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Hey fellows, Asad here. Once again, with another Fullmetal Alchemist Character Guide. This time around, our featured hero is a decorated war veteran. He will burn you to ashes if you try something fishy. Fullmetal Alchemist is a Japanese manga series written by Hiromu Arakawa and published in Square Enix manga anthology magazine between 2001-2010.
It later got adapted into two anime series and two subsequent movies. The first anime was named Fullmetal Alchemist (2003 to 2004). The series had a remake in 2009 called Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. Fullmetal Alchemist is one of the best-selling manga series to ever exist and has several accolades to its name.
It never lost its popularity among children and adults alike due to its complex and epic plotline, strong characters, character development, historical references, a great blend of action and comedy, praise-worthy fight sequences, and the use of the science of Alchemy to satisfy the science enthusiasts.
The selling point of the series is its character portrayal. One of the protagonists, Roy Mustang, a decorated war hero, the Flame Alchemist, and a lieutenant colonel in the military, became the favorite of kids and adults. Before we move onto this intriguing character of Roy Mustang, let’s look at the brief summary of the series, which would help the reader recall the main events.
The Plot of the Series Through Roy’s Eyes
The series is set in the 20th century and revolves around the two young Elric brothers- Edward(11) and Alphonse(10). They lived with their mother, Trisha, in Resembool, and Trisha died of an incurable disease. Their father, Hohenheim, was not shown initially, and it was believed that he left them out of the blue.
The boys then trained under Izumi Curtis, a Flame Alchemist, to learn Alchemy. They felt devastated after the death of their mother. They tried to perform a forbidden and illegal act of human transmutation to bring their mother back.
This failed attempt led to Edward losing his leg and Alphonse losing his whole body. Ed sacrificed his right arm to retrieve Al’s soul, binding it to a suit of armor. Ed got an automail arm and leg attached to his body.
The boys were visited by a state Alchemist and Lieutenant Colonel in the Military, Roy Mustang. He advised Ed to become a State Alchemist. Elric Brothers set their home ablaze, with the intent to never look back.
They began their search for the mythical Philosopher stone to get their bodies back. Edward later became a State Alchemist at the age of 12.
In Central, the boys were attacked by an Ishvalan war survivor, Scar, who is on a hunt for the State Alchemists to avenge the death of the Ishvalan people for the atrocities committed against them. They also met Dr. Marcoh there, who told them that the Philosopher stone was created from human souls.
They found the laboratory where Stones were forged but were thwarted by the Homunculi. Homunculi were the seven sins embodied in the series, such as Wrath, Lust, Gluttony, Envy, Greed, Pride, and Sloth. It was later revealed that they were created by “The Dwarf in the Flask” (aka “The Father”).
Lieutenant Colonel Roy Mustang received the devastating news of the death of his close friend and a fellow military man, Maes Hughes.
Roy went on a journey to find the reason for his murder and avenge his death. He uncovered the Government’s conspiracy and involvement of military high command with the Homunculi and fought them alongside the Elric brothers.
The Elrics, along with Roy, Armstrong, Riza, and Mei, faced The Father in the final battle on the Promised Day. Al’s armor got destroyed during the fight, but he offered his soul to restore Ed’s right arm.
Roy lost his sight before the battle but continued to fight with the aid of Riza. “The Father” was defeated by Ed and was dragged into the Gate of Truth.
Roy is an Ishvalan war hero, haunted by the atrocities committed by the Government in the Ishvalan war and his use as a human weapon against them. He wanted to reach the position of Fuhrer to protect his fellow citizen make Amestris a democracy.
He wanted to avenge the death of his close friend at any cost. Roy was strong, sharp-minded, a great tactician, a highly capable Flame Alchemist, and a decorated Military man. He and his trusted subordinates, along with the Elric brothers, went on a journey to fight and erase the evils.
Characters that had a Great Role in Roy Mustang’s Life
To better understand the essence of Roy Mustang’s character, here is a list of characters that significantly impacted his life and shaped it.
Maes Hughes, an Amestrian State military officer stationed in the investigation office in Central city, was a close friend and ally of Roy Mustang. Their friendship developed during their military academy training days. They fought together in the Ishvalan war. Maes was Roy’s confidant and secret-keeper.
Roy shared his ideological dreams of protecting the people of Amestris and becoming a Fuhrer one day with him. Maes was Roy’s greatest supporter in his bid for Fuhrer. Hughes assured Roy that he would support him and remain in the ranks below to push him to the top.
He frequently sent advice and secret communique from Central city, where he was posted, to Roy and informed him of the developments in Central Command.
Hughes was Roy’s closest and most trusted companion. He knew Roy better than everyone. They held each other’s back throughout the years, and their friendship only grew over time. Hughes was a devoted family man, and he never failed to share his love for his wife and daughter with everyone he met.
He teased Roy over phone calls by telling him stories about his daughter, much to Roy’s annoyance and disdain. Hughes always asked Roy to get married and to settle down.
He knew his heart better than almost everyone else, and he always believed in Roy’s capabilities. Hughes’s murder was the main triggering point in Roy’s life, and it framed his whole journey. He cried on his grave and promised that he would become Fuhrer one day and bring down the corrupt Government and Military.
Roy went on to find out the reason for his murder, and his main aim from that day was to avenge Hughes’ death. Roy found out the secret involvement of Military high command with the Homunculi, a truth Hughes had uncovered that led to his murder. The journey to avenge his death led Roy almost to madness.
Roy shared one of the closest relationships with Riza Hawkeye. Being the daughter of Berthold Hawkeye, the man who taught alchemy to Roy, she was part of his youth and adulthood. Berthold, on his deathbed, told Roy to inherit his research notes on flame alchemy from Riza, and protect her at any given cost, a promise that he kept well.
She joined the military academy with Roy. When Winry asked her why she became a soldier, she replied that she had someone to protect, implying that someone was Roy. She was very protective of Roy, and she fought with him in all his battles.
Riza was like a guardian angel and guiding light to Roy, who had given her full authority to shoot him in the back if ever headed off away from the righteous path.
During the fight with Gluttony and Envy, Roy saved Riza, and Riza did the same whenever required. They were each other’s armor. When Roy had lost his eyesight after coming back from the Gate of Truth, Riza became his eyes and guided him in the final battle against “The father.”
Riza was the one who got Roy to spare Envy by putting her own life in his hands. For all of Roy’s justified anger and rage, there was only one person he valued more than his revenge, Riza Hawkeye. They share an unexplainable but beautiful bond. She was his personal assistant and bodyguard and had never left his side even once. Their comedic scenes were my favorite.
They had a deep and genuine sense of concern and devotion for each other which was truly unmatched. It won’t be wrong to say that they shared love for each other, which did not require any formal title.
Lieutenant General Grumman
Lt. General Grumman was head of the Eastern Command and Roy’s superior officer from his days at the East Area office. He was like a father to Roy, guiding him in his decisions and playing a principal role in making him a good soldier and officer.
Grumman taught Roy all the military tactics such as covert operations, coordinating subordinates, and battlefield actions. Grumman was very fond of Roy and took pride in training him, and Roy trusted him and took advice from him whenever he needed it.
When Roy was transferred to the Central Command, he bid farewell to Grumman, who gave him a Chessboard as a parting gift. Roy did not hesitate to ask him for favors as he knew Grumman’s trust and compassion for him. He asked for the transfer of five of his loyal subordinates along with him, a significant demand with which Grumman complied.
Roy trusted Grumman the most. After losing his eyesight, he decided to retire from the military and transfer his title to Fuhrer, Grumman.
Edward Elric, a young protagonist in the series after losing an arm and leg due to his failed attempt at human transmutation, became a state Alchemist on the advice of Roy Mustang. Roy assured Edward that he would get access to states resources and research work, which would help him restore his and Alphonse’s bodies back to normal.
Roy’s intention of enlisting young Ed into the army seemed selfish at first, but it was not for his personal pride. He truly believed in his alchemy abilities.
He knew that with his help, he would deconstruct the oppressive military dictatorship and bring peace in Amestris. He genuinely wanted Ed to find the philosopher stone, which he could only do if he became a ‘dog of military’ (a title used for state Alchemists).
Ed and Roy depicted a shared animosity toward each other and were fighting in most scenes. But in reality, they had great respect for each other. They shared the common enemy, Homunculi, and fought alongside each other till the promised day.
Roy had great admiration for Ed and vice versa. Ed always believed in his bid for Fuhrer. He once told him that he wished that Roy could materialize his ambitions and change Amestris into a democracy. Roy also believed in Ed’s capabilities and was very proud of hiring him.
Ed and Roy were the same in many ways. They were proud of their Alchemical abilities and never left a chance to boast about them. They cared deeply for their loved ones and were willing to go to the ends of the earth to protect them.
They both were angry at themselves, Ed for what he did to Alphonse and Roy for what he did during the Ishvalan war. Both were trying to absolve themselves from their mistakes, and that’s why they respected each other’s ways of getting things done.
Roy Mustang, The Flame Alchemist
Roy is a dark-haired, clean-shaven, lean, and tall young man. His hair is usually unkempt, falling over his eyes, making him look rugged and somewhat dour. He has dark eyes, which ooze out his inner persona of seriousness and sternness.
Roy’s personal style and apparel are classy and elegant, though he is rarely seen in his military uniform. He is fond of long and dark-colored overcoats. He has white gloves on both hands with a flame Alchemy sign on the right-hand glove.
When out of his uniform, he is wearing dark-colored (usually white or black with white accents) three-piece suits with black ties, classic scarves, and shiny shoes. He is portrayed as a well-dressed and disciplined army personnel. He is around 173cm tall.
After his epic fight with the Lust, he carries a faint scar on the back of his right hand, which is in the shape of the Flame Alchemy Transmutation circle. It is one of the harshest encounters he had, and he carries burn wounds on his left side, lower back, and abdomen as remnants of his battle with the Lust.
At the beginning of the series, Roy seems a self-centered, selfish, arrogant, womanizer, and shallow war hero. He took great pride in his war achievements and had no personal attachment to other characters. He was called the hero of the massacre for his acts during the Ishvalan war.
He was willing to go to any extent to jump up to higher power in the military and never failed to take credit for his wins. He was harsh towards his subordinates and assigned onerous tasks to them. He seemed irritated by the constant mentioning by Hughes of his love for his wife and children.
It was shown that he was a cunning and guileful tactician and had a talent for manipulation. He seemed always to be in control of situations and himself. He was an overwhelmingly powerful and cold-hearted man with Sheer bravery, combat power, and tactical ability.
It was later revealed that all the harshness and Dout behavior he showed was just a facade to make his enemies underestimate him and his capabilities. His womanizer facade fell away when we discovered that all his dates were just meetings to exchange information.
The notion that he was self-centered was crushed when he risked his life to save his companions. His character developed over time, and we got to see different aspects of him. We saw how goofy he was and how he could light up any room with his presence.
He cared deeply for Riza and Hughes and all of his subordinates. He was ready to go to any extent to protect his allies and stood up for them. He shared a special relationship with Riza, the daughter of his Alchemy teacher.
Roy’s past was depicted quite late in the series, and that’s when we could actually see what lay in his heart. He carried the burden of his war crimes in the Ishvalan region, and he was haunted by the screams of Ishvalan men and women.
The scene where Hughes, Riza, and Roy discuss after the war how their eyes of youthful ideals have turned into eyes of murderers broke my heart.
Roy felt the pain of the people and wanted to protect them. He determined to become Fuhrer one day to protect the people of Amestris and avenge the genocide of the Ishvalan people. Hughes and Riza were the only ones with who he shared his ideas, and they were the significant supporters in his bid for Fuhrer.
Hughes’s murder fanned the flames for his journey of avenge. Roy lost his confidant that day. His death shattered him, and the scene of him standing on Hughes’s grave and crying showed the emotional depth that his character had.
As the story rolled on, we realized that he was not what he displayed on the front. He was soft but determined, protective, caring, a warrior, and felt the pain of people around him. He was emotional but did not let his emotions come into the way of discipline and rules. Like, in the case of Sho Tucker, who had killed his daughter to form a Chimera that could understand human language.
He was so angry at him and wanted to kill him at first sight. But he did not do so. He put him under house arrest and waited for his court-martial. His character was anything but one-dimensional. He had different aspects to him. We got to see his stern side, goofy side, emotional and vulnerable side, his strength and vigor, and his love for everyone around him.
He trusted his subordinates with his life. He had gathered a team of highly skilled men and women around him to assist him in achieving his aim.
He shared a relationship of love, trust, and mutual respect with his subordinates. He believed in Maria Ross’s innocence, protected Jean havoc, and was ready to give him the philosopher stone to treat his paralysis. He never left anyone behind on the battlefield.
Riza and Roy protected each other in almost every battle. Roy saved her from Gluttony, and Riza scolded him for showing his identity to the enemies. Mustang also saved Riza from Envy and called her one of his dearest subordinates.
When Lin Yao told Roy that king Bradley was a homunculus, he was very disappointed. He confronted Bradley. Roy was a man who would go to any extent to achieve his aim. Absolutely nothing could distract him from his path. He was stern. When Bradley asked if Mustang wanted to leave the military, he responded that his mission did not allow him to give up the uniform.
He told Alex and Riza that he wanted to stay in the military. Despite being called a monster and a human weapon, he felt fighting monsters like Lust and wrath made him feel truly human. In many times Roy’s vengeance had come into the way of his ambitions. He wanted to kill Envy and wouldn’t let Riza do it because he wanted to avenge Hughes’s death, and she didn’t let him fall into madness.
Roy was a strong warrior who fought till the end and never lost courage. He expressed shame that he was useless during the final battle and decided to fight even after losing sight. Roy was anything but weak and naive. He was a hero, a savior, and a man whose whole purpose of life was to bring peace to his people and protect them.
Roy Mustang was a flame alchemist, a type of alchemy believed to be the most powerful form of alchemy to ever exist. He was well-versed in physical transmutation, experimental theory, and biological alchemy. His powerful fire-based combat style earned national notoriety and the title of ‘hero of massacre’ after the Ishvalan war. His combat style was unique and impactful.
He had custom-made gloves which were made of ignition cloth. These gloves created a spark when he snapped his fingers together.
They had a transmutation circle drawn on them, which helped him change the concentration of oxygen in the air. He would raise the oxygen density to make it volatile and then create a narrow oxygen pathway between himself and his target to direct the fire at them.
He could incinerate any number of enemies in the field and was quite a treat to watch during action scenes. He had a unique way of snapping his finger to ignite the spark. His hands had different agility, due to which he could delegate each hand to a different flame effect. He used his right hand for large explosive attacks and left hand for small but accurate and pinpoint flame attacks.
Roy’s flame alchemy was often called useless during the rainy days. But it was not the case. He could separate hydrogen atoms from the oxygen atoms in water, isolating them into highly combustible fuel.
He needed the help of an outside ignition source such as a lighter to produce impactful and localized explosions. (like he did with Lust). However, he could only use this power when a large amount of water is present with high pressure.
Transmutation Without Circle
Roy gained the power to transmute with the circle on the back of his hand after he passed the gate of truth. He did so by clapping his hands to compensate for the shredded sigils on his gloves. Due to the absence of need of a transmutation circle, he was no longer limited to flame-based alchemy on the battlefield.
Roy vs Lust: An Epic Battle!
The battle between Roy and Lust was nothing short of epic and is my absolute favorite. This battle showed Roy’s strength and alchemical abilities. Mustang and Havoc faced Lust in an underground research laboratory. Roy shot her in the leg, but her wounds started to heal right before his eyes. He shot in her head and chest, but to no use.
He realized that the woman he was facing was the homunculi Lust. She opened the wound in her chest cavity and showed him the philosopher stone. She extended her fingernails into razor blades with which she disabled Roy’s sidearm and ruptured an overhead water pipe, thus subduing Roy’s flame alchemy.
Roy used the lighter to ignite the spark by separating oxygen and hydrogen molecules in water. He took out the philosopher stone from Lust’s chest. Within seconds she developed another one and stabbed Roy. She left, believing that Roy was dead, and went to the white room, where Riza and Al were present.
Upon knowing that Lust killed Roy, Riza shot her in the chest and head. Roy appeared from the back. Alphonse transmuted a wall between himself and Riza and Lust and Roy.
The wrath of Roy began, and the scene will go down in history as the best one ever written. He waved off wave after wave of flames at her and told her that he would not stop until she died. Her philosopher stone was exhausted due to rapid regeneration, and she died before Roy’s eyes.
Roy vs The Father: The Finale
Roy was forced to open the Gate of Truth by Pride. He lost his sight after seeing what lay behind the gate. Roy felt great remorse for being useless during the final battle. But he refused to give up. He fought along Riza, who became her eyes, helping him direct his aim towards the father and warning him of his counter-attacks.
He fought against Lust, Envy, Gluttony, and “The father” with great courage and vigor, making him one of the strongest protagonists to ever exist in the world of manga.
Why Do I Love Roy Mustang?
Roy’s character’s strength and conviction made him my absolute favorite. The vigor with which he fought, the aura he oozed off, and the way he deceived every enemy around him left me speechless.
Roy had a dark past and felt remorseful for his actions during the Ishvalan war. His journey was of revenge and achievement of the greater good. Like every human, he had his ups and downs and weaknesses. But he never let any of that come in his path for achieving what he believed in. His determination and strong beliefs made him the best.
His selflessness and vulnerability made him relatable. How he cared for Riza and the devastation, he felt after Hughes’s death depicted how great a friend he is. He kept his promises and managed to never let his friends down.
His comedic timing and goofiness are, in my opinion, less appreciated. He had a way with words, and his puns and dialogues are nothing but delightful.
TRIVIA and Fun Facts
Do You Know that Roy’s Name had a Military Origin?
Nearly all the military personnel’s names in the Fullmetal Alchemist series had military origins. Mustang was named after the North American P-15 Mustang, a famous American fighter Aircraft used in WWII.
Do You Know that Roy Encoded All of his Research Notes with Women’s Names?
Roy was notorious for being a charmer and a womanizer. He encoded all of his research work with the names of women he encountered. He wanted them to look like a record of his romantic endeavors, thus hiding them from the enemy’s eyes.
It Might Surprise You, but it wasn’t Roy who Killed Envy in the End!
Although Roy was the one who defeated Envy to the point where she became powerless, he didn’t actually kill her. Riza stopped her from doing it, making him remember that his journey was not only of revenge. Envy committed suicide in the end, and Roy called her a coward for it.
Did You Notice a Salamander Drawn on Roy’s Flame Alchemy Sign?
Roy, a Flame Alchemist, had a salamander drawn in his Flame Alchemy emblem on the back of his hand. The salamander was considered the elemental of fire in ancient Greek mythology. It was believed to be fireproof and lived within the fire, as shown on Roy’s hand.
Do You Know that Roy’s Blindness was Already Predicted?
During his battle with Lust, she commented that his’ clear and focused eyes will become clouded with suffering’. This is believed to be a prediction for his loss of sight.
Question: Did Roy and Riza Get Married in the End?
Answer: Riza and Roy showed deep care and affection for each other throughout the series. Their relationship was nothing short of love, but they did not get married in the end. Riza became his personal adjutant after Roy became Brigadier General in the army.
Question: Did Roy Become the Fuhrer of Amestris?
Answer: No, he did not. In the end, it is shown that after two years of the promised day, he became a Brigadier General in the army, becoming one of the fully-fledged Generals in the history of Amestris.
Question: Did Roy Get his Eyesight Back?
Answer: Yes, he did. Roy lost his eyesight because of his encounter with what lay behind the gate of truth. Dr. Marcoh visited him in the hospital and offered him to use Philosopher stone to restore his eyesight in exchange for a promise to work for the betterment of the Ishvalan people.
Question: Was Roy of Xingese Ancestry?
Answer: Although his eyes resembled Xingese immigrants in the manga and the anime, he was unquestionably an Amestrian.
Question: Did Roy Take Part in the Battle of the Promised Day?
Answer: Yes, He did. Roy lost his eyesight before the Promised Day, but he still fought alongside the Elric brothers with the help of Riza. Riza became his eyes by guiding him in his aim and alerting him against the father’s counter-attacks.
Roy Mustang FMA Guide: Wrapping Up
Roy’s multidimensional and complex character will always be my favorite. His character had great complexity, and the character arc is to die for. We hated him in the beginning when he showed stern and careless behavior.
We felt sorry for him when we learned how he regretted his acts during the Ishvalan war. We loved him for his goofiness and love for his subordinates. We believed in him and his abilities and rooted for him, in the end, to take out the enemies and come out victorious.
The journey that Roy’s character took us on was full of ups and downs but was not disappointing. He was a great fighter, talented alchemist, intelligent and sharp, a loving and protective friend, and had a great sense of nationality.
His journey was not for his personal aims but for the protection of his people. Because of his brilliance and charming persona, Roy was indeed one of the most well-written and perfectly executed characters to ever exist.