Manga Review: Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 24

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 24 is a manga by Hiromu Arakawa, and it was published in North America by VIZ Media in 2011. 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 24
Written by: Hiromu Arakawa
Publisher: Square Enix
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: January 18, 2011

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 24 continues that battle and chaos that’s been ensuing in Central. The Armstrong siblings continue to battle with the dolls and Sloth, and they get some unexpected assistance from Izumi Curtis and her husband. The scene where Louis Armstrong and Izumi’s husband meet is so amusing and adds some needed light-hearted humor in an otherwise serious and dramatic battle.

Hohenheim and Father meet under Central, and Hohenheim attempts to have a conversation; unfortunately for Hohenheim, this doesn’t go so well. But Hohemheim manages to turn the tables on Father when his Philosopher’s Stone is pulled out of Hohenheim and is absorbed into Father. I thought this was a great way to show that the souls that make up a Philosopher’s Stone retain their individual personalities even though they’re part of one unit. But Father still has one trick up his sleeve that surprises Hohenheim.

And just as it looks like the Briggs forces have taken control of Central, King Bradley makes a surprising return. Most of the remainder of the volume focuses on the battles Bradley has; his opponents include Buccaneer, Greed/Lin Yao, and Foo. These battle sequences are rather intense, and they help make this portion of the manga a quick read. But the action is very interesting; from seeing Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, I know that the effects of these battles will play an important role as the series continues.

We also get to see Ed, Roy, Hawkeye, and Scar as they run into one of the scientists that helped to create King Bradley. He unleashes the men who failed to become King Bradley in the experiment because the one we know as Bradley was the success before them. During the battle, the scientist activates a transmutation circle, and the ones chosen as the sacrifices suddenly disappear…

As you read Volume 24, you can tell that the story is getting ever closer to reaching its conclusion. While there were some significant gains made by the Central rebels and the Briggs soldiers, there were also major setbacks for them as well. It’s interesting to note how little Ed actually appears in Volume 24; however, for the short time he does appear, he ends up having something very important happen to him right at the end of the volume, and this should carry over into Volume 25. And with everything that’s taking place in Volume 24, I found myself not wanting to put this volume down until I finished reading it.

I also wanted to add that on page 70, there’s a panel in the bottom right-hand corner that really caught my attention. How Izumi is drawn in this panel is so striking, especially with the shadow that’s covering most of it. It gives her a striking and menacing look that works well for this scene. The detail used for Izumi’s hair is also a nice touch.

Volume 24 also includes a short story called, “Special Episode: Fullmetal Alchemist, Wii: Daughter of the Dusk.” This story was included in order to promote the Fullmetal Alchemist: Daughter of the Dusk videogame for the Nintendo Wii that was released in Japan; this is a follow-up game to Fullmetal Alchemist: Prince of the Dawn. It appears to include the same two new characters that were introduced in Fullmetal Alchemist: Prince of the Dawn, but it takes place after Prince Claudio arrives. It’s OK for what it is, but I probably would have enjoyed it more if I knew about the games in order to better understand the context of what’s going on in the story.

Even though I already know what’s going to be happening before I read each volume, I still enjoy reading these events as they’re portrayed in the manga. To me, being able to still enjoy the story even though I already know what’s going to happen from seeing an anime adaptation helps to prove just how strong Arakawa’s storytelling and character development is in the Fullmetal Alchemist series.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 23 volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist, then I believe you’ll also enjoy reading Volume 24 of the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 24 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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