The Art of Fullmetal Alchemist

    (Viz, 2005)
™ and © 2004 Hiromu Arakawa/Square Enix

Fullmetal Alchemist has proven itself one of the hottest anime and manga properties around, with a story that mixes action, adventure, comedy and drama in a world where alchemy is real and can be used to change the fate of nations. This art book combines original manga covers with promotional illustrations from phone cards, pencil boards, CDs and postcards for a collection you would be hard put to assemble on your own, especially outside of Japan. Artist commentary borders on the mundane (unless you really were dying to know that a particular cover was painted at her parents' house), but the range of images provides a fascinating look at your favorite characters in vibrant color.

— Lorie Witkop

From the Comics Buyer’s Guide:

The Elric brothers Edward and Alphonse didn’t know they’d become international sensations when they blew themselves up in an ill-fated attempt to resurrect their father. But secret agents are entertaining, especially those who fight with a transforming arm and a huge armored suit, battle metaphysical evildoers, and set out to capture the mythically powerful Philosopher’s Stone.

This collectible features lushly colored illustrations reprinted from such 2003-2004 era Japanese magazines as Newtype and Animage. At the end is a brief section of line drawings and an interview with the main character designer of the anime adaptation of Arakawa’s manga.

This is a nice package with good production values but it lacks the expected table of contents, story recaps, and special additions. Glaringly absent are shots of The Seven Deadly Sins and a compelling Rogues’ Gallery. Omitting profiles or captions that identify characters and places, this book serves as a less than full cup to followers who thirst for complete alchemic knowledge.

— Oliver Chin

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Hardcover folioArtbook; Reads right to leftHiromu ArakawaHiromu Arakawa