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Fullmetal Alchemist

Season 1 Episode 1

To Challenge the Sun

Aired Saturday 12:00 AM Nov 06, 2004 on Cartoon Network
out of 10
User Rating
278 votes

By TV.com Users

Episode Summary

On their hunt for the Philosopher's Stone, Ed and Al come upon a strangely prosperous city in the middle of the desert. They find that the leader is a priest who performs miracles and resurrections, much to the delight of the citizens. Are these Acts of God, as Father Cornello claims, or is he using the power of the Philosopher's Stone to boost his Alchemy? Ed and Al investigate to find the truth.moreless

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  • Seems like a good show.

    This is the first time I ever watched this show. My friends told me how great it was, and they tried to get me to watch it. I finally got around to it tonight, and I must say that it seems like a pretty decent show. I was kind of confused throughout the episode, but that's to be expected since it was the first time I watched it and had no idea what the show was about. My favorite parts of the episode were when anybody made fun of how short Ed was (XD) I can sympathize with him though because I'm shorter than most of the kids at my school. I don't really have much more to say about this episode. I'm sure I'll come back sometime and redo this review when I see more episodes, but for now I'm done. Pretty lame, huh? (XD)moreless
  • Ed and Al are on a journey for the philosophers stone to turn their bodies back to normal, because they tried to revive a human. One must be punished for doing so. They were.moreless

    The series and this episode start with two boys trying to revive their mother. They fail, and their bodies are now different. They seek to change that back to normal. They are now in the dessert for the philosophers stone, the people their notice that Al is the full metal alchemist because his body is all metal, little do they now, actually Ed is the full metal alchemist, only Ed has a right arm, and left leg that are metal. With alchemy you can do extrodinary things, such as repairs, summoning, fighting etc... This was a great episode because the Ulrich brothers start off with their adventure and their motive is stated for the series to start.moreless
  • To Challenge the Sun is an excellent start to a great series and it starts the story off in the right direction.

    This really sends the series forward and the story-telling is incredible in FMA. Right away you end up witnessing first hand their curse and what they have just done. It really feels powerful and you can understand the pressure they were under to make things right again. They basically had no one left to turn to and the result of whatever may have happened didn't seem to matter because they believed they had lost enough nothing else could possibly go wrong. Alchemy seemed to be the easy way out and the only answer to all their problems, but it seemed that what they wanted couldn't be done and they learned that at a high price.

    The episode starts off four years after the incident in the desert on their way to the Eastern city of Liore where they find that everything seems too good to be true and at the same time nothing is what it seems. It's almost a tropic paradise, but it's past proves otherwise. Everything just seemed to come overtime from a prophet, Father Cornello who the Alchemists believe is using his followers and leading them on for his own selfish needs, but quickly the townspeople are there to defend him for he's done the people a great good. He has given the people water, new buildings for shelters, money and made life worth living again. Ed and Al still feel convinced enough to find out what's really going on since it seems that Alchemy is the reason for all these blessings. Trapped in the bottom of the Cathedral they are one step closer to finding the secrets behind the Philosopher's Stone and even though the odds are against them it's a chance that they must take in order to make thing's right again.moreless
  • Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. That is the first law of alchemy. In those days, we believed that to be the world's one and only truth...moreless

    "Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. That is the first law of alchemy. In those days, we believed that to be the world's one and only truth." - Alphonse Elric. Every episode starts that way. Anyway, at the beginning, it shows two brothers doing some kind of transmutation. Their names are Edward (Ed) and Alphonse (Al) Elric, and they are trying to bring their mother back to life. All seems to go well at first, but then something goes horribly wrong. Al begins to disappear! Ed grabs onto him, but can only manage to save his spirit. He attaches it to a suit of armor, and Ed loses an arm and a leg. Before he passes out, he sees his mother, only it's not his mother. It's a monster. Later, Al wakes up, scoops up Ed, who is bleeding horribly, and takes him to the neighbor's, Winry Rockbell, and her grandmother, Pinako. They manage to save Ed. When he regains conciousness, Ed asks Winry to build him some automail. The scene shifts to five years later. Ed is 15, and Al is 14. They are on assignment to scope out a city in the desert called Liore. They look around for a bit, then sit down for a drink. Everyone else has their radios turned on, and are listening to a prophet called Cornello. Later, a pretty girl, who is later important in the series, though not until close to the end, named Rose stops by, and offers to show the two boys around. She takes them to visit Father Cornello, and he gives them a room for the night. Later, Rose shows them a miracle show, where the prophet fixes things and brings the dead birds back to life. IDK. Anyway, Ed tells her that he's just using alchemy, and she gets all ticked off. Later, Al finds out and informs Ed that Rose is an orphan, and her boyfriend, Kane, who was all she had, died recently, and Cornello promised her that he could bring him back of she served him. So naturally, she does. Meanwhile, Cornello kinda brings Kane back to life, although he cannot see his face, only hear his voice. Rose is so overjoyed. Though while she is cleaning the church, Ed comes and confronts her about Cornello again. But the prophet knew of the famous Elric brothers, and sent one of his men to kill them. The man tries to shoot Al, only he can't die, because he's only a suit of armor. When Rose sees this, she believes that they are evil and runs to turn them in to Cornello. Ed and Al follow her, and take on the false prophet.moreless
  • A commentary on mind control by religions!

    The first episode to this amazing series starts with our two heroes traveling through the desert in search of the philosopher's stones. They arrive at a mysteriously rich and growing city in the middle of desert. After investigating, they discover that the reason for this booming economy is a religious figure adored by every citizen of this city. Apparently, this guy has super powers, but our friends soon discover this ain't so. I love the atmosphere in this episode, it is something you don't get to feel anymore throughout the show.w.

    Me being a christian enjoyed all the attacks on religion and its leaders!moreless
Andy Mullins

Andy Mullins

Sir Cornello

Guest Star

Laura Bailey

Laura Bailey


Guest Star

Greg Ayres

Greg Ayres

Additional Voices

Guest Star

Colleen Clinkenbeard

Colleen Clinkenbeard

Rose Thomas

Recurring Role

Mark Stoddard

Mark Stoddard

Shop Owner

Recurring Role

Bob Carter

Bob Carter


Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • The five-member band for the opening song, L'Arc~en~Ciel, has derived its name from the french term "rainbow."

    • The origins of a Chimera are explained as combining animals with alchemy.

    • This episode was based on "The Two Alchemists" -- Chapter 1, Volume 1 of the Manga.

    • According to an interview with Seiji Mizushima, the director of Fullmetal Alchemist, there were only three Manga Volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist published when production of the Anime began. Thus, there wasn't much material to base the Anime episodes on. It was decided at that point that the Anime would eventually go in a different direction than the Manga series.

    • Goof: Missing radio cord:
      When Al breaks the radio at the beginning of the episode, there is a mistake: when the radio falls and smashes on the ground, it's shown with a cord. After Al fixes it using the transmutation circle, however, there is no cord; even when he carries it back to the bar, there is still no cord.

    • First appearance of Lust and Gluttony. Envy gets a name check, but does not appear in it's true form.

    • Split-second production glitch: Right after Edward says "It's your fault for not stopping when I said" and before they show the Town of Lior caption, for a quick frame, you can see some Japanese characters and 1:05:18:19~

    • This is the first of 51 episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist. Anime are usually 26 episodes, which would make this show two seasons short by one episode.

  • QUOTES (10)

    • Rose: But, you're not there!
      Al: It's true, I don't have a body, but I'm here. This is my punishment for setting foot on holy ground where mortals are forbidden. We made a mistake, Rose, and we're paying for it.

    • (Rose screams)
      Rose: He doesn't have a head!
      Ed: Yeah! That's Al!

    • Cornello: Let me introduce you to one of my creations. You of all people will be able to appreciate this... a chimera!
      Ed: You combined animals, the most depraved kind of Alchemy there is.
      Cornello: Maybe so, but most effective!

    • Ed: Just a matter of time, Rose. Science will find a way. Science is the answer to everything. If I were you, I'd drop the scriptures and pick up an Alchemy book. We're the closest things to gods there are.
      Rose: You're not a god. You're nothing close.
      Ed: Neither is the sun. It's just a mass of hydrogen. Get close to it like Cornello claims, and all you'll do is burn up.

    • Ed: I can't see a church social down here, can you?

    • Ed: Alchemy; the science of understanding the structure of matter, breaking it down, then reconstructing it as something else. It can even make gold from lead. But Alchemy is a science, so it must follow the natural laws: To create, something of equal value must be lost. This is the principle of Equivalent Exchange. But on that night, I learned the value of some things can't be measured on a simple scale. My brother and I knew the laws of science, of Equivalent Exchange, that gain required sacrifice, that something had to be taken from us. But we thought there was nothing more we could lose. We were wrong.

    • Ed: What's wrong with you people? I'm not short! You come from a desert tribe of giants or something!
      Al: Edward, please!
      Ed: You want some of this too?

    • Cornello: You are the Fullmetal! The Fullmetal Alchemist!

    • Ed: Shorty? Could a shorty do THIS? What else do you want to call me -- a half-pint, a beansprout, a midget? I'm still growing, you back-water desert idiots!

    • Ed: Al, how come you keep sinking like that?
      Al: I get full.
      Ed: Of what?
      (Al opens his suit and sand falls on Ed)

  • NOTES (2)

    • There isn't an opening theme for the pilot episode. "Ready, Steady, Go" by L'arc en Ciel was used for the closing credits in the US broadcast on AdultSwim.

    • The US broadcast on Adult Swim uses "Ready, Steady, Go!" (by L'Arc-en-Ciel) as the opening theme instead of the original "Melissa" (by Porno Graffiti) for episodes 1-13. However, the original ending theme "The Inerasable Sin" (by Kitade Nana) remains the same.


    • Daedalus and Icarus:
      When Ed says "Get close to the sun, and all you'll do is burn up", after speaking about the sun in comparison to God, he is referring to the Greek myth of Daedalus and Icarus. The title of the episode "To Challenge the Sun", also alludes to it.

      In the myth, an inventor, Daedalus, creates wax wings for his son, Icarus, and himself to fly. Daedalus warns Icarus to not fly too high, towards the Gods, but Icarus doesn't listen. When Icarus gets too close to the sun, and the Gods, the wax on his wings melts and he plummets to the sea below.

      The myth teaches that when people become arrogant and try to act like gods, they will just end up failing. This is how Ed thinks of his attempt to revive his mother.

    • Lior's Fountain of Wine: Water to Wine:
      Cornello's miracle is a reference to the miracle of water to wine — one of Jesus Christ's many miracles.

    • Chimeras:
      A Chimera is first introduced in this episode. A Chimera in the series is the result of Alchemically combining animals together to get a new creature. In Greek mythology a Chimera was an animal that was part Lion, part snake and part goat.

    • Cultural Allusion: Japanese "Honorifics":
      Beginning in this episode and seen throughout the series, the Japanese tradition of "honorifics" is noted in regards to the way certain characters address others in the series. Nowhere is this more notable than in the way Al addresses Ed simply as "Brother."

      In Japan, a politeness-based society, there are markers built into the language that are used for addressing one's elders or for addressing someone of great respect, importance, or stature in society. This use of markers is generally one-sided (those receiving the politeness term often do not return the gesture to the inferior speaker).

      This form of speaking also falls into address terms for family members, hence, as Ed is the elder brother, Al shows respect by addressing him as "Brother" while Ed simply uses Al's name.