Envy is a major antagonist of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga, as well as its two anime adaptations. Envy is is a prominent member of the Seven Homunculi with the power to shape-shift, which he uses to spy or to impersonate people, and a ruthless sadist who enjoys tormenting humans. In spite of his sadism, he is widely considered as the most popular homunculus in the series.
Envy is the fourth Homunculus created by Father. He was created when Father separated his jealousy from his body and incarnated it into a Philosopher's Stone, which he used as Envy's core.
AppearanceEnvy looks like a rather androgynous young man in his late teens, with long dark hair and violet eyes, dressed in the black garments common among the homunculi. (In the 2003 anime series, he has dark green hair.) He has the homunculi's red lines across his body, including a red triangle on the headband that covers his forehead, and his Ouroboros mark his located on his left thigh.
Envy's humanoid form is not his real one though, more of a second skin. His true form looks like a gigantic, green reptilian monster with eight limbs, much like the Basilisk, and human-like features like his teeth and nose. He retains the long black hair and the red triangle on the forehead of his human form, he has two pairs of human arms in the front part of his body and two human legs crouched like that of a lizard on the back part, a spiked back, a long tail and an extensible tongue. His upper body is covered with the bald, tormented faces (and some upper body parts) of those whose souls were used to create his Philosopher's Stone.
When deprived of all his power, Envy reverts to his original, powerless form. He retains the aspect of a hideous, eight-legged, reptilian monster; but he becomes ridiculously tiny, loses all human features and looks more like a leech, having animal sharp teeth and big eyes. He remains able to use his front paws like arms though.
Envy is rude, loud-mouthed and obnoxious, to the point of insulting Lust, his direct superior when criticized. If only it stopped there, but he is also the most vicious, scornful, resentful and sadistic of all the homunculi. He mostly acts in a playful and seemingly friendly way, but this is a thin facade.
Envy heavily despises humans, whom he deems useless and inferior, and he never hesitates to voice out loud, mocking mankind for believing themselves to be powerful and revelling in the thought of proving them wrong. This extreme scorn goes hand in hand with his equally extreme cockiness. Indeed, Envy cannot stand not dominating the situation and he quickly loses his temper whenever he gets bested by "inferiors". He goes as far as complaining when his foes "do not play fair", while he himself always fights with the most under-handed tricks he can find.
Envy's hatred and scorn towards humans stems from his jealousy of the inner strength they wield. Deep down in his heart, he envies the humans for their solidarity and free will, something that homunculi sorely lack. (Thus mirroring the Deadly Sin from which he is born.) Envy is thoroughly ashamed by this and never ever reveals it, nor even lets pass the slightest hint. When Edward finds out his true feelings, he labels it as "the supreme insult".
Envy enjoys demeaning people, teasing them and pushing their buttons to no end. He also loves tormenting his victims, by playing with their feelings and bonds as often as he can, using it to threaten his hostages with what they fear the most. He also loves to taunt people and to turn them against each other by call upon their desire of vengeance. Finally, seeing people working out their differences aggravates him to no end.
Powers and AbilitiesEnvy has the power to shape-shift into anything or anyone, should it be animals, real people or human aspects that he made up. He can apparently shape-shift to anything that does not exceed the size and weight of his true form, which considering said true form means a lot. This power comes in handy to go anywhere unnoticed or to travel fast.
Envy can partially shape-shift as well, and often uses this ability in battle, to transform his arms into ropes, blades or even a snake, which he can then manipulate like real ones. Envy also uses this power to elongate his limbs like tentacles to strike his foes or seize them, proceeding to squeeze them slowly or to toss them anywhere. (He has proven able to absorb bodies through his "tentacles" though the full extent of this ability remains unclear.)
Even under his humanoid aspect, Envy's weight is that of his true form, which grants him enormous strength and durability. In spite of his weight, he is very fast, swift and nimble, no matter what form he assumes and as any other homunculi, he can regenerate any wound even lethal ones, as long as there is enough energy left in his Philosopher's Stone. However, despite his powers and strength, he has little fighting skills, enabling weaker but more skilled fighters to easily gain the upper hand.
Under his true form, Envy can use his strength to its maximum and becomes even more dangerous, being able to crush rock under his limbs, tail or jaws. He is also able to manipulate the human remains that cover his body and make them appear and disappear, and to elongate his tongue to use it like a harpoon or a binding rope. Under his original form, Envy's only power left is his ability to fuse his limbs with organic matter and flesh, enabling him to take control of the body he infests. However, he is not able to fuse with minerals and non-organic matter.
Role among the Seven Homunculi
Envy's shape-shifting powers makes him the perfect spy, as he uses human and animal disguises to go unnoticed. He regularly uses his human disguises to remain in the Central Headquarters, keeping an eye on people to get information and ready to take command from Wrath. He also uses his powers to impersonate people and manipulate events, or to carry assassination missions while framing people that the homunculi want to discredit.
Envy uses his power to transform into someone the one he must kill cares for, taking advantage of his victims' inability to harm their loved one, while reveling in their despair.
Envy mostly serves as a field agent under Lust's command, frequently being accompanied by Gluttony who backs him up. It must be noted that he gets along with Lust quite well, though he is not over bickering with her, being very angered upon learning her death.
Envy is first seen during the riots orchestrated by the homunculi in the city of Lior, having been called by Lust to impersonate Father Cornello, a fraud priest and pawn of the homunculi that Lust killed previously. Envy's impersonation of Cornello enables the homunculi to further the chaos in town, as they need a huge bloodshed in this region, which is located on a point of the nation-wide transmutation circle that Sloth is digging all around the country of Amestris for Father's needs.
Envy is later seen alongside Lust in the Fifth Alchemy Laboratory of the capital Central City, in which the homunculi undertook experiments on the Philosopher's Stone. The primary protagonists Edward and Alphonse Elric have sneaked into the laboratory and discovered what was going on, so Lust and Envy barge in, killing the laboratory armour-bound guards whom Edward has just defeated and who were about to reveal crucial informations, knocking Edward out after making cryptical remarks that he is a precious sacrifice for them, and ultimately blowing up the laboratory to destroy the evidences. Following the events in the Fifth Laboratory, Lt Colonel Maes Hughes, a friend of the Elrics, discovers the secret goal of the homunculi, prompting Envy to shoot him down while impersonating Hughes' wife Gracia.
While doing researches in the Central Military Headquarters, Envy discovers that Hughes' best friend and well-known Flame Alchemist Colonel Roy Mustang is investigating on the murder, so Envy frames Second Lieutenant Maria Ross, one of Hughes' subordinates, whom he has under arrest. Mustang then secretly stages Maria Ross' break-out form jail and makes everyone believe that he burnt her to death, while he in fact organises her escape out of the country, hoping to lure the real culprit out of hiding.
After a short investigation, Envy learns that Barry the Chopper (the second armour-bound guard of the Fifth Laboratory who has escaped) is involved in Maria Ross' break-out. Wanting to kill all witnesses of their activities, Lust orders Envy and Gluttony to track him down, but they are found by the Xinese prince Ling Yao and his bodygard Lan Fan, who are able to track down homunculi and prove more than a match for them. As an aggravated Envy is about to reveal his true form, he is stopped by Pride, who orders them to retreat. Meanwhile Colonel Mustang manages to destroy Lust. Envy is then sent to capture Dr Tim Marcoh, the State Alchemist that they coerced to lead the researches undertook in the Fifth Laboratory, who had fled out of guilt.
Encounter with Father
Later, the Elric brothers, Ling Yao and Lan Fan, as well as Colonel Mustang hatch a plan to capture a homunculus to pry informations from him. After violent battles against Scar (an Ishvalan who wants revenge for the genocide of his people by the Amestrian army, and who kills State Alchemists) and Wrath, they manage to capture Gluttony, but Envy comes to his rescue and engages another fight. In the ensuing battle, Envy, Ling and Edward are accidentaly swallowed by Gluttony and cast into the dimensional void inside his belly. There, Envy gleefully reveals that he caused the Ishval War by shape-shifting into a pacifist soldier to kill an Ishvalan child. Knowing that they have no hope of escaping, he then assumes his true form to kill Edward and Ling.
Edward eventually uses Envy's Philosopher's Stone to return them all to the real world and they find themselves in Father's throne room. The Elric brothers and Ling attempts to fight Father but end up quickly subdued and Ling gets turned into the second Greed. Envy then uses his soldier disguise to bring the Elrics to Wrath.
Envy then resumes his work as a field agent, this time as Wrath's personal assistant. When the deranged alchemist Solf J. Kimblee is released from jail upon Wrath's orders, it is Envy who gives him his instructions and a Philosopher's Stone.Later Alphonse Elric, Tim Marcoh, Scar, the Xinese princess Mei Chang and two chimera soldiers lure Envy to them with a false denunciation. The sadistic homunculus takes the bait and confronts the protagonists, only to get caught several times into alchemic traps. Enraged, Envy assumes his true form and captures Marcoh, who manages to destroy his Philosopher's Stone, reducing him to his original form whom they imprison inside a glass bottle.
Scar then gives Envy to Mei Chang and tells her to return to Xing, so that her tribe could use Envy's knowledge of the Philosopher's Stone, but the homunculus manages to convince her to head for Central City instead, hoping to get another Philosopher's Stone to replace the one he lost.
The final battle
During the final battle, Mei Chang and Envy sneak into the Central Military Headquarters, invaded by soldiers from Briggs and swarmed by feral, lesser homunculi. In the ensuing chaos, Envy manages to escape the bottle and absorbs enough lesser homunculi to regain his full power. He then attacks Mei with the intent to kill, only to stumble upon Edward Elric, Scar, the chimeras, Colonel Mustang and his subordinate Lt Riza Hawkeye.
A gloating Envy makes the mistake of revealing that he killed Maes Hugues, triggering Mustang's thirst for revenge. Envy is no match against the powerful Flame Alchemist and gets incinerated several times. Even reverting to his true form only makes him an easier target and he is forced to flee into the maze of Father's subterranean lair. He transforms into Mustang to decieve Lt Hawkeye but she manages to trick him and shoots him repeatedly with guns and a riffle. As he manages to capture her, Mustang intervenes and burns him down until only his parasitic form remains. As Mustang is about to finish Envy off, Edward and Scar intervene and Ed seizes the parasitic homunculus with his metalic arm. Edward, Scar and Hawkeye manage to talk Mustang out of his thirst for revenge, much to Envy's disgust. He mocks them and tries to remind them all the hatred between them to make them fight but Edward confronts him with his jealousy of mankind's inner strength.
Disgusted that the one he despises the most has discovered his biggest shame, Envy escapes and commits suicide, by extracting his powerless Philospher's Stone from his body and shattering it. He then vanishes into dust with tears in his eyes, wishing good bye and good luck to Edward.
In the 2003 anime
In the 2003 anime series, Envy is the first Homunculus created. As in this (radically different) storyline homunculi are created after a human transmutation, which only produce and alchemic "clone" of the deceased one, he was created 400 years before the beginning of the series by Dante (this storyline's main villain) and Hohenheim, in an effort to revive their late son who died of mercury poisoning.
Envy holds a staunch grudge against Hohenheim (who abandoned him and Dante after realising that their son would never truly return) for not recognizing him as a son. He is also extremely jealous of the protagonists of the series, Edward and Alphonse Elric the sons of Hohenheim (for recieving the parental love that he never got). His hatred is so strong that he never assumes his true form (which looks a lot like Hohenheim and the Elrics) pretending to have forgotten it. He harbours a fierce hatred for humans, wanting to kill as many of them as possible, and would stop at nothing to kill his "father" and "brothers".
Envy remains by Dante's side all along, carring her dirty work for the sole pleasure of seeing humans die and suffer. After his final battle against Edward Elric in which he reveals his true face to distract Edward and severly wounds him, he transforms into a huge snake-like dragon and goes beyong the Gate of Truth into the real world, where Hohenheim has been banished.During the two year gap between the end of the anime and Conqueror of Shamballa, Envy was captured by the Thule Society. With Envy in his massive serpent form, the Society intended to use him as a literal Ouroboros to open a physical Gate and transfer their soldiers to the other side, to "Shamballa". Hohenheim was imprisoned and offered to Envy as a sacrifice; a human chew-toy to keep the "Great Serpent" calm as they formulated their plans. Around the time of Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa, Envy escaped and took shelter in an abandoned castle, only to cross paths with Edward once again.
In their ensuing fight, Envy was attacked on all sides by the Thule Society, who recaptured him and managed to get a small regiment of soldiers to the other side for a short time. In the end, it was Hohenheim who took his own life using Envy as his means, enabling Ed to return to his own world in a final act of redemption for his sins, using him as material to create a gate between the two worlds. Thus, Envy finally realized his sole desire to kill his father, ultimately at the cost of his own life. He was the seventh and final Homunculus to die in the series. It is not known whether or not Envy forgave Hohenheim before his death, though it is not likely.