Edward Elric (エドワード・エルリック, Edowādo Erurikku), the Fullmetal Alchemist (鋼の錬金術師, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi), is the titular character and primary protagonist of the Fullmetal Alchemist series. After losing his right arm and left leg due to a failed Human Transmutation attempt, Ed became the youngest State Alchemist in history by achieving his certification at age twelve. Three years later, Ed has become fully engrossed in his search for the legendary Philosopher's Stone, an item with which he hopes to restore his younger brother Alphonse - whose whole body had been lost in the aftermath of that tragic experiment.
- Winry Rockbell (wife)
- Alphonse Elric (brother)
- Unnamed Son and Daughter
- Trisha Elric (mother)
- Van Hohenheim (father)
- Pinako Rockbell (grandmother-in-law)
Edward is small for his age, standing at only 149 cm (4'11") at the beginning of the series despite his attempts to appear taller. He wears his golden-blond hair long - usually tied in a braid that hangs down to his shoulders, but sometimes forgoing the braid for a simpler ponytail. He parts his bangs in the middle so that they frame his face on either side as they fall and, in the center of the parting, he leaves a single strand of hair sticking up like an antenna. In Chapter 56, it is revealed that he does this intentionally, presumably to add to his height. Ed's eyes, too, are gold colored signifying his Xerxesian ancestry.
Early on in the manga, Ed receives a thin, horizontal battle scar just above his right eye which remains because his subsequent battles cause the sensitive skin to tear open repeatedly. As of Chapter 76, however, the scar appears to have healed over completely. As the series progresses, some of Edward's facial features (his nose and chin) begin to take on characteristics similar to his father's. At the end of the series, Edward is shown to have grown noticeably taller, being several inches taller than Winry and finally being at least equal in height to Alphonse.
Near the end of the 2003 anime series, it is revealed that the Earth has its own version of Edward Elric, who is identical to that of the storyline save for having his hair and bangs cut short.
As a result of his alchemical dismemberment, Edward was fitted with full steel automail prosthetics custom crafted by Winry and Pinako Rockbell. His left leg from just above the knee downward is automail and his automail right arm reaches all the way up to his shoulder; both are designed so that their outer shells resemble modernized plate mail.
In the manga and 2009 anime series, after Edward travels to the northern area, he is refitted with new, cold-climate type automail limbs. Designed to be rich in carbon to prevent frost damage and lighter to help Edward's movement, they are both significantly thinner than his previous models and even appear more lustrous, with a more prominent silver tint than the old steel versions. At the end of the series, Edward keeps his automail leg and the scars from the installation of his arm remain indefinitely on his right shoulder.
Ed wears as his trademark a bright red, long-sleeved, hooded cloak whose tail comes down to his upper calves. Emblazoned in black on the back is a Flamel, signifying his tutelage under the master alchemist Izumi Curtis. It is likely that Edward fashioned this cloak for himself, as he needs to repair it often and, in Chapter 85, transmuted one from scratch using a roll of red cloth. During the Elric Brothers' trip to the northern area, Ed's cloak was modified somewhat with a white fur trim around the hood to accommodate comfortable passage through cold conditions.
Though Ed's clothes vary over the course of the series, he seems particularly partial to black and will nearly always dress in black trousers and some sort of black shirt under his coat. In his usual outfit, Ed primarily wears a sleeveless black shirt with a black jacket that has silver/white lining along the edges. This is his main outfit, and over the course of the manga and 2003 anime the jacket undergoes multiple changes. This is seen at the beginning of the manga and 2003 anime where the jacket is longer and is tucked into his belt. However, when he first leaves Resembool, it hangs over his belt and has a zipper on top. The most common version, however, is the jacket being connected at the top with a button, and falling slightly short of waist-length, making it possible to see his black shirt. He also wears a wide brown leather belt to which he keeps his silver State Alchemist pocketwatch affixed. In the 2003 anime, this belt is instead changed to two thin belts worn parallel to each other.
As part of his attempts to seem taller, Edward is rarely seen without his elevator shoes - black leather boots with thick, red soles. Additionally, he frequently wears white gloves when in public to conceal the fact that his right arm is artificial.
It is likely that his general outfit is meant to convey a red, black and white motif, as these three colors (as well as the gold color of his hair and eyes) are considered significant in traditional alchemy.
On the surface, Edward displays an immature sort of personality. He is decidedly stubborn and strong-willed, frequently letting his pettiness and vindictiveness get the better of him (it is this stubbornness that contributes to Führer Bradley's decision to codename him "Fullmetal", as "Hagane" (literally meaning "steel") is a term in Japanese that denotes someone of obstinate disposition); he is somewhat selfish and remarkably self-absorbed, generally acting more out of self-interest than any sort of philanthropy as well as taking several opportunities to stroke his own ego or flaunt the governmental power and monetary license of his military position. He is largely hostile towards figures of authority and feels little incentive to follow orders with which he disagrees, earning him the distinction of being a loose cannon of sorts. Edward is also rather quick-tempered, resorting more often to steel-fisted violence than calm negotiation to settle disputes (even going so far as to suggest that refraining from hitting Paninya because of her gender is a sexist notion and, therefore, against his principles). He has a reputation for being foul-mouthed and is an incurably sarcastic cynic, only too happy to bluntly and harshly relieve others of their comfortable delusions regarding god, reality, or their own self-importance. Edward has also displayed a propensity towards impatience and an inability to sit still for long, which perhaps contributes to his love of travel.
However, for those few people who have made an impact on him, Ed shows his deeper nature to be one of marked selflessness, unflinching loyalty and great compassion. As someone who has had to suffer greatly at such a young age, Edward cannot ignore the true suffering of others and becomes sympathetic upon sensing pain and resolve in people's hearts. Though his solemn advice to such people is often tempered with brusque criticism, it is only because he genuinely wishes to place them on the most direct path forward. As one who has to struggle with a maimed body, he urges those with healthy bodies to use their strong legs to move forward, and as one burdened by the mistakes of his past, he stresses the necessity of people taking responsibility for their own errs. Though he will intervene on behalf of the oppressed if he concludes that a situation has called for it, Ed tends to help only those with the will - but not the means - to help themselves, in which case his recklessness and disdain for authority often has him bending the rules to dole out a Robin Hood-esque justice in accordance with his strong belief in the concept of Equivalent Exchange, earning him notoriety and popularity as a "hero of the people".
Of course, the most noticeable of Edward's dispositional characteristics is his Napoleonic denial of his shortness. Even in moments of relative composure, any and all references to his stature cause him to violently lose control of his emotions and lash out both verbally and physically. Distinctive to these outbursts is Ed's tendency to take even the most casual mention of his height as a gross insult and interpret it exaggeratedly, mistaking words as simple as "small" for phrases as contrived as "so-tiny-that-he-need-not-fear-being-crushed-by-a-boot-because-he-fits-so-easily-between-the-grooves-of-the-sole" and the like. Those unfortunate to utter the word "small" in his presence are fated to suffer one of his vindictive tantrums.
Though Edward proudly professes that he does not believe in gods, his spiritual sensibilities tend more toward the agnostic than the atheistic; in private, though he does not pray, he frequently acknowledges the existence of a god in his speech, if only to justify why it is that his life has been so difficult.
Ed's aesthetic sensibilities are also quite twisted in that he is a great fan of gothic or macabre fixtures and will usually transmute decorations filled with monstrous or demonic imagery and unnecessarily gaudy details, much to the dismay of anyone who receives a gift or service from him. He has also made it known that his trademark red coat is part of this general lack of taste, as it is "a badass color [that] gets the blood going".
Edward's relationship with his younger brother is easily the strongest and most significant of his personal connections. Though the Elric brothers have wildly different personalities and argue often about the best way to go about things, they are close enough that each would readily and willingly give his life for the other. As it is, Edward willingly sacrificed his right arm as material for a Soul Binding Transmutation after Alphonse's whole body was taken into The Gate as part of the payment for the attempted resurrection of their mother. Edward managed to call his brother's soul back from the void and affix it alchemically to a suit of armor, but remains wracked with the guilt of having both initiated the experiment that caused the accident and damning his brother to a cold existence inside an artificial body incapable of physical sensation. Despite his own physical hardships with his automail limbs, Edward appears to care relatively little about returning his body to its original state and is entirely focused on restoring Al as soon as possible.
Ed's relationship with Winry Rockbell is likely one of his more complex personal connections. Born to the kind family that lived next door to the Elrics, Winry grew up alongside Ed and Al and means as much to them both as would a sister; she and Ed are more than childhood friends, they are a family. As such, however, Edward argues with Winry even more than he does with Al, their similarly stubborn personalities keeping them at odds with one another despite their powerful bond. After the terrible accident that claimed Ed's arm and leg, Winry took on the role of his personal automail mechanic, building him sophisticated new limbs at the tender age of eleven. Since then, Winry has served as Ed's constant well of support, both mechanically and emotionally, though they still find themselves arguing frequently. However, this affectionate hostility appears to be masking a deeper relationship. Though Edward has not outwardly admitted any romantic feelings toward Winry, he is rather overprotective of her and becomes unnaturally flustered at the mere suggestion of an amatory relationship between them. Winry, for her part, has admitted to herself that she fell in love with Edward long ago. This relationship was confirmed at the end of the series, with Ed confessing and eventually marrying Winry. According to the Fullmetal Alchemist Chronicle (Official Guide), they get married in 1917 and have many children.
Despite Edward's small stature and young age, he is a remarkable combatant. Having apprenticed under Izumi Curtis, Ed was taught to condition his body through regular workouts and sparring as part of her philosophy, "to train the spirit, first train the body." As such, his slight frame belies a compactly muscular build that, in addition to his naturally high energy level and endurance, fuels his considerable strength and agility. Due to Izumi's spartan training, Edward has become a particularly competent hand-to-hand fighter, able to hold his own against armed opponents and even skilled martial arts practitioners. Besides that, his steel right arm and left leg augment his fighting strength by adding to his defensive and offensive capabilities as well as his speed - after he is refitted with a lighter, cold-climate automail in Chapter 70 of the manga.
As suggested by his unprecedented acceptance into the State Alchemist program at such a remarkably young age, Edward Elric is an alchemical prodigy of genius level intellect. From early childhood, he displayed a proficiency for alchemy, acquiring self-taught alchemy skills and comprehension from the advanced literature in his father's abandoned study at an age that shocked even his mother. Having incorporated alchemy into his life during his developmental stages, Edward sees the world alchemically and is therefore able to solve complicated codes, puzzles and mysteries much more easily than normal. He has also shown himself to be exceptionally adept at chemistry and reasonably competent with biology; indeed even his preparations for the failed attempt to resurrect his mother were indicative of these. Edward's near-encyclopedic knowledge of alchemical theory is astounding and contributed to his incredible success with emergency Soul Binding experimentation. He shows an uncanny level of focus that allows him to effectively shut out everything from his surroundings and devote all of his considerable mental power to whatever problem demands his attention, especially in the case of books.
As a result of having passed through The Gate and witnessing the Truth, Edward became one of the few alchemists who do not require a drawn Transmutation Circle to perform alchemical transmutations. By merely touching his palms together, he creates an energy circulation with his arms and transmutes by using his own will as a substitute for the necessary runes. This remarkable talent makes his transmutations both instantaneous and incredibly versatile, allowing him to use alchemy to its fullest potential in direct combat. In the 2003 anime, Edward was initially unaware of his new talent and continued to draw transmutation circles when performing alchemy, but after he accidentally used this ability to heat water to comfort the pregnant Gracia Hughes, he ended up using it regularly.
With this quick style, Edward becomes a master of his surroundings and uses the substances therein to supplement his physical prowess in battle - creating giant earthen hands to lift objects, columns of stone to gain himself the higher ground and ogre-faced battering rams with which to strike opponents. Ed also specializes in transmuting weapons with which to do battle and often crafts menacing-looking swords and ostentatious lances when necessary, but his primary weapon is his automail right arm, whose forearm plating he transmutes into various blades.
Of course, the true genius of Edward Elric's combat alchemy lies in his aptitude for incorporating the alchemy styles of others into his own after merely having once seen them in action, which makes him very adaptable to various situations. So far, he has adapted Scar's destruction alchemy, Alex Louis Armstrong's gauntlets and stone spikes as well as Greed's carbon armor hardening into his combat repertoire. In the 2003 anime, he also took on the tactic of repeatedly altering the chemical makeup of his automail in order to keep Scar from comprehending and therefore, destroying it.
In the manga and 2009 anime, Edward's alchemy mostly deals with the transmutation of inanimate solid objects. In the 2003 anime his alchemy is somewhat more diverse. In this series he has also shown the ability to transmute water in multiple ways, like boiling and freezing it, forming moving constructs from it and even changing its chemical composition to that of other fluids. Lastly he can use his alchemy to transmute plants; in one instance he used alchemy to grow flowers from the ground and in another he mentioned being able to transmute grass into bread.
- As a State Alchemist, Edward Elric technically holds the rank of "Major".
- Though Edward is ambidextrous in combat, he writes with his left hand, likely due to the fact that his right is artificial.
- Edward greatly dislikes milk, either for its taste, the fact that it is "an opaque, white liquid secreted by a cow" or both. He does, however, greatly enjoy stew and marvels that something comprised mainly of milk can taste so good. It is often joked about in both the manga and the anime the reason he is so short is because he refuses to drink milk. Incidentally, Hiromu Arakawa grew up on a dairy farm as a child.
- Incidentally, Romi Paku is the seiyuu for Switzerland in Axis Powers - Hetalia. Switzerland is the brother of Liechtenstein, who is voiced by Rie Kugumiya, the seiyuu for Alphonse.
- Ed and Roy were referenced in an episode of Lucky Star along with two characters from Phoenix Wright.
- In all versions of the storyline (manga, 2009 and 2003 anime), Ed loses his ability to perform alchemy at the end of the series (albeit in different ways).
- Ed keeps at least one automail limb at the end of each continuity.
- In Bleach and Shaman King, Tōshirō Hitsugaya and Tao Ren are voiced by the same seiyuu as Edward. Interestingly enough, all three characters are short for their ages and lose their temper whenever someone mentions it.