One thing Fullmetal Alchemist is known for is its complex, fleshed-out cast of characters, each of whom adds their own unique presence to the series. Even supporting characters, like Alex Louis Armstrong and Riza Hawkeye, offer fans memorable and relatable storylines that help make the series a more well-rounded and expansive one.
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And Alex Armstrong has become a fan favorite over the years, meshing his superior strength and alchemic power with many amazing moments of comic relief to deliver viewers a character they look forward to seeing onscreen. But while we all know Armstrong loves to flex his muscles and is a big softy at heart, what else do we really know about the guy?
Here are 10 things you probably didn"t know about Armstrong.
Alchemy is a tricky business, and most things that are created by alchemy have a tell. Alchemic creations tend to be cracked or flawed in some way, revealing the means through which they were made.
Armstrong"s alchemy, however, doesn"t leave that mark. Whatever he creates using his abilities turns out blemish-free, appearing to be made by hand instead of through the law of equivalent exchange. This is likely just another nod to his seemingly perfect, sparkling demeanor, but it also gives him an advantage when using alchemy with potential enemies nearby.
When it came to bringing the Fullmetal Alchemist characters to life on the pages of the manga, Armstrong was apparently the easiest human character for Arakawa to draw. The designs for each character in the manga are very similar to the designs viewers see in the anime, so the Armstrong we see is the simplest character to put on the page.
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And it does make a certain amount of sense that this is the case, since Armstrong is essentially comprised of his muscular build and a fairly ordinary face. Once Arakawa had the body structure down, it was likely smooth sailing from there.
Not only is Armstrong the easiest character for Arakawa to draw, but he also apparently has drawing skills of his own. While State Alchemists don"t get to utilize their artistic abilities all that much, both series make a point of telling viewers that Armstrong is talented at drawing.
In 2003"s Fullmetal Alchemist, fans are given this information during episode 16, while 2009"s Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood reveals Armstrong"s gift during episode six. Over the course of both series, it"s also mentioned that Armstrong has a knack for all sorts of strange activities — including wood-chopping and portraiture. The talents of the Armstrong family know no bounds. And speaking of...
7 Armstrong Takes Great Pride In His Family"s Technique
Throughout Fullmetal Alchemist, the Armstrong family is incredibly proud of their lineage — and with people like Alex and Olivier in the family, who can blame them? And according to Alex, his fighting technique and unique brand of alchemy have been passed down to him through his lineage.
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In fact, Alex makes a point of declaring where is alchemy came from every time he uses it in battle. It makes for plenty of comical moments in the show, but there"s no denying that he has a point. His Armstrong roots do seem to grant him some impressive abilities, and many fans would be willing to join the family for those alone.
It"s no secret that Armstrong has a tendency to sparkle, but only observant viewers will have noticed that the sparkles surrounding Armstrong are actually different colors in the two different Fullmetal Alchemist series. During the 2003 series, Fullmetal Alchemist, the sparkles that surround Armstrong are pink. In 2009"s Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, however, they"re actually orange.
It"s unclear whether this switch was just an oversight or if there was some purpose to making the change. Either way, the sparkles certainly add to Armstrong"s exuberant nature.
5 There"s Greater Meaning Behind The Symbols On His Wrist Gauntlets
Armstrong wears Transmutation Gauntlets on his wrists, both of which have markings engraved into them. The symbols on the gauntlets include runes and what appears to be the word "God" in Hebrew, but there is also other text circling the symbols.
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The words that circle Armstrong"s runes are actually taken from Friederich Schiller"s poem "Ode to Joy," and they touch on themes of heroism and brotherhood — both of which are prominent in the Amestris military and among the State Alchemists who serve it.
Armstrong"s role in the Ishval Civil War is mentioned during the series, but the focus on it is so brief, many fans will have forgotten that he actually had a mental breakdown due to the war. Despite his physical strength and combat skills, Armstrong isn"t fond of violence. He"d prefer to find alternative ways to solve problems, and this leads to him sparing two Ishvalans during the war.
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It also led to his breakdown during the war, the result of witnessing the devastation Amestris brought upon Ishval. And although Armstrong looks at this as a weakness he can never return to, his kind nature is also one of his strengths throughout the series.
3 Armstrong Has A Soft Spot For Children
Anyone who"s seen Fullmetal Alchemist knows that, despite his impressive strength and combat ability, Armstrong is incredibly softhearted. In particular, the man seems to care for children, something he demonstrates repeatedly when it comes to the Elric brothers.
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Armstrong can often be found worrying about Ed and Alphonse, and he"s always happy to see them returned safely to Amestris. It makes for plenty of adorable moments in the show, even if the Elric brothers don"t always appreciate Armstrong"s enthusiasm at seeing them.
Although most viewers just refer to him by his last name, Armstrong has a title given to him by the military, just as all State Alchemists are given a State Alchemist name. His is simply called Strong Arm, which appears to be a play on his last name and a reference to his superior strength and muscular build.
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It isn"t as exciting as a name like the "Fullmetal Alchemist," but it does suit Armstrong rather well all the same.
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1 Armstrong Is One Of The Most Beloved Characters From The Series
With Armstrong serving as a supportive character for the majority of both Fullmetal Alchemist series, it"s somewhat surprising how popular he is among the anime"s fandom. Viewers who look at popularity polls of the characters will notice that he usually falls within or around the top 10 — an impressive feat for someone who isn"t around all that often.
Of course, his bromance with Sig Curtis certainly helps bring his popularity up as well. Who doesn"t love seeing these two show off together?