Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

What is your wish? Gold? Immortality? Fame? Whatever it might be, you can have it!

So long as you’re willing to pay the price for it. How about sacrificing your first born son to get gold? Dying every time you got hurt in exchange for almost immortal like powers? Or even killing a whole town to gain fame!

You see, with alchemy, you can gain anything you want, but the rule of alchemy is that for everything made there is an equal amount that must be given back. Water is needed to instantly make ice, trees in order to make paper. And brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric have just learned the hard way that in order to bring their dead mother back to life, Edward must sacrifice a leg and Alphonse his whole body. And then, Edward sacrificed his arm to put his brother’s soul upon a suit of armor.

Now, Edward and Alphonse have vowed to get their bodies back, or at least Al’s trying to get his back, as Ed wants to keep his leg as a reminder. They travel the world as “dogs of the military”, Ed with a fullmetal arm and leg, and Al in his armor body. Of course, they have heard of the Philosopher’s stone, the stone that defies the rules of alchemy, but they vowed never to use it. And it was good that they did so, as some evil is distributing fake Philosopher’s stones.

This manga is legendary, and deserves the credit it has. It has been rated by many manga sites as one of the top three mangas ever, and, although it is not the best art, the story is amazing. Not only does the manga have some high depth philosophical elements, but it also has some very good tragic and comedy moments, including the most well known death scene in anime and a ferocious mini panda that considers weak humans worse than food.

Additionally, I love that while it goes over how far one is willing to pay for their wishes, it also gets into immortality. For example, the story gets into how two different people crossed a huge desert just to get immortality. Furthermore, there is even one guy who has immortality, though never really wanted and is now faced with the burden of people calling him a monster, seeing people he loves die before him, and the great sin of what he did to gain immortality.

Not only is this manga well known, it was made by a woman. It is extremely rare for action manga to be created by a women, and I can only think of seven other women who can say that they have written a famous action manga, with only two of those rivaling this amazing woman. So, feminists, rejoice by reading a manga that is not only made by a woman, but features a female role model who is in the military and the other women in the manga are not content with just “waiting”.

Finally, the spacing and ending for this manga is incredible! This manga ended a while ago, but I can think of no better way to end the story. I did read Beezelbub, which ran shorter than Fullmetal Alchemist and had a pretty good ending, but I finished reading it feeling that there could have been more the author could have touched on. I have also read Bleach and Naruto, both longer than Fullmetal Alchemist, but Naruto had an okay ending and Bleach had an ending that is to not be spoken of. However, Fullmetal Alchemist was perfect in this regard. Not only did it tie in stuff from the first chapters, such as us meeting the same characters from chapter one near the end, but Ed and Al get their bodies in a way that best suited the characters. The villains died in such a way that the reader feels satisfied, and everyone gets an ending that not only shows what they’re doing in the future, but also shows so much hope for them in the future. This way was really perfect, and I can see no flaws (other than the fact that I felt that one of the very good villains died way earlier than the rest of the very good villains, but that was it).

Once I again, even for non manga lovers, if there is any manga you should read before you die, it is this one.

Megan V,

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