But, I'm so tired of the nonsense in Black Butler that I decided to switch around and try another manga, just for a while.
I'm not a black sheep here. I think I love it. I'll break my thoughts down into stars, because a lot of things about this volume annoyed me, too.
Main Characters: 5 stars. I love the Elric brothers, they're awesome. And they're smart, which makes me so happy I can't describe it. I love a lot of MC's who are completely stupid, but finding a pair of them in this manga who actually have brains...is just awesome. And I like their backstory, too.
Originality: 3 stars. The whole stupid backwater village + religious leader conman, and then the stupid mining town village + equally stupid ruler guy, is not exactly my idea of a real plot. More like a warm-up. BUT, even though I've seen those stories done dozens of times, they were handled really, really well here. Thus, 3 stars instead of 1 or 2.
Humor: 5 stars. I actually grinned a lot at this volume. A lot.
Villains: 1 star. Oh, good grief, the villains were pathetic. Hopefully someone will eventually come along who can actually challenge these heroes.
Side Characters: 2 stars. Very bland and usually annoying, but not the worst I've come across. (*cough Black Butler cough cough*)
Powers: 5 stars. The alchemy was awesome. Really, really awesome. I want to be an alchemist.
Other stuff: Okay, so, the art is kind of odd. But you know what? It's kind of grown on me. Alphonse is really cool-looking, and the chimera was beautifully drawn, and the backgrounds and scenery are actually really detailed. And Eddie is very cute when he's sleeping; I swear, he takes lessons from my cat.
There were a LOT of infodumps in here. Good guys, bad guys, side characters, they all threw infodumps around like candy. I can forgive this; not everyone can be as graceful as Jun at revealing important stuff, and this is the first volume, after all - it's important that we know these things early on. So the infodumps don't really annoy me, because they're justified.
The ending was...interesting. We get a big battle scene, then things slow down, some uniforms show up and someone throws a fireball and POOF! - the volume's over. Grrr. Now I need to read the next one soon.
So. I know there is a 2-star and a 1-star rating in that list up there, but it honestly doesn't matter. The 5-stars are such awesome 5-stars that they overrule those little annoyances.