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Like Magneto, Scar In Fullmetal Alchemist Was Right

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King Chicken

Joined: 13 Aug 2022
Posts: 105
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2024 8:54 pm Reply with quote
If Scar was only going after the alchemists who were at the Ishvalan massacre it could be easier to sympathize with him as an anti-hero for going after the people he felt were responsible for war crimes but he simply decided to use his pain as a justification to murder and went after innocent people who had nothing to do with it. A genuine case of "one time a __ person wronged me so how I hate all ___ people". Eventually he learned better and even helps Mustang to not fall into that same trap of pointless revenge. And then the show revels things were fine until the whole war only happened due in the first place due to the Homunculi orchestrating it which just ends up saying both sides were duped and it was only the Homunculi who did bad things in the end. I find Winry's story more impactful overall. She also could get revenge for her parents by killing Scar but she knows that's not what they would want. And while Scar wouldn't begrudge her for doing so and thinks she has a right to, he also has no problem defending himself if she decides to go that route. Much more simple and effective.
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Joined: 05 Aug 2021
Posts: 139
PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2024 10:36 pm Reply with quote
Okay, first of all, I want to remind y'all in this thread. there's a fairly obvious reason Scar goes after all State Alchemists-- because if Amestris decides to do another genocide, State Alchemists would be the ones killing the most people. They would be conscripted to do it and would not have the right to say no. That's the entire point of being a dog of the military, in exchange for all the money and resources you do not have a choice but to do what the government orders (and presumably would at least face prison time as a deserter if you refused). So yeah, Ed didn't aid in this genocide, but as far as Scar knows he'll be instrumental in the next one. WE know Ed would never do that, that Ed would never kill anyone period (manga Ed at least. 2003 Ed...yeah). but Scar doesn't. what reason does Scar have to believe him?

Obviously it's not a good thing to try to murder a teenager who hasn't done anything yet (and Scar was clearly okay with killing non-state alchemist who got in his way, as seen with Al.) but it does make sense from Scar's POV.

But moving on, I heavily disagree with this article's read of Scar's ending in the manga. He doesn't "accept that he is not God", he doesn't need to. The "I'm doing God's will" is dropped extremely quickly in the manga. Scar knows what he's doing would not be condoned by his religion or his God, and pretty much stops mentioning that again at all after his Master reminds him of that fact. He still believes alchemy is blasphemous, yeah, but him accepting reconstructive alchemy was him reconnecting with his brother and realizing his brother was following their religion in his own way. His brother believed that the world could change, that there was hope, and he wants to believe that too. He says this, so I'm not reaching here, the manga isn't subtle about it.

I also think it bears mentioning that Scar's victory (against the man who directed the genocide and mocked his religion) was shown to be very connected to his faith. It actually would really reinforce that he's doing God's will if his character was still remotely about that.

In fact, Scar's entire arc is focused on him reconnecting with his faith as much as anything, and it's a big reason why he hated himself and why he ultimately changed. Scar's religion is one values non-violence and believes hugely in letting go of hatred and not letting it control you. It's pretty similar to Buddhism, which makes sense, as Arakawa is Buddhist. Scar was literally a monk before the war, and it's seen in the manga he was uncomfortable with killing people back then, even in self defense. That's why Scar believes he's turned his back on God and is the scum of the earth. He's going against all of the values he had before the war, the core tenants of his religion. That's why his master tries to get him to stop and wants to get him off the path.

The mission he's on is a suicide mission. He doesn't have an ideology or end goal, he doesn't see a future for himself like Magneto does. He knows he'll die someday at the hands of a State Alchemist who fights back, and honestly is likely seeking death. This is obviously not...like a good thing for him? On a personal level? ( I understand the argument that Scar getting revenge and never working with people involved in the genocide is better, I respect it. But I also honestly never understood why it's so much more palatable to have Scar die rather than let him live and get to help his people, And the 2003 show didn't just kill Scar, it killed its version of Lust too, who they made an Ishvalan who came back to life as a white woman for some reason)

He saw no hope that his people would survive, that things would change, and he starts to return to what he valued before. He didn't really atone honestly, which is fine with me. His goals just start to align with Ed and co's. He wants to protect what's left of Ishval, obviously a dude killing everyone in Amestris would uh, affect the Ishvalans. who live there too. But very notably, his attitude shifts mainly because he sees there's hope to rebuild Ishval, for his which he didn't believe before. Meeting Miles, a Ishvalan who believes that, is the main thing that helps him. He reconnects with his faith. He also reconnects with his brother too, realizing his brother's alchemy didn't go against God. His brother saw it as a tool to improve the world (and it did. Scar's brother straight up saved the entire country, while being dead, which is impressive).

The final battle with Bradley is centered on Scar regaining his faith, and it's not subtle about this! He fights the man who mocked the Ishvalan religion repeatedly while directing their genocide (very familiar behavior). He mocks it during their fight, basically saying "your God won't help you", and then Scar wins through a seeming act of God and kills the man who was responsible for the genocide that destroyed his life. He wins because he reconnected to his faith, which is greatly tied to his culture.

I've pretty much cooled on my past intense dislike of 2003 (I had no nostalgia for it since I watched it as an adult after reading the manga, and I really couldn't get past some of the baffling elements and what I considered poor treatment of some characters) but I do think it's a bummer that in 2003 after Scar died, the Ishvalans were pretty much an afterthought. IIRC there's like one brief second showing soldiers are helping them, everything's fine with no explanation of why this happened, racism is just over and no Ishvalan played any part in that and they don't even get to speak during the ten seconds they're on screen.The manga at least bothers to have a scene where Scar and Miles discuss rebuilding Ishval and it's made clear Scar and another Ishvalan are going to be in charge and leading the effort, not an Amestrian. The importance of Ishval's culture and faith surviving is emphasized, rather than feeling like it was just part of a last minute 'need to resolve this' checklist.

The manga's handling of Scar was definitely problematic in plenty of areas.. But I do think it's sad people are very unwilling to dig into his actual arc as a character, dismissing it as a simple redemption, not acknowledging the role of his religion, not acknowledging that it was also a story about a man letting go of his death wish...he's a really fascinating character with a lot of layers, but he doesn't get much attention. in the 2003 vs Brotherhood war it's always Scar's redemption and atonement vs 2003 Scar sticks to his guns when I don't think either Scar boils down to that.

(People also don't ever really analyze the Buddhist themes in the manga period even though they're all over the narrative, which is also a shame, but that's another tangent. I'm not religious but I think how FMA explores religion is fascinating.)

(honestly...it's also a shame that pretty much every time i've seen the manga/Brotherhood discussed on this site it's inevitably compared negatively to the 2003 anim. I understand what seems like most of the staff on are really big fans of 2003 and don't care as much for the manga,( or Brotherhood technically, since that's usually what's mentioned, I was pleasantly surprised this article talked about the manga) but having analysis of it without inevitably comparing them would be nice once in a while

Last edited by Nev999 on Sat Jun 08, 2024 1:25 am; edited 2 times in total
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Joined: 05 Aug 2021
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 07, 2024 11:53 pm Reply with quote
SanguineSeagull wrote:
I do not know what possessed the ANN staff to approve this piece but here we go.

I'm an Israeli. I'm very critical of Israel's actions in the war, even as I understand, and agree with, some of the reasoning behind them. +

I can only assume the author has never found themselves related in any way to a serious conflict, aside from just being American.

I did.

Once you are exposed to the things we, humans, are willing to do to each other; once you see other humans stop at NOTHING, and I mean N-O-T-H-I-N-G, to achieve their goals - that's when you should consider whether Magneto or Scar or anyone else calling for genocide is "right".

Because that's what choosing violence means - like it or not, you cannot stem ideologies, or oppressed people's fight without killing all of them.

I do not want to choose that, and so I must "find" (as if my actions have even the slightest impact on any kind of policy) other ways - even if it means embracing people who wish to harm me.

That is because "people" are not a monolithic body, and they can change over time.

Anger, violence and hatred are not quenchable by force without giving up any semblance of humanity.

I understand this is a comic and manga discussion, but for whatever reason I ended up taking it personally.


Scar never advocated for genocide. He killed State Alchemists specifically because they're the people who either caused the highest body count or could potentially cause the highest body count in the next genocide. He didn't target civilians (though he had no problem hurting anyone who got in his way)

In fact, he believes so MUCH in not killing people who were trying to help the Ishvalans, even IF they were Amestrian, that he's willing to let Winry kill him for the murder of her parents, which he clearly does deeply regret. (even though he clearly was not in his right mind at the time, dude was in incredible pain, just realized his brother died in the most traumatic way possible, had no idea what was going on except that these people looked like the people who just killed his entire familly)

I'm don't want to get into it since that's asking for a heated off topic convo, but I am going to state I and many people won't believe you being Israeli automatically make you right about this issue. And many Americans immigrated from war torn or colonized countries and may have seen a number of horrors (or in the case of Native Americans, are still suffering from the results of colonization and genocide hundreds of years later), so I don't think it's great to assume every American is ignorant about those things.

I do respect you wanting to find a way to understand and embrace Palestinians, and there's always helpful actions one can take in regards to that, so I hope you don't assume you can't do anything. I wish you the best with that.
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Joined: 23 Sep 2022
Posts: 102
PostPosted: Sat Jun 08, 2024 5:40 am Reply with quote
That Little Rapscallion wrote:
If you want to get technical it's not a human vs mutant issue but a Sublime vs mutant issue. The only reason anti-mutant hate exists in the Marvel universe in the first place is because of a sentient bacteria known as Sublime who can't possess mutants so it infects humans and makes them hate mutants in a means of self-preservation to keep humans as the dominate species. All the anti-mutant hysteria is manufactured and doesn't actually exist and humans are indeed innocent.

Sublime is what happens when you have to try to think of a reason why people hate mutants but love other super powered heroes and a great case for why X-Men works better as it's own thing in it's own universe. Or at least it would if not for the usual problem these stories always have in that they have to convince you why people shouldn't fear living in a world where mutants can emit poisonous radiation from their skin and casually kill half a town just by walking down the street like that one Ultimate X-Men issue. Trying to add a moral twist to these things always fall flat when you make the persecuted group actually dangerous. If you want to truly do an allegory for discrimination or prejudice it's best to be as down-to-earth as possible and remember the reason it's silly in the first place is because people who have a different color skin than you or whatever don't actually harm you by simply existing like people who can effectively jettison the entire planet into the sun if they ever felt like it.
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2024 3:48 pm Reply with quote
SanguineSeagull wrote:


Lots of luck with that.
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Joined: 16 Apr 2024
Posts: 72
PostPosted: Sun Jun 09, 2024 10:22 pm Reply with quote
animaters wrote:
You say that Israeli are skeptical of their government but isn't the israeli government a democracy that likes to pat on its back about the fact how it's the only elective democracy in the Middle East? (we gonna ignore the fact that morocco and tunisia where elections are a thing exist to entertain this americano-israeli rhetoric)

Then by that metric, wouldn't and shouldn't the Israeli voters use their powers as electors to not vote alt-right parties like Netanyahu in power? Such parties don't want peace, but only elimination of Palestine and a conflict by proxy with other Arab nations.

I'm reluctant to respond, since you are Moroccan, but neither Morocco or Tunisia are in the Middle East. In any case, Tunisia will hopefully move back towards democracy with fresh elections this year, but since the 2021 self-coup its not functioning as one; the Moroccan regime has democratic elements and elections, which is welcome, but most of the power lies with the unelected palace government and as such its not a democracy.

One can, of course, simply look at the colonial era, and most especially at many wars fought to try and prevent the end of that era in the post-war period, to see that being a democracy is no guarantor of a benevolent policy towards people outside the state anyway.

The most compelling villains have a point; they aren't totally wrong and in it for the evul. The real world provides plenty of such causes and its merrily mirrored in fiction. Moriarty the patriot would be another recent example that plays the same notes.
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Joined: 11 May 2010
Posts: 899
PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 1:44 am Reply with quote
short version: No, neither Scar nor Magneto were right.
long version: ok strap in...

Whenever the topic of war comes to mind I remember this quote from Fate Zero
"And there you go. You heard her, Iri. Our Heroic Spirit over there considers a battlefield to be better than Hell. What a joke. A battlefield is Hell itself. There's no hope to be had on one. There is nothing but unspeakable despair. Just a soulless crime we call victory, paid for by the pain of the defeated. But humanity has never recognized this truth. And the reason is that, in every era, a dazzling hero has blinded the people with their legends, and kept them from seeing the evil of bloodshed they bring. True human nature has not advanced a step beyond the Stone Age."

Love or hate Gen Urobuchi and his nihilistic writing but I think this is the ‘most correct’ outlook on war.

It's Wrong.
It's Hell.
To think otherwise is a delusion.

There can be good reasons for it, like choosing to fight terrorists instead of letting them rein free and commit atrocities but the moment you stoop to that level, that you fight violence and evil with violence and evil, you’ve also lost. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t fight for what we think is right, sometimes we have to do something bad to prevent something even worse but we must hold ourselves accountable for our actions. For choosing violence even if there were no other viable options.

Scar and Magneto both have very compelling reasons for their actions and choosing to retaliate at the world for the cruelty that was inflicted onto them and their kind so I can accept that they may have chosen the less wrong path…


They were not Right.
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Joined: 10 Jun 2024
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 10, 2024 4:32 pm Reply with quote
Oh my God, are you actually justifying wanton murder and terrorism?

Being right in why you are doing something does not make the thing you are doing right by default. The end does *not* justify the means.

Murdering people because they *might* harm someone in the future makes you the bad guy, full stop.
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