1. There was some pretty aggressive cissexism in episode 4 that I’m still not over. It doesn’t help that it was a really pointless filler episode over all with a plot that made no sense. But the fact that the little girl dressed like a boy meant there must be something “wrong” with her (grief leads to crossdressing, didn’t y’all know that!!!), the fact Ed insulted her about it and then her dressing feminine again was a sign everything was magically better for her and Ed telling her she was “a lot prettier now that she was dressed like a girl”- it was all pretty terrible. Then they made Barry the Chopper an EVIL CROSSDRESSER to top that off, who crossdressed to get girls into his evil clutches. And he fit the stereotype of “effeminate looking and acting and therefore evil murderer”. None of this stuff was in the manga. General Gran’s crossdressing was a bit comedic and I can see that being an issue, though the comedy came pretty much entirely from Roy’s dorky startled reaction, but there was nothing nearly as malicious as here, which suggests anyone who dresses outside their assigned-at-birth-gender roles is either evil or has some deep issues to work out pretty unanimously.
2. The treatment of Winry and a couple other ladies. Riza had her role downsized quite a bit, but I don’t really resent the anime for that because a lot of her major stuff hadn’t come along yet in the manga when the anime was made, and they pretty much kept all the parts she had had up into that point. But they DELIBERATELY downsized Winry’s role in things severely, cutting out quite a few bits she was important in that WERE in the manga at that point. I complained about that and I still will.
There were a lot of episodes where she was reduced to just standing around and reacting emotionally to what Ed and Al were going through.Whenever she appeared in the manga, she was always major and important to the events going on and there was always major character development and usually badassery going on for her. But this anime, they followed the cliche of the lady love interest existing in the story just as a bystander who bears tearful emotional witness to the shonen hero’s problems.
(Also she filled the “neutral female” role in fights quite a few times, whereas in the manga if she was there she always got involved somehow- (not so much for the better so much the first time (though not really for the worst either? Ed put her in danger more than she put him in danger), definitely for the better the second time, if she hadn’t distracted Scar Ed and Al may have lost)- but regardless, she wasn’t the type of person to ever stand by and watch even if she was ridic over her head, so it’s weird the anime put her in that position)
Even her badass infiltration of the military was made worthless by the plot when Ed and Al ended up finding out everything she found out on their own before she could even warn them. Winry Rockbell is a unique character with a very strong character arc who was very important to the narrative of FMA and the anime did it’s damnedest to strip her of her uniqueness and importance, though at least some coolness remained.
Izumi’s illness was used as an excuse to make her vulnerable and in need of saving, and also to keep her out of most fights. As a result, she’s a lot less badass than in the manga. (and they left out a part where she braved Briggs mountain on her own and fought a bear! Idk why :( TOO AWESOME FOR YOU TO HANDLE, ANIME? )