One of the highest rated anime series out there – Fullmetal Alchemist – gave us the heartfelt adventures of two brothers. First, the young and talented Edward Elric, who has suffered much loss in his brief 12 years. Then we have Alphonse Elric whose soul got bound to a giant suit of armor by Edward to save his life. Unfortunately for FMA fans who loved every episode, the series ended its long run with Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. However, FMA inspired and influenced many anime shows, and we as fans can still enjoy the spirit of FMA via these series that remind us of that beloved show.
Last Exile‘s story takes place in the world of Prester – similar to our 19th century but with anti-gravity devices – where flight is the dominant mode of transportation. We see this beautiful world through the eyes of Claus Valca and Lavie Head – whose dreams is to surpass their parent’s legacy – the pilot and co-pilot of a Vanship and act as couriers. During one of their travels, they rescue a young girl from a strange killing machine, and that act of heroism changes their destinies forever.
Like FMA, Last Exile is set in an industrial age where the main characters go on a journey trying to surpass their parents’ legacy. However, during their adventure the main characters of both shows get themselves entangled with the military and similar dangerous folks. As a result, the main characters – Clause and Lavie – get the opportunity to learn a valuable lesson, similar to how Edward and Alphonse did. Though you’ll have to stick with it to see if the ending is just as poignant.
After the horrors of World War I, the world had to prepare itself for another kind of horror – demonic sinners. Chrono Crusade takes place in 1928 New York where a holy organization known as Order of Magdalene is in charge of combat a demonic presence invading reality. One of the members of this religious organization is Sister Rosette Christopher and her demon hunting assistant Chrono. They aren’t your typical exorcists as they cause massive property damage when out on assignment. Rosette’s newest mission has become personal as she and Chrono set out to find Rosette’s missing brother Joshua.
Both Fullmetal Alchemist and Chrono Crusade are set in the same period although in an alternate reality to our own. Furthermore, the main characters of both shows are consumed with the desire to help their sibling. The protagonists are willing to do anything for that person who means the world to them, making their journeys that much more worthwhile to watch. Besides these similarities, Chrono Crusade also offers up boatloads of mystical action in a similar style to FMA.
Buso Renkin begins when high school student Kazuki gets impaled through the heart while trying to save a girl – Tokiko – from a monster. But, in reality, Tokiko didn’t need any saving as she is an alchemic warrior whose mission is to destroy the evil Homunculi with her Buso Renkin – Valkyrie Skirt. To save Kazuki’s life she replaces his impaled heart with another successful work of alchemy, the Kakugane, which awakens in him a new Buso Renkin. Now, Tokiko and Kazuki have joined forces to defeat the Homunculi.
As with Fullmetal Alchemist, Buso Renkin deals with alchemy and the man-made creatures created by it. As a result, both shows focus on how the main characters battle those who misuse their alchemy power. While Buso Renkin has a more romance going on than FMA, it doesn’t take away from the action.
After a long war between the Royal Empire and the Republic of Frost, the two powerful nations have agreed to a ceasefire. It’s a costly ending, as the Empire is now beleaguered with starvation, plagues and soldiers turning into bandits. To aid the war relief effort, the Empire created the Intelligence Army State Section III a.k.a. Pumpkin Scissors. While many in the Empire consider this organization a waste of resources, the Pumpkin Scissors take their role in the country’s reconstruction seriously. Though that mission changed when they ran into Randel Oland.
As with the anime series mentioned above, Pumpkin Scissors takes place in a somewhat recognizable, post-war world. However, unlike FMA, which only touches the subject of corruption, Pumpkin Scissors digs deeper into those themes, observing the suffering caused by the military’s actions. Moreover, while Fullmetal Alchemist deals with social issues like racism, Pumpkin Scissors deals with another form of societal ill, social class discrimination. And so many characters share similar personalities and physiques: Corporal Oland with Alphonse, and Edward with Lt. Malvin.
This series follows Allen Walker, who joins an organization called Black Order whose mission is to destroy Akuma – mechanical weapons made by the dastardly Millennium Earl. To fight these creatures Allen uses both his cursed eye and an anti-Akuma weapon, Innocence, which is (conveniently) also his arm. Along with Black Order’s exorcist, Allen must stop the Millennium Earl’s ultimate plan, but questions connected to Allen’s past start popping up as they reach their goal.
Like many other series on this list, D. Gray-man is set toward the end of the 19th century, only a bit more goth than the others. Another likeness between this and FMA is that both protagonists use a powerful arm to take down enemies. On top of that, both Edward and Allen are driven by their pasts to embark on a quest with no way of turning back. And both those leads are backed up by eclectic casts that add some comic relief and silliness to the serious tones of both FMA and D. Gray-man.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for great series with similar themes and tone as FMA, though watch all of these first before you’re ready to dig any deeper.