Shou Tucker, the Sewing-Life Alchemist (綴命の錬金術師, Teimei no Renkinjutsushi) was referred to Edward Elric by Colonel Roy Mustang in Chapter 5 when the Fullmetal Alchemist was in need of a bio-alchemist whose research notes might hold a clue to restoring his and Alphonse's bodies. Tucker had gained a bit of notoriety and earned his State Alchemist's License two years prior to the series by producing a chimera capable of human speech.
Ed and Al begin visiting Tucker at his estate to pore over his library of texts and forge a bit of a friendly relationship with the Sewing-Life Alchemist as well as his young daughter Nina and their dog Alexander, though Tucker's wife was said to have left the family two years before. Tucker explains to the Elrics that bio-alchemy, especially in the field of chimeric research is experimental at best and results in a large number of failures and false starts. Tucker himself notes that, ever since the speaking chimera that earned him his license, he has yet to present an alchemical breakthrough worthy of his yearly State Alchemist assessment and fears that a failure this year will cost him his certification and research privileges.
When Tucker reveals to the Elric brothers that he has finally managed to create another speaking chimera, Edward quickly perceives that Tucker has bypassed the impediments of artificially creating a being capable of comprehending and vocalizing speech by instead alchemically merging a live human with an animal - in this case Nina and Alexander and in the previous case, his wife.
Tucker coldly confirms Edward's gruesome suspicions, to which Edward responds violently. The Sewing-Life Alchemist taunts Fullmetal between blows, stating that the two alchemists are alike in their sacrilege - that Edward's attempt to steal his mother's life back from the grave and Tucker's use of his family's lives to further his research are both indicative of scientific minds that seek knowledge despite any preconceived taboos attached.
Shou has the appearance of a bespectacled middle-aged man, having little in the ways of muscle or height and his receding hairline leaving him only with a small amount of brown hair, and a slight beard stubble. He has only been shown wearing a single outfit, that of a faded green open-collared shirt with sleeves that he keeps rolled up to his elbows, and a second black shirt underneath. When around others he maintains a mildly content expression, however in private he is often more downcast and anxious and is notably depicted as such in his title card caption in the 2009 Anime.
Shou initially comes off as a soft-spoken but asocial man, often preferring to keep to himself rather than spend time with others. When having guests, he does put on a polite persona and appears to be quite gentle, friendly, and kind. However, as his daughter Nina had begun to notice, he was more often engrossed with his work than his family.
In reality, Shou suffered from a lack of confidence due to his research not producing any viable results and is a very desperate, delusional, selfish, and manipulative man devoid of any sort of conscience. In order to get his qualification as a State Alchemist, he was willing to sacrifice his wife and later his own daughter in order to maintain it from fear of returning to a life of poverty and regret. After his atrocities were unveiled, Shou showed a notable lack of remorse for his actions and instead claimed it was merely the advancement of science, focused solely on remaining a State Alchemist.
Shou has no genuine empathy for others' feelings, and while he intellectually understood that others would be enraged if they found out the truth behind his experiments—hence his lying to Nina and the Elric brothers that his wife abandoned them—he was unable to comprehend why they should be. As a result, Edward's violent reaction to his confirmation that he'd turned his own wife and daughter into chimeras took him by surprise.
Manga & 2009 Anime
Unable to reverse the damage that Tucker has done to Nina, the Elrics have no choice but to leave the estate and report the incident to Colonel Mustang, who places Sewing-Life under house arrest with his daughter until he is to be tried in Central City. While waiting for Lieutenant Colonel Maes Hughes and Major Alex Louis Armstrong to arrive in East City to take him into custody, Tucker confides to his mutated Chimera daughter that no-one understands him.
At that moment, the mysterious Scar makes his first appearance (second appearance in the 2009 anime) by breaking into the estate and murdering Shou Tucker. Scar allows Shou's daughter to mourn briefly before mercy-killing her. The Elrics are later informed of the Tuckers' fates by Hawkeye and that Tucker would have faced decommission and court-martial for what he did to his daughter and soon after, they are attacked by Scar and learn that he is the Tuckers' murderer. While this is going on, Lust and Envy briefly discuss the matter of Tucker's fate in Reole.
Tucker later reappears in a dream in Chapter 43, accusing Edward of turning his brother and mother into monsters.
In Episode 7, Maes Hughes briefly mentions the case of Tucker and Nina is still open but immediately drops the subject as it annoys Ed.
In Episode 20, Ed is haunted by the memory of Tucker taunting him after turning Nina into a chimera.
In Episode 22, the Elrics confront Scar for the lives he's taken, including Tucker and Nina.
Though in the manga the Elrics meet Shou Tucker as part of the normal chronology, in the 2003 anime series the Tucker arc is a flashback set while the brothers are preparing for the State Alchemy exam. Apart from offering the Elrics advice and allowing them to use his library for studying, Tucker continues to pay little attention to them and Nina. Tucker at least allows Nina to go out with the Elrics and trusts the Elrics to keep an eye on her as they take her with them to the Hughes' for Ed's birthday and to their State Alchemy Exam during this time.
Tucker himself plays a significantly larger role in the anime's storyline as instead of being another alchemist under the jurisdiction of Colonel Mustang in East City, Tucker is under the command of Brigadier General Basque Grand in Central, who continually pressures the Sewing-Life Alchemist to perform in accordance with the high standards set by his first chimera and forces the Elrics to leave Tucker's home as a result of Ed investigating his research. By this time, both Tucker and Nina are clearly distraught and embrace each other. However, once the Tuckers have only each other for company again, Tucker resorts to transmuting Nina and Alexander into a chimera.
After Edward's confrontation with Tucker, Grand immediately steps in to take the Tuckers into custody and orders the Elrics not to speak the truth of the matter to anyone (suggesting that he had known the truth behind Tucker's chimera beforehand). Though Edward interferes to allow Nina to escape being a test subject in what Edward calls Grand's attempt to create a "half-beast army", Tucker remains in custody and is reportedly sentenced to death without a trial as part of a cover-up while the Elrics are tasked with going through Tucker's research to the chagrin of a still distraught Ed.
In actual fact, Tucker was not executed but sent to Laboratory 5 as a researcher and test subject. In the 2003 anime's version of the Lab 5 arc, Edward encounters Tucker—who has now become a monstrous chimera himself—during his investigation of the deeper echelons of the facility. Ed admitted his shock at seeing Tucker alive and was still bitter with Tucker for what he did to Nina. Since the death of his daughter, Tucker worked non-stop to try and bring her back in chimera form, failing every time. One of these failures resulted in a rebound, turning the alchemist into a chimera himself. During this time, Tucker also created several non-Nina chimeras and acts as their master. In cooperation with the Homunculi, he attempts to trick Edward into fashioning a Philosopher's Stone out of prison inmates, hoping that the Homunculi will help create new Homunculus body for Nina with his memories as the foundation of her new soul. Paranoid and very unstable, Tucker joined up with anyone who could offer him the protection needed to complete his goal. He joined with Greed's group briefly, most likely on the promise that he could give the homunculus the immortality that he so desired, as well as serve as a doctor to the other chimera working with Greed.
After Greed and his followers' demise, Shou accepted Frank Archer's offer to rejoin the military under his command with alacrity. Using his new-found military privileges in return for building an army of chimera for Archer and the Führer, Tucker used his research to create lifeless dolls in Nina's image. Learning that Al became a vessel for the Philosopher's Stone, he deceived the boy by offering to teach him how to master the Stone; in reality, he only wanted to use Al to transmute a fully-human Nina from his chimera-dolls. Though Tucker succeeded in the first flawless Human Transmutation, Sloth pointed out that Tucker's will was not strong enough to bind Nina's soul into the new body made for her. With his hopes shattered, this bit of information drove Tucker into further madness. He was last seen drawing alchemy arrays on a wall with the Nina doll in his arms, either bent on bringing his daughter back or trying to relive the happy times before his daughter became a victim of his research.
- In the original Japanese, Tucker's first name is pronounced as "Show", while in the English dub, it is mispronounced as "Shao". Ironically, May Chang's pet panda Xiao-Mei is pronounced as "Shao" in Japanese, and sometimes as "Show" in English.
- Tucker is the only known character to have been killed off in the official manga canon storyline, but was alive in 2003 anime storyline (unlike several other characters who survived in the manga storyline, but were killed off in the 2003 anime storyline).
- In the 2003 storyline, Tucker is never seen again after creating a soulless Nina. The fact he failed likely destroyed what was left of his grip on reality.
- Although this is debatable, Tucker is arguably the most widely hated character in the series, both by characters, fans, and even Hiromu Arakawa herself. In the "In Memoriam" omakes, Tucker is the only one shown going to Hell instead of Heaven, with not even characters like Envy, Solf J. Kimblee, or Barry the Chopper joining him.
- This could be explained by Tucker's insanity (unlike the other three, who were aware of who they were and were honest about it); Tucker showed conflicting priorities as he wanted a good home for his family but sacrificed them to create talking chimeras.