Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Fullmetal Alchemist #1

Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 1

Rate this book
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.

Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world; something between magic, art and science. When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in this power to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost an arm and a leg…and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living steel. Now Edward is an agent of the government, a slave of the military-alchemical complex, using his unique powers to obey orders…even to kill. Except his powers aren't unique. The world has been ravaged by the abuse of alchemy. And in pursuit of the ultimate alchemical treasure, the Philosopher's Stone, their enemies are even more ruthless than they are…

180 pages, Paperback

First published January 22, 2002

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Hiromu Arakawa

361 books2,490 followers
Hiromu Arakawa (author: 荒川弘) is a Japanese manga artist, best known for Fullmetal Alchemist (鋼の錬金術師 Hagane no renkinjutsushi).
Her real name is Hiromi Arakawa (荒川弘美).

Arakawa was born and raised on a dairy farm in Hokkaidō.
She thought of being a manga artist since she was little. After graduating high school, she took oil painting classes while working on her family's farm. During that time, she also created dōjinshi manga with her friends and drew yonkoma for a magazine. After eight years she moved to Tōkyō and started out as assistant writer for Hiroyuki Etō.
Her debut as manga artist is in 1999 with STRAY DOG. In 2001 she started working on her famous and award winning series Fullmetal Alchemist, that soon gets a successful anime adaptation.
Other works include Silver Spoon (銀の匙 Silver Spoon, Gin no saji Silver Spoon).

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
102,108 (67%)
4 stars
32,456 (21%)
3 stars
12,470 (8%)
2 stars
2,733 (1%)
1 star
1,914 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,118 reviews
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
742 reviews3,400 followers
June 19, 2022
Not just full metal, but hardcore death Scandinavian black doom overkill

2 brothers, perversion of religion, and a perfectly finetuned magic system, it may be even a bit hard
Characterization is top to show the struggle of the pair regarding good and evil, career or own moral codex, and many other questions this series is dealing with, more or less, under the surface. The combination of the religious steampunk industrial complex, the degeneracy of faith, and the warmongering and greed, and the splendid protagonists make it an exceptional masterpiece.

Military dictatorships are still bad, but cooler with dark fantasy
Especially if the whole necromancing dark magic voodoo stuff is perfectly organized and integrated into a crazy, trigger happy war machine that breeds Saruman's en masse. That´s a great
trope for expanding towards big wars, inner conflicts of one or some protagonists until the escalation to civil war and revolution or just a fantasy version of 1984 or The forever war unfolds.

Background story exposed
To jump into the series, we get a load of background information about the not so loveable protagonist antiheroes, who are another manifestation of the big „What is evil“ question. If it´s useful to survive or get loads of money, booze, and boys/girls/ animal hybrid chimeras, whatever one is into, the general trend or dogma of an era is something just wrong for dirty troublemakers.

I´m quite sure that there are high and dark fantasy equivalents
But because I haven´t read fantasy for years and not that much before that time, I don´t know for sure. But fantasyheads will certainly find similar or maybe even identical concepts, because it´s just so logical to pervert this kind of magic.

Automaily steampunk elements
Early industrialization was already dirty, bloody, and exploitative enough, but good old fantasy steampunk makes it even grittier and more disturbing. Although I subjectively don´t enjoy the steampunk genre so much, because it tends to be closer to fantasy than sci-fi, this visualization of an ending era and interim makes it much funnier and quicker to consume. Especially imagining that beginning mechanical and magical biomedical research will become nanotech and bioengineering in real sci fi is a funny thought experiment.

Bloody philosopher stone chimeras
An even better manifestation of escalating evil magic than the whole dark Hogwarts concept. Tricky not to spoiler, so let´s just say that, instead of searching for wisdom, magicians can try to go the, not stereotypical, self destructive path towards more power. If you excuse me now, I´ll now really have to continue my necromancing lessons because procrastination did already cost me world domination several times. Better like this review or be my slave forever instead of freely resurrecting.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Jen - The Tolkien Gal.
446 reviews4,383 followers
July 16, 2019
Buddy read with Bhavik
It's my first time reading this series and I'm hyped!

Looking forward to this so much, friend!

I've decided to review each volume by chapter, as each chapter has an underlying theme that can't be ignored. Also, it's mostly me rambling and fangirling so I apologise in advance. Compared to most of my "articulate" reviews, these will be a jumbled mess.

"The Two Alchemists" (二人の錬金術師 Futari no Renkinjutsushi) - containing one of the most memorable anime scenes of my childhood

"If you have enough faith, you'll definitely get bigger."

This is the volume where we are introduced to Alphonse and Edward - the Elric brothers. And boy it's such a fantastic introduction.

A little background of the world if you haven't watched/read FMA: Think if the industrial revolution took place with alchemy (a type of magic where different elements can be manipulated). This chapter is all about corrupted religious institutions and their effect on people.

I can't wait to be introduced to old favourites, but for now just seeing the brothers again is a treat. Still love that everyone assumes Alphonse is older. Edward's height often gets made fun of, which is always so much fun to read and watch.

So there's this asshole called Cornello who belongs to the house of the sun god, Leto. Cornello reportedly has the philosopher's ring, a ring of restoration - a ring that can bring people back from the dead.

Rose is an innocent girl who helps Cornello so that she can get her boyfriend back with the power of the philosopher's stone. After seeing my friend just lose her boyfriend so tragically and at such a young light, (and having a boyfriend of four years) I finally understand Rose's desperation.

Image result for cornello fullmetal alchemist manga

What I love love love about this chapter is that it critcises the hubris of both religious people and atheists. It shows that no matter what our beliefs, we can all be asses and holier-than-thou about it.

Hiromu Arakawa is such a great writer! She shows that there is wisdom in the young and naivety in the old.

Minor spoiler: The chapter ends with the reveal of Ed's arm and the whole scene is glorious.

"The Price of Life" (命の代価 Inochi no Daika)

I find out funny how Cornello thinks that Ed has committed the greatest sin what Cornello is doing is so much worse, especially given his age compared to when Ed did what he did. How can you blame two young boys for missing their mother after their father has walked out on them?

Fullmetal Alchemist understands the importance of having the right balance of text and images in a comic. It's busy, but it doesn't bust your brain and give you a comic-induced headache.

Al and Ed are just yin an yang - the fierce and gentle one, the proud and quiet one. I just love them. I love how they support each other on the road they have chosen - it's do or die to get their bodies back.

It's rare in any story where the characters start out with a burden and a sacrifice - many new books have a character who only picks up a burden on the way. But this is why FMA is such a gem. I also love that Ed doesn't stop Cornello with alchemy, but with wits.

Also, how could you not love Ed's facial expressions?

Ooh and do I love a good story that doesn't end in forgiveness but death instead. Forgive me, but I'm petty like that.

And what Ed says to Rose...powerful stuff.

Also a lovely introduction to some of the main villains is in order...

Chapter 3: "The Mining Town" (炭鉱の街 Tankō no Machi)

Since I've only watched the original anime series, a lot of this is uncharted territory from here on out for me. So I'm so excited!

A lot of good humour in this one. It also really highlights the prejudice against the alchemist military. I love how militia corruption is the main theme in this chapter, where previous chapters dealt with religious corruption. It shows the good and bad side of military members. Yoki is such an ass - he treats those below him badly but is a total sycophant to those above him.

"Kid, you don't get it. This is our home and our coffin."

This is such a good chapter that introduces us to the heart that Ed and Al have in helping others. They give so much, despite what they've lost.

Chapter 4: "Battle on the Train" (車上の戦い Shajō no Tatakai)

Crimes are being committed on trains by a bunch called the "blue group".


I'm Roy's number one fan, so everyone else can just move out the way please. IT"S MY ROYBOY

Alright - back to the story. So Ed and Al end up on one of the trains that the Blue Group is going to steal from. What the Blue Group doesn't know is that they picked the wrong hostages.

Ah, Alphonse. Always taking control while Ed kicks ass. <3 My boys. Al gets to shine a little in this one.

After reading the 4th chapter, I can't help but think that each bad guy in every chapter of this volume represents some kind of greed - and we all know that greed (and Greed) plays a huge role in this manga. In this volume, it's pirate guy. (I didn't pick up on his name)

Closing comments: I still believe that FMA is one of the most beautifully stylised manga in history. Also, this first volume shows us that although the philosopher's stone is the ultimate goal of our brothers, they never cease to help others along the way. We also get introduced to the Roy-Ed dynamic, which has always been one of my favourites.

All-in-all, this is a fullmetal start to my buddy read with Bhavik
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,568 reviews55.6k followers
May 12, 2022
鋼の錬金術師 1 = Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 1 (Fullmetal Alchemist, #1), Hiromu Arakawa

Hiromu Arakawa is best known for the manga series Fullmetal Alchemist, the manga series was adapted into two anime television series.

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. Alchemy: the mystical power to alter the natural world; something between magic, art and science. When two brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric, dabbled in this power to grant their dearest wish, one of them lost an arm and a leg…and the other became nothing but a soul locked into a body of living steel. Now Edward is an agent of the government, a slave of the military-alchemical complex, using his unique powers to obey orders…even to kill. Except his powers aren't unique. The world has been ravaged by the abuse of alchemy. And in pursuit of the ultimate alchemical treasure, the Philosopher's Stone, their enemies are even more ruthless than they are…

تاریخ نخستین خوانش روز نهم ماه می سال2022میلادی

عنوان: کیمیاگر تمام‌ فلزی؛ نویسنده و تصویرگر: هیرومو آراکاوا؛ مترجم: فاطم�� سعیدی؛ مدیر پروژه: محمدمهدی جلالیان؛ بازبینی و تصحیح: مهدی عالمی؛ تهران، نشر ابراهیم، سال1399؛ در186ص؛ مصور، رنگی، شابک9786227376333؛ چاپ دیگر تهران، نشر رویاپردازان، سال1400؛ در186ص؛ شابک9786229836163؛ موضوع مانگا و داستان تصویری از هنرمندان ژاپن - سده21م

دو برادر به نام‌های «اِدوارد» و «آلفونسو الریک»، پس از درگذشت مادرشان دلشان می‌خواهد، که وی را با کیمیاگری زندگی دوباره ببخشند؛ با «قانون تبادل برابر» در کیمیاگری، «آلفونسو» همه ی بدنش، و «اِدوارد» یک پای خود را، از دست می‌دهند، و فرایند زنده‌ سازی نیز شکست میپذیرد؛ «اِدوارد» فداکاری می‌کند، و دست راست خود را قربانی میکند، تا روح برادر خود را، درون یک زره قرار دهد؛ دو برادر برای بدست آوردن بدن‌های پیشین خویش، برای یافتن سنگ کیمیاگری، روستای خود را ترک می‌گویند؛ این داستان در شهر خیال انگیز «آمستریس» روی میدهد؛ شماری از کیمیاگرها برای دولت کار می‌کنند، آنها کیمیاگران ایالتی هستند، و در ارتش درجه ی سرگردی دارند، کیمیاگرها اگر اراده کنند، به یاری اشکالی که دایره ی تبدیل نام دارد، توانایی آفرینش هر چیزی را دارند، اما برای هر کار، بر اساس قانون مبادله ی یکسان، باید چیزی به ارزش همسان کار داشته باشند، تنها چیزی که کیمیاگران اجازه تبدیل آن را ندارند، انسان و طلا است؛ در تاریخ هرگزی اشاره‌ ای به تبدیل موفقیت آمیز یک انسان نشده، کسانی که دست به چنین کاری می‌زنند، یک عضو بدن خویش را از دست میدهند، و نتیجه ی کار هم یک موجود ناانسان است

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 21/02/1401هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Lauren Lanz.
618 reviews234 followers
September 28, 2020
One of my good friends (in reference to Fullmetal Alchemist) once told me: Literally every other manga, ever, should take notes.

WOW was he right. Edward and Alphonse stole my heart from the get-go; the overarching story left me eager for more. I’ll be damned if I can’t get my hands on the next volume soon!

“Nothing's perfect, the world's not perfect. But it's there for us, trying the best it can; that's what makes it so damn beautiful.”

~★~ What is this book about? ~★~

Young Edward and Alphonse wanted nothing more than to see their dead mother again. They attempt to resurrect her with alchemy (a craft that allows wielders to alter matter using equal give and take), except their wish is too grand, and things go awry. Dabbling in dangerous power has left Edward without an arm and a leg, and Alphonse missing his body entirely--soul bound to an empty suit of armor. Together, the brothers are searching for a stone that can amplify alchemy in the hopes of getting their original bodies back.


This was honestly such a great time! Fullmetal Alchemist immediately drew me in with its plentiful action and wit. Alphonse and Edward--our protagonists--were probably the most enticing factors for me. It’s been a while since I’ve encountered characters like them, whom I come to love immediately upon meeting.

Hiromu Arakawa’s art style was in my eyes near perfect. The clean lines and overall character concepts were right up my alley in terms of personal preference. My sister flipped through the pages, marvelling at the neat art style, too!

There isn’t much else to say besides the fact that this manga more than exceeded my expectations. Knowing that this is only the first cusp of the story leaves me extremely excited for what’s to come!
Profile Image for Kogiopsis.
759 reviews1,454 followers
August 22, 2011
Love love love love love.

It's actually been quite some time since I first read this volume, and now that my public library has finally started buying the series (just in time for me to leave town - thanks, guys) I checked out the first seven on a whim.

I'd actually forgotten a lot about this volume. Somehow I got the idea that the Cornello/Liore plot was stretched over the entire volume, and that Youswell was in V. 2, and obviously that was wrong - and the train thing I'd forgotten entirely. It was interesting to go back, too, and compare the art and plotting of this volume to that of the very end. Obviously, there is significant improvement, but the seeds of - dare I say it? Yes, I do - greatness to come are definitely here. In much the same way as a webcomic artist develops over time, the art and plotting improve as the series goes on, but this first entry is the furthest thing from shabby.

So anyhow, this volume. Yes. Youswell is my favorite plotline in it, possibly my favorite episodic entry in the series as a whole, because it really shows Ed's integrity as a character. I mean, all three plotlines do that, though the train one is not as good as the others just because its main purpose is to segue into an introduction of Mustang and Co. Youswell is still the best. It establishes so many things for the rest of the series - the idea of corruption in the military, Ed's renegade attitude, his almost instinctual commitment to doing the right thing no matter what, and more. It's really kind of amazing to look back on these first few chapters and wonder what Arakawa was thinking - I'd love to know how it is to work in manga publishing. Surely when she was writing/drawing these, she couldn't have imagined the massive success that would follow. What was she planning? The whole thing? And what a tragedy it would have been if the series had been canceled before it could run its full arc. (I assume this can happen in manga; it's only logical.)

I remember reading this for the first time and being interested but at the same time put off by the episodic style, which I expected to be the norm for the entire series. If anyone else out there has that niggling worry, be not afraid: fairly quickly, a full arc asserts itself and it'll sweep you up entirely.

Original rambling fangirly review under the spoiler tags - no actual spoilers.
Profile Image for Caroline.
581 reviews807 followers
September 13, 2017
full series review now up on my channel - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I9cDc...

YAY a new favourite! My boyfriend and I recently bought the full boxset of this manga (27 volumes hell to the yeah!) because it was EXTREMELY cheap* on bookdepository and we have no self control. I have been wanting to read this for so long and now I'm getting into it and honestly I am so hype.

The story is so much fun and I already love both Edward and Alphonse. I find Edward incredibly relatable... not because of his sad backstory or anything like that but because of his angry reactions when people point out how short he is because that is what I do. I love the way alchemy works and the fights are really well done. I'm keen to learn more about it all (I am already so hooked on the story). The art style is really cool and has cute little moments that I find really charming.

Definitely recommend to people! I'm excited to continue reading this manga series and then watch the anime on Netflix. Goodbye social life!

*Just a heads up that the boxset is actually still on sale so if you're interested it is currently over 50% off which is CRAZY and if you're keen you can buy it here https://www.bookdepository.com/Fullme...
Profile Image for Jokoloyo.
448 reviews271 followers
October 4, 2020
I highly recommend this manga for hard magic system fantasy fans who don't read manga. Full Metal Alchemist (FMA) manga has many strong points as a fantasy story:
1. The setting/world building is rich. It has steampunk taste (showing a lot of highly advanced mechanical prosthetic limbs), First World War era, and magical alchemist system.

2. I am not an expert in Sanderson's First Law but after I read the article, I believe this manga can be considered as a Hard Magic system story. The magic system is clearly explained and when the story progressing, the author can deliver many non-cheating plot twists with the rules of alchemist.

3. Tons of sympathetic characters. In my opinion, this manga has the largest amount of sympathetic minor characters in manga. The author design many minor characters to give impact to the story. I don't want to spoil much, but one of my friends said the FMA won't be this good without character X and Y (I won't spoil the names. I hope you have your own favorite characters when reading this manga).

4. In my opinion, the plot is flawless from beginning to the end. I am afraid if I elaborate more I will spoil some fun.

5. This manga is not a comedy story, but there are some light moments. The humor is pretty evenly spread until the end. That means the author could keep the balance of humour better than most of humour/comedy mangas.
Profile Image for Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen).
419 reviews1,623 followers
February 12, 2017
2 Stars

Um.... Am I missing something??

This series has a super high average (4.49 as I write this) and several of my friends have really enjoyed it. But I was just very underwhelmed?

This is incredibly creative, both the magical aspect and the brothers being the way they are. The brothers were both fun characters and their loyalty to each other was enjoyable.

But I wish this world had been explained a little more before they just started embarking on all these different adventures. It sort of feels like they are just going to wonder town to town and keep getting in trouble. Not only was the large cast of side characters kind of annoying, but there didn't seem to be much of an overreaching plot.

I know lots of people love this series, but it's just not for me.
Profile Image for Tony Z .
102 reviews
June 18, 2016
Quiero empezar diciendo que la moraleja de esta historia es nunca, Nunca, por lo que más quieras NUNCA dejes a niños sin supervisión.

Edward y Alphonse Elric son unos niños prodigios en Alquimia, la ciencia que parece magia, por una razón, bastante comprensible y dramática, ellos van a cometer uno de los pocos tabús que existen en la alquimia, la transmutación humana, tratando de recuperar a su madre, trayendo consigo, catastróficas consecuencias

Alphonse pierde su cuerpo humano y Edward pierde un brazo y una pierna, a partir de este momento ambos se fijaran una meta, conseguir la piedra filosofal para poder recuperar sus cuerpos…

Así Edward se convertirá en un alquimista nacional al servicio de los militares, sacrificando su infancia y la de su hermano, aprendiendo la regla primordial de la alquimia, el intercambio equivalente
El hombre no puede obtener nada sin primero dar algo a cambio. Para crear, algo de igual valor debe perderse. Esa es la primera ley de la Alquimia de la Equivalencia de Intercambio.

La historia es muy elaborada, con matices psicológicos que paran los pelos, trama política, religiosa y militar muy bien desarrollada, puedo decir sin lugar a dudas que este es uno de los mejores mangas que existen, combinando maravillosamente acción y una historia excepcional, como pocos lo hacen.

Por su originalidad, sus protagonistas únicos, su onda steampunk, y su buena dosis de drama, recomiendo este manga a todo el mundo, ya sea si eres fanático de este estilo de comic japonés o eres nuevo en su mundo.
Levántate y camina, persigue tus sueños, tienes dos piernas en perfecto estado para hacerlo.

P.D. también recomiendo sus adaptaciones como animes, el primero del 2002, como el segundo del 2009, siendo este último, Fullmetal alchemist brotherhood la adaptación más fiel y con el mejor final.

Ahora sí, no escribo más ;-)

Profile Image for Alexandra Elend Wolf.
517 reviews243 followers
March 24, 2021
“You need to figure that out on your own [what to believe in] Stand up and walk. Keep going forward. At least you have strong legs to take you there.”

For a long time, I was so convinced that "manga and anime just aren't something for me" and I wouldn't even try them. So, I was properly blown-up when I watch my first anime and actually really liked it. Of course, the most reasonable course of action was to come here and read the manga to see the source-material.

So, yeah, Fullmetal Alchemist is the first manga I've ever read and that was... easier than I expected but still a bit of an adjustment.

The thing is, I've always thought that manga was supposed to be silly and immature and a tad ridiculous - much like comics can be but weirder - and man was I so incredibly wrong about it all. And that was probably the thing that shocked me the most.

To find that instead of my very unfounded and pre-conceived ideas it actually was something with so much heart, so complex and philosophical, creepy and at the same time pretty light-hearted, - or that it can be all of those things - was amazing and made me fall fast and hard for, if nothing else, this particular story.

“In other words, the basics of Alchemy is the ‘Equivalent Exchange!’ That means that to obtain something, something of equal value most be lost.”

It's just that, the fact that Fullmetal Alchemist is so full of heart and emotion and passion and sorrow and determination that pulls at my heart-strings and makes my soul sing at its own tune.

I'm so obsessed.

From the very beginning we can see all of the deep thinking that goes on with the story. And I mean deep, philosophical, existential thoughts that are fascinating and truly make you stop and just consider everything that you knew, or thought you knew, up to that exact moment.

Alchemy is such an interesting concept and the way that Arakawa fleshed it out and constructed it is just stunning. To say that I have to go slowly in order to fully wrap my head around some details is just wonderful. Add to that how cool it all looks and, well, it makes for a very grabbing story.

Religion and science in conflict is not something new, by any stretch of the word, and seeing something so real and influential is the kind of stimulating reading that I love to do. Because it's real enough that I can relate to it but not too much that it would drag me back and clip my wings.

Just like that, Arakawa manages to balance her writing wonderfully. This whole part of the story is so light and breezy and funny but you can still have heavy, deep moments with great comedy sprinkled in there.

“Our mother was so kind, the kindest person in the world…All we wanted was to see our mother’s smile again […] That was the only reason we were studying alchemy, after all.”

A great part of why I love to death this manga is the characters.

Edward is just the BEST. I love his dramatics and how over-the-top he is. He is impulsive and intense but has a heart of gold and his determination is astounding to see. It's impossible, I think, to see him and not react. He has that very specific kind of magnetism that very passionate and driven people often have and it has definitely pull me down and I don't see an escape any time soon.

Al, on the other hand, is his complete opposite; and there is nothing more appropriate than for brothers to be opposites. Not to say that he isn't passionate, he shows it all the time, but he is tamer than Ed. He is a complete sweetheart and too precious for the world, though, and I just want to protect him.

The Elric brother's love for each other is one of the most precious things I have ever seen and one of the strongest driving forces of this whole story. I completely approve.

Even though not much plot-furthering things truly happen in this volume it sets the stakes and the world gracefully and easily for us to explore it more leisurely later on.

Arakawa truly is a genius of writing. Seeing all the details she added to her story is so cool and I was fangirling like crazy all the time.

“You can’t move forward if you keep regretting the past!”


This was just as fun and clarifying as I expected it to be. I'm so happy.

Honestly, I just love this manga so much it's not even funny anymore. Seeing everything from the beginning is a treat and, well, the source material is always richer in details than adaptations — doesn't matter how good an adaptation is — and I did have some questions in need of answering.

Al and Ed are just too precious.


Oh, hello, is it me here reading my first manga ever? Yes. Yes, it is.

This is certainly a day to commemorate for years to come because I was so sure that manga was not something I was ever gonna be dipping a toe in and yet, here I am. To be fair, I already know I'm gonna love this one so it's not precisely dipping a toe anymore.

I've been obsessing over Fullmetal Alchemist since the beginning of the year when I watched the Brotherhood anime and had been waiting to start the manga until I had finished the show. Which I did a few days ago. And now I need more of it to be able to feed my very unhealthy obsession.

I'm so ready for it. I haven't even started and I'm already a mess over it all. I'm prepared.
Profile Image for Ilias.
72 reviews15 followers
May 6, 2016
I can't imagine someone not liking this. I just can't....
If you like manga, you will like this.
Profile Image for ALet.
274 reviews242 followers
July 22, 2020
2020 The Reading Rush day 3: Read a book in a genre that you’ve always wanted to read more of.
Profile Image for Lily.
289 reviews46 followers
February 1, 2016
3.5 stars *flips coin to decide whether to round up or down*

Of all the stages of grief, "bargaining" has always struck me as the most interesting and memorable: the appraisal of all we have and don't have, and the hypothetical transactions that we think would make things better. It's an activity whose allure is counterbalanced by its low probability of success. What would the world be like if bargaining actually had some chance of working? That's the world of Fullmetal Alchemist.

Following the death of their mother, the brothers Edward and Alphonse engage in an alchemical ritual that seems guaranteed to bring her back. They fail, but that's not the worst of it; in the process, Edward loses a limb and Alphonse loses his whole body, left as a soul inhabiting a hollow suit of armor. We follow them as they attempt to put their lives and bodies back together, encountering other, dangerous alchemists along the way.

This first volume is very episodic, covering three stories that seem pretty independent of each other. The first story, which I think was the longest of the three, was my favorite. It's about the vulnerability of people who want to retrieve the irretrievable, and it shows what the brothers learned from their own attempts at doing that. The art is cleverly done; sometimes the most effective way to convey a horrible image is to barely show the edge of it and leave the rest up to reader/viewer imagination, and here it's done to great effect.

Though, this volume as a whole isn't super serious. In the preface, Hiromu Arakawa talks about her fondness for B-movies and how she wanted to create a similar effect in this manga, and I think she succeeded at that. There are a lot of hilarious, over-the-top action scenes, and I love when humor comes through in the art style and people suddenly turn into freaked-out stick figures. However, action scenes don't hold my attention for very long, and I ultimately didn't find those parts of the story to be particularly memorable.

Nonetheless, I'm excited to continue with the series and I'm looking forward to seeing some kind of continual story-arc emerge. The story has an interesting magic system, with real power coming at real cost. More importantly, it has a big heart. And Alphonse is adorable. More please!
Profile Image for Isa..
112 reviews81 followers
February 22, 2020
No esperaba quedar tan prendada y enamorada de algo. Lo tomé porque anhelaba romper mi bloqueo lector y terminé con ganas de ordenar el segundo tomo a la de ya. La historia y arte de Hiromu se merecen un premio por sí solos. La cantidad correcta de humor, drama y acción. ¡Me encanta!
Profile Image for Aisyah ♡.
222 reviews50 followers
March 31, 2017
It's been 10 years-ish since I first read it, still one of the best shonen manga ever. It is right up there with the classics such as Naruto, Bleach, Death Note etc.

Join Edward Elric and his brother, Alphonse Elric in the quest of finding the ultimate power of alchemy in a world that is filled with science, magic and automails.

This manga is intelligent and downright riveting, I've read it countless of times and it never fails to entertain and amaze me. It has a solid story line and excellent graphic, the action/fighting sequence is cool and amazing.

The relationship between Ed and Al is sweet and honest, I'm touched by their brotherly love because even though they fight and bicker a lot, they truly care and would do anything for one another. I can't help but root for them from start to finish.

Being orphans from such a young age, they rely on each other for support. It breaks my heart during the flashback scenes with their deceased mother, Trisha Elric and also their mentor, Izumi Curtis who acts as the motherly figure in this manga.

This manga is action-packed, unique, creative and heartfelt, I highly recommend it. Just read this damn manga already!!

Profile Image for Rusty Grey.
143 reviews1 follower
May 14, 2019
This manga has definitely one of the best anime adaptations as Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood . But let's not take anything away from the original material . I loved this manga . Definitely recommend .
Profile Image for Melanie.
7 reviews8 followers
September 18, 2017
Haven't read a manga in such a long time!!! I loved the Elric brothers!!! Can't wait to keep reading!!!
Profile Image for Deborah Obida.
673 reviews583 followers
September 6, 2022
Full metal Alchemist is the first manga I’m reading before watching the anime.

I usually watch an anime before reading the manga, which is a bit weird and backward. I decided to do it the right way this time by reading the manga first, and I'm glad I did.

Fullmetal Alchemist is a very popular and hyped anime; I've heard nothing but good things about it.

The writing style is straightforward and quite humourous; I wasn't expecting the humour. I love the art and the setting; the book is set in the 1800s, they are trains and guns, so it's a steampunk manga.

The manga follows two brothers, Edward and Alphonso Elric, both alchemists. They both work for the government to bring down criminals and other alchemists who break the alchemical laws.

When they were younger, they dabbled in alchemical powers more potent than them, which cost Edward an arm and a leg (literally), and Alphonso lost his body; he is now just a soul stuck in armour.

Though they currently work for the government, they also look for the philosopher's stone to use and regain their bodies.

Edward looks like a child, but I think he's a teenager. He is highly cynical but kind. He looks harsh and rude, but I think he's a softie.

Alphonso is just a walking armour, but people think it's a grown man in armour. He is kind and optimistic despite what he has gone through.

I’m looking forward to the vol. 2. I need to know who they were trying to resurrect and how old they were when they did it.
Profile Image for Elena Rodríguez.
501 reviews230 followers
May 23, 2021
Este tomo no es sino la punta del iceberg. Está compuesto por pequeñas historias para presentarte a los hermanos Elric y su pasado. Sinceramente, no consigue engancharme del todo, pero, como sé que mejora, sigo.
Profile Image for King Haddock.
459 reviews18 followers
February 14, 2017
I have become a skeptical reader over the years. It's because I've read A LOT. I was the kid who could read over 12,000 pages in a single summer - and I know because I counted. So I learned about plots, characterization, and all the things authors can do to make reading a pleasant experience.

Unfortunately, after a while, you become so knowledgeable of the meta-world that you lose sight of the treasure within the tale. Frequently I pick up a fantasy or science-fiction novel off a shelf and think, "This looks exactly like everything else."

But. Fullmetal Alchemist. blew. me. away.

As you can tell from my previous reviews of this first book (I kept them below... but I felt the need to rewrite this review YET AGAIN, sorry everyone), it took me a little bit of time to get into the series. It was good, but it didn't stand out to me too much at first. Books one and two didn't excite me all that much, and in fact I was a little offended by some of the content. Maybe you don't have that problem, but if you do share my lack of "hm, it's okay," just keep reading.

Hiromu Arakawa created a world of alchemy, something that makes me want to be an alchemist because it's just so amazing. She wrote in characters with heart-wrenching back stories and wonderful personalities. I have developed a strong opinion of every single character in the series, something that few authors can really get me to do. We've got an incredible cast with wide personalities, and they're all so incredibly distinct. I squeal over Armstrong, squeal over Mustang and Hawkeye, and most of all, squeal over the relationship between Edward and Alphonse.

There are two things that make this series absolutely fantastic beyond belief, and the first is the brothers and emotional depth we see there. The relationship between Ed and Al is incredibly poignant, heart-breaking, and heart-warming. They have gone through an incredible amount in their lives, and you feel it just as strongly as they do. I don't know that I could be any more invested in characters than this. We see loyalty, love, and perseverance. How Ed defends Al gets me every time.

This brings me to the second incredible thing that distinguishes FMA from anything else I have read: the depth in the story. We aren't just in for action (though we've got a lot of that), romance (though there's certainly the "aww" moments), humor (though I always crack up), or plot twists (though Arakawa is ingenious in plot progression). We get a whole set of deep questions. The characters aren't just alchemists - they ask WHY they do it, if it's worth doing it, when it's worth doing it, what they should do with it. WMorals come up everywhere - when is it okay to kill people, if ever? How should we deal with sacrifice? How do we treat human souls? When does someone stop becoming human? We're bashed with questions over sacrifice, genocide, utilitarianism versus deontology... You don't just have an adventure when you read FMA, you have a real experience that leads you away changed and... in my case... absolutely obsessed.

More comments about FMA can be found in my other reviews. You can even check out the first half of #27 to see my reaction when I completed the series (I give a warning before I start on volume-specific comments).

Happy reading.


I decided to reread the first two volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist because:
1. I hadn't read them in a while
2. I plan to continue reading the series about now
3. The library didn't have book three in.

So. As a second read-through, I would say the series is much better. In fact, I just bumped it up from three to four stars. Or maybe it's because I read the book in slightly a different light.

The first two books contain a lot of philosophical analysis concerning religion. I do not inherently consider this a bad thing; contrarily, the first two chapters in which a very cult-like society is realistically formed intrigued me during my re-read. I mean, it has all the standards one might psychologically expect: a strong, egotistic leader whom everyone follows without question, the claims of being a direct representative from God, a closed community, a desire for power amongst the authorities, etc. So that was sort of fun to analyze. But then - to continue onto book two (I might as well when on this train of thought) - we meet Scar, who even uses some possible vague scriptural references such as "there is a time to create and to destroy." Now, I do not have a problem with those sorts of psycho-religious bad guys, but I think one thing that got me disjointed at the beginning of FMA is the seemingly constant negative religious spin. Maybe that's me, maybe that's just the first two books... I don't know. It's not that Hiromu Arakawa does not have valid points concerning religions' dangerous facets, it's just very flinchingly one-sided at the moment.

To clarify that ramble: maybe that's why I rated the first book three stars at first.

Now let's get onto the good stuff. Rereading it, I found a bit more enjoyment in the dialogue and personality of the characters (first reread, it took me until book two to get the hang of it all). And there are some interesting moral questions brought up in this series that I find intriguing... a lot of teleological versus deontological issues, some I would have solved differently, but still fun to read. And the alchemy setting is well-done, particularly about the cost of trying to transmute humans. Very nice.

I think it's hard to review manga based on just the first volume, so I think my opinions will become more relevant the further along I go in the series. Which, so I hope, will be further than book two this go-round!

Original review:

As a first book in a series, it doesn't really particularly stand out - except that you can see a lot of potential where it is going. The second book of the series is where I started to really get into the storyline (because this one, like many first books, is such an introduction you can't really claim too much of a significant storyline).
Profile Image for Michael Sorbello.
Author 1 book222 followers
October 26, 2021
This is a review of the entire series.

Fullmetal Alchemist takes place in the fictional country of Amestris which is heavily based on the Industrial Revolution. Amestris is a unitary state under the rule of a parliamentary republic, run by state alchemists that serve the king utilizing the mystifying arts of alchemy. Alchemy is the power to alter the physical world utilizing its natural elements, performing magic and miracles in the form of science. Alchemy follows the law of equivalent exchange, you must sacrifice something that is of equal value to what you create. You must sacrifice a life to create a life, you must extinguish one flame to ignite another, you have to sacrifice one home to build another, etc...

After being abandoned by their father as children and subjected to watching their mother die, Edward Elric and his brother Alphonse once attempted to utilize the power of alchemy to bring their mother back from the grave, ignoring the dangers of creating a life by offering something of equal value. Edward loses an arm and a leg while Alphonse loses his entire body; his soul placed in a hollow suit of armor that can't feel the touch of others. As neither of them sacrificed their lives in their entirety, the exchange failed and the boys created an abomination in place of their dead mother.

After burning their own home down and dealing with the abomination they created, Edward and his brother enlist themselves in the military to atone for their sins and learn more about the many secrets of alchemy; potentially learning how to recover their original bodies in the process. While serving in the military, the brothers begin to realize how the wonders of alchemy can be abused for nefarious purposes. Immortal life can be gained by sacrificing hundreds of innocent souls, wars can be staged and foreign nations can be annihilated under false charges, human experimentation aided by alchemy can lead to unnatural mutations, the world of alchemy is more dark and dangerous than either of them could've bargained for.

Fullmetal Alchemist grew on me the longer I read it. When I first started reading, it seemed like it was going to be generic shounen material, but it gets deeper and darker the further it goes on. The way it handles political and religious corruption, the dangers of advanced states abusing their technology and resources at the expense of foreign nations caught in the turmoil, and the sad futility of revenge are all very well done.

The characters all bear the weight of what alchemy is capable of. Edward and Alphonse carry the burden of abusing alchemy for selfish purposes. Their master Izumi loses her womb after attempting to resurrect her dead child. Scar takes many lives after his entire country is desecrated and gets trapped in a pointless cycle of revenge. Roy and Riza endure the regret of committing brutal war crimes for the sake of protecting their own nation. Alchemy creates and destroys in equal measure and no one is free from the consequences of tipping the balance.

The fight scenes are flashy and exciting without being too over-the-top because of the dangerous limitations that alchemy involves. The law of equivalent exchange keeps the power scaling in check and adds plenty of tension to the action. The female characters are especially well done, all of them are strong and unique in their own way. The lead heroine Winry being a skilled mechanic, Riza being an honorable warrior of the military, Olivier Armstrong as cold and vicious as the snowy fortress she guards, and that's just a few of them.

The villains are an interesting parody of the seven deadly sins. Each of them represent the darkness and regrets of each of the main characters and they can only be conquered by coming to terms with their own flaws and sins. The characters having to overcome their personal demons to take on the greater demons trying to overthrow the world from the shadows made the struggles of every single person in the story feel personal. Every character, no matter how minor had their moments to shine. Everyone had a vital role to play and the camaraderie between friend and foe alike never felt cheesy or forced.

Unlike most shounen series I've read, the final arc was my favorite. A lot of long-running shounen series have a habit of being dragged out, losing touch with what made them great or breaking their own rules in messy, plot-hole-filled final arcs that leave a lot to be desired. Fullmetal Alchemist has no lose ends, all characters have complete arcs where they learn and grow from their dark pasts, the romance and comedy are handled well without relying on cheap fanservice, the action scenes are great but they don't overshadow the plot and the final chapters tie everything together beautifully. It's not my favorite manga by any means as I usually tend to favor seinen, but it's definitely one of the greatest stories to ever come out of the shounen demographic in my opinion. The ending is a tearjerker but it left me in good spirits.


If you're looking for some dark ambient music for reading horror, dark fantasy and other books like this one, then be sure to check out my YouTube Channel called Nightmarish Compositions: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPPs...
Profile Image for Nərmin.
523 reviews162 followers
April 23, 2017
First rewiev
Very good and entertaining opening... I liked Elric brothers and Edward is so cool with that intelligence and style. His shortness is cute though.)
The artwork is not that pretty but good enough to deliver the story. Going to read next volumes.)

Rewiev of all manga
4.85 stars

One of the best manga in the world! Even if I haven't read all the manga, I can surely say it.
God! Who transmuted all these onions into tears? But don't worry, Edward. It is tears of joy!
This one month of my life was a great journey into fantastic alchemy worlds! Hiromi Arakawa did wonderful job with this manga! She is now one of my favorite mangaka!
The powerful parts of this manga:
1. Incredibly solid and well-executed idea, story! So complex and beautiful!
2. Wonderfully drawn and memorable, lovable characters! Edward Elric, Alphonse Elric, Winry Rockbell, Roy Mustang, Riza Hawkeye, Ling, Lan Fan, May Chang, Scar, Olivier Armstrong, Alex Armstrong, Maes Hughes, Van Hohenheim, Izumi Curtis-my favorite characters! The side characters who gave the story great development! Even the homonculi and "father" were well-developed evil characters.
3. Gorgeous artwork!
4. The experiences I had with the manga, lessons I have learned. The theme of friendship, truth, knowledge, love, brotherhood, help, mercy, forgiveness... The bad and good sides of seven deadly sins...
5. The ending! You know the story is very good that the ending makes you cry even though it is a happy ending. I don't want to left this world! The story, doubtless, will live with me forever.
Now it is time for the favorite quotes:

Humankind cannot gain something without first giving something in return. To obtain, something of equal value must be lost. This is Alchemy's First Law of Equivalent Exchange.

A lesson without pain is meaningless. For you cannot gain anything without sacrificing something else in return, but once you have overcome it and made it your own...you will gain an irreplaceable fullmetal heart.

“Stand up and walk. Keep moving forward. You've got two good legs. So get up and use them. You're strong enough to make your own path.”

“It’s ironic that as scientists that don’t believe in god, were the ones that are closest to god.”

“Greed may not be good, but it’s not so bad either. You humans think greed is just for money or power, but everyone wants something they can’t have.”

“Your hands weren't meant to take peoples lives. They were meant to save them.”

“A king is no king without his people, but a people without their king would be lost as well."

“I think being so passionate about something is a talent in itself.”

“Life will come to an end, a return to dust from which we came... The spirit becomes memories living in the minds of people.”

5 reviews9 followers
August 29, 2007
Fullmetal Alchemist in its anime form is one of my favorite television shows. I watch it religiously, even now that I have seen every episode. I never read manga before and basically, I picked up this edition because of my devotion to the program.

This first installment of the manga is damn near close to (if not completely) identical to the first few episodes of the show. I won't give away the plot twists, just for those of you who haven't seen it yet. The essential storyline, though, is that brothers Ed and Al attempt to use alchemy to bring back their mother from the dead. Instead, Ed loses some limbs and Al loses his whole body. Despite the fact that Al's soul is encased in a suit of armor, Ed is actually the Fullmetal Alchemist (I think "Fullmetal" is a translation of Japanese slang for pigheaded). Ed ends up working for the military and Al comes along with him and the ultimate hope is that, while working as alchemists, they can find the Philosopher's Stone that will hopefully restore their bodies.

The theme of the series is Equivalent Exchange, the idea that in order to gain something, one must give up something of equal value. It's something I believe as truth even in the world of non-alchemists, so perhaps that's why I'm drawn to this series.
Profile Image for Jedi JC Daquis.
902 reviews40 followers
February 3, 2018
Not really blown away, but it is a great start for Fullmetal Alchemist! It is a great teaser for everything you will expect from the series. Hiromu Arakawa has perfectly set the pace and the amount of humor and action in the story. As early as now, I can see why this is one of the best rated manga series in history.

Volume 1 establishes the foundations of a terrific tale of the Alchemist brothers and I am very excited to be in this crazy, fun (and at times endearing) manga ride.
Profile Image for Artemy.
1,041 reviews948 followers
April 24, 2017
Really fun manga! It's somewhat similar to Dragon Ball with its playful and humorous tone and loveable characters, and it also has a more serious overarching plot and some very cool mythos and world building. Will definitely keep on reading.
Profile Image for Irmak.
400 reviews838 followers
June 8, 2017
İlk ciltler her zaman başımın belasıdır ama buna rağmen sevdim.
Fakat umuyorum ki ilerleyen ciltlerde böyle kesit kesit olaylardan ziyade bi bütün okuruz. Ben bütünü her zaman tercih ederim. Sorry not sorry.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,118 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.