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03 March 2008 @ 06:57 pm
Why Envy is NOT Ed's revived soulless half brother  
 1. If, as stated by Hohenheim, he and Dante were switching bodies with the Philosopher's Stone to live, then Envy would have completely different genetics as Ed, because Hohenheim had to have switched bodies at least once in 400 years, and Dante moving to Lyra's body proved that they take on the looks and genetics of the person whose body they inhabit.

2. How does everybody know that Envy isn't pulling the wool over their eyes? He's a shapeshifter and often takes on different personas, so obviously he's good at acting and lying. He has no reason to even tell Ed if it were true. And, as Ed promptly froze long enough for Envy to stab and kill him after Envy told him, it is very likely that it was a ploy for Envy to get an opening to kill Ed. And I'm sure it would be right down Envy's alley to mess with Ed mentally like that.

3. We've all seen it: the bad guy confesses some sort of close familial connection with the protagonist, then maims/kills said protagonist. For once, can't they just be lying? I mean, if I were a bad guy I would totally make up a lie like that just so I can off my arch-nemesis. I also wouldn't actually tell them unless I utterly had to if it were true. Seriously, do you honestly think it would be beyond your average bad guy to say that just to mess with the protagonist?

4. Of course, how do we know that the face Envy wears normally is even his real face? A comment by Lust early on indicates that it isn't. He could be anyone for all we know. Heck, he could be related to Ed anyway, but as Trisha's great great grandfather or something like that. He could be related to anyone. But since his reply to Lust's comment was that he liked looking young and pretty, as a human he was either old and hideous when he died or pretty when he was young.

5. Of course, how do we even know he's a guy to begin with? With his voice he could go either way, plus he can take both male and female forms, demonstrated when he took the form of Ed's older brother to kill Ed and of Gracia to kill Hughes.

Of course, this argument is strictly anime. For some reason, I find it more believable that his true form is a billion tons and sinks into the ground like a glacier and leaves a dent then he is Ed's older half brother. His true form is incredibly sad as well-I believe Hiromu Arakawa has some explaining to do there.

Any opinions?
 
 
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It's in the trees! It's coming!thickets on March 4th, 2008 04:33 am (UTC)
Urk, well.

1. Actually, to me the issue here is less that "genetically they aren't related" which I don't think matters at all -- they're still "half-brothers" in every other sense. But there is definitely a plot hole, or laziness on the part of BONES, or more likely, them deliberately eliding over reason in order to make the plot simpler, in the fact that they make Envy's true "human" face look so obviously like Hohenheim's current incarnation and like Ed and Al, when Hohenheim's original form (or subsequent form after his "death") was completely different. Obviously the reason this was done was so that you could have that *gasp* reaction shot where Ed is frozen by seeing "his brother" and Envy can take advantage of it. Then again, you could say this isn't a plothole by making it so that Envy didn't show his "real" face but only one which would stun Ed (though then he changes into it again in the Gate ... actually I'd like to see a fic where Envy actually no longer remembers what he looked like while he was human, and so when he changes his appearance in front of Ed it's really a sort of made up idea of what he thinks a half-brother of Ed might look like).

2. Envy and Dante certainly are capable of deceiving Ed in this way, but it's more or less confirmed by Hohenheim in the movie that Envy is his son. Also, if it was just a lie, there would be no reason for Envy's extreme hatred of Hohenheim and his desire to kill him.

4. Er, I don't think it's ever implied that the typical "Envy" appearance is his "true" face? Supposedly the "brother" appearance is his true face. Most likely the face and body we usually see is something he's constructed that he feels most comfortable wearing.

Edited at 2008-03-04 04:34 am (UTC)
Toby: FMAt3h_toby_chan on March 4th, 2008 04:47 am (UTC)
Also, if it was just a lie, there would be no reason for Envy's extreme hatred of Hohenheim and his desire to kill him.


This. ^


Can't really be arsed to say anymore than 'iawtc'



*Normally enjoys Envy ranting but this is kind of... eh*
Velvet Macevelvet_mace on March 4th, 2008 04:33 am (UTC)
You are trying to apply logic to BONES. It doesn't work.

Half the fun of working with the anime is trying to fill in the plot holes. Because taken at face value so much of it makes no sense whatsoever.

However-- in a non-genetic, familial and parenting sense, Envy is indeed canonically Ed's half brother. They both had the same father raising them, even if one doesn't have a soul, and they share no genes. Just as my adopted nephew is every bit my nephew, Ed is every bit Hohenheim's child, just the way Envy had been, centuries before. Which I think is what Bones was going for -- Ed being the loved child, and Envy being the unloved one.
Katkatty008 on March 5th, 2008 12:45 am (UTC)
Applying logic to loads of things doesn't work. That's where crack idea fanfics come from.

You bring up some interesting points though. God, if I ever run out of fic ideas I could post something random here.
Velvet Macevelvet_mace on March 5th, 2008 01:13 am (UTC)
Actually contrary to first appearances, good crack is eminently logical. That's in fact how it works. The initial concept is absurd and unlikely, but everything that follows after that is straight, in character, and makes complete sense -- and that's where the humor comes from. A lot of people don't get that and then they end up with unfunny random garbledy-gook.
Katkatty008 on March 5th, 2008 01:24 am (UTC)
True though. I consider those to be the best type of fics. The writers stick loads of thought into it to make them work, and they do and usually end up amazingly well written.
Velvet Macevelvet_mace on March 5th, 2008 04:18 am (UTC)
Me too. I adore crackfic! Well... good crackfic.
No One Can Stop the Cricket Pimps: FMA lovely made by medomlandbubbles on March 4th, 2008 04:40 am (UTC)
Actually, this was one of the storylines I liked in the anime. I thought they could've done more with it. Taken at face value, it gives Envy a personal grudge against Ed and Al that also fits his name. It also compounds Hohenheim's alchemic transgressions. The misery wrought by his alchemy started so long ago and lasts unflagging for centuries is definitely a black mark against human alchemy.

However, there's nothing really outright refuting what you outline, so a ficcer could do a lot with it if they wanted. The ideas are interesting.

You might want to put a spoiler cut for both the anime and manga, though.

ETA: Well, reading others' responses, I guess there is outright proof against Envy being something other than Ed's half brother. But it can still make for fanfic.

Edited at 2008-03-04 06:26 am (UTC)
amethyst_konekoamethyst_koneko on March 4th, 2008 05:31 am (UTC)
*applauds* Very well thought out! I agree with all of it, esp statement 1. Hohenheim's probably switched bodies dozens of times since the bodies begin to deteriorate faster and faster with each soul transfer. There is no way in all of creation that Envy and Ed are related. The only connection they have, as weak as it is, is that the same soul (Hohenheim's) was inhabiting the body of whoever actually fathered them. Sounds kinda sqwicky when you phrase it like that but it's true.

Envy is a very skilled lier. It's what he does best. It's what he is. He is the very essence of lies and deception. Absolutely Envy would use any and every advantage to take Ed down. Envy is viciously ruthless. Envy probably already knew that Ed hated Hohenheim so it was easy to use that hatred against Ed.

The one thing Envy said in that conversation with Lust that I am likely to believe was when Envy said something to the effect of, "I've forgotten what I originally looked like". After taking on the personas of so many different people for so long, he's probably forgotten who he was as well as what he looked like.

I never really understood why Envy hated Ed as much as he did. If it was because of Hohenheim, why not be furious with Hohenheim and leave Ed out of it? It's not like Ed had a choice in who his father was. And since they both hate Hohenheim, why not collaborate with Ed instead of trying to kill him? But, Envy is completely criminally insane. You can't expect him to do anything reasonable or rational.

I too prefer to think of Envy as the billion ton glacier that dents the ground. (I like that phrasing!) The manga for some reason just makes so much more sense than the anime does sometimes.
Koneko =^.^=
ievakasku: Envyievakasku on March 4th, 2008 06:31 am (UTC)
I just wanted to give my opinion on why Envy hates Ed so much, because I used to wonder why he didn't just join up with Ed to go after Hohenheim too. The way I saw it, Envy hates Ed because Ed got everything he didn't. It's vaguely implied that Hohenheim wasn't that great of a parent even when Envy was still alive, but he was for Ed until he left. So Ed got the father, the non-insane loving mother, the brother, the friends, the fame, humanity, basically everything Envy couldn't have, and he's jealous. He was abandoned and forgotten as an imperfect organ pile and Hohenheim just went off and found a new, perfect family, leaving him with Dante for four hundred years. None of this is Ed's fault just for being born of course, but I don't think at that point Envy would really care.
amethyst_konekoamethyst_koneko on March 5th, 2008 02:00 am (UTC)
hmm. So basically what you're saying is that Envy was envious of Ed. ..... *dies laughing* XD I'm sorry! I tried so hard no to make that joke but I just couldn't help myself! :D Forgive my poor sense of humor! :) I do agree with you tho that all Envy wanted after all this time was revenge and he would have it no matter what he had to do to get it.
Koneko =^.^=
Katkatty008 on March 5th, 2008 12:50 am (UTC)
Yesh. The manga is probably more believable because it was actually written by Arakawa, as opposed to some idiot at BONES, even though some things in the anime are so much more likely. Maybe that's what we love about FMA, everything about it is so UNlikely.

Another thing that drives me nuts is Winry's two nearly completely different personalities. I can't write about her without it feeling completely out of character.
amethyst_konekoamethyst_koneko on March 5th, 2008 02:31 am (UTC)
"some idiot at BONES". *giggle* I like that! :D Why DO animators have to take a perfectly wonderful manga and turn it into something completely different?? I mean, if it ain't broke, don't fix it! :) Yeah, I know the animators wanted to put something out to cash in on the fame and popularity of the story (grab the money and run if you will) but does it have to be that different from the original storyline? *sigh* I guess that's what happens when you attempt to animate an ongoing manga. The original story isn't complete so you have to come up with a sorta similar storyline to work with. That's also probably why the anime has the plot holes it does. But yeah, we do love FMA for all its unlikeliness! <3 :)
Koneko =^.^=
Katkatty008 on March 5th, 2008 02:34 am (UTC)
Yeah, what I don't get is why they can't all wait until the manga is OVER to make an anime, especially if the anime is once a week and the manga is once a month. Add to that anime's general speediness and you have a problem.
amethyst_konekoamethyst_koneko on March 5th, 2008 03:30 am (UTC)
Waiting until the manga is over to make the anime wouldn't allow the animators to make as much money as they could by doing it while the manga is hot and everybody's talking about it. Gotta strike while the iron is hot you know! :) Lord forbid somebody not make a dollar somewhere! ;)
Koneko =^.^=
Grygongrygon on March 5th, 2008 03:13 am (UTC)
*sigh*

Envy TELLS ED why he hates him so much. For carrying "that bastard's blood".
amethyst_konekoamethyst_koneko on March 5th, 2008 03:22 am (UTC)
I know that. I said if it was because of Hohenheim, why not be mad at just Hohenheim and leave Ed out of it. Ed is just as much a victim of Hohenheim's nonexistent parenting as Envy is. Envy's just had 400 years to brood over it and go insane about it.
Koneko =^.^=
ievakasku: Envyievakasku on March 4th, 2008 06:19 am (UTC)
Er...you've got good reasoning, but Envy is Ed's half brother, not by genetic relation because of the body switching, but Hohenheim was his father. This is confirmed by Hohenheim himself in the movie, and Dante mentions the relationship several times to Envy (off the top of my head, I remember a quote that went something like "and you, who should have been his most beloved son"). The fact that the 'true form' Envy showed to Ed looks like Hohenheim's current body is definitely a plot hole, but the show is full of those anyway. But even with that, in the flashback to when Hohenheim and Dante first created the Philosopher's Stone, Hohenheim then looks almost identical to the current body, so it is possible that he simply chose similar bodies over the years. Yes Envy is a manipulative bastard and I wouldn't put it past him to lie about something like that to take Ed off guard, it isn't only him saying it. Even if you take all the in-series evidence as lies, there is an extra recap episode with a section dedicated to the homunculi. In this episode, it is directly stated that Envy was originally Hohenheim's son and even told how he died (mercury poisoning). And this is the official informational recap episode, so there is no reason for it to give false information.
Ketita: innocenceketita on March 4th, 2008 07:17 am (UTC)
As has been said, it was confirmed in the anime from several sources that Envy was Ed's half brother.
However, the way it should have been would be Envy shapeshifting back into his "real" form, which genetically should look nothing like either Ed or Hohenheim, Ed not caring because he wouldn't realize the significance, and stabbing him anyway 8D. I believe that would have a) made more sense and b) been far more amusing.
But hey, BONES logic.
c_b_syndromec_b_syndrome on March 4th, 2008 11:40 am (UTC)
There was definitely foreshadowing for this revelation throughout the series. Namely the Lab 5 scene when Envy is kicking Ed across the floor and saying he could never forgive Ed for "carrying that bastard's blood".

Also, something I noticed, and it created a germ of a theory in my own mind (right or wrong). Hohenheim in 'the present' looked an awful lot like he did when he forged the stone. And Dante looked quite similar at the time (I'm talking more of bone-structure and the shapes of the faces, than anything -- since the flashback was deliberately vague otherwise), as well... and this might explain how Envy's 'original' face was so easily recognizable to Ed.

What if they were only able to jump into relatives? Consider that throughout the 400 years since the stone was first forged, there would be -a lot- of descendants to pick and choose from. We know nothing of Lyra's, nor the old woman's back story (except that the old woman who called herself Dante was Izumi's teacher and that Lyra once worked for Yoki).

Frankly, I'm more interested in figuring out Greed's and Gluttony's back story, myself. We get a glimpse of all the other Homunculi's origins, but not theirs. ***beats back the vicious plot-bunnies of DOOM***
Staunch Heliocentristannepackrat on March 4th, 2008 03:00 pm (UTC)
There's either a special OVA or clip that is only reused footage with Envy and Greed talking over it. In that we learn that Greed was a former lover of Dante's who she turned into a homunculus. Gluttony was made as an incubator for the Philosopher's Stone, but he didn't work as Dante wanted.
dreamer1789: sindreamer1789 on March 5th, 2008 10:47 am (UTC)
What if they were only able to jump into relatives? Consider that throughout the 400 years since the stone was first forged, there would be -a lot- of descendants to pick and choose from. We know nothing of Lyra's, nor the old woman's back story (except that the old woman who called herself Dante was Izumi's teacher and that Lyra once worked for Yoki).

I don't really agree with you on the relatives part. True we don't know backstory of old!Dante or Lyra, but there's no way you're going to convince me that somehow Rosé falls into this relatives category. She was the next body Dante was planning on using (is what Dante tells Ed in either ep. 49 or 50), which kind of breaks the chain of thin and very pale bodies. Just wanted to point that out. ^^;
c_b_syndromec_b_syndrome on March 5th, 2008 01:58 pm (UTC)
Ahhh, good point.

Although it could be argued that Dante was somewhat nuts at this point, and only wanted to get back at Hohenheim via his most vulnerable point. She could have just decided to throw away the relative theory (as opposed to the theory of relativity :þ), and try something different in the hopes that she wouldn't rot so quickly.

Another possibility is that Dante never did jump into descendants, and that was why she was rotting faster than Hohenheim. ;)

Hell, I dunno! The anime has more holes in it that swiss cheese, which is why it's so much fun to speculate and fill them in. :D
dreamer1789dreamer1789 on March 5th, 2008 06:22 pm (UTC)
The anime has more holes in it that swiss cheese, which is why it's so much fun to speculate and fill them in. :D Fair enough. ^^
Eanelineaeanelinea77 on March 4th, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC)
He isn't genetically Ed and Al's brother, but Hohenheim's soul, in whichever body he jumped into, is still both of their father. I was never sure why they made Envy show a face similar to their current incarnation of their father, but eh, it's a cartoon.

Envy could have merged Hohenheim, Ed and Al's current physical features to make the look he has now. It's not impossible.

Though I do wonder, what happens to the people they jumped into? Is their original soul still inside somewhere, fighting to get out? Or do they essentially die from the transfer? In a weird way, Hohenheim is and isn't Envy, Ed and Al's father. The body he jumps into is, but the soul isn't. Genetics gets passed on via the body, not the soul.
Bringing Order into your Chaos: okami_xokami_hu on March 4th, 2008 03:21 pm (UTC)
I'm not even getting what are you trying to ask. And, all this looks too long on my friends page, so maybe I can request a cut...?
Kalliel: envykalliel on March 5th, 2008 12:25 am (UTC)
What's great about Fullmetal Alchemist is that so much is up for interpretation; many of the things we take for 'canon' is really just canonized fandom. The spelling of Alfons' name, for instance. And the entire basis for characterization of many characters - like Envy.

Personally, I like to believe that Envy's 'true face' revealed in the EOS is just Envy fucking around with Edward. From what we see of the other homunculi, they don't have a clue what they originally looked like. So that Envy would is odd, seeing as he reportedly doesn't remember what he looked like originally as a homunculus.

However, that Ed and Envy are related is also a perfectly explicable story as well (I'm not sure what the exact justifications are, but I'm sure someone in the comments before me has mentioned something to that effect). I imagine that emphasis is given to the Ed-Hohenheim-Envy hate relationship not so much because they are, indeed, literally blood relatives, but because both of them have such skewed relationships with Hohenheim. After all, Winry and Pinako are frequently referred to and act as the Elric's surrogate family. That Envy would also play that 'role' does made some sense, I think.

I think Arakawa mentioned in an interview that one of the major points in FMA is the importance of family. I think this goes both ways - the Rockbells are the Elric's family, in a positive sense, but there is also a darker intricacy to families that's played out in the Envy-Ed relationship. Strictly speaking, however, that relationship is much more prevalent in the anime (where Envy is supposedly Hohenheim's first actual son, and later first homunculus) than in the manga.

As velvet_mace said, the fact that there it is ambiguous and that there are multiple analyses make it that much more fun for the fandom. XD
Grygongrygon on March 5th, 2008 03:11 am (UTC)
Eh, aside from the undeniably good fact that Envy is OBSESSED with Hoenhiem and goes to very great lengths to get to the gate and then get to London to kill him. ;) All the while screaming "father! father!" ;) and more often even when Ed isNOT around (so it's not just to confuse Ed). ;)

yeah.
Katkatty008 on March 6th, 2008 12:17 am (UTC)
YES people, I am aware that multiple characters have stated it throughout the series, okay? I'm just philosophizing. No need to keep pointing it out, i think we get it.