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Friday, July 30, 2010

Full Metal Alchemist Manga Complete 21 Volumes

Fullmetal Alchemist is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Hiromu Arakawa. It has been serialized in Square Enix's manga anthology magazine Monthly Shōnen Gangan since July 12, 2001 and is still ongoing with a new chapter in every issue. As of December 2009, there have been 102 chapters serialized and 24 tankōbon (graphic novel) compilations released. Viz Media began releasing English translations of the manga in North America in May 3, 2005; since then, 22 English-language volumes have been released (with volume 23 due on July 20, 2010).

Due to the rate that Viz Media initially introduced the graphic novels (with a new release approximately every two months), the English translation quickly caught up to the Japanese release, having already covered most of the series' bound volumes to date. According to Nielsen BookScan, Fullmetal Alchemist’s first volume was the top selling manga in the year of 2005, and the following issues of the manga usually appear on the Bookscan's weekly "Overall Graphic Novel Top 10" list. Beginning with volume eight, Viz Media's releases of the manga feature a new, updated version of the "Viz Action" logo at the top of the spine. Volume eight also contains an edit in two panels, changing a cross into a round slab of stone in order to avoid religious references.

In Singapore, the manga is being released by Chuang Yi Publishing in both English and Simplified Chinese. Eighteen volumes have been released in English; fourteen volumes have been released in Simplified Chinese. In Poland, JPFantastica is releasing the manga; as of February 2010, eighteen volumes have been released. In France, the manga is being released by Kurokawa. As of February 2008, fifteen volumes have been released. Volume eight, released in September 2006, was available alone or in a collector's edition, which consisted of the book packed with the original humorous novel Flame Alchemist, focusing on Roy Mustang's schedule. Before that, this novel was only available with the first print run of volume six in Japan, making it highly collectible. In Brazil, Editora JBC is realising the manga, as of April 2008, thirty-two volumes have been released.

On October 4, 2003, an anime adaptation, developed by Bones, began airing in Japan. Due to the limited amount of manga material at the time of the anime series' production, the storyline of the anime began to diverge significantly from that of the original manga about half-way through the anime series. Arakawa had decided to work separately from her staff, telling them to finish off the anime series while she worked on the manga, since she did not want to repeat the ending in the anime and also wanted to give all of her attention to the manga. When watching the end of the anime, Arakawa was intrigued as to how the staff speculated about the origins of the homunculi. In addition to major changes in the plot, the anime series also differs in its portrayal of some characters. The manga series generally focuses more on the minor characters, notably members of the State Military as well as Scar and Winry.

A second anime adaptation, titled Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, began airing on April 5, 2009. It is currently being aired on television in Japan while FUNimation's official English subtitled versions are being released a few days later on several video streaming websites. This new anime follows the original manga series much more closely. In addition to the two anime series, several video games and a trading card game have been released, along with other merchandise.

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