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19 March 2006 @ 07:50 pm
I was thinking about what the FMA anime is trying to tell us, what we can learn from it (now that the series is over). Just because I'm the kind of person who likes to think about these things. I did it for Mulan 2, The Little Mermaid, etc.
I think it follows some Christian ideas, specifically that of Original Sin.
Look, two people (Ed and Al) start off in a state of (sort-of) 'Paradise'. They break a taboo, sin, and their lives are screwed up from that moment on. (Now, whether you can compare Ed's being stuck in that alter-world as some sort of hell or purgatory or something is a matter of speculation *shrug*)
The whole series goes from one tragedy to the next, showing us that no matter what they do it is impossible to ever fix a mistake you made. You can never have a clean slate.
Now, I'm not claiming to know much about Christian theology, I'm just looking at it on the totally basic level here. If anybody who knows more than me on the topic would like to voice their opinions, I would be really happy.
I just want to say that I don't think it's a good message. It's a defeatist, self-destructive message. Why bother trying to make things right if you're doomed by your mistakes in the first place? Maybe that's why the ending of FMA left me so down. Because they really tried so hard, but still ended up with the short end of the deal.

Yay for LJ communities where I can spout nonsense like this ^_^
Me: =Dhistoryblitz on March 19th, 2006 06:03 pm (UTC)
That was the view I had on it. They tried to so goddamn hard--and, in the end, it got them, basically, nowhere. Everyone was still, for the most part, miserable.

And I could see some parallels in Christianity--and thinking about it reminds me of why I despise organized religion.
Ketitaketita on March 19th, 2006 06:08 pm (UTC)
It's weird how it took me so long to put my finger on what bothered me the most about the ending of the series.

And what I didn't mention (because it's really pretty irrelevant) is that it's in complete contradiction with the Jewish view on life. *shrug* Organized religion has its good points.
(no subject) - velvet_mace on March 19th, 2006 06:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - velvet_mace on March 19th, 2006 07:50 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - kittiekorn on March 19th, 2006 09:18 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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(no subject) - kittiekorn on March 19th, 2006 09:53 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - shinigaminoneko on March 21st, 2006 07:43 am (UTC) (Expand)
yaminokurisu on March 19th, 2006 06:09 pm (UTC)
Made me down for a week... I was all knocked up on life and death... then I calmed down X_x
electronic world for every boy and every girltomiko_the_muse on March 19th, 2006 06:10 pm (UTC)
Lutherans (of which I am one) have a belief that we are sinners trying to be saints. You can't truly be pure, but you can try. Ed and Al can try to be saints all they want, but they'll always be sinners.
Thank you, because I've been trying to fit FMA into a theological point of view probably so I can talk about FMA in church which would be really awesome.
Ketitaketita on March 19th, 2006 06:37 pm (UTC)
^_^ good luck with talking in church! That would be totally cool...
But were they sinners in the first place? I mean, were they doomed to sin, one way or another, or would it have been possible for them to stay 'pure'?
(no subject) - tomiko_the_muse on March 19th, 2006 06:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - troubleisorange on March 19th, 2006 07:40 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Yumiko: The Yaoi Hunter: Their Songyumikoyoshihana on March 19th, 2006 06:11 pm (UTC)
Ive seen the movie, so I don't view it as that way. At the end of the movie, in a way, ed and al do end up with a clean slate, but I wont say anything more. Just because the seiries is over doesn't mean its the end of their journey.

I havn't put much thought into it, and I'm not going to right now, but I think that there is a deeper meaning than what is immediatly apparent, you know? but, I could be wrong
Ketitaketita on March 19th, 2006 06:21 pm (UTC)
Actually, I thought the movie made it worse. I mean, now they're completely cut off from everybody; it's not proper absolution.
It's like if you take a white wall and pound it full of nails, when you pull the nails out there will still be holes. The movie is when the 'nails' are all pulled out, but the holes are left. That's not clean slate in my book...
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Ketitaketita on March 19th, 2006 06:25 pm (UTC)
Hear hear on the lousy ending...My personal take is that they all sacrificed their brains to the Gate, and that's why they could no longer behave rationally. (I'm going to stop now, 'cause I didn't start this in order to bitch about the anime's ending...)

That's a good insight, the whole with/without Jesus thing. It really fits.
(no subject) - sannask on March 19th, 2006 08:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Meg: The Christian Religion as a Fandommegkips on March 19th, 2006 06:23 pm (UTC)
I study theology as a hobby and write things along those lines (for I am a major geek and read waaaaaaay too much forbidden scripture that it's unhealthy) I've always been of the opinion that although the show is about original sin, it has more of a Divine Comedy twist to it. It's hard to put it into words, but I'll attempt it.

I've felt that the series starts in a way akin to the Inferno, and the series itself is more like a cleansing journey through purgatory. The challenges get tougher and tougher, but it is not an eternal state of damnation and there is, eventually, a paradise. (RE: End of movie for Ed and Al.)

Actually, I wrote a huge post comparing FMA to the Divine Comedy which more or less works pretty well.

Theologically speaking though, the idea of a clean slate is actually wrong, as the slate can be renewed several ways. First and foremost is the act of pennance, and then there's the idea of plenary indulgence. Plenary indulgences remit all of the existing temporal punishment due for the individual’s sins. (It's got to have a papal OK though.)
Ketitaketita on March 19th, 2006 06:35 pm (UTC)
^_^ I've seen some of your theology posts, I was actually hoping you'd show up on this thread.
That Divine Comedy comparison is pretty impressive. I'm wondering whether the anime script-writers were actually going for this, or if it just happens to sort of correspond with your average shounen plotline. I mean, if you think about it, life is full of journeys, and that's really what mosts series/stories are about. Maybe the similarities are just sort of incidential?

I just have to say, thank God I'm Jewish.
and FMA following Jewish principles would have looked... ... very, very different.
(no subject) - megkips on March 19th, 2006 06:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ketita on March 19th, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - megkips on March 19th, 2006 06:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ketita on March 19th, 2006 07:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - megkips on March 19th, 2006 07:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ketita on March 19th, 2006 07:20 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - sannask on March 19th, 2006 08:09 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ketita on March 19th, 2006 08:31 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - zaphkiel_noise on March 20th, 2006 12:24 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - prides_tears on March 28th, 2006 08:27 am (UTC) (Expand)
atsuka_chan on March 19th, 2006 06:58 pm (UTC)
*Claps* I kind of pondered that, too! ^^
kagejaganshikagejaganshi on March 19th, 2006 08:03 pm (UTC)
whoa, deep stuff guys, really deep. I just thought at the end as the first comment, hedgemaster, stated "They tried to so goddamn hard--and, in the end, it got them, basically, nowhere. Everyone was still, for the most part, miserable." is a true to life potral of life. FMA is realistic, it's not gonna have ahappy ending, it's not a Disney movie. Life is hard, humans try hard, and no matter how hard you try you may not get back what you put into it. FMA stays true to "Life's a bitch and then you die" But there are happy times intertwined with the tragic. FMA is probably one of the most realistic anime portarals of the human struggle there is.
mika9101 on March 19th, 2006 08:44 pm (UTC)
Yeah, everyone was pretty upset at the end. Al was kind of happy =D but he was still sad about Brother... DDD:
lady_althea on March 19th, 2006 09:24 pm (UTC)
The thread of human hope is spun with a flax of sorrow. (Koawru from NGE) I'm not all that versed on any religous theology, soo I feel real stupid for that, but it's extreamly interesting to me, I still think FMA is one of the most true to life anime, ever, its just captures humanity in such a fashion it amamzes me. That's why I love it. But, if anyone else like me, who isn't that well educated in theology(which still intrests me.)will be fastenated with William Golding's book, LOrd of the Flies, of the most stunning examples of human nature and the beast/sin within us, I could see how you can parrallel it to FMA. Now in my sense of chistianity, it isn't the most cheerful religeon out there, but some cocepts and stories are really interesting(that words getting repetitive.) but Ed and Al could represent Adam and Eve(elricest fans would just love that.) and perhaps orginal sin-bringing back their mother. You know I just had thought, what about the seven eyes of god? any thoughts on how that might tie into FMA. go nuts. Now, since i'm doing a fanfic(I'll post it up here, once I finish ch1 and find out how to make and LJ_cut, someone told me, and i didn't understand and the FAQ link dosen't work.) and it features a new homonculus named Fear. but since a human being feals fear on such a subconcious level, it would be an unavoidable sin, like the rest, but unlike the other sins, this one would be the hardest to avoid, becuase of what i said above. But this sin could either save you or screw you , depending on your situation. But Fear could also be quite a controaling sin...and well I don't know what else is left to say on that subject.
Melodyenjolras on March 20th, 2006 01:20 am (UTC)
Hmm, I didn't see much Christianity truthfully. But I think mostly that it's about learning to deal with your mistakes and trying to cope with them the best you can. I think Ed sort of redeemed himself in the end by giving himself up for Al. Sure, Al didn't have his memories or anything. But at least he had his life. I saw the ending as a hopeful one. ^_^ Sorry if someone has said this before or something. X3
( spamdog )sundialing on March 20th, 2006 07:45 am (UTC)
I think it's less about a religious theme than a moral that people of any religion can relate to. Everyone makes a mistake they can't turn back on, and it's about the sacrifices you make for other people. As Ed is an atheist, also, religion doesn't fit with his motives. And I also see the sins as more general taboo in many religions that is most clearly listed in Christianity... Either way, interesting points you bring up :3
Jessiscah_rambles on March 28th, 2006 07:00 am (UTC)
It's really interesting reading this.

I interpreted the ending quite differently - that in the end the brothers were redeemed by fulfilling their promises and restoring each other. Though Ed was seperated from the others in the end, it was very much a hopeful feeling that they'd meet again - perhaps in this world, perhaps in the next...?

I'd also like to think that Ed found peace with God, in the end... though it was never really stated, he seemed more... at peace in the ending, I think. Al has always seemed likely to have more faith than Ed - like in the first episode when he suggested that Cornello really could work miracles.

One thing I really would have liked to see would be a character - preferably Winry - who was religious. Not like Scar was, or Rose who was only there for a few episodes and mute or drugged for most of them, but just a normal character who believes in God. Which leads on to my (purely speculative) private theory that the Rockbells were actually Christian missionaries as well as doctors.... and the military government is opposed to religion which is (part of) why they were killed...

Being Christian myself, I want to see a positive view of Christianity in a series I like so much. ^_^
// y ~ u ~ k ~ o ~  //prides_tears on March 28th, 2006 08:42 am (UTC)
Glad to know I'm not the only who think about this while showering...XDD Except I think other stuff too..Like how 'All is One, One is All, fits into our lives and how Equivalent Exchange does also.

Well, I couldn't really see too much of Christianity myself, but at some parts, there were things that seemed like Christianity. It doesn't really fit because 'The Gate' is like the god-like thing, but God in Christianity isn't a huge door..that rips your limbs off....

Although the message of FMA (anime) seemed to be more like 'Walk toward your dream and yada yada yada..'...Or 'STFU! DON'T EVER HAVE WAR! IT CAUSES REVENGE!!'

FMA has so much tragedy it's like..un-Christian-like...But then again, there are some happy parts so maybe it's like' Although in times of darkness a light shall always be in your path' or something like that? Yeah, now I'm sounding like a preacher or something...I have a tendancy to do that...

So..has anyone tried to look at it from a Buddhism point of view? XD