How is Alphonse Elric ( And all the other souls affixed to objects ) able to see ? Contains Spoilers

Alphonse soul got affixed to a armor but his real body still remains in the void. So how is he able to see through the piece of armor? And does this not collide with his real body's vision. All his other sense's such as feeling, taste are removed. And he also has the inability to sleep. So why does his vision remain?

  • 2
    Maybe its a spirit that's attached. Traditionally spirits don't have a physical body, thus can't feel, smell, taste or get tired, but can see. Jan 20, 2014 at 3:01

2 Answers 2


There's a bit of speculation here, since there is no blatant in-universe explanation nor Word of God to fully demonstrate the reason for this.

You may want to take a look at the answer to why a soul bonded to a suit of armor can move, because the explanation here is pretty similar. Essentially, keeping in line with the series' representation of eyes being windows to the soul (a common trope), basically: Sight is not necessarily handled biologically.

Here's basically how this works: If an average person loses his sight (as does happen in the series), he cannot see, because there is no channel of vision connected to his soul (for either eye). However, Alphonse, Barry, and the other soul-bound armors do have this channel of vision, just as there is the ability for them to move their steel fingers (with, of course, the channel being in opposite direction).

The reason what he sees does not collide with what his body sees is because his body is not transmitting its sight to a soul. It has no conscious mind to connect to its sight. As for his sleep, because he has no biological mechanisms, they do not need to rest, but his conscious mind still remains active because it is affixed to his soul (imagine the way we dream).

You're probably thinking, "Oh, hurr hurr, mister clever, there's still no physical organ to transmit the vision data!" And you'd be absolutely right! There is nothing which suggests that there is a physical entity able to transmit visual data from the real world to the armor seal, whereas there is a physical entity able to move his limbs. It's not even known that only armor with helmets can see; in fact, when Barry is reduced to a single plate of armor, he appears to be able to see his body standing over him.

So to put it simply, your answer is: Alphonse and other soul-bound armors see because it's necessary for the story. We can loosely explain it, as I did above, but there still is no legitimate, solid reason why this should be possible.

  • 1
    It might be worth noting that Ed still manages to get attacked by one of the Slasher brothers after the helmet's been removed (probably implying that said brother can still see).
    – Maroon
    Jan 20, 2014 at 6:28
  • you might almost be able to call it a instance of powers as the plot demands tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NewPowersAsThePlotDemands
    – Cyberson
    Jan 20, 2014 at 17:00

Trying to factor how the Soul works in physics is a very hard thing to do since currently there is no way to confirm or deign it's existence of weight, there is a believe that all senses connect to the soul.

When we touch, taste, smell, hear or see, our mind translates this so that our soul can understand it,

  • for touch and taste we need nerves to collect the information, since Al has no nerves he can't use these, he can however feel his Soul being scratched at only when someone is scratching at the blood seal

  • for smell we need a nose, since Al has no nose he can't smell

  • for hearing and seeing, the soul can understand what it hears/sees however it can recognize which is why Al is unable to remember key arts of his memory

this is all just speculation however and will change based off belief, as i said, trying to factor how the Soul works in physics is a very hard.

As for what you mentioned about Al's vision not colliding with his real body's vision, the Gate can only be access via special methods, remember at first Ed and Al believed Al's body to be lost however then started to believe that his body may still be at or in the Gate, it could be that when Al Body and Soul were separated so too was the connection between them thus disallowing Al to tell if his body still existed or not, this would too explain why in Botherhood Barry was surprised to see his body.

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