Fullmetal Alchemist

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

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 21 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 125 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

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
Adult Written byKaren M. February 7, 2018

I love this series so much!

A series of moral ambiguity, nothing is black and white, the heroes and villains alike are incredibly complex, and while the plot is nothing spectacular, it wor... Continue reading
Adult Written byAkiraKing1408 February 21, 2019


Very good anime. While Lust dresses a bit more showy, she is the only one. It is violent, but less than other animes. Though this anime isn't as good as Fu... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bylunam August 11, 2015

Alchemy is a science

I know that it doesn't sound like it, or look like it, alchemy is a SCIENCE. Anyway, FMA will burn itself into your mind and you'll never get it out.... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bybinge watching ... January 24, 2021

Heavy Themes and Lovable Characters

Fullmetal Alchemist was one of the first anime I ever watched. I was 11 at the time I watched it and absolutely fell in love with the show. (Personally, I liked... 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

Our editors recommend

For kids who love anime

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate