鋼の錬金術師 1 🦾 Book Club (Intermediate Manga Club) [Starting August 3rd]

Welcome to the 鋼の錬金術師 Book Club!

This is the main thread for reading the manga 鋼の錬金術師 1 together with the Intermediate Manga Club.

We’ll be reading together according to a weekly schedule, ask and answer questions in weekly threads, and we have a vocabulary sheet we’re building together to make this easier for everyone.

View this book on Natively

Story summary




In an alchemical ritual gone wrong, Edward Elric lost his arm and his leg, and his brother Alphonse became nothing but a soul in a suit of armor. Equipped with mechanical “auto-mail” limbs, Edward becomes a state alchemist, seeking the one thing that can restore his and his brother’s bodies…the legendary Philosopher’s Stone.

Schedule & Discussion Thread Links

  • Start date: August 3rd, 2024
  • Schedule:
Week Start Date Chapter Pages
Week 1 3 August 2024 Ch.1 5-37
Week 2 10 August 2024 Ch.1 38-57
Week 3 17 August 2024 Ch.2 58-99
Week 4 24 August 2024 Ch.3 100-140
Week 5 31 August 2024 Ch.4+extra 140-183

Where to buy

Amazon JP
Amazon Kindle JP

Vocabulary Sheet

Discussion Guidelines

Spoiler Courtesy

Please follow these rules to avoid inadvertent ネタバレ. If you’re unsure whether something should have a spoiler tag, err on the side of using one.

  1. Any potential spoiler for the current week’s reading need only be covered by a spoiler tag. Predictions and conjecture made by somebody who has not read ahead still falls into this category.
  2. Any potential spoilers for external sources need to be covered by a spoiler tag and include a label (outside of the spoiler tag) of what might be spoiled. These include but are not limited to: other book club picks, other books, games, movies, anime, etc. I recommend also tagging the severity of the spoiler (for example, I may still look at minor spoilers for something that I don’t intend to read soon).
  3. Any information from later in the book than the current week’s reading (including trigger warnings that haven’t yet manifested) needs to be hidden by spoiler tags and labeled as coming from later sections.
Instructions for Spoiler Tags

Click the cog above the text box and use either the “Hide Details” or “Blur Spoiler” options. The text which says “This text will be hidden” should be replaced with what you are wishing to write. In the case of “Hide Details”, the section in the brackets that is labelled “Summary” can be replaced with whatever you like also (i.e, [details=”Chapter 1, Pg. 1”]).

Hide Details results in the dropdown box like below:


This is an example of the “Hide Details” option.

The “Blur Spoiler” option will simply blur the text it surrounds.

This is an example of the “Blur Spoiler” option.

Posting Advice

  • When asking for help, please mention the page number, and check before posting that your question hasn’t already been asked. As the threads get longer, it becomes more convenient to use the Search function, which is located in the upper right corner of the forum. It is the magnifying glass which is near your profile picture! The best way to search is usually to type part of the sentence you are confused about, and select “in this topic”. This will show you all posts within the current thread which has that string of text.

  • Be sure to join the conversation! It’s fun, and it’s what keeps these book clubs lively! There’s no such thing as a stupid question! We are all learning here, and if the question has crossed your mind, there’s a very good chance it has crossed somebody else’s also! Asking and answering questions is a great learning opportunity for everyone involved, so never hesitate to do so!

Will you be reading with us?

  • Yeah!
  • Yeah, but I’ll start late
  • I’m not sure yet
  • I’m skipping this one
  • I’ve read this before, but will join in the discussion
0 voters

How will you be reading?

  • Physical
  • Digital
  • With my eyes
  • I’m not sure yet
0 voters

Don’t forget to set this thread to Watching in order to be notified when weekly threads get posted!


I know nothing about Full Metal Alchemist, except the fact that it’s quite famous and popular, so super excited and looking forward to it :grin:


So, the chapters have the following length:
ch 1 - 54 pgs
ch 2 - 40 pgs
ch 3 - 42 pgs
ch 4 - 39 pgs
extras - 2 pgs

I would suggest splitting the first chapter, but reading the rest one chapter a week (and adding the extras to chapter 4).
The schedule would be
week 1: chapter 1 - 32 pages
week 2: chapter 1 - 22 pages
week 3: chapter 2 - 40 pages
week 4: chapter 3 - 42 pages
week 5: chapter 4 + extra - 41 pages

I tried looking for a good break point in chapter 1, but we can pick a different point if someone really wants a more smooth increase of pages.

Anyone got a different schedule suggestion? Keep in mind that we would read more pages a week compared to とんがり in the later weeks, while the text density is also higher (probably part of why the natively levels are 26 and 31 respectively).


Wow, people who know nothing about it are a rarity! I will look forward to your impressions :grin:


I know basically nothing about it either besides the basic premise. A friend of mine who is not hugely into manga read it and told me it was good though, so I’m cautiously optimistic.


I’m also on Team I-Know-Nothing-About-This-Series, so there are a few of us!

My only apprehension is when I compare the first volume to my known words to see how many (total) words in the volume I know and how many sentences I should be able to read without doing look-ups, I get:


(Green = known; orange = learning.)

I’d have to learn another 40 words just to reach these stats:


That gets it up to Ouran territory for me, which has been too difficult for me to keep up with reading for now.


I skimmed the first chapter and my impression is that there’s definitely a lot of vocabulary I’ve never seen before but which is also fairly easy to guess/remember from the kanji: 教主、聖域、見慣れない、大道芸人. Of course that only works if you know the kanji, but those aren’t particularly advanced either IMO.

My main concern is more regarding slang/dialect and very casual turns-of-phrase which are often common in that type of shonen manga and can be quite challenging in my experience.

The text seems fairly dense too, a lot of words on most pages compared to Atelier.


It looks to me like this splitting makes the most sense. Especially as a lot of people have trouble with stopping reading mid chapter :stuck_out_tongue:
I think also we should keep it mind that Book Clubs are here to help with harder material, so it’s normal to complete the assignment in several days with many look ups, that’s why there’s a week for it. Not expecting that we find a pace where people can breeze through it on the first day in 20 minutes.
Of course, if it’s harder it might be hard to balance with other things on the side, but I guess that’s everyone own responsibility to figure out how much they can take on?



I did just recently finish this volume, so I’ll be joining the discussion but I won’t be reading along.

RE: Vocab and difficulty, the first half of this volume [spoiler-ing just in case you wanna go in blind without knowing the themes, but there are no story spoilers here] involves a religious sect and has a fictitious sermon in it, which, for me at least, meant a whole category of words I’d never experienced before. It’s easy to imagine how a sermon alone will skew the volume’s vocab stats into the realm of “lots of stuff you don’t know” since it’s pretty rare in shounen manga. However, at the end of that segment, there are no longer any religion-associated words in the story so the language balances out soon afterward.

Other than that segment, the only “weird” or uncommon vocab used are military titles and some fantasy alchemy powers. I read this volume using Mokuro while my comfortable Natively level was 25-27. I stumbled a little with the segment I mention above, but afterward I quickly found my footing and blasted through the remainder of the volume like it was water and I was dehydrated :sweat_smile:

Also, the art is just sooo fun. Where Atelier’s art is gorgeous on a technical level, Fullmetal’s art excels at conveying expressions and physical humor.

some screenshots i took, no story spoilers but hidden just in case some people want no theme exposure until starting


Aah that’s reassuring :grin: I don’t mind if it’s a bit difficult, but same as Christopher if it were as hard as Ouran felt at the time, probably wouldn’t be able to keep reading.
Also appreciate the spoiler tags! <3


I watched FMA:B like probably a good decade ago at this point and read through the series even earlier than that, so this should be interesting.


OH MAN (So this is why FMA was just added to Manga Kotoba yesterday lol)
Full Metal Alchemist may be my in the top three of my favourite manga ever, if not the favourite. It definitely had a huge impact on me as a teenager, and I’ve reread it so many times. When I look to examples of great storytelling, foreshadowing, great character evolution and arcs, I always go back to Full Metal Alchemist.
I rewatched the Brotherhood anime some years ago with my younger sister (who knew almost nothing about anime then) and it was an unforgettable experience.
I’m so tempted of joining this club because I know it almost by memory now so I could 100% focus on the grammar and vocab which would be interesting, but I’m not sure I can handle the pace… some chapters tend to be quite wordy.

But I will definitely be following this thread and can’t wait to see everyone’s reaction to it!




Look at the burn review I just got:

My body is ready.


Nah, none of that. No hinting, no foreshadowing.


Ah, right, seems I misunderstood :+1:

Speaking as someone who does know things about the series, this conversation needs to stop happening. The way I tried to head it off at the pass from the beginning.

Also, that was a spoiler. Stop reading the spoilers. :stuck_out_tongue:


This thread is turning into a spoiler minefield. Plz stop.


Agreed. @BadPlayer maybe had the best intentions, but calling out certain things about the series in advance is the definition of spoilers. Even saying when “something unspecified” will happen, is a spoiler in itself. I suggest the entire thing (possible with follow-up comments) just be removed, and would ask people to restrain posting info about what will/might/will not happen.


Agreed that this would be best. Deleted my comment.