Fullmetal Alchemist: Fullmetal Edition Vol. 2 Review

Title: Fullmetal Alchemist: Fullmetal Edition Vol. 2
Author: Hiromu Arakawa
Publisher: Viz Media
Language: English
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 264
Genre: Shounen, Battle
Publication Date: August 14, 2018

The Story

The second volume of Fullmetal Alchemist Fullmetal Edition opens up with Scar in control of a battle with Ed and Al. Ed’s arm was destroyed and Al is missing the right side of his torso. Just when things were about to look grim for the Elric brothers, Roy Mustang and Major Armstrong arrive to even the odds. Outnumbered, Scar retreats to fight another day.

With his arm damaged, Ed needs to return to his hometown of Risembool to see his automail mechanic. Major Armstrong is assigned to Ed to be his bodyguard in fear that Scar will make another move in an attempt to kill Ed. Ed, Al, and the Major make it to Risembool safe where he meets up with Winry Rockbell and her grandmother Pinako. Winry is highly upset that Ed didn’t call before showing up and is even more upset when she discovers that his arm is completely destroyed. She says she will have to pull some all-nighters but his arm should be fixed within three days.

Ed takes this time to visit his mother’s grave to pay his respects. We learn here that when Ed left for Central to become a State Alchemist, he and his brother burned their house to the ground so that they wouldn’t be tempted to come back home and get flooded with painful memories. With his arm fixed, Ed, Al, and the Major all head back to Central but on the way back Major Armstrong spies someone by the name of Dr. Marcoh who takes off running when he sees the Major. They follow him back to his lab where he mistakes them for people who want to drag him back to the military. After calming him down, it was revealed that Dr. Marcoh knows how to make the Philosopher’s Stone. Ed instantly sees a chance to get his and his brother’s bodies back but Dr. Marcoh won’t give up the information.

They’re about to board the train back to Central when Marcoh has a change of heart and gives them the location of his research. After they leave, Marcoh is paid a visit by Lust who threatens his life for the info he gave to the Elric brothers. Back in Central, Ed goes to the library to find Dr. Marcoh’s notes but when he gets there a mysterious fire had already claimed all the books that were stored there. That’s when they were told about a girl who used to work there named Sheska. Sheska has a photographic memory and remembered reading Dr. Marcoh’s notes. It took a few days but she wrote down everything.

Turns out his notes were coded. It took even more time but the Elric brothers deciphered the code and learned the horrible truth behind the Philosopher’s Stone. Their curiosity leads them to Military Lab #5. Having come this far, they wanted to investigate it even further. Once there, they were greeted by two guards named 48 and 66 respectively. 66 battled Al on the outside while 48 battled Ed within the chamber where the stones were created. After the battle, 48 was about to divulge some information when Lust and Envy appeared, bringing our volume to an end.

SO MUCH INFORMATION! This volume was packed with it but there are still so many questions left unanswered! Despite the overabundance of information, this volume was more about character development than anything. Even though the characters took center stage here, the story also gave us a great sense of progression. While it seems like Ed and Al found the answers they were looking for, it now comes down to a very deep moral decision and they’re not quite ready to pull the trigger on it just yet!

Characters

Ed and Al didn’t really get much development; however, during his battle with 66, Al began to question whether or not all of his memories are his own or if they were fabricated by Ed when he transmuted his soul. Of course, 66 planted those ideas in Al’s head but this could be a turning point for Al’s demeanor. We’ll have to see how this plays out next volume. Ed, on the other hands, still hates being called short. We did get to see their hometown where everything started but outside of that, still not much more to learn about our main characters.

Our first new character was Major Alex Louis Armstrong. He is just a hulking pile of muscle aptly named the Strong Arm Alchemist. He’s constantly ripping his shirt off to expose his chiseled body but despite his hulking physique, he has quite the soft spot for people. He was deeply moved by Ed and Al’s story as well as their quest to get their bodies back. He’s also a bit of a clinger as he usually gets uncomfortably close to people. While he does provide some comic relief, you can tell he has a noble personality and is always willing to protect those he cares about.

Dr. Marcoh is our second new character. He used to work for the military in the field of alchemy during the civil war. Alchemists were sent to the front lines as human weapons and Dr. Marcoh was at the forefront of the military’s research during that time, working on the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone. He said it was like gazing into hell itself and refused to be dragged back to Central to continue his research which is why he’s now hiding in a remote town and posing as the town’s doctor under the name of Dr. Mauro. He now uses his alchemy to heal people. After hearing about the things Maroch went through, you can’t help but feel sorry for him. At least he’s trying to make up for it by helping others with what he learned.

Sheska is a minor character but she is worth mentioning. She’s a bookworm who is addicted to reading and memorizing all kinds of books. She got fired from the library when she spent more time reading than doing her job. Her mother is sick and she needs to find work in order to put her mother in a better hospital. When Colonel Hughes complains about being backed up with work due to the fire that destroyed the library, Ed offers Sheska to him, thus giving her the job she sorely needed! Sheska is a pretty quiet individual as you would expect from a bookworm but seems like the type of person who can’t really take the initiative on most things. She’s an introvert through and through.

Next, we are introduced to Winry Rockbell and her grandmother Pinako. It seems that Winry and Ed go back to their childhood days when Ed and Al tried to bring their mother back to life. Ed endured the severe pain of having automail grafted to his body… a procedure that would make even grown men break down. Since then, Winry has supported Ed whenever he needs his automail serviced…. Or completely repaired. Winry has an affection for Ed but she never shows it as she’s always too busy lecturing him about how he never maintains his automail and how he’s always damaging or destroying it. Pinako doesn’t mind because Ed pays through the nose to have it fixed and is their main source of income! With the way Ed handles himself out on the battlefield, I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of Winry in the future!

Last up, we were able to get some background information on Scar. Scar is an Ishvalan from a province to the East. One day, an Ishvalan child was shot by the Central military and a civil war broke out. Many Ishvalans were slaughtered in this war and Scar was a survivor looking to take revenge on all State Alchemists. Scar cites the gospel saying that he’s doing God’s work because God is a creator and alchemy is something that disrupts God’s creations. This is ironic because Scar uses alchemy himself to kill alchemists. At least we know his motive now and you kind of can’t blame him for being angry.

Final Thoughts

Another great job by VIZ Media on the Fullmetal Edition of this series! This time, the hardcover features Al with a teal embossment. Inside, we have a solid teal page followed by a transparent teal title page that allows you to enjoy the artwork of Al underneath it. Flip the page and you can see Al in full color! The full-color images around the ¾ mark of the book are absolutely stunning and the glossy paper from beginning to end makes the black and white sections sharp and crisp! This is high-quality work from VIZ Media!

The story of this series speaks for itself. It is an incredible manga and one that should be read by everyone who is a fan of shounen with a seinin feel. Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is still heralded as the greatest anime of all-time by MyAnimeList’s Top Anime rankings chart and has been for several years. Brotherhood adapted the manga nicely but there’s still nothing like the original story! Whether you’re a fan or a new reader of this series, the Fullmetal Edition is FULLY worth picking up (pun intended!)

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This item was provided for review by Viz Media

About The Author

Josh Piedra

Josh (or J.J. as some have come to call him), is a long-time geek culture enthusiast with a deep passion for anime, manga and Japanese culture. Josh also has a Bachelor of Arts in Game Design and is a creative writer who has created original content for over 20 years! He is also the author of the original English light novel Final Hope.