There is a genre of art from Japan called anime. It is among my favorite types of illustrations. Although anime began in the realm of comic books (called “mangas”), many anime’s have been adapted into animated television series. Among the best is Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. It tells the story of two brothers named Edward and Alphonse. As the story progresses, the brothers get wrapped up in a massive plot led by dangerous beings called the homunculi, each of which is named after one of the seven deadly sins. Edward and Alphonse must defeat these homunculi in order to save the world from destruction. Among the most fascinating homunculi is Envy. She is a vicious killer who can transform herself to look like anyone. But, Envy’s most dangerous attribute is her ability to influence people’s thoughts and feelings by making them focus on the successes of others. She seeks to make everyone compare themselves to each other while blinding them to their own personal goodness. As a result, she is able to convince people into hurting each other and doing great evils. Although she is able to don the appearance of whoever she sees, Envy’s true identity is quite different. At the end of the series, after a long battle with one of the main characters, Envy is reduced to her original form, a small green slug-like creature. When Edward sees her in such a pathetic state, Envy starts to cry while screaming in humiliation. She tries to trick the characters by making them jealous of each other. Envy hopes that their jealousy will make the heroes fight while she makes her escape. Edward, however, sees through the ploy and says with sorrow, “Now I understand…you’re envious of us.” When the creature hears these words, she is cast into despair as her greatest shame is brought to light. She cannot bear to live with the embarrassment of being seen as one who is envious of others. We live in a world that prioritizes perception and suffocates itself with comparison. So many people waste their resources making sure they are seen as wealthy, smart, happy, popular, etc… This is really clear in the entertainment industry, especially so-called “reality” TV. It is common knowledge that these shows are the complete opposite of reality! Their only focus is to present a certain image, not what is actually happening. St. Thomas Aquinas defies envy as “sorrow over another’s good in so far as that good diminishes one’s own good name.” Instead of rejoicing for the sake of goodness, we are saddened by it. We spend our time obsessing over someone else’s blessings while Satan blinds us to our own. In the end, Envy is the result of us forgetting about our own belovedness as God’s child.
The Seven Deadly Sins: Envy