Book Review: Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 1 by Hiromu Arakawa

Hello everyone,

Today’s review is on Fullmetal Alchemist Voluem 1 by Hiromu Arakawa.


After an alchemy experiment went wrong, leaving Edward Elric without an arm and a leg, and his brother, Alphonse just a soul in a suit of armor, they set out on a quest for the philosopher’s stone, in the hopes that it will undo the effects of the experiment. After sometime, Edward is appointed as the state alchemist which means he is bound to obey the orders of those who command him, even if it means killing someone. As they journey through their world they will discover treacherous villains and tyrants, as well as those also versed in the ways of alchemy, but use their skills for evil.

The Elric brothers are briefly introduced and the manga opens with a nippet of a scene following their experiment with transmutation. However, it is then revealed in further dialogue some of what happened to them and why they are the way they are: Edward has a metal arm and leg, Alphonse is merely a soul in a suit of armor.

One of the main themese in this first volume is exposing fruad and hypocrisy. In the first two chapters they are in a town that is devoted to following a charlatan who claims to be an emissary of the god, Leto. He gained a following by performing “miracles,” however the Elric brothers discover that he is really an alchemist and he is able to perform his miracles by breaking some of the cardinal rules of alchemy because he possesses part of the philosopher’s stone. The second chapter explores his hypocrisy being exposed, as well as some of his devoted followers, like Rose, who are crushed after realizing that everything they beleived about the emissary was a lie. Rose now has to figure out what she believes and is left feeling hopeless. The end of this chapter introduces the incaranations of two of the seven deadly sins – Lust and Gluttony – who are revealed to have been the masterminds behind Father Cornello’s plot, and they even had him duped too.

Chapter 3 is an episodic tale in which Ed uses cunning and breaks the laws of alchemy against a corrupt and incompetent lieutenant who has been terrorzing a mining town that he owns the rights to. It can be said in this case that Ed has to be a little corrupt in orer to take down the corruption that has been caused by Lieutenant Yoki.

Chapter 4 is more of just an action epsidoe where the Elric brothers have to go up against a group of goons that have hijacked the train that the general and his family were on. We’re also introduced to another alchemsit at the end – the fire alchemist.

This first volume of Fullmetal Alchemist was a good introduction to the series, however it felt like chapters 3 and 4 were merely episodic and did not seem to connect much with the first two chapters. But maybe in futre volumes they will connect more than can be seen in this first volume. It is also intriguing that the seven deadly sins have a role in this series and it will be interesting to see how they factor into the overarching storyline.

The art style was good. The actions sequences were done in such a way that was just right – they had enough details to show the action, but it was not bogged down with little details that can overwhelm readers who are trying to keep up with what is going on. I am looking forward to reading the next volume soon! 4/5 Stars.

Happy Reading,

Janelle L. C.


One thought on “Book Review: Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 1 by Hiromu Arakawa

  1. Pingback: September Wrap-Up | Meanderings of a BookWorm

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