# of Volumes in Series: 25 released; 2 still to come
Genre: steampunk/ shounen/ action-adventure
Recommended for: everyone
I recently finished the 16th volume of FMA (universal nickname for Fullmetal Alchemist) and was going to review it. Then it occurred to me: most readers won't bother reading a synopsis for a review of the sixteenth volume of a manga series they don't know the plot or premise of, and who could blame them? So, instead of writing a typical review for that specific volume, I've decided to undertake a review (READ: total unapologetic gush fest) for Fullmetal Alchemist in general.
No spoilers follow, only lots of awesome. You have been warned.
For me, stumbling upon a tattered copy of the first volume of Fullmetal Alchemist at the local library was akin to finding a gold mine between those creased cover pages. I devoured the manga in an hour, then passed it along to my picky sister Pinky, of guest reviewing fame, who proceeded to devour it in about ten minutes. (Pinky reads manga FAST!) We've since watched the anime series-- which is nearly as good, and would be as good but for the fact that it is television and we all know TV can never compete with the written (or illustrated) word. Though FMA is one of the most popular manga series in the US and Japan, if not the world, it's also one of those mangas which can be enjoyed by readers who don't usually like graphic novels, graphic novel fans who don't usually like manga, even people who normally don't like to read at all. It's that good, that addictive. FMA is the most suspenseful, perfectly-crafted manga I've ever read. Its material is often dark, yet our heroes Edward and Alphonse bring much-needed light humor and determined optimism into the mix, therefore rendering it pretty much perfect.
|the Ouroboros.. a mysterious symbol|
Edward loses his leg in the process and is forced to sacrifice his arm in order to save Al from being lost altogether in the darkness beyond the mortal world. He binds Al's soul to the only available host-- a suit of metal armor-- and hires his childhood friend Winry, an automail engineer, to forge him a new, fully automated arm and leg made of steel. The brothers burn their small town home and set off for Central, capital city of Amestris. Ed is determined to become the youngest-ever State Alchemists in order to find out more about the Philosopher's Stone, a mythical substance believed to give the alchemist who wields it great power. The brothers are determined to restore their damaged and lost bodies to normal... but at what great cost?