Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (FMAB) features a wide array of some of the best-written characters in the history of anime. This attribute alone makes FMAB a mandatory watch amongst anime fans. The show is available to watch on Netflix. Although some arcs are just better than others, their character arcs wind up driving both their own personal stakes and the plot overall. With that in mind, here is the ranking of the best characters based on their arcs.
Greed is the physical manifestation of some of Father’s greed. He is known as the “Ultimate Shield” because he has the ability to rearrange the carbon in his body to make his skin as hard as diamond, making him impervious to most weapons. As his name suggests, he is an extremely avaricious character that enjoys living in luxury, surrounded by powerful subordinates and beautiful women. He is the only Homunculi to defy Father. He has even taunted him on several occasions.
Ling was kidnapped by Father and used as a “host” in order for Father to resurrect Greed at the start of Season Three. Father didn’t seem to realize that bringing back a betrayed Homunculus was a poor idea. And he soon came to regret it! After fusing with Ling Yao, Greed became an anti-hero in the show. Greed was snarky, arrogant, and laid-back, whereas Ling was happy, sneaky, and enthusiastic. Greed and Father were unable to completely overcome Ling’s personality. He was by far the friendliest of the Homunculi. He seemed to be looking for anything and everything in an attempt to fill a void in his core. Greed also worked on a code of honor that the other Homunculi lacked, refusing to fight or kill women and swearing never to lie.
4. Van Hohenheim
Due to his ten-year absence, Hohenheim feels a great lot of remorse for abandoning his two sons, and he is unsure how to cope with them when he returns. He endures Edward’s wrath and abuse with good spirit while nourishing Alphonse’s undying passion for his father, all while seeking to build a connection with his boys on shaky ground. Hohenheim notices that Edward has a lot in common with him and tries to show that he knows the difficulties Edward has had, mentoring him on the side and offering counsel and direction for the future.
After overcoming Father, Hohenheim expresses his willingness to be utilized for human transmutation. He also ultimately apologizes for abandoning them and accepts his responsibility, claiming that if he hadn’t abandoned them, the boys would never have attempted human transmutation to resurrect their mother and lose their bodies. This deed has an impact on Edward, prompting him to call him a father.
3. Edward Elric – The Fullmetal Alchemist
Edward is a complex character. After executing human transmutation to try to bring back his mother, and then having to offer his limb for a soul-binding transmutation so he wouldn’t lose his brother altogether, his innocence was rather damaged. Ed can come out as arrogant and obstinate, not to mention short-tempered. As seen from his interactions with Hughes and Major Armstrong, he doesn’t enjoy being treated like a child. He is, however, incredibly insightful and empathetic, having promised himself that he would never kill anyone and that he would figure out why others behave the way they do. Ed is able to comprehend other complex characters like Envy and Scar because of this trait of his.
Ed isn’t as optimistic as Al, and it takes him a little longer to forgive his father for abandoning them. When we consider how many stories run in the show, completely unaffected by the actions and decisions of the primary characters, it’s clear that Edward is the one who makes things happen. He aggressively influences the antagonists’ actions, culminating in his war against Father.
Envy is the most complicated Homunculi by far. They are filled with sadist, harsh, humorous, proud, and jealous emotions. Throughout the show, the whole richness of their personality comes out. Envy has no gender and can take on any form it wants. Their sinister form is that of a huge lizard-like monster, while their original form is that of a little parasite. Envy is one of the first three Homunculi we see – the classic trio of Lust, Gluttony, and Envy.
They have a long history of inciting human conflicts that have resulted in uprisings and massacres. To make matters worse, Envy revels in witnessing humans suffer, their suffering being their pleasure. Envy plays a key role in the riots that nearly destroyed Reole, the destruction of the Fifth Laboratory, and the murder of Hughes. As the series progresses, we learn that Envy was the one who, very literally, pulled the trigger during the Ishval Civil War. They started the Ishval Civil War by impersonating an Amestrian soldier and shooting a child.
1. Roy Mustang – The Best Character in Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
Roy Mustang, the idealistic State Alchemist, is one of the series’ most powerful characters. Others, like Edward, were always on edge because of his austere attitude and sense of responsibility. He has a small but devoted group of followers, who stick with him even when his opponents separate the group to keep him under control. He is one of the main characters in the plot, alongside the Elric Brothers, and his actions shape several story arcs.
Throughout the first arc, Colonel Mustang looks like a cold figure inside the military. However, as we learn more about his backstory and ambitions, it becomes clear that he is a calculated man. His quest is not only about self-redemption and atonement, but also about changing Amestris. During the last arc, he aids in the plotting of a coup d’etat, storming Central City and then Central Command. When confronted with Envy, Mustang demonstrates both his greatest strengths and his greatest weaknesses, becoming virtually warped by rage. Mustang eventually transcends these weaknesses and faces Father alongside the other protagonists.