Van Hohenheim

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Van Hohenheim is a male character that features in Fullmetal Alchemist.

Contents

Biography

Van Hohenheim (ヴァン・ホーエンハイム|Van Hōenhaimu) also referred to as Hohenheim of Light was born as a male slave in the ancient city of Xerxes with him having no name and simply known as Slave Number 23. As Number 23 mops the floor in his master's laboratory, a creature in a flask addresses him. Hohenheim's blood had been used in the creation of the creature, the first Homunculus. As a sign of gratitude, the Homunculus gives him the name Theophrastus Bombastus Van Hohenheim, but it was shortened to Van Hohenheim for 23's own "convenience". Lastly, the homunculus tells Hohenheim that it can give him knowledge. Homunculus teaches Hohenheim reading, writing and basic alchemy. As a result of this knowledge, Hohenheim becomes his master's assistant and his life greatly improves. The Homunculus presents the King of Xerxes with what it claims is the secret to immortality. After the King creates a massive transmutation circle around Xerxes, the circle is activated, with Hohenheim and the homunculus secretly in its center. As the country and people, including the King, are consumed by the array, Hohenheim is brought before the Doors of Truth. When he is returned to the dead land of Xerxes, he encounters the Homunculus, who has crafted a copy of Hohenheim's body to inhabit for itself. As a "gift" for helping him and being the source of his life, Homunculus also rebuilt Hohenheim's body into an immortal one. The souls used were most likely people he once knew in his youth in Xerxes, who died for his both his new body and that of Homunculus, adapting the name "Father" later on. Some of the names of the souls he addresses in Chapter 97 include the people he called out to after returning from the Doors.

Some time after the Xerxes catastrophe, Hohenheim travels eastward through the desert, where he is found by a caravan of Xing merchants, who bring him to their homeland. While there, he passes along his teachings of Alchemy, which the Xingese use as the basis for their alkahestry and passing into legend as the "Western Sage" or "Golden Sage". A few decades prior to the storyline, Hohenheim arrives to Amestris and meets Trisha Elric, marrying her and having children. Though he eventually reveals the truth of his body to her, Trisha still loved Hohenheim as he decides to leave Resembool for a means to become mortal, so that he could not only age and die with his family, through ironically abandoning Edward, and Alphonse when their mother died, but after realizing Father's plan to repeat history with the country and spending an entire decade planning up a counter to it. When Hohenheim returns to Resembool, he discovers that his house has been burned down, encounters a very hostile Edward in front of Trisha's grave, indirectly providing Edward closure by striking him and also hinting that the creature he and Al created when attempting to resurrect Trisha was not an imperfect copy but something else. Before leaving, he warns Pinako Rockbell to leave the country for her safety. After he leaves Resembool with a family portrait of himself, his sons, and his wife tucked into his jacket, his carriage is held up by bandits, who promptly retreat after shooting Hohenheim multiple times, to no effect apart from damaging his clothes. He enventually crosses paths with Izumi Curtis, revealing his nature as a "Philosopher's Stone in human form" while reordering Izumi's ravaged internal organs to the most favorable arrangement possible. In Chapter 73, Father lists Hohenheim as one of his potential sacrifices for his planned transmutation circle.

Toward the climax of the story, Hohenheim joins Ed, Al, and their comrades in stopping Father's plan to sacrifice Amestris's citizens to become a "god". When they fail to stopping him before activating his nationwide transmutation circle, he absorbs the souls of Amestris's citizens and absorbs the Truth itself, giving him godlike power. He attacks the band of alchemist sacrifices with what appears to be pure alchemic power, but Hohenheim manages to defend against it with help from Mei before revealing his counter through a few souls from his stone. By placing them into the ground, and having the moon's shadow act as a transmutation circle with his stone's souls at the cardinal points, they managed to reverse the process and return the stolen souls to their proper places, leaving Father's his new form unstable and barely able to hold the Truth. With Scar's own counter of restoring the alchemists' alchemy, Hohenheim continued to counter all of Father's attacks while taking their battle to the Central before the Homunculus distracts Hohenheim by giving the souls of Xeres' dead new bodies so he can finish his assailants with some sort of energy blast. But the scheme failed and Father eventually lost control over the power he had absorbed and was defeated. After the battle Hohenheim, now with only his soul left, offered to give it up to bring Al back, but Ed refused and gave up his own ability to use alchemy in order to restore Al. Hohenheim then returned to Resembool to visit Trisha's grave one last time talking about how his life had no meaning before he met Trisha and had children, his body starts to break down as he said that he didn't want to die at all. Hohenheim dies peacefully after nearly 500 years of life, his oldest friend Pinako discovered his body the next morning. His grave is later seen next to Trisha's.

Overview

Personality and attributes

In his youth Hohenheim bears a strong resemblance to Ed, although with different bangs, taller, thinner and a more defined jaw.

His character is mild, soft-spoken, vaguely guilt-ridden, prone to making an idiot of himself, and immune to embarrassment. He tends to make cryptic statements and occasionally test other people's character.

He was of similar character to his son Edward, with a hair-trigger temper and considerable pride. However, he always completely lacked the obsessive drive which characterizes Edward Elric.

Powers and abilities

He was noted for his muscular physique.

He has an instantly self-regenerating body and describes himself as "the Philosopher's stone given the form of a man." He is an extremely powerful alchemist, second to none, having access to the unlimited power of the Stone, and, having been studying for several hundred years, is probably an exceedingly learned one as well. Only his "son", the enigmatic "Father", is capable of rivaling his power.

Notes

  • He takes his name from real life occultist Phillip Von Hohenheim, otherwise known as Theophrastus Philippus Aureolus Bombastus von Hohenheim or Paracelsus.

In other media

Television

  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Hohenheim appeared in the 2003 anime television series with a different backstory and origin. Approximately four hundred years prior to the series, Hohenheim created the first Philosopher's Stone (it is implied that at least two were created, one in the city under Central and the other from the lost civilization in the east), using people captured in a witch hunt and those dying of the plague. The resulting reaction nearly caused Hohenheim's death, but out of love and concern for her lover, Dante used the stone to attach his soul to another man's body. It's from here on out that the two jump from body to body, living on, and obtaining a so-called eternal life. It's not known if Dante and Hohenheim were actually ever married, but their relationship produced one son who died of mercury poisoning. Hohenheim performed human transmutation on his son, which, in turn, failed and produced Envy, the first-ever Homunculus. Regretting what he had done to his son, Hohenheim fled, leaving Dante a fragment of the Stone. Later, Hohenheim renounces ever truly loving Dante, stating Trisha Elric as the only woman he ever truly loved. Approximately four centuries old in soul, forty years old in his current body, "Hohenheim of Light" remains behind the scenes throughout most of the series. Most of his past is kept under wraps, save for a few key points, revealed quite late in the series. Hohenheim is a tall, rather well-built man, standing in at least six feet tall at first glance. He's rather gentle and weary, and soft-spoken as well, which is most likely due to the extensive amount of time spent alive, under his assorted burdens. This disposition is clearly demonstrated when Edward actually punches him in the face and kicks him in the stomach, with very little reaction. In the anime and manga he sports blonde hair and gold eyes, causing him to bear a strong resemblance to his sons, more so Edward than Alphonse. He is shown to be an extremely powerful alchemist, possibly the strongest in the series, showcasing his talents in transmuting light. He had explained to Trisha shortly before his departure that he was leaving to do research of some kind. stolen bodies rot more quickly every time he takes a new one. Also knowing that Dante was out there, somewhere, he assumed that staying in hiding would, perhaps, make her vanish for good. But once he found out that Dante had her eyes set on his sons, he emerged to face her, only to be immobilized by the Homunculus Sloth, who bore a striking resemblance to his late wife Trisha, and was consequently sent into the Gate, where his mind, body, and soul were separated. He was able to reassemble himself, however, and emerge on the other side, in London, and eventually becomes an advisor to Winston Churchill. When Edward's soul was sent there by Dante, he learns about Hohenheim's past. When he offers to find a way to bring Hohenheim back to their home world, he declines, revealing that the act is impossible due to his entire being residing on this side. At the end of the series, he is living in Germany, siding himself with the Thule Society, secretly finding a way to send his son back to Amestris, caring for him until Edward left for Romania to find the means of world travel.

Appearances

  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood:

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