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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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Ayla
post Aug 9 2010, 09:15 AM
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QUOTE (Amalthea @ Aug 8 2010, 05:06 AM) *
Wow, Ayla. Sounds like you really hit the nail on the head assessing Riza's character



Thank you! But I couldn't have done it without reading this amazing thread first biggrin.gif
Honestly, as a Royai fan I have to admit it was kinda hard to imagine Roy just being "used" and not really needed in a personal way by her (which is not the case, like I hope I clearified in my argumentation). And it was also hard to imagine Riza as a person without any indiviuality (which is DEFINITELY NOT the case^^), or that there should be nothing more than a working relationship between them (and there definitely is more IMO^^). My point is: assessing Riza's character really was a challenge smile.gif
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Kokoro
post Aug 12 2010, 06:57 AM
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You know, the first thing I tried to do as a member here was start a thread like this dedicated to Hawkeye beyond the Royai, but it was closed. Perhaps the manga needed to come to an end for it to be possible to talk about Hawkeye without overlapping comments in the Royai thread and a separate Hawkeye thread.

I thought I would just repost what I did in my thread to start up a little discussion about our girl.

---

It might seem redundant to some to create a Hawkeye discussion thread since the Royai discussion thread tends to double as both a discussion of Roy and Riza’s characters as well their relationship. However, as a gen fan, that thread tends to get way too shippy for my tastes, and I hope that there are others who share my feelings and want to talk about Hawkeye as her own character. She is, after all, one of the most popular characters in the series, right? We must like her for more than just her relationship with Roy…

No doubt, Roy and Riza play a big role in each other’s lives. Still, I feel like the fans sometimes fail to see Roy and Riza, but particularly Riza, outside of their supposed “romantic” interactions with each other. How rare is it to come across Hawkeye fan fiction that doesn’t involve romance with Roy? Roy gets off a little better, but not by much. There’s so much more to their relationship than possible romantic feelings. Here is a place to consider and discuss their love, their respect, their understanding for each other in a more platonic way. How did they interact when he was her father’s student, if they interacted at all? What feelings did they have when they discovered the other in Ishbal? How responsible do they feel for the other’s actions there and after? I think we should discuss questions like that without shipper goggles on, without all the squee, if we want to truly understand the characters. Not everything is about romance!

Riza also has interesting interactions with other characters. So here’s a thread for discussing the role she plays in her team and her relationships with them. What does she think of them? Does she deal with each of them differently? What do they think of her? Or talk about how she interacts with the Elric brothers or Winry. How does she handle her dealings with Ed in comparison to Al? Consider her life outside of work. Does she have many friends? What are her hobbies? What does her apartment say about her? Speculate on her past and her family. What was her relationship with her father like? Or her mother? How did the tattoo get put on her back? What the heck happened to make Old Man Hawkeye so crazy? Does she even know that she’s related to Grumman, and what kind of relationship do they have if she is aware?

So, this thread is dedicated to considering Hawkeye’s character without all the mushy, gooey romance, to give her the respect she deserves by seeing her as more than just a love interest. Roy deserves one of these threads too, I think, but I’ll leave that to someone else. So let the discussion, speculation, adoration, and more begin!

I suppose I should start with some kind of discussion question to get the ball rolling. The best place to start seems to be the beginning. What do you think Riza’s early life was like? What part of Amestris was she born in and when? What was her mother like? How and when did she die? Was her father always as creepy as he seemed in the flashbacks? Did he change after the death of his wife (heck, was she even his wife)? From what was seen and discussed in the manga, do you think he loved his daughter and was just a little distracted by alchemy? Or do you think he was a neglectful and abusive father?

---

So, that's basically the kind of thread I tried to start up originally. Roy deserves his own consideration as well, I think.

Anyway, shall we discuss our various interpretations about how Hawkeye was raised and her relationships with her parents?
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Hoshino Hikari
post Aug 16 2010, 07:24 AM
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I found this thread so interesting than I decided to register immediately. I've surely read that kind of discussions before, but never so... fascinating. Some of your words really touched me. Thank you very much.

I should have thought more about Riza as an individual person. I've been blind because I couldn't considered Roy and Riza apart. Yes I must say it, I'm fond of Royai and even though this thread made me think a lot, it won't change. Their relationship is... I don't know. Amazing. It's almost like I was in love with this relationship... Without exagerating. I've never seen that kind of bond in the others fictions. It's stronger than anything. But it'd be better if I argue about my point of view. So I'm beginning now.

Riza has never been dependent of the others. Until she met Roy, she lived alone with his father, who didn't seem to worry about her. When he died, Mustang asked her what she was going to do. She was ready to carry on studying and living on her own. I think at this time, when Roy told her his dream, he showed her a way to follow. Riza is naturally altruistic and as she was totally alone, she decided to live for the others' happiness. In first time, she helped Roy and gave him her father's secret. Because she believed in him. She trusted him, and found his ideals wonderful. Here is their resemblance: they're orphans who aspire to the happiness of their country. They don't live for themselves, but only for that thing. Furthermore, before the Ishval war, they were separated. Riza chose herself to join the army. She didn't want to follow Roy. She just took the same way. "I was also the one who chose to go into the military academy wishing for the happiness of the people." She said it many times: nobody forces her to do anything. She's her own master, and so she's independent.
"The extermination of Ishval. That was where everything began", said Roy. Riza and he were affected by this war for life. It changed their reason to exist. They stayed in the army not just to help people, but to create a new nation. To do it, Roy had to become the Führer. And Riza had to guide him and to put him back in the right path. Neither of them lived for themselves, or for each other. They just had the same dream, the same will. They were together to realize this dream.
And because there was nobody else. Riza had no family, Roy an adoptive mother. Hughes too - he was the one who had to push him to the top. He died. So there was just Riza. She never left him.

I think Roy and Riza love each other, but not just any love. It's very special. A bit like what is called "a platonic love". It's stronger than friendship, stronger than brotherhood. They'll never show their feelings to each other. They just know it, they don't need to say anything. The battle against Lust proved that Riza was very attached to him. She wanted to die at this time, because she thought Roy was dead. The battle against Envy proved that she didn't want to live without him. Because he represents on the one hand their aim, and on the other hand the person she likes more than anything in the world. Her only family. But their aim is more important. And I think she would have killed him. She would have done it. After... I'm not sure, but I think that, indeed, she couldn't live without him. Try to imagine Edward living without his brother. It's the same thing. Riza has friends, she has a life, she's survived the death of her parents, and she said it: she can keep on living, but she doesn't want to do it. And Roy said "I can't lose you". So they need each other, in every way. Moreover, the only time we've seen Riza crying was when she thought he had been killed. So it seems to be obvious that they like/love each other. It's a fact.

Now I'm going to try to answer all these questions about Riza. I think that, when her father died, she knew Roy enough to appreciate him and ask him not to die, because she cared about him, but she didn't knew him so much: he didn't know that she had no family except her father. I guess they became closer after he told her his dream, and when he was studying alchemy with her.
I don't think her father was very close to her, but not abusive. She said that she was scared of him but she believed in his words and his dream. In fact, this dream to bring happiness, was it Berthold's, Riza's and Roy's dream? Did both of them wish for the same thing? Riza and Roy decided to change their country thanks to Hawkeye's alchemy. Otherwise, it'd have been difficult. Alchemy is the center of all. It connected them, and it is the cause of their guilt during the war. Their dream is nothing else than a way of atonement. A duty. That's why they can't live for themselves or for each other.

Well, I'm getting off the subject. I'll stop it now. Thanks for reading.


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Turdaewen
post Aug 16 2010, 02:10 PM
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I think it's a little funny people normally say about "Riza's personal goals", that should be detached from Roy both as a person and as what they relationship is about...
I mean, being independent really means to "care for nothing but yourself" or even put yourself before others?

That's very un-Riza-like. She's this altruistic, self sacrificing person on her own and not because "she met and fell in love with Roy Mustang", so why can't people see her dedication to Roy as her own goals?

She says like 5 times during the series: this is what I chose for my life, I do this with my own free will, I do this because this is what I want"

I mean, many of us have a life purpose as to help a country, a city, dedicate yourself for something you believe in, so why would Riza's choice in following Mustang would be different? For the mere fact that she loves him? Does it mean that, if she didn't love him, than she would not be following him? Is she following him because she's dependent on him or because she seen IN him the means to achieve what SHE believes in?

I see that there's no single motivation to someone's live and that is especially true in FMA, since the characters Arakawa has build are so deep and believable.
We tend to think that, in order to a woman to be considered independent, she must act like a cold, unrelying person who "earns her own money and care not for others might think or do about her". And that couldn't be more wrong.
Riza's independent because she is in charge of her own decisions in spite of all the hardships and problems she'll have to go through to achieve what she dreams. But she's clearly not pursuing "Roy's dream": she's pursuing her own, which incidentally, crosses with Roy's and, for that, they join forces to work together for a common goal, but she didn't "leached" that dream from him: she had it before she even joined the military and will have regardless if Roy continues down that path or not.

and THAT's why she pointed that gun at him and why she said she would kill herself afterwards: because her goals would have been turned apart, and not because "Roy would not be alive".

So Riza does has her own goal: to sacrifice her life for the people of Amestris to be happy. To make the man most like to be the "perfect Führer" (both for his integrity and his character) get to the place where they could stop the fightings.


But, in a sense, people are also right in one part: there's no way we can talk about Riza without talking about Roy AND vice-versa. Not because they're co-dependent, nor because they are "a couple", but because they represent polarities that, together, make a whole and cannot be spoked about without its counterpart.
Just like light and darkness, which are two different things, with individual characteristics, but cannot be understood without the other, Roy and Riza personify two "sides" to a whole in such an intrinsic sense you cannot truly understand one without understanding the other.

So, Riza is not a character who's "under" Roy's: she MAKES him. Neither is more important or dominant. Her characteristics complete those of Roy (and don't come from the relationship between the two)


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Amalthea
post Aug 16 2010, 08:01 PM
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QUOTE (Turdaewen @ Aug 16 2010, 05:10 PM) *
I think it's a little funny people normally say about "Riza's personal goals", that should be detached from Roy both as a person and as what they relationship is about...
I mean, being independent really means to "care for nothing but yourself" or even put yourself before others?

That's very un-Riza-like. She's this altruistic, self sacrificing person on her own and not because "she met and fell in love with Roy Mustang", so why can't people see her dedication to Roy as her own goals?

She says like 5 times during the series: this is what I chose for my life, I do this with my own free will, I do this because this is what I want"


Who talked about having Riza completely cut herself off from Roy? And I don't think anyone said anything that Riza should depreciate Roy's presence in her life.

I wanted to know about Riza's development as an individual, beyond her relationship and history with Roy. I fail to see how that is a bad wish for a reader and fan of Riza Hawkeye. It's much clearer to me now why she has these issues, as Ruingarf already explained the reasons for it to be skewed in her case. And while it's not healthy for her, for her characterization it actually makes her more unique, I think. I am okay with this flaw of her's now.

Riza is not the protagonist of FMA, so I know she can't get as much screentime and explanation as Ed and Al and such, but other charactrers in the series had that separate personal growth. As people have said, due to their portrayal, it was difficult to view Riza's progress in the story as her own character without Roy. Yet this was not the same for Ed and Al. Or the Armstrong siblings. etc. Obviously these characters also have huge connection to each other, but it is different. And that is fine. Royai itself is a huge part of the FMA fandom, so that probably is partially a reason for these perceptions of them.

I've come to enjoy Riza's partnership with Roy. A lot more than I used to. Yet even though I long to learn more about Riza's past and such as a person, I can continue to enhance my interest and love for her (and other characters) by being active in the FMA fandom by having discussions like these to learn even more about their seemingly endless depth.


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Thank you, Ms. Arakawa, for sharing this wonderful, enriching story that has affected so many of us!
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Turdaewen
post Aug 17 2010, 06:28 AM
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QUOTE (Amalthea @ Aug 17 2010, 12:01 AM) *
Who talked about having Riza completely cut herself off from Roy? And I don't think anyone said anything that Riza should depreciate Roy's presence in her life.

I wanted to know about Riza's development as an individual, beyond her relationship and history with Roy. I fail to see how that is a bad wish for a reader and fan of Riza Hawkeye. It's much clearer to me now why she has these issues, as Ruingarf already explained the reasons for it to be skewed in her case. And while it's not healthy for her, for her characterization it actually makes her more unique, I think. I am okay with this flaw of her's now.

Riza is not the protagonist of FMA, so I know she can't get as much screentime and explanation as Ed and Al and such, but other charactrers in the series had that separate personal growth. As people have said, due to their portrayal, it was difficult to view Riza's progress in the story as her own character without Roy. Yet this was not the same for Ed and Al. Or the Armstrong siblings. etc. Obviously these characters also have huge connection to each other, but it is different. And that is fine. Royai itself is a huge part of the FMA fandom, so that probably is partially a reason for these perceptions of them.

I've come to enjoy Riza's partnership with Roy. A lot more than I used to. Yet even though I long to learn more about Riza's past and such as a person, I can continue to enhance my interest and love for her (and other characters) by being active in the FMA fandom by having discussions like these to learn even more about their seemingly endless depth.

No... I think you got me wrong... XD
I was referring to the idea of Riza not having an individuality of her own, of being a character merely subordinated to Roy. People usually say as if "since Riza's goal is the same as Roy, that means, she has Roy's goals and not her own and that she doesn't have a life, cause she's living Roy's life", you know? It is as if Riza could not have "her own goals" as long as she was working alongside Roy, which is bizarre.

My point is to question whether people need to have completely (or mostly) "detached" lives in order to have their own way of "viewing the world", or (what I believe) can have their own goals and have them coexist with the goals of others and unite them in a single direction (and that, for me, is not a lack of self esteem or something out of dependency). The way I see it, Riza's individuality IS the fact that she'd dedicated to Roy cause. It's not like he made her believe in it, if you know what I mean, so, being that, Roy is a part of the whole that makes Riza who she is as a person. And I also don't think that Riza's character is different than any other in the sense you mentioned, it's just that she's such a "less common representation of ideas" that people usually mistake her for "not having much of a personality of her own", which is certainly not true. (and I'll show you why in this post)

But I also think that there's very few things we can actually talk about Riza without at least mentioning Roy (as it is to say about Winry without talking about Ed and Al), because our lives are not build of "little boxes" where we can separate what it entirely ours and what is related to others, cause everything is ours and, at the same time, is built in our relationship to others. Everything is a whole and, to be able to understand it, we must look at everything at once.

But I don't think AT ALL that, because Riza's character needs to be understood in context with Roy's means she doesn't have a position of her own and that she doesn't have beliefs that are her own and, somewhat, different than Roy's. And, in context, many people tend to think like that. As if she's "merely the guy's bodyguard" when she's a lot more than that.

And, in a way, we can say Riza is a protagonist in FMA, since she's the female character in the series that is up with the most things. She's the one that appears most, that is always in the center of action, she's the most popular... She appears and has more "things about her" than any other female character. And more than most men as well.


But, as is common with Arakawa, the FACTS behind the characters are not evident because she, simply, doesn't like being so "didactic", or "giving lessons" about her characters. Her ways of writing and giving the fans the story is always very subtle, not accessible to people who are distracted. In order to understand Arakawa's mangas, you have to be paying attention, cause she won't say it to you: you'll have to figure it out for yourself.
Like in real life, Arakawa's characters don't explain themselves nor their motivations, but those are implied in very clear ways, so we can get to them if only we truly understand Arakawa's logic. She wants us to investigate the story and go "ah, so this person did this because of that!".


But in regards to Riza...
I think we do know many things about her, like the fact that she has had a very lonely childhood aside from her contact with Roy, that her mother died (probably from a disease, but that is only my guessing) when she was very young, that whether her father was abusive or not, he's pretty much estranged from her (for whatever reason), to the point of her saying she was scared of him.

We also know she was a extremely shy and dreamy girl, hugely idealistic and, in that sense, also very romantic (in terms of believing in dedicating your life to a cause). We also know she joined the military with that spirit of wanting to achieve that and had a huge deception, a true existential crisis, where she had to rethink all things she believed in, in order to continue on with her life. We know she was deeply disturbed and feeling guilty for all that happened in Ishval and, even more that anything: she blamed herself for being naive and felt like it was her duty to make it up to it (even though she knew she could never "make up to it", she HAD to do everything in her power to "do the opposite", or she would crumble).

She believed it was her fault Roy had become such an assassin and she started to realize that the situation the country was on was due to people's ignorance. She realized that, the quest she always dreamed of would demand her life and that she would have to sacrifice herself so that she might redeem from that naiveté and for people to be able to acquire that "peace".

Riza, as an individual, is the personification of what her name means: she's a Guardian. Not a guardian only to Roy, but a LOT more importantly, she a guardian of ideas, of values, of memories... She's the one that says "I remember" and, therefore, she can retain that and bring to people the things that have been forgotten, the motifs behind what is happening now. She can be a constant reminder of "what I have to do and why".

And that is on her own, not "because of Roy", you know? Although it has everything to do with him (because he's the one that needs a "reminder"), it's HER. This is not a consequence to her relationship with Roy. It's her own individuality.


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Hoshino Hikari
post Aug 17 2010, 10:57 AM
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QUOTE (Turdaewen @ Aug 16 2010, 02:10 PM) *
I mean, many of us have a life purpose as to help a country, a city, dedicate yourself for something you believe in, so why would Riza's choice in following Mustang would be different? For the mere fact that she loves him? Does it mean that, if she didn't love him, than she would not be following him? Is she following him because she's dependent on him or because she seen IN him the means to achieve what SHE believes in?


What you say seems like Riza was using Roy to achieve her own aim. But, in fact, both Roy's and Riza's dreams are not (how to say that?) their own dream, realized for themselves, it's for their country that they're fighting. Nobody else. In a way, it's wrong to say that they're using each other to reach their aim. Yes they need each other to do it, but whatever the way they're going about it, it's not for themselves. So it's not important to know if one of them has his/her own goal. They want to realize this goal together. For their country. No matter who thought about this dream in first, the fact is that both of them are giving their lives to do it.

Riza is not dependent on him. She met Roy during the Ishval war but was it not a coincidence? She didn't join the military to see Roy again, but to help people. I think that staying with the other after the war was also a way of supporting the weight of their crimes. They were inevitably united by alchemy, Riza's father secret. Roy wanted to use alchemy for happiness of the people whereas he killed them instead. So did Riza, as she said, she believed in his father's words about alchemy. They were crushed by their own beliefs. It's not that Riza "copied" Roy's dream. She had the same. They shared it. That's all. But if she hadn't seen him at the war she'd have continued to work in the military, trying to bring happiness with her hands. Roy and she, after the war, found a way to change their country. They felt responsible, and they literally sacrificed their lives. Mustang wanted to become Führer and he needed her to succeed. He couldn't do it alone and he knew that Riza was the best person able to help him and to put him in the right path. They trusted each other and they perfectly knew to what extent they were involved in this duty of reconstructing their country. Both of them were naturally active. They couldn't do something else.

Of course Riza is not just a bodyguard. Even though she's completely devoted to her work, their goal, she had her life and her personality. As all the humans.
Turdaewen, I think you're totally right about Riza's life and convictions. I appreciate your point of view. I just want to add that Riza's father wasn't very close to her, it's sure because she was scared of him, but in his last words he thought about his daughter. He apologized and he cried. Moreover, Riza said that she was scared of him when he was talking about alchemy. And yet, she clearly said that she trusted his words. She believed in his father's dream, in his alchemy. There's an another fact. Roy said that they were "smoldering in destitution" whereas Hawkeye made her daughter go to a well-known school. So, is it an indirect proof of his attention? He wasn't sociable, but I think he loved his daughter.

Riza was also very affected by Kimblee's words. It's certainly an important point. She couldn't forget what he said: "Don't avert your eyes from death. Look forward. Look at the people you're killing in the face. And don't forget them. Don't forget. They won't forget you either." I think these words placed the truth into Riza (and Roy). I say once again, she couldn't do something else that giving her life to realize their aim. It was the only way for them. Their characters are that they wouldn't have borne it otherwise. That's why they chose this way.

I like this idea of guardian. I agree: Riza is a person who wants to protect the other. In fact, so is Roy... As you said, it's not because of him. They're just similar in many ways, that's all.

About her, someone (Amalthea) said a sentence which really touched me because of its truthfulness: "Riza probably had a lot of self-confidence issues. In many ways, before meeting Mustang, she may have been the loneliest of them all."
Indeed.


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Turdaewen
post Aug 17 2010, 11:33 AM
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But that's exactly what I meant! And what I'm trying to pass (though, apparently, not very effectively, lol) in the past two pages of this discussion.


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BlackCarson
post Oct 10 2011, 10:43 AM
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I totally agree with Turdaewen (Have I mis-spelled it?). In lots of fanfictions Riza is very, very OOC, and I think there is more to her than just that 'I'm-a-badass-and-I-shoot-everything-I-want' attitude that fanwriters give to her.
I don't think at all that Riza is a shallow character, drawned and nullified by her relationship with Roy, this is a big misunderstanding. I think Riza needs Roy as much as he needs her, and they treat each other as equals.
She is a woman with personality and a strong will, and I personally think that for her Roy doesn't represent her chains and her inability in breaking them, nor an insane dependency on him. It's quite the opposite, in fact. For her, Roy is an opportunity to change the world and build a "self". Her own words when she asks Roy to burn her back are proof of her desire of being an individual. However, Turdaewen explained way better the way I feel about her character.
I'm sorry for my bad english, but I wanted to say my opinion. XD
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yadi ina
post Oct 11 2011, 12:44 AM
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i found this topic, so I wanted to say.

The initial question was something about "Riza is dependent Roy"
I am convinced that there is a kind of dependence, but the big difference is that on this occasion, is mutual. Roy Riza depends as much as she of him.

Although I'm not sure call it "dependent", Hawkeye has been shown to be an independent person in the dialogue with Roy at the funeral of her father, she says, "thinks he can stand alone" but also speaks of thinking, this shows that is a rational, prudent and independent. Recall that Hawkeye was a mad alchemist sensei and I do not care for her daughter has therefore had to take care of herself and her father.

Furthermore, the reason he joined the army was by the words of Mustang, she wanted to see people happy, and more than that, she wanted to be happy, so I wanted to help get that happiness. But when he realized what he was doing in Ishbal with the power that she confided, was responsible for the barbarities of Ishbal.


So she asks him to burn his back, not having to carry that guilt and that no other man could use it. However, the consequences were and that's when Roy sees that she looks the same as him and suggested her to be his bodyguard. This is very important because, with or without Mustang, she would stay in the military, but voluntarily decided to have dumbbell with Roy and reach a mutual goal, to make amends and try again to bring peace and happiness to people .

Riza is aware that it can not pursue happiness if it fulfills its purpose, but with so much in common ... Is it possible that you could not fall in love with Mustang? I doubt, however, It is somewhat difficult. since their work and the training must take, is an example of a soldier, cold and obedient but superficially, as a soldier should not stir. Riza has brought against both the army and Mustang on many occasions. But it is also capable of displaying an image to sweet and maternal, as well as having a somewhat sarcastic sense of humor and even cruel, like Mustang.
What's more, shared goals and mutual feelings perhaps simply rely on someone.

I hope you understand my point, because I get excited and still has not mastered the English language very well.


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