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At the end of FMA: Brotherhood, when Ed got his arm back, it was muscular, and he used it to fight. When Al got his body back, however, it was weak and emaciated, as it had shown to be throughout the show on the other side of the gate? Was it ever explained why this might have happened?

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Firstly, it's worth noting that the difference in their strength is perhaps not as drastic as it appears. Though Al's body has essentially wasted away, you can see that Ed's right arm is significantly weaker than his left arm as he did not have it during during the series (or for several years before), in which he had a lot of physical improvement.

Ed, after regaining his arm Alphonse's weakened human body

However, as you mentioned, we can still notice that there is a difference. Ed's looks normal, though somewhat skinny, while Al's looks like complete skin and bone.

Unfortunately, I can only offer speculation as to why this is. Ed realizes that it's possible that he and Al were somehow interconnected within the gate, which allowed him to provide nourishment to Al's body through some kind of connection.

"I wonder if there's a possibility our minds were entangled during that process?" "I'm wondering if it's possible your body and I are connected in some way." "So you're saying your growth is connected to how Al would have grown?" "Could it be he's making up for my sleep, too?"

However, assuming this is true, it's easy to observe that Ed remains fully nourished and Al is significantly more starved. By this logic, if we assume that Ed's arm, too, is connected to his body in the "real world", he could be nourishing that at the same rate as his regular body, while Al's body would only have received partial nourishment. Unfortunately, this is never stated in the series, so it's just a guess.

So, while it's not a complete or necessarily canon answer, the best I can surmise is that while Ed's nutrients are feeding both his own body and Al's, he is receiving the lion's share of those nutrients, allowing his arm to degrade at a slower rate (or not at all).

  • What episodes are from the four small images from? – kuwaly Sep 30 '13 at 22:42
  • @kuwaly All from episode 21, right after the OP. – Killua Oct 1 '13 at 0:09
  • Actually, weren't there some lines in the Brotherhood stating: "I'm eating for us both!"? And was later also mentioned that that is probably the only explanation why Al's body hadn't completely deteriorated and why Ed had such an apetite... – DaMachk Jan 21 '14 at 1:22
  • @DaMachk Yes, as I said in my answer, "which allowed him to provide nourishment to Al's body through some kind of connection." The point I am making is that the nourishment reaching Al must be lesser than that reaching Ed, for obvious reasons. – Killua Jan 21 '14 at 1:25

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