DVD
Full Metal Alchemist
Volume 3 - Equivalent Exchange

Starring (voice): Romi Paku, Rie Kugimiya, Yuuko Satou and Junichi Suwabe
MVM
RRP: 19.99
FP 08136
Certificate: PG
Available 05 December 2005


In a semi-mythical world in which alchemists are able to manipulate and transform objects from one form to another, Full Metal Alchemist follows the lives of two young boys who have a secret to hide from the world. The manipulation process does not come without a price, as young brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric have discovered when they were transformed into part-metal creatures when an experiment went wrong...

Volume 3 of Full Metal Alchemist contains episodes 9-12 of this 51-episode series based on the best-selling Manga by Hiromo Arakawa. Two brothers, Edward and Alphonse, have both been changed. While Ed's arm has turned into metal, Al has suffered a worse fate - his entire body has transformed, giving him the appearance of a huge knight in shining armour. The two boys are on a quest to change themselves back to the way they used to be.

Be Thou For The People Now: A fully qualified State Alchemist, Ed is given his first official mission in the form of a routine inspection of a coalmine in the small town of Youswell. Ed and Al arrive to find the town in financial and industrial decline, and the locals bearing a deep-rooted contempt for any representatives of the State. The cause of the unrest is traced to a corrupt military official named Yoki and his young assistant, Ryla, herself a skilled and dangerous alchemist.

This episode sees the boys attempting to help the residents of village that is being financially screwed by a corrupt State overseer. But in the end, Ed has to decide whether to break the sacred code of Alchemy in order to save the day.

The Phantom Thief: On a visit to Aquroya, the City of Water, seeking information regarding the Philosopher's Stone, Ed and Al become involved in the search for an elusive thief known only as Psiren. When a bout of food poisoning lands Ed in hospital, the two brothers meet a beautiful nurse, Clara, with whom Al becomes besotted.

In this episode Al gets a crush on a kind nurse who is attempting to save the hospital she works at. There is plenty of humour as after the collapse of the hospital she then goes on to become a nun and then a teacher and takes it upon herself to try and save the church and school - before they both too collapse in financial ruin. But, being totally infatuated by her, Al can't see the connection. And what on earth will he do when he realises that she may know more about the Psiren than she is letting on?

The Other Brothers Elric - Part 1 and 2: Following a tip-off from the mysterious Psiren, Ed and Al travel to Xenotime, where it is rumoured someone is conducting advanced research into the origins and existence of the Philosopher's Stone. On arrival, they are surprised to be greeted with great suspicion when introducing themselves to the locals. It appears there are already two young brothers, both alchemists, living in Xenotime and going by the names of Edward and Alphonse Elric.

To be honest, there wasn't really enough material to stretch this for two episodes. It would have worked a lot better as a normal length tale.

This collection adds much to the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek humour of the Full Metal Alchemist universe. There are comic moments as Ed is caught, by his younger brother Al, cheating at cards. And, there is the ongoing gag about Al being incredibly sensitive about his height. This collection also sees Al being kicked out of buildings twice, for being employed by The State.

Extras include textless opening and closing titles and behind the scenes picture galleries.

Another fine example of why this series is a must own collection.

Nick Smithson

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