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Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 Omnibus Vol. 6: Volumes 16-18 by Hiromu Arakawa (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

October 30, 2013 by  



fullmetalalchemist-omn-v6

Featuring an exciting sixth volume of “Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 Omnibus” that features new characters, background stories on Hohenheim and Risa Hawkeye and more!  Definitely recommended!

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Image courtesy of © 2002 Hiromu Arakawa/SQUARE ENIX. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1: Volumes 16-18

STORY AND ART BY: Hiromu Arakawa

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SQUARE ENIX CO., LTD.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: November 12, 2013

In an alchemical ritual gone wrong, Edward Elric lost his arm and his leg, and his brother Alphonse became nothing but a soul in a suit of armor. Equipped with mechanical “”auto-mail”” limbs, Edward becomes a state alchemist, seeking the one thing that can restore his and his brother’s bodies…the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

Contains Volumes 16, 17 and 18! The Elric brothers head north to Fort Briggs in search of May Chang, whose Xing alchemy may contain the answers they seek. But as Ed and Al soon discover, the only thing less forgiving than Briggs’s weather is the regiment of hardened soldiers assigned to defend it. Matters grow even more complicated when Ed and Al get thrown in lockdown and the sadistic Kimblee arrives from Central with Winry as his hostage. But even Kimblee’s cruelty pales in comparison to the evil of the new homunculi watching from the shadows…

In Japan, “Fullmetal Alchemist” (Hagane no Renkinjutushi) is a popular long running anime and manga series created by mangaka Hiromu Arakawa. The original manga series was serialized in Square Enix’s “Shonen Gangan” since 2001, while the 51-episode TV series created by BONES was shown on television in 2004 followed by a manga faithful anime adaptation with “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” airing in 2009-2010.

The popularity of “Fullmetal Alchemist” has led to many novels, OVA’s, drama CD’s, soundtracks and video games and a lot of these releases have been distributed in various countries and its popularity is a testament of how people have come to love the series which has won many awards in Japan including being voted for the #1 most popular anime series of all time.

With the popularity of this franchise and its current Blu-ray and DVD release in the U.S., its no surprise that fans are wanting to read the manga version and what best way than to do it now with the release of Viz Media’s omnibus, “Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1” with the sixth volume to be released in Nov. 2013 featuring volumes 16-18.

“Fullmetal Alchemist” is a manga series about two young alchemist brothers named Edward and his younger brother Alphonse Elric (aka “Al”). Their father left them and several months after their father left, an epidemic hit their village and killed their mother. Grieving and alone without their mother, the two quickly tried to hone their alchemist skills and hope to bring their mother back alive by using a human transmutation (this is illegal and considered taboo by alchemist).

While performing the transmutation, a dark shadow comes and literally breaks apart the body of Alphonse and as for Edward, he is shown “the truth” but in return for doing the transmutation, there is a toll and in this case, he loses his legs and feet and his right arm. And the transmutation to bring their mother fails as Edward was only able to revive a disembodied figure. In a short time allowed before the dark shadow leaves, Edward was able to bond Al’s soul to a suit of armor but there are some consequences. And these consequences and guilt have plunged Edward to the lowest he had ever been.

With this opportunity, this gives Edward a chance to repair what he did wrong and help his brother. But as they investigate on how they can get their bodies back and investigating what is known as a “Philosopher’s Stone”, an unknown group is out there, observing his every move and willing to kill in order to get to Edward.

Meanwhile, a military figure named Roy Mustang is assisting the Elric brothers by giving them opportunities to find the Philosopher’s Stone but to do that, the two will be part of the military. For the Elric brothers, working together is a good idea as they hope the stone may give Edward a chance to bring his brother Al back to life and also get back his own body as well.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” is a series about two young alchemist brothers named Edward and his younger brother Alphonse Eric (aka “Al”). Their father left them and several months after their father left, an epidemic hit their village and killed their mother. Grieving and alone without their mother, the two quickly tried to hone their alchemist skills and hope to bring their mother back alive by using a human transmutation (this is illegal and considered taboo by alchemist).

While performing the transmutation, a dark shadow comes and literally breaks apart the body of Alphonse and as for Edward, he is shown “the truth” but in return for doing the transmutation, there is a toll and in this case, he loses his legs and feet and his right arm. And the transmutation to bring their mother fails as Edward was only able to revive a disembodied figure. In a short time allowed before the dark shadow leaves, Edward was able to bond Al’s soul to a suit of armor but there are some consequences. And these consequences and guilt have plunged Edward to the lowest he had ever been.

Meanwhile, a military figure named Roy Mustang has come and is shocked to see that Edward was able to survive a human transmutation and also anchoring his brother’s soul and thus gives Edward a chance to join the military to fight with them but at the same time, gaining access that may give Edward a chance to bring his brother back to life and also his own body as well.

With this opportunity, this gives Edward a chance to repair what he did wrong and help his brother. But as they investigate on how they can get their bodies back and investigating what is known as a “Philosopher’s Stone”, an unknown group is out there, observing his every move and willing to kill in order to get to Edward.

So far, we have learned that Bradley is a homunculus and that the homunculus may have infiltrated the State Military.

Ed and Al continue their search of how to get their bodies back but meanwhile, Scar tries to find out the truth of why the Ishvalans were massacred.  Meanwhile, Ed and Al find themselves in the North needing Olivier’s help but can they divulge the information about Bradley, the Fuhrer is a homunculus?  Meanwhile, Ed and Al find themselves teaming up with the people they have been against.

In vol. 6 of “Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 Omnibus” which features vol. 16-18, Ed and Al plan to head up North in order to find May and on their way, they meet Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong.

Meanwhile, as Scar and Marcoh try to leave town, they are being pursued by Solf J. Kimblee, the Red Lotus Alchemist and a battle ensues.

The next volume (17), Sloth finds a way to Briggs and Olivier and her men try to stop the homunculus.  Meanwhile, Hohenheim reminisces on the day he left his family and why he did it.

And in vol. 18, Winree goes to repair Ed’s arm in Briggs, back at home, Riza finds out that Bradley’s son Selim is the first homunculus known as Pride.  Scar vs. two chimeras named Jerso and Zampano.

“Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood” features the following characters:

  • Edward Elric – The oldest of the Elric brothers who manage to survive a transmutation and managed to bond his brother to a suit of armor just in time. In the process, he lost his legs and his right arm in which his childhood friend Winry has created metal prosthetics known as “automail”. He is also quite short but also very destructive as he is skillful with alchemy and the fact he survived a transmutation shocks the military. Working as a State Alchemist in order to find a way to bring his brother’s body back and possibly getting his own body back.
  • Alphonse Elric – Al is the youngest brother of Edward who was bonded to a suit of armor. Almost invulnerable and very strong. Often mistaken as the eldest because of his size.
  • Roy Mustang – The Lt. Colonel of the State Military who wants to become the next Fuhrer of Amestris. He is the one who discovered Edward and Alphonse.
  • Winry Rockbell – A childhood friend of Edward and Alphonse. She is also very gifted in technical and mechanical things. Often is the person who repairs Edward’s automail (metal prosthetic limbs). And always arguing with Edward, but its quite obvious that she cares about him.
  • Alex Louis Armstrong – A strong arm alchemist who is extremely strong and hulking in size but also very sensitive.
  • Izumi Curtis – The teacher of Ed and Alphonse Eric who helped them hone their alchemy right after their mother died.
  • Maes Hughes – An old friend of Roy Mustang’s who tries to help him with his goal to become a Fuhrer. He works in military intelligence and has a loving wife and young daughter. A family man, he lets Winry stay with them when she is in town.
  • King Bradley – The head of the State Military and King of Amestris who has a major secret.
  • Riza Hawkeye – Roy Mustang’s most trusted subordinate. The voice of reason and excellent in using firearms.
  • Jean Havoc – One of Roy Mustang’s subordinates who is exceptionally trained in firearms.
  • Lin Yao – A prince of Xing who is trying to find ways of immortality in order to prepare for his goal as Xing’s future emperor. An excellent swordsman.
  • Lan Fan – Lin Yao’s bodyguard and a skilled fighter willing to protect her boss at all costs.
  • May Chang – A young princess of Xing who goes to Amestris with her panda Xiao Mei. She has the power to heal and also manipulate energy.
  • Olivier Mira Armstrong – The older sister of Alex Louis Armstrong who leads the Brigs Fortress and protects the country from Drachma.  She is cold, distrusts people and inpatient.  She believes in “Survival of the fittest”.
  • Miles – A man who is quarter Ishvalan and wants to change the country’s perception towards Ishval.
  • Buccaneer – A  huge man who has two different pieces of automail (the latest type of automail which makes Winry so excited when she is around him).

The Homunculi

The main antagonists which consist of artificial humans who are trying to create the philosopher’s stone and has become a major thorn in the military’s side. They are hard to defeat as they can regenerate.

  • Father – The main antagonist who is the creator of all homunculi.  For some reason, he looks like Hohenheim and has interest in Ed and Al.
  • Lust – A homunculi who is a sexy woman who can use her fingers to become weapons and grow to larger lengths and cut through anything.
  • Gluttony – A homunculi who likes to eat people or anything. He has powerful jaws with acidic saliva.
  • Envy – A homunculi who can assume any appearance and makes him infiltrate the military HQ quite easily and is known to create and instigate major problems.
  • Greed – A homunculi that craves money, women and worldy possessions.  After being killed by Wrath, Lin Yao who is searching for immortality wants to become the new Greed.
  • Sloth – A large muscular man who has great speed and strength for his size.  He has been digging beneath Amestris and ends up inside the Briggs Fortress.
  • Pride – A homunculus using the body of Selim Bradley, the adoptive son of King Bradley, He uses his shadows to kill.

“Fullmetal Alchemist” is no doubt a popular manga series and because so many people were introduced to anime and manga because of “Fullmetal Alchemist”, with the release of “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”, many fans are wanting to know how the original manga series were.

And fortunately, Viz Media has done a great service to fans of popular series “Naruto”, “Bleach” and “Fullmetal Alchemist” by releasing these omnibus featuring three volumes per graphic novel for a low price!

And as the suspense continues with Roy Mustang trying to uncover more details of the homunculus infiltration into the military, one character that we are introduced to, that was an interesting addition to the series is Olivier Mira Armstrong, older sister of Alex Louis Armstrong and if you thought Alex was tough,  his sister Olivier is not just tough, she’s a no-nonsense, impatient, cold, kick-ass character!

The Briggs storyline was actually fun to watch, despite Ed and Al being limited as Olivier and the others don’t quite trust them (as the two have to hold back information from Olivier). Another storyline which I found very cool in this latest volume of “Fullmetal Alchemist” is more character development for Hohenheim, Riza Hawkeye, and others.

One thing that those who are new to the series can expect from “Fullmetal Alchemist” is that the storyline delivers in action and drama but also, it features plenty of characters and also adventure, so you pretty much get a little bit of everything with this series.

Hiromu Arakawa’s artwork and writing are quite solid and its a testament that a series that is not long-running compared to “Naruto” or “Bleach” has achieved so much success in the USA but also has been released on Blu-ray, DVD, video games as well in America. Not bad for a manga series that is 27 volumes long! In fact, that’s fantastic!

But if you have been wanting to jump in and read the manga series, it’s a great time to do that now, especially through the release of the 3-in-1 series. For its price and value, there is nothing to complain about. This is great deal for new and old “Fullmetal Alchemist” fans who have not read the manga series.

“Fullmetal Alchemist 3-in-1 Omnibus Vol. 6” features a good balance of humor and action and if you are a fan of the anime series, you definitely will want to read the manga version!  Highly recommended!

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