Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye (リザ・ホークアイ, Riza Hōkuai) is an officer in the Amestrian State Military as well as the personal adjutant and bodyguard of Colonel Roy Mustang. A sharpshooter and firearms specialist, Lt. Hawkeye is an invaluable asset to the Colonel both in office and on the battlefield and serves as his closest and most supportive subordinate.
Riza is a pale-skinned woman in her mid-to-late twenties with mid-back length blonde hair that is fastened up in the back by a dark-colored clip barrette in a style where it resembles a bird tail with bangs falling in a hawk's wing pattern from right to left, occasionally partially obscuring her left eye (when she is on the job), brown eyes, each of her ears is pierced with a silver stud and she has been known to don faux eyeglasses while she is in disguise.
She frequently wears a black, short-sleeved turtleneck under her military uniform and often dons it in casual dress as well. Even though Riza has noted (in Perfect Guidebook 2) that skirts restrict movement and therefore are not welcome in a military office, while in civilian clothes, she is mostly seen with in long skirts and boots, with her hair down.
Even though she had worn her hair short in her youth and during her tenure in Ishval, she began letting it grow out in 1910 after she becomes acquainted with Winry Rockbell.
In the manga and 2009 anime, Riza has a large and ornate tattoo that covers most her back with some parts of it obscured by burn scars that she always wears clothes fitted to hide the tattoo.
She has a moderately muscular and curvaceous build where the author has stated that Riza has broad shoulders from her military training and flared hips that are appropriate for her age.
Riza is a quiet and collected woman with a serious but courteous demeanor. She is viewed by her peers as the model of a perfect soldier; strictly disciplined and extremely rational, she rarely relaxes when on the job and is usually tasked with keeping her colleagues on track. Though from the outside she might seem strict, rigid, and even a little mean, Riza is not as cold and distant as she may appear. Those close to her know that there is more to her than her no-nonsense attitude; beneath her professional aura is a kind soul who understands the difficulty of carrying a heavy burden.
Riza's softer side tends to make itself known through her interactions with younger characters, such as the Elric brothers and Winry Rockbell, and it isn't unusual to see her behaving sweetly towards Black Hayate (Riza's pet Shiba Inu dog), while in private. On more informal occasions, such as when she spends the day with Rebecca, Riza also shows hints of a dry, acerbic sense of humor. Very disciplined, she takes her work seriously and is almost never seen “dropping formalities,” even with those who are most intimate to her. She's not prone to public displays of affection, preferring to show her feelings through more subtle ways. Riza seems the personification of "tough love," demanding excellence from those she respects or considers important. Her interactions with Hayate can be seen as a metaphor for all of her significant personal relationships—a stern hand and demanding nature tempered with genuine and deep affection.
It can be inferred that Riza also changed across the years; in her teens, she appeared to have been rather timid and idealistic about the world at large. Growing up at her father's house, she probably experienced a sheltered sort of childhood. After joining the military, her experiences in Ishval destroyed her youthful idealism and transformed her into the nearly stoic Lieutenant Hawkeye. She emerges from the war with a tremendous will, strong enough to shoulder the heavy guilt she willingly bears, and uses this motivation to stand alongside and support Mustang in the hopes that future generations will remain free of the horrors of something like Ishval. Reticent, she doesn't speak unnecessarily or express her feelings often through words, but reveals most of her thoughts through nonverbal communication, with trademark sharp looks and rare, subtle smiles.
Her character shows a mix between a tortured woman looking for redemption she feels is unreachable, and a resigned acceptance of past mistakes and their consequences. Riza learns from Ishval to accept responsibilities for her actions herself, rather than placing blame or burden on another. She decides she must sacrifice her own happiness and comfort and continue to dirty her hands with blood as a soldier in order to bring peace to the people. Despite the emotional difficulties in facing her mistakes, she learns to school herself and her emotions as personal struggles, brushing off the concern of others, always bearing grief or physical pain with a stiff upper lip.
When meeting Winry Rockbell, Riza indicated that she also doesn't like the military, because she is sometimes forced to kill. However, when Edward Elric refers to her weapons as "a tool for destruction" later in the story, she corrects him, telling him it is a "tool for protection." Riza seems to hold the belief that a gun is simply an object, by itself unable to cause pain or suffering without a person pulling the trigger. It is not her weapons that she dislikes, but the death that she causes by using them. After Ishval, Riza tells Roy Mustang that "a gun is good. It doesn't leave the feeling of a person dying in your hands." When he counters that this mindset is self-deception, she agrees, indicating that she is willing to deceive herself and continue to do her duty as a soldier if it means assuring the safety of others. While in the 2003 anime, she's seen using her guns to intimidate her colleagues into doing their jobs, in the manga (and 2009 anime), she seems to take weapons a lot more seriously and she is never seen taking out her gun when she doesn't mean to shoot it.
|“||I like guns. Because unlike swords and knives you don't have to feel your victim die.||”|
—Riza Hawkeye to Roy Mustang
Aside from Riza's high-level administrative and secretarial skills (keeping subordinates in line, organizing and filling out paperwork as well as preparing tea and coffee expertly), she is an expert sharpshooter and firearms specialist. Whether armed with a bolt-action rifle, sniper rifle, pistol or even two handguns at once, she is well known for never missing her mark and, in the manga, made a name for herself as the infamous "Hawk's Eye" of the Ishval Civil War. A true professional, she is able to disassemble, properly clean and reassemble a standard issue firearm in record time and rarely goes into battle with fewer than two loaded firearms on her person. Additionally, she is quite skilled in combat tactics and covert operations and she is able to instinctively sense that Homunculi are a greater threat than a typical human. Such sensitivity is likely due to her sharp instincts from her experiences in combat.
Riza's connection with Colonel Mustang is easily the most significant of her personal relationships. Having known Roy since his youthful days as her father's alchemy apprentice and throughout his entire military career, the course of Riza's life seems to bend to suit his. As a result of their deeply intertwined histories, the Flame Alchemist has entrusted Riza with his life as his adjutant and has deemed her as both his conscience and executioner by giving her the express authority to shoot him in the back should he ever stray from the righteous path. In normal situations, this role seemingly amounts to Lt. Hawkeye being a sort of "babysitter" to the irresponsible Roy, frequently nagging him to complete his administrative paperwork and offering sharp criticisms when he steps out of line. Under more extreme conditions, however, it becomes quite clear that Riza's censures come from a deep devotion to Roy and his ideals as she is willing to risk her life to ensure the success of her commander's plans and guard his well-being. Riza has girded herself to follow the colonel through any peril without hesitation and only truly betrays fear when faced with the real possibility of losing him. In turn, Roy displays the same devotion for his lieutenant, even going so far as to risk his life and goals for the sake of protecting her from harm.
Even though their relationship has not shown any explicit signs of crossing into traditional amatory during the series, there have been many scenes where such a romantic nature is implied.
Riza is a very strict mistress who trains Black Hayate to be a very well-disciplined dog. Hayate is clearly a useful and valuable companion, and they share a very deep loyal bond. Hayate has a profound love for his mistress, jumping to save her in dangerous situations. While in the presence of Hayate, we are shown a more domestic, intimate side of the infamous "Hawk's Eye".
Rebecca is Riza's best friend who is the opposite of Riza in terms of temperament as Rebecca is an outgoing, smart-mouthed woman with a healthy sense of humor. They both went through the military academy together and remained friends after graduation. Rebecca is probably the only person, aside from Colonel Mustang, who knows how to push Riza's buttons and make her angry, making jokes about the coincidence of Riza working for famous womanizers and being assigned to important positions. She also pesters Riza with questions about men, boyfriends, and marriage. When the two are together, we see just how much of Riza's dry sense of humor is sharp and acidic.
Very little is known about the relationship between Riza and her father. However, Riza states he was an estranged, madman, of whom she was afraid, and that when he researched, he seemed possessed by something. She seems to blame the Flame Alchemy for that, since she has drawn parallels with Roy and her fear of "Flame Alchemy driving him mad." Riza's father had his research notes tattooed onto his daughter's back; this is another facet of her close relationship with Roy Mustang, who is the only person she has ever permitted to view the notes. It is unclear whether the tattooing was done against her will or with her consent.
Overall, the relationship between father and daughter appears to have been difficult and distant. His death leaves her quite shaken, but she is not shown to shed any tears during the private funeral that she and Mustang hold for him. Nevertheless, it is implied that she was devoted to him in a fashion and believed in his assertions that Flame Alchemy would be an asset to mankind.
- The name Riza (a Hungarian version of Thereza or Theresa) has as one of its meanings "Guardian". Although it's unclear whether this was intentionally put by the author, it fits Riza's story, both as the guardian of her father's secret through the tattoo on her back and the guardian of Colonel Mustang and his alchemy, not allowing him to stray from his path to become the Führer and use the Flame Alchemy "for the good of the people".
- When used as a boy name, this name means "Satisfaction" in Arabic.
- Riza's surname Hawkeye means "particularly observant, especially to small details or having excellent vision in general".
- In Perfect Guidebook 2, it is stated that General Grumman is, in fact, Riza's grandfather on her mother's side. That guide states that it's easy to "make the connection" through mementos the General keeps in his office. It is noteworthy that in the manga and two anime, none of the characters ever mentioned that Grumman and Riza are related.
- The relationship between Riza Hawkeye and Mustang is a heavily implied one and fans refer to their relationship as "Royai". The first part of "Royai" Roy is his name and the end "ai" is likely from the "eye" in "Hawkeye", making the word a portmanteau.
- However, Ai also means "love, affection" (愛) in Japanese.
- Like nearly all military personnel in the Fullmetal Alchemist series, Hawkeye is named after a military vehicle, vessel or weapon, in her case, the Grumman E-2 Hawkeye, a carrier-based tactical Airborne Early Warning (AEW) aircraft used by the US Navy. Interesting enough, her grandfather's name was also taken from the same aircraft.
- One of Riza's pistols greatly resembles the FN Browning M1910 while the other pistol resembles an Enfield No.2 snub nose revolver in design.
- Riza is 168cm.
Manga and 2009 series
- In the Red Gaiden, aka Simple People, Riza reveals to Rebecca Catalina (Riza's friend) that she let her hair grow after she met Winry Rockbell at Resembool and realizing it "might actually look good".
- In the series' epilogue, Riza is shown with her hair cut short once again.
- Roy Mustang refers to all of his subordinates as chess pieces and Riza is the "Queen".
- The Queen is the only "female" chess piece and it is arguably the most powerful and useful piece in the game of chess, appropriate for Riza's battle ability and closeness with Roy, who is the "King". The Queen also used to be called the "Counselor", reflecting Riza's role as Roy's adjutant and conscience.
- There are several implied jokes and remarks on the nature of the relationship between Mustang and Hawkeye in the manga and 2009 series, which include:
- Lt. General Grumman asking Mustang to "marry his granddaughter" (By granddaughter, we know by other means to be Riza) so that she could become "the future First Lady of Amestris".
- Roy willing to burn and kill Barry the Chopper upon seeing that he has a crush on Hawkeye.
- Hawkeye tricking Envy by implying she and the Colonel were romantically involved.
- Roy being devastated because "Elizabeth has been taken by another man" (Elizabeth is Hawkeye's codename while she was undercover) when King Bradley first started to take her hostage and Edward Elric's remark as Riza being "the perfect hostage" in that same occasion.
- Madame Christmas asking Roy to "Go play with Elizabeth".
- Riza going berserk and losing the will to live when she thought that Roy had died at the hands of Lust.
- Roy's rage and will to kill Envy vanishing upon hearing that Riza will put an end to her own life and destroy her body to prevent flame alchemy from leading more men to madness if she has to kill him.
- Roy stating he cannot allow to lose her too.
- Roy saying he was a fool for driving Riza to think of erasing her life and her body because he fell into madness.
- King Bradley saying that he could "get to Mustang through 'her' (Hawkeye)", implying Hawkeye's somewhat of a weak spot of Mustang's. The Homunculi played the "Hawkeye card" against Mustang twice during the series:
- Bradley takes Hawkeye as an implied hostage when Mustang advances in his inquiries on Hughes' murder.
- During the Promised Day, the antagonists of the series tried to kill Riza when Roy wouldn't cooperate in opening the Gate and becoming a Human Sacrifice.
- Riza is the most popular female character in the series as she has come in the 3rd place in the series' final fan poll while Edward Elric and Mustang came in 1st and 2nd places, respectively.
- Riza's theme song on the CD Theme of Fullmetal Alchemist is called 'Bonne Nuit', which means 'good night' in French and it is sung by Fumiko Orikasa (Riza's seiyuu), who is also a famous singer in Japan.
- Although one of Riza's personality traits is being extremely dutiful, she has been known to ignore or even outright refuse orders given to her by Mustang if they involve abandoning him or Mustang doing too much on his actions, such as burning Envy on a whim.
- Fullmetal Alchemist Complete Book: Story Side