English: Fullmetal Alchemist
Synonyms: Full Metal Alchemist, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi, FMA, Fullmetal Alchemist Gaiden
Published: Jul 12, 2001 to Jun 11, 2010
Authors: Arakawa, Hiromu (Story & Art)
Serialization: Shounen Gangan
Score: 9.081 (scored by 40956 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
2 based on the top manga page.
Popular Tagsaction adventure drama fantasy shounen undefined
Jun 10, 2010
Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the most innovative manga I've ever had the pleasure of reading. The concept of Alchemy itself was a superb idea, and in its nine-year run, there has never been a single wasted pages from Arakawa-sensei. The plot was developed with utmost detail into what is arguably one of the deepest and most engaging storylines to ever grace itself to us Manga fans. There is practically no fillers chapters at all, unlike most other shounen manga to reach this calibre of popularity. Also, the entire storyline has been perfectly planned out and stayed linear for the entire nine-year run, a staggering feat when you compare it to other Mangas in the same genre. If you read this manga from start to finish, you will be amazed at the coherency of the chapters and the inter-relations. You won't think that this was drawn over nine years, more like one long movie shown from start to finish. The ending is also incredibly rewarding for those who follow it up to the end. I won't leave any spoilers here, but know that you won't be disappointed, regardless of how high your expectation is.
FMA, in its nine-year run, had plenty of time to develop a large family of colourful characters. Arakawa-sensei is downright masterful when it comes to her characters. From beginning to end, every character was tweaked to perfection and not a single person is wasted. Also, the reader will not have any trouble getting into their shows because they're all so believable and realistic. From Ed and Al's passionate desire to be reunited with their mother to Roy's tragic past in the Ishballian conflict, and how everything was simply a Chesspiece for the Father's master plan, everyone fits right into place. The plot itself is completely character-driven, and is dependent on all of the characters to make it flourish.
The philosophical deepness of this manga is simply mindblowing for a Shounen manga. Behind each fight is a meaning waiting to be explored. Nothing in this manga happens for show. FMA explores the very purpose of existence, consistently refers to "the purpose of fighting" and goes deep into human emotions. From start to finish, as the character discover the answers to their questions, the reader will also be brought into their World and learn with them, just because that every character is so humane and understandable. The homunculi, named after the seven deadly sins, are also testament to the deepness on FMA. Despite their incredible powers and might over humans, all of them show true sadness that are completely delivered to the reader with Arakawa-sensei's masterful storytelling.
As for the Artwork, it isn't anything mind-blowing, but it's clean and efficient. Arakawa-sensei doesn't waste any panels in her chapters and gets straight to-the-point. One page of FMA will easily deliver more content than 3 pages of Bleach, and since FMA is a plot-driven manga, there's no room for complaints here and doesn't do anything to diminish the enjoyment. It should be noted that, despite the simplistic artwork, Arakawa-sensei never failed to express human emotion with the utmost accuracy and precision. You can really feel the characters on the page.
The enjoyment of this Manga is off the charts. Throughout its run, there are few manga that can come close to competing with FMA in terms of my expectation and urgency to read the next chapter. Arakawa-sensei is quite simply one of the best raconteuses in the industry. From the pace of the narration, the structure of the panels, and the distribution of roles amongst the characters - everything becomes relavent when you simply read the manga in front of your eyes and let the story flow into your brain. The process is so natural yet so intense. For a person who just picked it up, he/she will have trouble putting it down until the final chapter is read. It is simply a seamless, perfect experience that most other manga artists can only dream to draw.
Despite the simple artwork, the engaging plot, deep characters and perfect enjoyment easily overshadows this to earn FMA a very solid 10/10. You've wasted enough time reading this review. If you haven't started reading FMA yet, you should start right away. Regardless of your gender and age, Fullmetal Alchemist is a manga that no one should leave this World without reading first.
Taken from my Blog: http://imperialx.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/fullmetal-alchemist-review/ read more
Jun 13, 2010
Arakawa Hiromu's tale of two brothers and their adventures in alchemy is one of the most well known stories in anime and manga to date, and has spawned a horde of games, a movie (with a second one planned), numerous doujins and fanfics, piles of merchandise ranging from tatoos to chibi plushies, and two very different anime series. The story itself is very typically shounen at times, however there is a depth to proceedings that belies the initial look and feel of the manga. While things begin innocuously enough, it's not long before the reader finds themselves wrestling with moral, religious, and even philosophical motives and actions as the Elric brothers make their journey towards their destiny.
Enough waxing lyrical, on to the nitty gritty. Anyone familiar with Arakawa's other works, especially her one shot manga, will undoubtedly find some surprising similarities to certain events and situations that occur in Full Metal Alchemist. The reason for this is because Arakawa had the foresight to test out various ideas in another form and format before adapting them for use in her flagship title, and this refinement process shows throughout the story. Although this is a shounen tale in the truest sense, there's a degree of complexity and innovation which has been carefully applied in an effort to draw the reader in, and this is one of the hallmarks of Arakawa's storytelling style.
As with any work though, there are a few areas that could have been improved upon. In an effort to lighten the mood from time to time the mangaka has seen fit to apply a few doses of comedy here and there, and while stories like Raiden 18 make it clear that Arakawa has some skills in that department, the application of humour in Full Metal Alchemist is sometimes a bit haphazard. That said, it seems like the mangaka herself also had a similar realisation as the tone of the series becomes much more serious during the latter half, and the frequency of comedic moments drops quite sharply. Surprisingly, the humour is less of a distraction and more of an anodyne for the reader during the later stages of the story, which is a testament to the idea that "less is more".
The artwork is very typical of the mangaka, however once more there is that look of refinement about the characters and settings, and even some of the action sequences. One big plus is that the reader is given a more visual, and sometimes visceral, look into the author's world than one might find in other shounen manga. That said, Rumiko Takahashi's InuYasha is a serious contender in this department, but like that manga, Full Metal Alchemist also suffers from the same problem - the highly stylized characters.
The main issue with the design is that some people may find it doesn't suit their tastes, which will in turn impact upon their appreciation of the story. That said, as an advocate of more individualism in manga and anime, it's nice to read something that remains true to the author's style as there are far too many titles that look identical to each other (e.g. harem romantic comedies and about half of the shoujo manga out there).
As for the characters themselves, suffice to say that the development of the lead roles is very good indeed, and the supporting roles are given a healthy amount of space to shine as well. One of the more interesting aspects is the pace at which the characters are developed throughout the story, and a big plus is the degree of attention given to the "bad guys", especially later in the series. It's a sad fact that shounen tales are filled with shallow antagonists who serve no other purpose than to give the lead character a wall they must "beat down" in order to move the story forward, and while Full Metal Alchemist contains the basic elements of this type of progression, it manages to mask them far better than most action manga out there.
Is there a major downside then? Well, unfortunately there is, but it's one that's very much dependent on personal taste. The reason why the Full Metal Alchemist franchise is a victim of its own success is because of the original anime adaptation of the unfinished manga.
Now one of the problems that fans have is that the two versions of the tale are wildly different in terms of atmosphere, story and character mentality (basically they're like chalk and cheese). The main issue at hand is that while the manga version of Full Metal Alchemist is an excellent series, the original anime adaptation is becoming maligned and misunderstood because it deviates too much from Arakawa's story. Personally I consider both to be equally good, just not in the same way.
Here's what I mean.
Arakawa's manga is a very good story that incorporates a number of typical shounen aspects like never giving up, trusting in one's friends and allies, etc, and while the tale is excellent in both content and execution, in all honesty, it lacks a degree of "darkness" that was inherent in the first anime. One of the things that struck me about this dissonance was the fact that the whole theme of obsession seems to peter out by the end of the manga, whereas the first anime actually ended with that theme still running strong.
Now, some of you maybe a little confused by that perspective, especially as both tales feature the same characters to a degree, however one look at their respective endings will begin to make things a little clearer, and pay particular attention to Alphonse Elric as he is the reason why I consider the two tales to be so very different (and if you're still unsure, then feel free to ask me about it).
It's pretty obvious that I enjoyed Full Metal Alchemist immensely, however my only real gripe with the manga, especially after reading Arakawa's other works, is that there are too many occasions where it feels like the author has purposely moved away from a theme or situation that was used in the original anime, and this can make parts of the story feel a bit rushed. That said, this is actually a minor problem as the whole tale fits together extremely well, and in terms of content Full Metal Alchemist is easily on par with Takahashi Rumiko's masterpiece.
What Arakawa Hiromu has given us is a work that is truly good, despite some minor niggles here and there, and while there are some typically shounen aspects to the tale, Full Metal Alchemist, like Inuaysha, is a far cry from what one would consider a typical shounen manga.
Isn't it ironic then, that the two of greatest shounen tales weren't written by men? read more
Apr 5, 2008
Story: (10) I give this series 10 when it comes to story. Fullmetal's plot is one of the most well-developed and interesting plots I have ever encountered when dealing with manga. Every event has a reaction that ends up playing larger roles in the story than you would think.
Art: (8) I give this series an 8 when it comes to art. Hiromu Arakawa has, without a doubt, tremendous skill when it comes to expressing emotions and human anatomy. However, her work slips in some places, some more noticeable than others. The fact that she is working on at least two series at one time is obviously effecting her work, as the quality of the art does not have a steady line as more chapters are released. Regardless, Arakawa has definite skills, and makes up for her slips with dedication to the characters, plots, and settings.
Character: (9) With every character that is introduced, Arakawa has never failed to surprise me. Fullmetal's characters are some of the most well-developed characters I have ever come across. Their personalities are unique and effective to other characters and the plot, and their pasts are explored with such detail and emotion that the characters alone could keep me dedicated to this series.
Enjoyment: (10) I have followed this series since its August 2001 debut, and it has never lost my interest, or hit a dull note. The excitement, suspense, sadness, anger, and happiness I have felt alongside the characters amazes me.
Overall: (10) Overall, I give this series a 10. This series is definitely worth my time and money, and I highly recommend it to everyone! read more
Mar 7, 2008
Story: I am not going to go in the whole 'this happens and that happens' as you can read that in the summary up there *points* About the story itself, all I can say is that it has one of the best developed plots I have ever encountered. Everything comes closer and closer to the main goal and even when you think it has nothing to do with the story, you find out that it has a tremendous value to the whole tale. It definitely deserves to be in the top spots for this. A 10.
Art: The art is a tad bit simplistic, but I guess this is what makes the pages nice and neat and pleasant to read, while also making the characters look absolutely endearing! It's not cluttered up like a lot of manga these days but it conveys the mood just as effectively. I really think that this deserves and 8.
Character: One of the best characters out there, I personaly consider Ed, Al, Winry, Mustang, Riza....everyone! to be absolutely perfect. So far I have no problem understanding what each person went through; no confusing twists in characyer development that could bring the reader to drop it just because they would give up on following them. Each and every one of these characters will make a you cry for them why you see their hardships and laugh with them at cracked skulls (of wrenches XD) A 10 and no less.
Enjoyment: From all of the manga I've ever encountered, I think this one will stay pretty near the top for the next 5 years or so. If you want Action,Adventure,Sci-Fi, Alchemy and even Romance, then this is definitely something for you. You get a little thrill everytime you sit down to a new chapter. I hope it doesn't end too soon XD
Overall: If you want a manga woth your time and money, FMA is for you. In all, nothing could be said bad about it. It's incredible!
I hope this helps everyone! :] Please take a look at it if you get the chance! read more
Jun 11, 2010
When it comes to critiquing, I'm somewhat merciless. I'm sure some of the people who have seen my reviews of their favorite series think I consider myself a know it all, but nothing could be further from the truth. Often I see "but they make a lot of money," as a response to my heavy critique, but not once have I considered it a valid excuse for a drop in quality or lack there of. This is something that I can guess Arakawa understood. She did not write just to get money, she wrote because she had a great idea. She wrote because she had a compelling fantasy world, and compelling story in which involving characters exist.As an aspiring novelist, this is something I can respect and one of the reasons that I'm proud to say I'm a fan of FMA.
Full Metal Alchemist story hits close to home, because I lost my mother when I was about four. It may sound like a lie but I had hopes of bringing her back from the dead, of course I couldn't because no such magic exist in the world and the hope that it did was just the hope of an ambitious kid. Edward and Alphonse had this ambition and as a result, they were met with a gruesome response. Understanding their wrongs the duo set out, and that as they say is that... somewhat. The journey that the duo took immersed them in colorful characters and a well designed world. This would not be the first time alchemy was used in a series, but I sure it will be a time well remembered.
While in an AIM group chat once, I heard a female speaker say that Full Metal Alchemist's art is simple, but I'll be honest I can't agree. For the record I can't draw to save my life, but I think there's something great about the drawings Arakawa provides. As I said earlier I'm an aspiring writer, so to me anything put into the story should have a certain charm to it that will make it memorable. That's what the art in full metal alchemist is. Even if its simple it does not stand in your way of falling in love with the series.
As I said above, anything put into the story should have a certain charm to it that will make it memorable, and like it can be said about the art, the same can be said about the story. Riddle me this; "How do you get a reader to miss a villain, without giving them a sappy backstory?" "How do you make an otherwise minor character one that your readers will remember?" To tell you the answers, I don't really know, but Arakawa figured it out. Not one character in FMA struck me as one dimensional. While I thought "god this guy is an evil bastard." Not once did I find one appalling enough to insult Arakawa for creating. One of the things that I think drive a story is it's plot and it's characters, evident by the manga in question.
If it's not apparent already, I really did enjoy this series. I remember the moments I spent catching up with it and the "full metal alchemist withdrawal" that I went into when I did. I had only seen the first anime before I started, so I didn't know what to expect. Upon reading through I realized the difference right away, and realized more that the difference between the two made the first anime a very affectionate adaption.
At this point, there is not much more to say. If you want a engaging fantasy series with affectionate art, and compelling story then this is one for you. The fights are great too but really, they shouldn't be your concern when going into Full Metal Alchemist, a manga that has much more. and even though Arakawa Hiromu will probably never see this, I congratulate her for making a great shonen series in a time that's majorly lacks them. read more
Jun 13, 2010
Story: When you read the story synopsis, it’s not that special. You find more stories like that. But, what makes FMA special is how it’s thought out. The story is really deep, nothing is unimportant. Characters aren’t forgotten, they keep coming back, and everything is explained. And it’s always surprising. You think you got the whole story figured out, but then Arakawa points out you haven’t and leaves your mouth hanging open in surprise.
The story is amazing and deep, I give it a 10.
Characters: The characters are all loveable in their own way, even the villains. They all have their strong points, and their bad points. The main characters have bad points, and the villains have good points. It’s all balanced out. Some make you cry out in frustration, others make you laugh your head off. They all have their own strength, and they all have a purpose. As I said in the story part, the characters arent’forgotten. You think you won’t see a character again, and suddenly they pop up again later on in the story.
You see the characters grow, learn from mistakes and keep on trying. You become attached to them. If something happens to them, you get worried for them. If something good happens, you’re happy for them. If they die (not saying they will, just using it as an example) you cry for them.
I love the characters and have come to care for them, that shows they deserve a 10.
Art: The art isn’t all that flashy. It’s basic. But that helps fuel the magic that is called FMA. Art like One Piece wouldn’t fit FMA, neither would art like Claymore or Death Note. Arakawa’s art is perfect for this series, she is great with expressions, and she’s great at making fun of Ed in his chibi style. Some parts were drawn a bit sloppy, but it’s not annoying or even noticeable. You get drawn in to the story, it doesn’t really matter if the drawing is a bit less than normal.
The art isn’t that special but it fits and belongs with FMA, so it gets a 9. If it wouldn’t have been sloppy at some places, I would’ve given it a 10.
Enjoyment: There isn’t any other series I enjoyed more than FMA. It starts out good, and it gets better and better. It reaches it’s climax at the last 2 chapters, and it dies out in a perfect ending, showing what became of everyone 2 years after everything is over. I loved seeing how everyone turned out to be.
FMA lets you experience all kinds of emotion. I have laughed my head off at Ed’s antics. I have cried when a character I loved got hurt. I have been amazed at the discoveries everyone has been making. I have been worried when a character I like was in the hospital. I have been angry at villains for doing horrible things. you keep getting drawn in, never losing interest for even one second. Every month waiting for a new chapter was torture, especially after a cliffhanger.
FMA is the series that has kept my attention for the longest, never losing it. It deserves a 10.
Overall, FMA was perfect in my eyes. No mistakes made, and Arakawa stopped at the perfect moment. It deserves higher than a 10, but since I can't give it something higher I'll settle for a 10.
Aug 22, 2009
Fullmetal starts out in a typical shonen manner, which is what sort of turned me off when I gave it a passing glance. Of course this lasts for about one volume, then the real story begins. The adventures of Ed and Al and everyone in between makes for one heck of a story, even when compared to most of the regular novels out there. It entertains and intrigues, brings about both laughter and tears and does it all in a manner that refrains from boring the reader at any point in the reading. Any story that can do that is definitely a 10 in my books.
While Hiromu Arakawa's artwork suffers some shortcomings and may not be as wonderfully detailed as some of the other great series out there she has a style that is all her own. Her art has a way of showing exactly what she wants to say in a manner that is easy to understand. The action scenes are also easy to read and flow wonderfully. Another great quality of her art is that her characters are all easily identified in every scene.
Fullmetal Alchemist has one colorful cast of characters, and while it may not be the MOST colorful cast ever to grace literature, it is still a well thought out, and deep set of people. Every character has their own legitimate motives and background story and each makes the story all the better.
While my review may be slightly biased, I really enjoyed this manga (obviously, if I gave it a ten). It has everything that I look for in a story AND it's funny (laugh out loud funny in some spots).
I would advise anyone, even those who say manga isn't their cup of tea, to read it. It is far from overrated and is just a well rounded piece of work. read more
Aug 3, 2009
The story is extremely intriguing, and the great thing is that after reading more chapters, you can see that the mangaka has thought out of the entire storyline way before the manga is actually published. Which actually reminds me alot of One Piece that is unlike other mangas which seem to churn out crap that does not make sense in a supposedly "plot-twist chapter". What I absolutely LOVE about this manga is that it manages to stay shounen with all the epic battle scenes, but yet delves into the human nature (Homunculi are representatives of the 7 deadly sins), consequences of war on individuals and society and boy, it really is an emotionally gripping manga. For me, I found myself feeling sorry for characters whom I thought I'd loathed, and some VERY twisted plot twists that keep coming keep me on the edge of my seat which is a good thing I presume. I can say flat out that the first anime DOES NOT have anything to do with the manga. As to why well, you'll have to read it to find out won't you?
The art is something which needed time for me to get used to. But well after around 10+ chapters the panels seemed to flow smoothly to me. The character's designs are simple yet distinctive, making it easy to recognise who is who. Eyes are drawn simply and with no elaborate details eg. Vampire Knight, Full Moon wo Sagashite etc. It may seem sketchy and unappealing at first, but you'll find out that it matches with the storyline perfectly.
One thing that I didn't like about this manga at first was the huge cast involved. I've never really liked stories whereby there are just so many people involved. But this manga made me think otherwise. The characters are each very distinctive and easily to differentiate, and all serve important roles in the story. Development is also very well done, and the series makes the characters as human like as possible. For example soldiers do not march off into battle fearlessly like in most shounen, but they cry and grapple with their conscience if what they're doing is right or wrong. Various relationships are also shown clearly, and not like BAM and they're in love! or some dumb things like that.
Overall I enjoyed the manga as I am able to relate to most of the characters, and there ARE some parallels to our real world (kind of obvious, actually). I like fantasy with a touch of realism, so this manga suits me just perfectly. I regretted dropping such an amazing gem but oh well at least I've picked it back up :D Oh and for those who are still unsure, the first FMA anime was good yes but compared to the manga storyline it is mediocre indeed. Pick up the manga now! read more
Jun 11, 2010
It is very story driven. And character driven. Every character takes a part in the grand scheme of things. Every conversation has value and shows importance to the advancement of plot and development. It is a powerful tale of sacrifice, love, friendship, family, and reaching your potential.
I cannot recommend this series enough. Whether you are new to manga/anime or an acquaintance that has not yet delved into the world of FMA, it is a must . read more
Nov 23, 2013
Fullmetal is my favorite manga, I just love it. The dimension of this series is absurdly complex. At first glance, it seems to be only a handful of chapters and adventures with some drama to the mix. However in a few episodes so that the viewer understands that FMA is much more than that. The subjects covered are quite controversial and interesting, as the creation of a perfect society, represented by Amestris, the greed and ambition of human that lead them to commit the most heinous atrocities, clearly evident in the plot that involved the people of Xerxes and Ichival.
One of the great strengths of the manga is precisely this approach to various subjects that acquire a real dimension, far from the simple idea of the struggle of Good against Evil. The viewer is often confronted with issues that could be transposed to the present, such as religion, the conception of God, moral values, honor. That's what makes, in my view, Fullmetal so unique and special.
In my opinion, Fullmetal is the best shounen ever released. At one point, the impression that the manga gave me was to send me to the period of World War II, the very allusions to the Führer, the conception of a perfect nation, the elimination of another people to benefit another. However, do not judge the manga becomes terribly upset by addressing such important issues, quite the contrary! And it is also here that the series gains tremendous. Precisely because it is able to combine comedy with seriousness. There are absolutely hilarious scenes, and even the fights and battles are filled with funny situations, able to bring anyone to tears.
The episodes are so well established that there are rare times when the viewer gets bored (actually, for me were nonexistent). Much because the story is extremely interesting, suffering several twists and unexpected developments.
But I believe that the tremendous asset of FMA is precisely the group of characters. One would expect that, in the various chapters that make up the series, arose boring characters, less interesting characters that will hopefully leave the scene as soon as possible. Well, it happens that all (or almost) the characters of FMA have an important role in history. All they do something that will be important for the future, they all have something special. And they all produce some effect on the viewer, whether heroes or villains, friends or enemies, major and minor. They are characters that go far beyond the field of normal, what is presumed and expected for a shounen work. Characters are unique, making it difficult to choose a favorite. As the bosses, the case becomes more complicated. Generally it is expected to develop a terrible hatred for the villains of a story, but so far FMA can surpass all expectations. Are so well constructed that ended up nurturing some "sympathy", so to speak, with them. The most obvious case is that of Envy, one of the seven homunculi that arise in history. To explain his story would have to write a lot more, so I'll just say it's living proof that antagonists surprised us greatly.
I could say much more about Fullmetal Alchemist. I have a feeling that there is still so much to say, so much to explore. But this text will have very long. Always be a manga that influenced me, who showed me a lot. And believe me when I say FMA is one of the best series ever. Because it's true. read more