Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. #07 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: B+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: Viz Media
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 1-4215-0458-8
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Fullmetal Alchemist

Fullmetal Alchemist Vol. #07

By Jarred Pine     May 02, 2006
Release Date: May 16, 2006

Fullmetal Alchemist Vol.#07
© Viz Media

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Hiromu Arakawa
Translated by:Akira Watanabe
Adapted by:

What They Say
Where did Alphonse Elric go during the few short minutes he was wiped from existence, body and soul? From a secret lair in the city of Dublith, a group of outcasts kidnaps Alphonse to find the alchemical secrets of his creation! It's up to Ed (and a certain housewife) to go into the Devil's Nest and rescue his brother. But the criminals of the Devil's Nest aren't exactly human either. Now, Al must fight a homunculus--an artificial human being--and the streets of Dublith will run red with blood...

The Review
The Fullmetal Alchemist hit machine just keeps on rolling!

Viz continues with the same motif for the cover, using the original artwork from the Japanese tankoubon release while changing up the top and bottom sections with a different color scheme and the English anime logo created by FUNI. The cover once again does not have the same metallic, glossy finish as the first three volumes. The print reproduction is fairly sharp with small issues of moiré with the grey tones.

A volume header, featuring artwork of Armstrong, along with character profiles are at the beginning of the book. Chapter headers include character artwork, although not in color. Extras continue to include sketches, gag artwork, and 4-panel strips, as well as a free-talk session in manga format with Arakawa talking about a funny event surrounding her winning of the Shogakukan Award for Best Shounen Manga. There is also another short side-story included that features Jean Havoc being set up on a blind date with Armstrong's sister. Hilarity ensues.

Arakawa's artwork continues to be quite solid. Very clean lines and tone work with a variety of character designs and facial expressions. Backgrounds are nicely detailed and quite frequent. I love the early 20th century Europe style of the cities and towns. With a volume full of action, Arakawa just nails each and every battle with well-framed panels and explosive sequences. She has a real nice sense of action direction and composition. Great work!

SFX are translated with overlays which look really good, even maintaining some of the transparency effects. The English script continues to really impress me. The dialogue perfectly captures the characters' emotions and personalities quite well. The script also has this flow to it that is very natural, although I'm still not a big fan of the faux-expletives show up again in this volume, i.e. "#$@%!!".

Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The seventh installment of the mega-hit Fullmetal Alchemist finds Arakawa taking the story back to its shounen roots with battles, battles, and more battles. The story has spent quite a bit of time exploring the history of the Elric brothers, furthering their development all while spinning more and more mysteries surrounding the Philosopher's Stone, State Alchemists, and these unknown beings called Homunculi. When Alphonse gets kidnapped by a crew of chimera under the orders of a new Homunculus named Greed, it is both Edward and Izumi that come to Al's rescue with fists in the air.

While the entire volume is essentially one big action sequence, it is Arakawa's exceptional artistic skill that keeps things exciting and dynamic, with her gift for storytelling keeping the reader tuned in to all the little bits of foreshadowing and foreboding. What evil conspiracy lies behind the Devil's Nest, a group of ex-soldiers turned chimeras, and why would they grab the attention of Fuhrer President Bradley? While both Alphonse and Edward deal with Greed, more and more information trickles out about the mysteries behind the Homunculi, artificial beings that possess regenerative powers and other abilities. We don't know much about these mysterious beings yet, other than they are after the secrets of the Philosopher's Stone themselves as well as trying to find the key to immortality, which led Greed to kidnap the body-less Alphonse.

This actually had me a bit perplexed and I'm unsure whether or not there is a bit of a plot-hole regarding Greed's kidnapping or if it's all part of Arakawa's slowly unraveling story. In volume 4, inside of the secret laboratory, Ed and Al went up against two beings that also had no body but their souls attached to armor suits. The Homunculi Lust and Envy knew about this ability. So why does another Homunculus, Greed, want to know the secrets behind Al? Perhaps the Homunculi aren't exactly working together with each other, a theory that looks to be proven with the BIGGEST CLIFFHANGER ENDING EVER! You've been warned.

With each successive volume, Arakawa just continues to deliver the goods and prove why she is one of the top up and coming manga-ka in the biz. Even with a volume that is mostly going back to its shounen roots with explosive and well illustrated battles, Arakawa keeps the mysteries churning.

It is also due to the great work at developing the large cast of characters that the battles become interesting and engaging. With a cast so large sometimes certain characters will be remiss from a volume or two, but there are just so many good characters that it's hard not to get into each and every volume.

For anime fans tracking the differences, this volume continues to toe that line where the two stories begin to diverge. With no Dante in the picture at this point, it will be interesting to see what exactly happens moving forward after the evil cliffhanger. The cliffhanger endings are brilliant, and it's one of the many reasons I keep on reading.


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