Hello, who are you? And who are you? And you? And you? And you? Fullmetal Alchemist volume 8 brings an end to the Greed arc and jumps straight into another with new characters galore. The villains behind it all rear their ugly heads and some new travellers from the country of Xing pay a visit seeking immortality. Nothing is ever peaceful in Ed and Al’s world, but that is for the best. Watch out for people collapsed on the street.
Greed’s demise at the hands of King Bradley, revealed to be a homunculus at the end of the last volume, ends up giving only a small amount of progress to Ed and Al, but much for the plot in getting the villains moving. Al obtains the power to transmute his alchemy without a circle much like Ed, but apart from that they are still at a dead-end. Meanwhile we see some hints on what the homunculus actually are as we meet the boss. Looking eerily similar to the Elric brothers father, this brings a big deal of suspense to proceedings, Did he go bad, what is he up to and why has he got homunculus? It is a surprising plot twist and it is exciting to see the man behind it all sitting in that wired up chair.
The rest of the volume focusses on the new characters. We have the little girl May and her panda who end up in the mining town from an earlier volume, and Ling and his bodyguards meet Ed and Al. Here we learn of new alchemy types as well as bringing up some new problems as they seek the Philosopher’s stone. No doubt they will pose some problems later on, but for now we enjoy their personalities and interactions with the world built up so far. May is a sweet girl who seems to be quite handy at long-range alchemy, while Ling turns out to be a nuisance on Al’s part. The two arguing is funny and they look to be an entertaining duo as Ling chooses to tag along with Ed, much to his dismay.
Volume 8 serves to transition from one arc to the next, but it continues to throw us big character reveals to keep us reading. By volume 8 the series has become a constant source of excitement and fun, one which looks set to continue with the carefully paced story and excellent new cast members settling in well with the old.