Good morning everyone :) So, this is actually an issue which I’ve been itching to address for a while, but that I’ve stayed away from because I generally hate writing rants, and attempting to dictate to other people what they should and shouldn’t think. In other words, I’ve been sitting on my hands and keeping my mouth shut up until now. Anyway, I’m not going to come at this from the standpoint of trying to force my viewpoint and what I believe to be fact onto those who aren’t interested. Rather, for those of you who would like to be educated by me, I am here to clear some things up for you. If you’d rather not read what I have say, and would prefer to maintain your own perceptions - whatever they may be - then please don’t bother yourself with reading any of this. I’m not looking to start any fights, or even engage in any heated debates. Lastly, for those of you who have not watched FMA (Brotherhood) in its entirety, spoilers will obviously ensue.
So, to get to the point of this post. There exists a widespread misconception within the FMA fandom that the ‘first’ and ‘second’ Greed are two different people, or even that the ‘second’ Greed is actually Ling, in some way, shape or form. I can’t even begin to expressly how grossly untrue both of these things are. First off, the ‘first’ and ‘second’ Greed are - surprise - 110% the same person. Granted, prior to Greed regaining his memories after his rebirth in Ling’s body, I can understand how some people might have been thrown off by the use of a different voice actor, and Greed’s own insistence that he is not the same Greed, even though I personally was not. I could get into some nitpicky things like, ‘Ed and Bido say that the ‘first’ and ‘second’ Greed sound the same’, or ‘he acts just like the ‘other’ Greed’, or ‘Ed is obviously convinced that he’s met him before’, but while all of that stuff is really apparent to me, it’s a bit more of a gray area for some people.
So, let’s just get down to the cold hard facts of the matter, shall we?
Yes, we know that Greed initially insists that he is not the Greed that Edward knew. We know that the Father introduces him to the other Homunculi as their ‘new’ brother, as opposed to ‘hey kids, look who’s back’ or whatever. But honestly, guys, that’s only because the Father did not want Greed knowing that he was the same Greed——and with very good reason. He wiped Greed’s memories and attempted to erase his past identity because Greed betrayed him before. Obviously, the Father did not want him repeating the same behavior, and so attempted to cover it up by passing Greed off as a ‘different’ Greed. And maybe that’s enough to dupe some people. Heck, it certainly duped Greed. That said, the scene with Bido and everything that transpires after it is more than enough to lay to rest any doubts that anyone, including Greed, might have had concerning his actual identity.
For starters, we can assume that Bido, unlike Edward, probably knew Greed really well. Heck, he even goes he go so far as to accuse the ‘Greed’ he is interacting with now of imitating the ‘Greed’ from before. And after that, he becomes utterly convinced to the point of dropping his guard that this Greed is the Greed that he knew. And as if it wasn’t enough for us viewers to receive confirmation of his identity from, presumably, one of Greed’s best friends, Greed then stabs Bido, and regains all of the old memories that his father previously suppressed. Yes, he insists that they aren’t his at the time——but of course he does, it’s painful for him. He’s terrified of the truth, and therefore in denial about it. Ling, of course, then counters him, bringing to light what Greed already knew deep in his heart, and explaining to him that the memories of his life before will always be a part of him, because they are his. Because the friends that he lost are a part of his soul. Greed is then forced to accept that he was, in fact, the Greed from before, a realization traumatic enough to temporarily drive him off the edge.
Cut to black.
Now, like I said, I can maybe understand where some people might have thought that the ‘first’ and ‘second’ Greed were two different characters before, even though I personally never had any doubt in my mind. However, after witnessing the scene described above, I have to admit that it really surprises me how many people continue to linger under that delusion. Heck, I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen people argue things along the lines of ‘Oh, I don’t like the ‘second’ Greed. He’s so moody and he’s an asshole all the time. The first Greed was so much better. He was all relaxed and cool.” First off, I’d like to think most of us can agree that Greed was always an asshole. But, more importantly, the guy just underwent some horrendous trauma. Of course he’s moody as hell, what else do you expect? That doesn’t mean that he’s not the same Greed.
Now, I’m sure I could go on, but hopefully that’s enough to clear up any doubts you might have had regarding Greed’s identity. Let’s talk about Greed verses Ling, and how there appears to be some confusion within the fandom in regards to their independence from each other, as well as Ling ‘becoming’ Greed. I’d like to begin with laying out a foundation for how I believe Greed and Ling should be viewed, and that’s as two individual characters inhabiting the same physical vessel. Ling does at no point become Greed, or the other way around. Greed is just living inside of Ling’s body for a while.
Hell, Ling doesn’t even truly ever ‘become a Homunculus’, despite having said so upon several occasions (He’s just Ling and he’s dumb, okay?). Rather, he has a Homunculus inside of his body, which has caused his body to assume the traits and characteristics of a Homunculus (The advanced healing powers, the Ouroboros tattoo, etc). Ling’s own essence, however, has remained unaltered, otherwise he would not have gone back to being a normal human when Greed was removed from him. I mean, I guess that you could go so far as to say that Ling ‘became a Homunculus’ if you really, really wanted to. But honestly, he more just took one into his body, and reaped the physical benefits of that.
Now we’ve gotten that squared away, let’s move on to the subject of Greed and Ling’s own individual personalities and wills. They are, in fact, just that——two separate beings acting independently of one another. This can be seen as they struggle for control of Ling’s body, and have moody conversations with each other as the story progresses. They are two very, very separate people. Heck, up until the time that they start working together near the end of the story, they don’t even really agree on much of anything, and have very different goals and outlooks on life——although, to be fair, they have some common ground as well. But yeah, Ling can’t even use Greed’s Ultimate Shield himself, as it’s too closely tied into Greed’s own individual essence. Greed either has to be control of the body in order to use it, or decide to shield Ling for whatever the reason. It’s debatable, but he might be able to ‘allow’ Ling to use it if he ever wanted to. This, however, is never proven, as we never actually see it happen during the course of the story.
Anyway, that pretty much sums up the bulk of what I wanted to say. The below contains a more nitpicky rant which after much mulling over I’ve decided to include here in it’s own section. It’s relevant to the above, and very important to me——that said, I can understand how it might not seem terribly important to a lot of people. In other words, I don’t really want to come off as though I’m senselessly whining here. So, knowing that, if you’d rather not read the below, thank you for your time and please stop here.
Now, if you were paying thorough attention to the lot of what I just finished explaining, you may have noticed that I never used the term ‘Greeling/Greedling’——not once. That’s because it is, in my opinion, an abomination of a word which should never have been born, and should never be used by anyone, apart from in the context of the ship. Greed is Greed, and Ling is Ling. We love them both dearly (I hope), and if we should ever want to refer to them as a collective, we should really just say Greed and Ling (Or those two greedy assholes, I really don’t care which, and I doubt that they do, either).
I know what you’re probably thinking——that the use of the term ‘Gree(d)ling seems pretty harmless, and on the surface, hey, that’s certainly how it would appear. However, please allow me to elaborate on the actual issues that the utterance of this word poses. Take, for instance, if Greed or Ling did something. If you were to say ‘Gree(d)ling’ did it, you wouldn’t really know which one of them you’re referring to, now would you? And certainly, other people might not. Seeing as how only one of them can be in control of Ling’s body at a time, and seeing as how they don’t often agree on things, I think it’s pretty damn important to specify whether it was Greed, or Ling that did it. What’s more, the term ‘Gree(d)ling’ very much contributes to the misconception that Greed and Ling are the same person, and/or that the ‘first’ and ‘second’ Greed are two different people. And, assuming that those of you reading this agree with most of what I’ve said so far, you will know that neither of these things are in any way true.
Honestly, I didn’t even have such a big problem with ‘Gree(d)ling’ until I saw how many people were using the term to refer to Greed and Ling as though they were one in the same character, and/or to differentiate between the ‘first’ and ‘second’ Greed as characters. Heck, I myself even used the term at one point, but only to differentiate between Greed’s first and second physical appearances, meaning the way that he looks originally as opposed to how he looks when he’s in Ling’s body. In my opinion, this is the only context - apart from the ship, which is a separate thing and a completely separate usage of the word - that the term should ever really be used in. That said, due to overexposure to inappropriate use of the word, you won’t even catch me using it in that context, simply because it now rubs me the wrong way to even hear it at all.
As I’m sure that many of you probably remember, Edward Elric is pretty much solely responsible for starting the ‘Gree(d)ling’ trend. And as we all know, he did it because he was having trouble telling who was in control of Ling’s body at any given time (Greed, or Ling). Therefore, he started referring to them collectively as ‘Gree(d)ling’, just to make sure he had all his bases covered. But here’s the thing about that——the name didn’t stick. The next time we see Ed and company, Ed’s gone back to referring to Greed as Greed, and Ling as Ling. The reason for that? Well, probably because Greed threatened to kick his ass if he didn’t knock it off. But seriously, it’s because Greed and Ling are two individual characters, and should be referred to by their own individual names, respectively. And please, if you’re like me and you don’t want to contribute to the many misconceptions surrounding these two lovely characters - that there are two Greeds, that Greed and Ling are one in the same, etc - just break the habit, stop using the word, and find a new and better way of saying whatever it is that you wanted to say. Don’t say ‘I love Gree(d)ling’——say ‘I love Greed’, or ‘I love Ling’. Or hopefully, ‘I love both’. I know I do :) Case closed.
If you’ve read this far, then thank you. Seriously. I hope that I have helped to clear things up for some of you——or, for those of you who were already of the same opinion as me, to make you feel a little less alone in the world.
And always remember kids, friends don’t let friends preform the taboo alone :)