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Fullmetal Alchemist - Volume 3
Fullmetal Alchemist - Volume 3
by Hiromu Arakawa
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.19

5.0 out of 5 stars Homecomings, the past and terrible discoveries, 24 July 2009
The third volume of Fullmetal Alchemist sees Ed and Al (along with Armstrong) return home to Resenbool to get Ed's broken automail repaired, before travelling onto Central to continue their investigation into the Philosopher's Stone where they make a terrible and horrifying discovery. Ed attempts to learn what lies in the apparently abandoned military lab number 5; while Al meets someone who forces him to question his very existence.

As with the first two volumes, viewers of the first anime will find the story familiar, but that's not saying there's nothing new here. While the first two chapters 'The House Where a Family is Waiting' and 'The Philosopher's Stone' will be old ground for anime viewers, the last two chapters, 'The Two Guardians' and 'Definition of Human' offer a different (and arguably better) take on events.

This is an important volume in terms of characterisation as it sees the first appearance of Winry and Pinako Rockbell; Sheska the geeky bookworm; and Lt. Maria Ross and Sgt. Denny Bosh.

This volume also contains a short story, 'The Military Festival' which eventually became the anime episode 'Flame vs. Fullmetal'. It's interesting to read given as it is in this story that we see the introduction of a character who will become very important. As usual this volume also contains a few bonus comics, one of which contains the now infamous 'tiny miniskirts' line.

Fullmetal Alchemist volume 2
Fullmetal Alchemist volume 2
by Hiromu Arakawa
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The stakes are upped and the plot gets darker in the second volume of Fullmetal Alchemist, 27 April 2009
Following on from the lightweight first volume, this sees the Elrics entering into darker territory. There's a serial killer on the loose targeting state alchemist and he wants to make Ed his next victim; a troubled man is driven to desperate measures to keep his status as a state alchemist; a life or death fight leaves the Elrics needing to returning to their home town and on the way there a chance encounter with an old friend of Armstrong's gives them vital evidence in their quest for the philosopher's stone. But are they strong enough to stand against the deadly conspiracy that surrounds this artefact?

Like volume one, this contains stories that will be familiar to viewers of the first anime, but there's plenty of differences - don't make the mistake of thinking that just because you've seen the episodes you can skip this volume. The stories 'An Alchemist's Suffering' (equivalent to the episode 'Night of the Chimera's Cry') and 'The Road of Hope' (the story that great chunks of the episode 'The Ishbal Massacre' was taken from) are considerably different, with completely different resolutions for several of the characters.

Volume two also sees the introduction of my favourite Fullmetal Alchemist character - Maes Hughes. This makes it, for me, a volume that cannot be missed.

If you enjoy your fantasy dark, with good internal logic, reams of subtext and lots of comedy then this is a must buy. If you've never read manga then FMA is a good place to start, being one of the more intelligent titles available, but given the complex on-going story I'd recommend starting at volume one.

Fullmetal Alchemist - Volume 1
Fullmetal Alchemist - Volume 1
by Hiromu Arakawa
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.24

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Going to have to invent some new words to describe how good it is..., 2 April 2009
There's nothing scarier to a newcomer to a fandom than seeing its rabidly enthusiastic fanbase, so I'll try to keep my FMA review short and I'll attempt not to gush.

This is wonderful. The storyline, artwork and characters are amazingly well realised. Despite the fact that it has a children's' book style front cover, this is one of the more grown up mangas in my collection.

If you've seen the anime, you'll know the story pretty well and a lot of this may seem familiar - the stories contained are the equivalent of 'To Challenge the Sun', 'Body of the Sanctioned', 'Dash! Automail' and 'Be Thou for the People' but there's enough differences, in terms of characterisation and timelines, to keep you hooked.

If you're unfamiliar with the anime then this is a good place to start! The manga is regarded by many to be better than the anime (and I would agree). This volume introduces the main plotline and two of the main characters. Other reviews have covered both of these so I won't go into detail.

All I can say is buy this. If you're new to manga is a great one to start with as it has an excellent story line, well devolved characters, subtext and a lot of humour. If you've only seen the anime, buy this. There's so many differences that you won't be disappointed.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2 Disc Edition) [2004] [DVD]
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2 Disc Edition) [2004] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Daniel Radcliffe
Offered by Lifes Essentials
Price: 4.02

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars don't trust the hype!, 26 Aug 2006
As terrible as Rowling's book is amazing. The Prisoner of Azkaban film crushes Rowling's funny, fast paced, well plotted and superbly narrated book into a painfully slow 136 minutes. Although less happens in the film than in the book (so much is cut that even some important revelations and characters get left out) it feels ten times longer. A few good sequences at the beginning and Alan Rickman can't make up for the rest of this film. The only thing I'd avoid more is being mauled by a hippogryph.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 7, 2010 12:00 AM BST

Futurama - Season 4 [DVD]
Futurama - Season 4 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Billy West
Price: 19.13

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good news everybody - Futurama season four is unmissable, 29 Jun 2005
This review is from: Futurama - Season 4 [DVD] (DVD)
I think I can say without question that Season Four contains the greatest Futurama episodes EVER. Even better than many classic Simpsons episodes. While Season Four unfortunately has two of the biggest duds - 'Crimes of the Hot' and 'Bender Should not be Allowed on T.V.', the other 16 more than make up for that with many of them rounding off the existing plotlines - Fry and Bender's friendship, Kiff and Amy's relationship, Leela's homeworld...
The extras are all good with loads of decent deleted scenes, some character artwork and trailers, all worth a look.
There are also some classic lines - Bender's comment on Star Trek - "another science fiction show cut down in its prime" and some good Ikea-type jokes to be enjoyed by anyone who has ever brought a flat pack - "All done, and only six pieces missing."
Highlights of the series are 'Leela's Homeworld' where Leela discovers who her real parents are, 'A Taste of Freedom' which is Zoidberg's ONLY starring episode, 'Jurassic Bark' which uses the same style of jumping back and forth between the 1990's and 3004 which 'Luck of the Fryish' used in Season Three and is even more of a weepy episode than that! There is also 'Teenage Mutant Leela's Hurdles' which is the greatest episode title I have ever read and is a pretty good episode (the crew all find themselves getting younger - check out 6 year old Fry... cuter than Nibbler anyday!)and 'The Sting' which is my favorate episode of all time (we find out what REALLY happend to the old Planet Express crews and a main character gets killed off, or is he...?)
Finally, missing out a few more excellent episodes, there is 'The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings' in which... well, I don't want to spoil it but it will not disappoint. Also, Dan 'Homer Simpson' Castellanata guest stars (who else could it be?) and although it does round things off neatly, Futurama is left open, just in case.
However, saying that, it might be better if it stays finished, to be remembered as one of the few American shows that didn't outstay its welcome.

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