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Monday, January 2, 2012

Review: FullMetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

Published: January 22, 2002
Story/Artwork: Hiromu Arakawa
Young Adult
Volumes: 27 (Complete)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Science Fiction
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...

I never wanted this story to end. The action, the emotions, the humor, everything was well executed and every idea, every foreshadow came together fantastically. Even with a simplistic style of manga art, the story made each character come off the pages. And with that I applaud to Hiromu Arakawa. Astounding. 

Human Transmutation is illegal. Alchemy is a skill like any other and it is not taken lightly, for the law of equivalent exchange must justify the means. Just mere children, Edward and Alphonse Elric contribute to the action of Human Transmutation to bring back their deceased mother, for the chains of  being alone are too strong for the boys. Everything goes wrong. In the midst of the transmutation the boys begin to lose pieces of themselves: Alphonse lost his whole body and Edward lost his arm and leg. To keep Al's soul on earth, Ed bounds him to a suit of armor. This is the story of two boys who being to search for the philosopher's stone, to being their bodies back to what they once more. 

Everything about this manga made me smile, laugh, grow angry, and cry. It's a bittersweet tale that circles around not only the Elric brothers but the lives that they touch on their journey. At times I was even thrown out of my seat by how scenes connected in the end and how powerful the emotions towards the characters I bonded to, how they just overcame me. 

Each chapter was rewarding, the dialogue was witty, resourceful, or empowering. The scenes with Mustang and Edward were always my favorite because of the hostility and the humorous actions, faces (so many funny faces made by Ed), and dialogue. The short jokes of Ed left me chuckling. 

This is definitely a manga that I would pick up again and reread. It left me with many tears but also left me with a warm heart, remembering the characters as if I was on the journey with them, dealing with the same hardships and overcoming them. 

Story: XS

Artwork: XS