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Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 04: 06/22/11
Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 4 by Hiromu Arakawa is the last of the manga volumes that parallels the first anime series. However, the pacing here is more abrupt than what fans of the anime might be expecting.
I'm speaking primarily of Maes Hughes. So much of his character in the manga is built in the after story extras that people reading just the actual chapters will be shocked at how quickly his story arc plays out.
For the most part my favorite version of Fullmetal Alchemist is the original manga, followed by the Brotherhood version of the anime, with the first version of the anime bringing up the rear. The big exception to that rule is in how Maes Hughes is developed as a character. His death in the anime is more shocking and more heroic after seeing him grow as a character through so many episodes.
Here he gets four chapters and some after stories. While he's not exactly central to the plot, his death does galvanize the other characters to take action. His death continues to have repercussions through later volumes in the series. It is that reason that I am grateful for having seen the anime before reading the manga.
Comment #1: Friday, June, 24, 2011 at 20:38:13
I didn't think about it that way before but you're right ... if I hadn't seen the anime first, his death in the story probably wouldn't have impacted me as much ...
Comment #2: Friday, June 24, 2011 at 22:37:03
For the most part I think the manga is the best version of this story but the first anime series did Maes Hughes better than the manga or Brotherhood.