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When Mustang performs his flame alchemy, he doesn't clap his hands to create it, did he? He's only snapping his fingers:

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The others seem to always clap when performing alchemy:

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How does Mustang do this?

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I haven't watch the 2003 anime so I don't know if there's any explanation there –  Oshino Shinobu Mar 7 at 0:35

3 Answers 3

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It's his Ignition Claws. As explained in the 2003 Anime Episode "Fullmetal VS Flame", they create a spark when he snaps his fingers and he uses alchemy to manipulate the other elements to make explosions or fire. The claws have the transmutation circle on them, so if it's removed he can't use it, which is demonstrated during the fight and also later in the 2003 series when he fight Pride.

Ed on the other hand claps his hands because he's been to the Gate of Truth and creates a full array with his own body, thus requiring no circles. It is something only those who have been to the Gate of Truth can do, like Izumi.

While I refer to the 2003 anime, the fundamentals of Mustang's alchemy would be the same as how alchemy works is the same.

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While your posts are informative, some parts are very hard to understand due to run-on sentence. It'd be nice if you could take some time to review your posts and fix this problem. –  nhahtdh Mar 4 at 3:37

The clapping is only necessary if one does not use a transmutation circle. As stated by Scar, it is necessary to create a ring using the palms (in order to create the flow of energy properly). This is the case for Izumi Curtis and Edward Elric initially, being the only ones to recall their time within the Gate of Truth. Later (spoilers up to episode 60 or so),

Alphonse Elric recalls his memories, gaining this ability; Roy Mustang is also dragged through the Gate of Truth to gain this ability as well.

Those using Philosopher's Stones are exempt from this rule for unknown reasons; it is perhaps such that the stone can provide the necessary flow without a circle.

You will notice that other alchemists who have transmutation circles need not clap: Major Armstrong, Basque Grand, and Giolio Comanche if I remember correctly. Even Al, after drawing a circle, does not clap:

Alphonse performs a transmutation

Roy Mustang's flame alchemy is done by the transmutation of air (compressing it very densely), then creating a spark with his gloves to ignite it.

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Edward claps to perform transmutations because he has seen the Gate when he attempted human transmutation. As a result, this, as explained by Izumi Curtis (at least in the manga and the Brotherhood anime) means that his body becomes an array, and so he can perform alchemy without a circle.

Mustang, as explained in the manga and 2003 anime, uses gloves that will create a spark when he snaps his fingers. Since the transmutation circle required is on the gloves he wears, he can perform the transmutation without drawing out the array. There are also other alchemists in the series that don't clap to perform alchemy: e.g. Armstrong, Kimblee, or Basque Gran (at least in the manga), so Mustang isn't the only character who does this.

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