Warning: Contains Spoilers!
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is a fantastic anime that many consider to be one of the best.
Based off the manga by Hiromi Arakawa, the series is full of funny, likeable and often amazing characters who really stuck with me.
So now I’m going to count down my top 15 favourites.
A few honorable mentions go out to characters who just missed out like Maes Hughes, Father, Alex Louis Armstrong, Tim Marcoh and Mei Chang.
So now, let’ get into the countdown.
15. Winry Rockbell
Winry Rockbell is the childhood friend of Edward and Alphonse, and your go to girl on anything automail related.
She may not have that big of a role to the overall plot but she is still a key character in the Elric Brothers’ lives, especially Ed.
Her relationship with him is built up well and they have great chemistry, making their awkward interactions fun to watch.
She is also a very funny character when it comes to her obsession with automail, with her often going full on fan girl over it or attacking Ed whenever he damages his.
Winry’s best moments in the series, however, comes from her interactions with Scar and how she comes to terms with accepting help from her parents’ murderer.
She does not forgive Scar but helps him because it was what her parents would have wanted, showing true strength.
Unfortunately, this plot line did not get resolved but it was still a standout moment for her.
Winry is a very likeable character with a lot of great moments, even if she does not have much relevance plot wise.
14. Solf J. Kimblee
I am going to be honest and say that for most of the series I did not like Solf J. Kimblee as a character.
He was a complete psychopath who relished in his violence but also had kind of an interesting moral code.
The problem for me is that, for whatever reason, I found him to be kind of shallow and did not see much of a reason for him to be there in the story, as his part could easily have been taking over by any of the homunculi.
However, this all changed in the 61st episode, one of the last episodes of the anime, “He Who Would Swallow God”, where Kimblee had a complete turn around moment for me character wise.
After being eaten by Pride in a previous episode, Kimblee’s soul returns to help Ed defeat him.
He did this not for vengeance or a change of heart but because he was genuinely disgusted by Pride’s lowering himself by attempting to possess Ed’s body, which made him unworthy of winning in Kimblee’s mind.
This final action by Kimblee made me see him in a brand new light and I certainly appreciated him a lot more.
It added new layers to him by showing his warped sense of honor as he stops Pride from possessing Ed and then departs with a wave of his hat.
13. Lan Fan
Bodyguard to Ling Yao, Lan Fan is a capable warrior intent on serving her prince to the bitter end.
Like Winry, Lan Fan was not a character who had that much importance to the overall story but she certainly made an impression on me through her determination and spirit.
When she and Ling face off against Wrath and Gluttony she begs Ling to leave her behind after she is injured.
When he refuses, she cuts off her own arm to use as a distraction for them to escape.
The inner strength she showed to make this sacrifice really stuck out to me and she continued to shine when she reappeared in the final stages of the anime to help battle the homunculi, this time with an automail arm.
Even after losing her grandfather Fu, Lan Fan continues to fight for her prince and what she believes is right.
All of this makes her stand out as a likeable and strong willed character, making her one of the best side characters the show has to offer.
12. Selim Bradley / Pride
This creepy kid probably stands as one of the most dangerous children in anime (that is if you can even consider him a child since he is a homunculus).
However, you would not know it from his first scene where Selim Bradley seems to be nothing but an ordinary boy.
The first time he appeared I actually felt sorry for him because I wondered what he would think when he learnt that his father, King Bradley, was a homunculus.
So, imagine my shock when, in the best twist of the series, Selim was revealed to be the homunculus Pride, the first one created by Father.
From here he goes from cute kid to creepy kid and one of the most dangerous of the homunculi.
What I like about Pride is how scary he can be and yet be so capable of pulling off the facade of an innocent child.
Better yet was his humane moments when it is revealed that despite his cruel nature he has come to love his fake family.
This all leads into a great ending for Selim when, after being defeated by Ed and Kimblee, he reverts to a fetus and is later seen being raised by his adopted mother, this time as the innocent boy he always pretended to be.
Pride was both the scariest homunculi and one of the best of them.
11. Olivier Mira Armstrong
Do not mess with Oliver Armstrong if have any intention of living a long life.
Introduced about half way through the anime, Olivier quickly became a standout character through her commanding personality.
Olivier is the leader of the men at Briggs and, after just a few episodes, it became very clear why they followed her.
She is not only commanding but also very smart through how she deals with her enemies.
Lieutenant General Raven can attest to that.
The more we saw of Olivier the more I found myself wanting to know more about her and how she became the leader of Briggs.
Unfortunately, we did not get much of a backstory on her but this does not change the fact that she is still a great character with a lot of likability.
Her relationship with her brother Alex, who just missed out on this list, also did a lot for her because she put their antagonism aside for the good of her country.
Olivier is right up there with great military leaders in anime like Commander Erwin from Attack on Titan.
10. Fuhrer King Bradley / Wrath
One of the main villains of the series and the youngest of the homunculi, despite his looks, Fuhrer King Bradley, or Wrath, is a force to be reckoned with.
Personally, I was not a fan of him when he first showed up because it was made incredibly obvious in the first episode that he would turn out to be a villain so there was no suspense to this reveal.
Also, who would have thought that someone called the Fuhrer would turn out to be a bad guy? (Note the sarcasm.)
However, Wrath quickly grew on me as a man to be feared with immense power and a compelling story.
Wrath was raised to become the leader of his country to further Father’s plans and even though he is aware he is being used he does not care, with his sole purpose being to sate the immense anger he feels.
There is some humanity in him though because he takes pride in the fact that, even with every single aspect of his life has been planned, he was allowed to choose his wife.
Wrath is also probably one of the most powerful characters of the series, with him being able to take down a tank single-handed.
He also had, in my opinion, the best death of the series.
Throughout Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Wrath constantly states his disdain for the idea of a god but, in the end, he is miraculously beaten by Scar in what could be considered an act of god.
It was an ironic death that suited him perfectly, especially with his final moments.
Wrath is one of the most threatening characters of the series
9. Alphonse Elric
The secondary protagonist of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Alphonse Elric is the good natured younger brother of Ed, who lost his entire body when he and Ed attempted to bring their mother back using the forbidden act of human transmutation.
From this, Al and Ed attempt to find a way to get their original bodies back, which is the driving force of the series.
Al is generally more level headed than his older brother, presenting a calm spirit inside the suit of armor his soul has been placed in.
He is also a confident fighter, being stronger than Ed sometimes.
However, Al is not without his personal weaknesses, most notably his fear that he is just a copy of the real Al his brother created.
This creates some great character development moments for him that make him all the more likeable.
He even has some funny moments as well, especially when he is paired with Ed.
But it is his constant drive to get his real body back and escape his armored shell of a body that produces the strongest feelings for him.
This is because of his constant feelings of isolation and impending doom with the body he is in.
Al’s struggle is one of the most touching of the series and makes him a great character.
I hate Envy.
they are a detestable excuse of a creature who I was constantly hoping would get what was coming to them.
The reason they are number eight on my favourite characters list though, is because they are supposed to be hated.
Envy is, without a doubt in my mind, the most evil of the homunculi.
Sure, Father wanted to kill millions of people but this was so he could achieve his goal.
Envy would do this for fun and enjoy every second of it.
This is the one who boasted about killing a man while they had shape-shifted into the form of his wife.
However, while being completely unlikable, Envy is still fun to watch through how their often child-like personality mixes with their sadistic one.
It makes them a very entertaining character.
Another thing I really like about Envy is their death, which reveals they hates humans so much because they are jealous of them.
This revelation results in Envy breaking down into tears, before removing their philosopher’s stone, killing themselves.
This was a very sad ending for Envy and resulted in much of the anime’s audience feeling sorry for them.
I personally could not after all they had done, but the fact that a lot the audience did feel sorry for such a detestable creature in their final moments show just how great of a character Envy is.
7. Ling Yao
Ling Yao is the twelfth prince of Xing, who seeks out the Elric brothers in a mission to gain immortality to become emperor of his country.
He does not want to do this for power though but for his people because Ling is a good man with the determination to do right by his people.
This does not stop him from getting involved in Amestris’ problems, however. because he and his bodyguards are drawn into the battle with the homunculi.
Ling’s confrontation with them is much more personal though because it leads to him being taken over by the homunculus Greed.
What follows is an unexpected yet powerful friendship between the two that made me care for both characters.
Ling seems like a mainly comedic character when we first meet him but when things get serious so does he, showing he will fight to protect those he cares for.
This makes him a very endearing character, capable of both comedic and epic moments.
The way his story concludes, with him finally becoming emperor is much deserving and I am sure Xing is all the better for it.
6. Riza Hawkeye
If you want anyone to have your back in a bad situation it would definitely be Riza Hawkeye.
Fiercely loyal to anyone who gains her gratitude, Riza is an experienced soldier and an expert sharp shooter (hence the irony in her last name).
She was one of the soldiers who took part in the Ishvalalan War of Extermination, which scarred her for life both figuratively and literally.
Her horror at the genocide committed there led to her asking Roy Mustang to burn the tattoos that teach flame alchemy from her back to prevent another atrocity from occurring.
All this leads to her being very protective of Roy as a close ally and friend, defending him even when he never asked for it.
This is most apparent in her best scene when she aims her gun at Roy to stop him from killing Envy.
Not because she wants Envy to live but because she is afraid of what Roy will become if he goes through with it.
Riza ends the series as she starts it, by Roy’s side, showing an admirable amount of fierce loyalty and respect that goes both ways.
As a result she is one of the most determined characters of the anime.
5. Edward Elric
The protagonist of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Edward Elric is a very enjoyable and likeable character with a great amount of strength, both action and character wise.
We see him grow from the beginning to the end of the anime through his determination to get him and his brother’s bodies back, showing him to be a very selfless character who is trying to make amends for his past mistakes.
Ed is also one of the most comedic characters of the show, constantly freaking out whenever someone calls him short.
This is a recurring gag throughout the series that shows he can be comedic as well as serious.
This seriousness is amplified through the relationships he has with his friends and family.
From his antagonistic relationship with his father, to him trying to deal with his feelings for Winry, to the guilt he feels over what happened to his brother.
All of these combine to create an emotional journey for Ed through these relationships, all of which (except for one) receive a fitting and satisfying end.
The moment when he sacrifices his alchemy to bring his brother back shows true dedication to protecting those he loves and his strength in vowing to never kill anyone, as can be seen with how he spared Pride, shows how well developed he is.
Ed is a great main character of for this anime and one I can see a lot of people getting along with if he were real (just do not make the mistake of calling him short).
Scar has one of the best arcs of the series, going from a villain to a redeemed hero over the course of the anime.
His backstory is a tragic one, with him going on a killing spree, murdering various State Alchemists after he witnesses his entire family’s murder by Kimblee.
However, it is not long before he is confronted with his crimes through Winry, whose parents he murdered, and slowly begins to transition into a redeemed hero.
It was a joy to see him transition to this point and how his arc ended, with him facing off against Wrath, the man responsible for the genocide of his people.
This resulted in the culmination of his arc when he used alchemy, the very thing he despised at the beginning of the story, to defeat Wrath, therefore embracing a part of himself that he hated.
It was also nice to see Scar go from a loner to having trusted friends such as Mei because we can see that he genuinely came to care for her during their time together.
At the end of the anime, we see Scar working with Miles to restore his people, making amends for his past wrongs.
The only thing that was missing was a scene between him and Winry to wrap up their conflict but, other than that, it was perfect.
Scar started off as a tragic character who became a heroic one in a story of redemption.
3. Roy Mustang
Roy Mustang is easily one of the most powerful characters in Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, with him being ultimately responsible for defeating two of the homunculi, Lust and Envy.
However, Roy is not just a great character because of his power but also because of his likability.
He is a character with dreams, hoping to correct the mistakes of the past by becoming the next Fuhrer and making amends for the atrocities he helped commit in the Ishvalan War.
He is also prone to a few comedic moments here and there as well, specifically when he is pared with Ed and Al.
Like Ed, the relationships he has with other characters throughout the series only added to his likability, with his close connection with Riza and old friend Maes Hughes helping in this regard, especially with Hughes.
Watching Roy’s mission to avenge the death of his friend was great to see and it lead to a very powerful moment with him facing down Envy.
The look on his face at this moment is one that would scare anyone and it made perfect sense why Riza had to make sure he did not go through with killing Envy so he would not become what he hated.
Roy was a great character with a gripping revenge arc and plenty of amazing moments that defined him as one of the best characters of the anime.
2. Van Hohenheim
When Van Hohenheim first appeared, I thought he was just an everyday, stereotypically neglectful anime dad but, as the series progressed, it became clear he was anything but.
This was a brilliant case of subversion on Hiromi Arakawa’s part.
By making Hohenheim seems like a bad father at first it only made him all the more compelling when it was revealed how kindhearted he actually was.
Hohenheim is easily the most tragic character of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, as detailed by the fantastic episode 40, “The Dwarf in the Flask.”
However, he does not let this tragedy define him and goes on to avenge not only what happened to him but to everyone in his country who were murdered for him and Father’s immortality.
Hohenheim is such a great character that he even makes the clip show episode of the series good because it is one of the first episodes that hints at his past and shows his connection with his wife Trisha.
He also easily has one of the most emotional journeys of the entire anime, topped only by the character who took the number one spot.
The way he died at the end, with him visiting Trisha’ grave and reflecting on his life, had me tearing up.
I only wish he had got a goodbye scene between him and his sons, Ed and Al, because that would have made his character arc perfect.
As it stands though, Hohenheim is a fantastic character who is a lot more than he seems when he first appears.
I was incredibly surprised when watching the anime and I realised that Greed had become my favourite character.
Just like when Hohenheim first appeared, I originally found Greed to be very one note.
He just seemed to be an embodiment of his name without any nuance and lasted only a couple of episodes before appearing to die.
I honestly did not care for him at that point.
But then he was brought back to life, being placed in control of Ling’s body and everything changed.
From this point onwards Greed goes through some absolutely fantastic character development, becoming not only my favourite homunculi but my favourite character as well.
It is through his antagonism and then growing friendship with Ling that both we, as the audience, and Greed himself learn how much he actually cares for people.
The scene where Greed murders his friend and then Ling forces him to remember who he was, telling him he does not deserve to be called Greed, which leads to Greed screaming over his friend’s dead body in agony and grief is one of the most powerful moments of the anime.
He continues to grow more, going from an antagonist, to anti-hero, to full on hero, with him contributing greatly to the defeat of, not just Bradley, but Father as well.
This led to Greed sacrificing himself to save Ling and help defeat Father.
Watching him slowly fade from existence while he thanks Ling and Ed for teaching him that he wanted friends all along brought me to tears when I first saw it.
He even had a great impact on the other characters, with Ling most likely choosing to help Mei’s family because of Greed’s influence.
Greed’s growth from his first appearance to the end of the anime was absolutely amazing and because of this he is my favourite character of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.