What a hell of a way to start an anime.
As Full Metal Alchemist starts, we see two young kids attempting a magical ritual, which we soon learn is the art of alchemy. At first, everything appears to be going all according to keikaku. But within seconds, the room goes dark.
In this first episode, we don’t get to see the carnage that takes place – only the result: one of the children is missing, and the other’s lost a limb. Even more horrifying: the remaining child finds himself confronting a deformed monster whom he seems to think should be his mother.
This kickoff to the first animated edition of Full Metal Alchemist raises so many questions in the viewer’s mind. It sucks you immediately into the fictional world of Amestris – a realm where alchemy blossomed in place of science, and where acts of alchemy that violate natural law have horrifying consequences for the alchemists who perform them. It also gives the viewer an immediate emotional attachment to the story’s protagonists, the brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric, who spend the rest of the series hunting down a mystical stone that promises to give them back everything that they’ve lost.