Roy Mustang (ロイ・マスタング Roi Masutangu ), also known as the Flame Alchemist (焔の錬金術師 Honō no Renkinjutsushi ), is the tritagonist of the Fullmetal Alchemist series. He is a State Alchemist and officer in the Amestrian State Military. A hero of the Ishval Civil War and Edward Elric’s superior officer, Colonel Mustang is a remarkably capable commander who plans to become the next Führer of Amestris.
Roy is a clean-shaven young man with dark eyes. Roy's dark hair - perhaps in keeping with his persona - is worn casually unkempt, falling over his eyes; in more formal or somber situations, however, he is known to wear it neatly slicked back.
A great fan of classy attire, Mustang is rarely seen out of uniform (and even while in uniform will often don other accouterments, such as a long, black overcoat and white formal-wear gloves), but when dressed in civilian clothes, he appears rather partial to the three-piece suit and black tie (frequently coupled with classic scarves, polished dress shoes and the aforementioned overcoat and gloves). It may be interesting to note that Roy tends toward dark or neutral colors in his dress, such as dark blue, brown and black tempered with minimal white.
After the events of his fight with Lust in Chapter 39: Complications at Central/Episode 19: Death of the Undying (2009 series), Roy carries a faint scar on the back of his right hand in the shape of the Flame Alchemy Transmutation Circle. He also carries a large burn wound on his left side, lower back and abdomen from the same event.
On the surface, Roy seems to be a shallow, self-absorbed and an incorrigible womanizer who is infamous among many of his colleagues and subordinates alike for the selfish and narcissistic aura he gives off. Easily as arrogant as his young protégé Edward, Colonel Mustang is one to act in an ostentatious manner and appears to act mostly out of self-interest rather than any sort of philanthropy.
He comes off to most as a sort of cocky layabout, shirking most of his duties and delegating his paperwork to subordinates while sitting idly at his desk with an amused smile on his face as he procrastinates, but is quick to take action when it appears that there is glory and military notoriety to be gained. Roy is expertly manipulative and prone to think several steps ahead of those around him, giving him a remarkable talent for making subordinates act exactly as he wishes despite appearing not to have had a hand in their decisions - all traits which make the fact that he has managed to attain the lofty rank of colonel at such a young age a matter of public gossip.
Roy also has a reputation of being a shameless flirt, and it's rumored that he spends much of his time cavorting about town with various women and wooing several of the servicewomen with his abundant charm, good looks and charisma. This adds another facet to his unpopularity among the enlisted men, many of whom fear having sweethearts and crushes romanced away from them by his hand. He has, however, never actually been shown to be on a serious date with any woman in the manga or 2009 anime; any flirtatious interactions he had with women seemed to be nothing more than a cover to discretely pass along information.
However, while these traits do have a place in his real personality, much of his outward persona can perhaps be considered an intentional façade perfectly designed to cause those unfamiliar with him to underestimate his remarkable intelligence and ability. Mustang is an exceptional tactician, well-versed in various strains of combat theory and particularly talented in the realms of surreptitious information-gathering, covert operations and enemy ensnarement.
At the core, he is a remarkably devoted commander whose primary focus and personal duty is to his friends and subordinates. Though he hides it well behind a veil of cynicism and self-importance, Mustang is a man who cares deeply about the people who trust and support him and goes to great lengths to ensure their safety and well-being, even at the risk of his own. As a man with considerable power, Mustang considers himself a protector to those without and acts accordingly, earning the staunch loyalty of his most trusted compatriots.
Unfortunately, his self-imposed position as protector has caused him to display a penchant toward stubbornness in regards to his pride on the field and a fiery temper, both of which have been shown to cloud his judgment in certain situations.
Easily the most significant of Roy's personal relationships, his connection with Lt. Hawkeye goes deeper and further back than any other. As the daughter of Berthold Hawkeye, the man who taught Roy to use alchemy, Riza has known Roy throughout his youth and military career and has a personal stake in how he chooses to live his life. In turn, Roy has entrusted Hawkeye with his life as his personal assistant and bodyguard 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 step off the righteous path.
They repeatedly demonstrate a deep, genuine sense of concern and devotion to each other as equals. Roy has stated many times that Riza is "truly kind" and "sweeter than she seems", although he's often seen complaining about Hawkeye being demanding and too stern with him. He enjoys teasing her at any given opportunity, especially at the times she shows her affections openly. He also has a tendency to act on impulse whenever Riza is in danger.
Though their relationship has not shown any explicit signs of crossing into traditional amatory during the series, there have been many scenes that may be a romantic nature is implied.
Mustang's best friend from their shared days at the military academy, Maes Hughes is Roy's closest friend inside and outside of the military. Almost constantly calling Roy on the phone or dropping into his office to say hello, Maes' uplifting persona is an active deterrent to Colonel Mustang's often gloomy disposition. Maes is also the strongest secret supporter of Roy's bid for Führer, often giving him inside information from his position in the investigations office at Central Command as well as slipping him pointers on how to achieve his dream. Though Roy often receives Hughes with disdain and annoyance, when Maes is mysteriously murdered, Roy is overcome with grief and rage to the point that he becomes almost obsessed with finding his friend's killer; in the 2003 anime, Mustang instead targets the corruption and institution that got Hughes killed in the first place.
Officially, Mustang is Edward's superior officer, but their relationship is far from the typical professional connection. There exists between them a sort of amicable animosity, as Roy takes a great deal of personal pleasure in teasing Fullmetal and watching him squirm under his orders and, at the same time, Ed takes pleasure in getting around his orders and showing Mustang up whenever he manages to find an opportunity. Though their meetings are fraught with a great deal of apparent, mutual dislike, Flame and Fullmetal hold a great deal of respect for one another and are compatriots as well as co-conspirators in the secret battle against the Homunculi. Having originally scouted the young boy for the State Alchemist program and formed a bond with him, Roy genuinely wishes to see Edward fulfill his goal and Edward also subtly supports Mustang's secret bid to become the Führer and improve the country and was genuinely worried when Roy was consumed in hatred while battling Envy. Their personalities are quite similar, both being quite fond of boasting of their own abilities, but willing to do anything to protect their loved ones.
Roy's superior officer from his days at East Area Headquarters, General Grumman has played a sort of grandfatherly role in Roy's development as a soldier and officer. Having taught the young Flame Alchemist everything he knows about covert operations, subordinate coordination and womanizing, Grumman feels rather fondly for his protégé and is partly responsible for the young man's speedy rise through the ranks. Roy owes Grumman a great deal and trusts him enough to seek the old man's help and advice when he finds himself in a pinch.
Roy's foster mother and paternal aunt, Madame Christmas (real name Chris Mustang) raised Roy after his parents died in his early childhood. Madame Christmas treats Roy in a gruff, casual way, with a slight ironic tease, calling him "Roy-boy" even though her foster son is about 30 years old. Mustang seems to trust and rely on Madame Christmas quite a lot, letting her in on his plans inside the military and conveying dangerous secrets to her. She acts as his information source, promoting fake dates of her employees with Mustang, where the girls usually get a payment for information they acquire from the Military Officers who seek their services. She's also Mustang's connection to General Grumman.
They tend to treat each other with sarcasm and a bit of bitterness, even though their conversations let in a sort of comfortable and old intimacy. As in almost every intimate relationship Mustang shares with other characters, his relationship with Madame Mustang has a good dose of mutual mocking and teasing.
Even among the elite State Alchemists, Colonel Mustang is a particularly skilled alchemist adequately versed in standard physical transmutation, experimental theory, and biological alchemy. However, the brilliant skill that has earned him his state license, national notoriety and the status of "hero" during the Ishval Civil War is his remarkably powerful fire-based combat style. Mustang's unique style of combat alchemy is made possible by his custom-made gloves. Made of "pyrotex/ignition cloth," these gloves create a spark when Roy rubs his fingers together and embroidered with unique flame alchemy Transmutation Circles, they allow him to manipulate the concentration of oxygen in the air. When attacking, Mustang raises the density of the oxygen surrounding his target to a level at which it becomes volatile and creates narrow pathways of oxygen between himself and his target through which he can direct the ensuing flash fire that blossoms from the spark of his gloves. As a result, he can incinerate any number of enemies in the field while deftly avoiding any adjacent allies. The 'snap' sound heard at the start of these transmutations is caused by the instantaneous speed at which the highly concentrated gases and sparks react together and pop (and not Mustang's fingers actually 'snapping', to common belief.)
It has also been revealed that Roy is able to delegate each hand to a different flame effect, possibly due to a difference in hand dexterity. The right hand appears to allow for large explosive attacks, while the left allows for smaller, but strong and very accurate pinpoint flame attacks.
While Mustang's Flame Alchemy cannot be used on rainy days because the humidity makes it impossible for his gloves to produce sparks, it becomes clear that water itself does not make the Colonel entirely as "useless" as his subordinates assume. Using the transmutation circles on his gloves, Roy is able to separate hydrogen atoms from the oxygen atoms in water molecules, isolating them into a highly combustible fuel and powerfully volatile oxidizer, respectively. Though this method can only be used when a large quantity of water is present in a relatively closed-off space (and not in the rain where the air is open and separating hydrogen and oxygen for the purpose of combustion would pose far too much danger to anyone in the vicinity), with an outside source of ignition such as a cigarette lighter or a match, Roy can produce extremely powerful, localized explosions.
Flame Alchemy is the brainchild of the master alchemist Berthold Hawkeye, who had spent several years perfecting it before his death from illness in 1905. Believing it to be the greatest and most powerful form of alchemy possible, Hawkeye refused to pass on the knowledge to Roy, who was his apprentice at the time, and instead entrusted the secrets of his search for knowledge to his young daughter Riza - tattooing the perfected array onto her back as the only physical record of its existence. The full array appears to consist of a circle corralling an inverted hexagram made up of a large air triangle and a large earth triangle, both splitting into identical pairs as they intersect, with a fire triangle at the center, pointing upward toward a flame. Below the hexagram is an image of a salamander. Outside the circle is a pair of entwined basilisks and the text of the "Libera Me" responsory repeated multiple times. After Roy gains Riza's trust and takes the Flame Alchemy knowledge for himself, he modifies the symbol somewhat for his gloves (removing the text and the basilisks in favor of a simplified circle). At Riza's insistence, he reluctantly uses his new knowledge to burn parts of the image off of her back, erasing the important aspects of it from existence, and freeing her from the heavy responsibility of carrying it.
When he is forced to perform human transmutation and see the Truth, Roy gains the ability to transmute without a circle, clapping his hands to compensate for the sigils on his gloves being shredded. While at first he is apprehensive of this mode of alchemy, he quickly realizes that because of the absence of the need for transmutation circles he is no longer limited to flame-based alchemy on the battlefield, as seen when he transmutes a stone wall to protect himself, Riza, and Major Alex Louis Armstrong from Father's attacks.
In the Book in Figure Red omake strip, Roy reveals that he sometimes uses alchemy for the purpose of scoring a date. In his "Oxygen de Gentleman Strategy", he uses his gloves to raise the oxygen density around a specific woman to the point that she becomes dizzy. He then rushes to her side to prevent her from falling, asks her if she is all right and follows up with other sweet words and an invitation for tea.
- Like nearly all military personnel in the Fullmetal Alchemist series Mustang's name has a military origin, in his case, the North American P-51 Mustang, WWII's most famous - also considered the best - American fighter aircraft.
- Roy's English voice actor, Travis Willingham, also voices Yu Kanda from D. Gray Man. Kanda and Mustang are well known for teasing the pipsqueak of their organizations, Allen and Edward respectively.
- Mustang's English voice actor, Travis Willingham, also plays Portgas D. Ace in the Funimation dub of One Piece, the user of the Flame-Flame Fruit, as well as Johnny Storm, the Human Torch in "Marvel Super Hero Squad".
- Roy's English voice actor, Travis Willingham, is married to fellow voice actress Laura Bailey, the voice of Lust. Ironically enough, Travis' character killed Laura's in Episode 19 of Brotherhood.
- In an omake, it is comically put forth that Roy's motivation to become Führer is to make all female officers wear mini-skirts. It is for this reason that Travis Willingham's fan club is known as "the Mini-Skirt Army."
- In compliance with his womanizing fame (or perhaps in exploitation of it), Roy codes his research notes with names of women, making them look like a mere record of his romantic adventures. The level of his alchemy coding skills is unknown
- The relationship between Riza and Roy 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" in Japanese.
- The name Roy is Old French for "king".
- Roy Mustang bears a facial resemblance to other Arakawa's characters, namely Ryuukou, from Hero Tales (Juushin Embu), and to Kondo, from Silver Spoon (Gin no Saji).
- Roy, Ed, and Al were referenced in the anime Lucky Star along with Apollo Justice and Klavier Gavin from the Ace Attorney series.
- Roy's last name, Mustang, is actually a military slang term for a soldier (original definition) who had earned a battlefield and/or (later definition) a soldier with continuity in military service from an enlisted man to an officer without any breaks. Generally, they can also be defined as a soldier who has earned a Good Conduct Medal or has completed 4 years of enlisted service prior to earning their commission. It refers to the Mustang horse for being a wild (though more appropriately feral) animal. After being saddle broken, it still has a wild streak and it can periodically revert to its old ways unexpectedly and therefore the owner needs to keep an eye on it at all times. They're known to be smarter and have a better survival instinct than other thoroughbreds, so therefore, Roy Mustang, in many senses, is a Mustang in the military.
- Mustang claims that dogs would make the perfect soldier due to their unwavering loyalty and never griping about not getting paid.
- Lust's comment about Roy's eyes; "clear, focused eyes will become clouded by suffering" became partially true when Roy was forced to open the Gate and his eyesight was taken.
- It was later returned by Tim Marcoh using a Philosopher's Stone.
- Roy's English Dub Actor, Travis Willingham, has also voiced many other famous characters from various Video Game franchises including Knuckles from the Sonic The Hedgehog Franchise and Guile from the Street Fighter Series.
- Roy is 173cm.
- Despite the antagonism and ribbing he likes to give the Elric brothers (especially Ed) and vice versa, it's shown many times that they do greatly care about and trust each other, such as when he talks down Roy from crossing the line and killing Envy out of sheer hatred and vengeance and symbolically holds Roy to high standards (by refusing to pay back the change he lent him earlier) upon learning of his goals to become Fuhrer and ensuring he doesn't intend end up "walking towards his own death" since he knows that he would likely be considered a war criminal with the reforms that he'd be planning on instituting. Roy, in turn, can even be seen acting as a surrogate father of sorts towards them, generally making a big deal out of ensuring their safety.
- He enacted a plan to make it appear that he burned Maria Ross to death (it was actually a fake cadaver, and Ross was being sneaked out of the country). Ross was under arrest for the murder of Maes Hughes and was to be executed, so Mustang saved her life while making it appear to the higher-ups that his desire for vengeance was quenched. All the while, Ross's friends and family continue to think she's dead, making Mustang a bloodthirsty murderer in their eyes (at least until they learn the truth).
- A salamander can be found in the Flame Alchemy emblem and transmutation circle. In ancient Greek mythology, the salamander was considered the elemental of fire. The mythological salamander was completely fireproof and lived within the fire itself.
- In the 2009 anime's epilogue, he was shown to have grown a mustache, contrary to the manga.
- This may refer to a joke made by the omakes of the manga, where, first, Roy is shown to be upset for turning 30 and "start to become old". Later, he's shown to be upset because, even though "he's reached a mature age", he's not respected by others and it is suggested that this may be due to his "baby-like features" and he decided that "facial hair" would make him look more respectable. A series of jokes ensue about what this facial hair might be, including Lt. Hawkeye drawing a kitten mustache on his face.
- Mustang's record for playing chess with Grumman is 1 win, 97 losses and 15 draws.
- In the manga storyline, Mustang is the first known human to completely kill a Homunculus and is even able to do so single-handedly. As further proof of his impressive skill, he is able to bring a second Homunculus to the point of death later on, more or less by his own power. He was, however, aided both times by Riza Hawkeye.
- While all original art for the manga and both anime series depicts Roy Mustang with black eyes, a few late manga color pages show Roy with gray eyes, presumably to better portray him in moments of emotional and/or physical duress, especially during his moment of blindness.
- There are several implied jokes and remarks on the nature of the relationship between Mustang and Hawkeye in the manga and 2009 series. These include:
- Lt. General Grumman asking Mustang to "marry his granddaughter" (said 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 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" when King Bradley first started to take her hostage, and Edward's remark as Riza being "the perfect hostage" in that same occasion,
- Rebecca implying Riza might have done immoral things to keep such good positions in the military,
- Madame Christmas asking Roy to "Go play with Elizabeth",
- King Bradley saying that he could "Get to Mustang through 'her' (Hawkeye)", among others.
- The author of the series, Hiromu Arakawa, has revealed several facts about Roy in various interviews:
- In the Q&A section in Character Guidebook, she said that the car Roy drives in the series is actually his (and not a military car) and that he lives in a narrow rent house in Central. She also says he owns little more than a couch in his living room.
- Although Roy hasn't become Führer as of the end of the series, she states he'll eventually become the leader of Amestris and that if she were to make any extra chapter about FMA in the future, it would be about that event. She also stated she has decided Roy would not yet become Führer because "he's still too young".
- In the Manga Artbook 3, answering to fan questioning about why hasn't Mustang married Hawkeye at the end of the series, Arakawa stated "[I] can't get them to marry because of Military Regulations. If they got married, they could no longer stay as superior officer and subordinate".
- Mustang refers to all of his subordinates as chess pieces, with connotation of battle ability, usefulness and personal links they might have to him. Fuery is the "Pawn"; Falman, the "Bishop"; Havoc, the "Knight"; Breda, the "Rook"; and Hawkeye, the "Queen", thus making Roy the "King".
- Though fans have likened Roy's eyes to those common among Xingese immigrants, there has been no indication that Roy is of full or partial Xingese ancestry. His nationality, however, is unquestionably Amestrian.
- Roy is the second most popular character in the series, as shown in the latest fan poll as well as the previous ones. However, this angers him to the point of wanting to burn Edward for being the most popular.
- Roy is the only character in the series to be forced to open the Gate.
- In the Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood CD, Roy has one theme song, performed by his seiyu Shinichirou Miki, called "Inochi ~MEI~" which means 'mortal life' (inochi) and 'destiny' (mei).
- In the manga and 2009 anime his decision to become the Führer occurred during his youth in the Ishval Civil war, and is solidified by the realization of war itself and the fact that, even though he has killed many innocent people in Ishval, he also saved many of the soldiers under his command. This brought him the notion that, to protect all people - and, in a way to redeem himself from the consequences of his naivité -, he would have to be at the very top of the military, sacrificing his own personal life.
- Just like Ed hates being called short, Roy hates it when he is called useless especially when it come to battling on rainy days.
- In the 2003 anime, Mustang's commitment to a coup d'état against the Führer, and the symbolic loss of his left eye, are similar to the exploits of a World War II German Resistance member, Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, who attempted to kill Hitler in a Resistance operation called Valkyrie. Colonel Stauffenberg lost his left eye at an ambush in Tunisia. He was later killed by firing squad for treason, becoming a German Resistance's martyr.
- In the 2003 anime, the eye Mustang lost after his battle with King Bradley/Pride was his left eye, coincidentally the one Bradley wore an eyepatch over and the one that Archer had replaced with "automail", with both people having been enemies Mustang confronted in the same episode.
- In the OVA "Kids", the young lookalikes of Edward, Alphonse, and Winry pass by a group of kids playing cards on a sidewalk. The kids resemble some of Mustang's men from the series, and one of them looks notably like a child version of Mustang.
- Roy has two theme songs from the first anime's soundtrack, both sung by his seiyu Toru Okawa. The first is called "Tsuki no Uragawa," which means "the other side of the moon," and the second is called "Shounen yo Sinjiru nakama yo."
- A major difference between the original manga and the 2003 anime when regarding Mustang and his choice to become the Führer is that he was ordered by Basque Grand to kill the Amestrian Doctors Sara Rockbell and Urey Rockbell, branding them traitors for treating both sides in the Ishval Civil War. This act was a major turning point for Mustang that set him on his plan to become the Führer so he would never have to obey unreasonable orders like that again.
- Roy was supposed to have a cane in The Conqueror of Shambala (that can be seen in Episode 51), but it was cut from the final version.