|Relatives||Edward Elric (brother); Trisha Elric (mother, deceased); Van Hohenheim (father, deceased); Homunculus (blood kin); Winry Rockbell (sister-in-law); Unnamed nephew and niece|
|Manga Debut||Chapter 1|
|Anime Debut||Episode 1|
|Japanese Voice||Rie Kugimiya|
|English Voice||Maxey Whitehead|
Alphonse Elric (アルフォンス・エルリック, Arufonsu Erurikku) is the younger brother of Edward Elric, the Fullmetal Alchemist, Al is also a victim of the failed Human Transmutation experiment that lost Ed his right arm and left leg. Having had his entire physical being taken away from him in the aftermath of the tragedy, Alphonse exists solely as a soul alchemically bound to a large suit of steel armor.
Body:ch53; ch102 pg30-38; ch107 pg55-58; ch108 pg49
armor: ch2 pg 11; ch4 pg 15
In many ways, Alphonse's calm, serene and passive disposition exists as a foil to his older brother's more abrasive personality. Al is kindhearted, notably compassionate and patient almost to a fault, acting often out of protective selflessness for his loved ones, new friends and sometimes toward even his enemies (Scar is a particular example). Having had his psychological growth stunted at the age of ten due to loss of his physical body, Alphonse retains a childlike purity in the face of all his encountered horrors; however, despite his age, he has always displayed a significantly higher level of maturity than Edward. Though Al is as passionate as his brother, he has remarked that his anger takes longer to spark and jokes that he is always beaten to the punch by Edward's outbursts.
On the other hand, Al's heart does contain some darkness born from the tragedies of his life. Plagued with insecurities about his own uncertain existence inside a suit of armor, Al craves the human warmth of his former life in desperate silence, fears that he will never again know closeness, and is sometimes overwhelmed by the suspicion that he himself is not human. It is also revealed that Alphonse carries the added burden of blaming himself for the failure of his mother's resurrection and the subsequent loss of his brother's limbs.
As Edward detests his diminutive stature, Alphonse dislikes being reminded of his large size and often becomes melancholy when it inhibits or calls undue attention to him, lamenting that it was not his choice to become so big. As such, he displays a great deal of pleasure when others treat him as a child instead of the hulking brutish adult persona that his appearance gives off.
Possibly as part of his desire for warmth and love, Alphonse displays a great affection for small cats and has developed a bad habit of picking up stray kittens that he finds over the course of his travels, hiding them inside his armor cavity from his disapproving brother.
On a more subtle level, Alphonse appears to have a great fondness for women as well. Particularly sensitive himself, Alphonse has a gift for complimentary and inspirational speech that surpasses even that of his brother's. While this does not negate the effect his armor body has on ordinary girls, it does allow him to leave an impression on the few women with whom he regularly associates such as May Chang, Riza Hawkeye, Lan Fan and Sheska. When his skills are necessary, Alphonse is often paired up with female comrades in situations where Edward is not present. In many of the Fullmetal Alchemist omake, Arakawa makes Al's primary motivation finding a girlfriend.
Aside from the warmth of physical contact, what Alphonse misses most about having a human body seems to be delicious food. He keeps a journal of all the various foods he will eat upon returning to his body in order to keep his spirits up (a practice encouraged by Edward) and has stated that his fondest wish is to have some of Winry's apple pie.
ch4 pg41; ch30 pg25; ch39; ch52; ch57; ch62 pg10; ch76 pg9; ch81; ch82; ch84 pg26; ch88; ch91; ch107 pg48; ch108 pg76
Connection: ch76 pg32
Physical Prowess: Having apprenticed under the master alchemist Izumi Curtis, Alphonse has been trained to condition his body through regular workouts and sparring as part of her philosophy, "to train the spirit, first train the body." Additionally, his armor body has several combat advantages including - strengthened offense and defense, imperviability to bullets, inexhaustible stamina, invulnerability against extreme temperatures and an exemption from needing to breathe, eat or sleep. Unfortunately, these are all tempered by the fact that he cannot take any actions that might cause the Blood Seal inside his armor to be damaged so as to prevent his soul from becoming detached.
Alchemical Prodigy: Like his brother, Alphonse also wields a genius-level intellect and prodigious proficiency in the studies of biology, chemistry and alchemy. While Edward is apparently the greater mind of the two, Alphonse does not trail far behind and has been able to match wits with his brother since the days they learned alchemy together as children. Alphonse, skilled with words, is capable of solving complex alchemical puzzles and mysteries and has displayed an encyclopedic knowledge of his craft, but seems to lack Edward's amazing sense of focus, instead developing the social skills in which his older brother is so sorely deficient.
Master Martial Artist: After training under Izumi's tutelage, Al has become a particularly competent hand-to-hand fighter, able to hold his own against armed opponents and even skilled martial arts practitioners. In fact, Edward had stated that Alphonse is an even more skilled combatant than himself and notes that he has never beaten him in a fight, even since before Izumi's training.
Object Transmutation: Alphonse is a particularly competent alchemist who transmutes quickly, cleanly and with remarkable attention to detail in the style of his master, Izumi. In combat, he uses alchemy to augment his offensive and defensive capabilities, crafting weapons for melee strikes and altering his surroundings to gain the advantage in the same way as his brother - transmuting columns, battering rams, golem-based fists and traps for his enemies, albeit without the gaudy touches that Edward usually gives his works. While in general his alchemy is more conventional than that of Edward (who often uses it in unusual forms to outsmart his opponents), he has displayed greater creativity when the situation called for it. For instance, when equipped with a Philosopher's Stone, he was able to use his alchemy in unexpected ways, like transmuting flash bangs, flexible swords and conical earth-prisons to surprise his opponents. However, Alphonse's own alchemy is unique in several ways that make themselves apparent over the course of the two diverging story lines. From the beginning of the story, it becomes clear that - unlike most alchemists - Al does not require direct physical contact with the transmutation arrays he draws in order to manipulate matter; merely by standing over a circle and applying concentration (sometimes displayed as his crossing one hand flat over the other with both palms facing down), he can manipulate matter without touching it - a feat that has yet to be displayed by any other human alchemist without an alchemical amplifier. This may be due to the nature of his existence as a soul inside a suit of armor, he may be able to protrude the influence of his soul over larger distances, unlike ordinary humans whose souls are confined within their skin. Later on, Alphonse gains the additional ability to transmute without having to draw a transmutation circle at all. Having passed through the Gate as a result of the failed Human Transmutation, the ability had remained dormant inside his soul so long as his more tragic memories of the event stayed repressed. But after he regains his memories, Alphonse discovers that the skill he had watched his brother and master perform so many times now belonged to him as well and puts it into practice for the first time.