Article first published as Manga Review: Fullmetal Alchemist Volume Six by Hiromu Arakawa on Blogcritics.
Fullmetal Alchemist Volume Six is a manga by Hiromu Arakawa, and it was published in North America by Viz Media in 2006. 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.
Edward and Alphonse Elric are brothers who have learned how to perform alchemy. After trying to perform a forbidden alchemy technique to bring their mother back to life, Alphonse lost his body and Ed lost one of his legs. Ed loses one of his arms in order to attach Alphonse’s soul to a suit of armor. Ed has “auto-mail” prosthetics designed by his friend Winry Rockbell and her grandmother, Pinako.
Edward 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 allow them to recover their bodies.
The end of Volume Five stopped in the middle of a flashback showing Ed and Al when they were younger, when they first went to train under Izumi Curtis. In fact, the majority of this volume provides a lot of background information on the brothers and how they came to perform the forbidden human transmutation. However, the flashback doesn’t end there. It goes on to show what happened to the brothers directly after the incident, and shows how Ed and Al got to be where they were when we first met them in Volume One.
On the surface, it seems like a manga volume that has a strong focus on character backstory could be a little on the boring side. However, Volume Six of Fullmetal Alchemist is anything but boring. The drama and humor the reader has come to expect from this series is just as prevalent in the flashback as it is in the regular story.
Volume Six is also important for providing some more background on Ed and Al’s teacher, Izumi, and why she acts the way that she does. This volume also begins to provide some more insight to the reader in regards to the characters of Ford Mustang and Riza Hawkeye.
Even though I’m already familiar with the story due to seeing the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood anime series, I still found myself riveted to what I was reading on each and every page in this volume. I attribute this to Arakawa’s abilities as a storyteller; she is able to tell such a compelling story that the reader wants to read or see it multiple times.
If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous five volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist, then I believe you’ll enjoy reading Volume Six of the series.
I wrote this review after reading a copy of Fullmetal Alchemist Volume Six that I checked out through the King County Library System.