Fullmetal Alchemist

Van Hohenheim

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"Hohenheim of Light" redirects here. For the episode, see Episode 44: Hohenheim of Light (2003 series).
Van Hohenheim
Aliases Slave Number 23 (manga, 2009 anime)
Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim
Sage of the West
Hohenheim Elric (2003 anime)
Hohenheim of Light (2003 anime)
Mr. Ho (2009 anime)
Birthplace Xerxes
Date of Birth c. 1464
Age 450 (deceased 1915)
Family Trisha Elric (wife, deceased),
Edward Elric (son),
Alphonse Elric (son),
Father (blood kin, manga)
Winry Rockbell (daughter-in-law)
Unnamed granddaughter and grandson
Envy (son; 2003 anime, deceased),
Dante (former wife; 2003 anime, deceased)
Affiliations Xerxian Alchemist
Species Human
Occupation Alchemist
Formerly: Slave
Abilities Alchemy
Unique Trait Lack of ambition
Goal To become mortal
First Appearance Chapter 40 (manga)
Episode 43 (2003 anime)
Episode 12 (2009 anime)
Voice Actor Scott McNeil (2003 series)
John Swasey (2009 series)
Aaron Dismuke (young, 2009 series)
Seiyū Masashi Ebara (2003 series)
Unshou Ishizuka (2009 anime)
Daisuke Namikawa (young, 2009 series)

Van Hohenheim (ヴァン・ホーエンハイム, Van Hōenhaimu)—also known in the 2003 anime series as Hohenheim of Light (光のホーエンハイム, Hikari no Hōenhaimu)—is a deceptively ancient and extremely powerful Alchemist as well as the estranged father of Edward and Alphonse Elric. Despite disappearing suddenly during their infancy, Hohenheim returns during the course of the series in order to right the wrongs of his mysterious past.


Hohenheim is a fairly tall, broad-shouldered gentleman with the appearance of a man of relatively healthy middle-age. He wears his long, golden-blond hair in a loose, shoulder-length ponytail with two or three loose strands of hair falling over his brow and sports a full Donegal-style beard on his square jaw. He also wears spectacles over his golden eyes, though whether or not he needs them is unknown. He has been described as "very handsome" by several women over the course of the series. In the manga, Hohenheim frequently wears a white dress shirt and tie under a black vest with matching slacks and a brown overcoat. In his youth, Hohenheim looked much like his son Edward, save for slightly increased height and a slightly more pronounced jaw.

In the 2003 anime series, Hohenheim sports a slightly doughier build, a softer jawline and darker hair.


Though Hohenheim's devotion to Alchemy and the mysterious circumstances under which he was witnessed abandoning his young family gave the impression that he was cold, he is an unexpectedly softhearted, kindly individual who is quick to give compliments but loath to accept them. Hohenheim appears to care very little for his own well-being, much less his dignity, and is therefore often put in situations that give him the impression of being goofy or eccentric, adding greatly to the series' comic relief. Slow to anger and apparently a bit of a pacifist, Van Hohenheim would much rather talk out disputes than fight, frequently doing so even while he himself is under vicious attack. Chief among his personality traits appears to be his hopeless romanticism, given his propensity for spouting sappy lines about his love for Trisha Elric, his readiness to weep openly over her, and his charming treatment of women in general. Van Hohenheim lacks the ambition of others, clearly content to take his time dealing with things that do not demand urgency, but in his youth had a hair-trigger temper much like that of his son, Edward, and became irrationally angry when taunted for his ignorance.


Trisha - The love of Hohenheim's life, Trisha is personally responsible for bringing about changes in his worldview. Having discovered a person with whom he truly and deeply connected, Hohenheim immediately fell in love with Trisha and began to desire a normal life so as not to be left existing without her. Though he loved her dearly, part of his purpose for leaving was to find a way to join his love in death when her time came.

Edward and Alphonse - Estranged from his two sons due to his ten year absence, Hohenheim feels a great amount of guilt over leaving them alone and is unsure how to deal with them upon his return. While attempting to shakily create a relationship with his boys, he absorbs Edward's hatred and abuse with good nature while nurturing Alphonse's indelible affection for his father. In the meantime, Hohenheim recognizes that Edward has a great deal in common with him and tries to make it clear that he understands the hardships Edward has been forced to endure, mentoring him casually and providing advice and guidance for the future. After defeating Father, Hohenheim offers himself to be used for the human transmutation and states that his reason is because Ed and Al are his sons. He also finally apologizes for leaving them and takes a form of responsibility, saying if he never had left them the boys would have never tried human transmutation to bring back their mother and lose their bodies when he should have been there for them as their father. This action touches Edward and finally causes him to call him father.

Father - Brought into being through the use of Hohenheim's blood, the Homunculus known as "Father" initially held a great deal of gratitude toward his blood kin for giving him life, and showed that gratitude by granting Hohenheim three treasures: a name, knowledge, and immortality. However, the last of these gifts proved to be a curse and came at a heavy price due to the Homunculus' own unquenchable hubris. Now, sharing a face and a history, the two have become enemies as Hohenheim has vowed to prevent the next phase of Father's plan. Though Hohenheim originally bore deep-seated resentment towards him, in the Father's final moments, when stating his desire to become a perfect being and to never be bound again, Hohenheim recalled that in the beginning, Father was really the only one that cared deeply enough to help him change his life for the better.

Dante - Hohenheim's lover in the 2003 anime series, Dante shared in his misguided passions and mistakes but failed to learn from them, continuing their reprehensible research long after he abandoned her. However, now that she has made his beloved sons her new targets, Hohenheim of Light returns to his offering to tell her why her body is aging in exchange for her promise to leave his sons alone. Dante instead uses Sloth, holding Rose's baby, to distract Hohenheim by reminding him of Trisha while she opens the gate. She then sends him inside, after which Hohenheim and Dante never meet again.

Envy - One of the seven homunculi in the 2003 series, Envy revealed himself as the son of Hohenheim and Dante while they were romantically involved in the past. After his death at the age of 18 due to mercury poisoning, he was reincarnated as a Homunculus as a result a failed Human Transmutation. Envy is always put on edge and is prone to bouts of rage whenever Hohenheim's name is mentioned and is determined to make him suffer for his abandonment of Envy to live a life with Trisha Elric and their sons, Ed and Al. At the end of the 2003 series, Envy leaps into the gate of truth with Ed to find Hohenheim on the other side, and is left in that world in the form of a serpent, unable to shape shift in the parallel world. 



The souls encompassing Hohenheim's Philosopher's Stone.

As a Human Philosopher's Stone, Hohenheim's body is capable of the same level of miraculous regeneration as those of the Homunculi and as such, he has been rendered incapable of dying or even aging - having been preserved in the prime of life and health for roughly four hundred years. His stone, however, is far greater than that of any of the Homunculi, as their Stones came from Father's stone, which is the same size as Hohenheim's. With nearly four centuries of life experience and alchemical study accumulated, Hohenheim's level of alchemical knowledge easily dwarfs that of any other human alchemist in the history of the world. With over half a million souls powering his stone, Hohenheim is not only capable of performing transmutations without the use of a Transmutation Circle, but can also transmute without moving his body at all and can even perform biological transmutations and circumvent the law of Equivalent Exchange with ease. Additionally, since he has become capable of conversing directly with each of the 536,329 human souls that make up his Philosopher's Stone, Hohenheim's alchemy is extremely versatile and can be implemented in multiple locations at once even without his own will to actively guide it, so long as he has deposited some of his souls there. Additionally, it appears to be more powerful than that of any other alchemist with a Stone due to having the support of the Stone's souls. During his confrontation with Father, he deflected several sustained energy blasts and called upon the souls of his Stone to aid him. After receiving their aid, his power was augmented to the point that Father could not overcome his shielding with anything less than a nuclear explosion. He also defeated Father during the first round of their battle, and was only overcome when Father revealed his amorphous, undamageable shadow form and enveloped him. It is likely that the alchemy he learned during his youth in Xerxes serves as the basis for the Xingese art of Alkahestry. It is not a false statement to say that Hohenheim is the second-most alchemically powerful humanoid character in the series, only surpassed by Father after absorbing the power of God. 

In the 2003 anime, Hohenheim is not a Philosopher's Stone, but rather an alchemist who has discovered a method of detaching the soul from a body and transferring it to another body using the Philosopher's Stone to circumvent Equivalent Exchange. By this method, he has managed to elude death for roughly four hundred years, but is still as vulnerable to attack as any human. Additionally, the instability experienced when a soul inhabits an incompatible body causes the body to rot more and more prematurely with each body transfer. Of his skills, his most significant is the ability to transmute light, shaping it into a physical form of his choosing and manipulating it remotely, earning him the nickname "Hohenheim of Light". Soon after his appearance in the 2003 anime, he is seen shaping light into Golems (resembling Alphonse's armor), which he causes to attack his enemies.

In the manga and 2009 animeEdit



Young Van Hohenheim with the Homunculus.

The young man who would later go on to be known as Van Hohenheim grew up during the 15th century in the capital of the ancient and advanced country of Xerxes. As a youth, he was the twenty-third house slave of a renowned alchemist in the King of Xerxes' personal employ and was known simply as "23". Though content in his lowly position, without freedom, any knowledge of the world or even a name, the youth's life would change dramatically in his mid-teen years when his master chose him for a particular Alchemical experiment which involved taking some of the young man's blood. While cleaning his master's laboratory one day soon afterward, 23 encountered the product of this experiment - a nearly shapeless, sentient shadowy creature kept in a flask and calling itself a Homunculus. Grateful to Slave 23 for the blood that had given it life, the Homunculus decided to give the young man a name. Though 23 decided that the name Homunculus had initially planned for him—Theophrastus Bombastus Van Hohenheim—was far too long for him to remember, he accepted "Van Hohenheim" as his name. But when the Homunculus realized that, as a lowly slave, Hohenheim was too ignorant to read or write, it explained that with knowledge, he would be able to escape the bonds of slavery and make something of himself in the big, wide world. As its second gift to the being it called its "father", the Homunculus began tutoring Hohenheim soon afterward, using its own mysterious knowledge to teach him reading, writing, arithmetic, science and basic alchemy.

Elated with the new-found sense of pride that came with his knowledge, Hohenheim began giving lessons to the other slaves and when the master discovered his remarkable skills, Hohenheim declared that, with his knowledge of alchemy, he could be a more valuable asset to the master than a mere slave. Soon afterward, the master released Hohenheim from slavery and instead took him on as his assistant. As he grew into manhood as an up-and-coming alchemist, Hohenheim thanked the Homunculus for giving him the knowledge necessary to overcome his days on the bottom rung of society and voiced his hope that he would be able to start a family, despite the Homunculus' distaste for the human existence's dependence on "breeding". When Hohenheim asked what would make Homunculus happy, it merely replied that it would like some day to escape its flask without dying. Soon afterward, however, Hohenheim and Homunculus would begin spending less time together, as the shadowy creature's mysterious knowledge was requested by the King of Xerxes in order to search for a way to make the monarch immortal. It would take at least a decade for the immortality ritual put forth by the Homunculus to become complete, but when that day came, it became immediately apparent that Homunculus had engineered some sort of base treachery. By feeding the King's court misinformation so that the center of the massive circle would be slightly askew, the Homunculus orchestrated the situation so that Hohenheim (holding the flask) would inadvertently stand at the true center. The over one million people living in Xerxes had their souls immediately pulled from their bodies and condensed at the center when the circle was activated, pulling the two through the Gate and endowing them with the energy of roughly half a million souls each. When Hohenheim awoke the next morning, he was horrified to find the capital a mausoleum and Homunculus inhabiting a humanoid body identical to his own. Explaining the situation, Homunculus revealed that he had sacrificed the people of Xerxes in order to escape his glass prison as well as give his blood kin Hohenheim one last gratuity - eternal life and a body that would never age. This left Hohenheim the last surviving citizen of Xerxes.

Filled with despair, Hohenheim fled east from his empty homeland, wandering aimlessly through the Great Desert and became aware of the movements and anguished cries of the thousands of people milling about inside his soul. Left with no one, he began to talk to them, separating individual souls out from the endless chorus of screams until he collapsed from exhaustion in the sand. Found still alive by travelers from the eastern nation of Xing, Hohenheim was brought there and regained his strength while coming to an understanding with each of the souls inside him and teaching Alchemical principles to the Xingese people. When Hohenheim's alchemic knowledge was combined with the rudimentary form of alchemy being studied in Xing, Alkahestry was born. The Xingese people called him the "Sage of the West."

It is unknown to where Hohenheim traveled after arriving in Xing, but after spending several centuries abroad, accumulating knowledge regarding the world's different customs and practices, he appeared in the growing country of Amestris and settled for a time in a small East Area town known as Resembool, presumably some time in the 1860s. There, he became good friends with the townsfolk, particularly a young woman by the name of Pinako Rockbell. Decades later, Pinako would introduce the ageless Hohenheim to a young woman named Trisha Elric with whom he fell immediately in love. Near the turn of the century, the two consummated a union and in 1899 Trisha bore Hohenheim a son named Edward with a second son, Alphonse, to follow a year later. But, in watching time affect the infant boys who shared his blood in ways that were lost to him and his immortal body, Hohenheim became concerned.

The only photograph to contain the entire Elric family, with Hohenheim in tears.

Though Trisha and Pinako had never judged or antagonized him for his Amaranthine existence, Hohenheim began to fear the prospect of watching his new family growing old and dying without him as he had seen happen to so many others over the past centuries. Thinking himself a monster, he began to fear that touching his sons would give them his curse as well, but Trisha sensed his unease and decided to hire a photographer to take a portrait of the four of them. As she placed the smiling young Edward in his father's arms for the picture, Trisha explained that she only wanted for them to stay a closely-knit and loving family regardless of each person's appearance and urged him not to distance himself from his family and call himself a monster. As the camera flashed, tears of both gratitude and sadness streamed down Hohenheim's face. He resolved to find a way to end his immortality and grow old and die together with his beloved Trisha, but also feared failure and watching his family die.

Unfortunately, while perusing countless Alchemical texts in order to find a way to reverse the effect of what the Homunculus had done to him, Van made a shocking discovery: that the very nation of Amestris was built and designed from scratch as to be a much larger and more devastating repeat of the tragedy that had befallen Xerxes - a gigantic Transmutation Circle for the purpose of turning all of the country's inhabitants into a new Philosopher's Stone. Realizing that only the Homunculus could be responsible for such a plot, Van decided that he would be the one to stop it, for the sake of his beloved family and all his dear friends. After explaining to Trisha that he was leaving and promising that they would die together, Van Hohenheim departed from the house and Resembool in 1904.

After traveling for a decade (presumably researching the Homunculus' methods and setting up a counter of his own), Hohenheim resurfaced in Central City in 1914, where he encountered an alchemist named Izumi Curtis, with whom he discussed the Philosopher's Stone and revealed that his "life-long dream" was about to come true.



Even after what happened to his sons, Hohenheim acts in a callous manner.

Hohenheim is first introduced to the story when he returns to Resembool after ten years to discover that his house has mysteriously burned down. He ventures confusedly over to Pinako's house to inquire what had happened and his old friend regales him with the horrible tales of what had happened to his family after his departure: that after Trisha had died of illness, Edward and Alphonse had attempted Human Transmutation to resurrect her, triggering a rebound which resulted in Al being ripped from his body and Ed losing an arm and a leg. Soon afterward, Hohenheim goes to visit Trisha's grave and is confronted by a teenage Edward, who is furious to find his long-lost father there.

Before leaving, he warns Pinako to leave the country for her safety. After he leaves Resembool with an old family portrait of himself, his wife, and their sons 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 later resurfaces and reveals to Izumi and her husband that he regards himself as a "Philosopher's Stone in human form" after rearranging Izumi's ravaged internal organs to the most favorable arrangement possible merely by sticking his flat hand into her abdomen, though he is unable to restore the organs she lost. He tells her that she has too much to do yet in her life, and encourages her to move forward.


Hohenheim's declaration of war.

Hohenheim then moves on to Reole, where he meets Rosé Thomas. She and the Old Shopkeeper lead him to an underground reservoir, where he walks across the poisoned water, forming a stone pathway under his feet as he walks. He eventually enters the giant transmutation circle under Amestris and has a short battle and conversation with Pride. He tells Pride to tell Father that "Number 23" is coming to see him before returning to the amazed Rose and Shopkeeper. Hohenheim encounters Al for the first time in twelve years in Chapter 80, and exclaims, "My vintage armor!" Hohenheim, who considers himself fairly accurately a failure of a father, allows himself to be removed from the situation as quickly as possible, but Al goes after him, and they have a wonderful heart-to-heart talk in which he explains everything about the current situation to Al.

Hohenheim meets Edward again. After Edward gets one good punch at his father, Hohenheim tells Ed the story of his early life. He dryly asks whether Ed wants to use him to regain their lost bodies, but Ed declines vociferously, having refuted the use of a Philosopher's Stone ever since he learned its key ingredients. Before leaving, Edward tells Hohenheim Trisha's last words, bringing him to tears which surprises Ed, who had inaccurately convinced himself that Hohenheim cared nothing for his family. Much later, Hohenheim helps Alphonse by sealing him and Pride (Selim Bradley) in an earthen prison with no light, so that Pride will no longer be able to harm anyone. This enrages Edward, but Hohenheim explains that this was Alphonse's plan.

The Promised DayEdit

After the fight against Pride, Hohenheim becomes the de facto leader of the expedition to take Father down. He mentions a plan ready to counter Father's nation-wide transmutation circle if it was to be activated but says he'd rather prevent its activation in the first place. Upon entering Father's subterranean lair, he organizes the group in two teams and goes alongside Lan Fan, whom he later allows to go on her own looking for Ling Yao while he reaches Father. He greets his "friend from the flask" stating that "there is no need for a big group to punish one misbehaving child". The living Philosopher's Stones start to fight each other.

After having dodged few attacks, he is stabbed by Father who absorbs a portion of his Stone, but the restless souls that composed it (with whom Hohenheim managed to come to an understanding) destroyed Father's human-like container from the inside. However Father's Homunculus form, now having the ability to physically exist without a container, leaves Hohenheim in a bad situation.


Hohenheim partially consumed by Father.

Father later appears to Edward, Izumi and Al, having absorbed Hohenheim into his body. Hohenheim then tells Ed, Al and Izumi that Father had initially tried to absorb all of his philosopher's stones, but discovered that it would have killed him. However, because Hohenheim had managed to communicate with and understand the stone's souls (which was something Father couldn't do), he survived the incident, and instead had his head and legs sticking out of homunculus create's body (the rest of his body being inside but not separated). Father can then push Hohenheim inside his body, but Hohenheim can also resist and come back out with his head protruding, which is what he did to warn May about Father's powers. When Greed slashes Father but fails to kill him, Hohenheim is then released from his body but still in Father's grasp.

As Father assembles Hohenheim and the others as sacrifices to open "The World's Gate", Hohenheim and the others then have large eyes surrounded by a mock of shadows on their torsos, which starts to fight back against the other gates. As Father succeeds in opening the gate, Hohenheim, Ed, Al, Izumi, Roy, Riza, May, Greed/Ling, Pride, Scar, Wrath and the chimeras are the only ones left alive while all the citizens of Amestris are dead.

Father is then seen in a fog of smoke as he explains that in order to contain God within himself required an enormous amount of energy, which the people of Amestris provided. Now both they and God reside within him. As the smoke clears, Father has now gained a new body that resembles Edward.

Stating that alchemy has outlived its usefulness, Father rains down a sustained energy blast on the group. Hohenheim however, counters it with some sort of alchemic shield, and calls upon the souls of his Stone to aid him. Seeing that his current attack is insufficient, Father conjures a miniature sun in the palm of his hand to wipe out his human sacrifices. But Hohenheim then reveals his own plan; he mapped the path of moon's shadow as the eclipse passed and pinpointed the exact location of each of the points in the five-point circle used to create the Philosopher's Stone. He then ventured throughout Amestris, placing fragments of his Philosopher's Stone on specific spots to create an Umbral Circle to counteract the Nationwide Transmutation Circle. When Father remarks of Hohenheim's failure to have a circle for his counterattack, he retorts with an explanation that the shadow cast by the moon on the Earth during the eclipse will act as the circle.

The souls of the fragments that he had scattered across the land activates and strips Father of all the Amestrian souls contained within him prior to the activation of the Nationwide Transmutation Circle, returning all the souls of the Amestrian citizens to their bodies

Father, now devoting the majority of his power to containing God, is significantly weakened in terms of his offensive capabilities. However, Hohenheim and May are the only alchemists of the group immune to Father's interference, and he fends off Father's attacks, draining many lives from his Philosopher's Stone while May keeps the ground underneath them from fragmenting. Unfortunately for Father however, a group of Ishvalans activate a counter-circle to Father's alchemic seal, allowing the other alchemists to attack Father. Outmatched, and running out of fuel for his Stone, Father retreats above ground to try and replenish his Stone from any humans he can attack. Hohenheim soon follows, along with Ed, Al, May, and Izumi.

He chastises Father for berating humans, telling him that it was human souls that composed the Philosopher's Stone in the first place, which in turn gave birth to Homunculi. While humans create, all the Homunculi do is take. This intrigues Father, who asks whether Hohenheim would like it if he created humans. Hohenheim then watches, in disgust and horror, as Father creates humans out of the souls of the long-dead Xerxesians. Taking advantage of the distraction this has brought to his enemies, Father summons a huge explosive force, and Hohenheim is caught in the blast that follows as he uses himself to shield Izumi from the bulk of it.

His Philosopher's Stone almost gone, he can do little more than watch the battle as it progresses. After Ed finishes off Father, Hohenheim stoically offers his own remaining life as the price to bring back Al, but appears surprised when Ed passionately rebukes the idea. Upon being questioned why he would willingly sacrifice his life, he simply replies it is because he is their father. He explains it is not about necessity or purpose, but because they are his sons and he wants them to be happy. He also says that it was partly his fault of why the brothers attempted to bring back Trisha because he wasn't there for them when they needed him and apologizes. However, Ed tearfully scolds him for even suggesting the idea, but at the same time, accepting him as his father for the first time in many years.

After Ed succeeds in bringing Al back in his human body, Hohenheim finally gets to greet his youngest son once again, and Al marvels at the warmth he feels when Hohenheim takes his hand. However, he wanders away as others crowd around the Elric brothers, finally cadging money for train fare.

Final hohenheim

Finally at peace, Hohenheim passes away.

At the end of the story, he is seen in Resembool. Pinako finds him kneeling in front of Trisha's grave, only to find that he had died in that position with a smile on his face. His last thoughts contemplated that he didn't have a meaning in life until Trisha and his sons entered into it. By now, he didn't want to die at all and stay with his remaining family, and his last thoughts before death were with them. Several years after this, his grave was seen in a photo next to Trisha's. He was the last citizen of Xerxes to die. Later he and Trisha became posthumous grandparents of Edward's and Winry's children along with the Rockbells.

In the 2003 anime Edit


Hohenheim's original form, 400 years in the past.

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 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. He is shown to be an extremely powerful alchemist, possibly the strongest in the series, showcasing his talents in transmuting light (hence his nickname), perform a continuous reaction, and does not need to make hand contact with his target in episode 45, "A Rotted Heart".

In the anime, Hohenheim's official debut is in Episode 43: The Stray Dog (2003 series). Here, he meets Winry Rockbell, confusing her for a woman named Sara. Winry promptly flees, but soon realizes that since Sara was her mother's name she may have been mistaken for her mother. Hohenheim then appears at the Rockbell residence, where Pinako introduces him as Ed and Al's father.

Later, after Ed and Al return to Resembool, Ed reacts with fury at seeing Hohenheim flirting with Maria Ross, and he more or less declares that neither he nor Al have any time for their errant parent. But Al chooses to leave the house with Hohenheim, hoping to reconnect with his father.


His past is fairly murky, save for a few key moments shown in the series. Approximately four hundred years prior to the series, Hohenheim created the Philosopher's Stone, 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, although Hohenheim had only intended to live as long as the stone lasted, alongside Dante. It's not known if Dante and Hohenheim were actually ever married, but their relationship produced one son who died at the age of 18 of mercury poisoning. Hohenheim performed a human transmutation on his son, which, in turn, failed, producing the first-ever Homunculus, Envy. Regretting what he had done to his son, Hohenheim fled (although he left Dante some of the Stone). Later, Hohenheim renounces ever loving Dante, stating Trisha Elric as the only woman he ever truly loved.


Hohenheim from the first anime adaptation, with Sloth and Dante.

Where Hohenheim was in the ten-year gap between his leaving the Elrics and turning up again isn't exactly clear. He had explained to Trisha shortly before his departure that he was leaving to do research of some kind, but never came back. In Episode 50: Death (2003 series), it is revealed that Hohenheim's 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 adviser to Winston Churchill. When Edward's soul was sent there by Dante, he learns about Hohenhiem'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 on this side. At the end of the series, he is living in Germany, siding himself with the Thule Society, hoping to find a way to send his son back to Amestris, and caring for him until Edward left for Transylvania to find the means of world travel.

Conqueror of ShamballaEdit

In the movie which concludes the 2003 anime, Hohenheim doesn't appear much, save for a couple of pivotal scenes. Ed explains to Noah that his artificial limbs had been created by Hohenheim, and there are several replacements kept in crates in Edward's room. Later, Ed is shocked to learn that Hohenheim is a prisoner of the Thule Society and being used as a sacrifice on Germany's side of the Gate. Envy had been captured earlier by the Thule Society, although he is stuck in the form of a giant flying serpent (the last change of his body that Envy made while traveling through the Gate to reach Earth). Hohenheim is pinned in Envy's mouth, as this is the only thing that keeps Envy placid for their mutual captors, and Envy is held above a large transmutation circle with several spears and glowing runes keeping him in place. Hohenheim tells Ed that he is a sinner, from creating Envy to the making of the Philosopher's Stone, destroying thousands of lives in the process indirectly. Ed says that none of this matters, not even getting back to Al, and says he'll free his father. But Ed realizes what Hohenheim intends, and begins to beg him to stop. Despite Ed's pleas not to, Hohenheim tells him to give Al his regards as he uses Envy to create a gate to Amestris. Hohenheim commits suicide by pulling Envy's teeth to bite him down, using his own blood and the homunculus itself to activate the Gate.


  • Paracelsus

    A portrait of Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim.

    The character of Hohenheim is seemingly inspired by Phillip von Hohenheim, a Renaissance Swiss alchemist and early scientist who later adopted the name Philippus Aureolus Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim and the sobriquet Paracelsus. Paracelsus credited himself with creating a Homunculus out of various human bodily fluids. This is further proven by the fact that the original Homunculus was going to give him the same name as mentioned, but, being in that time an illiterate slave, Hohenheim thought it was too long and was shortened to just Van Hohenheim.
    • The Alchemical word, Alkahest, is the name of a hypothetical universal solvent that can dissolve any substance, including gold, and it was much sought after by alchemists for its medicinal uses. It is also believed that this name was invented by Paracelsus when travelled from China to Constantinople. This yet another relation between the two, since Hohenheim went to Xing after Xerxes and taught the people of Xing "Alkahestry", which is used primarily for medicinal purposes, then it can be seen that there is a huge link between Paracelsus and Alkahest and Hohenheim and Alkahestry. This link was probably what prompted Hohenheim's history in Xing, and the name of Xingese Alchemy and its uses.

Manga and 2009 AnimeEdit

  • In the anime-exclusive recap episode Episode 27: Interlude Party (2009 series), it is implied that Hohenheim knew Trisha since she was a child: a young girl asks Hohenheim to dance with her, and is quite disappointed by his refusal.
  • Hohenheim's 2009 English voice actor also voiced Haushofer from the movie Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: Conqueror of Shamballa.
  • It's said that Hohenheim has come to an understanding with every single one of the souls that comprise his Philosopher's Stone, and that they willingly cooperate with him to make Father atone for his actions. However, before this is known, Hohenheim is seen using all kinds of (stone-powered) alchemy that is unrelated to bringing down Father, such as rearranging Izumi Curtis' ravaged insides. It is unknown if Hohenheim has burned off any of the souls by doing this kind of alchemy, or perhaps he only uses bits and pieces of each soul, so as not to use a full one. It is also possible that such alchemy did not require his Stone but relied instead on his vast alchemic knowledge and the "chi" of the Earth (Alkahestry's power source) This may hold true even in Izumi's case, as he was simply rearranging her insides, not creating anything new.
  • Due to his ability to communicate with the souls of his stone, his alchemy is much more powerful than an individual simply utilizing the energy of a stone. This is evidently due to the souls of his stone actively aiding him in his endeavours. It also allows for his stone to essentially use itself, as can be seen when the souls of the stone independently activated the nationwide transmutation circle created by the umbra.
  • Hohenheim is both the person Father cared for and hated the most, and very likely the only human he felt anything about.
  • Just as Ed is offended at being called short, Hohenheim, back when he was the same age, seemed to get just as angered when called stupid.
  • Van came in 15th in the latest popularity poll.
  • Viz's English translation of the manga switches back and forth between the correct "Van" and the incorrect "Von" when transliterating Hohenheim's first name, likely due to the discrepancy in pronunciation of the letter "a" between English and Japanese.
  • Hohenheim's attitude towards his son, Edward, during "Father Before the Grave" is very different between the manga and the 2009 anime. In the manga, his approach was calm, mournful over Trisha's death, and also slightly humorous (mistaking Edward's title to be the smallest state alchemist rather than the youngest). On the other hand, in the 2009 anime, he acts almost completely callous, with all hint of his emotions toward his family masked until later.
  • It seems strange that Van Hohenheim wears glasses in the manga and 2009 anime, since he did not need them in Xerxes and his vision would not change as time passed. It is possible that he simply thinks he looks better with glasses, or that he did need them in his youth but the people of Xerxes did not have the technology to make them.
    • It could also be that his eye sight has deteriorated over time, and, instead of using up some of the souls of Xerxes to fix the problem (which may have been a waste of life in his view and hardly a reason to use a soul for), he opted for glasses.
  • In the English dub of the 2009 anime series, young Van is played by Aaron Dismuke, who had voiced Alphonse in the English dub of the 2003 anime series.

2003 AnimeEdit

  • Technically, in the 2003 anime, Edward and Alphonse are not actually biologically related to Hohenheim at all, but rather to the person from whom Hohenheim stole his current body. This raises questions about how his son Envy's true form (who is roughly four centuries old) bears any kind of resemblance to the Elric family at all.
    • It should be noted, however, that his original body was a perfect resemblance to the one he died in. This is seen on how Dante was able to recognize him from sight, despite having changed bodies. There are currently three theories:
      1.  It may be possible he recreated an exact copy of his body with alchemy because he could no longer stand taking bodies. This explains why Dante recognizes him as well as why the Elric brothers resemble Envy.
      2. Another solution could be that his current body bore a heavy resemblance to his original by coincidence. Given the circumstances regarding his unique appearance, i.e. the golden eyes and hair, this is highly unlikely.  However, he may have chosen that particular body due to its likeness to his original form, particularly the hair and eye color.
      3. Another is that Dante's recognizing him is that she had seen him in this body before. The fact that she knew the Elrics were his sons and had been spying on him in Resembool supports this. He was also rumored by Nash Tringham to have worked a stint in the 5th Laboratory, which was a tool under Dante's control, though this still lacks any reason why it seemed so similar to his original body or why Envy looked like the Elric brothers.

Comparisons and Contrasts Between the 2003 Anime and 2009 Anime/MangaEdit

  • It's interesting to note several similarities and dissimilarities between Van Hohenheim and Hohenheim of Light.
    • While both Hohenheims left their sons to keep them from learning about their bodies, Van Hohenheim left because was scared to see that he was the only one from his family prevented of getting older and find a way to become mortal, pursuing his mission to stop the Homunculus. In other hand, Hohenheim of Light left because his body was slowly rotting to death all around him.
    • Whereas Van Hohenheim dedicated himself to atone for a crime he did not commit, Hohenheim of Light is never seen to be atoning for crimes he did commit, instead deciding to allow himself to decay without causing more harm.
    • Van Hohenheim had made clear for Trisha he would come back once he had dealt with the Homunculus and ceased to be immortal. On the other hand, Hohenheim of Light's motivation for returning to Resembool at all is unclear, as he had evidentally found no way to halt, or even slow his own body's decay.

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