The Art of Fullmetal Alchemist

Original Illustrations by Hiromu Arakawa

Vandemar

imageI’m usually skeptical of art books. As a rule, the ones I’ve seen have tended to be more cash-ins than anything that merited a purchase. The Art of Fullmetal Alchemist actually surprised me. Here we have an art book with nice pictures on good, glossy paper. More, the artist has little comments under most of them. While they’re mostly chatty bits about “I painted this at my parents’ house watching TV” and “I just wanted to paint a lot of sheep,” I thought they were interesting enough. They’re not going to be a great asset to your artistic education, but they’re a nice little perk for a $20 book.

The book spends a lot of time on the early years of the manga, and stops right around Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel. Chapter one focuses on the beginning of the manga series, from August 2001 through March 2002. The second chapter covers Spring 2002 to March 2003 while the third covers Spring to November 2003. The final chapter is character sketches and information for the Broken Angel game, which I found interesting because it had the actual sketches with little artist’s notes scribbled on them, like “His hair is kind of brown-yellow, this shade here.” It’s more than just a glossy photo of a cleaned up character sketch, it lets you get a small insight into what it’s like to draw for a game. Perhaps the handiest thing is at the end: A list of where all the sketches appeared, for your obsessive fanboy or fangirl reference.

The only complaint I had with this particular volume is I’d like more of it: More sketches and more art. Those unfamiliar with the manga side of the FMA world are going to be confused, as the focus here is primarily on those books, with some emphasis on the card games and other items. Hardcore fans, the ones I know who have a chibi-Roy snuggle toy, are going to want this on their shelves.

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