- Original characters. I've seen a few manga/anime and I'll be honest, so many of them seem to be tired cliches. With Fullmetal Alchemist, I don't feel like I'm reading the same thing over again, all the characters are unique and the narrative doesn't hop around miscellaneously. I loved the main cast and the villains were interesting as well. (Not to mention, every one of them was badass.) Each had a distinct story to tell.
- Intense plot. Arakawa's research really shows in her work, so much detail is intricately woven together to create a compelling story that is able to stand on its own. Even the subplots are interesting. The revolving theme of alchemy helps in creating an interesting universe.
- Great humor. While the story is dark and brooding, there are still some lighter moments and some decent humor that helps soften the mood. A typical volume ends with a few four-panel strips that poke fun at the story. Some running gags include Ed's stature and Alex Armstrong (who himself is a gag).
- Drama. There's plenty of suspense that helps to develop the characters more. There are some pretty sad/touching moments, particularly in the last few books and even in the first ones.
- The plot isn't stretched out too long. Unlike your fellow Bleach and Naruto, the author knows when to end the story. So many others become almost a chore to read, but FMA doesn't "kick the bucket" and has a pretty satisfying end.
- Envy. This is more of a biased opinion, rather than an actual flaw in the story itself. He's the only character that just didn't need to be there. I was actually cheering when he died, I didn't get this feeling for the other Homunculi (the villains).
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