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Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 1 Paperback – May 3, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews
Book 1 of 27 in the Fullmetal Alchemist Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This manga inspired the popular series now airing on the Cartoon Network and captures the show's brand of mystical, action-packed adventure. Set in a steam-powered locale that isn't necessarily in our world, the series follows two teenage brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric—one bearing two cybernetic replacement limbs while the other's soul animates a cumbersome suit of armor. The two are government agents wielding prodigious abilities in alchemy who carry out the hazardous assignments issued by their handlers. Their exploits range from thwarting the machinations of a fraudulent and ambitious priest who abuses the faith of his oblivious flock to cunningly extracting an impoverished mining community from the exorbitant clutches of a corrupt official and dealing with a train-hijack situation that owes a serious debt to the film Under Siege. In a market glutted with too many like-minded efforts, Arakawa's work grabs readers and shakes them with simple yet eloquent visuals and a bizarre concept. To give away more would ruin the story, but the snippets of the brothers' origin hint at much darker things to come, and such portents herald fun in upcoming installments. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Born in Hokkaido (northern Japan), Hiromu Arakawa first attracted national attention in 1999 with her award-winning manga Stray Dog. Her series Fullmetal Alchemist debuted in 2001 in Square Enix's monthly manga anthology Shonen Gangan.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: VIZ Media LLC; 1st edition (May 3, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591169208
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591169208
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.7 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
First of all, to set things straight, the manga came first. The anime is based on the manga, and the plotlines are completely different (seeing as how the manga is still being released in Japan while the anime already ended). That being said, we can move on to discuss this manga, which I find to be superior to the anime.

The art is amazing, everything is drawn well and the thick, bold lines make it easy to distinguish characters and backgrounds, unlike some manga where the art is just too crowded and confusing. The character design is excellent, and they all look great, especially Lust, Gluttony and the rest of the sins (to be intorduced in later volumes).

The plot is interesting and engaging. While the first volume is simply 4 side-stories and serves as an introduction to the main characters, the plot remains constant throughout the next volumes, never straying off to subplots.

One of the best aspects about this manga is the perfect combination between comedy, action and drama. It's a hillarious manga (ranging from Ed's height-based jokes to Roy's slacking-off and womanizing jokes), yet it manages to have solid, thrilling action and touching drama. However, the combination between these elements excells in that it's never entirely action, or entirely comedy, or entirely drama, and it works perfectly.

FMA's best quality, though, in my opinion, is that it's unique. It is a Shonen manga, but it's different from other Shonen. It's realistic, it doesn't focus on battles, and it lacks many elements of typical Shonen (such as flashy, long battles, or heroes that are willing to sacrifice themselves for anyone). This uniqueness makes FMA appealing and interesting. And considering this is Arakawa's first big manga (she had done a short stroy before FMA), it is a huge success.

Highly recommended, the best manga I've ever read.
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Format: Paperback
I used to hate anime and manga as a whole. That was until I decided to watch the Fullmetal Alchemist anime on a whim. Saw all 51 episodes and the movie in two days- yes, it was that addictive. Fresh out of anime and disgusted with the end of the series/movie, I bought the manga. And believe it or not, the manga is even better than the anime.

At first, it dosn't seem that much different from it, but once you get into the series, oh how much more does it offer! The charactrization is deeper, and so is the plot. Every month I'm still left on a great big hanger wondering what's going to happen next. Not only is the story line, characters, and action great, this manga is chock-full of heart and morals. Some of the stuff in here is pretty deep, don't be decieved by it. And for a mythology/symbolism nut like me, it offers a lot of entertainment.

For those of you who haven't seen the anime, the plot goes like this:

Edward and Alphonse Elric, two brothers from a rural town in the country of Amestris, tried to resurrect thier dead mother with the help of alchemy. However, things take a thing for the worse- the transmutaion goes horribly wrong, and Ed looses an arm and leg. Alphonse looses his entire body. Ed then transmutes Al's soul to an empty suit of armor, and Ed's limbs are replaced with Automail ( steel posthetics). The two brothers then set out on a quest for the Philosopher's Stone(this is nothing like Harry Potter, don't worry)which is the only thing that can return thier bodies to a normal state. In order to do this, Ed ends up working as a State Alchemist. And that's only the begining. Hiromu Arakawa keeps us constantly on our toes with so many plot twists, it's impossible to get bored of this manga.
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Format: Paperback
This is my favorite manga series by far, and I'm really glad to see it released over here, since the anime was grabbed first and I kept wondering when someone would pick up the manga. (Note: the anime IS based on the manga, not the other way around - it's just that the anime was picked up for a North American release before the manga was) The translation seems fairly good, with a couple of minor rough spots that didn't really bug me that much.

I really like the characters in this series, not only because character development is done well but also because each person in the story has a distinct and unique appearance and personality. No one seems blah or uninteresting, and no one can be mistaken for any other character. (I've seen this in too many other manga series)

I also like the blend of angst and comedy - the central tragedy in the series is very sad and there are a number of heart-wrenching scenes, but somehow the series manages to be amusing and light-hearted in other places without seeming awkward in transition. Action scenes are also awesome. It's a good mix, anyway.

Fullmetal Alchemist keeps you entertained and wanting more. The characters are likable and the plot is engaging. Isn't that as much as you can ask for in a good manga series?
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Format: Paperback
Fullmetal Alchemist is a series that sure isn't lacking in anything. The characters are well-rounded and interesting, the world is fascinating, and the action and humor in the plotline will keep you begging for more. The family bond between Edward, Alphonse, and their mother that caused the two brothers to go to such great lengths for each other and her is heartwarming. There is plenty of darkness in this manga, from cold enemies who care nothing for human lives to the questions the series brings up about humanity--but in the end, even if killers are still on the loose and the heroes are still bleeding, I always end up with a smile on my face. The way problems are solved is always clever and you can bet on a few good laughs along the way, be it laughing with the heroes or at the enemy (or both!). The world seems real to me and it is easy to lose myself in it. The art is fantastic and what really stuck out in my opinion are the characters' expressions. I find myself feeling along with them a lot of the time. So, while like everything, this series may not be for everyone, it is certainly an amazing series that is worth your time.
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