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.