black Cat.
- Alphonse has a fondness for cute animals (especially stray ones) and will try to adopt them, much to his brother's disdain.
- Alponse's voice actor was replaced in Brotherhood due to the fact that the original, Aaron Dismuke, had matured and so couldn't play the role anymore.
- Unlike Ed (and if you want to count Envy, his half-brother in the 2003 anime), Al doesn't harbor ill-feelings towards his father, as he is able to communicate with the man without any hostility.
- The character of Al bears some resemblance to Agilulf, the protagonist of Italo Calvino's The Nonexistent Knight. Like Al, Agilulf is nothing but a living suit of armor, a formidable fighter, and holds a sense of good manners.
- Al was voted the fourth most popular character of the series in the recent fan poll.
- In a manga extra, it is shown that Al only allows women and cats into his armor, though the 2003 depicts him carrying Black Hayate (a dog) inside of him, and in chapter 56 he is also shown carrying Xiao-Mei (a panda) there in, although he believes Xiao-Mei to be a cat.
- Al is one of two people in the series to know that Winry and Ed have romantic feelings for each other, the other being Riza Hawkeye.
- In the manga and 2009 anime, Alphonse, as a direct descendant of Van Hohenheim, is close blood kin to Father and all the seven Homunculi (although King Bradley can be a slight exception, as he is a human based Homunculus, but nevertheless still shares the close blood kin to Al like the others). Additionally, Arakawa has jokingly confirmed that, in the manga, Al (along with Ed) is technically uncle to the seven Homunculi, as he relates to them by blood.
- Al's breech cloth is white in the manga and 2009 anime, while in the 2003 anime, it's light violet.
- In episode 12 of Lucky Star, a cosplayer is seen portraying Alphonse in full armor at Comiket, although the suit of armour has a yellowish tint.
- In an app called "Alchemy", there is an element called "Metal Golem". The Metal Golem looks a lot like Alphonse.
- Al makes a cameo appearance in Episode 5 of the anime series, Hayate the Combat Butler when he is referenced by Nagi Sanzen'in, who shares the same Japanese voice actress as him.
- Alphonse has two theme songs on the Brotherhood anime CD. One of them is called "Kaze ni Dakarete", performed by his seiyu, Rie Kugimiya, and another called "Restore Steppin'", performed by both Kugimiya and Edward's seiyu, Romi Park.
- In the manga and 2003 anime, the rectangular plate under the chin of Alphonse's helmet has five openings. In the 2009 anime, it has four, excluding rare animation mistakes where it is drawn with three or five.
- Originally, Arakawa did not draw Alphonse's armor face as displaying emotions of any kind, regardless of circumstance or emotional climate. It wasn't until Chapter 4: Battle on the Train that he began "making faces" during comedic scenes. (However, both animes employed this gag as early as their first episodes.)
- It is assumed that Al's human height at the end of the series to be 5'10 (177.8 cm) and his brother Ed to be of 5'9 (175.26 cm)
- His 2003 VA Actor Aaron Disuke who voiced Arslan in Arslan Senki with Edward's voice actor Vic Mignogna playing Himles and they would play brothers in Funimation's redubbing of The Vision of Escaflowne.