Review: Fullmetal Alchemist: Fullmetal Edition, Vol. 1 by Hiromu Arakawa

 

36495876

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Published: 8 May 2018

Publisher: Viz Media LLC

Category: Manga/Science Fiction/Fantasy

Alchemy tore the Elric brothers’ bodies apart. Can their bond make them whole again?

A hardcover, deluxe collector’s edition of one of the most beloved manga and anime of all time! Fully remastered with an updated translation and completely fresh lettering, and presented with color pages on large-trimmed archival-quality paper, this gorgeous hardcover edition presents the timeless dark adventures of the Elric brothers as they were truly meant to be seen. Includes brand-new cover art, color inserts and behind-the-scenes character sketches from author Hiromu Arakawa!

In an alchemical ritual gone wrong, Edward Elric lost his arm and his leg, and his brother Alphonse became nothing but a soul in a suit of armor. Equipped with mechanical “auto-mail” limbs, Edward becomes a state alchemist, seeking the one thing that can restore his and his brother’s bodies…the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

Rating: 4 Stars

In this bind-up of the first few volumes of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga, readers are introduced to the world of alchemy. This alternate history world includes alchemy as science appearing as magic and the complications that comes along with that from believers, skeptics, and fanatics alike.

I was familiar with the story going in, having seen the original anime and the live action movie recently released on Netflix, so I was somewhat familiar with the backstory of Edward and Alphonse Elric, the main characters, as well as the rules and limitations for alchemy within this world.

The world building is excellent. Right away in the first chapter we learn the basic rules of equivalent exchange and what happens to the alchemists that dare to test the boundaries. The Elric brothers history is introduced, including the major event that prompted Ed to become a State Alchemist and on the journey to find salvation for him and his younger brother, a boy whose spirit is now linked to a metal suit.

Characters who will become more important as the series continues debut in this collection, including State Alchemists Roy Mustang and Lieutenant Major Maes Hughes. Villains like the sadistic Shou Tucker, his tragic daughter Nina and her dog Alexander, make for upsetting yet interesting additions to the cast. It really digs deeper into the laws of alchemy, the expectations of the Central Alchemist Board and what they want from their certified members, and how far a person is willing to go in order to attain their status. It’s the single most tear jerking moment in this book and, possibly, the entire series, when you see what Tucker does.

The chapters throughout Vol. 1, aside from the world building, give the Elric brothers time to display their personalities as well as their determination to replace their missing humanity. We see their interactions with townspeople, what sets Ed off (tip: don’t reference his short stature!), how strong their bond is, and more. The cliffhanger at the end of the book leaves a first time reader in suspense as to the future of this close pair as they confront Scar, a “villain” whose intentions are alternately good and devastating.

I look forward to more of the manga series, particularly with the updated translation and the new editions including higher quality art and end papers.

 

 

 

 

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

All media (pictures, quotes, etc.) belong to the respective owners and are used here solely for the purpose of review and commentary.

 

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