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:

Ed alchemy

How does Mustang do this?

  • I haven't watch the 2003 anime so I don't know if there's any explanation there
    – Darjeeling
    Commented Mar 7, 2014 at 0:35

6 Answers 6


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 fought 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.

  • 2
    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
    Commented Mar 4, 2014 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.


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.


Mustangs ignition glove is made from a material that produces a spark when rubbed together

His glove also has the Transmutation circle on it

If I remember correctly or have correct knowledge it has something to do with breaking down of H2O in the air to make pure forms of hydrogen to ignite a line of flame and oxygen to keep the flame Alive long enough to reach his target My theory on It but it may be different


Roy's gloves are made of a special material called ignition cloth, when he snaps it makes a spark. Then using the transmutation circle on the back of the glove,he uses alchemy to change oxygen density within the air molecules, then rapidly expands and contracts then by combusting hydrogen and then using the spark to ignite it.


The Ignition Claw theory cannot be true, for during the fight with Lust in Brotherhood, Roy didn't have his gloves on. Rather, he snapped with his bare hands while sporting a Transformation Circle on his opisthenar.

What it could be is the constant construction of H2O and deconstruction of H2O using the oxygen and hydrogen already present in the air. By continuously reconstructing and deconstructing the hydrogen and oxygen withing the air, you create combustion within an initial energy source to start it. If you are interested, please take a look at Oxygen and Hydrogen combustion.

We also note that he has difficulty using his ability during the rain, and it can be said the humidity within the air may affect his proficiency at the construction and destruction of H2O; considering that the combustion involves the CONSTRUCTION of H2O rather than the destruction of it, it would be considerably harder to get a response in wet environments.

EDIT: Ah. Okay. I haven't finished the series, and I haven't picked up on an explanation yet. I was Googling around for one but wasn't satisfied, so made one up.

  • are you referring to this where he has a lighter to create a spark rather than the spark generated from snaping his Ignition Claw?
    – Memor-X
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 5:51
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    Roy didn't have his gloves, but he was using Havoc's lighter instead to create a spark. The in-universe explanation (given by Havoc, at least in the manga after the train hijacking) is that Roy simply needs a spark and to be able to manipulate oxygen concentrations (to enable combustion).
    – Maroon
    Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 5:52
  • 1
    Ah, now that I've rewatched the scene, I've made a mistake. Not as complex as I would've like, considering the "painstaking study" that Mr. Hawkeye had to go through in order to create this type of battle alchemy, but mkay. Commented Nov 6, 2014 at 5:54

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