Major Alex Louis Armstrong (アレックス・ルイ・アームストロング, Arekkusu Rui Āmusutorongu ), also known as the Strong Arm Alchemist (豪腕の錬金術師, Gōwan no Renkinjutsushi), is a State Alchemist and officer in the Amestrian State Military. The scion of the illustrious Armstrong family, Alex is a remarkably caring commander and friend as well as an invaluably skilled ally to Colonel Roy Mustang and Edward Elric.
Alex Armstrong is a massive man standing at 212cm, who towers over most of the other characters in the series, making him very easy to spot in a crowd or at a distance. In addition, he sports an equally large frame of exceptionally-sculpted and well-defined muscles honed from years of enthusiastic physical training. While his physique is usually barely hidden beneath his uniform, it seems he need only flex all his muscles at once to tear his garments to threads and leave him shirtless and bulging - a carriage he seems to generally prefer.
His complexion is rather light in comparison to other characters and, while he seems to have blond hair like the rest of his family, Alex's head is completely bald save for a single lock of curly blond hair hanging from just above his brow. His eyebrows, too, are bare of hair and he sports a thick, blond handlebar mustache, which hides his mouth while accentuating his strong, cleft chin. Though these characteristics give Alex a rather menacing visage, his eyes are blue and kind-looking with notably long eyelashes that appear to run in his family to some degree.
Despite his towering presence and intimidating physique, Alex is decidedly softhearted and almost comically emotional, quickly bursting into tears of sorrow, compassion or joy in most situations. He is a particularly caring individual, who goes out of his way to offer aid to people in need and takes great pains to look after his friends, allies, and subordinates - though his great propensity for giving hugs frequently does unintentional harm to those unfortunate enough to be embraced by his powerful biceps. With a rather boisterous demeanor, Alex appears rather fond of loud, grandstanding speeches and dramatic comments, can be unwittingly pushy in his attempts to help others and is particularly protective of youths like Edward, demanding that they eat, sleep and exercise well in order to grow healthy and strong. Proud of his own physique and believing it to be a supreme work of beauty and art, Alex frequently removes his shirt to show it off in both welcome and unwelcome attempts to buoy the spirits of those around him. He will take off his shirt on many occasions, whether it is to partake in labor, confront someone in battle, to cheer someone up, to show off and boast, or feeling an extreme emotion of any kind.
As a member of the illustrious Armstrong family, Alex takes his honor very seriously and proudly wields his great strength of body and character for the military he believes exists to serve the people of Amestris. As such, he is very respectful to his superiors and an adamant protector of others on the field of battle. Alex is very seriously affected by the deaths of innocents, friends, compatriots and even enemies, freely shedding tears when faced with another human's untimely demise. As such, Armstrong dislikes violence and, while always ready to fight, prefers to settle disputes peacefully despite the known fact that his softheartedness and unwillingness to kill have kept him from receiving a promotion in all his years of military service. Alex has also shown himself to be particularly perceptive, as he was the first to recognize that The Scarred Man was using alchemy in his serial murders and is quite skilled in delivering and deciphering surreptitious messages.
As a result of his failure during the Ishval Civil War, Alex silently carries a personal sense of shame and strives toward exemplary fulfillment of his duty in an attempt to redeem himself.
Olivier Mira Armstrong - The eldest of Alex's older sisters, Major General Armstrong is particularly hard on her only brother, especially after his humiliating failure during the Ishval War. Alex, for his part, is extremely affectionate and respectful toward Olivier, accepting her abuse with good nature and professional politeness. Though he can be afraid of her at times, such as when they fought for the title of head of the Armstrong family; it was clear he had given up, but Olivier kept beating him up. However, as the story enters its final arc, Olivier reveals that she has faith in her brother's strength and is happy to fight alongside him against their common foe, openly applauding him for finding his courage.
Roy Mustang - Although not stationed under Colonel Mustang's jurisdiction, Major Armstrong can sense that the Colonel is particularly trustworthy among his superiors and eagerly offers his assistance when Mustang is in need of extra information or muscle. Mustang is the only person who Armstong has never acted goofy in front of, always maintaining a serious and polite domineer.
Edward and Alphonse Elric - Moved by their tragic story and impressed by their determination and courage, Alex has taken quite a liking to Edward and Alphonse Elric and often concerns himself personally with their safety and well-being, as when he escorted them to Resembool and when he placed them under the protection of his own subordinates in Central City. Edward frequently expresses resentment at the major's overbearing, coddling nature while Al relishes the long-lost chance to be treated like a young boy at Armstrong's hands. The Elrics have found in the Strong-Arm Alchemist a particularly trustworthy friend and the major fervently looks forward to the fulfillment of the boys' potential as well as to the return of their bodies. At the end of the 2009 anime, Armstrong comments to the boys' father on the remarkable heroes the Elric Brothers have become.
Sig Curtis - The two have a large respect for each other and become close friends once seeing the other as having perfectly "manly" bodies and attitudes. The two only meet each other in major confrontations twice in the manga, but are believed to be close friends afterwards and various art depicts them flexing their muscles in the faces of many as Armstrong often does. The two are also shown to have good cooperation with each other during their battle with Sloth, beating the large and powerful homunculus with only a few blows which they perform in perfect synchronization.
Remarkably talented in many fields, Alex excels in such eclectic practices as portraiture, tracking, cross-country running and wood-chopping, taking the time after each of these extraordinary feats to remark that his skills have been "passed down the Armstrong line for generations."
Armstrong is also a highly formidable hand-to-hand combatant, able to fight on equal grounds with such highly skilled and dangerous fighters as Scar and The Chimera Roa. Befitting his mighty physique, Armstrong possesses tremendous strength and endurance bordering on superhuman, able to handle with only minor damage blunt-force trauma that would render most people unconscious or crippled, if not dead. His punches are able to easily plow through solid surfaces and his strength is able to nonchalantly move large and heavy objects out of the way. Despite his size, he has been noted to be deceptively fast and agile, able to dodge and maneuver against close-range attacks with surprising balance and efficiency. Armstrong's combat style is mostly boxing-based, using strong and swift punches to overwhelm an opponent with nimble dodges and swift footwork to evade attacks. Arguably his most remarkable feat was his performance against the Homunculus Sloth. Despite the behemoth foe's immense physical might easily tearing through most opponents, Armstrong proved able to no only hold his ground against Sloth's attacks, but his own strike proved able to physically harm Sloth, whereas bullets, rockets and even tank shells had little to no effect on Sloth.
Major Alex Armstrong utilizes a style of combat alchemy that has apparently been passed down the Armstrong line for generations and mixes alchemical skill with physical prowess. With the aid of two metal gauntlets strapped to his fists (both marked with transmutation circles), Armstrong transmutes objects mainly by punching them. It is possible that this method transfers the kinetic energy of his blows into the alchemical energy, enhancing the speed and force of his transmutations, since he mainly uses alchemy to rapidly produce large stone spikes, walls or other objects from the earth at a rate among the fastest in the series. The spikes in particular are extraordinarily sharp and strong, as they managed on several occasions to tear right through the Homunculus Sloth without trouble. Additionally, the Armstrong style allows Alex to double as a source of heavy artillery, transforming raw stone or brickwork into projectiles which are then launched with the force of his punch. With his Alchemy being combined with hand-to-hand combat, it is notable that Alex is the first of the few State Alchemists to survive a direct fight with Scar.
Armstrong's gauntlets both are inscribed with encircled triangles and a trio of runes. Inside the triangle appears to be the Hebrew word often associated with "God" (as described by Edward Elric in Chapter 53). Additionally, there is a ring of inscribed text around the outermost circle on each gauntlet. While difficult to make out, the text on the right gauntlet (as shown in Chapter 7) reads "Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn, Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen" while the left gauntlet (whose text is made legible at the end of Chapter 58) reads "Froh, wie seine Sonnen fliegen Durch des Himmels prächt’gen Plan, Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn, Freudig, wie ein Held". In Chapter 59, the text on the right gauntlet is shown to be identical to that of the left. It is unclear whether this is a continuity alteration or whether Armstrong had the text altered in the years since the Ishval Civil War (since chapters 58-9 take place during the flashback of Volume 15), however the latter seems likely, as in Chapter 95 - when the gauntlets are once again shown clearly - depicts them with the shortened text.
In the manga and 2009 anime series
In the manga, Major Armstrong began his military career during the Ishval Civil War as a Human Weapon on the front lines, in that time he hasn't grown a mustache. Though carrying his valiant family heritage and his own sense of duty along with him, the atrocities of the Ishval Massacre and the inhumane tasks he was ordered to perform overwhelmed the young Major. During a mission to box in fleeing Ishvalan civilians for eradication, the Major was ordered to create a containment wall with his alchemical skills so that the regular soldiers could pick them off with rifle fire. As Alex surveyed the carnage afterwards on his own, he saw a surviving Ishvalan woman and her mother hiding from soldiers and, instead of reporting or executing them, opened up a hole in the wall and told them to escape. Though Alex's conscience was appeased by this act of treasonous mercy, he watched in horror as the two women were killed by the explosion alchemy of Solf J. Kimblee, the Red Lotus Alchemist. Kimblee told Armstrong that he was lucky no one else saw his release of the Ishvalans or else he'd have been courtmartialed. Sickened by the meaningless deaths, Major Armstrong became unable to fulfill his duties, enraging his superior officer - Brigadier General Fessler - who ordered the Strong Arm Alchemist sent away from the field for disobeying orders and called the Iron Blood Alchemist in to replace him.
Danger in the East
Alex Louis Armstrong is first introduced to the story when he arrives in East City from Central City with Lt. Col. Maes Hughes to collect Shou Tucker for trial. Unfortunately, the arrest becomes an investigation when Tucker and his transmuted daughter are found murdered in their home and Armstrong recognizes the manner of Sewing-Life's death as similar to the style of State Alchemist killings in Central. He and Hughes discuss the matter with Colonel Mustang, describing their suspect as a mysterious man known only by the X-shaped scar on his face. When The Scarred Man attacks Edward and Alphonse Elric, Armstrong steps in and reveals his own combat alchemy proficiency by taking the fugitive head on. As the first State Alchemist to see Scar's combat style and live, Armstrong is also the first to realize that the murderer uses alchemy himself, stopping at the Deconstruction stage. Surrounded, Scar escapes and Armstrong regroups with the others.
Both badly damaged, Edward and Alphonse prepare to head to Resembool for repairs and, as no one in Mustang's Unit have the time or capabilities to escort them while Scar is hunting them down, Armstrong exuberantly takes up the task. On the way to Resembool, however, he recognizes his old colleague from the Ishval Civil War, Bio-alchemist Dr. Tim Marcoh. Edward insists that they get off the train and pursue the fleeing doctor to his home, where (after convincing the war-deserter that they have not come to arrest or silence him) the three alchemists have a talk. Though Marcoh's research into the Philosopher's Stone was a military secret and his whereabouts would be valuable to Central Command, Armstrong decides not to report him and continues to Resembool with the Elric brothers. While there, Alex becomes acquainted with Winry and Pinako Rockbell and learns more about the tragedy of Ed and Al's past.
Investigations in Central
Once the Elrics are back to top fighting shape, the three alchemists make their way back to Central City to investigate a tip Marcoh had given them about the National Central Library and the secret alchemical notes he had hidden there. As Armstrong must return to his usual responsibilities in Central, he hands off his escort duties to two of his subordinates - 2nd Lt. Maria Ross and Sgt. Denny Brosh. Several days later, Armstrong returns to check up on the young Elrics and discovers (after pressuring his subordinates, who had been sworn to secrecy by Edward) the hardships that the Fullmetal Alchemist had had to endure regarding the burning of the National Central Library, the difficulty deciphering Marcoh's notes and the discovery of the Philosopher's Stone's terrible secret. Bursting into the boys' hotel room to console them, Armstrong witnesses Edward's second wind and helps decipher the "Truth Behind the Truth" that Marcoh had mentioned. Together, Alex and Edward deduce that the military experiments to construct the Philosopher's Stone had taken place in Central Alchemical Laboratory #5 and that the prison next to it has used as a harvesting ground for live humans to serve as ingredients for the stone. Major Armstrong leaves to investigate any possible links between Lab 5 and members of Military Command and orders the Elric brothers to stay in their room and away from Lab 5 until he returns - an order the young alchemists promptly disobey.
After Edward is injured in the debacle at Lab 5 and Armstrong escorts Winry to his hospital room to repair his arm, the Major, the Elrics and Lt. Col. Hughes discuss the new information they have gathered regarding the Philosopher's Stone, the mysterious agents with Ouroboros tattoos and their link to Military Command. King Bradley appears suddenly, revealing his knowledge of Armstrong's clandestine investigations and expressing concern over the matter. He forbids all present to discuss the incident and findings with anyone else and orders that they not stick their necks further into the mystery. When Hughes is murdered soon afterward, Alex attends the military funeral and is questioned by Col. Mustang regarding the circumstances surrounding Maes' death. Though forbidden to speak of the matter, the major purposely phrases his refusal to comply in a manner that allows Roy to deduce that Hughes may have been killed by an organization whose existence has been proven but whose members have not yet been identified, that one or more members of Military Command are involved in some way and that the situation has to do with the Philosopher's Stone.
Strongmen of the South
The Strong Arm Alchemist next appears in the south, having been chosen to bodyguard the Führer on his inspection of the Southern Headquarters, and coincidentally runs into Edward and Alphonse, both of whom had made a last minute venture from Dublith in order to turn in Edward's yearly State Alchemist evaluation paper. Under the orders of King Bradley, who wishes to meet and recruit the Elric brothers' teacher Izumi Curtis into the State Alchemist program, Armstrong uses his secret tracking skills to follow Edward to Dublith with the Führer in tow. When Izumi's husband Sig refuses to allow Bradley to see his wife, Alex attempts to persuade the beefy butcher to comply by showing off his physique. Sig responds in kind, removing his clothes so as to display his manly burl and the two muscular men come to terms, forging a friendship through flexing. Meanwhile, Bradley overhears Edward discussing Greed and his holding Alphonse hostage in The Devil's Nest and - after Edward leaves to rescue his brother - orders a raid on the bar, of which the Strong Arm Alchemist is to be a part. Once inside, Armstrong is thrust into battle with Roa, one of Greed's human chimera bodyguards. After using alchemy to weaken Roa's weapon, Armstrong watches in shock as the enemy before his eyes transforms into an ox-man. Roa and Alex engage in a blood-broiling fistfight, which the major ultimately wins, causing Roa to reveal himself an ex-soldier and admirer of the Strong Arm's campaign in Ishval. Armstrong - preferring discussion to a death-brawl, especially with a former comrade - asks Roa to surrender, but Bradley intervenes, striking down Roa and his friends before reminding the major that his orders were to kill everyone except the Elric brothers and Greed. Before leaving he adds that Armstrong's mercy toward enemies is the reason he has never been promoted.
Maria Ross and the Führer
Armstrong returns to Central City with the Führer and encounters Roy Mustang, with whom he discusses Hughes' death and the possibility of Edward being used as a Human Weapon. When 2nd Lt. Maria Ross is publicly implicated in the official investigation of Hughes' murder and arrested, Armstrong visits her in confinement and learns that Ross' only alibi will not hold up in a military trial and that Sgt. Brosh's testimony regarding Ross' innocence was rejected before he could even report it, leading the major to believe that the situation may have been set up to frame Ross from the start. After the situation reaches a head with Ross' escape from prison and apparent execution by Mustang, Armstrong visits the Elric brothers and apologizes for not telling them about Hughes' death earlier. Mustang appears and Alex, though visibly devastated by the violent demise of his subordinate, formally apologizes to the Colonel for her behavior. Roy tells Alex to take some time off and visit the east, where the women are beautiful. Soon afterward, Armstrong receives a message from 2nd Lt. Heymans Breda requesting that the major meet him in Resembool. Recognizing this message and Roy's aforementioned advice as the beginnings of a mission to clarify the mysterious occurrences that have taken place, Armstrong visits Edward and purposely damages the boy's automail arm and essentially abducts him so as to create an excuse for visiting Fullmetal's hometown.
They rendezvous there with Breda and, with the help of Ling Yao's agent Han, venture illegally into the Eastern Desert. There, in the ruins of Xerxes, they meet up with Ling's bodyguard Fu and a very alive Maria Ross, whose appearance brings the Major to his usual exuberance. Armstrong, Edward, Breda and Fu exchange and synchronize their information regarding the Philosopher's Stone, the Homunculi and their connection to Central Command. When all parties are on the same page, Armstrong returns to Central with Breda. The Major encounters Sgt. Brosh and, per Maria's request, conceals her survival from Denny as he hides his feelings poorly and might alert the enemy to her continued existence. However, Brosh reveals to Major Armstrong that Scar has been sighted in Central City and that new identifying traits have been ascertained. Armstrong orders that the new information regarding Scar's ethnicity and tattoo be sent immediately to all Central City military personnel.
Expecting to see Hawkeye waiting for him per his orders after finally released from Führer Bradley's office following the revelation about Central Command's involvement with the Philosopher's Stone, Mustang is shocked and disappointed to see Armstrong in her place, but is relieved to find that the Major was simply holding Hawkeye's position while she went to the bathroom. The three discuss the situation and Alex is appalled to learn of Central Command's treachery and the Führer's true identity. He laments the fact that the government he and his comrades have placed their trust in is a sham and says that all he wanted to do was protect his countrymen from within the military. When Roy suggests that Alex leave the service to avoid more heartache, Armstrong vehemently refuses, citing his undying shame at having run away from the Ishval Civil War when he should have stayed and fought against the injustice that he saw. He vows not to make the same mistake now that a new battlefield has appeared before him.
Backup from Briggs
Major Armstrong later meets secretly with Edward in the National Central Library under orders from Col. Mustang. Knowing that Ed and Al are searching for May Chang by way of her peculiar black-and-white cat, Armstrong relays the message that the girl was spotted heading north from East City by General Grumman, who reported it to Roy. As Ed makes plans to go north to chase after her, Alex delivers the second part of his message: a letter of introduction to the military officer known as "The Northern Wall of Briggs", Alex's older sister Major General Olivier Mira Armstrong. Unfortunately, Olivier tears up the letter as soon as she receives it and, upon arriving in Central City a short while later, she bullies Alex, revealing that she does not get along well with her younger brother. Despite this, Alex discusses the current events of the Nationwide Transmutation Circle with her and advises his sister to go visit their father. Alex later visits his family home to find that Olivier has demanded their parents to vacate the mansion and leave everything in her name. Apparently outraged by her unfilial speech, Alex challenges her to a duel over the mansion as his parents and sister Catherine Elle leave for Xing. Alex does not take her seriously due to her small size and barely uses much strength, as to humiliate her. As a result, to this first mistake and not being able to make up for it, Alex loses the duel, at great cost to the interior of the mansion, but realizes that Olivier's demands were made in order to get her family out of the country to safety before the coup d'état in the following Spring.
The Promised Day
In Chapter 90, as Colonel Mustang's squadron attacks the capitol, Major Armstrong assists in commanding the Central troops and directing the traffic of civilians and injured soldiers in the damaged sectors of the city. He explains the situation when Sgt. Denny Brosh arrives on the scene, but when he receives word that Major General Olivier Armstrong is in danger within the Central Command room, Alex leaves the rear line and heads off to help her. He arrives in Chapter 92, in time to rescue his sister from the Homunculus Sloth with his heavy artillery style combat alchemy technique, which proves to be the one thing against which the Homunculus is vulnerable. The Armstrong siblings attack together, Alex opening wounds with his specialty attack and Olivier striking at Sloth's exposed innards with her sword, but find themselves at a bit of a disadvantage when Sloth decides to get serious and reveal his incredible speed as "The Fastest Homunculus". Alex protects Olivier from Sloth's battering ram attack, dislocating his left shoulder and weakening his battle strength. Nevertheless, Strong Arm manages to use his right arm in order to set a trap for the Homunculus, badly skewering its body with a well-timed stone spike from the floor as it charges. In the temporary peace, the cadre of soldiers around them move in and Olivier informs her brother that they have been ordered to shoot her on sight.
As Mannequin Soldiers begin to flood into the Central Command building, Olivier and Alex convince the soldiers to help them fight against the inhuman menace. Alex uses Sloth's discarded shackle to inflict severe damage on the Homunculus horde and attempts to slow up the regenerated Sloth, but finds it difficult with only one arm at his disposal. Sloth begins to pound on the injured major with his inhuman strength, causing some of the other soldiers to worry, but Olivier places her faith in her brother, stating that he can handle attacks of such a level. When Sloth decides to end the fight with a killing blow, Alex angles his body to make the impact of Sloth's strike force his left shoulder back into place and recommences his attack at full strength. He pummels the Homunculus with both fists and alchemically produces an array of floor spikes that incapacitate Sloth further. But even injured and with its aim thrown off, the Homunculus remains a significant threat as it persistently targets the Armstrongs. The other soldiers intervene and attempt to clear a path for the siblings to escape, but Alex adamantly refuses to run from the battlefield in disgrace again.
Fortunately, they are saved by the timely intervention of Izumi and Sig Curtis. Alex is visibly heartened by the appearance of his friend, remarking that his courage has grown a hundredfold, and doubles up with Sig to assault Sloth in stalwart synchronicity. The two toss Sloth onto a ground spike, impaling him and causing the last of his Philosopher's Stone's energy to run out. In the wake of Sloth's defeat, Alex and Olivier set out to destroy the remaining Mannequin Soldiers. The Armstrongs venture to the Führer's office and Alex discovers a passage that appears to lead to the underground lair of the Homunculi.
Unfortunately, as the party heads downward, Izumi is mysteriously summoned away from the others through a Gate at the behest of the Alchemist doctor, leaving the Armstrongs to worry about their new ally's safety. Their time for confusion is cut short, however, when the Nationwide Transmutation Circle is activated; the Strong Arm Alchemist is shown to have fallen victim to the activation, his soul sucked from his body and transferred to Father's new, perfect form at the circle's center point. Fortunately, when Van Hohenheim's countermeasure goes into effect, Alex's errant soul is stripped from the Homunculus and returned to its rightful vessel. Returning to the field of battle, Alex and his party encounter Lt. Hawkeye's group in time to witness Father rise from the depths of his lair to the surface in an attempt to acquire more human souls, followed promptly by Edward Elric and his group. But after an earth-shattering blast destroys much of the area above, Strong Arm springs into action and transmutes a moving platform so that he and the others may head upward to help their comrades. He is met by the reformed Homunculus Greed, who makes it clear to the party that Father's power is far too great to be matched by non-alchemists and the injured. Reluctantly, the wounded Olivier hands over command of the operation to Alex, who then promises Sig that he will protect Izumi. With Greed, Mustang, Lan Fan, Darius and Zampano in tow, Major Armstrong makes his way to the surface to provide rear line support to Edward and the others. While raining long-range artillery-level blows upon Father with his unique combat alchemy style, Alex commands the Briggs and Central troops on the ground, ordering them to continue a constant barrage so as to cause Father to use up the energy in his Philosopher's Stone, according to Mustang's advice. But after everyone's attempts to weaken Father cause a burst of energy from the partial release of their opponent's energy source, Alex is thrown back by the force and becomes unable to fight. He joins in the collective cheering as Edward, the only remaining combatant, musters up enough strength to break Father's impervious defense and begins a fiery counterattack.
After Father's final defeat, Alex assists his sister's Briggs forces on saving the wounded who had been buried in the collapsed Central Headquarters Building. In a scene exclusive to the 2009 anime series, after the mess was cleaned up, Alex goes to Hohenheim and has a private conversation with him, in which Alex thanks Hohenheim on behalf of all of Amestris, remarking that if it weren't for Hohenheim's sons - the Elric brothers, the whole country would have been annihilated. This moved Hohenheim to tears and he gratefully thanks Alex before walking away to return to Resembool.
Alex Louis Armstrong's final appearance was in the collage of photos in the epilogue some years later. In the manga, he is shown displaying his muscles to his irritated sister Olivier; in the 2009 anime, he is displaying his muscles to a shocked Brosh and Ross in Xing.
In the 2003 anime series
Major Armstrong is first introduced to the anime series as a member of King Bradley's entourage moving from Central City to East City to escape from Scar's rampage. In Episode 14, when Edward and Alphonse Elric search for Dr. Tim Marcoh according to Colonel Roy Mustang's directions, the brothers realize that they are being followed and recognize the pursuing soldier from Bradley's group. They manage to throw Armstrong off their trail and escape with Dr. Marcoh, but when Scar corners the alchemists in a tunnel and makes his move to kill, the Strong Arm Alchemist reappears to save them, revealing that he had been ordered to keep tabs on Edward by Lt. Colonel Maes Hughes, not the Führer. He eventually comes to work alongside Lt. Colonel Frank Archer in the capturing of the Homunculus Wrath in South City. Later in the series, however, it is revealed the sole reason for his cooperation with the corrupt Archer was to act as a sort of spy all along in reporting directly to Mustang. Near the end of the series, Armstrong gets a promotion to Lieutenant Colonel at the same time as Mustang gets promoted to Brigadier General.
Conqueror of Shamballa
Armstrong is first seen in the Conqueror of Shamballa at Reole, apparently having resigned his commission in the military to help rebuild the city (Though he uses his alchemy to design the top of the food stand into an artistic version of himself). As such Armstrong is present when the soldiers in suits of armor sent by Dietlinde Eckhart arrive through The Gate in Reole and Armstrong watches Alphonse Elric single-handily defeat them. Armstrong later shows up in Central and helps the military fight off Eckhart's army. At the end of the film, Armstrong is seen with Rosé in Resembool and is playing with her children.
- The name Alex means "man's defender, warrior, Defender Of The People, defender of mankind" in Greek.
- Alex's middle name Louis means "renowned warrior" in German, French.
Notes & Trivia
- The text on Alex's gauntlets "Froh, / wie seine Sonnen fliegen / Durch des Himmels prächt’gen Plan,/ Laufet, Brüder, eure Bahn,/ Freudig, wie ein Held zum Siegen" is a line from Friederich Schiller's poem An die Freude ("Ode to Joy" in English) that translates to "Happily, / as His suns fly / Through the glorious plane of Heaven, / Run, brothers, your course, / joyfully, like a hero going to victory".
- Like nearly all military personnel in the Fullmetal Alchemist series, the Armstrong family is named after a military vehicle, vessel or weapon, in this case, the Armstrong Whitworth Whitley (A.W.38 Whitley), a British bomber from early WWII. It is also possible that the weapon namesake to him is the Armstrong Gun, a British rifled cannon with examples measuring up to 100 tons.
- Alex was placed as the 11th most popular character in the recent popularity poll.
- It is possible that Alex Louis Armstrong may also be named after Louis Armstrong, a popular singer and jazz trumpeter.
- According to Hiromu Arakawa, Armstrong was the easiest (human) character for her to draw.
- The English dub fails to apply the French accent to Alex's middle name, pronouncing it like "Louise" rather than "Louie" as it was intended.
- Armstrong's appearance is likely, although not confirmed, to have originated from the design of a character which shares its name with the anime/manga from which it comes from, Kinnikuman, who, Arakawa has cited as one of her major influences in her artwork.
- Armstrong's appearance is possibly partially based on Russian and Soviet fighter Ivan Poddubny, as well as on Prussian bodybuilder and strongman Eugen Sandow.
- Armstrong shares the same English and Japanese voice actors as Garland from "Dissidia: Final Fantasy".
- According to Episode 16: That Which Is Lost (2003 series) and Episode 6: Road of Hope (2009 series), Armstrong has an obvious gift for drawing.
- In the 2003 anime, Armstrong was promoted to a Lieutenant Colonel, but in Conqueror of Shamballa, everyone still refers to him as "Major."
- Alex's appearance is reused as the gym teacher in Arakawa's manga series "Gin no Saji", including the Armstrong sparkles but adding hair to his head in place of the spitcurl.
- Armstrong's color sparkles are shown to be different colors:
- In the 2003 anime, the sparkles are pink.
- In the 2009 anime, the sparkles are orange.
- All alchemical creations have slight cracks/lines on them that reveal their crafted nature. Major Armstrong's creations however are always blemish-free and expertly crafted, seemingly sculpted by hand rather than synthesized on the fly.
- Whenever Armstrong fights, he always announces his technique that comes from the Armstrong family line.
- Armstrong's State Alchemist title Strong Arm is his family name Armstrong with the words that comprise it switched around.