Fullmetal Alchemist #13 by Hiromu Arakawa Manga Review

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Title:  Fullmetal Alchemist #13

Author:  Hiromu Arakawa

Publisher:  Viz

ISBN:  9781421511580

May Contain Spoilers

Ed and Lin, while battling it out with Envy and Gluttony, find themselves in a pickle; Gluttony swallows them!  Trapped in his stomach, they search for a way out, only to learn that Envy was gobbled up with them.  The foes begin fighting again, but Ed convinces them that if they work together, they just might escape the cavernous void they’ve entered.  Meanwhile, Roy Mustang has problems of his own; he’s beginning to learn just how strongly the homunculi control the military and the knowledge is chilling indeed.

Jumping right into the story having only read the first volume, I was a little confused by the differences between the manga and the anime series.  This didn’t dull my enjoyment of the book, it only served to fuel my desire to read the earlier volumes.  Too bad I only have the first three.  Pooh.  I’ll have to pick up the rest the next time TRSI has a Viz studio sale.

The plot moved energetically along, following multiple story lines throughout the length of the book.  The main focus was on Ed and his adventure in Gluttony’s stomach, which is not a place recommended for a relaxing break from your family members.  Leaving Al grieving outside, Ed and Lin are dumbfounded by their new surroundings.  In a vast darkness that seems to stretch forever in all directions, they choose a direction and begin walking.  Trudging through a river of blood, Ed is soon carrying the weakened Lin along.  Stopping for a quick meal courtesy of Ed’s boot, they are beset by Envy, who was foolish enough to get caught in Gluttony’s gaping maw as well. 

Predictably, the three begin fighting again, because this is a shounen manga.  Right at the height of the battle, as Envy, in his monstrous form, munches down on Ed, everything comes to a screeching halt.  Complaining about the stink inside his mouth, Ed demands that Envy spit him out.  He has latched onto a way out of Gluttony’s stomach, but he needs Envy’s help to pull it off.  At the same time, he pieces together the fate of the Cselkcess and begins to suspect that the homunculi are planning the same future for his country.  They’ll do anything for those Philosopher’s Stones, won’t they?

Outside the stench of Gluttony’s belly, a despondent Al weeps for his lost brother.  Shaking off his depression, his usual sense of optimism returns.  He can’t know for sure that Ed is dead!  He sets off with Gluttony in search of Gluttony’s father.  Maybe the person who created the homunculi can get Ed back out!  This might prove to be a little tricky, as Gluttony’s stomach is a failed experiment in the fine art of portal making.

Scar makes a brief appearance as he helps search for Xiao Mei, the cutest little panda, ever!  Xiao Mei has hooked up with Al and gets to go for a little journey into the perilous tunnels twisting beneath the city.  Hopefully she won’t get eaten by the creepy chimera lurking in the darkness. That would bum me out.

Poor Roy – while snooping around Central HQ in an attempt to learn who he can trust, he learns that he’s not quite as clever as he might think.  Confronted by King Bradley himself, he discovers just how deeply the homunculi have integrated themselves into the military.  No wonder he was sweating!  It looks like Roy’s in big trouble!  Even if they allow him to leave, he’s going to find that his staff has all been transferred, and he’s been isolated and rendered powerless. 

I found the differences between the anime and the manga intriguing.  I had originally skipped reading the manga because I was under the mistaken impression that the two closely mirrored each other.  Now that I know differently, I’m interested in the alternate approach to the story.  It’s like I’ve discovered FMA all over again!

Grade:  B

Rated for Teen

Review copy provided by Viz.

3 thoughts on “Fullmetal Alchemist #13 by Hiromu Arakawa Manga Review

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  • April 19, 2007 at 9:21 am

    “I had originally skipped reading the manga because I was under the mistaken impression that the two closely mirrored each other.”

    The following quote comes from a Wikipedia entry about FMA:

    “As there was a limited amount of manga material available to adapt at the time of production, the storyline of the anime diverges from that of the manga around the middle of the series (around the end of book 6/start of book 7). The anime’s later story and conclusion by BONES is different from the manga, which is still ongoing. This divergence in story from the manga source material, however, was planned from the beginning of production, and was not done “just because” the anime caught up with the manga source material.”

    I would take this with a grain of salt, however, since the wiki tag at
    the end of this quote was “citation
    needed”. That said, it does make
    sense to diverge the storyline, otherwise you run into a situation
    like Naruto or Bleach with a season
    or two of filler material. I liked the
    anime’s imperfect ending. It will
    be interesting to see how the manga ends.

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