Fullmetal Alchemist (3-in-1 Edition), Vol. 9: Includes Vols. 25, 26 & 27 Paperback – Nov 11 2014
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About the Author
Born in Hokkaido (northern Japan), Hiromu Arakawa first attracted national attention in 1999 with her award-winning manga Stray Dog. Her series Fullmetal Alchemist debuted in 2001 in Square Enix's monthly manga anthology Shonen Gangan.
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Meanwhile, Warrant Officer Falman is baby-sitting the living suit of armor containing the soul of Barry the Chopper. Falman is frustrated because Barry is always eager to "chop" someone, and Jean Havoc is so obsessed with his new girlfriend that he fails to bring Falman any useful information on the situation at headquarters. When Barry breaks out of Falman's custody and goes on a rampage, it's all that the military can do to recapture him.
Back at headquarters, Mustang investigates the conspiracy surrounding the military and lab five, and tries to identify Lieutenant Colonel Hughes's murderer. When the military police announce that Second Lieutenant Maria Ross is the prime suspect, Mustang is more interested in avenging his friend's death than discovering the truth....
If you thought the previous installments of Fullmetal Alchemist were dark, I have some news for you. They're going to get darker. The ninth volume is less lighthearted than the first eight, although there are still hysterically funny moments that help alleviate the gloomy atmosphere.
There is also additional character development for Ed, Al, Mustang, Armstrong, and even (surprise!) Barry the Chopper. Who suspected Barry the Chopper would reveal his human side? Certainly not me!
The art is, as always, amazing, and the story was so compelling that I could not put the book down until I finished. There is also a huge cliffhanger at the end of volume nine; if you thought that the cliffhanger at the end of volume three was nerve-wracking, perhaps you should stay far, far away from volume nine.
Unfortunately, there is one small error in the dialogue. At one point, Winry calls Hawkeye "Ms. Liza" instead of "Ms. Riza". I'm not sure if this is a translation error or a printing error, but it would be nice if it could be fixed for later editions.
Also included in this volume: a hint as to the true nature of the homunculi; larger parts for side characters, such as Hawkeye, Armstrong, and Falman; another glimpse at what happened during the Ishvarlan revolution; and, of course, another chapter in the endless cat-in-Al's-armor joke.
So, drop whatever you're doing, and order Fullmetal Alchemist volume nine! You won't be disappointed, although you may spend the next two months counting down the seconds until volume ten comes out.
While the anime of Fullmetal Alchemist has concluded (I still haven't watched the last two volumes), the manga continues to go strong. The manga is the only truly "pure" version of the series because, unlike the anime, it is solely under the control of the original creator, Hiromu Arakawa. She is one of the best manga writer/artists out right now, and she takes this ninth volume to a whole new level in terms of drama, action, and suspense. She really makes you feel the impact on Ed, Al, and Winry as they learn about Hughes' death. While Arakawa portrays the raw emotion, none of the characters become pitiful or disgustingly overemotional. Their feelings play out within the boundaries of their personalities and makes them stronger instead of weaker. Another thing Arakawa is doing right is still having mysteries in her manga, but never to the point that they begin to annoy you. We still haven't gotten much information on the Homunculi or Ed and Al's father at this point, but you feel as though questions such as these will be answered when the time is right. This is one of, if not THE, best manga being published.