Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. 1 by Hiromu Arakawa
Japanese Titles: 鋼の錬金術師 Hagane no Renkinjutsushi
ISBN-13: 978-1591169208
Published by Viz Media
Run: August 2001-June 2010
Volumes In Series: 27

GENRE: Manga

TEASER: Edward and Alphonse Elric have attempted a heinous and forbidden act of alchemy, they tried to resurrect the dead. Now they must search for the fabled philosopher’s stone to restore their bodies.

SUMMARY: In this alternative universe, alchemy is the most advanced science known to man. Brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric try to use this power in order to bring their mother back from the dead, a dangerous and forbidden act in the practice of alchemy. Th result causes Edward to lose a leg and and arm and Alphonse to lose his entire body. Edward now has prostetics called automail which he can manipulate with his alchemy. Alphonse’s soul is trapped inside a suite of armor. The Elric brothers seek to restore their bodies and to do that they need to find the fabled Philosopher’s Stone.

Edward joins the ranks of the stae alchemists where he becomes and agent. Edward is the youngest state alchemist in history. He is also one of the few alchemists who can preform alchemy without an alchemic symbol.

CRITIQUE: This manga has a little bit of something for everyone, magic, humor, mystery, horror, and drama. In this first volume we’ve just been given a taste of the Elric’s story. However, their characters and personalities already shine through. The characters in this series are complex and well written. The art is attractive and easy to follow.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hiromu Arakawa is a female mangaka (manga artist). She was raised on a dairy farm with five sisters. She often portrays herself as a cow with glasses. Fullmetal Alchemist has been adapted to two different anime series. Some of her other works are Raiden 18, Stray Dog, and Silver Spoon. She currently resides in Tokyo.



CHALLENGE ISSUES: Some readers might be bothered by the issue of raising the dead, adverse religious views, and violence.

DEFENSE: I would suggest looking at the ALA’s support page for challenged materials.


BOOKTALKING IDEAS: Discuss the laws of alchemy as they apply to the series.

BOOKTALKING IDEAS: Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the most popular boy manga right now. It has complex characters and themes. I was initially drawn to the series because of the use of alchemy.