Manga Review: Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 14

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 14 is a manga by Hiromu Arakawa, and it was published in North America by Viz Media in 2007. 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 14
Written by: Hiromu Arakawa
Publisher: Square Enix
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 21, 2007

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.

Volume 14 opens with Ed, Al, and Lin meeting Father, the creator of the Homunculi. This meeting ends up culminating into a fight between the Elric brothers, Father, and the Homunculi that are present. Unfortunately during the fight, Ed and Al discover they are unable to use alchemy. Lin gets mixed up in the battle, and is taken down by Gluttony. Father does something unexpected to Lin, but Lin ends up not fighting it. What happens to Lin here adds a whole new plot element for the Elric brothers to have to deal with.

Just as things look bleak, Scar and May Chang enter the area and are still able to use their alchemy; this really throws Father for a loop. During this fight, Ed rebeals to Scar the truth he learned about the Ishbalan War that he learned from Envy back in Volume 13; this, of course, angers Scar. Unfortunately, Scar is unable tp defeat Father, and everyone has to flee. An uneasy alliance is created between Al and Scar.

Afterward, Ed and Al are called into a meeting with King Bradley and Colonel Mustang. A lot of information is revealed during this meeting, and Ed ends up being blackmailed into continuing to serve as a State Alchemist.

The last important part of the story in this volume is Scar finding Dr. Marcoh and learning about Marcoh’s role in the Ishbalan War.

The end of Volume 13 led the reader to believe something about Father’s identity that was rather shocking. However, early on in Volume 14, it’s revealed that Father’s identity was not who the reader originally thought he was. However, even after getting reassurance that it was a case of mistaken identity, the reader still doesn’t know Father truly is. I believe this is a mystery that will be answered in a later volume of the series.

Even though I knew that the surprising event with Lin would come up, since I’ve already seen Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I still found myself riveted to what was happening as I read the manga. This event becomes a major “game changer” not only for Lin, but for Ed, Al, and Lan Fan as well. It’s a very interesting twist that will help to propel the story forward.

Scar learning the truth about how the Ishbalan War started also becomes a “game changer” for the series, and Scar is at least willing to work with the Elric brothers, even if it’s still a reluctant willingness.

I’m still amazed at just how much I become engrossed in reading these manga volumes, even though I already know what’s going to happen. There’s such a strong story taking place in Fullmetal Alchemist that you can’t help but be engaged in it, whether you’re already familiar with it or not.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 13 volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist, then I believe you’ll also enjoy reading Volume 14 of the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 14 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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