Today’s article picks up where we left off last week,
talking about the characters of Fullmetal
Alchemist: Brotherhood. I looked at eight human characters that drive the
series, and today’s article will be looking at their counterparts: the eight
homunculi, villains of the series. Beware, those that have not watched the
series, as spoilers await below. And that’s about that as far as introductions
The Original Sin
The first homunculus was created from the blood of Van
Hohenheim in ancient Xerxes and referred to as the Dwarf in the Flask. Despite
being a little blob in a jar, the Homunculus had some serious aspirations.
These aspirations can be summarized in two words: freedom and power.
Conveniently, these are the end goals of Red and Black,
respectively. This shouldn’t be surprising either. The Homunculus manipulates
the King of Xerxes into sacrificing the entire kingdom in order to gain
immortality. The Homunculus situated the transmutation circle to center around
himself and Van Hoehenheim, however, giving both of them the power of a
philosopher’s stone. Sacrificing others for ultimate power is about as Black as
The Homunculus has a little Blue in him too I think.
After all, what is driving all of these ambitions? The knowledge of alchemy.
What does he want freedom from? The restraint of natural laws. He’s constantly
manipulating his own body to gain more power, transforming into a new being
each time. The Dwarf in the Flask grows into a fleshy human; the fleshy human
grows into a god; the god transcends existence itself.
Ultimately, the Dwarf’s hubris is his undoing. Classic
The Sin of Lust
The homunculus Lust is a great example of a mono-Red
character who generally stays away from violence (not that she’s harmless by
any metric). Lust’s primary role is to manipulate the emotions of others. She
uses her *ahem* charms to sway the opinions and actions of many within the
military government, reveling in the pain of her victims when things don’t go
her way. If Lust was a Magic card,
those talons of hers would be a perfectly translated as first strike, another
The Sin of
Gluttony’s powers center around eating. He is driven by
hunger, an instinctual drive given to Green. Of course, Gluttony eats far more
than what he needs; his hunger is insatiable. The excessive nature of his
hunger also pushes him into Red. Such a reliance on his basal desires
corresponds with Gluttony’s lack of intellect. Red/Green is the color pair that
uses its brain the least, a fact reflected in Gluttony’s wanton consumption of
everything around him.
The combination of instinct and impulse make Gluttony
The Sin of Envy
Envy’s main power is shapeshifting, which already puts
him in Blue. How Envy uses this shapeshifting is quite Blue also. He is an
infiltrator, using deception and mimicry to gather information and instigate
Envy, naturally, is very envious of humanity. He sees
their power, love, and cooperation and thinks that he deserves to have those
things more. Built into his view is the idea that the homunculi are better than
humans. That desire for power over his peers is the beginning of Envy’s Black
side. Envy is very much a destroyer, cutting down others instead of building
himself up, another Black trait.
Envy is the only homunculus to kill itself, unable to
bear the anxiety of being a weak, imperfect being. He succumbs to the biggest
fears of Blue and Black, the colors most prone to self-doubt.
The Sin of Greed
Greed is greedy, desiring to possess the entire world. He
puts himself above everyone else, seeing them as minions to be owned and used.
This all points to Black. Greed is so self-centered, in fact, that he willingly
rebels against Father. Twice. He thinks he can beat Father and take control
over the other homunculi, despite the unalienable truth that he’s just a mere
fraction of Father.
This character also explores one of Black’s downsides:
loneliness. Black is the color most likely to end up alone because it pushes
helpful people away due to its own self-reliance. We learn that Greed really
just wanted some real friends, the tragedy of his role as a sinful being.
Greed is a great example of a mono-Black antihero, a
character that fights against the villain for their own selfish reasons rather
than a desire to help the heroes.
The Sin of Wrath
King Bradley was human who was transformed into the
homunculus Wrath. King craves power and dominance, Black’s goals. He was even
willing to endure infusion with a philosopher’s stone, sacrificing part of his
humanity to become a more powerful being.
Wrath is also largely driven by emotion, both positive
and negative. Wrath, unsurprisingly, is driven by an unfettered rage in combat.
He reminds others, however, that he willingly chose his wife and still loves
her very much. When he’s interacting with members of the military, Wrath is
unnaturally cheery. His emotional state is always pushed to the extreme.
Bradley is ruthless in battle, using his incredible speed
and tremendous power to relentlessly crush his opponents. The swiftness of Red and
the efficiency of Black make him one of the most formidable enemies in the
The Sin of Sloth
Sloth is all about inactivity, both the sin and the character.
Sloth spends most of the series doing one thing: digging a hole. It’s such a
pain, though, to do Father’s work. Ambition is a pain, you Green character you.
Sloth’s Green-ness is reinforced by his titanic strength;
Sloth is the biggest, strongest, and toughest of the homunculi. Ironically,
Sloth is also the fastest, but moving fast is such a pain. It’s much easier to
just accept life as it comes than to run around and crush things.
Arguably the most-Green facet of Sloth is that he gladly
accepts his death. Acceptance that things live and then die is one of Green’s
central tenets. And why shouldn’t Sloth accept death? Living was such a pain.
The Sin of Pride
The last homunculus we meet is Pride, who lives inside
King Bradley’s adopted son, Selim. Pride is the homunculus most like Father,
and he shares his progenitor’s sense of superiority over everyone else. Pride
is always dismissive of others, even the other homunculi. This supreme feeling
is tied to Black, pride in one’s own self.
Selim has many features that also fit into Black’s
philosophy and flavor. Most bluntly, he’s a being of shadow that can only live
in shadows. He’s ruthlessly cunning, tapping into both his insight and impulses
when interacting with others. Deceit, psychological warfare, and ruthlessness
are all parts of Pride’s repertoire. Pride even resorts to eating Gluttony and
absorbing his power in order to fight Al. There is nothing Pride wouldn’t do to
retain his status as Father’s favorite homunculus.
Eight Deadly Sins
The very idea of the seven deadly sins is rooted in White’s
views of morality and human nature. It’s not very surprising, then, that the
sins skew Black and Red. I think what makes Fullmetal
Alchemist such an enduring franchise, however, is that the heroes of the
series aren’t all White. Many of those characters also embrace Black and Red
attributes. What ends up happening are moments of empathy between the heroes
and villains as they show many sides of similar attitudes.
Until next time, planeswalkers, don’t let your sins get
the best of you.
Ravnica remains one of my favoritest fantasy settings ever and I really wanted to do some fanart. I had the idea for this setup back in the original Ravnica but I never got around to finish it because I didn’t have the skill to pose 11 characters back then (The guy in the middle used to be Tolsimir. Is he even a guy? That long flowing hair.)
Well, there you go. It’s finally done. 9 years in concepting and 2 months in production. This render is 15% of the original size. You can probably see bits of patterns on Emmara’s dress.
I hope you enjoy this picture as much as I enjoyed drawing it.
It’s hard trying to make a card flavorful, balanced, and elegant. I like what I did with the Manslayer side, but I’m unsatisfied with the Wanderer side. First Strike has antisynergy with his transform condition, I don’t know if 4 mana is too much or too little for his effects and stats, I’m not sure if his rarity is appropriate for his power level, and I feel like if this card was in the current Standard there would be no reason to play it. Also I’m pretty sure, as a Samurai, it’s a rule that he should have Bushido. But at the same time, First Strike is representative of how fast and skilled he is in battle, I wanted to illustrate his protective nature with his active, and his transform condition is reminiscent of the time he became increasingly more willing to kill Saito at the beginning of the Kyoto Arc. I used to have Pariah stapled onto his Wanderer side, but that felt way more useless than what he has now.
At any rate, I had fun thinking about how the main character of one of my favorite animes would turn out on a Magic card.
I have a suggestion. If you’d like to include Bushido, then do it on the white side and drop the first strike since as you’ve already said it’s causing problems with getting the transform trigger to “go off.” Bushido will do a better job representing a disciplined warrior and then he loses it when he transforms into Himura.
Also, just so you know, Wizards didn’t make any legendary double-faced cards that were creatures on both sides because you could have a transformed and untransformed creature that represents the same character on the battlefield at the same time. I’ve invented my own rule to get around this and it’s you look at both sides of a legendary card to determine its full name. Sometimes I’d even put a little reminder text on at the top of the textbook that would go (This card’s name is also Himura, Manslayer.) and for Himura (This card’s name is also Kenshin, Wanderer.) I think it’s a pretty clean fix personally and I can’t see why Wizards didn’t do something like that in order to make a legendary werewolf.
If you didn’t see it yet, here is Cat’s (https://twitter.com/clawsandtalons) Ugin, the Spirit Dragon cosplay! Totally f-ing insane at Anime North 2015. So glad to see mtg cosplay booming and people coming out with stuff like this to keep us all inspired to keep getting better and taking it to the next level. You may have seen pics of Cat’s Sliver Queen floating around, yep, same cosplayer!