Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 01 (Fullmetal Alchemist, #1)

ISBN: 1591169208
ISBN 13: 9781591169208
By: Hiromu Arakawa

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Anime Fantasy Fiction Graphic Novels Manga Mangas Sci Fi Steampunk To Read Young Adult

About this book

Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world; something between magic, art and science. When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in this power to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost an arm and a leg...and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living steel. Now Edward is an agent of the government, a slave of the military-alchemical complex, using his unique powers to obey orders...even to kill. Except his powers aren't unique. The world has been ravaged by the abuse of alchemy. And in pursuit of the ultimate alchemical treasure, the Philosopher's Stone, their enemies are even more ruthless than they are...

Reader's Thoughts

Becky

After persistent pestering from some teens (boys and girls alike!) who have told me this is the best series they've ever read, and the one that hooked them on both anime and manga, I've finally read Vol. 1. And I'll admit, it's the first manga volume that I've truly finished, and I highly enjoyed it.The story itself is so bizarre that it makes you keep reading out of sheer curiosity. Alphonse and Edward, the Elric brothers, are trained in alchemy, and they know its laws very well. Unfortunately, they bent the rule of "equivalent exchange" (for something to be created, something of equal value must be lost) when they were young, attempting to resurrect their mother from the dead. As a result, Alphonse's body and Edward's leg were both lost. Edward sacrificed an arm to get back Alphonse's soul, which now lives in a hulking animated suit of armor. But it is Edward, with his "auto-mail" arm and leg, who is the "fullmetal alchemist" (and don't you forget it). They work for the state and seem to be sent to troubled areas -- a town in the grips of a religious fanatic, a hijacked train -- all the while with their own agenda to find what they believe will help them return to their old bodies and bring back their mother: the infamous philosopher's stone.I found the story to be sharp-witted and thought-provoking (science vs. religion is a big theme) -- much deeper than I expected, though with plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor and great "BA-DOOM," "SHOOM," and "FLOOP" sound effects of matter being created from other matter! The only thing that confused me was the sudden scene changes: there was no "meanwhile" or "back at the ranch" or even a wordless page that shows a new setting between some of the scenes.Reviews all say the anime is even better, but I thought the book form was quite good. I had no trouble reading from back-to-front and right-to-left (which has done me in before), and I think that speaks highly of Hiromu Arakawa's artwork. Not until I was on Wikipedia did I realize that she's a woman -- hooray for women in comics! Her author's bio says, "I love B movies. I love the way they make me think 'What the he** is this?! That's crazy!' yet still draw me in so that I watch the whole thing. I really like that feeling, and I like to bring a little of that kind of over-the-top flavor into my own manga. That was the initial idea that gave birth to volume 1 of this alchemy manga. Thank you for picking it up. As you read it, please criticize it by saying to yourself 'What kind of alchemy is that?!'"

Victoria

A fantastic series opener to one of the most layered, astounding mangas I've ever read. The whole story continues to blow me away.Edward and Alphonse Elric are a very unlikely pair of brothers; one a diminutive (sorry Ed!), fierce-eyed young man, the other a full-body suit of armor that contains only a soul. Both are alchemists, able to break down and reshape the material of the world around them for purposes of both healing and destruction...but only if the trade is equivalent. When they were young, Ed and Al tampered with the most basic law of alchemy, which forbids the resurrection or creation of human beings. Ed paid with a literal arm and leg; his brother with his entire body. In order to restore themselves, they will need to unlock the secrets of alchemy's Holy Grail...the Philosopher's Stone. This is their story, and the story of a civilization beset by war, a military of both corruption and loyalty, a world where strange beings haunt the shadows, warriors seek vengeance, and alchemists work for good, for evil, and many in the gray areas between. This series is the equal of any "book," in its stunningly portrayed characters, its fantastic art, its winding storyline, its spectrum of emotions, and its deep, thoughtful commentary on humanity, death, religion, sin, good, evil, and the soul.

Lucy

I’d heard about this series and seen images of it (and cosplay from it) long before I ever got around to reading or watching it. I assumed it was just another action/adventure manga that would go on way too long, awash with filler and minimalistic character development. I couldn’t have been more wrong. I was almost instantly charmed by the well-developed characters and the complex story line. The hype was not for nothing.This series really pulls at my heart strings, without being overly sympathetic or sappy. It’s full of great action scenes and a very fast-paced plot, but the characters really make the series. That said, I’ve always felt the beginning was a little confusing. Vol. 1 isn’t bad, but it’s feels like a somewhat sloppy beginning to what is an otherwise fantastic series.This genre is typically aimed at tween to teenage boys, but Fullmetal Alchemist has a wealth of stuff there for the female or older reader. It also boasts some of the best female characters I’m ever seen in manga/anime.

Anila

Love love love love love.It's actually been quite some time since I first read this volume, and now that my public library has finally started buying the series (just in time for me to leave town - thanks, guys) I checked out the first seven on a whim. I'd actually forgotten a lot about this volume. Somehow I got the idea that the Cornello/Liore plot was stretched over the entire volume, and that Youswell was in V. 2, and obviously that was wrong - and the train thing I'd forgotten entirely. It was interesting to go back, too, and compare the art and plotting of this volume to that of the very end. Obviously, there is significant improvement, but the seeds of - dare I say it? Yes, I do - greatness to come are definitely here. In much the same way as a webcomic artist develops over time, the art and plotting improve as the series goes on, but this first entry is the furthest thing from shabby.So anyhow, this volume. Yes. Youswell is my favorite plotline in it, possibly my favorite episodic entry in the series as a whole, because it really shows Ed's integrity as a character. I mean, all three plotlines do that, though the train one is not as good as the others just because its main purpose is to segue into an introduction of Mustang and Co. Youswell is still the best. It establishes so many things for the rest of the series - the idea of corruption in the military, Ed's renegade attitude, his almost instinctual commitment to doing the right thing no matter what, and more. It's really kind of amazing to look back on these first few chapters and wonder what Arakawa was thinking - I'd love to know how it is to work in manga publishing. Surely when she was writing/drawing these, she couldn't have imagined the massive success that would follow. What was she planning? The whole thing? And what a tragedy it would have been if the series had been canceled before it could run its full arc. (I assume this can happen in manga; it's only logical.)I remember reading this for the first time and being interested but at the same time put off by the episodic style, which I expected to be the norm for the entire series. If anyone else out there has that niggling worry, be not afraid: fairly quickly, a full arc asserts itself and it'll sweep you up entirely.Original rambling fangirly review under the spoiler tags - no actual spoilers.(view spoiler)[EDIT:So, I have this theory. Your first lengthy manga series is like your first Doctor Who. (Eccleston doesn't count; he's more like a short manga.) There is a certain undying loyalty that goes with it. For me, my first Doctor was Matt Smith. (Except for the aforementioned Eccleston; I did see the second episode of the first series and 'The Empty Child' before I saw 'The Eleventh Hour'.) Ergo, my loyalty as a viewer is to Smith, in defiance of all the rabid Tennant fans out there.In the same way, FMA was my first long manga. And really, I don't think anything will ever top it for me. What are you looking for in your story today? Would you like some kickass magic? How about an elegant and thorough plot? How about deep questions and powerful themes? And perhaps a side of laughs? And with all that, as a bonus, we'll throw in a gang of strong heroines to make up for the lack in much American YA.I'm glad I read this when I did, since I think it partly got me through my AP Chemistry homework. But I also envy those who get to read it now that it's completed. Seriously, those last few chapters had me on tenterhooks for weeks.I'll admit, I was surprised at how dang much I enjoy this series. But the story's really well done- enough drama, horror, humour and just plain AWESOMENESS to keep me intrigued and on my guard.I've started watching the anime now, and I'm not wild about how they're rearranging the chronology; otherwise, both versions are good.***Okay, so at this point I'm about 3/4 of the way through the 2003 anime- I'll get to Brotherhood this summer, I swear!- and I'm really confusing myself. So a note- while it does help to have read the manga when watching the anime, do not do this concurrent. Because things go one way in the manga and another in the anime and it gets so baffling sometimes. I have to quiz someone who's seen/read both to get things straight- who's Bradley in this one, who's dead, what happens where/when, etc.I don't understand how anyone would prefer the anime to the manga, honestly. The manga's much more complex and interesting to me; the anime's condensed and loses some of the subtler characterization, sub-plots, and world development Arakawa put in.***I WILL NOT RANT ABOUT THE SHITTY ENDING OF THE ANIME. I WILL NOT. I WILL NOT COMPLAIN ABOUT THE SHANNARA-ESQUE EPIC COPOUT. I WON'T, I WON'T, I WON'T.***In other news:Gah, I am in so much love with this series. I'm going to get caught up this week. 106 is on OneManga, so it's certainly possible.Particularly happy with:Everything in the north, pretty much. Briggs ftw. I imagine myself there. Though I'd totally die. And zOMG, I'd steal Ed's fur-lined coat. FUZZY!Manga Sloth has so much Slothness on anime Sloth.Is it bad that I kind of like Gluttony? As a character, not fangirling, but I think he's funny and kind of charming in a really friggin dangerous little kid way.I love Arakawa's extras. Especially Riza and the Pride-stickers. I lol'd so hard.I've spent far too much time looking up fanart for this on DeviantArt. Especially Royai. Definitely an OTP. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

Yvette

I hadn't cared for Manga, but my brother introduced me to this series and I soon fell in love. Its action, of course, what else would you get in guy's manga? But its smart. Arakawa is an author who does her homework and this makes sense, without the rules changing many times over in the series.Note: I read the whole series, but graded this one since I love it so much. There is no need for individual book rating.

Melisa Ramonda

Uno de mis mangas favoritos de todos los tiempos. Simplemente, impecable.

Carol

Manga's aren't my favorite books to read. Reading backwards is just too hard for me. I forget and start going forward again lol. I read this so I could share it with the kids at my Spring school visits because I know a lot of kids who love Manga. I did get through it and it was fast paced and entertaining. There were a lot of kids who were really excited about it when I book talked it at the school today.

Renata

I read a manga so I could understand Carrie's jokes about it!! It has alchemy and a cult in it!!

Rebecca

Fullmetal Alchemist is a really cool manga. I've heard so many good things about it that I decided to read it for myself. I must say that I quite enjoyed Fullmetal Alchemist.The story line of Fullmetal Alchemist was really engrossing. I found myself wanting to know more about what was going on with the two characters and basically, I just thought the whole story was set up really well and I look forward to reading more of the series.The illustrations were pretty awesome. They're definitely engaging and add to the entire story.I'm intrigued by the two main characters. I'd like to know more about them and their back story and I look forward to it.Overall, I believe that Fullmetal Alchemist is a great manga to check out, if you're a fan of science or alchemy and manga then I think you'll definitely enjoy Fullmetal Alchemist.

Zarakoda

I have become a skeptical reader over the years. It's because I've read A LOT. I was the kid who could read over 12,000 pages in a single summer - and I know because I counted. So I learned about plots, characterization, and all the things authors can do to make reading a pleasant experience.Unfortunately, after a while, you become so knowledgeable of the meta-world that you lose sight of the treasure within the tale. Frequently I pick up a fantasy or science-fiction novel off a shelf and think, "This looks exactly like everything else."But. Fullmetal Alchemist. blew. me. away.As you can tell from my previous reviews of this first book (I kept them below... but I felt the need to rewrite this review YET AGAIN, sorry everyone), it took me a little bit of time to get into the series. It was good, but it didn't stand out to me too much at first. Books one and two didn't excite me all that much, and in fact I was a little offended by some of the content. Maybe you don't have that problem, but if you do share my lack of "hm, it's okay," just keep reading. Hiromu Arakawa created a world of alchemy, something that makes me want to be an alchemist because it's just so amazing. She wrote in characters with heart-wrenching back stories and wonderful personalities. I have developed a strong opinion of every single character in the series, something that few authors can really get me to do. We've got an incredible cast with wide personalities, and they're all so incredibly distinct. I squeal over Armstrong, squeal over Mustang and Hawkeye, and most of all, squeal over the relationship between Edward and Alphonse.There are two things that make this series absolutely fantastic beyond belief, and the first is the brothers and emotional depth we see there. The relationship between Ed and Al is incredibly poignant, heart-breaking, and heart-warming. They have gone through an incredible amount in their lives, and you feel it just as strongly as they do. I don't know that I could be any more invested in characters than this. We see loyalty, love, and perseverance. How Ed defends Al gets me every time.This brings me to the second incredible thing that distinguishes FMA from anything else I have read: the depth in the story. We aren't just in for action (though we've got a lot of that), romance (though there's certainly the "aww" moments), humor (though I always crack up), or plot twists (though Arakawa is ingenious in plot progression). We get a whole set of deep questions. The characters aren't just alchemists - they ask WHY they do it, if it's worth doing it, when it's worth doing it, what they should do with it. WMorals come up everywhere - when is it okay to kill people, if ever? How should we deal with sacrifice? How do we treat human souls? When does someone stop becoming human? We're bashed with questions over sacrifice, genocide, utilitarianism versus deontology... You don't just have an adventure when you read FMA, you have a real experience that leads you away changed and... in my case... absolutely obsessed.More comments about FMA can be found in my other reviews. You can even check out the first half of #27 to see my reaction when I completed the series (I give a warning before I start on volume-specific comments).Happy reading.----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------I decided to reread the first two volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist because:1. I hadn't read them in a while2. I plan to continue reading the series about now3. The library didn't have book three in.So. As a second read-through, I would say the series is much better. In fact, I just bumped it up from three to four stars. Or maybe it's because I read the book in slightly a different light.The first two books contain a lot of philosophical analysis concerning religion. I do not inherently consider this a bad thing; contrarily, the first two chapters in which a very cult-like society is realistically formed intrigued me during my re-read. I mean, it has all the standards one might psychologically expect: a strong, egotistic leader whom everyone follows without question, the claims of being a direct representative from God, a closed community, a desire for power amongst the authorities, etc. So that was sort of fun to analyze. But then - to continue onto book two (I might as well when on this train of thought) - we meet Scar, who even uses some possible vague scriptural references such as "there is a time to create and to destroy." Now, I do not have a problem with those sorts of psycho-religious bad guys, but I think one thing that got me disjointed at the beginning of FMA is the seemingly constant negative religious spin. Maybe that's me, maybe that's just the first two books... I don't know. It's not that Hiromu Arakawa does not have valid points concerning religions' dangerous facets, it's just very flinchingly one-sided at the moment.To clarify that ramble: maybe that's why I rated the first book three stars at first.Now let's get onto the good stuff. Rereading it, I found a bit more enjoyment in the dialogue and personality of the characters (first reread, it took me until book two to get the hang of it all). And there are some interesting moral questions brought up in this series that I find intriguing... a lot of teleological versus deontological issues, some I would have solved differently, but still fun to read. And the alchemy setting is well-done, particularly about the cost of trying to transmute humans. Very nice.I think it's hard to review manga based on just the first volume, so I think my opinions will become more relevant the further along I go in the series. Which, so I hope, will be further than book two this go-round!----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Original review:As a first book in a series, it doesn't really particularly stand out - except that you can see a lot of potential where it is going. The second book of the series is where I started to really get into the storyline (because this one, like many first books, is such an introduction you can't really claim too much of a significant storyline).

ArdnAskelA

J'avais déjà vu auparavant quelques épisodes du animés, mais le lire c'est autre chose. Ce que j'aime bien c'est que l'alchimie est un des thèmes principaux de ce manga, or pour le chimiste que je suis c'est toujours un grand bonheur de pouvoir lire quelque chose qui est en rapport avec notre domaine. :D C'est donc avec grand bonheur que j'ai dévoré ce premier tome qui m'a fat rire à plusieurs endroits, mais aussi plu et donné l'envie de lire la suite.

Stella ☢FAYZ☢ Chen

I know my friend Jen will be so proud of me (and herself considering she finally got me to read this). My friend, Jen, is a HUGE manga and anime fan and she's been bugging me to read this series for a long long time.Since summer began for me last week (June 22nd), I finally gave in to her constant fangirling and decided to try it. (Yeah, look at me advocating for peer pressure right here...NOT WHAT I AM TRYING TO DO.) I'm simply saying that friends are great to have and they know you. Trust them with their suggestions, whether it is with books, movies, school or relationships. :POn to the series itself (I'll condense my review for the whole series instead of just one per volume):- Great plot/plot development- Great characters/character development- Loads of action- Nice pacing- Humorous at timesI just loved it okay. There wasn't any cons for this series as it was practically flawless. If anyone wants to watch the animated version of this. I recommend for you to watch Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood as it is based on the manga (and it is better than Fullmetal Alchemist). The older version wasn't quite as good so, yeah, listen to your friend's (in this case, me) advice and go watch the anime adaptation.

Andrea

After relenting to the constant peer pressure from the manga community, I picked this one up at the local library. Like many other super-popular series, like Shugo Chara and Naruto which was arguably an excellent read for until Naruto got his first ridiculous power-up, I assumed FMA was all hype. It's not. I was hooked from the first chapter and now there's nothing that is going to stop me from finishing this series. I may read this more intensely than I did Bokurano, of which I read a total of approx. 6,000 pages in two days. The art itself is easy on the eyes, though not as lovingly done as works from CLAMP. The plot is easily balanced with plenty of intense action, gasp-worthy revelations, and comedic relief. There are some elements of atheism, but this is obviously expected in a series centralized around alchemy. This "magic," however; is based off of a law similar to the Law of Conservation, so it avoids plenty the "because I said so" moments we find irritatingly often in most other shounen manga.

Tyas

Pengakuan sang pengarang: Sebelum dia jadi mangaka, dia bertani di Hokkaido.Jangan remehkan petani! Karena ternyata dari tangan sang mantan petani-lah lahir salah satu serial manga terbaik yang pernah saya baca, baik dari segi cerita maupun art. Pertanyaan-pertanyaan filosofis disajikan dengan gaya popular yang renyah bagai kerupuk garing yang membuat nagih(namun bukan berarti kosong tak berisi).Oh ya, alchemy di dunia ini bukanlah sihir. Dalam dunia 'Fullmetal Alchemist', alchemy adalah sebentuk ilmu pengetahuan, sementara para alchemist adalah ilmuwan yang harus berpegang pada 'prinsip equivalent trade'. Dan ketika dua kakak-beradik Ed dan Alphonse yang hidup di desa kecil dan terpencil melanggar aturan untuk tidak berupaya menghidupkan manusia dengan alchemy, mereka pun terseret ke dalam ruwetnya berbagai peristiwa yang berlangsung di dunia mereka...Ngomong-ngomong, kira-kira apakah negara Amestris yang dipimpin Fuhrer King Bradley dan main babat negara-negara tetangganya adalah cerminan Amerika Serikat? Hmmm...Hal menarik lain: Ed yang tidak percaya Tuhan, ternyata saat mencapai tingkat alchemy yang memungkinkannya melakukan alchemy tanpa perlu transmutation circle yang digambar, menggantikan transmutation circle-nya dengan mengatupkan tangan bagai berdoa.Dalam!

Brandon Varnell

Full Metal Alchemist is by far one of my favorite anime, manga and light novel. It has a deep, intricate story line, along with some seriously awesome characters and even more impressive character development. The tale of Edward Elric and his brother Alphonse is one that I couldn't help but get into, and after reading Volume 1 I not only ended up getting every single volume of the light novel, but also the anime and the manga, both for Full Metal Alchemist and FMA The Brotherhood.I think one of the things I enjoyed most about FMA was definitely the alchemy. It was a very scientific way of creating "magic" and done so in such a way that despite knowing it's not possible, it almost made me believe that it could be. It's definitely one of my favorite "magic systems" right up there with the Magecraft used in Fate/Stay Night.

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