F.A.N.G. – The Secret of 2

When F.A.N.G. was first released in 2016, he brought with him an air of mystery. He was an enigmatic, yet all-around goofy character. His back story played him up to be a somewhat tragic figure, kidnapped at a young age to become an elite assassin that specialized in poison. As he himself stated in his story mode, he lived each day knowing it could be his last, but it wasn’t until he met Bison that his life would change, in his view, for the better. Awed by Bison’s ideology, F.A.N.G. gleefully devoted his life to Shadaloo, and in return, worked his way up to became one of the Four Kings, and Bison’s right-hand man.

However, there is more to F.A.N.G.’s devotion than what is portrayed in-game and in the side readers. Shadaloo is the closest thing to genuine happiness that F.A.N.G. has ever experienced in his life, and his devotion to the organization, and to Bison, is completely genuine. It’s the reason why he always seems so happy and childlike whenever he’s around Bison or whenever he’s going to kill someone; he never had a real childhood and Shadaloo is his playground. Shadaloo gave F.A.N.G. purpose, but it also did more damage to his already unstable psyche.

As a man surrounded by death his entire life, it should be no surprise that F.A.N.G.’s perspective on it is completely warped – he wants to be on the side that kills, not to be killed. But there is something else that drives him. It is the thing that he can’t escape, and it has completely incorporated itself into his character. Everything he does is based on one principle, and one principle alone.

That principle is dependence.

F.A.N.G. was always surrounded by people everywhere he went. When he was with the Nguuhao, he was surrounded by kidnapped students and brutal masters. In Shadaloo, there is always someone for him to yell at or command. Yes, he killed many people, but there were always more people he could surround himself with. This was F.A.N.G.’s release from facing his own struggles. If he shared conversations with people, he would not have to think about the trauma he had experienced. His reliance on having others around prevented him from reflecting on his own past, and in turn made him cruel. It also made him more dependent.

According to Wikipedia, dependent personality disorder is characterized by “extreme passivity, devastation or helplessness when relationships end, avoidance of responsibilities and severe submission.” Furthermore, “individuals diagnosed with DPD tend to place needs and opinions of others above their own as they do not have the confidence to trust their decisions…. Generally people with DPD are also pessimistic: they expect the worst out of situations or believe that the worst will happen. They tend to be more introverted and are more sensitive to criticism and fear rejection.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dependent_personality_disorder

Looking at F.A.N.G. in game, he has at least two of the primary characteristics of DPD: helplessness when relationships end (characterized by F.A.N.G.’s grief when Bison is seemingly killed by Ryu) and severe submission (executing everything Bison says without even a hint of moral conscience). The other two, extreme passivity and avoidance of responsibilities, don’t seem to be in F.A.N.G.’s modus operandi at first glance as he takes a rather active role in Shadaloo’s activities. However, F.A.N.G. has shown both at certain times in his story. His passivity is shown while he was a member of the Nguuhao – he accepted, and eventually relished, his role as an assassin without much of a fight, even though he was a kidnapped child. His avoidance of responsibilities occurs during the Cinematic Story Mode; even though he was adept in computer science, he forced Li-Fen to hack into Shadaloo’s system in his stead when Chun-Li and Karin were able to briefly abort Operation C.H.A.I.N.S.

“Wait,” you say. “There’s no evidence that F.A.N.G. knew computer science!” There isn’t in-game, but there is evidence in the side reader “Toxicity.” In Part Two, describing what children in the Nguuhao went through, it reads, “Aside from being poor and constantly hungry, the children learned martial arts, how to wield weapons, ancient assassination techniques, and even knowledge on machinery and computer science.” 
In other words, F.A.N.G. was well-rounded in his abilities and had the knowledge to hack into the system he likely CREATED.

It should be mentioned that in regards to writing a theory for F.A.N.G., I was at first under the idea that he was illiterate. However, the fact he knows computer science as well as his knowledge of the ancient Chinese symbols on his dagger (which is detailed in “Toxicity”) quickly squashed any inkling that he isn’t well read. However, this leads to one of the biggest mysteries in Street Fighter V: why did he write the number 2 the way he did on his clothing? The answer ties in with everything that F.A.N.G. has gone through.

Going back to the traits of having DPD, one of the biggest things about the disorder that applied to F.A.N.G. was one of the risk factors to acquiring it: “People with a history of neglect and an abusive upbringing are more susceptible to develop DPD, specifically those involved in long-term abusive relationships.” As alluded to earlier, the Nguuhao were known for their brutal methodology. As F.A.N.G. himself put it, those children would, “develop immunity through controlled exposure. Those who couldn’t withstand it, would die off. They’d die, and die, and die, and die. And only the one that survives can become the chosen assassin.” F.A.N.G. became dependent on the Nguuhao because he had no other choice. He wanted to survive and could only do so by listening to others. His philosophy was kill or be killed, and he wanted to be on the side that killed.

But survival wasn’t the only thing F.A.N.G. wanted, and his obsession with the number 2 is only the tip of the iceberg. The notion that the number 2 had more meaning to it than just being F.A.N.G.’s lucky number led me to believe that maybe he had a twin. In his story mode, during his explanation of what the Poison Hand is, there is the image of three children who all look alike. If F.A.N.G. is one of those children, there’s a chance that the other two could be his biological identical brothers, making him a triplet. If he was, wouldn’t it make the number 3 more meaningful? Well, it’s stated that he dislikes the numbers 1 and 3, so the number 2 could be his birth order among the triplets. However, the idea that he was a triplet was somewhat contradicted in “Toxicity,” which states:

“F.A.N.G was one of four children to survive the ordeal. The four of them had been through hell and back, and in the process, developed a bond that was thicker than blood. They had become brothers, chosen by the poison, to become elite members of the organization. F.A.N.G was proud to have stood with his brothers.”

While technically he COULD have been a triplet, he would likely have had no real familial bond with his actual family, unless his biological brothers were the other three children mentioned in “Toxicity,” which would have made him a quadruplet instead. That doesn’t seem likely either, however, because the bond was developed during his harsh training. Note the line, “They had become brothers.” This implies that he had no previous bonds with the other children before his ordeal.

So, the number 2 is likely not a biological heritage symbol for him. So, what else could it mean? After doing more digging and putting the pieces together, it became clear as to what the number 2 and the Chinese symbol he chose to represent it actually meant.

Since we’ve established that F.A.N.G. has Dependent Personality Disorder, we can safely assume that the number 2 establishes his need to have two people in his life – himself and one other person. A Chinese saying states, “good things come in pairs,” and from F.A.N.G’s perspective, having that second person in his life means he would feel whole. More so, his DPD also explains his dislike of the numbers 1 and 3 – both numbers can represent loneliness, with 1 symbolizing being single and 3 in Chinese having the same pronunciation as the Chinese word for “to separate/to part ways.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_numerology

Being alone is something F.A.N.G. simply can not take. This explains almost the entire story of “Toxicity”- why he didn’t kill the drunk who approached him, why he was busy drinking and establishing connections in the underworld when Shadaloo was gone, why he went with the young girl, why he didn’t kill her and her brother, why he took the girl with him and renamed her “Phantom”; he desperately needed companionship. Not sex, not friendship, but to have someone there so he did not feel alone. There’s no question that he wants to reunite with Bison, his ideal companion, and to re-establish Shadaloo. However, until that happens, he needs to be with someone to be complete. “Phantom” is his partner until then.

The final piece of the puzzle is the symbol he chose to represent 2. It also means “to betray.” Why would he use that? Simple: he’s being honest with himself. He is a betrayer. As stated above, he had a strong bond with his brothers in the Nguuhao. Part 3 of “Toxicity” also implies something else:

“His first job as a professional was to kill three other assassins.

They were strong, skilled in the art of poison.

He got the job done, and killed all three.

With their blood, he became the ultimate poison assassin.

He still carried the dagger he used to kill the three.”

F.A.N.G. killed his brothers, and in essence betrayed them. After losing to Bison, he betrayed the Nguuhao and went to Shadaloo. After he is reunited with Bison, he will betray “Phantom”, his disciple, as well.

For him, there isn’t enough room in his life for 3.

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