Fullmetal Alchemist and Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood both have awesome ending villains. But calling Dante the “mother” version of father is a disservice.
Both villains believe they are superior to humans, create homunculi, are virtually immortal, and have a close bond with Hohenheim. Unfortunately, they also make stupid decisions and stumble across the finish line.
Spoilers ahead! But before I get to them, let’s talk about the man they love to hate: Hohenheim.
Hohenheim of the Light
The Hohenheimers married Trisha Elric and had two sons who they will leave behind for different reasons. Which many fans would agree was the stupidest thing he did.
Hohenheim could have treated Trisha’s illness or been there for his children, giving them the support they needed and grieving with them. The Promised Day in Brotherhood may not have happened since Father required five human sacrifices, but Dante and Envy found out about the Elrics and visited them.
Luckily for the brothers, Dante and Envy found a newborn sloth and left without anyone knowing about them. I elaborate on that in Dante’s section, but Hohenheim of Light played the role of the reformed villain.
According to Dante, Hohenheim was the one who made the first philosopher’s stone from people dying of a plague and victims of witch hunts. This experiment would have killed him, but Dante grabbed the stone and attached Hohenheim’s soul to the body of an unnamed man.
This is Dante’s version of immortality, and Hohenheim would later make two more Philosofer Stones. After that, the pair continued to switch bodies until Hohenheim left Dante and Envy.
2003 fans never got a real reason for what was the final straw for Hohenheim of Light. Instead, we only get a flashback from Dante’s point of view and some dialogue between her and Hohenheim.
Von Hohenheim is introduced to us as slave 23. Its master created the dwarf in the flask or homonculus using the blood of 23 and the essence from the eye, but it’s never fully explained.
The dwarf thanks 23 for his blood and gives him three things: a name, knowledge, and the curse of immortality. Hohenheim is devastated to hear the dwarf’s explanation and spends nearly 400 years speaking to the souls within him.
Eventually he meets Trisha and starts a family, but thanks to his friends, Hohenheim finds out father’s plan and leaves his family to find a way to stop him. There will be more details in father’s section.
I prefer von Hohenheim because it’s more elaborate and its origin story is more likeable. If the Fullmetal 2003 had given their Hohenheim the same care, things might have turned out differently.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa gave us a decent ending, but I prefer the anime ending. It left fans with questions and freedom to interpret the characters’ fates.
Dante claims that she was an innocent girl when Hohenheim met her and that he swore she was his only love. They were married and had a son together, although the unnamed young man died of mercury poisoning and Hohenheim tried to bring him back to life.
This results in Envy being born, and at some point afterward, Hohenheim abandons her. Dante spends the next 400 years switching bodies, finding homonculi, creating three to serve her, and tricking talented alchemists into creating a new stone.
Why does she need other alchemists to make a stone when she’s seen it at Hohenheim at least once? Because she apparently never learned how to make one herself!
Dante also claims that she needs the stone to save humanity from itself and she wants to shift into Rose’s body so she can seduce Edward. Rose is a young Ishballen girl that Ed meets in Episode 1 of the 2003 version.
Dante is Izumi Curtis’ teacher and treats Envy like a pawn instead of a son. She promised to turn the homunculi into humans, but Envy and Pride knew she was lying.
If Hohenheim had stayed with Dante, or taken Envy with him, or hadn’t left Dante a piece of the stone to keep himself alive when he left, then it would have been better. But instead, Hohenheim of Light wreaked havoc in Fullmetal Alchemist and got away easily thanks to Dante.
His death in Shamballa is sad but fitting because he wanted to help Edward return home and take responsibility for Envy. Hohenheim chose to die in Envy’s jaws so Edward could be with Alphonse again.
As a bottled dwarf, Father was livelier and more personable. He wanted freedom but couldn’t get out of his bottle or break it because he was going to die.
Hohenheim was his parent, student and probably the only person he cared about. We don’t know if Father left Hohenheim to his misery or if Hohenheim ran away from Father in fear and shame, but we do know that Father created Pride some time later.
Father sees people as ants and tolerates those who can support his plans. But that’s one of the things that leads to his downfall.
Father’s grand plan involves using five alchemists who have performed human transmutations as sacrifices. But Hohenheim did not commit this crime; He was forced to absorb 536,329 human souls when the dwarf tricked the king of Xerxes into creating a transmutation circle around the kingdom.
Thus he turned Hohenheim into a living Philosopher’s Stone and still fulfilled his sacrifice requirements. It is worth noting that the father was not specifically aimed at Edward and Alphonse Elric. He didn’t know that Hohenheim had children, but even if they hadn’t tried to bring their mother back to life, Father would have used them against Hohenheim in one way or another. Father expects the homunculi to obey and be loyal to him no matter what.
But he doesn’t have the same devotion to them, showing little to no concern when the homunculi are injured or killed. He even leaves Pride without hesitation but that was his fault as Pride would have given his life for Father.
But his biggest mistake was letting his human sacrifices roam free. We can forgive father for losing sight of Hohenheim, but he had the Elric brothers in hiding!
He could have held her captive and used her as bait for Hohenheim. Izumi Curtis could have been lured the same way, and the fifth didn’t have to be Mustang.
I would like to see how these two universes interact. Of course, Dante and Dad have different goals, but their similarities are intriguing despite the six-year gap between their animes.
And given her fixation on Hohenheim, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, that fits perfectly. Bones did both anime adaptations and the Isekai Quartet proves that mash-ups can work.
It doesn’t have to be canon, and many fans would agree it shouldn’t be, but many of us would love it to happen!