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    The Surprising Connection Between Mean Girls And A Beloved Anime

    In “Fullmetal Alchemist,” alchemy is bound by “Equivalent Exchange” — to create, you must sacrifice something of equal value. That’s why reviving the dead is the science’s ultimate taboo. Ed and Al did so anyway, attempting to resurrect their mother Trisha. They failed and paid the toll by losing two limbs (Ed) and being reduced to a soul-animating empty armor (Al).

    Their promise to find the Philosopher’s Stone is a journey of atonement; each one feels responsible for the other’s condition. So, Ed makes another sacrifice. You see, Amestris is not a nice place to live; it’s a military dictatorship that suppresses dissent and wars with its neighbors. But “State Alchemists” are paid handsomely, provided they answer the call of the military when needed. So to fund his mission, Ed becomes a “dog of the military.”

    Before Ed and Al set out, they burn down their childhood home, ensuring they have nothing to go back to and won’t give up their quest. The first day of their journey? October 3rd, 1911 (or 1910 in the 2003 “Fullmetal Alchemist” anime, which is quite different).

    State Alchemists are given silver pocket watches (with the dragon emblem of Amestris on them). Inside Ed’s, he carves a message to himself: “Don’t Forget. 3. Oct. 11.” The watch is a physical embodiment of the emotional burdens that Ed carries with him, a reminder of what he and his brother have lost and the promise they made to each other.

    Ed keeps the message to himself (his friend Winry discovers it after prying open the watch and is overcome with shame for her nosiness when she reads it), but October 3rd is publicly celebrated by “Fullmetal” fans. Since “Mean Girls” lovers do the same, the overlap was inevitable.

    “Mean Girls” (2024) is playing in theaters.

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