Article: “(Fullmetal) Alchemy: The Monstrosity of Reading Words and Pictures in Shonen Manga” by Lesley-Anne Gallacha
Okay, I have this article listed as tentative because I’m uncertain it will help with my argument. I didn’t put it in my annotated bibliography due to that. Lesley-Anne Gallacha is more concerned about how manga and comic books tell compelling stories with just dialogue and hand-drawn pictures. However, Gallacha touches on that Ed and Al (the protagonists of Fullmetal Alchemist) are like “monsters” and that the audience has to be willing to “accept” monsters in order to get into the story. Honestly, it’s a bit odd because in reading the manga and watching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I did not see Ed and Al “monstrous.”
I can see what Gallacha is saying, though. Gallacha is referring to the fact that the brothers (Ed and Al) committed a taboo in attempting to bring their mother back to life and paid for that transgression in losing their bodies. Al loses his entire body, leaving only his soul. Ed loses his left leg due to their mistake and then his right arm in order to bind his brother’s soul to a suit of armor. This means that their physical appearance can be considered quite different and thus “monstrous.”
However, I think Gallacha is forgetting that the automail that replaces Ed’s lost arm and leg is not that uncommon; there are other people who have automail limbs. Think of it as prosthetic limbs that some people have in order to walk or for other parts of their bodies. Regarding Al’s armor body, it merely gets an eyebrow and people thinking it’s for protection and/or part of alchemy training. So it’s not so much as the existence of Ed’s automail and Al’s suit of armor that make the brothers “monstrous,” but really what the metal limbs and body mean when people tie their existence to the brothers’ alchemy and the fact that Al is essentially empty within the suit.
I think that Gallacha, with the wording of that section, glosses over the nuance of how people perceive the brothers’ appearance at first glance versus to how certain people make connections between the brothers’ bodies when they take into consideration of the brothers’ use of alchemy. This is why I am a bit cautious to use the article in my paper, but after writing this blog post, I think Gallacha does have an interesting perspective that I think I can use when I am comparing Ed and Al to Reginald as protagonists. If Ed and Al are “monsters,” then maybe Reginald is a kind of “monster” as well? As a class, we had issues with Reginald, but maybe that is the point. Reginald is a kind of “monster” that we have to accept in order to read and enjoy the story.
I’m honestly just spit-balling. I just thought of that connection so obviously I’m going to have think about it some more.
(Word Count: 494)