Ed ends up in the hospital after his latest investigation led to fighting in Laboratory 5. Alphonse has a personal crisis after Barry the Chopper insinuates that Ed fabricated his memories and feelings and animated them into a suit of armor. What proof does Al have that Ed didn't make him up? Ed has Winry make a house call to Central City for repairs again to his arm. Edward then lets Major Armstrong and Colonel Hughes in on some of his findings about the Philosopher Stones and what he found in Laboratory 5. This leads Hughes to a startling discovery, but one he can't share with the Elrics. After Edward has healed sufficiently, the brothers decide to visit their former alchemy teacher. Along the way is Rush Valley, the Automail Mecca, so Winry convinces the Elrics to take her there before the go on to their teacher. While there, the trio meet a limber pick-pocket named Paninya who changes their lives.
In this volume, we have our first major tragedy, but it's one the audience suffers alone, as none of the other characters really know what happened. The descent into seriousness we started in volume two continues here as things become more grim and dark. But Arakawa doesn't keep her audience down and out forever. The Rush Valley side story provides some levity with the fight between Ed and Paninya that rages all over the city. Winry is one of my favorite supporting characters, so her presence throughout this novel is very welcome.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability Level: Grades 7-12
Reviews of previous volumes in this series: vol 1, vol 2
Tags: Rating: 10/10, Suitability: Middle School, Suitability: High School, Manga, Action Adventure
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