Nikki Bernard's Reviews > Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 01

Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 01 by Hiromu Arakawa
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Jul 19, 12

Read on July 19, 2012

This was my first manga book. The format was difficult for me to grasp. It actually took me a couple of mintues to figure out how I was supposed to read the book and what direction to read the print in. That being said I can see how it would appeal to struggling readers (in particular boys).In fact this book is a YALSA Quick Pick winner. There isn't a ton of text and you can use the picture clues to figure out the story line. I was a little confused about why this book had a sun god, the deadly sin incarnate, and the philosopher's stone all wrapped into one book. There was a lot going on! The story follows Edward and Alphonse Elric, alchemists who are traveling in an attempt to find a way to return their bodies to their normal state. Both brothers were badly injured in an attempt to bring their mother back from the dead. I am not sure I will read anymore manga novels. If I do I think I will try a different sereis. However, I am happy that so many young people do read and enjoy them!

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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Marylou (new)

Marylou Ha, ha glad I wasn't the only one that happened to :)

Nikki Bernard I felt very would make a good seminar for teachers: How to Actually Read a Manga/Graphic Novel. haha!

message 3: by Marylou (new)

Marylou That is actually a very good idea Nikki!

Randi You realize that the format of the novel shouldn't have an affect on the story itself. Making reviews about an amazing story like 'Fullmetal Alchemist' and giving it one out of five stars is pretty disingenuous, especially considering that your first issue with it, had nothing to do with the plot. If you didn't understand how to read it properly, that was your own failing, not the story.

message 5: by Marylou (new)

Marylou Randi everyone has different opinions and they need to be respected. Some of my favorite books have been bashed by many who read them. It all boils down to people have different likes and dislikes. What you find amazing, others might find just so-so, or even downright dislike. Anyway, "to each their own" is how I've discovered life should be. Not everyone does, nor should, agree on everything.

Linz I don't fault you for having a hard time understanding the format; manga can be difficult to figure out what's happening. My first manga, I remember, was pretty hard, but it was a more realistic one without so much artistic exaggeration which made it easier to read. The fact that it's difficult isn't a problem with the manga, it just is because this particular art of storytelling takes some getting used to. The part of your review I actually found offensive was that you seemed to write FMA off as something only for struggling readers and unfocused children. I, for one (and I know this is true for many fans of the series), have never struggled with reading and we don't read FMA for something we can 'comprehend.' Not to brag, but rather to prove a point, I scored perfect on the reading section of the ACT: manga is not solely for people who struggle with reading.

Fullmetal Alchemist was written by a Japanese women in a popular storytelling format of the country she grew up in, MANGA. Manga is not something just for children. Like any format, there are mangas written for children, teens, and adults. Like any format, there are quality stories and there are poorly-crafted stories. In my opinion, FMA contains the most carefully crafted plot I've ever seen in any story - manga, book, movie, or TV show. Arakawa, the author, is masterful in her timings of revealing certain information, she's masterful in her creation of characters. The villains are intriguing, the characters are believable and incredibly strong. Even though the story is a manga, there are many literary and philosophical questions to be asked and delved into, and reading this series before you are capable of doing so will cause you to miss them. In fact, I believe the manga is rated for older teens because so much of the material is very serious and might be disturbing to children. A boy losing his body and having his soul placed into a suit of armor because he tried to bring his mother back to life? It's very serious and might seriously frighten someone not old enough to handle it.

Now, you don't have to like this series, and you don't have to enjoy reading manga, but please don't believe that manga is not a legitimate form of storytelling and that it's only designed for children. Like novel writing, drawing a manga requires talent for all the aspects of creating a storyline as well as a talent in the format of what you're writing. This plot just happens to be written in a Japanese writing style.

PS Sorry for the rant. I just watched the TV show of this story and its downright perfection is still fresh in my mind... :P

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