By Hiromu Arakawa
Viz, 192 pp.
Rating: T (Teen)
Having been finally released from Pride’s control, Al feels responsible for the damage done. In order to rectify the situation, he devises a plan to trap Pride that he must put into action with his father’s help (and without his brother’s knowledge). Anxious to get on with his own plans for world domination, Greed breaks off from the rest of the group, against the wishes of his body’s cohabitant, Lin.
Meanwhile, Mustang’s group continues their resistance, finding allies among Briggs’ Northern troops as well as a few unexpected quarters, and Hohenheim comes face-to-face with an old acquaintance once again. With the story’s major players all converging on Central City, the series’ final battle seems to truly have begun.
The time has come for each of the Elric men to show their true strength and artist Hiromu Arakawa has certainly ramped up the tension to get them there. Her real brilliance is best displayed, however, in the volume’s smallest moments—brief encounters and bits of characterization that make her characters shine in the din. Both Hohenheim’s quiet acts of compassion and Kimblee’s stubborn emotional detachment say more about each of them than their public actions ever could. As always, Arakawa’s artwork provides impressive clarity, even through the messiest action sequences, without ever sacrificing pace or expression.
This volume is a thrill from start to finish, certain to leave fans anxious for more.