Mar 18, 2011
Manga review of Fullmetal Alchemist volume 18 by Hiromu Arakawa. Translation by Akira Watanabe. Adapted by Jake Forbes. Originally published in Japan by Square Enix. Published in US by Viz, $9.99, Rated T for Teen.
At Fort Briggs in the far North, ruled over by the ice queen Major General Armstrong, things are heating up. The Homunculi have been using Winry's life as blackmail to keep Ed and Al from telling everyone about their evil plan to use the entire country of Amestris to make a transmutation circle. The Elric brothers have done everything they could to keep her out of danger. So imagine their shock when Winry shows up at the fort last volume! Kimblee, the Homunculi ally, tells the brothers that they must aid in his search for Scar....or else. Ed and Al decide to along with his order, hoping to find some way out of the situation along the way. Of course finding Scar, who is travelling with the dimunitive May Chang, is exactly what Ed and Al want to do anyway. Meanwhile, back at Central, Hawkeye, now serving as a the President's aide, finds out the horrible truth about his son, Selim, even as Mustang tries to marshal support against the Homunculi controlled government.
I've said it before and will continue to say it until the day I die (which hopefully won't be in 2012), but Fullmetal Alchemist is simply the best manga series out there. I love it. The art is great, the characters are incredible, and the story, except for a few strains on believability, is masterful. It just seems a bit shortsighted for the Homunculi to let Ed and Al and others that know about the truth of situation to go running around doing their own thing. I know they want the major players alive for their "sacrifice", but it would make better sense to imprison them all the right time. Even a child knows that Fullmetal is going to be trying to constantly find a way to defeat their plans. I guess what I'm saying is that the "bad guys" in this series are kinda dumb. Or maybe they're just that confident. Maybe they are so sure their plan is going to work that they think there is no way Ed, Al, Mustang, and the others can stop them. If I was a Homunculus I would have made darn sure to get rid of at least those three. They're too dangerous. One of the best scenes in this volume is Winry finally getting to confront Scar about killing her parents. I'm not going to spoil what happens but she has to come to a decision. Is she going to take her revenge or find some other way of dealing with his crime? Brilliant work. An all-time great series.
My Grade: A