So, okay. I love Fullmetal Alchemist. I love the characters, I love the story, I love the alchemy, I love the variety and the artwork and the history of it all. And I love the covers. Those covers are so awesome - each one is totally unique, and there are different colors and and characters and timelines (unlike a certain posing butler whose series I could name). The covers are just awesome, I need to go back and add my "awesome cover" shelf to all these volumes I've read.
The newest thing in this series that I want to rave about is Mrs. Izumi. She is amazing. I mean, I really just can't get over how cool she is. She's not just the typical tough girl or the typical sensei with a tragic past or the stereotyped housewife housewife, my foot, Izumi who never had kids of her own - she's amazing. She's not typical and she's not exaggerated and she's not one of those characters who always gets praised for no reason. No. She's actually as tough as people think she is, and the best part about her is her attitude toward that fact. I can't even describe it - she's just so businesslike about it all, but she's totally not an all-business character. Look at when she hugged Eddie and Al. Look at her expressions when she talks about her past, or when she hears someone else doing it. She's got such a big heart in there, and she doesn't try to hide it, she just doesn't throw it all over the place. This is the same "housewife" who can cut through hordes of monstrous bad guys and still stand there glaring at their leader with her fists on her hips, three feet away from a guy who could probably kill her. Also, she has a sense of humor. Go figure. Seriously, this lady is amazing on every level.
Actually, this manga is amazing on every level. She's not the only character I could rant about. Armstrong was back in this volume. (Yay! He's hilarious.) Only a guy could make a friend because of muscles. *rolls eyes* Good grief. Just the fact that Armstrong found someone BIGGER than him is hilarious. I mean, how is that even possible?
And Eddie. I love Eddie so much. He has one of the evilest smiles ever. For me, a main character has to be really really awesome for him/her to be my favorite. There's just something about main characters that puts me off. I see through their eyes too often, I stick around at their elbows all the time and it's just hard for me to like them best, you know? (Aidan, Oz, my loves, you're too wonderful for me to describe and I love you to pieces. This is NOT aimed at you.) But Eddie is just so awesome in every way that somehow he pulled off the miraculous feat of being my favorite...for the moment, anyway. This makes it even more tragic/stupid/frustrating that they trashed his character in the anime. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
I mean, it's like they decided what kind of character they wanted for their MC, but they still wanted it to be the FMA anime, and they wanted to call their precious MC "Edward Elric." So naturally, what they do is make up a character with his face, and pick like, three of the REAL Eddie's character traits to keep, so people can say, "But he hates being called short!" And instead of letting that trait be natural, they overplay it and amplify it until it almost overrides everything else about him. Sure, people can say that he hates being called small - and this is only one example trait, by the way - but the rest of Eddie's personality just isn't in there.
In the anime, he doesn't do the same evil smirk as the Eddie from this manga. He hardly ever smiles at all, actually, and almost never that sweet, peaceful expression that makes me grin. Eddie in the manga is precious in every way. He's funny and sweet and sarcastic and obnoxious and pigheaded and HE CARES TOO MUCH. In the anime...no. He's just not there. It kills me that they really didn't even try.
And Al. I adore Al. In my head he sounds like a guy talking from the inside of a trash can, but he is so awesome. He's the kind of character that I would absolutely love to meet in real life - you know, I just want to hang out with him for a day and ask him a ton of stupid questions. Instead, I get to watch him pummeling bad guys and occasionally wandering around like a clueless eight-year-old. He's priceless.
They're all priceless, and this review is way too long. I think I'll just rant some more when I finish the next volume...