Fullmetal Alchemist: Fullmetal Edition Vol. 1

While Fullmetal Alchemist has been around for close to 20 years, and has become a bit of a legend in both manga and anime circles, I'm reviewing a new version. Edward and Alphonse Elric are alchemists - they can manipulate material to change one thing to another. After their mother died of plague, the two brothers attempted to bring her back through alchemy, violating the first law of alchemy, which states "Humankind cannot gain anything without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. That is alchemy's first law of Equivalent Exchange." The attempt backfires, obliterating Alphonse's corporeal form, and Elric's left leg. In order to save Alphonse, Elric sacrifices his right arm to put his brother's spirit in a suit of armor. Now, the brothers search for the mythical Philosopher's Stone, which they hope will allow them to reverse their mistakes and make they whole again. Along the way, they face off against renegade alchemists, homuculi with sinister designs, and an assassin hellbent on destroying the State Alchemist program, one alchemist at a time. Originally released in the near the beginning of the 21st century, Fullmetal Alchemist quickly joined the ranks of beloved and intense manga that helped define a generation. Along side such titles as Naruto, Bleach, and One Piece. The series has a devoted and passionate following, and it's not unusual to see cosplay of FMA characters. It has also generated a glut of memes over the years, and its fair share of controversy (the image above is a disturbing bit of "oh god, I know what's going to happen" for fans of the series). While there's a fair amount of action in the series, it is coupled with a very strong story that really avoids the whole premise of "weekly bad guy showdown" that other series tend to fall into. As for the Fullmetal Edition reviewed here, the publisher has gone back through, remastered all the artwork, relettered the entire run with a new translation, and included sketches, full color pages, and bound the entire thing in a beautiful hardcover edition. A must have for FMA fans and collectors, this is also a great introduction to the series for new fans who have never read it before as well.

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