Title: Fullmetal Alchemist: Fullmetal Edition Vol. 6
Author: Hiromu Arakawa
Publisher: Viz Media
Genre: Shounen, Battle
Publication Date: August 13, 2019
The sixth volume of Fullmetal Alchemist Fullmetal Edition introduces us to a ton of new characters and dives deep into the murder of Colonel Maes Hughes. First off, we are taken back to the mining town of Youswell where a young girl named Mei collapsed from hunger. She came all the way across the desert from the country of Xing. She learns about Edward Elric being a prodigy of alchemy and decides to track him down to become his student. Close on her tracks is a prince from Xing named Ling. He’s also here to study alchemy but he’s mainly looking for the philosopher’s stone.
Meanwhile, Colonel Mustang is researching into the death of Maes Hughes and digs up some disturbing information. Meanwhile, one of Major Armstrong’s subordinates is pegged for the murder and incarcerated. Mustang learns about the arrest and decides to pursue it. This all comes about when Barry the Chopper is brought before Mustang who questions him. The big question now is whether or not Barry the Chopper is truly who he says he is because the volume ends with Lust releasing another armor-bound soul also under the same name.
As usual with Fullmetal Alchemist, there was a ton of information and character development to be had here. The story is moving forward and certain events in Volume 5 are coming to light even more so in this volume, especially regarding the military. One big plot point was revealed involving the chain of command that was hinted at in Vol. 5 but flat out confirmed here in Vol. 6, thus adding a whole new dynamic to the overall story.
From the brief time we spent with Mei Chang, we could tell that she’s young and energetic. No idea why America decided to change the spelling of her name to “May” but I’ve always known her name to be spelled as Mei so I’m keeping it that way. She has an interesting way of performing alchemy. She forms the transmutation circle by flinging kunai into the ground and forming the base of the pattern. It certainly takes a very high skill to transmute like that and it’s impressive she can do it as such a young age. Sadly, this is all we know of her right now but she seems to be an interesting character so far.
Ling Yao seems to be a prince from Xing and is traveling with two bodyguards, a man named Fu, and a woman named Lan Fan. Like Mei, Ling has a habit of collapsing all the time from hunger. He’s pretty energetic and full of himself at times but he ends up sticking to Ed like glue when he feels that Ed knows more than he’s letting on about the philosopher’s stone. So far, Ling just seems like comedic relief but when someone gets as much exposure as he did in this volume, you know there’s going to be a higher purpose for him. Fun character although a tad bit annoying at times but I guess that’s him playing to his archetype rather well.
Barry the Chopper got some great screen time here as well. Barry is your stereotypical mook but he did provide some much-needed story advancement regarding the philosopher’s stone, laboratory #5, and Maes Hughes’ death. The running joke of wanting to chop someone up got old pretty quick, though. The ending of the manga does add more mystery to who he was/is, though.
Winry is still Winry but you really had to feel for both her and Edward when they finally learned the truth about Maes Hughes. They had been kept in the dark this entire time because Colonel Mustang felt that knowing the truth would make them feel that they were the direct cause of him being murdered. Mustang didn’t want an obstacle like that from halting their progression.
Speaking of Mustang. Very interesting decision he made towards the end of the volume. It really paints him in a completely different light now… for better or worse. Still, it was a pretty shocking turn of events.
Another great edition of Fullmetal Alchemist as expected from Hiromu Arakawa. New characters, plot advancement, world-building, character development… it’s all here. One thing Arakawa is a master at is making the lesser-known characters feel important. Even though we only see them from time to time, when we do seem them, they are always offering something to either advance or support the story and/or main characters. They don’t just show up, say a few lines, then disappear until the story needs variety again. Everything has a purpose, no matter how big or small. Whether it’s Barry the Chopper offering up information, Paninya turning a new leaf, to Gracia Hughes offering encouragement to Ed and Al, every contribution adds something.
This gives off the impression of a living, breathing world. Not just a world where places exist for us to visit when it’s convenient but a world in which it makes you wonder what’s happening in Resembool or Youswell, or back at Central. Not a lot of series can make you think about the world or give you a sense of progression whenever you revisit locations. Arakawa does and she does that through simple dialogue for her characters. No character is ever forgotten. No character is thrown away. This volume showed that off rather well!
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This item was provided for review by Viz Media