Fullmetal Alchemist 1

Fullmetal Alchemist is a series of manga by Hiromu Arakawa. I recently read the first one (I think 25 or so have come out in America in English) based on a recommendation by a friend. Okay, so it’s manga. I’ve read manga before, Fruitsbasket, D. Grey Man, some InuYasha, and Blackbird, but for some reason I’ve always avoided Fullmetal Alchemist. I guess because of how closely it’s associated with the anime. Yeah, the others have anime made of them, but FMA was more well known. I’m not a fan of anime. Too much Japanese.

Anyways, Vol. 1 is four chapters, each, I assume, separately published in magazines in Japan before being put together, and eventually translated. The story follows two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric who, after using alchemy to try to revive the dead, had to pay the consequences. Now the elder brother is missing an arm and a leg, and the the younger brother is nothing more than a soul in a metal suit. The elder brother, Edward, is the state alchemist-incredibly powerful, both alchemy-wise and politically. Both brothers are after the one thing that might be able to restore them to their original bodies, the Philosopher’s Stone. Fans of Harry Potter should recognize that, but the concept is different in this series. The stone lets alchemists transmute matter without paying attention to the unwritten laws of conservation and consequences. The Elric brothers need that to succeed in their quest.

So, the author said that she was sorta inspired by B-rate movies. She tried to bring the over-the-top aspect into the manga. I think she succeeded. It jumps right into action, cleverly weaving in flaskbacks to fill in backstory. The plot seems well developed, with unanswered questions requiring the reader to get more volumes. If the library has Vol. 2, I’ll read it.

180 pages.


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