|Fullmetal Alchemist character|
Alphonse Elric by Hiromu Arakawa.
|First appearance||Fullmetal Alchemist manga chapter 1|
Aaron Dismuke (Fullmetal Alchemist, Conqueror of Shamballa, Season 1 OVAs, and the video games)
Maxey Whitehead (Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, The Sacred Star of Milos, and the Brotherhood OVAs)
|Notable relatives||Edward Elric (brother)
Van Hohenheim (father, deceased)
Trisha Elric (mother, deceased)
Alphonse Elric (アルフォンス・エルリック Arufonsu Erurikku ), commonly called Al (アル Aru ), is a fictional character in the Fullmetal Alchemist manga series created by Hiromu Arakawa and its respective adaptations. Alphonse is a child who lost his body during an alchemic experiment to bring his deceased mother back to life, and had his soul "attached" to a suit of armor by his brother, Edward Elric. As a result, Alphonse is almost invulnerable as long as the seal from the armor is not erased, but is unable to feel anything. In order to recover their bodies, the Elrics travel around their country, Amestris, to obtain the Philosopher's Stone, an alchemical object that would be able to restore them. In the animated adaptations from Fullmetal Alchemist, Alphonse has been voiced by Rie Kugimiya in Japanese. In the English adaptations, he is voiced by Aaron Dismuke in the first series, and by Maxey Whitehead in the second one.
Alphonse has also appeared in materials related to the manga including video games and light novels that follow his journey. His character has been well received by readers from the series, having consistently appeared in the top ten from series' popularity polls. Criticism to his character has been positive, with some commenting his design and his relation with Edward, at some points being compared with his brother.
Alphonse is one of the protagonists from the series alongside his older brother, Edward. Losing his entire body in an attempt to revive his mother Trisha Elric using alchemy alongside Edward, Edward sacrificed his right arm in order to seal Alphonse's soul into an enormous suit of armor. Edward later became an alchemist from their country's state military and started travelling alongside Alphonse to search for a method to recover it. The two seek the Philosopher's Stone whose material would allow them to restore their forms. Besides being a powerful alchemist, Alphonse is also a skilled hand-to-hand fighter as a result of being trained by Izumi Curtis. While Alphonse is unable to feel anything because of lacking a body, he is nearly invincible as long as the blood mark made by Edward in his armor to contain his soul is not defaced.
Believing that the immortal creatures known as the homunculi will lead them to more clues to recover their bodies, the Elrics try to use them. However, after meeting their creator, "Father," the Elrics are forced to keep working with the military by high-ranking officials who are secretly using their friends from their town of Resembool as hostages. Seeking to protect their friends, the Elrics travel to the northern area of the country in order to request help from General Olivier Mira Armstrong. As the two are successful in their plan, Alphonse' armor starts rejecting his soul, causing him to lose consciousness several times. Separated from Edward to assist his friends' escape from the military men serving father, Alphonse is captured by the homunculus Pride to use him against Edward. Joining forces with his father Van Hohenheim, Alphonse traps Pride and himself within a cave where the homunculus remains powerless. State Alchemist Solf J. Kimblee later comes to Pride's aid, and Alphonse is rescued by some of his comrades.
Seeking to transmutate the whole country, Father transports the Elrics to his base to use them as two of the five sacrifices so that he could achieve his goal. At the same moment, Alphonse finds his original body, but refuses to recover it as its weakened state would not help them to fight the homunculi. In the final fight against Father, Alphonse requests help from the alchemist May Chang to return Edward's right arm in exchange of his soul. As Edward is able to fight Father recovering his arm, Alphonse's soul disappears from the armor. Following Father's defeat, Edward sacrifices his ability to use alchemy to restore Alphonse's soul and original body. The two return to live to Resembool until deciding to separate to study alchemy. Alphonse joins with two chimera comrades to travel to the country of Xing to learn more alchemy with May's help.
In the first anime
After Kimblee uses alchemy to transform Al's armor into explosive material, Scar transfers all of his incomplete Philosopher's Stone into Al to save his life. As a result, Alphonse's armor becomes the Philosopher's Stone. Because he houses the Stone in his body, he becomes the primary target of the homunculi's leader Dante to attempt to cheat death. Once captured by the homunculi for Dante, Al was to be devoured by Gluttony to complete the Stone inside Gluttony's body. But when he sees his brother killed trying to save him, Al uses the stone's power to restore Edward's body and re-bind his soul to it. This destroys his own body as he used up the whole of the Philosopher's Stone in the transmutations. Then Edward, using his own body, resurrects Alphonse. As a result, Edward disappears, and Alphonse continues studying alchemy to find him In the film sequel Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa, Alphonse continues searching for his brother until learning that he is in a parallel world. With help from the homunculus Wrath, Alphonse opens the gate to the parallel world, but at the same time causes a soldier, Dietline Eckhart, from such place start attacking Amestris. Joining forces with Edward, Alphonse defeats Eckhart and decides to stay with his brother to live in the parallel world.
In other media
Aside from the initial anime and manga, Al also appears in almost all the Fullmetal Alchemist original video animations (OVAs). In the first one as a chibi version of himself at the movie's wrap-up party, and in the fourth OVA, he plays a part in the battle against the homunculi. Al also appears in all Fullmetal Alchemist video games on all platforms, which still feature his and Ed's journey to find the Philosopher's Stone. Makoto Inoue's Fullmetal Alchemist light novel also feature the Elrics in the same travel, but in all of them they encounter different people from the ones from the video games. Two character CDs with tracks based on Alphonse's character were released under the name of Hagaren Song File - Alphonse Elric (Hagaren Song File - アルフォンス・エルリック) and Theme of Alphonse Elric. The tracks from the CD are performed by Al's Japanese voice actress, Rie Kugimiya. He is also featured in several of the Fullmetal Alchemist Trading Card Game.
Creation and conception
In a prototype from the series, Alphonse's soul was sealed in a flying squirrel instead of an armor as a result of human transmutation. He appeared as the other protagonist's father searching for a way to recover their bodies. In order to fit with the readers from the manga magazine Monthly Shonen Gangan, the two characters were redesigned. Alphonse was given a huge armor in order to contrast Edward's low height. Since Alphonse appears most of the time with his armor, Arakawa tends to make various sketches of his human form so that she would not forget how to draw him. Various events from the Elrics brothers' lives are social problems she integrated into the plot. Their journey across the country to help people is meant to gain an understanding of the meaning of family. As Alphonse is mostly seen with his armor, during various chapters from the manga Arakawa was unable to draw him crying. During chapter 40, Arakawa saw his conversation with Edward as a way to let him express his feeling and to make him appear as he was crying. When comparing the two brothers during the time Alphonse obtained the ability to use alchemy without a circle like Edward, Arakawa stated nobody was better at alchemy as the two had different preferences in the same way as other alchemist appearing in the series. When making omakes, Arakawa tends to draw to Alphonse doing something comical to contrast the other appearing characters. She states that she does it as Alphonse may enjoy making fun of other people.
In the Japanese animated adaptations of Fullmetal Alchemist, Alphonse has been voiced by Rie Kugimiya. For the English version, Aaron Dismuke took the role for the first anime, Conqueror of Shamballa and the OVAs. He has found Alphonse to be his favorite character he has voiced, liking how he "sticks up for people". He also comments that he also "tries to be" like Alphonse when voicing him though he then added "I don't really see a lot of myself in him". In 'Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood he was replaced by Maxey Whitehead who was excited for the role owing the character's popularity.
In popularity polls from the manga made by Monthly Shōnen Gangan, Alphonse's rank has initially been in the third spot, while following polls featured him fourth. He has also taken high places in the Animage's Anime Grand Prix polls in the category of best male characters in both 2004 and 2005. Merchandise based on Alphonse's appearance has also been published including figurines, keychains and plush. He was also part of Bandai's "∞ Puti Puti Petit Moe", a series of key chains featuring characters voiced by Rie Kugimiya which simulate Kugimiya's voice.UGO Networks listed one of his statues tenth in their article of "Insanely Expensive Comic Book Collectibles We'd Blow Our Wad On."
Several publications for manga, anime, and other pop culture media have provided both praise and criticism on Alphonse's character. Chis Beveridge from Mania Entertainment has praised Al for being "quite the likeable character" and liked his role in the first series. The character's madness and disbelief over his own existence has been praised to the point it "could make up a series all by itself.." In a later volume review, Beveridge found how the series started focusing more on Alphonse "as an actual young boy" was "a nice change of pace." T.H.E.M. Anime Reviews' Samuel Arbogast also comments that the interaction between the Elric brothers as they travel is interesting and found Alphonse's armor to be one of the most notable characters designs from the series. The dynamic between the brothers was also well-received as while Edward is often faced with facing paths similar to the ones from the series' villains, Alphonse is always helping him. The two were also noted to go through a notable development after the first appearance of Van Hohenheim in the manga as the two investigated more ways to recover their bodies. Lydia Hojnacki noted Al's character to be "is an equally important character" after commenting on Edward. She praised that despite their different personalities (to the point she considered Al to be "Ed's yang"), the brothers maintain a close relationship. Moreover, Rebecca Silverman from Anime News Network praised Alphonse's development in the manga as he refuses to recover his weakened body for the sake of helping his friends. As a result, Silverman brought a comparison between the two brothers, wondering if Edward would have done the same action. The character's growth in Conqueror in Shamballa has also been found appealing as he started resembling Edward in terms of appearances.Aaron Dismuke's voice has subsequently matured, causing Anime News Network writer Justin Sevakis to criticize him for his part in the Fullmetal Alchemist: Premium OVA Collection, claiming that "he simply no longer sounds like Alphonse".
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