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Despite fan theories, Elden Ring's Malenia doesn't look to sneakily be the twin of a Sekiro boss we never got

It was looking unlikely anyway, but the animations provide further evidence that Malenia isn't just Tomoe in a different hat.

Elden Ring's Malenia alongside Wolf in Sekiro.
Image credit: VG247/FromSoftware

For a good while now, one of the many fan theories that’ve been buzzing around the Elden Ring community has concerned Malenia. She looks a bit like a Sekiro boss and moves a bit like a Sekiro boss, so there’s a chance she might sneakily be a Sekiro boss we never got, right? Well, sadly, I’m about to rain on your parade.

Given the amount of digging folks have done into ER, it’s arguably surprising that this particular rumour, which points to the waterfowl dancer being something akin to a twin of a character you hear about - but never encounter - in Sekiro, has rumbled on so long. Now, though, one of the game’s loreheads has decided to take their own look into it, via some interesting animation comparisons between the two games.

“There's one question I get asked about Malenia almost every time I include her in a video, and I've never really had a solid answer for it,” FromSoft YouTuber and community figure ZullieTheWitch wrote in a tweet. “I realised it might actually be possible to get more context, but the method for getting it might be a little odd.”

That method, as you can see in their latest video, involved comparing a version of Malenia that’d been ported into Sekiro to Genichiro, in order to see how similar their animations were. Why? Well, because Genichiro should share a style with Tomoe, the Sekiro character many fans have long theorised Malenia as being based on in some fashion.

Now, if you don’t remember getting destroyed by Tomoe during a fight, that’s because you didn’t. She’s only mentioned in the base version of the game - largely as the sword master who taught Genichiro a lot of his tricks. Naturally, this led a lot of players to believe that she’d end up as a DLC boss fight, something which never ended up coming to fruition. So, when folks encountered Malenia in Elden Ring - given her look, moveset and penchant for Sekiro-style swords - many thought that she might well be a Tomoe prototype, or at least make use of some stuff originally intended for Sekiro’s missing swordswoman.

Sadly, you can add animations to the pretty convincing list of evidence pointing to that first part likely not being the case. “After careful review,” Zullie concludes after analysing Genichiro and Malenia’s attacks side-by-side, “there doesn’t seem to be any significant overlap, especially nothing as clear as [Sekiro’s other] master/student pairs.”

Adding that Malenia’s lack of a bow is likely another different between her and Tomoe as described/alluded to by Genichiro, they wrote: “while it’s possible that Malenia was still influenced by Sekiro, it seems unlikely that she has any substantial part of Tomoe’s assets”.

So, there you go. Putting that together with the fact that nothing in Malenia’s in-game data looks to point to the theory being accurate, and interviews about the development of both game having suggested that the timeline probably doesn’t line up in a way that’d match it, and it’s definitely looking like Malenia’s not some kind of direct Tomoe twin.

Regardless of whether you've ever been a Malenia-Tomoe truther, if you're after some top Elden Ring tips to help you prep for Shadow of the Erdtree's arrival, make sure to check out our array of guides to the base game, which can help you remember where to grab stuff like the Founding Rain of Stars and the Dragoncrest Greatshield Talisman.

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