Manga Review: “Fullmetal Alchemist” Volume 12

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 12 is a manga by Hiromu Arakawa, and it was published in North America by Viz Media in 2007. 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.

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 12 sees the continuation of a couple of fights: Gluttony and King Bradley against Lin Yao and Lanfan, and Scar against Ed and Al Elric. Lin Yao manages to himself and Lanfan away from King Bradley and Gluttony, so Gluttony is sent to go after Scar.

Meanwhile, the fight between Scar and the Elric Brothers takes an emotional turn when Winry overhears Ed saying that Scar was the one who had killed Winry’s parents. Winry points a gun at Scar, and a tense moment takes place. Ed is able to get between the two of them, and Al leads Scar away. Winry is taken into protective custody.

Ed follows Al and Scar, and their battle is interrupted by the arrival of Gluttony; however, before he can do too much damage, Lin and Ed are able to subdue him. Hawkeye, in disguise, is able to shoot Scar’s leg. When Ed and Al try to take advantage of the situation, May Chang jumps into the fight to protect Scar.

The rest of the volume sees Winry returning to Rush Valley, Gluttony being held captive by several of our protagonists, and Dr. Marcoh starting to figure out what the Homunculus’ plan is while he’s in captivity.

This ends up being a rather emotionally powerful volume of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga series. When Winry overhears the truth about her parents’ death, the reader can feel the emotional tenseness that’s present in this section. This is especially true when Winry points the gun at Scar, but is indecisive about whether or not she should actually shoot him or not.

Another scene that makes an impact on me when reading this volume is the sacrifice that Lanfan ends up making in order to elude being captured by King Bradley. I don’t think I could have made that same decision if I was in her shoes.

My absolute favorite scene in this volume takes place at the train station when Ed and Al are seeing Winry off at the train station when she’s heading back to Rush Valley. As the train pulls out, Ed calls out, “The next time I make you cry, they’ll be tears of joy!! Al and I will get our original bodies back no matter what, and we’ll make you so happy that you’ll cry! You can count on it!!”

Even though I may already know what’s going to be coming up through watching the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood anime series prior to reading the manga, I’m still just as interested and engaged in the story as I would have been if I hadn’t seen the anime adaptation already. It’s really a testament to how strong Arakawa’s story and characters are.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 11 volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist, then I believe you’ll also enjoy reading Volume 12 of the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 12 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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