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...