Book info

Fullmetal Alchemist Box Set (2011)

Fullmetal Alchemist Box Set (2011)
Rating
4.71 of 5 Votes: 5
ISBN
1421541955 (ISBN13: 9781421541952)
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English
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publisher
VIZ Media LLC
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Fullmetal Alchemist Box Set (2011)
Fullmetal Alchemist Box Set (2011)

About book: I don't know what to say. I loved this. I think you should read it. NOW.In this world, alchemy is a science. If you have the brains to understand and remember all of the elements in various materials, you can rearrange and repurpose them. Edward and Alphonse Elric are prodigies, and when their mother dies, they think they can bring her back, because they know what "makes up" a human being. It's a desperate move, and childish. Such a move is both illegal by the laws of man, but also by bigger laws than that. They are made to pay: Alphonse disappears, and Edward's left leg goes, too. In a desperate gambit, Edward offers up anything to get his brother back; he gets his soul, but pays for it with his right arm. "Pinning" the soul to a nearby suit of armour, the brothers find themselves changed. Unable and unwilling to give up, Edward learns to use some fancy prosthetics called "automail", and becomes the youngest military State Alchemist, in the hopes of learning more and fixing the damage they've done. And that's not even the main problem!I loved the extremely large and well-developed cast of characters. The Elric Brothers are exceedingly charming of course - sweet, long-suffering Alphonse and hot-headed, stubborn, passionate, foolhardy Edward - but, though they are the "main characters" in the traditional sense, they are but a minor piece of the complex plot. I also loved Mustang, Hawkeye, and all of the older military people who are haunted by the roles they played in a horrendous and unnecessary war. I loved Izumi, the boys' alchemy teacher, and Olivier, the stalwart lady general from the North, and especially May Chang, Prince Lin, and his body guard Lan Fan, all on a mission from the country of Xing. I must not fail to mention Winry, a childhood friend of the Elrics, a bio-medical engineering prodigy who made Edward's automail prosthetics. Throughout the series Edward and Winry realize how much they love each other, but mostly, they argue. And I feel guily stopping there, because there are even more characters to love than that!Arakawa has so much compassion for her characters, that even those who believe themselves to be beyond saving have you rooting for them. Every single bad guy has moments to squeeze your heart.She delves into a lot of things - the repercussions of war, military corruption, unethical scientific testing, guilt and forgiveness, the connection between all people, the need for family and friendship, what it means to be human - all while taking you on a rollicking adventure. It's exciting, enigmatic, gory, silly, charming, sad, and sweet. She doesn't talk down to her audience, and, unlike in many shonen manga, her ladies are interesting, varied, and totally kick butt!And don't even get me started on the illustrations! Her character design is amazing, and the pages brim with interesting things to look at.If you've never read a manga, why not start here? A quick disclaimer: I've read the ENTIRE series and thought that it would be nice to just have one book instead of twenty seven volumes (tankoubon) in my book collection (since I don't want to sound like a pretentious douche and well I did the same for "Calvin and Hobbes" and "Bone" so there you go!) I haven't read the included novel in this package "The Ties that Bind" nor do I possess the poster also included so don't throw a hissy fit if I don't review those aspects, ok? Ok!"Fullmetal Alchemist" is quintessential to any story lover's list. What makes Fullmetal unusual is that unlike most manga serials, it was published on a monthly basis, so each chapter is longer and more fleshed out than the average weekly serial. The writer and artist, Hiromu Arakawa, is also unusual in that she creates characters that evolve and change over the course of the series: people who start off as general character archetypes transform into incredibly endearing personalities – if not flawed and human – over the course of a 108 chapters, and Fullmetal is one of the rare serials that touts one of the largest, most memorable cast I've read or seen. There are strong overarching thematics, but the main appeal of this story is its characters and well-constructed plot. While I do think the ending is far from perfect (it falls from masterpiece potential to a grandiose showdown typical of many epics) it's a satifactory one nonetheless and doesn't ignore that fact that yes, "Fullmetal Alchemist" is at its core, an adventure story. But don't let that deter you – after all, people are still reading Tolkien's "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy for a reason, and god knows how many serious thematics that series explored beyond the fantasy epic genre (also, Easterlings, really?) Arakawa's "Fullmetal Alchemist" is a series wrought with drama balanced equally and seamlessly with great comic moments: the premise is serious but the characters have such an incredible range of emotion that you can't help but equally experience the same range of emotions while reading. Thematics explored include ethical science practices, a military-centric government and the conflict that arises, racial genocide, religion and the sanctity of creation, revenge, familial relationships and friendship, and probably most importantly, the idea of "one is all, all is one." I began reading "Fullmetal Alchemist" only a monthly basis around chapter 54 (give or take 2 chapters) so I think it's fair to say I had a good few years of waiting on a monthly basis for the next chapter to be released and experiencing what it's like to be left on a cliffhanger after each chapter. I have all the tankoubon in Japanese and eventually hope to possess all of the English translated volumes; one of the great pleasures of owning a tankoubon/volume of "Fullmetal" is the little omakes, or extras, that Arakawa includes in the books. The omakes are oftentimes hilarious, and there are little sketches spread throughout the book in between chapters. "Fullmetal Alchemist" is one of the best adventure stories I've read. It's not perfect, but what is? With endearing, moving characters atop a intriguing plot, I couldn't recommend this series more.
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Reviews
crankbraker
I saw the anime of this and I LOVED it. Will definitely read in the near-by future.
mseannac
this is the first manga I ever read and I loved it so !
usagikuro
best manga series EVER. it is a masterpiece.seriously.
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