Contrary to what most people in the West think, manga (both the singular and plural form are the same) have NOTHING to do with pronorgraphy. Some manga are pornographic, but that's just a small percentage of manga.
Manga, in Japanese, means "flowing words" or "Undisciplined words". It is an ancient art that has been used for centuries as a form of entertainment. It's basicallt Japanese comic books, which can be easily translated to English. However, just saying manga are comics from Japan is wrong.
First of all, in the US and in Europe, most comics are addressed to young children between the ages of 9 and 13. That is not the case of manga. There are 6-7 major types of manga, each having its own audience. Kodomo manga is for children. Shonen manga is for boys ages 12-18 , Shoujo manga is for gilrs age 12-18. Josei manga is for adult ladies above the age of 20, mainly working women. Seinen manga is for young men between the ages of 18 and 30, and Hentai manga is pornographic, adult manga.
As you can see, saying "comics from Japan" is wrong. Another difference between manga and Western comics is that each comics volume has its own plot, while manga volumes all follow the same plot. The artwork is VERY different. Manga has its own particular artwork, especially when it comes to human faces, particularly the eyes, chin, nose, mouth, forehead... Manga is also read from RIGHT to LEFT. (Yes, even the English ones).
In Japan, 40% of all book & magazine sales are manga. That's a huge number, considering the Japanese read A LOT. In 1998, about 3 billion manga volumes were printed in Japan, I'm sure that number is higher now.
Many manga have been translated to English and are sold everywhere.
GTO, Excel Saga, Inu Yasha, Fushigi Yugi, Naruto, Pretty Face, Hunter x Hunter, Confidential Confessions, Love Hina, and Berserk are all examples of manga.
Nobuhiro Watsuki is a mangaka, or manga artist. The series he has created include Rurouni Kenshin, Buso Renkin and Gun Blaze West. Of the three, Rurouni Kenshin is the most popular and Gun Blaze West was a flop. He is influenced by Marvel comics such as the X-Men, Spider-Man, Hulk when making his characters and he likes to talk about action fiqures or games.
Nobuhiro Watsuki is an awesome mangaka
In a nutshell, alchemy was "chemistry" before the periodic table. It was believed that combining the four basic properties (earth, fire, air, and water) in certain ratios could produce iron, gold, booze, and even life itself. Alchemy was no longer practiced after LaVosier's studies and the publishing of the Periodic Table of Elements.
The anime Full Metal Alchemist has very little to do with classical alchemy.
Kenshin Himura, formerly known as "Hitokiri Battousai" the man slayer, is a wanderer with a dark past and sunny disposition. Not a ronin but a rurouni, he was never a samurai, but a well known assassin of utmost skill in the Meiji restoration, who in the turning point of the war simply walked away, and took an oath to never kill again as an act of retribution for the many men he murdered during the revolution. He then begins to carry a reversed-blade sword (Sakabatou) and protect the innocent/oppressed people of Japan. His travels lead him to Tokyo in the 11th year of the Meiji era, where he befriends a female Kendo master (Kaoru Kamiya), a former thief from a family of Samurai (Yahiko Myojin), a brawler/former Sekihotai member (Sanosuke Sagara) and a doctor (Megumi Takani) all with their own secrets. Together they fight off the enemies surfacing from the dark past that Kenshin cannot escape.
Rurouni Kenshin started airing in the U.S. on Cartoon Network's Toonami on March 17, 2003. There are a total of 95 episodes along with a four part OVA series called Samurai X: Trust and Betrayal which serves as a prequel to Rurouni Kenshin.