Manga Review: Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 25

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 25 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 25
Written by: Hiromu Arakawa
Publisher: Square Enix
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: June 7, 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 25 continues with the chaos and fighting that’s taking place in Central. Lin Yao/Greed has a fight with King Bradley, and also ends up being put in charge of making sure the main gate stays closed. With Foo’s death here, Lin Yao comes to realize that the power of immortality isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, and wonders what the point of it is if he can’t even use it to save a single life. I honestly believe that Lin goes through a major change in his character at this point. He takes control over his body back, and only ask Greed for assistance to help protect the main gate.

But quite a bit of Volume 25 puts the focus on the five who are to be the “human sacrifices.” Mustang becomes the fifth when Pride uses the doctor who created King Bradley to force Mustang to do human transmutation. As a reader, it was heartbreaking when I discovered that Mustang lost his eyesight as his “toll” for being forced to do the human transmutation. Ed even points out the injustice of this development later in the volume.

We also get to see Al in his armor body when he appears at the gate and sees his regular body standing right before him. While Al has the chance to return to his body, he makes the painful decision not to after seeing the shape his human body is in; the way his human body is, there’s no way he’d be able to help fight if he returned to it. I felt so bad for Al, because I could tell just how torn he was when he made that decision. It was heartbreaking to see him reach his goal, only to abandon it for the greater good of everyone else. But his human body says something ominous as Al returns to where Ed and the others are.

There’s also an awesome battle that takes place between Scar and King Bradley near the end of Volume 25. It’s very action-packed and exciting to read. And just when it looks like King Bradley has the upper hand, Scar does something that’s really surprising right at the end of the volume.

The preview for the next volume declares that Volume 26 is the penultimate volume for Fullmetal Alchemist. With the way the story has progressed in Volume 25, I can believe it.The eclipse should play a major role in Volume 26, and I already know what’s going to be transpiring from having already seen the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood anime. I’m not going to say anything here, though, in order to not provide a “spoiler” for the next volume.

But I love the way the story builds over the course of Volume 25. As a reader, I was kept hanging on the edge of my seat as I read through each page and each scene. In fact, it was such an exciting read that I didn’t want to put the volume down until I finished it. There are also some great emotional moments, such as Lin Yao’s frustration at not being able to save Foo with his Philosopher’s Stone, and when it appeared that Hawkeye was dying right in front of Mustang’s eyes in order to try to force Mustang to perform a human transmutation on his own.

Even though I already know what’s going to be happening before I read each volume, I enjoy being able to see how these events were originally depicted in the manga. I find myself just as riveted by the story, characters, and events now as I did when I first saw them when I watched the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood anime. To me, it’s proof that Arakawa successfully created a story, characters, and world that people can see repeatedly and not be bored by it.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 24 volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist, then I believe you’ll also enjoy reading Volume 25 of the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 25 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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