Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 4

[openbook booknumber=”1591169291″][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 brother and himself… the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

Trapped and injured in a secret alchemical laboratory, Edward Elric is at the mercy of his enemies, Lust and Envy. But they don’t want him dead… they have other plans for him. As the laboratory goes up in flames, the brothers find themselves back at square one, with only an inkling of the massive scale of the Philosopher’s Stone conspiracy. But then, Lieutenant Colonel Maes Hughes uncovers a shocking secret…

After the horrific events in volume 3 the Elric brothers spend most of volume 4 recovering from their wounds whether physical, mental or emotional. Laboratory 5 is destroyed and in its aftermath Ed is hospitalized with serious wounds and Al is left reeling from the words of doubt planted by Barry the Chopper. Winry also makes another appearance to fix Ed’s auto-mail arm with the missing bolt. Both brothers have time to reflect on their actions both past and present and in some cases are given a bit of a wake call about them.

More things come to a head as the players put together what pieces of the puzzle they have so far, only to be stymied by orders from higher up to cease the investigation and to not tell anyone about what they had found.

Meanwhile Ed, Al and Winry have some more lessons to learn about friendship, faith, brotherhood and trust. Winry is constantly frustrated at how little the brothers tell her. At the same time the lines of communication have shut down between the brothers and this results in misunderstandings and in some things coming out that will surprise you and help you understand the boys even more.

In the end the investigation sparked by the boys’ misadventures and the military’s own bloody history leads one character into knowledge that ultimately costs him more than he bargained for. The scenes following were definite tear jerkers and were very well drawn and laid out to that effect.

I enjoyed reading about the brothers’ and Winry’s growth throughout this volume. Also getting to see the interplay between the three and Winry’s violent tempers played against the military personnel teasing Ed about her being his girlfriend were a lot of fun to read about. And, of course, the ending did have me in tears, it does every time I read it. One of my favorite chapters in the Fullmetal Alchemist saga.

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