Skip to content

Fullmetal Alchemist, a Classic Fantasy Manga

With a total of 108 chapters, Fullmetal Alchemist chronicles over nine years the epic, fun, and dangerous journey of the famous Elric Brothers.

Their story began in Japan in 2001 in Square Enix’s Monthly Shōnen Gangan. Readers were introduced to Edward and Alphonse Elric, two brothers living in a 20th-century-inspired world where alchemy is one of the most practiced sciences. Following a forbidden alchemical ritual gone wrong, Edward Elric lost his right arm and left leg while his younger brother Alphonse lost his entire physical body and now exists as a soul alchemically bound to a large suit of steel armor.

In a quest to restore their bodies (especially for his brother), Ed joined the military and became a State Alchemist. His research led him to search for the Philosopher’s Stone, a mystical object that could help him attain his goal. But now, war is on the horizon and the two brothers have no choice but to face the moral complexities of their actions, the harsh realities of war, and human suffering, as well as to deal with powerful and menacing adversaries with their own ambitions.

Created by Hiromu Arakawa, Fullmetal Alchemist became one of the most popular manga series in the world, receiving many accolades over its run. It was adapted into two anime series, the 2003 adaptation, and the more faithful 2009 adaptation, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. It’s still a favorite among readers for good reasons. The shōnen manga is a fun and engaging reading, easy to devour with a well-crafted story, neat design, and a great cast of characters filled with complex personalities and strong female characterization.

Fullmetal Alchemist is also one of the best reads for new manga readers, offering an action-packed story filled with dark elements and moral issues. The mixing of influences, with a setting inspired by Eastern Europe during the Industrial Revolution completed with European characters’ names, gave Fullmetal Alchemist a multicultural tone that helps make it more accessible to a Western audience. The combination of elements of history and fantasy with a big steampunk inspiration creates a rich and immersive world.

While combining multiple cultural and historical elements, Hiromu Arakawa also infused the series with a blend of creative inspirations that shaped her manga. She learned composition and drawing during her time as an assistant to Hiroyuki Etō and cites many mangaka as influences such as Rumiko Takahashi (Inu-Yasha), Shigeru Mizuki (Gegege no Kitaro), and Yudetamago (Kinnikuman). She has also spoken about her love for Mike Mignola’s Hellboy, well reflected in the darker and more gothic elements of her storytelling. it is difficult to overlook the influence of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, evident in the themes of creation, destruction, and the ethical implications of scientific discovery that are present in her story.

Offering a good balance between humor and drama, action and emotion, Fullmetal Alchemist delivers a rich, entertaining and moving story with cool concepts and moral complexity. Whether you’re reading it the first time or revisiting it, Fullmetal Alchemist is a must-read manga on par with its reputation.

Fullmetal Alchemist Manga Collection

In America, Viz Media licensed the manga and has released three different collections over time: the classic paperback edition, a second one in an omnibus format, featuring three volumes in one and more recently, the Fullmetal Edition (a premium edition).

Fullmetal Alchemist: Fullmetal Edition

This premium edition has been fully remastered with an updated translation and entirely new lettering. It features color pages printed on large-trim, archival-quality paper. The edition also boasts brand-new cover art, a new color insert, and behind-the-scenes character sketches from author Hiromu Arakawa.

Fullmetal Alchemist, The Omnibus Collection

The Omnibus Collection is a paperback line where one omnibus contains three paperback volumes (see below).

Fullmetal Alchemist, All The Classic Volumes

The first edition, collecting the whole manga series in 27 volumes.

Fullmetal Alchemist, the Light novels

The light novels, written by Makoto Inoue, are spin-offs of the manga series. These side stories can be enjoyed at any time and offer an extended stay in the Fullmetal Alchemist universe without affecting the main manga storyline.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *