Manga Review: Fullmetal Alchemist Volume Eight

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume Eight 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 8
Written by: Hiromu Arakawa
Publisher: Square Enix
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: July 18, 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.

This volume begins with Greed and his minions and their fight with King Bradley and his forces, and Al being trapped in the middle of it. During the course of this battle, something very important happens that causes a change for Al; I’m not going to say what that change is, because I don’t want to provide spoilers to readers who haven’t reached this point in the series yet.

Barry the Chopper makes a return and ends up in the custody of Mustang and his men, and through questioning, Barry ends up telling them some information they hadn’t known previously. Also in this volume, a major secret regarding King Bradley is revealed.

Four new characters from the country of Xing: May Chang and her little panda Xiaomei, and Lin Yao and his two companions. May Chang has a small role in this volume, while Lin Yao has a bigger part to play. Lin Yao runs into Ed and Al in Rush Valley, and after initially hitting it off, things turn for the worst during the time they spend together. It gets so bad that Lin Yao’s traveling companions attack Ed and Al.

Volume Eight turns out to be a rather important volume for the Fullmetal Alchemist manga series. Some important information is revealed in regards to the Homunculi, Al goes through a major change, and the reader also learns that the country of Xing exists and that it has its own form of alchemy, which is displayed by May Chang during her brief appearance in this volume. Also, the secret about King Bradley really changes the reader’s perception of not just him as a character, but also his motivations for why he’s doing the things he’s been doing up until this point.

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.”

Even though I already know what’s going to happen, Arakawa’s storytelling for this series is so strong that I’m still riveted by what’s happening in the story. In fact, I have a hard time putting down a volume of Fullmetal Alchemist when I’m reading it.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous seven volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist, then honestly I believe you’ll really enjoy reading Volume Eight of the series.

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

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