With the release of chapter 74 we've come across a very interesting flashback/dream, with father definitely being one of the characters involved (seeing as how he happens to be the one doing the dreaming).
The issue here is, is father the homunculus, or is he Van Hohenheim (#23 in other words)?
The popular interpretation seems to be that he is the homunculus, while #23 is indeed Hohenheim. However, this seems to be based purely on the homunculus naming #23 as Hohenheim, upon closer inspection certain facts do not seem to fit with this interpretation.
The relevant facts are:
- #23 is undoubtedly human.
- Van Hohenheim (the father of the Elrics) appears to be a homunculus, or at the very least, he possesses some of their features, he bleeds souls/philosphers stones, and he is refered to as an "it" by father
- father appears to be at least have a human origin, Mei and Ling both noted this, with Mei stating it as "he's a person, but not a person".
- Pride is the first homunculus
- the dream appeared to have taken place in Xerxes
The homunculus shown in the chapter resembles only two other things that have been shown in the manga, the gate of truth (when it opens), and Pride. The homunculus being Pride would also fit with the fact that father's activities seems to have began in Xerxes, and Pride is said to be the eldest homunculus. Also father has been said by Mei to be human, a characteristic that father at least seems to deny Van Hohenheim.
Basically it reduces to this:
father is not a homunculus
Pride is the eldest homunculus
The one character that must have been present in the dream was father, since the homunculus appear to be Pride, that leaves him with the role of #23, a slave boy given the name Van Hohenheim.
I'm wondering if I missed anything here though, almost everyone seems to think that father is the homunculus. Any reasons aside from the fact that the slave boy was named Van Hohenheim?
edit: dammit, voted for the wrong choice...
Obviously The Homunculi Is Father!!! He Has A Dream To Remember. Thats Him, The Homunculi And They Have Same Dna. Thats It!!! Hahahahahaha!!!
I don't think Van Hohenheim is a clear cut homunuculus as the others were. Simply for the fact that he was able to have children. And it's been implied that homunuculus are a different species to regular humans, as shown by their abilities and implied during Kimbley's reasoning for fighting for them. This could produce hybrid, infertile chlidren, but still, we don't know if the Elrics are infertile (except Al, but that's unrelated).
Besides, what would that make the Elric brothers? As far as I see, Edward is still human. The only time he showed abnormal recovery was when he lost his limbs during the failed human transmutation. While his recovery rate was exceptional for a standard human, it was nothing on the likes of a homunuculus. It was just sheer willpower.
Father is almost certainly not a homunculus either; so far, Mei, Ling, the ninjas (I think they're from the country of Shin?) have been accurate in detecting abnormalities as shown in the fight with Envy and other homunculi. But that begs the question what is he?
Frankly, I just don't think we have enough to go on to determine what Father or Van Hohenheim really are. But they certainly don't seem to be homunculi.
You don't call your creator an "it" especially when you know that he's human (which #23 definitely is), and you don't use him as a sacrificial pawn either.
Originally Posted by AtrumIncendia
The seven homunculus that have been named so far represents the seven deadly sins, given father's attitudes about humans (they're insects to be judged only on their usefulness), it's logical that he would get rid of anything tying him to humanity, including these human sins. But if he expelled these sins, why would he be the emotionless monster that he is today? I think the most likely scenario is that he went even further and expelled from himself all remnants of his humanity in addition to the seven sins, and he formed this in the form of another homunculus, and what else would you name the humanity that you're trying to rid yourself of, aside from for your human name?
This would explain father's situation (semi-human being without a name or any apparent emotion), and Hohenheim's position as a homunculus that can father children; due to his nature, he's simply too human, he isn't represented by any concept like greed, envy, or lust, just a desire to live a human life.
quite an interesting and convincing theory.
the homunculus in the jar definitely looks a lot like Pride too. however:
did Father expel his humanity and put it in Van Hohenheim ? or did he create Hohenheim "from scratch" ?
if it's the former, it doesn't explain why the two look so similar - Hohenheim already had a separate body thus shouldn't really alter appearance just because he received Father's "humanity". one might argue that Hohenheim is Father's biological child - but why is he a slave then ?
and the fact that he's just a lowly slave with no powers also seem to contradict the latter. he clearly demonstrated special powers later in the manga. though maybe it's the latter and this happened:
- Father created Hohenheim by rejecting his humanity (quest for immortality perhaps?)
- Father makes him into a slave boy. Hohenheim is purely and solely human
- Pride is in a jar. Hohenheim lets Pride out, and Pride gives him knowledge/power
^ You can't have Pride as the homunculus without father as #23.
It was his dream, he had to be in it.
I would have to assume that Hohenheim is a normal homunculus, or rather, he wasn't made with a human body as a base. He is supposed to be immortal after all, a quality that human homunculus definitely lacks.
The homuncius in the jar had hohenhaim's DNA, blood. pride looks waaaaay different from hohenhaim. besides father looks more like hohenhaim. so the homunculi must be father. besides hohenhaim can have children and perform alchemy unlike a normal homunculi so hohenhaim can't be a homuncui.
Originally Posted by echoblaze
That all depends on #23 being Hohenheim (Ed and Al's dad). You have to support that conclusion before going to anything else. I'll try to list all the possibilites here.
Originally Posted by AtrumIncendia
Father is the homunculus:
- proccess of elimination, Hohenheim is #23, so father can't be #23, it's his dream so he must be the homunculus. (requires Hohenheim is #23 to be true)
Father is #23
- same facial features, same hair style (weak argument, also applies for Hohenheim)
- the location is Xerxes, the men on pg 28 wear robes and cloths draped at an angle across their chest father is know to have been in Xerxes in the past, he wears similar cloths in the present day, neither applies to Hohenheim
- father is human according to Mei and Ling, #23 is human, and the homunculus...is a homunculus
- process of elimination, Pride is the homunculus, father must be in the dream, so father is #23 (requires Pride being the homunculus to be valid)
Pride is the homunculus:
- the only thing besides Pride to look like a blob of shadow with eyes, mouths, and limbs is the opened door of truth
- Pride is the first homunculus
Hohenheim is #23:
- they look alike, both have a ponytail (weak evidence, also applies to father)
- #23 is named as Van Hohenheim by the homunculus
hm, one minor thing that may be of note. if #23 is indeed Father, and "Pride" was just extracted from him, he still seems to have a lot of "pride" left - #23's a bit stuck up, and gets pissed off when he gets called stupid. in fact, his reaction is similar to Ed, when people call him short. it really feels like #23 is indeed Hohenheim.
anyway, perhaps the "master" is Father ?
^ Actually, the homunculus reflect their namesakes very irregularly. Envy would seem to fit, with Sloth and Gluttony it's arguable either way, but Lust doesn't seem very promiscuous, Wrath isn't particularly angry most of the time, and Pride is yet again, very ambivalent, he takes a very unassuming form for around 70 chapters (he's a little kid that no one suspected...), but he seems to take great pride in being the first and greatest homunculus, and he definitely has no problem threatening Hawkeye.
Another thing that's very telling is that father showed no noticeable changes in his personality or mood after absorbing/expelling Greed and later on absorbing/birthing Gluttony.
And whether or not #23 still held a great deal of pride, it's very evident that the homunculus reflects pride very well. Even stuck in a flask, he wanted to become greater, to obtain more knowledge and power as well as the freedom that both he and #23 lacked.
As for #23 being prideful, as you can see from the article, pride is characterized by ambition, which #23 definitely lacked, he doesn't seem to care too much about the fact that he's a slave, and he isn't even concerned that he doesn't have a name, or that he's completely ignorant in some ways (though he is offended when it's brought up). I'm not willing to say that it's a result of Pride being separated from him, but in my opinion, his behavior and attitude is certainly no indication that he's not father.