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Mega Manga Challenge (1): Fullmetal Alchmist vol. 1 by Hiromu Arakawa

>>Friday, July 22, 2011

Title: Fullmetal Alchemist
Author: Hiromu Arakawa
Demographic: Shonen
Format: Manga
Pages: 184
Genre: Steampunk, Science Fiction, Adventure
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2005
Publisher: Viz
Rating: B+

Summary: Dabbling in alchemy carries a price. When brothers Edward and Alphonse played with the mystical power to alter the natural world, they both paid dearly. One lost an arm and a leg; the other became a soul locked into a body of living iron. Now these siblings are slaves of the evil military-alchemical complex, using their unique powers for dire purposes. Fullmetal Alchemist combines powerful graphics with a strong original story line.

My Review

Why did I read this book? This is first day of my Mega Manga Challenge and I wanted to pick a book that had some signficance. You see, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood (and also it's predecessor, Fullmetal Alchemist) is my favorite anime. I always wanted to read the manga but never got the chance or the right motivation. I thought it would be a good start to the challenge!

What I liked: This volume begins with Ed and Al (pictured on the cover) traveling to a small town to where they find out a prophet of the sun god Leto has some miraculous abilities, such as bringing thigns back to life. They think he might have something their looking for, the Philosopher's stone, which allows the user to bypass the alchemic laws of equivalent exchange (you can only gain something by giving something of equal value. There's a reason they're after this stone, but I won't say because it would spoil it!

Needless to say, the boys go on many adventures, being that Ed (the blond one) is a State Alchemist. That means he's strong enough in alchemy that he can work for the government. Alchemy is the 'magic' in the story, where alchemists draw a transmutation circle on the ground and use it to transform materials inside that circle into others (such as coal into gold, etc). I really love this idea and think it's pretty awesome. It's a great magic system because there are definite limits (such as equivalent exchange) but also lots of room for creativity. Another aspect I really enjoyed is the steampunk nature of the story. It takes place in what seems to be some kind of industrial era, perhaps in a European like country (can't be sure though) and is full with a bunch of steampunk goodness like automail, trains, and fun gagdets.

Finally, I love the humor. Ed is hilarious in his insecurities (such as being called 'puny') and the way Al plays off of this is great.

What I didn't like: There's not much I didn't like in this first volume.

Thoughts on the cover: Not my favorite but at least it shows the main characters.

Overall Thoughts
This is a must read for anyone interested in shonen manga or adventure stories. It's got humor, great artwork and the beginnings of a great story. We aren't revealed too much about the main plot, but we get a good introduction to some of the main characters. I will definitely be reading the second volume.


  1. I keep seeing this around, but I'd never heard much about it before. Sounds good! I'll keep an eye out at my library.

  2. I LOVE this series! Great start to your challenge :)

  3. FMA is without a doubt my favorite manga series, and my sister's as well. Ed and his various insecurities are hilarious-- and the story world is so fascinating. I've read up to volume 15... really want to finish the series! Hope you enjoy volume 2 just as much, and can't wait to read what you think of it. :)

  4. I've been wanting to try this series for what seems like ages, but have never got around to it. Though I think I'll be changing that soon. Thanks for the great review of it. =)

    The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

  5. Oh man! You will LOVE the rest of the series!!! It's very different from the original anime (haven't seen brotherhood to know) but it's SO AMAZING. I love it so much. :D

  6. @Amber: From what I know, Brotherhood is a direct adaptation of the manga :)



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