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|“||When you notice an insect on the ground, do you stop to consider it a fool? The life of an insect is so beneath you that it would be a waste of your time to even consider judging it. That would be an accurate summation on my feelings towards you humans.||„|
| ~ Father's famous speech.|
Father (in Japanese: お父様, Otō-sama), originally known as Homunculus or The Dwarf in the Flask (in Japanese: フラスコの中の小人, Homunkurus or Furasuko no Naka no Kobito), is the main antagonist in the Fullmetal Alchemist manga series and its second anime adaptation Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.
He is both the original homunculus and a living Philosopher's Stone, created by Van Hohenheim; the father of the series' primary protagonists Edward and Alphonse Elric. Father remains unseen during the first part of the story. He is the secret builder and leader of the nation of Amestris, to sacrifice its population to pry open the Gate of Truth and become the new God.
He was voiced by the late Iemasa Kayumi in the Japanese version, and by Kent Williams in the English dubbed version.
At the very beginning when he was only named "Homunculus", Father looked like an orb of dark matter, (likely pure, physical knowledge) who could form an eye, a grinning mouth, and some small tendrils. He had to remain in the flask in which he had been created, otherwise, he would have died.
When he became a living Philosopher's Stone, he created himself an artificial body to interact with the world, using the blood he received from Van Hohenheim. He now looks exactly like Hohenheim, like a clone or a twin.
Due to him expending his large supply of souls to create the Homunculi, by the time the story takes place, Father looks like a tall, elderly man with long, platnium blond hair (contrary to Hohenheim's golden blond hair ) and a beard, golden eyes that are rarely seen fully open, and a wrinkled face with a third eye can open on his forehead. Father is dressed in white royal garments which he picked up on the King of Xerxes' corpse.
The Hohenheim-like body is in fact an synthetic shell, inside which Father's original form evolved. This new shape-changing form can survive outside a container. It is semi-liquid, semi-solid, and assumes the shape of a tall humanoid entirely black and covered with eyes, with a grinning mouth on his head.
After absorbing the Truth, Father undergoes a final transformation. Being born from Van Hohenheim's blood, he once again becomes a humanoid identical to Hohenheim, this time resembling his teenage self. He has long, blond hair, golden eyes and a slender, muscular body. He wears casual Xerxes-style clothing and goes shirtless.
Oddly enough, this form retains his old man's voice in the anime.
|“||I only wanted to obtain perfection. I wanted this world's knowledge for my own! Why should I be punished for that? What's wrong with craving knowledge? What's wrong with seeking perfection?||„|
|~ Father’s pitiful justifications only highlight his extreme selfishness|
Back when in the flask, Homunculus was observant, witty and sharp-tongued. Even under his friendly facade, he voiced his opinion out-loud, rarely showing respect that was not sarcastic and frequently poking fun at Hohenheim and humanity in general, demonstrating that even in this hapless form, he considered himself superior. This superiority complex increased into a god complex when Father became a living Philosopher's Stone. His immortality, his immense powers and his control over Amestris comforted him in his belief that he was superior to any life form.
As such he regards mankind as insignificant and treats people with extreme indifference. He states that his level of conscience is too different (and much higher) for humans to grasp, demonstrating huge levels of egomania. He caused countless gory slaughters, killed hundreds of thousands and would have killed millions without so much as a qualm, but cannot bear the idea of not being in control of the situation. Ironically, Father who craved for freedom, chose to willingly confine himself underground for most of his life. It must be noted that when confronted to Truth (a higher being he could not subjugate in any manner) after his death, Father lost all composure and began yelling frantic pleas for mercy and self-serving attempts to justify his unspeakable crimes; highlighting the petty, disgusting selfishness hidden behind the high and mighty facade.
Father is serious, merciless, deeply selfish and extremely overconfident, looking bored nearly all the time. As a result of separating himself from seven major emotions (the seven Deadly Sins) to create the homunculi, he became cold and nearly emotionless. However, when close to accomplish his goals or especially pleased, Father loses his calm and demonstrates a gleeful, wicked excitation.
Given his immense knowledge, he is rarely taken aback. As such he often acts as if he was always right and lectures people, even when they disagree or can prove him wrong. Yet, he knows that he is unfamiliar with the way people think and relies on his subordinate's advice to deal with it. (Though said advice never really surprise him.)
Father is also highly intelligent, noted by the author as one of the smartest characters of the series. He is able to orchestrate the entire story to the last event, by planting his agents where he needs and deceiving unsuspecting parties into doing his bidding; (though he left most of it to his homunculi). He is no less adept in gaining the trust of people he needs, mostly by promises and inspiring declarations, playing on their desires and telling them what they want to hear. The very high regards in which the corrupt leaders of Amestris hold him are sufficient proof of it, (though their devotion may stem from his "promise" to make them immortals).
The only beings for whom Father seem to really care are his seven "children". Hohenheim even states that he has his homunculi call him "Father" because he desires a family like everyone else, something that irks him but which he does not deny. Father also cares for Hohenheim to a certain extent, as he was very pleased to learn that he was still alive and that the Elric brothers were his children. Upon meeting the Elrics for the first time, he demonstrated a light-hearted enthusiasm and an almost comical side for a brief instant.
Yet, he only cares about Hohenheim and the Elrics because they are useful for his goals. Even his "children" are nothing but tools to his eyes, as evidenced when he did not pay the slightest bit of attention to Pride's highly weakened state, which he could have fixed in a matter of seconds, at the time of the final battle.
Powers and Abilities
Father's primary power is his seemingly limitless knowledge. He came to the world knowing already every existing concept. When he was first confronted with something, he demonstrated said knowledge by giving a dictionary-like definition of it. Since he comes from the Truth itself and was created through Alchemy, he knows everything about it and can put into practice Alchemic rituals of which mankind has never heard of.
However, despite knowing almost everything he needs to experience something in order to recognize it, or at least he needed it when he was discovering the world from within his flask.
As a living Philosopher's Stone
Father is an extremely powerful being, whose mastery of alchemy dwarfs that of the best practitioners to a huge extent (with the exception of the equally powerful Van Hohenheim). He does not need to bother with alchemic rules and limitations and he can transmute matter without even having to move. He can perform virtually any brand of alchemy and his transmutation power toys with the laws of physics. Indeed, he is able to transform anything to anything else, to heal broken bones and ribs with a touch, to transmute back projectiles, to increase the size of any object thousand-fold, to create matter from nothing and objects out of nowhere. He is also able to change the atomic structure of matter to the point of turning a stone floor into liquid, among other things.
Father can create Philosopher's Stones by gathering several of the souls contained within him, producing them from the third eye that sporadically opens on his forehead. He created the seven Homunculi by concentrating a defined emotion into a Philosopher's Stone, which he used as the homunculus' core. He can also absorb Philosopher's Stones and alchemic energy into himself. He absorbs back a homunculus to slowly restore them. (During this process, said homunculus is seen developing within him.)
Father is also able to control alchemic energy, as seen when he attacks with electrical discharges or energy blasts of variable size. More importantly, Father can infuse his alchemic energy into the ground by connecting himself to pipes, which he does to provide Amestris with the energy that the local alchemists need to transmute. Father can disrupt this energy flow, which renders alchemy useless all around Amestris for as long as he wants.
Father's evolved form has no defined shape, enabling him to manipulate his size and his figure at will. He can absorb objects and even people into himself, (which renders him fatter when he absorbs big objects or well-built people.) He can also shift his body like a fluid, phase through physical attacks; reshape his body to form tendrils, additional arms or even objects (like a gun and its bullets) and to elongate his limbs.
Moreover, his body expands outside his humanoid shape, as the whole throne room gets plunged into a black void with a gigantic eye, which he describes as "inside his belly" and which appears as a huge dark cloud from the outside. He was also seen growing to gigantic proportions, but it is possible that this was due to him absorbing the Truth instead of his regular abilities.
As the new God
After successfully becoming God by devouring the Truth, Father becomes virtually all-powerful. His already incredible alchemical prowess skyrockets to absolute levels, rendering him able to perform several high-scale transmutations at once and to do whatever he pleases with any type of matter, being able to ascend by manipulating molten metal, create tornadoes indoors, and most notably, fashion a sun in the palm of his hand and extinguish it with a gesture.
His control over alchemic energy skyrockets as well, and he becomes able to fire tremendous energy blasts from every direction, to make them last as long as he wants and even to increase their already immense magnitude tenfold, and to absorb human souls without rituals. In his divine form, he is constantly surrounded by a barrier of electricity-like energy that cancels every type of attack, be it normal punches, flame alchemy, rocket barrages, or grenades.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood
- Father's image bears a striking resemblance with the image concept of God as an old man with robes in multiple religions. Ironically, the nature and symbolism of his origin, methods, and goals actually make him the closest analog the Fullmetal Alchemist franchise has to Satan.
- Before meeting the Elric brothers for the first time, Father and Hohenheim's actions are coordinated very specifically to match up in the manga, leaving it ambiguous if he and Hohenheim are indeed the same person. Despite basing itself wholly on the manga, the 2009 anime does not include the scenes of him talking with Lust prior to her death and when he decided to left Wrath in charge of Mustang.
- Ironically, the punishment that Truth gave Father is quite poetic: By letting the Gate of Truth drags the Homunculus into it, Truth finally allows him to be an absolute God, but at the same time also stripped him from the very freedom he cherished.
- Father's original flask-bound form was most likely inspired by real-life concepts of Homunculi. Supposedly, if an alchemist was successful in creating such a being, he was to keep it inside of a glass flask for a certain period of time, as it would die in its "infancy" stage outside of it.
- The Gate that Father appears in front of is completely blank, indicates that he never learned anything, just like Truth stated.