Manga Review: Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 18

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 18 is a manga by Hiromu Arakawa, and it was published in North America by Viz Media in 2009. 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 18
Written by: Hiromu Arakawa
Publisher: Square Enix
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: May 19, 2009

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 18 opens with Kimblee escorting Wintry to Briggs so she can fit Ed with cold climate automail; unknown to her, she is being used as a way to convince Ed to go along with the Fuhrer’s orders. He has three orders: aid in the search for Scar, find Dr. Marcoh, and carve a crest of blood at Briggs. Kimblee uses Winry in order to get Ed to agree.

Meanwhile, Major General Armstrong is dealing with things on two fronts: she’s trying to find her men who went missing under Briggs and getting information to Mustang about what’s going on.

Riza Hawkeye meets the Homunculus named Pride, and his identity is rather surprising. This encounter leaves an impression on Hawkeye.

We see Ed and Al heading out on the search to find Scar, and Winry insists on going along. While they’re out, Ed and Al make a break from Kimblee’s men and they run into May and Dr. Marcoh. The men Ed and Al fled from find Scar and reveal that they’re chimera. A fight erupts, and Ed, Al, Winrey, May, and Dr. Marcoh find where it’s taking place. Ed and Al subdue Kimblee’s men, but find themselves fighting Scar. Miles and some men from Briggs arrive and offer assistance. A really good scene between Winry and Scar takes place here. The end of the volume sees Ed and the others trying to get away from Kimblee with assistance from Scar.

The storyline at Briggs really gets going in this volume, and we get to see Ed and Al’s paths cross with Scar again. I really liked seeing what Winry does when she gets the opportunity to confront Scar over her parents’ deaths. I also liked the unlikely alliance between Ed and Scar.

Another Homunculus is revealed in Volume 18, and it’s not someone the reader would have predicted. They may be one of the smallest in stature, but they have the power of moving around in the shadows. It’s no wonder Hawkeye gets so freaked out after encountering Pride!

Even though I already know what’s going to happen in the manga from watching the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I still enjoy reading these events in the manga. Arakawa has such a compelling sense of storytelling in Fullmetal Alchemist that it keeps me interested, no matter how many times I may see the same events in different mediums.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 17 volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist, then I believe you’ll also enjoy reading Volume 18 of the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 18 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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