Graphic Novel Review: Min Kim

Fullmetal Alchemist

Edward and Alphonse lose their bodies after transmuting their dead mother. Fullmetal Alchemist, Hiromu Arakawa, 2010, pg 64

For my graphic novel, I chose the manga, “Fullmetal Alchemist” by Hiromu Arakawa. The story is about two alchemist brothers in search of the philosopher’s stone in order to restore their bodies after committing the ultimate taboo by performing human transmutation to bring their mother back to life. Naturally gifted, they are scouted and  join the military to become state alchemist to further their efforts on the philosopher’s stone. The Alchemist’s or this world are able to transmute objects with the use of transmutation circles but can only create with what they have taken, as this word revolves around the law of equivalent exchange (something cannot be created out of nothing). Being a Japanese graphic novel the art style reflects directly to that of anime and throughout the novel the author expresses the symbol of the philosopher’s stone as an icon of a mysterious, all powerful wonder, but with a grave cost. It elaborates on the complexities of the worth of human life and is a reoccurring symbol. Much of this manga employs many of the concepts specified in Scott McClouds book, for instance, may of the introductory scenes use aspect-to-aspect transitions to show us the different instances occurring simultaneously. In addition, there are also may uses of picture-specific sequences especially when we are introduced to a little flashback of the two brothers.

The frustrations of starting a long-term project. (Long-term Relationship, Eroyn Franklin, 2014)

What was noteworthy to me when reading the web comics was the animations that were employed throughout the comic. The actions that were animated felt drawn out and conveyed to know the extent of how the character feels through their actions rather than by panel by panel. On concept from Scott McCloud that I felt was prominent was the interdependence of the words and pictures in Eroyn Franklin’s web comic, “Long-term Relationship.” Without the words, it would be difficult deciphering what process of frustration was aimed towards but with no images the extent of her emotions would not be as strongly communicated.

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