Review : Full Metal Alchemist.

Everything works on one principle, equivalent exchange, including the science of alchemy. When young boys Edward and Al Elreic lose their mother to an incurable disease, they attempt a forbidden human transmutation to bring her back to life.

They believed themselves to be prepared with all the elements of the human body on hand to exchange for their mother. They were wrong. Edward loses one of his legs and Al loses his entire body, in a final bid to save his brother, Edward trades one of his own arms to transmute his brothers soul into one of the armoured suits in the room. The two are left a sorry mess. One a young boys soul in a huge empty suit of armour and the other with two artificial limbs known as auto-mail, usually a sign reserved for war veterans.

With no hope of ever restoring their mother, Ed and Al set to putting things right, restoring their bodies. But for that they will need the legendary alchemist stone. Unfortunately for them, it's not just legendary, it's also more of a rumour, but this doesn't dissuade the boys, who set out on an epic journey chasing any leads they they can find. A lot of mysterious forces and obstacles stand in the way, a corrupt military, several homunculus and a man obsessed with wiping any signs of alchemy off the face of the earth. Even in the end, it's price may not be something the boys are willing to pay.

The art of full metal alchemist is of a standard anime style. The world is some sort of modern alternative dimension, different enough to be interesting, close enough to not need to explain what general objects are or do. The comic contains a lot of sarcastic humor to compliment the plot and will no doubt appeal to a broad audience. A caution though, Full Metal Alchemist does have some strong themes and scenes concerning parts of the story when human transmutation is involved, for example the very first page has a very vivid image of Edward dragging his bloody stump of a leg across the ground.

Full Metal Alchemist is an interesting and inspiring story of two brothers trying to right their own wrongs, along the way overcoming some huge metal and physical obstacles. Even though it is in a sense, fantasy, it touches on some very realistic issues that are in the world today, like religion, racism, war and the morality of science in general. Full Metal Alchemist is without a doubt one of the greatest and most unique stories ever written.

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