By Dickon A. Bachs
Few manage/anime hold as much wonder for me as FullMetal Alchemist. The story of two brothers going to extreme lengths to resurrect their beloved mother, losing limbs (and in one case their entire body) is the stuff of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Mixed with impeccable art – FullMetal Alchemist is a ride one cannot afford to miss and thanks to VIZ media, the series is available in a whole new wonderful way.
Created by Hiromu Arakawa, FullMetal Alchemist has become a property that appeals to men and women of every age. The series has something for everyone, including me, who was initially exposed to the world of anime/manga by titles like Sailor Moon and Oh, My Goddess! The story is intricate, the characters are deep, and everything about it is just, awe-inspiring.
With the release of FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST: THE COMPLETE ART BOOK, VIZ media reintroduces fans to the art of the manga series from 2001 to 2017 witting one beautiful hardcover edition Within the books 280 pages, are every chapter cover, portraits of the main characters, covers for the graphic novels, a step by step illustration guide, an interview with author/creator Hiromu Arakawa.
Filled with beautiful artwork, it’s almost impossible to pick a favorite piece. However, there are a few pieces that stand out to me. Chapter 81 “A Full REcovery” on page 178 and 179, is a gorgeously painted piece showing Edward standing shirtless, holding his cape, stoical posed, his eyes hidden behind his hair. There’s something gauntly beautiful about it. There is also the Wizard of Oz themed cover for the fall 2009 edition of Fresh Gangan on page 218. While fans have theorized several connections between FullMetal and Oz, this particular piece full on combines the two worlds and in all honesty, is just plain adorable.
What I love most about VIZ is the amount of care they put into the collected editions. Yes, the art book as an SRP of $34.99 (US), but it’s worth every penny (and then some). The book is beautifully bound. A thick white cover, with beautiful artwork, foiled text, it has the Flamel symbol embossed on the back. It’s a wonderful addition to any fan’s library, which, VIZ is also building upon with new hardback editions of the series.
Currently, on its 3rd volume (the fourth will be released on February 12), these deluxe editions are remastered with an updated translation and completely fresh lettering. They include beautifully colored pages on large-trim archival-quality paper and showcase Arakawa’s spectacular storytelling in a bright / keepsake edition that, like the artbook, is just impeccable bound.