Manga Introduction: Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

fullmetal_alchemist“There’s no such thing as a painless lesson-they just don’t exist. Sacrifices are necessary. You can’t gain anything without losing something first. Although if you can endure that pain and walk away from it, you’ll find that you now have a heart strong enough to overcome any obstacle. Yeah… a heart made Fullmetal.”- Edward Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa.

Edward Elric and his younger brother Alphonse are in search of the sorcerer’s stone in order to restore their bodies after a fail human transmutation. Human transmutation is one of the forms of alchemy, but the brothers are determined to have their full bodies back . They might seem like a odd pair with the elder at 4’8″ with a automail arm and leg and the younger twice the height trapped in a suit of armor yet even with these odd fact, the brothers fight to gain what they want.

Here are some fact about Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa:

  • It was published in July of 2001 and ended 9 years later in July of 2010
  • There are 27 tankobon volumes (manga books) with 4-5 chapters in each.
  • It was published monthly by Square Enix in the magazine Monthly Shōnen Gangan
  • The Fullmetal Alchemist manga has sold approximately 61 million volumes as of 2013.
  • The English release of the manga’s first volume was the top-selling graphic novel during 2005.
  • In two TV Asahi web polls, the anime was voted the most popular anime of all time in Japan. At the American Anime Awards in February 2007, it was eligible for eight awards, nominated for six, and won five
  • There is an ongoing light novel series.
  • It has two anime series. The first one is called Fullmetal Alchemist and does not follow the original plot of the manga. The second series is called Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood and follows most of the manga’s plot. Each series has a full-length anime film, Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa and Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos respectively, to complete the series.

This is such an amazing series that I could go on with the facts but instead I will write about what I think of this manga. This is truly one of the best I have seen or read. It has a near perfect mix of characters and themes to spin a wonderful tale of adventure and excitement. One of my favorite things about this manga is that each characters each have their own quirks. Such as the main character, Edward Elric, sensitivity about his height and his habit of exploding and uttering comical lines of frustration.

“Shorty?! Could a shorty do this?! What else you want to call me: a half-pint bean-sprout midget?! I’m still growing you backwater desert idiots!” – An example of Edward Elric “short rants”

Another thing to admire about this manga is the many important themes it brings. Yes, this is set in another universe but there are many themes that could be applied to daily life. Such as the importance of a family and how they can make a difference in someone. There are many quotes in the manga that are worth memorizing. This is a very complex manga to explain in words. It easier to just read it and decide what you think. So why don’t you?

– Sarah J., 10th grade

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