Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 1 Paperback
Illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa
Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world; something between magic, art and science.
When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in this power to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost an arm and a leg...and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living steel.
Now Edward is an agent of the government, a slave of the military-alchemical complex, using his unique powers to obey orders...even to kill.
Except his powers aren't unique. The world has been ravaged by the abuse of alchemy. And in pursuit of the ultimate alchemical treasure, the Philosopher's Stone, their enemies are even more ruthless than they are...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 192 pages
- Publisher: Viz Media, Subs. of Shogakukan Inc
- Publication Date: 03/05/2005
- Category: Manga
- ISBN: 9781591169208
- Paperback from £8.35
Showing 1 - 5 of 15 reviews.
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Review by slothman
The first tankobon of Fullmetal Alchemist looks like fairly straightforward steampunk shonen action-- entertaining, some good laugh-out-loud moments, but not exceptional. It's in this volume that Arakawa lays the groundwork for the plot threads of a much darker story of intrigue and disillusionment; start here to thoroughly appreciate the context.
Review by Providences
One of my favorite Animes, the manga is just as good.
Review by narwhaltortellini
There's just no way for me to think of this manga on its own without thinking about the anime for me, so I won't even try. So it's probably worth mentioning what I thought of the anime, especially since it's a rather rare view. I didn't care for it, exactly. But I'm not really sure why. It wasn't for lack of wanting to. It was quite a while ago now, but I can still say it's just the sort of thing I should have liked, and it seemed pretty well done. I do remember a lot of the moral dilemmas felt kind of simplistic and kiddie to me (A man is overtaxing the people on his land. OH NOES! Let us smash him!!!!), the love interest was a bore, and the relationship between the brothers was so simple sweet and innocent and dedicated that while I suppose it could be a nice emotional core, it was an almost entirely tensionless emotional core, and that's a little lame in my book. I think I've liked things that have committed these same crimes, though, so why not this? Whatever it was, almost nothing that was supposed to make me feel conflict or an emotional impact did in the slightest (save some incident I vaguely remember with melding a little girl with..something? But it wasn't even main character related, so it's not like that can bring continuing investment/interest/enjoyment). After a long time assuming/trying to believe that if I watched it long enough to get into the characters I would like it all more, I eventually and regretfully gave up.So now much later, I tried the manga for a second chance. And...while it's early to judge, I think you can pretty much take all the stuff I said about the anime and apply it here, but also take the quality down a notch as well. Or really, the humor is up and the drama is down a little. In some ways this is good, seeing as how, like I mentioned before, the moral dilemmas seemed silly to me, so being big and sweeping and squeezing all the drama possible out of it would make me roll my eyes. On the other hand, a lot of the humor is just Ed being annoyed at people calling him short. Stuff that's nice for creating a light, fun mood, but not exactly *funny.* So basically, the manga traded something I disliked (the way it was being done) for something I didn't care for. For me, things don't change much, but for other readers I think they'll like it less.What I'd really hoped for was that this manga version would somehow up the maturity/complexity of the relationships and moral dilemmas somehow so I could actually enjoy them, I guess. But so far this just seems a little sillier, and completely episodic (though I do hear later volumes get better). In the end I guess I'll have to go back to glancing forlornly back at the anime and being jealous of all the people that can enjoy it as I really ought to be able to. Maybe...If I just give it a few more years from <i>now</i>? ^_^;
Review by exlibrisbitsy
For fans of the anime, this series is a must read. First off, the anime was based on this manga series. The original anime split off in development pretty early on and ended some time ago. For those of you disappointed in that ending you simply must read this manga, and watch the new Brotherhood anime which follows it much more closely. The storyline is so much better and this is one of those cases where the book is ten times better than anything you have seen on screen.For those of you unfamiliar with the story Fullmetal Alchemist turns out to be an engaging series set in the early 1900's about a paranormal world where alchemy is real and its effects on the world and artifacts that increase its power are at once magical and beautiful, sinister and deadly. Transforming something from a broken to a fixed state is handy, transforming something into a grotesque pantomime of what it should be, not so much.The opening to this book is a shock that makes you sit up and take notice. They start you right at the moment that Ed discovers that he is missing his leg (no clean cut, either) and that his brother is gone. It very much sets the tone for the rest of the book, and the series! Very dark and frightening with many hard lessons to be learned and sacrifices that need to be made to set things right after this very gruesome beginning. Right at the end of that first page the book snaps to several years later and you have to read on to find out why Ed and Al are the way they are and what exactly made them that way. Definitely a page turner to find out more about these characters and the lives they have been forced to lead since that very disastrous decision they made as children.The first volume is made up of a series of adventures as Ed and Al try and get their original bodies back. They know that human transmutation is beyond their power alone (just look at what happened last time they tried!) so they seek out the power of the Philosopher's Stone. Ed's power as the youngest State Alchemist (and dog of the military) ever, at age 12, both aids him and gets him in more trouble than he ever would have gotten into on his own.There were lots of funny moments to lighten up the plot. Ed is a very stubborn and petulant child for all that he is in neck deep in an adult world. He throws huge fits when people call him "little", and refuses to drink milk because it's gross. Also, the constant confusion the public has thinking the suit of armor is the Fullmetal Alchemist and that the short kid is his little brother and not the other way around results in some spectacular displays of temper on Ed's part used to great comedic effect.This is a great introduction for the series, it gives you just a taste of who these characters are and what they are setting out to do. There is a great balance struck between the horror, violence, comedy, hints of romance, and adventure throughout. I would definitely recommend it for teen and up though because of the gruesome violence and Ed's occasional potty mouth. If you want to know the rest, you have to read it to find out!
Review by Julie_Sidon
This manga is read in classic japanese format; meaning from right to left. The story starts off far different the the first anime that is based off the manga series. The book gives more intimate details and back ground information. The art of the book is clean and clearly defines the differences in character design and characterization without sacrificing story line or commedy.The story line is also well done, in that it starts off the reader with a slow introduction into the world of Fullmetal alchemist. The story draws the reader in using humerious subplots to emphasis the bigger plot. I found the book too short and had to get the rest of the series currently in print: 24 volumes in my region!
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