Full Metal Alchemist
Volume 8 - The Altar of Stone

Starring (voice): Romi Paku, Rie Kugimiya, Yuuko Satou and Junichi Suwabe
RRP: 19.99
Certificate: 12
Available 23 October 2006

As the Elric brothers are leaving Yock Island, a strange boy emerges from the foliage with no memory of how he arrived. Inexplicably, he can perform alchemy without a transmutation circle. Even stranger, he can transmutate his own body, merging with his surroundings. Meanwhile, the search for Scar gets a forward leap as a former military officer spots him in the southern slums. Elsewhere, Lt. Colonel Archer makes his move for the mysterious wild boy, who he believes is a homunculus conspirator. Infuriated by the arrest, Izumi leaps into action, single-handedly attacking the military with her staggering alchemic power...

The Untainted Child: As Ed and Al are preparing to leave Yock Island, a strange boy wanders out of the forest. He can't remember how he got onto the island, and the brother's soon discover that the mysterious boy is a gifted alchemist who, like Ed, doesn't need a transmutation circle. Ed becomes suspicious of the boy's sudden appearance, and doesn't believe he is as innocent as he appears to be. This episode also examines a lot more about how Al and Edward were transformed into their current incarnations, as well as revealing what really happened when they tried to raise their mother from the grave.

Assault on South Headquarters: The mysterious boy that appeared on Yock is taken into custody by the state alchemists. Enraged by the arrest, Izumi, Al and Ed's teacher, takes on the military with the full force of her alchemic powers. While all this is going on Scar is spotted in the southern slums.

Sin: Izumi manages to make her escape from the alchemists, taking the boy with her, successfully escaped with the boy. However, all of Izumi's secrets have been revealed - forcing her to feel obliged to atone for her sins. Fearing the worst, Ed and Al try to stop her plans. This episode explains the dark secret from Izumi's past, that she also once attempted a human transmutation. It also helps to explain who the mysterious child is and why he has strange scars on his body.

Dante of the Deep Forest: Ed and Al are eager to met Izumi's original teacher (their alchemy grandmother, if you like) Dante, and head off to get Izumi some medicine. The boys soon learn that Dante knew their father, Hohenheim Elric. They also discover that homunculus only exists when an alchemist attempts a human transmutation - an act that's illegal. But, out of the blue, kidnappers turn up to take Ed and Al.

Extras are as dull as usual. All we get are textless opening and closing credits as well as production art stills.

Despite the lack of any real extras, the eighth volume of Full Metal Alchemist is yet another cracking collection of tales. Go buy.

Nick Smithson

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