One of the problems with something being truly good is that every so often it becomes a victim of its own success, and in a sense that's what happened with the fans of Full Metal Alchemist.
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?
I shed a tear as I read the last chapter of this manga. A manga that I've been following since I was in Primary School has just concluded with the most epic and satisfying finale. I'm sad to see one of my favourite series of all time finish, yet I'm happy to see such a great ending. I really want to procrastinate more, but I should press onwards with the review and leave that for discussion in the forums.
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/
Fullmetal Alchemist is not spectacular. What I mean is that nothing about the art or the plot immediately strikes the audience as impressive or unique. The art is not flashy or detailed. It gets the job done, but only just. The action is easy to follow from panel to panel, and it is just dynamic enough to be interesting. The characters are all pretty much distinguishable from each other, despite their simple designs, and some of them look kinda cool. More than anything, the art is solid. It never gets in the way of the audience's enjoyment. And sometimes that's enough. The only times I
ever took issue with the style were when the characters were morphed into chibis in a weak attempt at comedy.
And that brings me to my next point: The comedy. It's not comedic. Early on, there are many repetitive running gags and the only thing they accomplish is kicking me out of the story. Such a blatant attempt to appeal to the audience can backfire if delivered poorly, and so it felt like a slap in the face delivered through the 4th wall. I don't want to deal with that. But I think that the mangaka realized this direction wasn't working early on, and the manga generally gets more serious as time passes.
Although the presentation of the plot changes over time, the plot itself rarely deviates from a single unified arc, and this becomes more apparent towards the middle of the series. It's clear that the overarching plot was plotted out from inception to conclusion from the beginning. The major villains and major allies are essentially the same throughout the manga, and this helps with the sense of unity and harmony that I get from it. (A unity that reinforces the main themes of the manga, which might otherwise seem to be poorly applied pseudo-philosophy.) There are no major power-ups or ridiculous ass-pulls. All of the plot developments are logical and well-paced.
The action, unfortunately, can be a bit of a weak point. There are several characters who use special alchemy techniques to interesting effect, but Ed's (the main character) fighting style is rather pedestrian in comparison. Still, the idea of equivalent exchange helps the fights maintain an appealing sense of reason and rationality that I appreciate quite a bit. It makes them feel less contrived, something that this genre tends to suffer from severely. Also, nothing was ever dragged out unnecessarily and mid-fight dialogue/flashbacks were never taken too far. Fullmetal Alchemist avoids the major pitfalls of battle shounen and brings in a sense of logic that is very rare to see.
The characters are mostly static, and there is no unexpected development. Sometimes they can feel like cardboard cut-outs. But other times I find myself thinking "wow, a couple of these cardboard cut-outs actually look pretty good in context." Rather than linear development, the characters are developed via increased insight into them and information about them. They are developed from the perspective of the audience. This is a very sensible approach given the relatively short time frame that the series covers; there is some linear development, but it is subtle. Not subtle as in hard to spot, because it is pretty clear when you see it, but it is slight. The characters don't suffer from any about-faces or drastic personality transplants. The most apparent changes that the characters undergo are simply a result of us learning more about them. This makes the manga somewhat reminiscent of a well-structured canvas painting. It is all one unified and unmoving image, but as you look at it, you notice more about it and it seems to tell a story. There are also some irritating imperfections, it looks better from a distance than it does up-close, but these flaws fail to ruin the whole.
The issue with the above picture is that the foreground is probably weaker than the background, and isn't that where our eyes are drawn? Ed's character is mostly defined by basic traits, habits, and general goals; all nuance is absent. This is certainly intentional, to avoid alienating any of the audience from him, but this lack of ambition is irritating for me. Al's character is kind of empty. (Pun retrospectively intended.) His most significant developmental event was his contrived existential crisis that was quickly resolved and never really dwelled on again. These criticisms apply to many of the characters, in varying degrees. Even as we get more in depth into them, they don't ever feel real. That said, they are often entertaining and they get the job done. Ed is not always the focus and even minor characters are established early on and given essential roles. Rather than any individual characters being well-written, what is well-written is their interactions and relationships with one another, and where they are placed and what they do. Every character has purpose and motivation and defining character traits, even if they don't quite feel organic. If you pulled one character out of the plot, everything could collapse. No character is superfluous and no character is forgotten. This says more about the plot than the actual characterization, but it's a positive nevertheless.
More than anything, Fullmetal Alchemist is solid. Most of its imperfections are minor and don't reach the series' core. Nothing about the series is all that exceptional or original in itself, but it adds up into a very well-structured and cohesive work that manages to avoid making a lot of mistakes that are not often avoided. (And, despite its popularity, it never overstayed its welcome and was relatively concise for what it was.) Still, it doesn't really accomplish all that much that I haven't seen done as well or better. It is simply less flawed than most similar works. This makes it feel unique holistically, but not on a more critical examination. It is unique in that you'd be hard-pressed to find a more perfect battle shounen, but this quality is negatively defined: Fullmetal Alchemist is most praise worthy for the things it does not do; what it does do is not nearly as impressive or difficult.
The lack of originality or risk-taking factors against Fullmetal Alchemist, but the form and presentation of it warrants a solid 7. It's quite good, but not quite great.
Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the most amazing, interesting, emotional series I've ever been fortunate to read. The powerful mix of brilliant characters, an outstanding plot, interesting settings, and thoughtful concepts drew me in from the very beginning.
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!
First review for a manga series because I have to do this! I can't believe no one has yet written one!!
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!
Too often, artists promote their own inexperienced and narrow-minded agendas in their stories, shamelessly condemning the actions and decisions of those living in circumstances they couldn’t possibly imagine accurately. Hiromu Arakawa, thankfully, is not one of those artists. Where her ignorance would have left holes in her story, she did research and conducted interviews. When opportunities came during the story in which she could pronounce judgment on one type of people or belief, she refrained from making naïve and arrogant assumptions. As her characters experience the sorrows and joys that come with facing the truth, that crouching
monster who laughs in derision as it reflects one’s own soul and reveals the stark realities of life, she herself refuses to embellish the facts.
That is not to say that Fullmetal Alchemist is any kind of allegory. This series goes so far as to include characters named after each of the seven deadly sins, and most of these characters, in many ways, come to embody how peculiarly pathetic these sins actually are. But the series remains a fleshed-out story until the end, with no character or event reduced to simply playing out one “message” or another. Fullmetal Alchemist is really entertainment at its finest, though the subtle blade of the truth nevertheless cuts right through the barrier between fantasy and reality.
The series begins with a few somewhat episodic adventures of brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric, two alchemists in search of the legendary Philosopher’s Stone, which is said to amplify the user’s transmutation. (Alchemy itself, a “science” of deconstructing matter and reconstructing it into something else, is a really imaginative and unusual type of “magic,” and there are several different styles in which it is used.) Edward and Alphonse have committed the ultimate taboo in trying to resurrect the dead using alchemy. This mistake literally cost Edward an arm and a leg, and it cost Alphonse his entire body. Edward's lost limbs have been replaced with “automail,” and Alphonse is now a soul bonded to a suit of armor. The two are on a journey to find a way to recover what they lost.
The story unfolds at a relaxed but gripping pace. After a couple of volumes, the series leaves behind its episodic feel and begins to accelerate into one grand story in which everything, including the early episodic sequences, begins to tie together. All of the characters are thoroughly developed and explored over a long period of time. At first glance, Edward seems a smart-aleck who loses his cool easily (especially when remarks are made about his height), and Alphonse seems to be the dull, plodding sidekick who must hold back the hero from getting into a fight with everyone they meet. This first impression of the latter is partly due to the inability to see Alphonse’s facial expression, and over time, as the two brothers are forced to act independently, we begin to see the quieter and more cool-headed Alphonse’s individuality. Edward, too, though somewhat hotheaded, is revealed to be more complex than he seems and undergoes subtle but well-done development throughout the series. One of the most defining moments for the two brothers is at the end of the second chapter, in which a young woman loses everything she clung to for so long. As she collapses, weeping, and demands to know what she should do, they both walk calmly by her with the admonition to get up and move forward. Edward and Alphonse, despite what it might seem at first, do not go around taking it upon themselves to solve everyone else’s problems.
The secondary characters are also slowly and completely developed, showing up and disappearing at natural times, enhancing the story without serving as mere devices to move it forward.
Wound throughout the story is an inexhaustible sense of incredibly wacky humor. Just when things could become melodramatic, the characters morph into chibi characters and jarringly draw the reader’s attention to the humor in the event at hand. These moments rudely break the spell of the story and bring you crashing back down to earth. This element is partly what makes this series so real. You aren’t allowed to morbidly dwell on the seriousness of the events; instead, you are prompted to laugh at yourself. As some might contend that the world isn’t all sunshine, Fullmetal Alchemist will remind you that the world isn’t all shadows, either.
The world in which the story takes place is fascinating but not one you would necessarily want to visit. There are layers of culture and history that include wars and racial discrimination. However, it does not possess the unnatural hellishness that colors dystopian-style fantasy. Fullmetal Alchemist explores numerous interesting and thought-provoking ideas that all escalate into one final confrontation with the truth that can resonate with us more deeply than all the calculated tearjerkers in the world.
The panels flow as naturally as the story, and the artwork itself, especially in the facial expressions, is great, but not pretentious. It is complex when it needs to be, but hardly noticeable the rest of the time, which is an accomplishment in itself. The character designs are diverse and unique.
In short, Fullmetal Alchemist is both honest and optimistic, entertaining and thought provoking. I highly recommend it to anyone.
Recently I have found it impossible to find a good shonen series to watch or read. It's come to the point that if it even looks remotely shonen, I stray away from it with untamed fury. Why do I keep coming back though? Why do I still look for shonen manga to read? It's all because of series like Full Metal alchemist.
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.
Okay, so let me just start off by saying that I am writing this review mainly because of the numerous people who will probably check the manga out after the FMA: Brotherhood hype, which as I'm sure everyone knows, is following the manga storyline. Hopefully this will be able to clear up any doubts or misconceptions some might have about the series. I can safely say that I started the first FMA anime early this year. A few years back, I tried picking up the FMA manga but it didn't manage to captivate me at all, and I ended up dropping it after the first
few chapters. Now after I've been exposed to more anime/manga, I decided to pick the manga again and boy, I finished the entire thing in a single sitting.
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!
Normally, I don’t write reviews. But after I read the last chapter, I thought FMA deserves a review. Maybe it’s not that good, but I still hope you find it useful and decide you want to read it, since FMA is the best series I have ever read.
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.
I being a huge fan of FullMetal Alchemist enjoyed reading this. I only wish other characters such as Roy, etc...could have been added. I gave "8 for character" because there could have been at least a few afterwords on everyone else lives. I gave "9 for overall" because I just felt again, the other characters could have had a few mentions. But it's about Ed, Al, and Winry's life after the end of the manga so I'll deal with it haha :] Overall its a warming conclusion full of love. Long live FMA!
I remember when I had only four chapters left of this manga, I almost cried at the thought that it is the one I enjoyed the most, which means I may never come across something this awsome ever again. I absolutely don't regret reading it and I wish I could go back in time so that I can read it for the first time.
I always drew manga charcters just for fun, without even watching or reading the series they belong to, but the fullmetal alchemist manga made me think seriously about taking it to the next level. Arakawa Sensei's drawing style is outstanding, apart from
a few I just found absurd. I reproduced a lot of scenes from the manga, it helped me practice a lot.
Apart from the mother's tragedy which happens in most mangas and is becoming a bit cliché, the story is great.I think the reason why Fullmetal Alchemist is very popular is that it is included in many genres of manga, no matter how old you are or what genre you like there is a high possibility that you enjoy it. Also the conspiracy is very well done. The romance part is like the faint coulour on a painting's background; it is not essential to the story, but without it the manga would be a bit boring, it is not useless at all like in some other things I've red. It's the kind of thing from which you can learn something, not just be entertained. Also, those jokes at th end of every volume are too precious to pass by.
Overall I recommend this manga to everyone who hasn't read it (I think it's better than the anime) especially to beginners.
First you got to know that Fullmetal Alchemist Gaiden is an epilogue to the acclaimed Fullmetal Alchemist manga so if you haven't read the original manga you really should before checking this one if you want to understand and also because Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the greatest manga out there. With that said of course after the end of the Fullmetal manga people wanted more and this one shot serve as a closure and gives us info about what happens to our hero after the original manga.
For those who have read Fullmetal Alchemist and I hope you have, you will not be in unknown
ground with Fullmetal Alchemist Gaiden's Art. It's the same old good visual that you're used to and that you liked in the original manga. Detailed background and nice character design is what you can expect from this manga. It might be a little short on content, but it sure does not cut off on the visual part and while we only see 3-4 locations they are all well drawn and live up to the expectation.
While the art part is well-developed, I can't say much about the tale that's being told here. First for those who wanted a last action packed adventure from the brothers you will not find it in this manga. As for those who were looking for more information about what happened to our favorite characters after the end of the manga then you might or might not be disappointed.
The reason for that is that there is indeed a little story here about what Ed, Al and Winry are doing with their life in these times of peace, but it's nothing substantial. It's not really anything that you could not have lived without or that make the story really advance, it's just a little tale with some funny and touching moments.
Nothing new is revealed and the story center around our main two character so in the end I see this tale as just an excuse for us to get more of the Fullmetal Alchemist we loved and there's nothing bad about that.
The main complaint with this one shot apart from it being to short, would be that we don't see some of our favorite character what they ended up as. Al and Ed are still the same and still very entertaining, but it would not have hurt to show a little of what happened with Mustang, Scar or any other fan favorite.
I'm a Winry fan so I'm glad she was included in the chapter, she does not have much to say, but it's OK. Other than her and her grandmother, the chapter mostly centers around Ed and Al and while I understand why the author did that (they are the main cast after all), I still would have liked to see some of the other character we've learned to know and love over the years.
In conclusion I would say that the one shot is quite short so not a lot is said, but for those who just wanted to get more of our hero than you will probably be satisfied by it. For those who wanted more answers or adventures than you won't. I personally found it satisfying and even if some of my favorite character did not appear, I enjoyed reading this chapter.
For more about Fullmetal Alchemist Gaiden: http://www.squidoo.com/fullmetal-alchemist-gaiden-manga-review
In the huge bountiful production of Shonen series out there many continue to go on forever and are filled with cliche's and troupes galore. Fullmetal Alchemist is a series that shines above the rest. There is no pointless power-up, fight the bad guy and continually lose and come back only to repeat the cycle over and over again.
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.
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 .
Full Metal Alchemist is the Harry Potter of the manga world. And when I say that I don’t mean that their plots are remotely the same (although both have a main villain who splits himself seven ways… that’s actually cool) or that they're such big names in their respective mediums and genre (while it's true FMA has nowhere near the same amount of fame internationally as Dragonball or Naruto, it's almost always one of the first anime recommended to new-comers and frequently put on top anime lists); just in the way that absolutely everything about FMA has set itself apart from other shounen manga -
heck manga in general - as something special that can't be replicated; near-perfection. The plot is well-rounded, exciting, original, and clever, the world is fun and comprehensible, and its laws obeyed consistently, the characters are all likable, whether friend or foe, and each has a role to play, there are equal amounts of drama, humor, and action, and well… just everything. The ending; absolutely perfect, and it ties up all loose ends. It’s one of those stories that you wish you could erase your memories of just so you could experience the whole thing again for the first time.
The best aspect about FMA is that it is never boring; it has you gripped right from the first. Just reading the basic plot is enough to get a person piqued. Brothers Alphonse and Edward Elric try to bring their mother back from the dead using alchemy, which, as a science, is based on the law that mass can neither be created nor destroyed; equivalent trade. Failing to do so, older brother Edward loses his leg in the process, and Alphonse his entire body. Edward then sacrifices his arm in order to transmute Alphonse’s soul onto a suit of armor. Now the brothers, in an effort to fix their mistake, set off on their journey in trying to recover their original bodies.
Like any good story, this main plot develops into something bigger and heavier as the series progresses, and to carry you along are the main characters of the Elric brothers, and the strong bond they share with each other. They are great protagonists, and they are so filled with emotion (even Alphonse, whose armored face can’t convey much in the way of emotion), and you really do feel for them and want them to accomplish their goals. The characters they encounter, the people that support them, hinder them, or go outright against them – all of them are more complex than simple black-and-white good-v-evil characters. I don’t think there’s a single character in here you could hate (except perhaps the villain, and not because he’s a lame villain but because he’s flipping insane - not even intentionally evil – which is a good thing. Him, and the gold-toothed doctor.)
What’s also nice about FullMetal is that it can’t be easily divided into arcs – the story runs on a one-way track with no sidestops, and it was all very well thought out, with no inconsistencies or any use of deus ex machina. There are several villains, but it’s not a case of defeating a baddy a week and then meeting up with the next. There are no chapters that feel like filler, no stalling for time – every panel is worth something, each page dedicated to forwarding the story or developing a character in some way.
Now I don’t think I can talk about the manga without mentioning the anime – both versions. There are two adaptations, the first loosely based on the manga in the beginning and then deviating entirely a third of the way in, and the reboot that is pretty much exactly the same as the manga, with only a few differences in details. There’s been an endless debate on which is better, although the general consensus is that Brotherhood (the reboot) is hands-on more epic.
I started the manga and the original FMA series at the same time. Although the anime is supposed to be the same as the manga in the beginning, even as early as that I started getting into the manga more than the anime. Near the middle I just gave up the anime entirely in favor of the manga, because the manga was just that gripping. I only continued the anime after I’d finished reading, since I was curious to see how that version would end; the manga hadn’t been finished at the time of its making and the creators had to complete the story themselves.
In my opinion, the manga is easily the best medium through which to tell the story, better even than the reboot anime. Hiromu-sensei’s artwork is so alive and fun; when characters are distressed or scared, you can genuinely see that in their faces; they can be serious one minute and then switch to goofy and hilarious the next with ease. The original FMA anime takes itself a bit too seriously and goes overboard on the drama and dark aspects, and while that actually paid off really well with two important deaths that occur in the beginning that made them more devastating and gut-wrenching than they were in either the manga or the reboot, it had the unfortunate effect of making the character of Edward more gloomy and serious than he was supposed to be. The Edward in the manga is always full of confidence and determination, and although he too doesn’t like to treat human lives lightly, he doesn’t dwell on his regrets as much as his anime counterpart does. The manga, while being light-hearted and cheerful, combines that light-heartedness with drama and action seamlessly. It does a better job of presenting the story than either anime and it gives you more time to spend with the characters and get in touch with their individual personalities. Even if you’ve watched Brotherhood, you’d still be missing out on a lot by skipping the manga. Reading it, you’ll feel like you’re hearing the story for the first time. I’ve read through it three times already and am still not bored.
A word about the English omnibus releases, though - I've bought the first four so far, and I couldn't help but notice how many typos there are. Also, even though the rating is for teens and above and words like 'crap' are used, there are a few instances where swear words are replaced with stuff like '@#&$!' which is only fine when used in comedic purposes. There was also a serious case of mistranslation in volume 4 that I feel like someone in the editing department should've realized, as the translation they put in doesn't make sense in context. Other pet peeves include writing Ling's name as 'Lin' (c'mon, they are obviously saying Ling in the anime!) and writing Xerxes in a way that looks even more unpronounceable, but otherwise it's great to have a hard copy of my favorite manga. All the little sidestories and author biographies are included as well.
What to say about a masterpiece? All good things must come to an end and that is what happened with FMA's legendary run. When I finished the last chapter today, I seriously shed a tear of joy for all the character development and so many things I was rooting for since I've been following this manga (since last 3 years). The two anime spin-offs pretty much assure full enjoyment and deep storyline that keeps the reader/viewer on the edge of their seats with anticipation and speculation.
The best thing about FMA is not only its story but the alive characters. The story is definitely fantasy but
their relationship with each other is as real as you and me. Of course, it's not serious all the time and the lulz and growth of characters with time is what makes this a classic. For example, Ed started off with a small height complex and always complained about being a chibi. The worst ever was being rejected by Winry in a childhood game of who would marry Winry, for being smaller in height than her. Well, what do you know he grew out of that and I loved how things turned out.
It's easy to make good guys good but what about the bad guys? The depth of character of all homunculi, the continuous second-guessing, sub-plots, an array of well-conceptualized characters are just a few things for keeping the reader addicted to the story. When it seemed all would fail, the fabulous end shown by sheer determination of a group of protagonist was simply EPIC!
I for one would miss this story and would love to read more from Arakawa-sensei. Overall score of 10.
Im afraid that im a FMA fan alright a 10 for everything becos im just mad haha
Story: well if i were to tell u the story line u wudnt see the end of this review so ill just make it short and simple for those that have not read this before.Basically its about alchemy where u will have to draw a transmutation circle to perform renkinjutsu(alchemy) . The 2 main characters , Edward Elric know as Ed and Alphonse Elric known as Al ..these 2 are pretty popular and famous and are known as the elric kyoudai (elric brothers) . I think that they are
geniuses as they are very good at alchemy at a young age..they were able to read and understand the laws of alchemy which would probably be quite difficult for a child . This story in short is about alchemy,these 2 brothers and in many action shounen manga/anime there will definetely be villains . The main villains in these stories are the seven sins Lust,Gluttony,Envy,Wrath,Sloth,Greed and Pride you will come to find that they are Homunculus which is a human being created by a man known as "Father". Father has some big evil plan up his sleeves which could end in the death of a whole country known as Amestris in the world of fullmetal alchemist. The only way to find out what his plan is u have to read it for yourself. I recomend u to give this comedy,shounen,action,adventure manga a chance and u definetely wont regret it hehe. it reli makes u laugh :D
Art: As for the art i think that its pretty good and detailed . The authors creativity is brilliant and that goes along with the weird expressions Ed and Al makes in the manga(seriously hilarious)
Character : You will really come to love the characters in this manga..you will love their personalities and characteristics my favourite would have to be Edward and Roy Mustang and i know u prolly will love them too..
Enjoyment : i have to say i really enjoyed reading this manga and i cant wait for the next chapter to be released becos rite now its still on going so i have to wait :3
soo over all i have to say its an awesome manga full of laughter and if ur a sensitive person maybe even tears..but you will come to really love this manga..hope that my review was helpful! enjoy reading the manga ! have a nice day :D
This is my first review (sorry for my bad english)
When I began to read the manga (and it was about 4 months ago), the story immediately captured me, I sat and read for two weeks until I read 101 chapters, now every month I waiting for a new chapter.
Events are incredible, chapter goes only once a month, and is plagued by fans themselves: "What will happen next?", The plot is simply stunning, and with each chapter becoming more interesting. This manga will end soon, but probably for the better,I do not want FMA to become 400 serial shounen.
Drawing is very simple, you should not strain
your eyes to some strange details, everything is pretty understandable.
I think this is one of the best shounen ever. ^_______^
Fullmetal Alchemist was the first anime/manga that I ever saw, and after reading tons of other stories it's still my favorite. Maybe I'm being a little biased because it was the one that really got me into anime, but I'm not lying when I tell you it is a phenomenal piece of work.
For one, the artwork is amazing. It's some of the nicest I've seen and certainly keeps your eyes wanting to continue to look, which I think is a vital part about manga 'cause lets face it; who wants to look at something that isn't appealing to their eyes?
Another is the story.
It isn't just battle scene after battle scene; there are battles but they have depth to them and are done for a purpose, not just for the sake of having an intense battle. It has depth to it with the whole scenario of two brothers who are trying to make their life better after having so much gone wrong and you get to go on the journey with them an watch them grow. If you like comedy, it has it; If you like action, it has it; If you like romance, it sort of has it XD; it has all the elements of a memorable story.
The characters are another reason to keep reading. There is a character for everyone to love in this series.
This manga is great, I love the characters, the art, the story. I also love how the characters have so much emotion, it just makes me feel like I'm really there watching! Also I love how it makes you have to read more to know what's going to happen. Great manga, I'll be watching for new chapters! =3
First of all, i'm sorry for my bad english, i'm learning, so... Try to understand :p
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.