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Fullmetal Alchemist

TV review by
Scout Davidson, Common Sense Media
Fullmetal Alchemist TV Poster Image
Plot-heavy sci-fi anime can get quite violent.
Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 24 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 117 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Ed and Al are essentially good people trying to do the right thing. But they live in a very violent world.


A serial killer targets and "carves up" women; beatings, brutal deaths, executions.


Frequent use of words like "damn" and "hell."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some soldier characters smoke.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this dense, complicated anime series -- which airs as part of Cartoon Network's Adult Swim lineup and is based on the popular Japanese comic (it was voted the most popular cartoon of all time in Japan in 2005 and 2006) -- can be quite violent. There are some brutal deaths, executions, and a serial killer who carves up women. The violence is by far the strongest content; language is generally on the mild side ("damn," "hell," etc.), and there's not much sex, drinking, or consumerism to worry about. It's worth noting that the complex story line requires a fair amount of foreknowledge and commitment to keep up with -- this is more of a long-term investment than a show to drop in and out of casually.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 1 year old Written byEnclav3 August 26, 2013

definitely not for kids less than 13

i found the show to be quite good. it is a little difficult to follow as you need to quickly learn the rules of the world in this show. ultimately it is fairly... Continue reading
Parent of a 10 year old Written bypaulhiggins April 11, 2010

FMA focuses heavily on revenge.

My 10 year-old son was introduced to it by a 12 year-old friend. I think that it is a bit strong for my son's age (he will be 11 in July). But I do not wa... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byTV-14lv October 26, 2009

Good anime

Fullmetal Alchemist is a really great anime. The storyline is very original and really good. The only problem is the violence. There is a lot of and violence in... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMiwa-Sempai June 13, 2009

Wonderful anime!

I think this is the only anime in which I actually like the main character! It's a wonderful series, one that really has me hooked. (I've been watchin... Continue reading

What's the story?

When their mother succumbs to a terminal illness, young brothers Edward (voiced by Vic Mignogna) and Alphonse (Aaron Dismuke) try to bring her back to life by learning the secrets of alchemy (in their world, alchemy means transmuting any matter from one form into another). But their attempt fails, leaving Edward with a prosthetic left arm and left leg, and Alphonse's soul transferred into a hulking suit of armor. FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST follows the brothers as they try to get their natural bodies back. To become the youngest "state alchemist" in history, at the age of 12, Edward proves that he can "transmute" matter without the assistance of ancient symbols, spells, or tools. Now as a state alchemist, he is afforded the ability to locate and retrieve the Philosopher's Stone, which can help him and Al return to their previous normal bodies.

Is it any good?

Fullmetal Alchemist is an extremely complicated series that will probably sail over the heads of most kids. Parents of teens should consider the very mature subject matter -- for example, a serial killer who carves up young women, an assassin who believes himself to be the tattooed messenger of God, and a political leader whose first name is "King" but whose title is "Fuhrer." All this goes to explain why the show airs as part of the Cartoon Network's late-night Adult Swim lineup.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of long-running anime series with complicated mythologies. What draws people into these shows? Do you have to start at the beginning to really understand it, or can you catch up? What do these types of shows have in common? Families can also discuss one of the series' central themes -- the idea of "Equivalent Exchange." Is the idea -- that to obtain anything, something of equal or greater value must be lost -- realistic? How does it apply (if it does) in real life?

TV details

For kids who love anime

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