By Hiromu Arakawa
Genres: Action, Adventure, Alchemy, Drama, Shounen, Military
The rules of alchemy state that to gain something, one must lose something of equal value. Alchemy is the process of taking apart and reconstructing an object into a different entity, with the rules of alchemy to govern this procedure. However, there exists an object that can bring any alchemist above these rules, the object known as the Philosopher’s Stone. The young Edward Elric is a particularly talented alchemist who through an accident years back lost his younger brother Alphonse and one of his legs. Sacrificing one of his arms as well, he used alchemy to bind his brother’s soul to a suit of armor. This lead to the beginning of their journey to restore their bodies, in search for the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.
I may not be among the most avid fans of Full Metal Alchemist (FMA), but I would absolutely acknoledge that there are many noteworthy strengths in it.
- Coherent Plot – It may not be the most enjoyable type of plot to read, but the story is definitely told in a clean, interconnected way. First, there isn’t any filler chapters in this manga, unlike most other shounens. As a consequence, FMA is analogous to a single movie watched in one night. It isn’t sectioned in numerous arcs.
- Philosophical Deepness – I guarantee that at least one time in the manga, the philosophy spewed by the characters’ dialogues would annoy you. As a whole, though, the philosophical questions asked in FMA are both appropriate to the context of the manga and thought-provoking. It explores the very purpose of existence by consistently refering to “the purpose of fighting” and plowing deep into human emotions.
These being said about the advantages of FMA, there are also some tripping stones that discouraged me from placing it higher on the ranking list. 1: The art. The style of drawing in this manga is unique, but just not my cup of tea. Personally, the faces are drawn a tad bit fatter than my liking. 2: The depressed atmosphere throughout. Trust me, this story is quite depressing, a fact quite possibly caused by the way way the story is portrayed and the gruesome events that happened. But it is all good, cuz this manga has a “happy ending” (I hope nobody hate me for this small spoiler 😛 )
In brief, FMA is not your typical shounen manga. If you absolutely need romance and comedy to finish a manga, this may not be the piece that you are looking for. If you are ready to take a break from the contrite materials that are popular in manga society, FMA should be one of the best choice.