Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 23

[openbook booknumber=”9781421536309″][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.

As the battle for Central City rages on, Alphonse faces off against Pride and Kimblee with the aid of a Philosopher’s Stone. Can he come up with a plan to take down these two dangerous foes? Meanwhile, Ed and his friends run into Envy below the city. When Roy Mustang learns the truth about Hughes’s murder, will he be consumed by hatred and do the unthinkable…?

Everyone is in the thick of battle now and all of the characters are really showing what they are capable of under pressure. Alphonse has to face a difficult moral decision in his battle against Pride. Various others in this city either face off against the zombie army within or wage an information campaign without to get the people of Central city to understand they are under attack from their own government. But the main focus of this volume is the showdown between Mustang and Hughes’s murderer Envy.

I love how there is still character development happening even this late in the series. It is never too late to grow or change or have a new side of yourself be shown in impossible and highly charged circumstances. The choices that the characters are forced to make and the growing that results was not just emotionally charged and beautifully drawn but it was realistic as well.

Things are getting violent and almost gory here leading up to the end but I couldn’t help noticing that amongst the gore and all of the fighting over and over again the faces of these characters remains the main focus, what they feel and experience and how this is changing them as they fight to save Amestris and their lives. This battle is not over yet.

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