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By using the lives of those sentenced to hang during the witch-hunts and those who were dying of the plague; By repeating our experiments, relentlessly, despite countless failures, we finally grasped it; The Philospher's Stone.
Dante is the central antagonist of the Fullmetal Alchemist 2003 anime series. She is the true leader of the Homunculi, who plans to extend her life forever with Philosopher's Stones. She also plans to serve as humanity's protector like a god, by preventing selfish humans from being able to use the Philosopher's Stone for their own selfish actions, ignoring the fact that she is human herself and not truly immortal due to her decaying body as the result of transferring between people so many times.
She was voiced by Cindee Mayfield and by Monica Rial while inhabiting Lyra's body.
400 years ago, Dante and her lover Hohenheim discovered immortality by creating the Philosopher's Stone. With it they switch bodies by having their souls transferred onto different bodies over and over again. Hohenheim and Dante had a child together, who later died due to Mercury poisoning. Later Hohenheim tries to revive their dead son only to create a Homunuclus. That Homunculus would later be known as Envy, and hated Hohunheim so much that he made it his personal mission to find him and kill him. Sometime later, Hohenheim left Dante. Left to fend for herself, Dante will go to great lengths for survival and will stop at nothing to obtain the Philosopher's Stone in order to extend her fading life.
Role in the Story
For the following years whilst being a parasitic soul, Dante gathers and creates minions who are the Homunculi and tricked them into believing that once they obtain the Philosopher's Stone for her, she will turn them all human. She had her homunculi minions keep tabs on the Elric's throughout their journey. When meeting Hohenheim for the last time, he reveals the reason for their rotting bodies accelerating (each time they go into a new one, they leave a piece of their soul in the old one, causing the current body to rot even faster) before banishing him. After kidnapping Al, Dante later explains to Ed about her past history with Hohenheim and the son they conceived, before Envy kills him. Dante then destroys everything in Gluttony's mind except the will to eat, Al had used alchemy to destroy his jaw. As Dante escapes in an elevator, during her tirade over losing the Stone, Gluttony appears and chews through the elevator floor, attempting to attack her, Dante then tries to stop him from eating her. However the elevator traches the top floor with neither of them in it.
Dante is depicted as someone with a god-complex, egomania, and is highly misanthropic: looking down on humanity and believing that they are unworthy of unlocking the secrets of alchemy and the Philosopher Stone. When told by Edward that she was human just like everyone else, she only states "not anymore".
She has a strong sense of self-preservation an wants the stone to sustain her life forever, believing that the souls from those who died was "worth it". She also states the hypocrisies of equivalent exchange, claiming that those who work harder than others, never gain anything out of it.
Despite her minion's loyalty (except Greed), she has no qualms on punishing them if they were to turn against her, as she opened the gate to tear Wrath's right arm and left leg apart, and ordered Lust's capture. Even the homunculus Envy himself (whom is based on her deceased son) wasn't exempt from this, as he took no action against her for Hohenheim's "death", knowing full well the power she held over him - she also showed no sadness or mention when he was lost to Alphonse's transmutation, showing that he was nothing more than a "pawn".
Speaking of emotions, she is insidiously calm, stoic, patient, composed, and unemotional, not one to lose her temper nor raise her voice nor show rage, alarm, or surprise, not even when Envy snapped at her about Hohunheim. She can, however, get angered of frustrated at times, but not to the point of a psychotic temper tantrum. This is especially true upon her defeat because of Alphonse sacrificing himself to save Ed's life, and when she tried to escape via the elevator.
She is a highly deceptive and cunning individual, tricking her minions (except Envy and Pride) into believing that she can make them human, in reality she wants the stone herself in order to continue cheating death, and when confronted by Hohenheim, she used Sloth as a distraction (due to her resembling his late wife), and then used Rose's baby to open "The Gate" to banish him forever.
For all of her heinous misdeeds, she does show a slight positive side, regarding her relationship to Izumi and from her moments with Hohenheim.
Heh, perhaps but it's been centuries since our last meeting, Hohenheim. We'll have plenty of time to talk later. Right now, why don't you help me enjoy this new body?
~ Dante meets Hohenheim again.
I've been doing some research since you've been gone, trying to learn more about the Gate that is the source of all our alchemic power. I've discovered some fascinating things, Hohenheim. Would you like to know what lies beyond the Gate? You can't tell me you haven't been just a little bit curious. Did you know a part of the Gate is actually within all of us? As our consciousness matures and we grow more attached to this world, we lose our awareness of it, but by using someone who's link is still strong, like a baby, the Gate can be summoned. I'm going to show you, my darling. See for yourself, just what is beyond the Gate.
~ Dante to Hohenheim.
Damn it, Gluttony, what the hell are are you doing here? I don't have time for this! You can't understand me, can you? Just hold on - we'll find you something to eat soon, okay?!
~ Dante's last words, moments before being killed by a mindless Gluttony.
Dante makes a cameo in episode 58 of FMA Brotherhood.
Dante and Envy
Dante before being devoured by the mindless Gluttony.
An elderly woman almost identical to Dante (her elder form) makes a brief cameo in Episode 58 of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
It is likely that Dante's knowledge and skills in alchemy far surpassed those of anyone else in the series, with the possible exception of Hohenheim—and even then, the different directions their alchemy research took them did grant them an uneven equality (meaning that even though Hohenheim is more skilled than Dante, the fields of Alchemy she studied—Homunculi and the Gate—allowed her to get one up on him).
Dante is one of the very few individuals to have an appendage inside Gluttony's mouth that comes back unharmed.
It is implied that that her personal sin (Gluttony) is what caused her downfall, the reason why was because her insatiable desire for "The Stones" power. She had hastily stripped Gluttony's mindset (turning him into the monstrosity, that she becomes), which ultimately backfired when he eats her.
Dante's true appearance is only seen in flashbacks, as both the old woman and Lyra are just victims having their bodies possessed by her.
According to Dante, she has jumped from one body to another less than ten times in over 400 years.