Manga Review: Fullmetal Alchemist Volume Seven

Article first published as Manga Review: ‘Fullmetal Alchemist’ Volume Seven by Hiromu Arakawa on Blogcritics.

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume Seven is a manga by Hiromu Arakawa, and it was published in North America by Viz Media in 2006. Fullmetal Alchemist is rated “T” for teens; from what I’ve read of the manga and from seeing both of the anime series, I would agree with this rating.

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 7
Written by: Hiromu Arakawa
Publisher: Square Enix
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: May 16, 2006

Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric know how to perform alchemy, and tried performing a forbidden alchemy technique to bring their mother back to life. In the process, Alphonse lost his body and Ed lost one of his legs. In order to attach Al’s soul to a suit of armor, Ed ends up losing one of his arms. Ed now has “auto-mail” prosthetics, which are designed by his childhood friend, Winry Rockbell.

Ed has become the youngest State Alchemist in history, and has been given the name “Fullmetal Alchemist.” The series follows Ed and Al as they search for the Philosopher’s Stone, a legendary artifact that they believe will help them to recover their bodies.

In this volume, Ed heads off to get his yearly assessment done. While he’s gone, Al is kidnapped by a mysterious group of people. Al comes to learn that the leader is a Homunculus, while his underlings are chimera. The majority of Volume Seven focuses on Al’s captivity, and the attempts that are made to rescue him.

At the end, there is also a side story included about Second Lieutenant Jean Havoc going to meet Alex Louis Armstrong’s sister. This is an amusing little story, which I had already seen in the original Fullmetal Alchemist anime series; unfortunately, this side story wasn’t used when Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was produced.

Volume Seven has a strong emphasis on the Homunculus named Greed, so the reader gets to know more about one of the Homunculi. It’s been a while since the reader’s seen a Homunculi for any real length of time, so it’s nice to be reminded that these characters do indeed exist.

This volume also has a bit of an emphasis on King Bradley, the leader of the military. Some of his actions are starting to look a little suspicious, which leads the reader to believe that there could be more to him than meets the eye.

Having already seen both of the Fullmetal Alchemist anime series, I already know what’s going to be happening in the story, so nothing really takes me by surprise. This fact can also make it hard to write the reviews of the manga volumes, because I already know what’s going to happen, and I have to keep myself from going into too much detail and unintentionally providing “spoilers.”

I have to say that I really enjoy the story that Arakawa is telling in Fullmetal Alchemist, and that even though I already know what’s going to happen, I’m still riveted when I read the manga volumes. I think this is a real testament to Arakawa’s abilities as a storyteller.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous six volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist, then I believe you’ll enjoy reading Volume Seven of the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Fullmetal Alchemist Volume Seven that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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