Fullmetal Alchemist (Japanese: 鋼の錬金術師, Hepburn: Hagane no
Renkinjutsushi, lit. "Alchemist of Steel") is a Japanese shōnen
manga series written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa. It was
serialized in Square Enix's Monthly
Shōnen Gangan magazine between
August 2001 and June 2010; the publisher later collected the
individual chapters into twenty-seven tankōbon volumes. The world of
Fullmetal Alchemist is styled after the European Industrial
Revolution. Set in a fictional universe in which alchemy is one of the
most advanced scientific techniques, the story follows two alchemist
brothers named Edward and Alphonse Elric, who are searching for the
philosopher's stone to restore their bodies after a failed attempt to
bring their mother back to life using alchemy.
The manga was published and localized in English by
Viz Media in North
Madman Entertainment in Australasia, and
Chuang Yi in
Yen Press also has the rights for the digital release of
the volumes in North America due to the series being a Square Enix
title. It has been adapted into two anime television series, two
animated films—all animated by Bones studio—and light novels.
Funimation dubbed the television series, films and video games. The
series has generated original video animations, video games,
supplementary books, a collectible card game, and a variety of action
figures and other merchandise. A live action film based on the series
was also released in 2017.
The manga has sold over 70 million volumes worldwide, making it one of
the best-selling manga series. The English release of the manga's
first volume was the top-selling graphic novel during 2005. In two TV
Asahi web polls, the anime was voted the most popular anime of all
time in Japan. At the American
Anime Awards in February 2007, it was
eligible for eight awards, nominated for six, and won five. Reviewers
from several media conglomerations had positive comments on the
series, particularly for its character development, action scenes,
symbolism and philosophical references.
4.4 Light novels
4.5 Audio dramas
4.6 Video games
5.1.2 Critical reception
5.2 Light novels reception
6 See also
8 External links
See also: List of
Fullmetal Alchemist characters
Fullmetal Alchemist takes place in an alternate history, in the
fictional country of Amestris (アメストリス, Amesutorisu). In
this world, alchemy is one of the most-practiced sciences; Alchemists
who work for the government are known as State Alchemists
(国家錬金術師, Kokka Renkinjutsushi) and are automatically given
the rank of
Major in the military. Alchemists have the ability, with
the help of patterns called Transmutation Circles, to create almost
anything they desire. However, when they do so, they must provide
something of equal value in accordance with the Law of Equivalent
Exchange. The only things Alchemists are forbidden from transmuting
are humans and gold. There has never been a successful human
transmutation; those who attempt it lose a part of their body and the
result is a horrific inhuman mass. Attemptees are confronted by Truth
(真理, Shinri), a pantheistic and semi-cerebral God-like being who
tauntingly regulates all alchemy use and whose nigh-featureless
appearance is relative to the person to whom Truth is conversing with;
the series' antagonist, Father, and some other characters, claim and
believe that Truth is a personal God who punishes the arrogant, a
belief that Edward denies, citing a flaw in Father's interpretation of
Attemptees of Human Transmutation are also thrown into the Gate of
Truth (真理の扉, Shinri no Tobira), where they receive an
overwhelming dose of information, but also allowing them to transmute
without a circle. All living things possess their own Gate of Truth,
and per the
Gaea hypothesis heavenly bodies like planets also have
their own Gates of Truth. It is possible to bypass the Law of
Equivalent Exchange (to an extent) using a Philosopher's Stone, a red,
enigmatic substance. Philosopher's Stones can be used to create
Homunculi, artificial humans of proud nature. Homunculi have numerous
superhuman abilities unique amongst each other and look down upon all
humanity. With the exception of one, they do not age and can only be
killed via the destruction of their Philosopher's Stones.
There are several cities throughout Amestris. The main setting is the
capital of Central City (セントラルシティ, Sentoraru Shiti),
along with other military cities such as the northern city of Briggs
(ブリッグズ, Burigguzu). Towns featured include Resembool
(リゼンブール, Rizenbūru), the rural hometown of the Elrics;
Liore (リオール, Riōru), a city tricked into following a cult;
Rush Valley (ラッシュバレー, Rasshu Barē), a town that
specializes in automail manufacturing; and Ishbal, a
conservative-religion region that rejects alchemy and was destroyed in
the Ishbalan Civil War instigated after a soldier (actually the
homunculus Envy) shot an Ishbalan child. Outside of Amestris, there
are few named countries, and none are seen in the main story. The main
foreign country is Xing. Heavily reminiscent of China, Xing has a
complex system of clans and emperors, as opposed to Amestris's
government-controlled election of a Führer. It also has its own
system of alchemy, called
Alkahestry (錬丹術, Rentanjutsu), which
is more medical and can be bi-located using kunai; in turn, it is
implied that all countries have different forms of alchemy.
Alphonse Elric live in the rural town of Resembool with
their mother Trisha, their father Van Hohenheim having left without a
reason. Edward since bore a grudge against their father as he and
Alphonse showed a talent for alchemy before Trisha died of the plague.
After finishing their alchemy training under Izumi Curtis, the
brothers attempt to bring their mother back with alchemy. But the
transmutation backfires and in law with equivalent exchange, Edward
lost his left leg while Alphonse was dragged into the Gate of Truth.
Edward sacrifices his right arm to retrieve Alphonse's soul, binding
it to a suit of armor with a blood seal. Edward is invited by Roy
Mustang to become a State Alchemist to research a way to restore
Alphonse's body, passing his exams while given the title of Fullmetal
Alchemist back on his prosthetic automail limbs and use of metal in
his alchemy. The Elrics spent the next three years searching for the
Philosopher's Stone to achieve their goals. One such lead
resulted in them exposing a corrupt religious leader in the city of
Liore while unaware of events occurring behind the scenes by the
Following their time with the State Alchemist Shou Tucker, which
taught them a horrific lesson, the Elric brothers had a near-death
experience from encountering an Ishbalan serial killer labeled as Scar
who targets State Alchemists for his people's genocide in the Ishbalan
civil war. After returning to Resembool to have Edward's limbs
repaired by their childhood friend and mechanic, Winry Rockbell, the
Elrics meet the guilt-ridden former State Alchemist Dr. Marcoh who
provided them with clues to learn that a
Philosopher's Stone is
created from human souls. After the Homunculi hindered them by
destroying the hidden laboratory, the brothers are joined by Winry as
they attempt to find an alternate means to restore themselves. At the
same time, Mustang's friend Maes Hughes continued the Elrics' research
and ends up murdered by a disguised
Envy when he learned of the
Being abducted by Izumi, who disciplines them upon realizing what they
have done, the Elrics learn she committed human transmutation on her
stillborn child. Alphonse is captured by the rogue homunculus Greed,
who then ends up being captured by Amestris' president King Bradley,
who is revealed to be the homunculus Wrath. When
Greed refuses to
rejoin his fellow Homunculi,
Greed is consequently melted down by and
reabsorbed within the Homunculi's creator, Father.
After running into the Xingese prince Lin Yao, who is also after a
Philosopher's Stone to cement his position as heir to his country's
throne, the Elrics and Winry return to Central City where they learn
of Hughes's death with Lieutenant Maria Ross framed for the murder.
Mustang fakes Maria's death and smuggles her out of the country with
Lin's help so he can focus on the Homunculi. The events that follow
result in the death of Lust, revealing that a Philosopher's Stone
forms a Homunculus's core along with an upcoming event the Homunculi
are working towards. Meanwhile, Scar forms a small band with the
Xingese princess May Chang, who also seeks the stone, and a former
military officer named Yoki whom the Elrics exposed as a corrupt
Following an attempt to capture
Gluttony using Lin's sensory skills,
the Homunculus end up accidentally swallowing Edward, Lin, and Envy
into his void-like stomach, with the two humans learning the Homunculi
orchestrated Ametris's history over the centuries.
Alphonse to meet Father as the others manage to escape from Gluttony's
stomach, meeting Father who considered killing Lin for not being one
of the human sacrifice like the Elrics. But Father instead makes Lin
the vessel of a new incarnation of
Greed with the Elrics attempting to
escape upon seeing Scar. Edward has
Envy admit to having caused the
Ishbalan civil war. Soon after, with Winry used against them as a
hostage, the Elrics are allowed to continue their quest as long as
they no longer oppose Father. Mustang receives a similar threat with
his subordinates scattered to the other military branches. At the same
time, finding Dr. Marcoh held captive, Scar spirited him out of
Central as Scar's group head north.
The Elrics eventually reach Fort Briggs under the command of General
Olivier Armstrong, revealing what they know following the discovery of
an underground tunnel beneath Briggs made by the Homunculus Sloth. The
brothers soon learn from Hughes's research that Father created
Amestris to amass a large enough population to create a massive
Philosopher's Stone. Forced to work with Solf J. Kimblee, a murderous
former State Alchemist and willing ally of the Homunculi in tracking
down Scar, the Elrics make their move to save Winry and split up with
Kimblee's chimera subordinates joining them. As Edward is joined by
Lin and Greed, who regained his former self's memories, Alphonse
encounters Honenheim in Liore. Honenheim reveals he was made an
immortal when Father, once simply known as Homunculus, arranged the
fall of Xeres four centuries ago to create his body while giving half
of the sacrificed souls to him. Honenheim also explains he left his
family to stop Father from sacrificing the Amestrisan people to
achieve godhood by absorbing the being beyond the Gate of Truth on the
The Promised Day arrives and Father prepares to initiate his plan
using an eclipse and capture the human sacrifices to trigger the
transmutation, the protagonists having assembled days prior and
orchestrate an all-out attack on Central with Sloth, Envy, and Wrath
killed in the process while
Gluttony was devoured by Pride. But
despite the opposition, Father manages to activate the nationwide
transmutation once the Elrics, Izumi, Hohenheim are gathered along
with Mustang after being forced by
Pride to perform Human
Transmutation. But Hohenheim and Scar activate countermeasures to save
the Amestrians, causing Father to become unstable from housing the
absorbed superior being within him without the souls needed to subdue
it. Father is confronted above ground where the protagonists battle
him to wear down his
Philosopher's Stone while he attempts to
replenish himself, Edward managing to defeat the gravely weakened
Pride before joining the fray.
Alphonse, whose armor is all but destroyed, sacrifices his soul to
restore Edward's right arm while
Greed leaves Lin's body and
sacrifices himself to weaken Father's body enough for Edward to
destroy Father's Philosopher's Stone. This causes Father to implode
out of reality while dragged into the Gate of Truth from which he was
created. Edward sacrifices his ability to perform alchemy to retrieve
a fully restored Alphonse, Lin receiving a
Philosopher's Stone while
promising May to be a just ruler. Hohenheim takes his leave and visits
Trisha's grave where he dies with a smile on his face. The Elrics
return home months later, still motivated by those they failed to save
in learning new forms of alchemy to prevent repeated tragedies. This
leads to the Elrics leaving Ametris two years later to learn about
other cultures and their knowledge, with Alphonse leaving for Xing in
the east while Edward heads westward. The epilogue finishes with a
family photo of Alphonse, May, Edward, Winry, and Ed's and Winry's son
After reading about the concept of the Philosopher's Stone, Arakawa
became attracted to the idea of her characters using alchemy in the
manga. She started reading books about alchemy, which she found
complicated because some books contradict others. Arakawa was
attracted more by the philosophical aspects than the practical
ones. For the Equivalent Exchange (等価交換, Tōka Kōkan)
concept, she was inspired by the work of her parents, who had a farm
Hokkaido and worked hard to earn the money to eat.
Arakawa wanted to integrate social problems into the story. Her
research involved watching television news programs and talking to
refugees, war veterans and former yakuza. Several plot elements, such
as Pinako Rockbell caring for the Elric brothers after their mother
dies, and the brothers helping people to understand the meaning of
family, expand on these themes. When creating the fictional world of
Fullmetal Alchemist, Arakawa was inspired after reading about the
Industrial Revolution in Europe; she was amazed by differences in the
culture, architecture, and clothes of the era and those of her own
culture. She was especially interested in England during this period
and incorporated these ideas into the manga.
When the manga began serialization, Arakawa was considering several
major plot points, including the ending. She wanted the Elric brothers
to recover their bodies—at least partly. As the plot continued,
she thought that some characters were maturing and decided to change
some scenes. Arakawa said the manga authors
Suihō Tagawa and
Hiroyuki Eto are her main inspirations for her character designs; she
describes her artwork as a mix of both of them. She found that the
easiest of the series's characters to draw were Alex Louis Armstrong,
and the little animals. Arakawa likes dogs so she included several of
them in the story. Arakawa made comedy central to the manga's story
because she thinks it is intended for entertainment, and tried to
minimize sad scenes.
When around forty manga chapters had been published, Arakawa said that
as the series was nearing its end and she would try to increase the
pace of the narrative. To avoid making some chapters less entertaining
than others, unnecessary details from each of them were removed and a
climax was developed. The removal of minor details was also necessary
because Arakawa had too few pages in Monthly
Shōnen Gangan to include
all the story content she wanted to add. Some characters' appearances
were limited in some chapters. At first, Arakawa thought the series
would last twenty-one volumes but the length increased to
twenty-seven. Serialization finished after nine years, and Arakawa was
satisfied with her work because she had told everything she wanted
with the manga.
During the development of the first anime, Arakawa allowed the anime
staff to work independently from her, and requested a different ending
from that of the manga. She said that she would not like to repeat the
same ending in both media, and wanted to make the manga longer so she
could develop the characters. When watching the ending of the anime,
she was amazed about how different the homunculi creatures were from
the manga and enjoyed how the staff speculated about the origins of
the villains. Because Arakawa helped the Bones staff in the making
of the series, she was kept from focusing on the manga's cover
illustrations and had little time to make them.
The series explores social problems, including discrimination,
scientific advancement, political greed, brotherhood, family, and
war. Scar's backstory and his hatred of the state military
references the Ainu people, who had their land taken by other
people. This includes the consequences of guerrilla warfare and the
amount of violent soldiers a military can have. Some of the people
who took the Ainus' land were originally Ainu; this irony is
referenced in Scar's use of alchemy to kill alchemists even though it
was forbidden in his own religion. The Elrics being orphans and
adopted by Pinako Rockbell reflects Arakawa's beliefs about the ways
society should treat orphans. The characters' dedication to their
occupations reference the need to work for food. The series also
explores the concept of equivalent exchange; to obtain something new,
one must pay with something of equal value. This is applied by
alchemists when creating new materials and is also a philosophical
belief the Elric brothers follow.
Main article: List of
Fullmetal Alchemist chapters
Written and drawn by Hiromu Arakawa,
Fullmetal Alchemist was
serialized in Square Enix's monthly manga magazine Monthly Shōnen
Gangan. Its first installment was published in the magazine's August
2001 issue on July 12, 2001; publication continued until the series
concluded in June 2010 with the 108th installment. A side-story to
the series was published in the October 2010 issue of Monthly Shōnen
Gangan on September 11, 2010. In the July 2011 issue of the same
magazine, the prototype version of the manga was published. Square
Enix compiled the chapters into twenty-seven tankōbon volumes. The
first volume was released on January 22, 2002, and the last on
November 22, 2010. A few chapters have been re-released in
Japan in two "Extra number" magazines and Fullmetal Alchemist, The
First Attack, which features the first nine chapters of the manga and
other side stories. On July 22, 2011, Square
republishing the series in kanzenban format.
Viz Media localized the tankōbon volumes in English in North America
between May 3, 2005, and December 20, 2011. On June 7, 2011,
Viz started publishing the series in omnibus format, featuring three
volumes in one.
Yen Press has the rights for the digital release
of the volumes in North America since 2014 and on December 12, 2016
has released the series on the
ComiXology website. Other
English localizations were done by
Madman Entertainment for
Chuang Yi in Singapore. The series has been
also localized in Polish, French, Portuguese, Italian, and
Fullmetal Alchemist (anime)
Fullmetal Alchemist (anime) and Fullmetal Alchemist:
Fullmetal Alchemist was adapted into two anime series for television:
a loose adaptation titled
Fullmetal Alchemist in 2003–2004, and a
more faithful 2009–2010 retelling titled Fullmetal Alchemist:
Two feature-length anime films were produced;
Fullmetal Alchemist the
Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa, a sequel/conclusion to the 2003 series,
and Fullmetal Alchemist: The Sacred Star of Milos, set during the time
period of Brotherhood.
Fullmetal Alchemist (film)
A live-action film based on the manga was released on November 19,
Fumihiko Sori directed the film. The film stars Ryosuke
Yamada as Edward Elric,
Tsubasa Honda as
Winry Rockbell and Dean
Fujioka as Roy Mustang.
Main article: List of
Fullmetal Alchemist light novels
Enix has published a series of six
Fullmetal Alchemist Japanese
light novels, written by Makoto Inoue. The novels were licensed
for an English-language release by
Viz Media in North America, with
Alexander O. Smith and illustrations—including
covers and frontispieces—by Arakawa. The novels are
spin-offs of the manga series and follow the Elric brothers on their
continued quest for the philosopher's stone. The first novel,
Fullmetal Alchemist: The Land of Sand, was animated as the episodes
eleven and twelve of the first anime series. The fourth novel
contains an extra story about the military called "Roy's Holiday".
Novelizations of the
PlayStation 2 games
Fullmetal Alchemist and the
Broken Angel, Curse of the Crimson Elixir, and The Girl Who Succeeds
God have also been written, the first by
Makoto Inoue and the rest by
There have been two series of
Fullmetal Alchemist audio dramas. The
first volume of the first series,
Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 1: The Land
of Sand (砂礫の大地, Sareki no Daichi), was released before the
anime and tells a similar story to the first novel. The Tringham
brothers reprised their anime roles.
Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 2:
False Light, Truth's Shadow (偽りの光 真実の影, Itsuwari no
Hikari, Shinjitsu no Kage) and
Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 3: Criminals'
Scar (咎人たちの傷跡, Togabitotachi no Kizuato) are stories
based on different manga chapters; their State Military characters are
different from those in the anime. The second series of audio
dramas, available only with purchases of
Shōnen Gangan, consists two
stories in this series, each with two parts. The first, Fullmetal
Alchemist: Ogutāre of the Fog (霧のオグターレ, Kiri no
Ogutāre), was included in
Shōnen Gangan's April and May 2004 issues;
the second story, Fullmetal Alchemist: Crown of Heaven
(天上の宝冠, Tenjō no Hōkan), was issued in the November and
December 2004 issues.
Video games based on
Fullmetal Alchemist have been released. The
storylines of the games often diverge from those of the anime and
manga, and feature original characters. Square
Enix has released three
role-playing games (RPG)—
Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel,
Curse of the Crimson Elixir, and Kami o Tsugu Shōjo.
released two RPG titles, Fullmetal Alchemist: Stray Rondo
(鋼の錬金術師 迷走の輪舞曲, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi
Meisō no Rondo) and Fullmetal Alchemist: Sonata of Memory
(鋼の錬金術師 想い出の奏鳴曲, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi
Omoide no Sonata), for the
Game Boy Advance
Game Boy Advance and one, Dual Sympathy,
for the Nintendo DS. In Japan,
Bandai released an RPG Fullmetal
Alchemist: To the Promised Day (鋼の錬金術師 Fullmetal Alchemist
約束の日へ, Hagane no Renkinjutsushi
Fullmetal Alchemist Yakusoku
no Hi e) for the
PlayStation Portable on May 20, 2010.
released a fighting game, Dream Carnival, for the PlayStation 2.
Destineer released a game based on the trading card game in North
America for the Nintendo DS. Of the seven games made in Japan,
Broken Angel, Curse of the Crimson Elixir, and Dual Sympathy have seen
international releases. For the Wii, Akatsuki no Ōji (暁の王子,
lit. Fullmetal Alchemist: Prince of the Dawn) was released in Japan on
August 13, 2009. A direct sequel of the game, Tasogare no Shōjo
(黄昏の少女, lit. Fullmetal Alchemist: Daughter of the Dusk), was
released on December 10, 2009, for the same console.
Funimation licensed the franchise to create a new series of Fullmetal
Alchemist-related video games to be published by
Corporation in the United States.
Destineer released its first
Fullmetal Alchemist game for the Nintendo DS, a translation of
Bandai's Dual Sympathy, on December 15, 2006, and said that they plan
to release further titles. On February 19, 2007, Destineer
announced the second game in its
Fullmetal Alchemist series, the
Fullmetal Alchemist Trading Card Game, which was released on October
15, 2007. A third game for the
PlayStation Portable titled
Fullmetal Alchemist: Senka wo Takuseshi Mono (背中を託せし者)
was released in Japan on October 15, 2009. A European release of
the game, published by with Namco Bandai, was announced on March 4,
2010. The massively multiplayer online role-playing game
MapleStory also received special in-game items based on the anime
Arakawa oversaw the story and designed the characters for the RPG
games, while Bones—the studio responsible for the anime
series—produced several animation sequences. The developers looked
at other titles—specifically Square Enix's action role-playing game
Kingdom Hearts and other games based on manga series, such as Dragon
Ball, Naruto or One Piece games—for inspiration. The biggest
challenge was to make a "full-fledged" game rather than a simple
character-based one. Tomoya Asano, the assistant producer for the
games, said that development took more than a year, unlike most
Fullmetal Alchemist has received several artbooks. Three artbooks
called The Art of
Fullmetal Alchemist (イラスト集 FULLMETAL
ALCHEMIST, Irasuto Shū Fullmetal Alchemist) were released by Square
Enix; two of those were released in the US by Viz Media. The
first artbook contains illustrations made between May 2001 to April
2003, spanning the first six manga volumes, while the second has
illustrations from September 2003 to October 2005, spanning the next
six volumes. The last one includes illustrations from the
The manga also has three guidebooks; each of them contains timelines,
guides to the Elric brothers' journey, and gaiden chapters that were
never released in manga volumes. Only the first guidebook was
released by Viz Media, titled
Fullmetal Alchemist Profiles. A
guidebook titled "
Fullmetal Alchemist Chronicle" (鋼の錬金術師
CHRONICLE), which contains post-manga story information, was released
in Japan on July 29, 2011.
Action figures, busts, and statues from the
Fullmetal Alchemist anime
and manga have been produced by toy companies, including Medicom and
Southern Island. Medicom has created high end deluxe vinyl figures of
the characters from the anime. These figures are exclusively
distributed in the United States and UK by Southern Island.
Southern Island released its own action figures of the main characters
in 2007, and a 12" statuette was scheduled for release the same year.
Southern Island has since gone bankrupt, putting the statuette's
release in doubt. A trading card game was first published in 2005
in the United States by Joyride Entertainment. Since then, six
expansions have been released. The card game was withdrawn on July 11,
Destineer released a
Nintendo DS adaptation of the game on
October 15, 2007.
Overall, the franchise has received widespread critical acclaim and
Along with Yakitate!! Japan, the series won the forty-ninth Shogakukan
Manga Award for shōnen in 2004. It won the public voting for
Eagle Award's "Favourite Manga" in 2010 and 2011. The manga
also received the
Seiun Award for best science fiction comic in
In a survey from
Oricon in 2009,
Fullmetal Alchemist ranked ninth as
the manga that fans wanted to be turned into a live-action film.
The series is also popular with amateur writers who produce dōjinshi
(fan fiction) that borrows characters from the series. In the Japanese
market Super Comic City, there have been over 1,100 dōjinshi based on
Fullmetal Alchemist, some of which focused on romantic interactions
Edward Elric and Roy Mustang.
Anime News Network said the
series had the same impact in
Comiket 2004 as several female fans were
seen there writing dōjinshi.
The series has become one of Square Enix's best-performing properties,
along with Final
Fantasy and Dragon Quest. With the release of
volume 27, the manga sold over 50 million copies in Japan. As of
January 10, 2010, every volume of the manga has sold over a million
copies each in Japan. Square
Enix reported that the series had
sold 67 million copies worldwide as of May 16, 2017, fifteen million
of those outside Japan. The series is also one of Viz Media's best
sellers, appearing in "BookScan's Top 20 Graphic Novels" and the "USA
Today Booklist". It was featured in the Diamond Comic
Distributors' polls of graphic novels and
The New York Times
The New York Times Best
Manga list. The English release of the manga's first
volume was the top-selling graphic novel during 2005. By November
2017, the series had sold over 70 million copies worldwide.
During 2008, volumes 19 and 20 sold over a million copies, ranking as
the 10th and 11th best seller comics in Japan respectively. In the
first half of 2009, it ranked as the seventh best-seller in Japan,
having sold over 3 million copies. Volume 21 ranked fourth, with
more than a million copies sold and volume 22 ranked sixth with a
similar number of sold copies. Producer Kouji Taguchi of Square
Enix said that Volume 1's initial sales were 150,000 copies; this grew
to 1.5 million copies after the first anime aired. Prior to the second
anime's premiere, each volume sold about 1.9 million copies, and then
it changed to 2.1 million copies.
Fullmetal Alchemist has generally been well received by critics.
Though the first volumes were thought to be formulaic, critics said
that the series grows in complexity as it progresses. Jason Thompson
called Arakawa one of the best at creating action scenes and praised
the series for having great female characters despite being a boys'
manga. He also noted how the story gets dark by including real-world
issues such as government corruption, war and genocide. Thompson
finished by stating that
Fullmetal Alchemist "will be remembered as
one of the classic shonen manga series of the 2000s." Melissa
Anime News Network praised Arakawa for keeping all of her
character designs unique and distinguishable, despite many of them
wearing the same basic uniforms. IGN's Hilary Goldstein wrote that
the characterization of the protagonist Edward balances between being
a "typical clever kid" and a "stubborn kid", allowing him to float
between the comical moments and the underlying drama without seeming
false. Holly Ellingwood for Active
Anime praised the development
of the characters in the manga and their beliefs changing during the
story, forcing them to mature. Mania Entertainment's Jarred Pine
said that the manga can be enjoyed by anybody who has watched the
first anime, despite the similarities in the first chapters. Like
other reviewers, Pine praised the dark mood of the series and the way
it balances the humor and action scenes. Pine also praised the
development of characters who have few appearances in the first
anime. In a review of volume 14, Sakura Eries—also of Mania
Entertainment—liked the revelations, despite the need to resolve
several story arcs. She also praised the development of the homunculi,
such as the return of Greed, as well as their fights.
Light novels reception
Fullmetal Alchemist novel, The Land of the Sand, was well
received by Jarred Pine of Mania Entertainment as a self-contained
novelization that remained true to the characterizations of the manga
series. He said that while the lack of backstory aims it more towards
fans of the franchise than new readers, it was an impressive debut
piece for the Viz Fiction line.
Ain't It Cool News
Ain't It Cool News also found the
novel to be true to its roots, and said that while it added nothing
new, it was compelling enough for followers of the series to enjoy a
retelling. The reviewer said it was a "work for young-ish readers
that's pretty clear about some darker sides of politics, economics and
human nature". Charles Solomon of the
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles Times said that
the novel has a different focus than the anime series; The Land of
Sand "created a stronger, sympathetic bond" between the younger
brothers than is seen in its two-episode anime counterpart.
Anime and manga portal
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