We had the regular paperback manga, four chapters per book (~$10 per book). We had the paperback three-in-one's, with twelve chapters per book (~$13 per book). Now we have the Fullmetal Edition, a hardcover version with six chapters per book, and about three centimeters difference in size (~$20 per book). These hardcover editions are much more durable than either of the previous editions. The paper quality is also much higher - it's thick and slightly glossy, compared to the matte recycled paper in the original manga. This version would be a worthy investment for the library setting because if the increased durability and fade-resistant pages.
In honor of this edition's ongoing publication, I will be re-reviewing my favorite series for those who are unfamiliar. I have previously reviewed the entire series with minimal detail, and you can read that here.
The Fullmetal Alchemist, Edward Elric, and his brother Alphonse (who is a soul tethered to a suit of armor) visit the village of Liore (sometimes translated as Reole) because they heard about a religious leader performing miracles that sound an awful lot like alchemy. After seeing him perform some of these miracles that flaunt the alchemical law of Equivalent Exchange, the brothers theorize that the leader, Cornellus, has a Philosopher Stone, a powerful item that lets the user perform alchemy without adhering to the natural laws. The brothers need this stone because they are on a quest to restore their bodies, damaged from performing human transmutation in an attempt to raise their dead mother. Later, Edward helps save a mining town from a corrupt military bureaucrat. After that, the brothers travel to East City to conduct research on biochemical alchemy, where they meet the “Sewing-Life Alchemist,” who does some horrible things to create chimera. Behind the scenes, a mysterious trio named Lust, Envy, and Gluttony try to stitch back together the plan Edward and Alphonse derailed in Liore, and a man called “Scar” travels around the country killing alchemists who he believes have strayed too far from morality.
It's been about six years since I've read this series all the way through, and I've read a lot of other manga in that time period. After reading volume one, I am amazed at how much detail and storyline is packed into each chapter. Arakawa seamlessly blends in backstory and flashbacks as a necessary component of present-day events, so it doesn't drag or take away from the action. The world-building is intricate and complex. Even with the heavy subject-matter in most of the chapters, Arakawa inserts humor when needed. Her artistic style is a little unique - face shapes are expressions are different than most manga. Her caricature and illustration of Edward's emotions are cute and amusing.
VIZ rates this series for Teen. There is some bloodshed, a little bit of gore, fantasy violence, and some very serious topics of corruption, value of life, morality, and more. Some characters also smoke cigarettes, and in this volume, the brothers visit an inn where many adult patrons are drinking beer. Otherwise, there are no other drug references. There is no cussing. This book might appeal to mature middle school students who are ready to delve into a manga that discusses deep issues.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
Tags: Rating: 10/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Action Adventure
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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