Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 15

[openbook booknumber=”1421513803″][rating:5/5]

In an alchemical ritual gone wrong, Edward Elric lost his arm and his leg, and his brother Alphonse became nothing but a soul in a suit of armor. Equipped with mechanical ‘auto-mail” limbs, Edward becomes a state alchemist, seeking the one thing that an restore his and his brother’s bodies… the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

The horrors of the Ishbalan campaign occurred years before Ed became a state alchemist, and had serious repercussions, which set the tone for the complicated dealings of present-day state politics. Lieutenant Hawkeye reluctantly tells Ed all the dread details of the role Colonel Mustang and the other state alchemists played in this tragic event.

In volume 15 we get one big, huge, volume long flashback. But, don’t worry, every moment is worth it. We hear about what the war in Ishbala was like for Mustang and his men and we get to see Hughes again! We also get some Mustang/Hawkeye back story. The scenes depicting the war were brutally realistic and heart breaking. The gravity of the war and it’s affect on both sides and in every rank was dealt with in a very serious and realistic manner. The parallels between this war and World War II were very obviously drawn, even down to the mass extermination and human experimentation. War is hard and cold and makes monsters out of us all.

The Ishbalan side of the story is also covered with more back story on Scar and his family and also on what really happened with Winry’s parents. Seeing how all of these characters were influenced by what happened during the Ishbalan Campaign that we have heard so much about and seeing how it made them into the characters we know them as today was sobering. They all lost something in that war: friends, loved ones, their home, their country, their integrity, ideals, but most importantly their innocence, and their naivety.

I think what affected me the most, more than the powerfully drawn art, the sober and serious storylines or the real life parallels to modern day warfare was the author’s note at the beginning of this volume. If you normally skip those I recommend that this time you don’t.

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