After trying to bring their mother back from the dead, Edward and Al are forced to pay a horrible price: Edward loses an arm and a leg, while Al loses his whole body and its only thanks to Ed's fast thinking that his soul gets tied to a suit of armor. In the hopes of finding a way to return to their former bodies, Ed joins the military where he will be granted access to research he otherwise wouldn't. During their search they encounter a group of homunculi (created people) who are plotting to destroy the country, so with the help of other military alchemists, Ed and Al will search for a way to stop the homunculi as well as their bodies.
Ed: An amazing alchemist with a strong sense of what is right and wrong, Ed has all the makings of a great hero. At times he can be impulsive, stepping forward without always looking because all he sees is the end result. He also has a hot temper and hates to be reminded that he's short, which makes for some really amusing moments. As the story goes on and they discover more of the darker aspects of what is going on in their world, he matures and meets them head on.
Al: He's Ed's younger brother, but because he's in the suit of armor people often assume that he is older, and that he is actually the Fullmetal alchemist (all military alchemists have a nickname that the public knows them as). He's a sweet, almost innocent boy, and much calmer than Ed, often trying to calm his brother's wild temper. He feels guilty that Ed felt he had to join the military in order to get his body back. Because he has no body he doesn't sleep, which means he often dwells on things too much and can feel too responsible for where he and Ed are, though its not really his fault.
***Fullmetal Alchemist has 27 Volumes, I have currently read 22 volumes***
I was introduced to Fullmetal Alchemist through the anime watching the fansubs as it was airing in Japan. I only made it about halfway through that series before I got distracted with something else, though I really enjoyed it. So when I saw the first volume at Acen later, I quickly picked it up, read it and loved it, but again it was over a year before I picked up more, and I am so glad that I did.
The plot of that original anime quickly strayed from the plot of the manga, so in many ways I'm glad that i did not finish it...it just didn't do this story justice. This is such a great story, with a large cast of characters, so often you get to know more of whats going on because you are not just stuck with the main character the whole time, but even though you see what the villains are doing, the deeper meaning is still a mystery. I love that you get thrown loops, characters die, characters aren't always on the side that you think they are, and sometimes characters simply make choices that make you stop and go "What?" And best of all, for me, I'm not completely convinced that we'll see Ed and Al get their bodies back, but you know what? It wouldn't detract from the story for me. Everything else is that good.
While not as beautiful as some of the shojo artists that I love, I can't say anything bad about Fullmetal Alchemist. It works for me and I give it a 5 out of 5.