Mei Chang (also spelled "May") is the seventeenth royal princess of Xing, born to the Xingese Emperor and the royal concubine representing the Chang house.
Despite being so young, Mei has been tasked with finding a way to raise the social standing of the poor, downtrodden Chang clan in the eyes of the Emperor and has embarked on a journey to discover and present her father with the secret to immortality. Skilled as she is in the art of Alkahestry, Mei sets out across the desert toward Amestris with her beloved pet panda, Xiao-Mei, so that she may learn about the Philosopher's Stone and, arriving there, seeks out the tutelage of the Fullmetal Alchemist.
Mei is a short young girl of Xingese ethnicity with fair skin, dark-colored eyes, and dark braided hair, with her hair ending in two buns on opposite sides of her head that let down six strands of her hair that reach to her knees. She also wears light and dark-colored, eastern-style clothing, similar to the Xingese traditional royal attire, and a light-purple bag around her left shoulder and right waist. She is often holding her pet panda Xiao Mei.
In her younger years, Mei wore her hair in two pigtails similar to Nina Tucker as shown when she remembers the day she met Xiao-Mei.
Mei is a sweet girl with remarkable inner strength. She is independent, intelligent, and amazingly brave. This is evidenced when she crossed the desert between Amestris and Xing with no one but her friend Xiao-Mei, something few people have been able to do. She has a short fuse, and has been known to become emotional easily, but Mei knows when to put her personal emotions aside to achieve her goals. This is shown when she selflessly puts herself in danger to find the Elixir of Life in order to save her family.
The xingese girl is very imaginative, sometimes to a fault. She occasionally loses focus in important situations when her imagination gets the better of her. However, her imaginativeness makes her very creative, and allows her to think of possibilities and effective solutions that most people would not have come up with. At times, her imagination makes her turn a deaf ear to what others are trying to tell her, such as why Al and Ed were looking for her in the north. Fear is something Mei rarely shows, often having greater courage than one would expect a girl her age to have; she faced off with the Maniquin Soldiers and Father during the Promised Day, without any signs of turning back.
Mei Chang is a girl of many talents. She is one of the best martial artists in FMAB, capable of surprising balance, amazing acrobatic feats, and extremely difficult kicking techniques. When she was in northern Amestris, she displayed the ability to effectively defeat multiple powerful opponents in a matter of seconds.
As a warrior of Xing, Mei is able to sense the chi (energy) of other beings, both human and homunculi. This allows Mei to track, gain insight into the intentions of others, and learn about her opponents' abilities.
Mei has been shown to accurately throw knives over fairly long distances. She usually does this to enhance the range of her Alkahestry, but with her skill and precision, she could effectively do it in combat.
Mei has displayed a high-level intelligence, on par with Al and Ed Elric. Despite her young age, she has mastered the complex science of Alkahestry and can use it effectively in stressful situations. She understands the human body very well and knows how to efficiently heal most types of wounds. She is also very imaginative and uses it to find creative solutions to solve problems. When she was in northern Amestris, she was the only one who discovered how to decode Scar's brother's notes, despite several other people being there, including Tim Marcoh, a certified genius.
Mei is a master of Alkahestry, and has been able to effectively heal many people with it over the course of the series. Mei is well rounded with the most advanced techniques of Alkahestry and her skills in them were instrumental in the battle against Father. She was skilled enough to qualify as an Alkahestry teacher to Alphonse. She is so prodigious in the art of Alkahestry that it parallels the genius of Edward Elric in alchemy. Mei's prowess in Alkahestry continues to grow as she continues to learn and teach it after the defeat of Father.
Scar - Mei stumbles across Scar during her travels in Amestris and seems to immediately like him, despite his gruff personality and his initial obsession with revenge and murder. Mei is the first one in the story to treat Scar as a person rather than as an opponent and the two begin a close, almost familial relationship.
Alphonse Elric - Mei first had a crush on Edward Elric, but once she finally met him, his short stature and shorter temper put the two immediately at odds with each other; Mei's romantic dream was shattered. Later, while recovering from injuries at Dr. Knox's house with Alphonse, she asks him if his real body resembles Ed. Al, outraged (or as outraged as he can be) insists rather defensively that he is taller, more handsome, and more polite than his elder brother, and Mei immediately transfers her affections to the younger Elric, imagining him to be a dashing knight in shining armor. For the rest of the story, she refers to him as "Alphonse-sama" (in the original Japanese language) and although they bicker while she tries to teach him alkahestry in the North, due to their mutual intelligence and combat skills, they work well together in several adventures, including cracking Scar's brother's code and capturing Envy. Mei weeps when they part ways. Reunited during the final battle with Father, Al goes to great lengths to protect Mei and then asks her to help him make a terrible sacrifice, to which she reluctantly agrees. Her relief at seeing Al return in his former body brings her to near-hysteric tears. As Ed and Al walk home toward Resembool, Ed commented on how Al has become an object of affection of Mei and in return, he too has grown fond of her. Two years later, Al departs for Xing to visit Mei and learn alkahestry from her. From the final Elric Family picture, most people conclude that Alphonse, after learning all the alkahestry from Mei, decides to take her to Amestris.
Lan Fan and Ling Yao - Ling is Mei's older half-brother, but Lan Fan is the only other Xingese character with whom Mei has an extended conversation during the story. Because they come from rival clans, upon seeing each other both Mei and Lan Fan immediately tried to kill each other, despite the fact that both were injured and currently recovering under Dr. Knox's care. Knox immediately defused their standoff, and his story about the Ishval Massacre caused both girls to lose the will to fight. Much later, after the last fight with Father, Mei despairs that Ling, having been a Homunculus, has won the race to bring the secret of immortality to the Emperor of Xing. However, Lan Fan asks Ling to protect the Chang clan when he becomes Emperor, to which he readily agrees, much to Mei's surprise.
Xiao-Mei - Mei and Xiao-Mei have a similar family situation, and thus feel a strong connection to each other. Just as Xiao-Mei was abandoned by the other pandas due to her stunted growth, Mei in a way feels that her whole family is abandoned by Xing, due to the low standing of the Chang clan. In Chapter 48 it is shown that Xiao-Mei considers Mei and herself on the same level of respect, second only to Alphonse, due to his ability to not feel pain when Xiao-Mei bites his finger.
After a grueling and perilous trek, Mei finally arrives in the Amestrian frontier town of Youswell, where she uses her abilities to rescue Halling from a collapsed mine. When the residents of Youswell compare her to the first alchemist to perform an act of heroism in their town, Mei falls immediately in love with her misguided perception of Edward Elric (having misinterpreted Halling's description of Fullmetal and his legendary exploits) and sets off in search of him, hoping that her new imaginary lover may be able to help her strengthen her clan. She and Xiao-Mei make their way to Central (along the way just missing Edward in Resembool), where they encounter Yoki and Scar and join up with them after hearing that Scar, too, is chasing after the Fullmetal Alchemist. Mei is the first to recognize the symbols tattooed on Scar's right arm as the Dragon's Pulse, a purification array that represents the basis of Alkahestry.
Drawn to Scar's underlying good nature, Mei becomes his ally and friend, rescuing him and healing his wounds after his ill-fated encounter with the Elrics, Hawkeye, and Gluttony. In return, Scar warms up to her and helps her locate and follow Alphonse Elric when it appears that he has abducted Xiao-Mei. The two follow Al and Gluttony into Father's underground lair, battling both his army of guard chimeras and the sinking feeling that the power that flows within Central is not a wholesome one.
Upon breaking into Father's inner sanctum, Mei learns that Edward Elric is not, in reality, the statuesque, princely figure she had fabricated and in a rage of misplaced vindication, bursts into attack, revealing that she is still able to transmute within Father's presence as Amestrian alchemists are not. She is injured while battling Gluttony and is forced to escape from the battlefield hidden inside Alphonse's armor.
Alphonse takes Mei to be treated at the home of Dr. Knox, where she encounters and recognizes Lan Fan as a retainer of the Yao clan and challenges her to a duel, as each of the twenty royal heirs are seeking to eliminate each other in the bid for the Emperor's favor and, subsequently, the throne. Their skirmish is cut short by the intervention of Dr. Knox, who refuses to allow two of his patients to injure each other further. As Knox tells Alphonse the gruesome story of the Ishval Civil War, Mei and Lan Fan listen on. Mei finds a kindred spirit in Alphonse. She later asks him if his real body is similar to Edward's and Alphonse reacts as if Mei had insulted him; he becomes rather defensive and insists to Mei that he is taller, more handsome, and more polite than his older brother. Mei, envisioning Alphonse as a dashing prince, finds herself crushing on the younger Elric instead.
After leaving Knox's home fully recovered, Mei rejoins Scar and Yoki - who now have Tim Marcoh in tow. Mei recognizes the name from Knox's stories of Ishval and is excited to finally have a lead to the Philosopher's Stone, but Scar tells her that she must not lust for such an evil thing. After Scar destroys the outer layer of Marcoh's face, he asks Mei to use Alkahestry to staunch the bleeding while leaving the wound itself intact so as to let the doctor's face heal albeit malformed, disguising him from enemies.
North to Briggs
Now that they have an Amestrian Alchemist, a Xingese Alchemist, and an Ishvalan Alchemist, the group makes their next move - recovering Scar's brother's alchemy notes from the place they are hidden: Briggs. Mei and Marcoh head north together by a train while Scar plays decoy with Yoki on foot. They find the notes, but are unable to decipher them without Scar around. Mei discusses the differences between Alchemy and Alkahestry, but mentions to Marcoh that his assertions regarding the origin of alchemical energy are incorrect - rather than stemming from the movement of tectonic plates in the Earth's crust, she believes that the true source of the energy is from the movement of a multitude of human souls. She also reveals she no longer wishes to use the Philosopher's Stone. Like the Elric brothers, she believes it would be wrong to use human lives and even if she just tells him how to make it, she knows he can and will gather the necessary sources to do so.
After heading North, Mei and Tim Marcoh sneak away from the train station in disguise, as they had found out that Kimblee was pursuing them, and had the train station closely watched. Instead, Scar and Yoki (dressed up as Marcoh) confronted the Red Lotus Alchemist, and as a result Scar had critically injured him.
Afterwards, the team meets back up at the house where Scar had hidden his brother's notes. However, Scar noticed that the Briggs team was closing in, and so they had moved into an abandoned mining town to hide in. After they escape the pursuing Kimblee yet again, the group hides in the outskirts of a town where Marcoh takes on a job as a Doctor. Soon after though, Envy, who was deliberately led to the hideout, had attacked. However, the group had set up traps specifically to destroy him. Mei had placed a multitude of transmutation circles on the ground before the battle, then as Envy stood on one, she would activate it using alkahestry to injure him. After Envy is defeated by Tim Marcoh, who had destroyed his Philosopher's stone, Mei is told by Scar to return to Xing with Envy (in his original form, a small lizard) since she, as a Xingese citizen, should not be caught up in their affairs and has her own mission to think about for the sake of her clan.
Back to Xing?
However, as Mei passes through Youswell on the desert's border, their kindness guilt her into remaining in Amestris to help the country fight against the homunculus. Envy encourages her to return to Father's lair, and she heads off to Central.
It's unclear what Mei did during the time skip, but presumably, part of it was spent traveling from Briggs to Youswell, and then back to Central. When we next see her, she has just arrived in Central and is heading through the same tunnels to Father's lair that she traversed with Scar earlier in the series. There, she, Envy and Xiao Mei encounter a horde of Mannequin Soldier Homunculi, which began to chase them. Mei fights them off, but Envy manages to absorb most of the soldiers and returns to his former form. A fight then ensues, and from Envy's reaction, Mei determines the correct direction to Father's lair. The two of them fight in the pipelines beneath the city and finally fall through to the chamber below Laboratory 3, where Roy, Riza, Edward, Scar, Zampano, Jerso and Darius were fighting more Mannequin soldiers. Scar, shocked to see Mei still in Amestris, yells at her for not returning to her country. Mei, shocked and confused, tears up, to which Scar gruffly responds "Whatever. Don't cry." Roy and Riza stay behind to fight Envy while Mei and the rest of the group continue through the chamber door, and she uses the Dragon's Pulse to lead them to Father's lair. However, Scar and Edward soon return to stop Roy, leaving her with the chimera.
Later, when the Gold-Toothed Doctor and his henchmen slit Riza's throat to force Roy to perform human transmutation, Mei and the Chimaera pop out of the pipes in the ceiling in time to stop the Doctor's plans. The battle between Scar, the chimera, and the henchmen resumes, and while Roy cradles Riza--who has now fainted from blood loss--Mei tries to retrieve the Philosopher's Stone that the Gold-Toothed Doctor dropped. However, Roy's panicked cries appeal to her selfless nature once again. She rushes to their side and uses Alkahestry to seal Riza's wound. After urging Riza to rest, as Mei only stopped the bleeding and could not create more blood to replace that which she had lost, Mei mentions that she can once again sense enormous amounts of twisted ch'i beneath them, which causes the Gold-Toothed Doctor to panic and tell them to stay away from that place. Then a wounded Wrath arrives, followed by Pride, who absorbs the Gold-toothed Doctor and forces Roy to perform Human Transmutation, thereby transporting him to Father's Den. Wrath tries to stall Mei, Scar, Hawkeye and the chimera by provoking them, but, from the Gold-Toothed Doctor's earlier reaction to Mei's sensing the chi'i, they realize Wrath is trying to stall them. Scar stays to fight Wrath while Mei descends to Father's lair.Mei is initially distraught to see Alphonse unconscious again, but after he reawakens and she realizes that Father has the ultimate secret to immortality (which she still seeks for the Xing Emperor) Mei insists she can take Father on herself with Alkahestry. Father glares at her and tells her "You don't belong here," but she tells the Elrics to take down Pride, and then attacks Father, managing to pin his arms down. She then leaps at Father to finish him despite Hohenheim's warning, but because Father can absorb her throwing knives and transmute without moving, he repels her using his Philosopher's Stones. Mei is knocked away, bleeding from her eyes and mouth.
Alphonse rushes to Mei while she partially cures herself, leaving Edward with Pride, and Alphonse protects her from Father's attack, but the Elrics' and Izumi's efforts to stop them prove futile, and Father activates the nationwide transmutation circle, thereby opening the world's gate. Mei, Greed, Roy, Riza, Izumi, Hohenheim, Alphonse, and Edward are the only ones left alive and bear witness Father's new form, much to their shock. As Father unleashes his alchemical attacks on the group, Hohenheim creates an energy shield while Mei literally holds the ground, preventing Father from attacking from below. After Hohenheim's failsafe activates, Mei continues to defend the group from Father's attacks.
The Final Battle
After Father escaped to replenish his stone supply, Mei pursues him with Alphonse, and both are eventually struck by a beam of pure energy. The younger Elric shields her and Xiao-Mei from the full force of the attack, and falls apart in the process. Edward is blown back by another of Father's explosions, and his automail arm is destroyed while his remaining human arm is impaled on a spike, rendering him trapped and unable to use alchemy. Alphonse, in a panic, tries to rise, but nearly cracks his blood seal. He then begs Mei to help him trade his soul back for Edward's arm, saying she's the only one he could ask. She tearfully complies.
At the end of the battle, Mei is seen crying next to Al's broken armor. She happily greets him once Edward sacrifices his ability to use alchemy in order to resurrect Alphonse. Later, Ling takes her back to Xing, promising to gather all clans and protect them once he becomes the Emperor. Mei notes angrily that Greed has rubbed off on him.
After a two-year time skip, Alphonse prepares to travel to Xing in order to study Alkahestry with Mei. In the epilogue, she is seen in the new Elric family picture.
- Mei means "beautiful" in Chinese. Also, Mei Mei means "little sister," possibly a reference to her relation to Ling Yao. Chang is a typical Chinese surname.
- Her English voice actress, Monica Rial, also played Lyra in the 2003 anime series.
- Unlike her crush on Ed (which was largely due to her imagination tricking her), Mei's affection for Alphonse is more genuine as she got to know him as a person (as she couldn't judge him by appearance due to fact he was just a soul attached to a suit of armor until The Promised Day.)
- Mei's first appearance in Youswell is cut from the 2009 anime.
- In the 2009 anime, Mei meets Scar and Yoki much earlier than in the manga, around the time the Elric brothers meet her half-brother Ling Yao. In the manga, Mei had just arrived in Amestris at the time Ling and the Elrics were meeting.
- In the opening Hologram, Mei is shown holding her two kunai in a fighting stance, suggesting that, along with using them as mediums for Alkehestry, she can also use her kunai in combat.
- Mei is quite polite to older strangers, always calling them mister or miss.
- What Mei was up to until The Promised Day was never revealed.
- Given Scar's surprise at her return, it's not likely she was helping with the Reverse Transmutation Circle.