Edward Elric, the teen, too-short-for-his-age prodigy aptly named the Fullmetal Alchemist is as enigmatic a character as any. He and his brother Alphonse haven’t had a childhood you could call ordinary, but neither of the Elric brothers make it easy to see from the outside.
It’s not that Ed is emotionally closed or anything — he’s actually very intensely expressive — but every anime personality has their shadowy side, and Edward is no exception. As seen in the FMA series, any top of the line Alchemist has their secrets, and this list of facts will explore just that. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about Edward Elric.
10 It Cost An Arm And A Leg
Even though the rules of Alchemy were all pre-explained to Edward, he and Al still went ahead and pushed through with the human transmutation. Crossing that line had some consequences that, because of the risk, were unexpected and unexplored by most.
The interesting part of the transmutation attempt was that Edward’s arm and leg were two separate transactions of alchemy’s golden rule: equivalent exchange. His right arm and Alphonse’s body were taken for the human transmutation, and Ed’s left leg was taken for connecting Alphonse’s soul to the armor.
9 Real Fear
In the FMA anime (before Brotherhood), Ed and Al encountered the serial killer Barry the Butcher — who later becomes the soul-tethered armor #66 — face to face. The meeting was fairly early in Edward’s career, and being so young, Edward really feared for his life in the fight. FMA Brotherhood skips the entire episode, and when #66 finds Alphonse outside of Lab 5, he tells the ex-serial killer that he’d never even heard of him.
8 Silent Pain
Edward doesn’t seem like the type to hide his feelings, but behind his many violent outbursts, Ed keeps the lid on a whole lot of his mind-bending pain.
According to Pinako Rockbell, automail engineering patients are usually screaming like little girls, but Edward doesn’t ever dare to. He believes Alphonse suffered greater pain, and keeps his mouth shut in respect of his disembodied brother. Even as a pre-teen, Edward kept his tears to himself knowing that his own ambitions cost him and his brother such a hefty price.
7 Fullmetal Fashion
With a name like the Fullmetal Alchemist, there’s bound to be some interesting fashion choices that become signature of the title; the white gloves for making the automail arm blend in better, the scientifically fabulous red overcoat for the smart look, and the neatly braided hair to keep his goldilocks under control.
For a few of the more leisurely moments, though, Ed changed his hairstyle, favoring the ponytail instead of the usual braid. It may have been a complete coincidence, however, that Ed and Al’s father Hohenheim wore his hair the same way, and that his name just happened to come up in conversation just before one of his hairdo changes.
6 The Hand Of Death
Edward didn’t get a free ride with the State Alchemists by any means. He was an amazingly talented prodigy and had the art of Alchemy built into his bones being the son of Hohenheim, but Edward studied fervently to become the youngest State Alchemist in history.
In the original FMA anime, when Scar the Ishvallan began his revenge-killing spree in Central, he and Ed crossed paths on non-lethal terms. Because Ed had left his Alchemists’ watch behind and temporarily resigned from the military, Scar overlooked Edward as a victim. In the encounter, Ed acknowledged that he would very likely have died that day.
5 The Door Of Truth
Edward had an obvious talent, as well as a strong attraction to the art of transmutation since he and Alphonse found their father’s notes when they were children. After their attempt to resurrect their mother, Edward was thrown into purgatory where a rush of information seemed to be downloaded into his consciousness, boosting his abilities.
Finding himself at the “door of truth”, Edward was given the ability to understand complex alchemy, and therefore was able to know how to transmute his brother’s soul to the suit of armor inherently — a much more advanced transmutation technique than most adults don't even know without years of study. This was also the event that enabled Edward to perform alchemy transmutations by simply clapping his hands, and without a transmutation circle.
4 The Burdensome Life Of An Alchemist
Edward hides a great deal of pain, toughing it out and continuing on his journey without ever shedding a tear or crumbling to the pressures, but that isn’t to say Ed is the unemotional type.
Since it was initially Ed’s idea to push for the life of an alchemist and to attempt human transmutation, he carried a heavy burden of guilt because of what happened to his younger brother. Since the incident, Edward had wanted to ask if Alphonse held any feelings of contempt for his older brother, but was too afraid of what the answer might be.
Edward knows Full well he’s... vertically challenged (very short), and he’s amazingly self-conscious about it. Even when his stature worked to his better while crawling through a ventilation system at Lab 5, Ed couldn’t stand to make the direct acknowledgment of his height.
A meeting with Dominic LeCoulte, an automail mechanic living in Rush Valley, gave Edward a little bit of hope for his height; LeCoulte informed Ed and Winry that the automail arm and leg being so heavy may have stunted his growth, prompting Edward to begin strategizing on the spot.
2 Love Connection
Edward definitely has a soft spot for Winry, even if he shows it by bitterly arguing with her, and despite being struck in the head with her wrenches from time to time.
While studying at the Tucker mansion, Edward got caught trying to secretly write a letter to Winry. Normally, Ed and Al wouldn’t contact their hometown outside of necessity, but this letter was actually a “just because.” Alphonse catching him writing the letter stirred up a bit of trouble, of course, since the two had a subtle competition over who would end up marrying Winry.
1 Making Peace
During the fight with the Slicer Brothers — a.k.a #48 — one of them took a shot at Edward, calling him a shrimp, and he actually didn’t throw a temper tantrum about it. He was a bit on the ropes, after all, dealing with blood loss, but there are very few moments when Edward didn’t lash out over a short joke right away.
The fight at Lab 5 wasn’t the only time Edward seemed to have gotten over his shortcoming. When hypothesizing on what may have happened to Alphonse’s body, Ed gives an explanation on his shortness (that was cut short). Winry and Al both gawked at Edward thinking he made a positive step in self-acceptance.