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[RAM] #1: Fullmetal Alchemist

Rambling About Manga #1: Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa
Published in Japan by Square Enix between 2001 to 2010
Published by Viz Media between 2005 to 2011
I own the complete series, which is twenty-seven volumes.
Personal Rating: 10/10

Summary from Viz Media:
In an alchemical ritual gone wrong, Edward Elric lost his arm and his leg, and his brother Alphonse became nothing but a soul in a suit of armor. Equipped with mechanical “auto-mail” limbs, Edward becomes a state alchemist, seeking the one thing that can restore his and his brother’s bodies…the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

So one night, I was at the birthday party of a girl who would one day be one of my best friends. I was bored (as I often am at parties) so I went to her room and started looking through some books she had lying around on her bed. She had several volumes of a manga series that she checked out from the library and I recognized the character on the cover, so I picked up the first volume and started reading.

It seems kind of dumb to say, but this is true: my entire life changed that night.

Fullmetal Alchemist was the third manga series I ever read, but it was series that made me decide that manga was something I could actually respect and not just treat as a guilty pleasure. This story is an epic. There is no other word for it. The scale of the world-building, the sacrifices of the characters, the sheer drama and human heart of the plot all make Fullmetal Alchemist into what I believe to be one of the greatest stories ever told.

There’s not much I can say about Fullmetal Alchemist that hasn’t already been said. So I’ll just say what Fullmetal Alchemist has done for me.

Fullmetal Alchemist has:

-motivated me to start taking my health seriously
-led me down an academic path that I never would have started otherwise
-brought me closer to my little brother
-granted me the conviction to finally name myself as an atheist
-given me the courage to accept that I may one day be forced to lose my hand
-completely reshaped my world view
-carried me through one of the darkest periods of my life

I honestly don’t know where I would be right now if my friend hadn’t checked those books out from the library. Maybe I’m being melodramatic or overly nostalgic but the fact remains that Fullmetal Alchemist is one of my favorite anything ever.


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