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Full Version: His Darker Half... Two Sides Of The Same Alchemist.
Fullmetal Alchemist Discussion Board > Fullmetal Alchemist Discussions > FMA Character Discussions
Claudius
Let me describe this fellow. He's a strong person, with athletic abilities. He is rather confident, overdoing it to the point of being cocky and arrogant. He has a temper so don't cross him, for he's a badass fighter (He can turn his hand into a sword!). He is devoted to his mother, but has major issues about his father (because daddy left the family).
Now, am I describing Edward Elric?
No.
I am describing Envy. To be more precise, I am speaking about the Envy of the first anime adaptation of Fullmetal Alchemist. This Envy is the son of Hohenheim and Dante, the elder brother (by a few centuries) of Edward and Alphonse. Confused? One will find explanation here in this essay. There is much resemblance between the firstborn son of Dante and the firstborn son of Trisha. Much that is very discomforting, for we have two facets of the same man, differentiated by good and evil.
It has been a habit of late for FMA fans to criticize the first series and its plot revelations. To them, Envy being Ed and Al's brother is a major plot hole, something that came out of nowhere and has no importance aside from an 'OMG! Shock!' plot device. First off, the family connection was hinted way back in the Lab 5 storyline. This Envy reveals his hatred for Hohenheim, telling Edward he can never forgive him for being related to that Alchemist.
Furthermore, the 'brother' connection is actually an interesting subplot for both Envy and Edward. Anime1Envy is as much a potential threat as his manga counterpart, more so in terms of his relationship with Edward. Now, the major villainy of Envy is his power to transform into other people. Wearing these people's forms, Envy performs crimes the model would never do. The evil Gracia Hughes who would kill her husband. The evil Hughes who would harm Edward or Roy. Thus, Envy portrays the character's evil double.
And the first series progresses that threat to a level the manga does not do. By being brothers, Anime1Envy has a tie with Edward Elric. He is just like him. No matter the resemblances, the majority of Envy's disguises are only surface deep. One can take solace in the fact that although Envy can duplicate Hughes, Gracia, or Roy, we know he is not really Hughes, Gracia, or Roy. But duplicating Edward is a different story. Envy is not the evil Edward by taking his form. He shares Edward's arrogance and overconfidence. Like Edward, he has a mean temper and can be rather destructive. Despite his violent nature, Envy is influenced by his mother Dante, suggesting a strong devotion for her (as Edward had for his mother Trisha). And they both share the bitterness of a father who abandoned them. A powerful moment in Episode 50 is when Edward angrily shouts at his father. "If you and that evil b---- were so perfect together, where did you get the nerve to marry my mom? Was it some sick pleasure, pretending to be human?" One can see Anime1Envy saying almost the same words. "If we were so perfect together, why did you marry that b----? Was it some sick pleasure, pretending to be human?"
This similarity reaches its zenith in Episode 51, when Envy goes through the Gate. First he transforms into Edward and then he takes a form resembling Hohenheim as a young man. Here, the message is clear: Envy was once like Edward. Thus, Edward will become like Envy. In this case, one sees in Envy a warning for Edward: the path not taken. Think about it: Suppose Envy had a better mother than Dante, as well as family and friends? Then his all-consuming bitterness over his father would have been overwhelmed (This is according to this adaptation's Frankenstein implication that the Homunculus were not born evil, but reared that way by Dante). But what if Edward had a worse mother than Trisha, and no family and friends? Then his bitterness over his father would consume him. He would be as evil an Alchemist as Kimbley or Dante (a fate for Envy if he had not died of Mercury poisoning).
So we have two forms of Edward Elric. One good and one evil. Sounds like Robert Louis Stevenson's Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde. This story has gone through many more adaptations and changes. Several portray Edward Hyde as Henry Jekyll's evil doppelganger, free to express his vices without morality. In FMA's case, this 'unredeemed double' can exist alongside his good self. The hero and the villain share kindred similarities but portray them differently. The hero represses the evil in himself, but the villain to express them. There are many examples in movies. Indiana Jones has Rene Belloq as his doppelganger in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) ("I am but a shadowy reflection of yourself," Belloq tells Indy). James Bond has Alec Trevelyn as his doppelganger in Goldeneye (1995) ("James and I shared everything…" Trevelyn tells a Bond girl). In comics we have Mr. Fantastic and Doctor Doom, Spider-Man and the Green Goblin, Batman and the Joker, etc.
Thus Envy is Edward's doppelganger. Any dark thing Edward harbors in his soul is contained by his conscience. But Envy expresses the darkness and fulfills it. Take their father issues for instance. Edward is bitter about Hohenheim, but despite acts of hostility he could never harm or kill him. His doppelganger violently harms Hohenheim in Conqueror of Shamballa. One can understand that Edward, like many abandoned children, would possibly be wary of new parent figures (Dare he trust another father after being betrayed by his real one?). And yet he finds himself opening his heart to Maes Hughes as a father-figure. Edward's doppelganger (daddy-wary times eleven!) kills Maes Hughes. Like many abandoned children, Edward may consider some guilt in causing his situation (Did his father leave because of him?). The series makes no evidence of that guilt until Episode 50. In the brothers' final confrontation, Envy becomes Dr. Marcoh, Maes Hughes, Trisha, and Roy Mustang. Each of these people symbolized a parental/older mentor influence to Edward. And they all blame or attack him like some bad son.
Then there is the fraternal factor. Despite moments of arguments and sparring, Edward loves Alphonse and will protect him. Nor can he kill Envy once he learns of their brotherly connection. But the doppelganger shares no brotherly love, as seen in his violence to them (as well as Wrath). Earlier in the series, Edward feared that Alphonse actually hated him for the transmutation incident that cost him his body. But despite those fears, Alphonse admits that he can never despise Edward his brother. But in Episode 49, what does Alphonse say to his brother's doppelganger? 'I hate you!' (And Envy responds by knocking his helmet off: How Edwardian!). And this repress/express link works on Envy as well. Envy appears to be very civil with Sloth, despite her identity as Daddy's new wife. That he hates the woman is doubtless (his hostility to Wrath when the Homunculus pleads for Sloth's restoration), but he never expresses it on the Trisha-Homunculus (perhaps Mama told him to behave?). This time it is Edward who fulfills Envy's desire by killing Sloth himself.
One sees a consistency to this Envy's actions. The first series removed the Manga plot revelation that Envy started the Ishbal War. With this plot-point out of the way, Anime1Envy's evil is focused against the familia. Whereas Edward is devoted to family and its protection (with the exception to Sloth), Envy is destructive to the family (with exception to Dante). His violence goes toward patriarchal figures like Hughes (Bang!), Bradley (Pow!) and Hohenheim (Crunch!), and fraternal figures like Edward, Alphonse, and Wrath. In this case, one is rather glad Envy never crossed paths with Winry. Think "Edward and I shared everything…"
But there is more discomfort to when the good and evil of Elric meet. Even though Edward is not a monster like Envy, his own actions aren't quite spotless either. Throughout the series, Edward has committed, or almost committed, some rather grave actions:
-Episode 7: Edward tries to kill Barry the Chopper to save himself and Winry. Envy is not present.
-Episode 21-22: In Lab 5, Edward considers transmuting the criminals to create a Philosopher Stone to restore Al's body. Envy is near.
-Episode 34: Edward accidentally kills Greed. Envy is not present.
-Episode 47: Edward purposely kills Sloth, his mother. Envy watches this in the form of Winry.
-Episode 50: Edward tries to kill his brother, Envy.
See the pattern? When Edward's grim actions are accidental or justifiable, Envy is absent. But when the Homunculus is near, Edward's gray actions take on a more questionable tone. Remember that story gimmick about the character seeing two tiny versions of himself dressed as an angel and a devil? Envy's presence makes him clearly the devil to Edward. The lack of an angel in these situations express which side is winning over Edward's decision (Yes, Edward had to kill Sloth to save Al and himself, but matricide really has this act hitting the border between gray and black!). This continues in Conqueror of Shamballa. Twice in the movie, Edward pulls out a gun, clearly intending on using it (which has been a shock to some viewers). And guess who suddenly makes an appearance? In response, Edward lowers or discards the weapon.
Thus, one can imply that by removing the doppelganger, Edward is for the better. In several of movie adaptations of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (specifically the 1932 Fredric March version and the 1968 Jack Palance version), the good doctor theorized that by separating the good and the evil in man, the good will rise to great things while the evil will destroy itself. As nasty as his crimes are, Envy's actions had severe consequences. His murder of Hughes led to the Homunculus losing control of the country (when Roy Mustang- seeking revenge for Hughes - destroyed Fuhrer Bradley). Envy's murder of Edward led to Alphonse's sacrifice, losing Dante her philosopher stone and sealing her fate (even if Gluttony never came, Dante's death was inevitable). Envy's consuming decision to go after Hohenheim thru the Gate led to the stripping of his powers and freedom. His torture of Hohenheim led to his final destruction.
Meanwhile, Edward shines when his 'dark side' leaves the world. He shirks his hatred for the Homunculus. He weeps for his elder brother when he enters the Gate. He tells Rose to take care of Wrath. Then Edward makes the ultimate sacrifice to save Alphonse. His face glows serene and heavenly, almost Christ-like (quite a contrast to Envy transforming into a serpent- a form of the devil!). In CoS, when Envy is finally destroyed for good, Edward becomes the noble hero. He consoles Alphonse over his guilt, defeats Eckhart and makes another noble sacrifice, leaving his home and all he loves so he can protect his native world from the Nazis. In the end, Edward had grown beyond his past bitterness. One day he will look like that blonde adult face that stared at him- and killed him. But it will be a better man behind that face.
So, one can see an interesting characterization in having Envy be Edward's brother. Sometimes the greatest evil threats are the ones close to home; Edward had met the enemy, and the enemy is himself.
A Pierrot's Aria
This is actually a really interesting interpretation! xD I have to admit, when it was revealed he was his brother I was really shocked, so the "shock factor" did work. (Although, I'm actually glad that Envy isn't related to him and that Hohenheim is some weird "body-jumper" in the manga/brotherhood)

And at the end that was Envy he was crying for? I remember him crying and saying "brother," and remember never actually getting it! LOL

I really liked the bit where you mentioned "Envy becomes Dr. Marcoh, Maes Hughes, Trisha, and Roy Mustang. Each of these people symbolized a parental/older mentor influence to Edward." because it coincides with the mind games Envy tends to play.
FullMetalFist
That is amazing you put that all down. It really makes you think, that is why the first series was so amazing. I am glad you put this up. FMA Brotherhood rocks too.
Jealous Rogo
Okay I agree that Envy in Anime1 is meant to be a darker version of Edward, the shadow of himself. The path not taken. Etc. Etc. I think that BONES were clever in making Envy into this character from the material they were given. If anything that's the one thing that the Manga is argueable missing - a dark version of Ed. The closest we get is probably Pride, but even THAT is a bit of a stretch.

However, I still maintain that Envy himself is a fairly uncomplex character. Yeah what he symbolises is very complex and well thought out, but the character himself, is pretty one note. He's sadistic and hates humans because... his daddy left him? Yeah his hatred for Edward and Alphonse is justified but why is he such a sadist outside of that? Why was he involved in the death of Hughes? What does that have to do with his hatred for Hohenheim?

I liked Envy in Anime 1... I hated his character design but I liked his character. He had lots of great lines and little traits, especially his little imrpessed whistle (which Brotherhood referenced recently) but he really isn't a complex character. All he does is hate Ed and Al because Hohenheim loved them more than him.

Don't get me wrong, he's still pretty complex I suppose, but compared to the Manga version, whose actions are complex and come from a real place, he just doesn't hold up.

I do like what you've said here though, and I think we can all agree, both versions of Envy were well thought out and awesome characters.

I just maintain Envy's motivations in Anime1 were pretty one note and uncomplex. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Claudius
Sorry for a late reply. My threads don't get much responses, and I thought you might reply privately.

QUOTE (Jealous Rogo @ Apr 25 2010, 02:06 PM) *
Okay I agree that Envy in Anime1 is meant to be a darker version of Edward, the shadow of himself. The path not taken. Etc. Etc. I think that BONES were clever in making Envy into this character from the material they were given. If anything that's the one thing that the Manga is argueable missing - a dark version of Ed. The closest we get is probably Pride, but even THAT is a bit of a stretch.
MangaEdward doesn't really have much of a dark side, unlike his counterpart's grayness. Not necessarily a bad thing, unless someone makes an unfair comparison about 'Oh, Anime1Edward is so morally weak because he killed people...'

QUOTE
However, I still maintain that Envy himself is a fairly uncomplex character. Yeah what he symbolises is very complex and well thought out, but the character himself, is pretty one note. He's sadistic and hates humans because... his daddy left him? Yeah his hatred for Edward and Alphonse is justified but why is he such a sadist outside of that? Why was he involved in the death of Hughes? What does that have to do with his hatred for Hohenheim?

Well, parental abandonment is a strong motivation for many a character (90210's Dylan McKay, Naruto's Gaara, etc.). Hoho's abandonment was a major betrayal for both Edward and Envy. Perhaps even moreso since Anime1Hoho was a more devoted and hands-on parent than his manga version. To have said parent leave them after such a deep relationship definitely leaves a mark.
But Edward had his family and Winry to lick the wound better. All Envy had was Dante. The woman was a definite influence, fanning the flames of his bitterness, poisoning his mind and feelings until whatever humanity existed inside the first born was gone. Envy was as much a product of his mother as Edward was of Trisha. There is also perhaps a self-loathing inside him, that his father left because he was no longer human. That his envy is for not being like a human son for Hoho.
Then again, do remember that the Anime1Homunculus were named by Dante instead of embodying Father in some way. There is the suggestion that Dante had other Homunculus before the current version (Greed did imply Lust was a successor of a previous Lust). Since Bradley was given the name Pride, it means someone else had the name of Wrath. Maybe that was Hoho Jr. original title? His wrath against Hohenheim's people, his morphing embodying people at their worst (wrath is a very negative emotion). Then the discovery of Hohenheim's second family had Dante- hurt at being replaced- convince the equally betrayed son to become Envy (Envy was the one who invited Izumi's son to become Wrath). Envious over being replaced, envious for not being like Edward and Al (A strong parallel is Aquaman's half-brother Ocean Master, whose hatred was based on their father's love for the elder son, who had aquatic abilities he himself did not possess. Peter David made a big deal of that story).
You may see Anime1Envy as a one-note character. But it's a good note.
Jealous Rogo
QUOTE (Claudius @ Apr 27 2010, 10:18 AM) *
Sorry for a late reply. My threads don't get much responses, and I thought you might reply privately.

QUOTE (Jealous Rogo @ Apr 25 2010, 02:06 PM) *
Okay I agree that Envy in Anime1 is meant to be a darker version of Edward, the shadow of himself. The path not taken. Etc. Etc. I think that BONES were clever in making Envy into this character from the material they were given. If anything that's the one thing that the Manga is argueable missing - a dark version of Ed. The closest we get is probably Pride, but even THAT is a bit of a stretch.
MangaEdward doesn't really have much of a dark side, unlike his counterpart's grayness. Not necessarily a bad thing, unless someone makes an unfair comparison about 'Oh, Anime1Edward is so morally weak because he killed people...'

QUOTE
However, I still maintain that Envy himself is a fairly uncomplex character. Yeah what he symbolises is very complex and well thought out, but the character himself, is pretty one note. He's sadistic and hates humans because... his daddy left him? Yeah his hatred for Edward and Alphonse is justified but why is he such a sadist outside of that? Why was he involved in the death of Hughes? What does that have to do with his hatred for Hohenheim?

Well, parental abandonment is a strong motivation for many a character (90210's Dylan McKay, Naruto's Gaara, etc.). Hoho's abandonment was a major betrayal for both Edward and Envy. Perhaps even moreso since Anime1Hoho was a more devoted and hands-on parent than his manga version. To have said parent leave them after such a deep relationship definitely leaves a mark.
But Edward had his family and Winry to lick the wound better. All Envy had was Dante. The woman was a definite influence, fanning the flames of his bitterness, poisoning his mind and feelings until whatever humanity existed inside the first born was gone. Envy was as much a product of his mother as Edward was of Trisha. There is also perhaps a self-loathing inside him, that his father left because he was no longer human. That his envy is for not being like a human son for Hoho.
Then again, do remember that the Anime1Homunculus were named by Dante instead of embodying Father in some way. There is the suggestion that Dante had other Homunculus before the current version (Greed did imply Lust was a successor of a previous Lust). Since Bradley was given the name Pride, it means someone else had the name of Wrath. Maybe that was Hoho Jr. original title? His wrath against Hohenheim's people, his morphing embodying people at their worst (wrath is a very negative emotion). Then the discovery of Hohenheim's second family had Dante- hurt at being replaced- convince the equally betrayed son to become Envy (Envy was the one who invited Izumi's son to become Wrath). Envious over being replaced, envious for not being like Edward and Al (A strong parallel is Aquaman's half-brother Ocean Master, whose hatred was based on their father's love for the elder son, who had aquatic abilities he himself did not possess. Peter David made a big deal of that story).
You may see Anime1Envy as a one-note character. But it's a good note.


Aaaaactually now you bring up that Dante fanned the flames of Envy's hatred, maybe Envy is also a manifestation of her bitterness and resentment. I mean Hohenheim betrayed her just as bad as Envy, if not worse. He and her became immortal for the sole reason of living forever together, she even was the one to ressurect him out of love. And he left. Anyone would be p.o'd, and yet she always seemed so weirdly calm about the whole thing. I think she channeled all her bitterness and hatred into Envy, hence why Envy lashed out so much at the world with such intense hatred.

So while Envy may be one note, he may also be making Dante less one note. Which is good.

Her plan still was vague as hell but least she's more complex tongue.gif
Vicious74
Ok not to sound like an arse but I honestly don't care enough about the first anime anymore to discuss it so extensively but I'd just like to say that Envy was NOT Ed's brother. He was the homunculus created when Hohenheim tried to bring his TRUE brother back to life. If Envy was Ed's brother, then Sloth was his mother, and we all know that's not the case.

The homunculi were NOT the people that their creators tried to revive, the anime constantly said this, yet people keep saying Envy was Ed's brother which I find ludicrous. Yes Sloth eventually began to have a few scattered and vague visions of Trisha's memories, but can you really say that that's enough to actually MAKE her Trisha? Hell no.

Also, Envy never even got to see Hohenheim and receive any sort of affection for him, it's pretty obvious Hohenheim left Dante right after he saw the failed result of his human transmutation. Why would he stick around when his new 'son' was a repulsive and inhumane crawling monster?
Claudius
I'm sorry, but the Anime1 does imply that even though they are Homunculus, these are still HoHo Jr., Izumi Jr., and Trisha. Sorta like the vampires in the Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel series. They lack the soul, but they are basically the humans they once were (Sloth even said she could have become Trisha, albeit with certain additions). One can argue that these Homunculus could have become more human if their creators hadn't deserted them, leaving them under the 'nurturing care' of Dante, who reared them into becoming sociopathic monsters. And Edward and Izumi treated Sloth and Wrath as their actual relations (as noted by their angst in dealing with them), so we should consider them as the Homunculized versions of those persons.
And you are right, Hohenheim abandoned his son when he became a Homunculus (There's a definite pattern here; Envy, Lust, Sloth, and Wrath were all deserted or rejected by their creators). I made no argument about that, but just as Sloth, Lust, and Wrath had scattered memories of their former selves, Envy probably had memories of being loved by his father (once again, remember that Anime1Hohenheim was more paternal than MangaHohenheim). Thus, being rejected by your creator/father must really hurt (Just as Wrath's memories of Izumi casting him back to the Gate resulted in him rejecting her). Mama Dante didn't help matters.
I apologize for this, but I see no reason to discuss this any further with you. As you said, you don't really want anything to do with Anime1, and I really have trouble dealing with the lack of tact (the 'sounding like an arse' part) in your responses to my comments.
Ducard
The 'Envy as devil' theme gains some visual support in the movie. Note that Envy's dragon form is subdued by the Lance of Longinus, the lance that pierced Christ's side; this also echoes the Flamel symbol of the crucified-snake.

QUOTE (Jealous Rogo @ Apr 27 2010, 12:23 PM) *
Aaaaactually now you bring up that Dante fanned the flames of Envy's hatred, maybe Envy is also a manifestation of her bitterness and resentment. I mean Hohenheim betrayed her just as bad as Envy, if not worse. He and her became immortal for the sole reason of living forever together, she even was the one to ressurect him out of love. And he left. Anyone would be p.o'd, and yet she always seemed so weirdly calm about the whole thing. I think she channeled all her bitterness and hatred into Envy, hence why Envy lashed out so much at the world with such intense hatred.

So while Envy may be one note, he may also be making Dante less one note. Which is good.

Her plan still was vague as hell but least she's more complex tongue.gif

You make a good point about Dante. I've always been interested by that one scene where Dante and Pride (quasi-parental figures, heh) manipulate Envy into taking revenge on the Elrics. Dante is perfectly fine with allowing Envy to indulge in his feelings insofar as it supports her own plans, but when it comes to the the feelings of the other childlike Homunculi (Gluttony mourning Lust, Wrath mourning Sloth), she denies them. The final arc made it a point that, while the Homunculi are absolutely not human they may still retain, and perhaps are haunted by, certain emotions and feelings which are all too human. But as far as Dante is concerned, the value of their near-humanity should only be acknowledged in terms of usefulness to her.

Of course her plans to be godlike are ruined by the fact that she's human herself, and a mere human cannot redefine humanity according to one's own personal interests. Which is probably the main point of the entire story, morally speaking.
Saving_Grace
Really interesting little essay, Claudius.

You know, I'd never quite thought of Envy like that, but now that you've brought that up, it makes sense. I've always appreciated the different, darker approach the first anime took with the homunculi and Dante, and I think this just sort of added another layer for me.

Nicely done.
xHearter
sorry, I didn't read this whole thing...
lol, but you have a really good point. I realized this too, cuz I was trying to think of a song for tributes to people.
on both ed, and envy's list, there were lot of the same, like your gonna far go far kid-offspring, subject to change-sum 41, under class hero-sum 41, daddy wasn't there-austin powers(lol that one's a joke)
in the end, I gave ed subject to change, and Envy your gonna go far kid.

but srsly, in the beginning I thought you were describing ed. xD
wanna know what I think?
I think Ed and Envy both take after hohenheim, butbut then E got his nice-ness from his mom, and Envy got his, lol-i-gonna-kill-you-just-for-the-heck-of-it-ness from his mom.
I have NO idea where the palm tree hair came from...
lol
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