Manga Review: “Fullmetal Alchemist” Volume 13

Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 13 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 13 opens with Ed, Lin, and Al fighting against Gluttony and Envy. Envy uses his shapeshifting ability to trick Lin, and this hesitation causes Gluttony to swallow Lin, Ed, and Envy. When Ed and Lin come to, they find themselves inside Gluttony, and it appears there’s no way out. They eventually run into Envy, who informs them about the truth of their situation.

Meanwhile, Gluttony is trying to figure out what he should do. After commenting that Father will be angry, Al convinces Gluttony to take him to where Father is. May is looking for her panda, Xiao Mei, which Al had picked up back in Volume 12. After hearing May’s story about herself and Xiao Mei, he agrees to help May with her search. Their search takes them to where Al and Gluttony are heading to.

This volume also sees King Bradley learning that Mustang knows about Bradley really being a Homunculus. As a consequence, Bradley has Mustang’s men reassigned to other headquarters. This also brings about a backstory flashback for King Bradley, which allows the reader to better understand how he was able to become a Homunculus in the first place.

There are some major revelations that are made over the course of Volume 13, and these revelations start to make what’s going on the series become clearer to the reader. And right at the very end, the cliffhanger is created by the arrival of Father, and how his appearance makes you believe it’s someone you’ve seen earlier in the series. This makes the reader start to question whether or not this is who they think it is.

I found this volume of Fullmetal Alchemist to be a very compelling read. Even though I already know what’s going on from watching the Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood anime series, I still found myself wanting to read all the way through the volume without having to take a break for anything. I know I’ve said this before, but I find this quality of the series to be a testament to Arakawa’s storytelling ability.

If you’ve read and enjoyed the previous 12 volumes of Fullmetal Alchemist, then I believe you’ll also enjoy reading Volume 13 of the series.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 13 that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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