The first volume of Fullmetal Alchemist was the first manga I ever read, my guide into the world of manga and anime. Naturally, I feel quite nostalgic for it. I'm quite glad it was my first one, because it really is also the best one I've ever read, and it ranks in my favorite series up there with Harry Potter. The overarching plot is dense and complicated enough to keep one guessing about certain aspects, and the characters are motivating and engaging. I normally don't like the main character, as these tend to be a bit Mary-Sue-ish or annoying, but Edward Elric is one of my rare exceptions for this, as he packs a lot of personality and punch. My other favorites include Alphonse, of course, Riza Hawkeye, and the Badass Action Girl Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong. I also really like the villains—they're not villain sues, and they're mainly both lovable and hateable, perhaps at the same time. Envy is such a Complete Monster, and its true form freaks even me out (made even better in Brotherhood, where the animation for its true form is full of details and the heads are constantly moving). Lust is an awesome vamp-like monster, and Pride...Well... Pride is just...creepy. In a good way. And Greed started out as a villain but made a very convincing change to good, and his final act almost made me cry. I love the art. After finishing the series, I looked back at the first volume and was shocked. Hiromu Arakawa had really managed to age Edward flawlessly. Winry, too. I like how the art is simple but shows all of the detail necessary. The way she draws her characters not too skinny or BIshonen is awesome, too—I agree with her that skinny females can be unattractive, and that somebody with some meat and muscle is much better-looking. I enjoyed every minute of this series, so much that I also watched the 64-episode anime adaptation of the manga, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, which is an excellent anime. The art is very faithful to the manga, and any little changes were favorable and worked just fine for me. The voice acting in the English dub is great—it's the only dubbed anime I can watch without grimacing every other word (And Lust had one sexy voice. I loved this series and recommend it to anybody with a love for a well-written fantasy work with great characters and a cool plot.
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