Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 20

[openbook booknumber=”9781421530345″][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 can restore his and his brother’s bodies… the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

Betrayal and double-crossing are the order of the day. Greed, Pride and Envy prove to be formidable enemies, but one homunculus seems to be having pangs of – could it be? – conscience. Ominous news spreads quickly about a mysterious portal. Will this gateway help the Elric brothers regain their natural bodies? And will the gigantic underground transmutation circle be completed, leading to a major regime change? Plus, a moving reunion between Al and someone from his past!

We are now approaching the beginning of the end. The good guys have regained their footing and are starting a counter strike that is going to lead us right through the finale. Ed proves that he is a total bad ass. Again. Al meets up with someone from his past and gets some much needed answers concerning the history of the homunculi. And, speaking of the homunculi, some major things happen within their ranks as well. The humor is back and things start to take a much more positive spin as people realize they can bond together and with hard work can overcome their difficulties no matter how outnumbered or outmatched they are.

The last few pages set a fantastic note for the ending of the series (though I realize that is still several volumes away) and human wit, stubbornness, and sheer nerve prove to be a very powerful combination when coming up against an immortal enemy that has been plotting the human’s downfall for centuries. Though the homunculi still have some truly terrifying cards up their sleeve that might prove to be more formidable than the humans are prepared to deal with. We will just have to see.

This novel manages to change the entire tone of the series from one of fear on the run from a foe with supernatural means and horrific ends to a new one of hope against impossible odds. Whether or not they prove to be successful in overcoming the homunculi, and maybe even getting Ed’s and Al’s bodies back into the bargain, remains to be seen.

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