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26 September 2004 @ 08:35 pm
Musings from a random delurker  
Hi, I'm James. I never did I "hello" post when I joined. I'll do a quick one now and then move on to what I wanted to say originally. So, yeah, hi! I'm delurking.

The following is not an extrapolation about what will happen in 51. There will be spoilers, no doubt, but nothing like "I think that Al this or Ed will that". <3

This is inspired by a comment I left and then was responded to. So, I think it deserves some elaboration. Forgive me if I become incoherent.

There are heavy influences of the Renaissance in FMA. From the Baroque (I believe it's Baroque) music, the Gate, the Seven Deadly Sins and many other examples, we know that the knowledge base of the world of FMA is based out of the Renaissance ideas. Alchemy and Alchemical understanding comes to us from this time of experiementation and growth.

This is what seems obvious (to me, anyway). FMA is an allegory. It is making a commentary about the means in which people destroy each other. Some are physical, example being Ed and Al, some are emotional, example being the homunculi, and some are other worldly, example being the alchemical concepts themselves. The Universe in which Ed and Al have grown up consists of the idea of one-for-one. It's given the title "concept of equivalent trade" but it essentially, to give you must get. The world works on a barder system where no one can escape the system. The only way to escape the system, at least conceptually, is to obtain a Philosopher's Stone. It's a free pass from mutuality.

The heavy Christian imagery and characters, Rose, the Homunculi, et al, is not atypical from the adult anime I've seen. NeonGenesis Evangelion is all about reconnection to "Lilith" the first woman God created from the dirt who refused to obey God and submit to her husband. She was then expelled from the Garden of Eden. She represents the equality and understanding amongst people in that anime. This is just an example.

The use of Dante for the controller of the Seven Deadly Sins is important in and of itself because Dante was the one (Dante Allegri that is) who said that certain sins would put you into more and more severe circles of hell. The deepest being betrayl. So, the gate which Dante's soul has passed through so many times to get affixed to his/her (hereby referred to as hir because we do not know Dante's true gender) that ze would be in almost of control of the gate. The gate, which has been pointed out, that looks like gate which was drawn based on Dante's inferno.

The Seven (main) Homunculi themselves are based in what they are conceptually. Gluttony, a fat child-like man. Lust as a beautiful woman, whose beauty kills (her nails). Sloth, who only moves quickly when water (water, of course, having the property of not appearing to move but being on constant motion). Envy can shape shift, as you always want the person's attributes when envious. They all have this metaphorical manifestation in their killing power.

The timeline for FMA, as I've come to understand it, is 1910's due to the AU action late in the series. Therefore, it can be assumed that 400 years prior is the late 1400s early 1500s. During this time, Christianity was going through a major overhaul. The Babylonian Captivity (when France literally arrested the Pope and took him to France) threatened to destroy Christianity. Several Popes claimed power and corruption enetered the Church. This time period gave the set up for Martin Luther later in the 1500s. Also during this time (or slightly before as it was the late medieval period when this happened, but I digress), the switch to the Gregorian Calendar from the Julian Calendar was made.

The Gregorian Calendar is the calendar used internationally now. This calendar switch, in an AU if the Catholic Church had crumbled to nothing, would be the 'old calendar of the old religion' referred to by Dante earlier in the series. The different patterns in Cathedral architexture (especially the windows, as we've seen) makes circular patterns which do resemble the Alchemical Transmutation Circles we've seen throughout the series.

Getting back to the greater Christian contexts of FMA, the first example we see, in the first 2-3 odd episode (I'm bad with keeping the numbers down, please forgive me for ranges), is that of Fundamentalism and Fanatacism as exercised by Lior. It destroyed the city completely and when new, contrary ideas come into play (much like the Native Americans and the European settlers), Europe reacts by killing them for something greater- God- as represented in the Philsopher's Stone.

To come in contact with the Philosopher's Stone means that you see 'The Truth', this idea comes to us after the soldiers have their episode in Lior and Al has his transformation. Al sees the truth and it becomes one with him. He is not punished because he is pure in his ideas and actions. Scar is not pure because he wants only to exact revenge and therefor dies.

To create the Philosopher's Stone, you must kill many souls. In Christian thought even up to this day, those who are considered 'closest to God' are those who are socially secluded and devote themselves to prayer and meditation. They must kill the society inside themselves and release their soul (or kill the soul's connection to others) for it to be made.

The idea of the Philospher's Stone being God also ties into the idea that the Elric brothers want to come into posession of the Philosopher's Stone only to right their wrongs. They do not want to control, they merely want to repent. The theme of Redemption and repentance. Al and Ed repent for their wrongs (trying to do something only the Philosopher's Stone can do) of trying to resurrect their mother. The Alchemical Law of Equivalent Trade (not unlike a commandment.. a law that must be obeyed as given by the men who came before) punished them by taking Al's body and then when Ed renegged the acts of God again with affixing Al's soul to the armor, Ed lost his arm and leg. They are repentant about the wrongs they have done and wish to be redeemed, that redemption takes the physical form of their bodies' respective restorations.

There is a strong idea that this world is hell. You pass through the gates and find this world with all its horrors and shortcomings. They are immediately exposed because Ed is not from this world. If the world had been the other way, where the AU were flipped, it would be just as horrific. Without deviating too much, I want to point at that maybe they're not hells for each other (though there is no other comparable word) but more Foils.

Since I'm starting to drift, I'm going to end this here. I hope I haven't confused any of you too much. <3
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Current Music: Weezer - Buddy Holly
josefphe on September 26th, 2004 05:54 pm (UTC)
::claps:: Excellent post! Very insightful!!
Jamseyloyalwolf108 on September 26th, 2004 05:58 pm (UTC)
thanks ^_^
Naa - それをすべての錬金術師知りなさいnaa on September 26th, 2004 05:56 pm (UTC)
My brain!!!! ^_^;;

Actually it's a very interesting allegory, where it's an AU but yet follows certain historical points...

Both Dante and Hohenheim say that equivalent trade, the rules Ed has lived and breathed by, is in fact not true. But it you look at the basis of the matter it is fundamentally true. So they are both right and wrong, the concept is intriguing.

Ok.. my brain has had enough thinking.. better stop before it explodes.
Jamseyloyalwolf108 on September 26th, 2004 05:59 pm (UTC)
*pets your brain* no exploding. exploding is BAD! you need your brain.
(no subject) - naa on September 26th, 2004 06:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - loyalwolf108 on September 26th, 2004 06:01 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - naa on September 26th, 2004 06:04 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - loyalwolf108 on September 26th, 2004 06:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - naa on September 26th, 2004 06:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - loyalwolf108 on September 26th, 2004 06:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - naa on September 26th, 2004 06:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - loyalwolf108 on September 26th, 2004 06:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - naa on September 26th, 2004 06:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - loyalwolf108 on September 26th, 2004 06:35 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - naa on September 26th, 2004 06:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - loyalwolf108 on September 26th, 2004 06:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - naa on September 26th, 2004 07:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Sam Barnesangel___wings on September 26th, 2004 06:07 pm (UTC)
*luf!* SUPREME LUF *bows before your almighty-ness*

I have been thinking about these concepts vfor the longest time btu could never put them into words (not to mention I think the last episode I saw was 9 or 12 :X) I've been keeping up with reviews and spoilers (I'm weird).

BUT ANYWHO, You, mon ami, are superbly awesome. I think you have hit home, I really do. I did get a little confused with the foils part, but I'm assuming you mean that they overlap each other?

Please keep being active...your analyzation is great.
Jamseyloyalwolf108 on September 26th, 2004 06:10 pm (UTC)
what I meant by the foils is that the weaknesses of our world are the strengths of the other.

Our strength is technology, which complements their weakness in that regard.

But, our weakness in understanding of natural processes (in the early 20th century) is complemented by their knowledge of equivalent trade and alchemy.

I hope that cleared it up a little for you.
(no subject) - angel___wings on September 26th, 2004 06:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - loyalwolf108 on September 26th, 2004 06:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
reversing the polarity of the neutron flow: maes hughes. fma. [indangerment] x moishinraisei on September 26th, 2004 06:20 pm (UTC)
I swear, we must be....long lost twins or something...xDDD;

I've always discussed to myself all the symbols used in FMA to represent elements of Christianity and religion etc....I even put down a crazy theory (just so it would stop swimming in my head) that Cornello from Episode 1 and 2 was somewhat like those Priests who were corrupt that we hear so much about in history.

The country of Amestris isn't perfect, nor are the relations that exist within each of the countries and thier provinces in Hagaren World (From what we understand at the moment anyways). From what we know with both versions, the North, South and East dislike Central since its base of the Martial Law which exists in Amestris. I'm not sure if much has been said about the West.

Our world and the country of Britain aren't perfect either, nor, when you think about what's going on now, are the relations between countries, thier provinces, thier people heck, we even have religious-based problems as well as the People vs the State/Gov't that we see so often in the Hagaren World.

They're not Hells for each other, true but you could sort of say that Hagaren World (for the time of both worlds which as of now is 1916) could be considered the Heaven or a retreat from our world and our world being a wealthy source of painful Truth and Knowledge for someone from the Hagaren World who is an Alchemist I mean in the manga (i forgot about in the anime. ^^;) when Ed saw all this wealth of Truth and Knowledge within the Gate after he got out, he felt like he had gone to Heaven and back though the anime is following a totally different from the manga, its still the same effect. (almost like saying the popular phrase "It was like I died and went to Heaven!")

Jamseyloyalwolf108 on September 26th, 2004 06:25 pm (UTC)
I think I follow where you are with this. The Gate is the perceptual truth.

It is also the symbol, then, of Equivalent Trade because without one side, the other cannot exist. They are bound together because they are so opposite yet parallel. One has to yield the truth of the other simply because they operate on similar truths.

Wow, this is waaay farther than I thought I would get into this.
(no subject) - naa on September 26th, 2004 06:32 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - loyalwolf108 on September 26th, 2004 06:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - naa on September 26th, 2004 06:34 pm (UTC) (Expand)
une fille déchaussée: floral - at the windowadespota on September 26th, 2004 07:30 pm (UTC)
"Fullmetal Alchemist: The punishment imposed upon those who have trespassed into the realm of the gods."

I think you've done an excellent job explaining everything, and no, it isn't nearly as disorganized as you made it out to be :P

HOWEVER, as I am a girl of many questions and few answers, I have another question for you. You've incorporated most of the major pieces into your allegory, but you haven't said a word about the people of Ishbal (or Ishval or Ishvar or Ishbar or Ishbala or Ishvara, depending on who is doing the translating). Do you see Central's actions in Ish-whatever as mimicking the Crusades? I've personally bounced back and forth between the idea that they're representing India (Ishvara is a Hindu supreme being) and Central is England (which would fit with the time period) or that it's reflecting on the US/Middle Eastern conflict of today.
Jamseyloyalwolf108 on September 26th, 2004 08:45 pm (UTC)
Re: <3
well, it is certainly a genocide.

And I definitely see them more as the Jews and not the Islamist Arabic peoples of the crusades.

It continues upon the renaissance ideas. The English drove out the Jews (or killed them if they refused to leave) in the 1500s. Also, it reminds me of the Roman invasion against the Sons of Light (an apocalyptical Judaic cult).

As for strict adherence to time restraints (aka keeping to the early 1900s), I think that India would be a good place to look. I'm not totally sure up on the timeline, but India was being controlled by England and I'm not sure of the Indian rebellions which ended with Ghandi in the '50s.

A allegory to Chrisitanity could make it also the crusades, but during WWI the Ottoman Turks killed millions of Armenians and Georgians (in the East..) in a HUGE genocide where entire cities of people would just disappear (ironic, no?). I think that is a good comparison to make.

That was slightly incoherent, but conflicts of ethnic ideals and cleansings recur with much the same patterns through out history. The Georgian and Armenian Genocide is just one example from the time period. In fact, it helped silence the rumors about concentration camps come WWII and the Holocaust. But, I digress.
Your Bitchpravoxian on September 26th, 2004 09:33 pm (UTC)
I picked up on that Dante bit too.But I am not so well versed in the Renaissance period though.

The references to Dantes Aligheri is rampant throughout the enire series,from the Sins to the Gates(which some people say looks like Rodin's gates of Hell)

Thats why I love this anime,its so deep.Scratch the surface and explore
Jamseyloyalwolf108 on September 26th, 2004 10:53 pm (UTC)
the only reason I know as much as I do is because we've just finished it in class and we're moving through the mid-late 1500s to the 1600s. It's Western Civilization. Looks like I'm putting it to good use, eh? :-þ
e n v y ME?envylicious on September 26th, 2004 10:50 pm (UTC)
OMG, AWESOME post :D Thank you, I must print this and read once by once XD Great job :)
Jamseyloyalwolf108 on September 26th, 2004 10:52 pm (UTC)
thanks muchly *blush*
heliwood on September 27th, 2004 09:53 am (UTC)
Yes finally some intelligent conversation here! I found your post both enlightening and refreshing.

May I add as well that alchemical thought was responsible for some cathedral and architectural design itself...thats how the Hermetic order of the Freemasons where evolved.

Also, during the Inquisition, there was alot of conflict between Arabia and the Western world (Ishbal?), and during that time many alchemists where captured, tortured and executed. This was because of their belief that anyone could reach divinity, and that was considered blasphemous.

Dunno...that little nugget of thought came to mind in reading this.

Again, thank you.