Now, now, now, I know what you’re thinking. Symbolism? You mean like those cool tattoos the homunculi have? The seven deadly sins? Father’s Jesus symbolism? We’ve seen that before!
No way, that’s simple stuff. Here on Reading Between, we got bigger fish to fry.
Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood has received critical acclaim from many sources, myself included. It is one of the greatest anime of all time, in my humble opinion, and a big part of that was an adventure that perfectly blended action, character development, and thematic strength. Among its thematic strengths, was the prevalence of knowledge, and the seven evil Homunculi or artificial humans, each named for one of the famous Seven Deadly Sins. This is common knowledge, however: and what is lost in many a symbolic analysis of the series, is a meaning that is far greater. What I am talking about is The Dwarf in The Flask, The Homunculus, known as Father.
Father is one of my favorite anime villains of all time, but not for an imposing presence, not for his sheer evil, not even for really being a stereotypical “good” villain throughout the series. Rather, Father sums up the thematic patterns of Full Metal Alchemist WONDERFULLY, his existence in and of itself so full of symbolism, that I’m surprised people haven’t noticed it. Yes, Father does fit the “wise old man,” Jesus stereotype, he dresses in white, and his name alludes to God himself, but man, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Just a heads up, this is gonna be LONG and DETAILED. And is in fact, the LONGEST and MOST DETAILED analysis on Reading Between up to this point, that tackles basically everything about FMA, from the thematic significance of alchemy, to the meaning of “Truth”. So, hope I can keep it entertaining and educational for ya’ll- let’s get it started.
…Or you could skip to the TL;DR version at the bottom. It’s cool, you can do that too.