Fullmetal Alchemist (鋼の錬金術師 Hagane no Renkinjutsushi, lit. "Alchemist of Steel"), is an ongoing Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa. The world of Fullmetal Alchemist is styled after European Industrial Revolution. Set in a fictional universe in which alchemy is one of the most advanced scientific techniques known to man, the story follows the brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric, who want to restore their bodies after a disastrous failed attempt to bring their mother back to life through alchemy.
The manga is serialized in Square Enix's Monthly Shōnen Gangan magazine (starting January 2001) and currently has 22 tankōbon volumes. It was adapted into an animated television series of 51 episodes by Bones from October 4, 2003 to October 2, 2004, later followed by a film sequel that concluded the story of the anime. Fullmetal Alchemist would later spawn a second series called Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, which first premiered in Japan on April 5, 2009. A multitude of spin-off novels, original video animations (OVAs), drama CDs, soundtracks, and video games have been adapted from the series. A collectible card game, multiple supplementary books, and a variety of action figures and other merchandise based on the characters of the series have also been released.
The manga has been licensed by Viz Media for publication in the United States, with eighteen bound volumes released currently. Although there are no major differences with the Japanese version, some pages have been edited to avoid sloppy references to western theology. Funimation has dubbed the anime episodes in the United States and Canada, and has also released them in all English-speaking DVD regions. The English version of the film premiered in a limited number of U.S. theaters on August 25, 2006 and was later released on DVD. Funimation and Destineer have also been releasing the video games from the series.
The franchise has seen high popularity in both Japan and North America. As of March 2008, the Fullmetal Alchemist manga has sold over 30 million volumes in Japan. The English release of the manga's first volume was the top-selling graphic novel during the year 2005. In two TV Asahi web polls, the anime was voted #1 most popular anime of all time in Japan. It was nominated in six of the eight categories for which it was eligible at the American Anime Awards in February 2007, winning awards in five of them. Reviewers from several media have noted the characters' complex personalities and original designs.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Season One Box Set(Amazon.com)
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