+ A thrilling read
+ Excellent artwork
+/ Focuses on death and blood
4 out of 5
Fullmetal Alchemist Manga Review
Written by: Karthon
Edward and Alphonse Elric are brothers, both of whom can use a power called Alchemy.
The concept behind alchemy is "Exact Trade." You destroy something to
create sometime using the same component parts. For example Al breaks a radio and fixes it by putting
it in an alchemy circle and applying his power to it. Since all the parts of the radio are there, he doesn't have to add anything to it, to fix it again.
Years ago, Ed and Al lost their mother to a disease. At the time they were children and, disregarding the rules of alchemy, they attempted to bring their mother back to life using a forbidden technique. As a result Al's body was destroyed and Ed's leg was consumed in the failure. Ed then sacrificed his arm to bind Al's soul into a suit of armor. Ever since then Ed has walked around with a prosthetic arm and leg, made of a material called auto-mail, while Al has been forced to live his life as a hollow suit of armor.
In an attempt to bring themselves back to their original forms, Ed and Al join the military to procure information about a fabled item known as the Philosopher's stone. This stone is reported to be able to amplify an alchemist's power, bypassing the universal law of equivalent exchange. But as they get closer to the truth of the philosopher's stone, they uncover dark secrets about the military, artificial people, and the stone itself.
This is an incredibly dark manga, with characters being killed left and right. However these aren't minor characters being slaughtered, they are fairly major ones, who play important roles in revealing the truth of the entire military government. As a result, the storyline plays out in bits and pieces, with the reader getting only glimpses of the truth before people are eliminated. This makes for a thrilling read as you never know whom to trust and whether a statement is true or not. You're left grasping for the truth amongst the web of lies, much like the protagonists are.
The art is also excellent, with completely different faces and body types of each character. Some mangas tend to use similar traits amongst varied characters but this one avoids it. My only dislike for this series is that the story relies a bit too much on death and blood to cover up everything. It gets a bit repetitive when the author decides to constantly kill off characters at the most crucial moments, rather than finding new and innovative ways to silence them. That said, it is an excellent manga if you don't mind its darkness.
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