When I was younger–and had more time to watch anime–the classic Fullmetal Alchemist was one of my favorites. Of course, later on the more accurate Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood released with high acclaim. I never watched it (shame on me) because I thought it wasn’t much different than the one I saw years back. Since it was on Netflix, I added it to my queue and got around to it recently, finishing all 64 episodes. It was so much better than the first series!
Episodes 1-13 are basically a refresher for those like me who watched the first series. After that, though, the story takes a very different turn. I was glued to my screen, whether on my phone, laptop or TV (thank God for streaming!). I never did read the manga, but I knew that there were many major changes based on the manga, and I was very happy with them. The new characters, plot twists, higher stakes, and even religious dialogue were well done. One character that I kept thinking about, though, was Scar. I honestly thought he would just be killed off in a random battle. All that he went through resonated with me, not because my race was wiped out in alchemic genocide, but because of how he grew into a better person. I strive to do that, and I believe we all do to some extent. His pursuit of revenge ends up being his only reason for living, until he encounters a more fulfilling purpose.
If you are not familiar with Scar’s character in FMA, I will give you a brief summary. He is an Ishvalen survivor from the Ishvalen Civil War. While living in his country, a fight broke out between the military and Scar’s people. Many died, including his mother, father, and brother. During the explosion that took the lives of his family, Scar’s brother created an array (alchemic symbol) that transferred his right arm to Scar’s body (Scar had just lost that limb). This cost Scar’s brother his life, but gave Scar the power to use destructive alchemy. Driven by rage and vengeance, Scar goes on a manhunt against any alchemist he could find to murder them.
After fighting just about everyone in the series, Scar finally joins up with another Ishvalen to help unite their remaining race and bring about peace. It’s a great way to end his story, yet I felt like Scar’s real battle didn’t just end there. The large scar on his forehead reminded me of inner wounds that we have dealt with or still struggle through. The anime does not explain how Scar got the mark—though I can assume it was from a battle. Regardless, it’s good to see a character turn from their ways and commit their lives to helping others.
For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 6:20-23
I think everyone has wounds, including some that aren’t seen on our physical bodies. Some have them on their wrists from cutting. Others have them in their minds from insults and trauma. I often had to endure verbal thrashings from my mother, which affected my self-esteem and gave me unresolved anger and poor decision-making skills. When I married my wife and moved out on my own, I finally had peace of mind. Years before, God had set me free from negative thoughts that were the result of that abuse, but leaving that environment helped me truly organize my life. When I hear about someone who ran away from home because of parental abuse and misconduct, I can relate. Though I never actually ran away, I contemplated it several times.
Even though my mother treated me unfairly throughout my childhood, teenage years, and even adulthood, I forgave her and have a good relationship with her today. It’s not perfect–I have to keep my distance at times—but God restored what was broken. This is all to say that, like Scar from Fullmetal Alchemist, until we realize the damage that our pain causes others and decide we need to be healed, nothing will change. His mark never went away, so I can imagine that when he sees it he’s reminded of the lives that he took and families he ruined. Looking back at our own flaws is a way to learn from them and see how much we’ve grown, but, until we release them and accept God’s forgiveness, the hurt doesn’t go away. It can be hard to confront, yet I encourage you right now to ask Him to help you in the name of Jesus Christ to be free.
If someone like Scar can move past his flaws and start a new life, so can you.
Michael is a child of God, husband, teacher, business owner, anime lover and a life long gamer. When not conquering distant world's via console, he can be found reading, watching anime or Netflix, writing, or just enjoying life as a geek in the city of Miami. He aspires to travel to Japan and possibly...never leave.
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