What Are Transmutation Circles in Fullmetal Alchemist?

The alchemy of Fullmetal Alchemist is made possible by transmutation circles, which are mysterious symbols. However, occasionally the technical specifics are unclear.

The literature of Fullmetal Alchemist has many symbols and occult words, from the distinctive markings on Truth’s gateway to the Flamel sign on Edward Elric’s coat and the transmutation circles that the majority of alchemists employ in building and fighting.

Edward is special since he can do alchemy without using the circles, albeit he had to pay a price for that benefit.

He and his brother Alphonse suffered physical harm in exchange for seeing the nature of the Truth, therefore they are equipped with the knowledge required for alchemy without the aid of those circles.

But ultimately, transmutation circles, which have a range of shapes and abilities, are an essential component of the mythos. Even at the conclusion of the novel, though, some parts of these circles remain a mystery.

Workings of Transmutation Circles

There is a good reason why circles are used for transmutation instead of other shapes. A circle stands for perfect, unbroken flows of matter and energy or infinity.

A circle’s form remains constant throughout its infinite looping around. Since nature has a circle of life and other cycles, including the water cycle, circles are the standard shape for alchemy because of this.

Additionally, these rings can signify that each stage of alchemy is equally significant and that no phase of a cycle stands out above the rest.

A trapezoid might convey that the lower section is longer and less significant than the upper part, whereas an upright triangle may suggest that the highest point is the most noticeable.

Who Is Able to Utilize a Transmutation Circle?

full metal alchemist fullmetal alchemist transmutation wallpaper What Are Transmutation Circles in Fullmetal Alchemist?

In the Fullmetal Alchemist story, only alchemists use transmutation circles, even though their contents can be very different.

The transmutation circle for a particular alchemical method could change over time.

There are a few commonalities, such as the general shape of the circle and the requirement that these circles be drawn accurately without any erroneous or missing lines or symbols.

It has been demonstrated time and time again that an incomplete transmutation won’t only result in a weak or partial alchemical process; it won’t accomplish anything at all.

For instance, in the first film, Edward Elric discovered an unfinished transmutation circle on the floor of a building and filled in the gaps with a piece of chalk. He did, and the circle came into full operation.

As a result, alchemists’ transmutation circles—while the secret of their power—is also their weakest link. Alchemy cannot be conducted if the transmutation circle is broken.

It should be noted that some transmutation circles, like the one created by Solf J. Kimblee, have each half drawn individually.

These circles don’t activate until both halves are brought together to create a full image.

Kimblee’s wooden shackles locked his palms apart while he was incarcerated, making it difficult for him to conduct alchemy.

What Happens In a Transmutation Circle?

Scar arm What Are Transmutation Circles in Fullmetal Alchemist?

To construct a specific alchemical procedure, a transmutation circle may include triangles, squares, rectangles, and more circles drawn in it.

The language on Major Alex Armstrong’s and Comanche’s personal transmutation circles, as well as the flame and salamander symbols on Roy Mustang’s alchemy gloves, might be added.

Such writing is frequently real-world Latin, Hebrew, or German. These circles can be etched into the skin, tattooed into skin, drawn with chalk or blood, or carved into the earth, among other things.

The transmutation circle’s marks must be distinct and free from corruption, such as melting or shifting due to exposure to sand or soil.

Last but not least, Xingese alkahestry, a comparable practice, also employs circles, typically with pentagrams drawn in them.

Alkahestry and alchemy have been combined by Scar’s brother, an Ishvalan researcher who documented his discoveries in a notebook.

On Scar’s arms, these studies are also depicted as tattoos.

Mystery of Transmutation Circles

The exact nature and beginnings of alchemy are shrouded in several in-universe enigmas.

Alchemy was practiced by the ancient Xerxes people, although their method was unique and had a different genesis than that of current Amestris.

The Amestrians were unaware that the majority of alchemy is fueled by large crowds of people, and Father’s schemes channel the energy across Amestris.

The inhabitants of Amestris have heard stories of a philosopher from the east named Hohenheim who introduced alchemy and claimed that the source of its power was tectonic energy.

It’s true, but Father kept it all for himself, forcing everyone else to get their energy from people.

The proportions of other minor alchemical details are left unclear. The blood seal that transformed Alphonse’s soul into his armor was the smallest transmutation circle, and the greatest was the country-wide circle that Father employed on the day of the promise.

The size of transmutation circles appears arbitrary, with both large and tiny circles producing identical effects in the series, save from Father’s enormous alchemy process, which obviously required a huge circle to function.

The use of transmutation circles on an alchemist’s hands or gloves may be optional, or it may simply be done for convenience.

They might have to since transmutation circles that are drawn on the ground or walls need to be touched by the user’s hands in order to work. However, there are several exceptions.

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About the Author

Anukul Saini

Anime and gaming enthusiast with a passion for sharing my knowledge and insights. I've watched over 1000 anime and spent countless hours playing video games.

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