Title: Fullmetal Alchemist: Fullmetal Edition Vol. 3
Author: Hiromu Arakawa
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Shounen, Battle
Publication Date: November 13, 2018
The third volume of Fullmetal Alchemist Fullmetal Edition begins with Envy and Lust interrupting Ed’s battle in Lab #5. Envy decides that he’s going to let Ed live while Lust demolishes the entire facility. Afterward, Ed is in a private clinic recovering when he calls Winry to come to repair his automail once again. While all of this is happening, they are paid a visit by Fuhrer King Bradley, the head of the military, who warns them that there could be spies within the military and you can’t tell friend from foe. He warns Major Armstrong to not investigate this matter any further. Of course, that doesn’t stop Colonel Maes Hughes from digging a bit deeper. Just when he thinks he’s found something, he’s attacked by Lust. Remembering what Bradley said, he opts not to call Mustang from within the military and goes to payphone instead. This is where he’s caught by Envy, leading to one of the saddest scenes in anime/manga history.
Ed decides that he’s going to visit his teacher in order to ask her about the transmutation of humans. Winry notices that Rush is on the way there, which is the Mecca of Automail. She desperately wants to go, causing Ed to cave and agree to bring her along. While in Rush, Ed ends up getting his pocket watch stolen by a thief named Paninya. He gives chase and traps her and that’s when Winry notices she has automail for legs. Her automail is something she has never seen before and wishes to meet its creator. That is when we are introduced to Dominic. Our volume comes to a close when Ridel and Satera, Dominic’s son and his wife, expect their child and it’s up to Winry to deliver the baby!
I only scratched the surface with my synopsis above as there were just so many aspects to this volume, story-wise. We also ended up getting a ton of character development, some new characters, and some nice ties with them into the main, overall story. Add in some of the action sequences, and this volume of Fullmetal Alchemist had everything you could possibly ask for out of a volume of manga. While the ending of the manga wasn’t a major cliffhanger or anything, all of the preceding content really got you hyped for the next volume. It felt like the series slowed down towards the end of the volume with the side story in Rush; however, it seems Winry will be growing a bit as a character because of it so it’s not just a side story for the sake of breaking up the pacing.
So much character development!! Guess I’ll just pick a spot and dive right in.
Envy and Lust were up first and while their development was minimal, they raised some interesting questions. Envy mentioned that Ed was too precious to die and they needed him to live. Not much is known about the reasons why but they did refer to him in such a way where it could be for sacrificial reasons. Plus, there was also the involvement in Maes Hughes which made you wonder why they were doing inside of the military, to begin with. How did they know was Hughes was after? This was thrown right in our face quite literally after Bradley talked about traitors in the military and his vast information network. I have a feeling this was done for a reason.
Next, we get some nice development between Ed and Al. Barry the Chopper planted the seeds in Al’s head that his memories could be fabricated and that he couldn’t trust Ed. This all came to a head and when Ed heard Al say that, he was absolutely devastated. Winry knocked some sense into him and that lead to a bit of a sparring match between the two where Al realized that he was wrong about his assumptions. Later, they talk about visiting the person who taught them how to fight in order to get stronger. Ed is also going to ask her about the transmutation of humans, which is an alternative path to finding the Philosopher’s Stone. We didn’t get to see Ed’s trainer this volume but I’m sure we’ll catch a glimpse in volume four as the Rush arc doesn’t seem like it’s going to last much longer.
We also caught a glimpse into Roy Mustang’s ambitions and how his goal is to become the Fuhrer King of the military. He was warned that if he embarks on this path, prepare for severe opposition due to his age so he should surround himself with close friends that he can trust. Of course, one of those that he’s aiming to take with him is Hawkeye. Outside of his goals becoming a bit clearer, not much else was shown with Mustang.
Next up is Scar. The military assumed he was dead; however, he was shown to have survived. He floated down a sewer and was rescued by some people who live in the slums. There, he learns that there was Ishvalans who survived the war living there and that there are other camps around the country that are the same. Despite their current conditions, Scar is relieved to know that his people continue to live on in some capacity. We also catch a glimpse of his tattoo but he doesn’t really explain much of anything about it.
As for new characters, we’re introduced to Wisely, a state alchemist who was responsible for the genocide during the Ishvalan war. He was locked up in the military prison when Lust and Envy destroyed Lab #5. The sound of the explosion seemed to make him pretty happy leading us to believe that this guy is not quite right. Despite his being in prison, it makes you wonder what role he’s going to play in the future. (Well, we know what role he played in this volume but I’ll let you all discover that for yourselves.)
Next up is Fuhrer King Bradley. He has a split personality of being dead serious, only to break it up with laughter. It seems that he likes to tease his subordinates by making them think they need to be respectful in his presence but, in reality, he’s pretty laid back. I’ve read enough manga and seen enough anime to know that a personality like that is a major red flag. I also couldn’t help but notice Envy and Lust going after Hughes rather after Bradley talked about his information network, spies in the military, and his warning not to dig deeper into the corruption in the military. Typically, in almost all cases, corruption starts at the top. There has to be a connection there somewhere!
Finally, we get the cast of Rush… mainly Ridel, Satela, Dominic, and Paninya. I’m lumping them together because this is a side-story arc and while they will all play some pivotal roles in Winry’s development as a better automail mechanic, I can’t see them in the type of roles that will cause them to be recurring characters. Still, they help shed some light on Ed’s pocket watch and why it’s so precious to him. In addition, we got some nice backstory on Paninya and how she was involved in a train accident and lost her legs. Orphaned, she almost gave up until Dominic came along and took pity on her… in his own “charming” way. Still to this day, he refuses to accept payment from Paninya for the work he did on her legs. Winry is trying to become his apprentice but he won’t have any of it… for now. That may change when Winry helps deliver his soon-to-be grandchild into the world.
I think I got everyone… I still feel like I missing some people!
Another amazing volume of Fullmetal Alchemist. Viz continues to do an amazing job with the Fullmetal Edition. Roy Mustang graced Vol. 3’s cover and we have some dark blue foil to go along with it. The high-quality glossy paper really makes the blacks pop on each page and we got treated to a couple of color pages this time around which looked absolutely phenomenal!
The story itself just has so many facets to it. We’re only three volumes in (technically, were deeper in than that because these are a compiled omnibus) but there’s just so many story branches that are beginning to tie into each other… it’s actually insane the amount of detail Hiromu Arakawa put into this work. I keep singing this series’ praises but each and every volume continues to prove my admiration for it justly. Sure, I’ve read this series and seen the anime before (which makes it hard to try and write these reviews through the eyes of someone who hasn’t) but getting to relive this series in this form is truly a great feeling. Whether you’re a veteran of FMA or someone on the fence about picking up this series, I highly suggest you start picking up the Fullmetal Edition. It’s worth it in every sense!
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media