- Mangaka : Inoue, Makoto (Art) and Arakawa, Hiromu (Story)
- Publisher : VIZ Media
- Genre : Action, Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Supernatural
- Published : October 2021 - Ongoing
Winry Rockbell, a childhood friend of the Elric brothers, is excited to improve her automail skill further as an apprentice in Rush Valley. Her skills will be tested with a boy who lost a leg and can’t get back on his feet. Meanwhile, Edward and Alphonse Elric are having difficulty staying out of trouble even though they try to build their reputation by doing good deeds.
Having an option to read a Fullmetal Alchemist series in the form of a light novel can be seen as either a good or bad thing for some readers, but we are here to point out the pros and cons of reading this specific volume itself. Just to let everyone know, this particular volume mainly focuses on Winry Rockbell. There is a chapter about the Elric Brothers, and there is little context to understand the whole situation on their side. Now that that is all out of the way, shall we get into the details?
1. Work Ethics
With how tough and unforgiving workplaces can be these days, reading about Winry’s experience as an apprentice for the automail shop Atelier Garfiel serves as an excellent reminder to us of where we were when we first started in any job. Her lack of experience and knowledge makes us think of how we should do things differently if we ever make a mistake. Our potential supervisor should always be there for us, take responsibility for our errors, and teach us how to overcome them.
That is where Garfiel, Winry’s master, comes into her life. He is a big hulking muscle man with stylish facial hair, making him a masculine type of person. However, he carries a feminine charm in every way, including his shop’s atmosphere. This makes him a likeable character and a good boss who takes care of Winry in terms of work-life balance, including guiding her every step of the way. Winry couldn’t ask for a better boss.
2. Focus on Winry Rockbell
Fullmetal Alchemist mainly focuses on the Elric Brothers and their endeavours. In this volume, we learn more about Winry's challenges as an automail mechanic and how she feels toward Edward Elric. This volume feels a bit like a side story if you look at the series as a whole, but it isn’t when it comes to Winry herself. The good thing about this volume is that it allows us to understand the lore of this world when it comes to automail and how such technology came into being. Think of it as a history lesson, but explained practically.
3. Customer Service
Some of you may not be aware of this, but when it comes to customer service, there will be times when employees have to carefully decide which words or actions to use with a client to solve their problem without offending them. In this case, we have a difficult client known as Darish. He had lost a leg in a carriage accident and he hates his first wooden prosthetic because it causes pain in his limbs. This mental and physical burden creates distrust toward any automail mechanic or engineer who could make a new leg for him.
It’s important to understand each client’s feelings and specific worries before introducing or building products that align with their lifestyle and preference. Also, shout out to all the workers who deal with these people in a professional way and with godlike patience!
1. A Bit of Lack of Context
After reading this entire volume, if you didn’t read or watch the Fullmetal Alchemist series, you probably would not understand the purpose behind the characters’ actions. However, this applies only to the Elric brothers’ side of this volume. This doesn’t apply much to Winry’s story, except for how she got there in the first place. Other than that, welcome to Rush Valley!
Fullmetal Alchemist: A New Beginning shows how having a good boss is so important, and it’s heartwarming how Garfiel takes care of Winry as if she is his daughter. This volume also allows us to understand the process of designing custom automails for each and every client. However, the Elric brothers’ side of the story in this volume can be odd for some new readers due to lacking context. If that doesn’t apply to you and you want to know more about Winry Rockbell’s struggles, you may want to give this volume a chance.