I don’t think there is anyone who doesn’t know this iconic duo from the best selling anime Fullmetal Alchemist. Edward and Alphonse Elric are undoubtedly one of the few characters who has got a God like mental stability as they are subjected to many inhuman situation which, if in case a normal human had to go through would have made him go crazy big time!!
One can still argue that there are lot of other noteworthy characters which can be considered better example of ‘sound mind: harsh life’ (like Naruto and one piece characters, guts, kaneki, etc) but the Elric brothers considering the age underwent a whole lot of pain and still maintained their sanity as well as ethicality setting an example of utmost morality compared to many other anime characters. Here are some of the reasons that gave these heroes not only metal bodies but a metal like heart too(cheesy):-
Family breaks apart
At the young age of 6 and 7 their father leaves them and their mother to go wonder about in the wild(for a better purpose of course). Soon after their father leaves them an epidemic breaks apart and their mother falls ill which eventually takes her life. They are left to fend for themselves as any other relative is not mentioned in the anime.
Research and Training
Being very close to their mother, the brothers vow to bring back their dead mother using the forbidden human transmutation which is considered taboo in the alchemy world. They meet a powerful alchemist(Izumi Curtis) and trains under her in the art of alchemy for 4 years.
Failed Transmutation and The Cost
Having gathered enough skills and ideas required for the human transmutation, they perform it in hopes of reviving their dead mother only leading to a transmutation rebound which takes in Alphonse’s body as sacrifice to make up for the cost of an unstabilized equivalent exchange. Edward in desperation sacrifices his one arm and a limb to bring back Al’s soul and transfers it into a hollow metal body.
In addition to this they are made to face the Truth which is considered an inner conscience of oneself or as he describes himself God further being thrown inside The Gate containing all the knowledge of the world which allows both of them to later on transmute without using a transmutation circle.
Quest for the Philosopher Stone
Soon after the incident they are sought out by a state Alchemist and proposes that they take the State Alchemy Exam. Al drops out of the test for reasons and edward clears the test making him the youngest state Alchemist in history.
Being a state Alchemist gives him access to the state archives where he finds out a possible way to revive their body using a Philosopher Stone. Thus they embark on a quest which follows an uncertain trail for the not so pure Philosopher Stone.
Oh God please NO……!!!!
This is one of the biggest turning point in their life as they fail to save a kid named Nina Tucker as she is transmuted and mutated by her father into a chimera by combining Nina and her dog Alexander. This hits Edward real hard(as it did to many of us too😢) and his incapability to save Nina even with his skills haunts him throughout the series.
Confrontation with ‘Father’
The final fight against ‘Father’ , a humonculus made by Ed and Al’s father shows their ultimate development as characters as Al sacrifices his soul so that Ed can gain back his limbs leading to the defeat of the enemy.
Ed on his final endeavour to bring back Al confronts the truth again and as a sacrifice for exchange surrenders his own gate rendering him unable to use Alchemy forever.
“There’s no such thing as a painless lesson, they just don’t exist. Sacrifices are necessary. You can’t gain anything without losing something first. Although if you can endure that pain and walk away from it, you’ll find that you now have a heart strong enough to overcome any obstacle. Yeah… a heart made fullmetal.”
The list goes on forever and many more examples can be cited but despite the brothers having a total wrecked up life with huge responsibility of recovering their bodies, their never ending regret of trying to revive their mother and being unable to save Nina or just being a hero and saving the world from thr clutch of an OP homunculus , these brothers project one the most humane nature rivaling many well matured characters out there. A stern mind which didn’t break under unfathomable pressure, these are the Elric Brothers.