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Riza Hawkeye Character Debate Thread (warning! Possible Manga/anime Spoilers Inside!), Her personal goals? Is she "dependant"?(mostly manga relate)
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Amalthea
post Jun 3 2010, 09:15 AM
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Hawkeye is a great asset to the FMA manga. Not only is she an extremely tough woman, but her sarcastic sense of humor and gutsy moves are always fun to watch.

One thing that always bothered me, though, is just how much Mustang seems to consume her own personhood. Yes, we understand she is going to stick by his side no matter what, and that she will pull the trigger without hesitation for his sake, but I'm left feeling... what else about her? She's said (and even showed) multiple times that with Mustang gone, she has no reason to live. For someone as strong as Riza, that kind of resolve seems almost like she's dependent on him to me. It's important to keep strong relationships, but what else about her own individuality? When Mustang was about to kill Envy, yes she stood up to him, but she had said with Roy completely gone she'd have no reason to carry on her own life.

Maybe I feel this way because I'm not a to-the-grave RoxRiza person (not that I'm against it) and wanted to see more of Riza's own personhood than solely her relationship with Roy.


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ramencat
post Jun 3 2010, 10:44 AM
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It's not so much that she can't live without him as she feels she has no right to live unless she is bettering the country, as repentance for all the people she killed. She also feels responsible for the people Roy killed, since she was enabled him to do that by giving him her fathers secrets. Keep in mind that Riza was, what, 19 when she went to Ishval? She seems to have led a fairly sheltered life before that, and suddenly she's having to kill people who she has no quarrel with. This has obviously impacted her. It is very likely that she and many other veterans, Roy included, have PTSD. After the war, she was emotionally scarred, with nowhere to go and an enormous amount of guilt. Helping Roy was the only way for her to move forward. She sees him as the only hope for a better Amestris and views it as her role to help get him there. She is to some extent, dependant on him, but I think he is just as dependant on her, especially after Hughes death. Though they act strong, the war has left them in a fragile emotional and psychological state. Roy depends on Riza to guide him in the right direction should he doubt himself, and Riza depends on Roy as path to redemption. If it seems like she depends on him more than he on her, it's simply because he doesn't show it, not his style.

So... that was kind of rambling, but I hope it clears some things up. smile.gif
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Ruingaraf
post Jun 3 2010, 03:42 PM
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QUOTE (Amalthea @ Jun 3 2010, 12:15 PM) *
Hawkeye is a great asset to the FMA manga. Not only is she an extremely tough woman, but her sarcastic sense of humor and gutsy moves are always fun to watch.

One thing that always bothered me, though, is just how much Mustang seems to consume her own personhood. Yes, we understand she is going to stick by his side no matter what, and that she will pull the trigger without hesitation for his sake, but I'm left feeling... what else about her? She's said (and even showed) multiple times that with Mustang gone, she has no reason to live. For someone as strong as Riza, that kind of resolve seems almost like she's dependent on him to me. It's important to keep strong relationships, but what else about her own individuality? When Mustang was about to kill Envy, yes she stood up to him, but she had said with Roy completely gone she'd have no reason to carry on her own life.

Maybe I feel this way because I'm not a to-the-grave RoxRiza person (not that I'm against it) and wanted to see more of Riza's own personhood than solely her relationship with Roy.


(from someone who's been trying to write her perfectly and explain all this for years)

Short explanation: She really honestly is that dependent on him. Healthy? No. Understandable in a psychological sense? Absolutely. Even the strongest people have flaws and weaknesses, and hers is him. As a person, the tattoo destroyed most of her sense of individuality, self worth, etc., not just because of the nature of her being literally objectified but because of the age it must have been done at (12-16, since if she had been younger than twelve the growth of her skin would have distorted it) since that's the age when the psyche forms individuality. Beyond that, Roy is the only person she has ever formed any kind of mutual, normal relationship with, since her mother is dead, her father was nuts, and she was apparently a shy child. The fact that she defines herself by what she can do for others supports this, since she doesn't have an internal sense of who she is or that she exists. So instead she works herself hard and gets that confirmation from others.

And I don't think she'd kill herself, but it would effectively destroy her psyche and any hope of ever being close to anyone. You know how she puts up that cool, emotionless front? Imagine it getting a lot colder and never, ever cracking.

@ramencat: Although PTSD accounts for some of it, I would disagree and say that's nowhere near all of it, having gone through PTSD simultaneously with my best friend. I can speak from expereince that it does create a bond with the feeling that 'no one else can truly understand' it does not cause that type of dependence.

This is what I constantly tell people-- if you want a strong female role model that depends on no one, she is not it, as it can be argued that she has individuality issues. Go for Izumi.


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Amalthea
post Jun 3 2010, 05:21 PM
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I agree that the circumstances of Ishbal and her upbringing had a lot to with not only how she perceives Amestris and her countrymen, but how she views herself. I'm not discounting her bond with Roy, but I still would have liked to explore more of her own character in the series. Not as Mustang's comrade or possible love interest, but as the person Riza Hawkeye.

Even Winry who doesn't have the tough exterior like Hawkeye has her own sense of individuality. She has a great passion for automail, and she's living her dream of being a mechanic away in Rush Valley despite having a close tie to Ed.

I just never felt that with Hawkeye, and it seemed to me that many fans liking of her had more to do with the "lol cute romance" with Roy than her character. Fandom will be fandom, I suppose.

Riza probably had a lot of self-confidence issues. In many ways, before meeting Mustang, she may have been the loneliest of them all.


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ramencat
post Jun 3 2010, 05:42 PM
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@ruingaraf I wasn't trying to insinuate that PTSD was entirely responsible for her dependence on Roy. It also has a lot to do with the reasons you mentioned, but since those were not as clearley implied in the manga, I felt out of place forming a theory around it, as I have trouble "reading in between the lines" due to my Aspergers Syndrome. PTSD and war are more familiar subjects than interpersonal relationships for me, so I just focused on that. Riza's psychological state is the result of a number of influences. That was just the one I understood best.

@amalthea I never considered Roy and Riza to have a romance, per se. They exist in a unique state of co-dependance and understand each other better than anyone else, but their relationship is more like that of a couple that has been married for years than a romance. That is what makes me part of the Royai fandom, actually; it's a different, more mature and complex sort of relationship than others I've seen in manga.

It's hard to explore Riza as an individual because she centers her identity around other people, but that is not necessarily a negative thing. A leader is nothing without support. Besides Riza's devotion to Roy isn't "dis guy is hawt so i'll follow him", but "it is my only option to follow this man."
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Ruingaraf
post Jun 3 2010, 07:06 PM
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QUOTE (ramencat @ Jun 3 2010, 08:42 PM) *
@ruingaraf I wasn't trying to insinuate that PTSD was entirely responsible for her dependence on Roy. It also has a lot to do with the reasons you mentioned, but since those were not as clearley implied in the manga, I felt out of place forming a theory around it, as I have trouble "reading in between the lines" due to my Aspergers Syndrome. PTSD and war are more familiar subjects than interpersonal relationships for me, so I just focused on that. Riza's psychological state is the result of a number of influences. That was just the one I understood best.

@amalthea I never considered Roy and Riza to have a romance, per se. They exist in a unique state of co-dependance and understand each other better than anyone else, but their relationship is more like that of a couple that has been married for years than a romance. That is what makes me part of the Royai fandom, actually; it's a different, more mature and complex sort of relationship than others I've seen in manga.

It's hard to explore Riza as an individual because she centers her identity around other people, but that is not necessarily a negative thing. A leader is nothing without support. Besides Riza's devotion to Roy isn't "dis guy is hawt so i'll follow him", but "it is my only option to follow this man."


First of all, I'm Asbergers, too. And half a dozen other things. And I get really sick of hearing people use these as excuses. It should not come up in regular conversation, get over it. Asbergers also means your IQ is likely 20 points above average or more; it's not like you're mentally retarded. Just a different brain configuration. If anything, those extra IQ points are a trade off for the social fail, and at least in my opinion, a pretty damn good deal. smile.gif

And I consider it... a romance? Kind of? They're odd, since the bond is old and not new. But there's romantic intention and I find it fascinating, soooo...


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deet-tastic
post Jun 3 2010, 07:34 PM
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Alot of what I believe on this subject has already been beautifully pointed out, so I won't repeat anything. I will say though that Hawkeye is one of my favorite characters, not because I ship Royai, but because of how.. well-built she is, on Arakawa's part.This topic alone is another reason why Arakawa is as amazing a writer as she is.
Look at this deep topic on just one character from her story... And a side character at that. smile.gif
Just proves how much more amazing she is.


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Gukumatz
post Jun 3 2010, 10:40 PM
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Reading this topic suddenly made me remember the time Edward visited Riza's apartment to return her gun and hear about Ishval. She had a bunch of unopened boxes from the time she moved from Central. How long had it been since they moved? Wasn't it at least a few months? At the time, I remember thinking it strange that someone would leave everything unopened for so long. On reflection, that was a perfect example of the difference between her outer appearance (e.g. how she is at work) and her inner psyche (e.g. the state of her private apartment).

http://www.onemanga.com/Full_Metal_Alchemist/58/07/


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ramencat
post Jun 4 2010, 08:04 AM
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@Ruingaraf: Hey, hey, I'm not trying to excuse anything. I was just saying that's why I felt unqualified to delve into that particular aspect of this subject. I do consider Aspergers a good deal. I'm sorry if I sound, or have previously sounded, hostile. It was just a passing comment.

And it does point to Arakawas strength that Hawkeye is such a complex character. It's pretty amazing that we can have such a deep discussion on aspects of this character that have only been implied.
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Amalthea
post Jun 4 2010, 04:12 PM
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Part of the reason I started this thread is because Riza is such a complex character, both on the surface and inside. That particular trait of her always confused me, and I had a really hard time articulating my point.

I do think that her individuality issues are negative traits, but it certainly makes her an intricate character and fleshes her out more. smile.gif


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heartwing713
post Jun 4 2010, 06:38 PM
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I personally think that Riza follows Roy because she DOES have hopes and dreams and a sense of what she herself wants in life and who she wants to be, not because of a lack of that. The point in the manga/brotherhood that most exemplifies that for me is the scene where Roy tells her about his dream and she responds "I think that's a wonderful dream". This was all before Ishbal. I personally think that Riza, being the intelligent woman that she is, has always wanted the same thing as Roy, even before she knew him, but didn't know how to express it or even fuly understand what she wanted. Roy, being so open and outgoing and inwardly strong (as opposed to her outward strength) gave her a means to understand and pursue those dreams. It makes sense that she would want a world where people take care of each other (since she obviously has a dependant nature and since she lacked that kind of nurturing as a child). She has dreams and ideas which she came to on her own, what she lacks is a strong anchor; a way of pursuing those dreams and keeping herself grounded. Roy gives her that. That explains why her apartment is in the state that it's in (unpacking is something she wants to do, but is easily distracted from by work because work is more solid). I see Riza like a very strong electrical current: She is powerful and has the drive to use that energy, but needs something to conduct that energy, which in her case is Roy.

Long story short: Her personal goals are to create a world where people live and protect each other, or at the very least create a government which enables that. Roy is the means, not the goal itself. Without the means, she sees no way of achieving her goal due to her own inner weakness (not to be confused with a lack of individuality). Without a clear path set out for her, she feels as though she would simply float away.

I hope that wasn't too long-winded. I sort of just had to let my brain puke all over this post...since my backspace key is broken XD


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Ruingaraf
post Jun 4 2010, 08:42 PM
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QUOTE (Amalthea @ Jun 4 2010, 07:12 PM) *
Part of the reason I started this thread is because Riza is such a complex character, both on the surface and inside. That particular trait of her always confused me, and I had a really hard time articulating my point.

I do think that her individuality issues are negative traits, but it certainly makes her an intricate character and fleshes her out more. smile.gif


I agree completely that she's much more interesting than people give her credit for. I really hate having to explain to people that I don't love her as a character because she's an uberawesome gun women (which was the default assumption, before Brotherhood) or because I love Roy and think he needs some arm candy. What's interesting is all of her flaws and shortcomings, as well as that kindness that makes its way out on occasion, like with Ed after the Scar fight or even with Hayate. She is also possibly even more stubborn than Edward in certain situations.

Ultimately, as a writer myself, I think it's possible that Arakawa didn't want to put too much focus on her to take away from the brothers. She developed her as much as she possibly could as a side character.

@heartwing: It's not that she doesn't have hopes and dreams, per se, but that most people would choose individual dreams, not pushing someone else to the top. And personally I don't think dependancy would surface in the interst of general wellfare, I would say that's just her being idealistic.


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Amalthea
post Jun 4 2010, 10:17 PM
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Yeah, I think some people didn't really know to look past the fact that she's the hardened female soldier, or that she only serves as Mustang's subordinate/possible lover. With Mustang's womanizing tendencies, I'm not sure he's even ready for a serious, long-lasting romantic relationship with one woman, but that's an entirely different topic. Her development in the manga and Brotherhood is infinitely superior than her character in the first anime.

Come to think of it, Riza shares a lot of similarities (strengths and weaknesses) with Lanfan. Much more than Winry, for sure.


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heartwing713
post Jun 4 2010, 11:40 PM
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@Ruingaraf: I see your point for sure. It is pretty confusing and complex trying to dissect Riza's character. Every time I think I have it figured out, she surprises me. I guess that's why we have this thread XD. I do think though, that her dependency didn't necessarily develop as a result of her interest in the general welfare, but that the dependency was already there along with her interest in helping others and the two traits come together in her drive to aid Roy. As for most people preferring to pursue their own dreams instead of pushing someone else to the top, with a dream like Riza and Roy's, which requires someone being at the top, naturally means that only one person can be at that pinnacle. Riza shares Roy's dream, but does not share his inclination toward leadership. Some people simply make better subordinates than they do leaders. Riza recognizes this, so she supports Roy rather than trying to do the same thing he is.

I just thought of something else, too. The way that Riza is fighting to keep Roy on track is commonly viewed as a manifestation of her devotion to him, but look at it this way. Riza was the one who chose on her own to entrust the secrets of her tattoo to Roy. She is responsible for his power, as she gave it to him. She has to keep him on track not just because she wants him to acheive his goal, but she wants to make sure he stays true to the idealism they both share. She has a duty to police him, which she took up completely of her own accord.

Wow...this is an awesome thread. I love how deep this discussion is getting! All of you guys are so interesting to talk to, I'm really enjoying this.

P.S: I definitely see the comparison to Lan Fan, great point biggrin.gif


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deet-tastic
post Jun 5 2010, 11:26 PM
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I absolutely love this thread, and I wish I had way more free time than what I do. (I'm on here at 1 AM almost right now >_>)
I'd be all over this if I had even a spare hour in my day besides late at night.

When I first got into fullmetal, I found that I loved Riza because of how strong a character she was. ( and her kick A moments as well, I will admit) . Hawkeye was different.. The stereotypical anime girl character is super skinny, big chested, and ditzy with the random suggestive scenes. That's just the unfortunate way it is. But here we have Riza Hawkeye, who is so well put together by Arakawa that it just amazes me. That's what made me love Hawkeye, her strong attributes and character. And this thread just goes to prove all these things I've thought since I became a fullmetal fan.


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