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Enoch: They're homunculi. Sometimes I put doll heads on 'em, but this time I was in a hurry and didn't bother.
Jacob: What's a homunculi?
Enoch: More than one homunculus. Some people think its homunculuses, but I think that sounds daft, don't you?
Jacob: Definitely.
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Homunculi are a type of Artificial Human connected to alchemy. Their traditional depiction is as tiny people grown in jars, but they tend to differ a lot in presentation. The singular is "homunculus".

Homunculus (masculine, Latin for "little human", plural: "homunculi"; from the diminutive of homo) is a term used, generally, in various fields of study to refer to any representation of a human being. Historically, it referred specifically to the concept of a miniature though fully-formed human body, for example, in the studies of alchemy and preformationism. Currently, in scientific fields, a homunculus may refer to any scale model of the human body that, in some way, illustrates physiological, psychological, or other abstract human characteristics or functions.

Often they are Born of Magic. A non-living vessel is magically imbued with life and consciousness. Depictions vary whether the homunculus requires magic to continue functioning after being made. Within the fantasy setting, a homunculus generally acts as a magician's assistant (a.k.a Familiar), spy, messenger, or even assassin. They are sometimes, but not always, capable of speech. If created correctly, they are loyal to a fault when it comes to their master.

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The term can also refer to tiny people who live inside us controlling or operating our minds and bodies. Whether they have even littler people inside them is a matter of much head-scratching. "Homonculus" also refers to the neurological visualization of mapping out touch-sensory and motor control regions of the human brain.

See also: Artificial Human, Frankenstein's Monster, Golem, Creating Life. Homunculi often appear in settings where Alchemy Is Magic.


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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ennis of Baccano! is a good homunculus who is presented as the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter. The opening credits allude to the traditional version by showing her as the reflection in a bottle of chemicals her "father" was pouring.
    • In the novels, several other homunculi, mostly created by Huey, appear. They have different properties and powers from Ennis due to the different resources and techniques used by their creator. We also learn that the demon of the Advena Avis originated as one of the traditional confined-to-a-bottle variety.
  • Buso Renkin: Homunculi are the result of alchemical research into immortality. There are two broad types of homunculi in the series, non-humaniod homunculi made from a combination of human and non-human material (animal or plant) that can switch between a human form and a hybrid form that has powers related to their non-human material, and humanoid homunculi who retain their human mind and appearance. Both types of have an insatiable desire for human flesh and can only be killed by the power of alchemy (such as the weapons known as buso renkin or other homunculi damaging the sigil on their bodies.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has these as the main villains. They are artificial humans created by the Big Bad, Father, except for Wrath and the second Greed, both of whom were humans who ingested philosopher's stones. Father himself started out looking like the traditional version, a shadow in a jar, but uses Philosopher's Stones to create itself a human body identical to Hohenheim's.
    • The "cyclops army", which appear late in the series, are artificial humans injected with the souls of human sacrifices. In effect, they act like flesh-eating zombies, though.
    • In the 2003 anime version, however, homunculi are the product of 'successful' attempts to revive the dead using alchemy: their bodies consist of the body of the revive, reinforced with incomplete Philosopher's Stones. Most of them have allied themselves with Big Bad Dante, who made several of them (Envy, the current Greed, Pride and most likely Gluttony) and is also implied to have given them their Seven Deadly Sins theme names.
  • They appear in Hell Teacher Nube.
  • Hibiki's Magic has Shiraasan as a little girl with a big attitude and an affinity towards guns.
  • Humanoid Monster Bem has a brother-sister pair that tried to extend their own lives by draining Bero's.
  • In MÄR, Snow could be considered one. At least in the anime. She's never directly referred to as such but the process of her creation is strikingly similar to how homunculi are sometimes made. She's somewhere between a homunculus and clone, but the anime doesn't like the use the word "clone", probably because it sounds too sci-fi for the fantasy setting. She's usually referred to as a "copy" of Koyuki.
  • In Rental Magica a homunculus is Cute Monster Girl.
  • In Slayers, homunculi (knows as copies) are supposedly just like normal humans in appearance, but have no will or memory of their own. Of course, the only two homunculi that have a larger part in the story are also the only known expectations...
  • Mad monk Inasa from Ushio and Tora created several Homunculi using Western Sorcery and alchemy during his research for the ultimate buddhist weapon. Kuin, Kirio's companion, is his masterpiece and powerful enough to fight with a 2000-years old Youkai like Tora. The Homunculi's creation involved using horse semen and intestines simmered in a cauldron and their appearance is wildly different, as they include two humanoid creatures vaguely similar to Kuin, a maid whose body is made of flowing water and a golem. He also tried to make artificial people empowered with superior houriki since birth but failed.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Judai's Double Agent mentor Daitokuji (Professor Banner in the dub) was an alchemist and transferred his soul to a homunculus when he came down with a fatal disease so he could continue his research... and later stop the funder of his research who found a secret to eternal youth through the Serious Business card game.

    Card Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Most homunculi are bloated humanoids with a single huge eye. A popular example is Riddlekeeper. All named homunculi, regardless of plane, have names that completely lack vowels. Fblthp, a recurring Ravnican Butt-Monkey is a prominent example, as is Zndrsplt, a homunculus gladiator living on Kylem.

    Comic Books 
  • Black Moon Chronicles: After Haazheel Thorne's demise, the heroes are visited by a clone that the wicked sorcerer had created of himself to manage the Black Moon prayers (and is also far less evil-minded than him so he would be easier to control). He's basically just there to serve as Mr. Exposition about Haazheel's final plan before he melts into a puddle because there's no more magic energy to sustain him.
  • Caballistics, Inc.: During World War II the Nazis were running a program to assassinate Allied political and military leaders and replace them with homonculi. They were given this knowledge by Solomon Ravne, who is revealed to be one himself.
  • In Finder, "Munky" is the mascot of a city-sized Disneyland-like amusement park. He's depicted as one of the neurological homunculi mentioned under Real Life below.
  • In Hellboy, Roger the Homunculus is one of the main characters, being a homunculus the size of a tall human, having a large degree of intelligence, being incredibly strong and durable, and requiring a power source to be constantly hooked up to a plug in his chest in order to function (although he was once able to power himself using the power he absorbed from Liz after she placed her finger into the plug, though this would have eventually killed her). The fact that Roger is an unusually large and sentient homunculus is often referred to (and occasionally draws unwanted attention), and is put down to his creator being a genius alchemist who had a lifetime of experience and experimentation behind him when he created Roger. Roger actually fights his "brother", a less sophisticated homunculus, and his army of goblin-sized homunculi in Almost Colossus, and Nazi homunculi appear in Conqueror Worm.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Two Sides of Daring Do, it's revealed that the magically created Daring Do clone is considered one of these. Equestria, being a fantasy world, actually has laws that recognize Homunculi as Equestrian citizens if they're proven to be truly alive and not just mana clones.
  • In Queen of All Oni, Jade creates one in Chapter 17, formed from her chi, to act as another enforcer. It has the appearance of her in her snake form, is stored in her stomach when she's not using it, and is described as basically being an extension of her will. As such, the fact that it would take the bullet for Tohru is highly surprising to everyone.
  • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, George several times becomes a homunculus seemingly straight out of the AD&D Monster Manual. He weirds the others out when he does this form because he looks like a lizard-skinned, half-finished winged small copy of himself. He can't talk in this form (because the thing can only communicate via telepathy, and only with its creator), but he does have a bite that puts people to sleep, and good darkvision.
  • Fate/Black Dawn:
    • Mordred, as in canon, is a homunculus that Morgan le Faye grew in her own womb using DNA stolen from King Arthur. Mordred is basically a Super Soldier, given natural battle instincts, a superhuman body, and Rapid Aging to get her up to age fast enough to be useful. While initially Morgan dismisses "it" as nothing but a tool, Shirou encourages her to actually be a decent mother. Once Mordred is physically an adult (which is at approximately age three), Mordred gives her immortality. She is a little ashamed that, even though the process is very easy with Mordred because of her artificial construction, she had never considered doing that before Shirou came along and was perfectly willing to let her die of old age in a decade or two.
    • In the sequel, Mordred is compared to Illyasviel von Einzbern. Morgan notes that while Mordred is physically far superior, in terms of construction and purpose Illya is much more advanced. Illya is built to contain a major ritual and is thus something of a living miracle, while Mordred is basically a battle golem with a brain.

    Films — Animation 
  • The stitchpunks of 9 were created using techniques pioneered by Paracelsus, and are essentially robot homunculi.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bride of Frankenstein has Dr. Pretorious' little people (with different personalities— one likes the Devil) in jars. They aren't called homunculi, but are obviously supposed to be.
  • The homunculus created by Prince Koura in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. A small flying gargoyle: its master can use its senses.
  • Star Wars
    • Anakin Skywalker could be considered a homunculus of sorts. While he was born naturally from his mother, it is strongly hinted in the prequel trilogy (and confirmed by Word of God) that he was artificially conceived through The Force by the Sith Lord, Darth Plagueis. The recent Expanded Universe novels about Darth Plagueis explain that the method by which he created Anakin was a branch of Sith alchemy.
    • Supreme Leader Snoke is revealed to be this, created by Palpatine to rule the First Order in his stead.
  • The Programs in TRON and TRON: Legacy are implied to be this, especially with Gibbs's rant in the first film about "our spirit remains in every program," and Word of God saying that the Programs retain emotional impressions, personality traits, and some memories from their Users.

    Literature 
  • From The Other Wiki, The Homunculus, a novel by David Keller: The novel concerns Colonel Horatio Bumble who has retired to his ancestral home with his wife, Helen and their Pekingese, Lady. The Bumbles are childless. Colonel Bumble employs the siblings Pete and Sarah at his home. The Colonel is also attempting to create a baby through parthenogenesis. As a result of his experiments, the Colonel is kidnapped and Sarah rescues him by employing supernatural means.
  • From The Other Wiki, Alraune, a 1911 German novel in which the eponymous character is a beautiful (but soulless and sexually perverse) woman created by artificial insemination. It was made into several films.
  • In The Alchemy of Stone, the protagonist uses old-fashioned grown-in-jars-with-alchemy homunculi to complete magical tasks important to the plot.
  • In Vampire Romance, a short story from the novel The Bloody Red Baron, Dr. Ten Brincken uses alchemy and dark sciences learned from World War One to make a homunculus for Lord Karnstein using a piece of Carmilla's heart, plant and mineral matter. The homunculus is in a constant state of stupor and only awakes when feeding on the blood and life force of an elder vampire (no other food source works for it).
  • Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun has Dr. Talos as a homunculus of Baldanders.
  • The little imps that run iconographs and dis-organisers in Discworld are sometimes referred to as homunculi. According to Making Money, they're a kind of sentient spell.
  • Domina:
    • The fey use remote-controlled bodies they call homunculi to interact with the world. The bodies only last for a few months at the most, but the fey can always make more. They also melt on death so that no one can dissect them for their secrets.
    • During the war with Domina, America fields a small number of clones among the regular troops. The fey immediately identify them as homunculi, though the clones are not remote controlled, and are perfect copies of a specific soldier in both body and mind. They are also not expected to last more than a week or two. Only one survives the war, and the fey give him treatments to bring him up to a normal human lifespan. It later turns out the entire project was a ploy by Silk to gain bodies for her Hive Mind; she switched out the sample once she was sure that the equipment was up to spec, and ended up with ten thousand mind linked clones.
    • The changelings, supposedly kidnapping victims, are in fact just more homunculi built by the fey, though they are built to have normal human lifespans. Word of God is that they are all perfect specimens of humanity, so they will actually live longer than average.
  • In Cornelia Funke's Dragon Rider, the character Twigleg is a homunculus created by an alchemist from a test tube. Apparently, the alchemist was not truly able to create life, but instead "borrowed" the life of another creature, such as a spider or beetle.
  • Forest Kingdom: As discussed in the Hawk & Fisher spinoff series' book 3 (The God Killer), the creation of homunculi is illegal in the setting; as exact physical duplicates of a person, they make it hard to keep bloodlines pure. They're also good for pulling a Kill and Replace, and for creating entire armies. They can also be inhabited by the mind of a living person; the titular God Killer, and the sorcerer Bode, who created the Dark Man homunculi, have been taking up residence in their bodies when needed.
  • Frankenstein: In Mary Shelly's original novel Frankenstein's monster is implicitly a homunculus. The exact procedure of its creation is left deliberately murky, though Victor made at least one reference to visits to bonehouses specifically to gather materials to create his creature. So while his creature wasn't made entirely out of corpses, they were still a vital part of the process. Specifically the dissecting room and the slaughter-house are said to furnish Victor with many of his materials, and he also dabbles in "the unhallowed damps of the grave." The implication is that the monster is formed at least partly out of human and animal remains, not merely "filth." The animal remains may serve as the explanation of the monster's size: it could even be speculated that it was a set of pig bones that gave him his extra foot of height. More importantly, Victor's obsession with creating the monster seems inspired by his interest in alchemy. He names several prominent alchemists and declares that, by diving into such esoteric sources with the resources of modern science, he alone has discovered the arcane secrets that brought his monster to life.
  • A tiny woman was created via alchemy in Goblin Moon.
  • The title creature in James P. Blaylock's Homunculus averted this trope by being a tiny alien rather than a synthetic creation.
  • In W. Somerset Maugham's novel The Magician, the magician Oliver Haddo (a non-subtle Expy/Take That! against Aleister Crowley) tries to find the secret that would allow him to create his own homunculi. He dies, but not before reaching his goal. His homunculi, along with all his notes, are burned in his mansion at the end.
  • Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: Enoch makes little "armies" of homunculi, which are tiny clay soldiers with mice hearts to animate them.
  • In The Monarchies of God fantasy series, Homonculi are familiars grown without Ur Blood; they mature faster than Imps, but they have bad eating habits and are Always Chaotic Evil.
  • Vurdmeisters use homunculi to summon pit wyrms in The Night Angel Trilogy
  • Tulpa in Rebel Genius are artificial humans created by infusing a soul from The Wellspring into a physical shell. But despite knowledge of the theory, the only known successes are Zanobius and Giacomo.
  • In Tales of Kolmar, there was once a man later called the Demonlord who magically removed his own heart and hid it away; when his body was killed his mind survived, because that's how the spell worked. Later a lesser summoner creates a body for him around that distant heart, dragon-shaped and made of rock and lava, able to fly through magic, and calls this a homunculus.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Crusade one of Galen the techno-mage's abilities is to create a Hard Light holograph of himself that he refers to as a homunculus. He controls it mentally and can stream what it sees to the Excalibur's monitors.
  • In GoGo Sentai Boukenger, the Questers form a giant homunculus out of three Precious.
  • Kamen Rider OOO has the Greeed, artifical life created from human desire and the attributes of animals combined into the Cell and Core Medals. They finally gained sentience when their tenth Core was destroyed, but then tried to eat the world. Though it turns out they were created by a greedy king who intended to absorb all their power to become a god. It didn't work out like he expected and seemingly killed him, imprisoning them in a stone box for 800 years.
  • The Canadian series Todd and the Book of Pure Evil featured a homunculus in the second episode. It was the manifestation of a nerdy girl's desires and thus resembled the main character, who she had a crush on. She created it with the intention of entering it in a science fair, but instead it just killed the local science teacher.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Sperm were originally believed to contain miniature people, and the alchemical concept of homunculi were attempts at growing these little men without a female womb, which was expected to lead to a drastically different development.
    • Some scholars took this concept even further; they believed that the tiny people in the sperm would have sperm of their own, with even tinier people in it, and so on. They deduced that if you could count them down all the way, you could deduce the approximate date of the Judgement Day from them. This was also used as an argument for the concept of original sin, since at the time of his sin, Adam contained every future human in his nuts.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Atlantean Trilogy: Homunculi are among the many alchemically-created life forms that can be concocted by player characters.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Homunculus, or Homonculous; similar to The Golden Voyage of Sinbad version, except that it has a poisoned bite that causes sleep. It's made by an expensive alchemical recipe from the wizard's own blood and is a living tool linked much like a familiar. Some wizards even turn their homunculi into their familiars, which is generally a better use of them than just having a homunculus.
    • There is also the simulacrum, which is similar in basic theory to a homunculus but is a replica of the caster.
    • The Basic/Expert/etc D&D system introduce the "magen", a type of human-like magical creatures grown in vats, combining advantages of homunculi and simulacra, but more expensive. On the other hand, they aren't as strong or invulnerable as golems, but cheaper and smarter. They came in several types, most with weird powers. In AD&D2 era Mystara they are formed from gelatin-like mix in molds and brought to life by lightning bolt spells.
    • Mystara also has Manikin — little constructs made of mandragora root and a bit of the master's lifeforce.
    • Van Richten's Arsenal, a 3E Ravenloft book from Arthaus, tells how to craft "alchemical children": sentient, organic constructs that can pass for human if desired.
    • Dragon magazine has "The Wizard's Companion: The Care and Feeding of Homonculi" article with details and 8 variant homunculi.
    • Eberron's artificer class has the ability to create homunculi sooner than most casters. The setting also introduces a number of specialised homunculi, including arbalesters (self-firing crossbows), dedicated wrights (dwarf-like homunculi which can craft items on their master's behalf), expeditious messengers (fast winged lemurs which their masters can speak through), furtive filchers (tiny shadowy figures adept at stealing), iron defenders (mechanical dogs made for combat), packmates (Chest Monster caddies) and persistent harriers (spiky humanoids used for combat support).
    • Dark Sun has the psionocus, very similar to the magical homunculus (up to the sleep-causing bite) but created through psionic means rather than alchemy. Its brain is a gem empowered with sentience and its body is shaped from the creator's blood.
  • GURPS: Homunculi in GURPS Magic must live in bottles because they are so ridiculously vulnerable that they can be killed by harsh light.
  • New World of Darkness:
    • Promethean: The Created lets players role-play as homunculi (though they don't use the word) based on Frankenstein's monster, Galatea, Osiris, the Golem, Orpheus, and nuclear-powered supermen. They use alchemy-based superpowers to fight Pandorans — botched homunculi — and attempt to become human.
    • Geist: The Sin-Eaters allows a Sin-Eater possessing the Elemental Marionette to craft a homunculus from a representation of said element. The creation of the homunculus requires the Sin-Eater to sacrifice some of their will to create an egg; if this egg is captured by another Sin-Eater, then they gain control of the homunculus. The homunculus also gains powers depending on which Elemental Key was used to forge it — a Cold-Wind Homunculus can fly rather fast, while a Pyre-Flame homunculus is immune to fire.
    • Mage: The Awakening allows mages to create homunculi. It is a fairly serious undertaking as creating one requires mastery of at least three Arcana; Matter to shape the body, Life to animate it, and Mind to give it a mind (or Death or Spirit to bind a ghost or spirit into the body). Since mastering three Arcana is a pretty rare achievement for mages, the homunculi are usually a collaborative project.
  • Pathfinder: Homunculi are small, mute constructs created from clay, ash, mandrake root, spring water and a touch of their creator's own blood. They are often a construct-maker's first creation due to the relative simplicity of their creation, which requires much fewer material and less costly components, potent magic and complex know-how than do those for golems or clockwork creatures. The use of the creator's blood forges a powerful bond between them and the homunculus, which remains steadfastly loyal to them unto death. Most homunculi sink into depression and die after their creator perishes, but a few retain a spark of will and a fragment of their maker's soul and come to see themselves as their creator's children or successors, striving to continue their work and growing voiced and free-willed. Most never become more than flat caricatures of their makers, but a few grow into true, mature minds in their own right.
  • In Warhammer 40,000, Dark Eldar Haemonculi use the term, but they are the mad alchemists who do the constructing rather than the constructs — those are Grotesques and Mandrakes. Possibly a Double Subversion as most Haemonculi are likely to manipulate their own bodies into something completely new at some point in their careers.

    Theater 
  • In Part Two of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust duology, the title character's student Wagner creates a homunculus who goes on to accompany Faust and Mephistopheles on their time travel adventure in Ancient Greece.

    Video Games 
  • Homunculi have appeared as an enemy in two of Castlevania games;
  • A sidequest in Dragon's Crown reveals that homunculi are full-sized, artificial humans created with the hopes of transmuting human souls inside as a roundabout means of immortality. However, they can't survive out of the jars they are created in, and not only has no one ever successfully transmuted a soul, simply the act of creating a homonculus is seen as an act of blasphemy. The only homunculus shown is a fully grown, naked woman, due to the Fanservice rampant in the game's design.
  • Homunculus is the Final Boss of Two's Prologue DLC in Drakengard 3. In reality it's a fused consciousnesses and bodies of children Two was caring for, as a result of Cent using and botching Two's magical song to enpower the soldiers. Fitting for Taro Yoko game.
  • Despite what we are originally lead to believe about her origins, Nanashi turns out to be a homunculus in Duel Savior Destiny. Because of this, she is largely indestructible as well as nearly immortal. The down side is that while she's hard to kill, her body constitution makes her rather fragile and severely hampers her stamina.
  • There's one in Edelweiss. And it's not Natsume.
  • In Fate/EXTRA, Rani VIII is a homunculus from the Atlas Institute, and will be your sidekick if you choose to save her instead of Rin Tohsaka at a critical moment.
  • Fate/Grand Order:
    • The Servant Mephistopheles is not the demon as described in Faust, but a homunculus created by the real-life alchemist Dr. Georg Faust. Faust was generations ahead of others in the creation of homunculi, but his mistake with creating Mephistopheles was giving him self-awareness, leading him to get bored of his master and kill him in an explosion.
    • One type of enemy in the game are called Homunculus, which are vaguely humanoid white (green in the case of Proto-Homunculus) creatures mainly composed of just muscles with very vague idea of a face. They drop items called Homunculus Baby, which is a homunculus embryo inside a vial.
  • A Homunculus is a familiar for Beastmasters in Final Fantasy XI, a play on the meaning of the word (Little Man). It is also possible to buy artificial nerves to make parts for a Puppetmaster's Robot Buddy.
  • Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia reveals that Grima is a homunculus in its new post-game chapter. Okay, technically he's a dragon, but he was an experiment by an alchemist named Forneus. Additionally, he's implied to be something of a human-dragon hybrid before becoming fully draconic with time.
  • In GrimGrimoire, any creature available to the 'Alchemy' school of magic counts under this trope (though it's less clear with Golems and Gargoyles, who might be highly advanced machines or primitive mechanical lifeforms); it's the only school of magic that creates its creatures on the spot rather than summoning them from another plane of existence. However, the second-tier unit of the school is actually called Homunculi: They look like cats with normal-size heads, thin and tiny bodies, and spider-like legs. Except for their legs, they are entirely bottled up inside clear glass beakers filled with chemicals absolutely necessary to keep their imperfect biology alive (in contrast, the ultimate creature, Chimera, has no such bottle and is constantly losing HP until it dies); smashing the bottle will kill a homunculus, and they cannot survive outside of them. Understandably, they don't move fast, they don't take much damage to kill, and they have no basic attack. What they DO have are heightened psychic abilities, which starts them with the ability to clairvoyantly spy on distant places, a power that can be also be used their immediate vicinity to make immaterial spirits vulnerable to physical attacks. They can also learn an Astral Storm area-of-effect power which causes considerable damage-over-time to enemy creature units, even spirits.
    • The story features a unique and highly advanced homunclus whom was created around an angel, who serves as the creature's soul. As per Valkyrie Profile above, this basically incarnated the angel as a physical being, but in this case the purpose was just to create a homunculus who could freely leave its life-sustaining bottle, save for periodic rests. The homunculus is as intelligent as any human and seems to have the ability to use Alchemy like a human magician (and was likely taught such by the alchemist who created her), but doesn't have any memories of being an angel. Her bottle apparently does more than simply perform periodic maintenance on her incomplete body, as shattering it will cause an immediate Critical Existence Failure that manifests as a glorious lightshow as the angel within emerges and then returns to heaven. Even aside from the bottle, however, this homunculus has a nigh-physical need for even just one other person to love her, as her artificially created form is not part of God's design and thus "is not connected to God's love". The exact form of love offered doesn't matter as long as it is genuine; a father, friend or lover are all just as good.
  • Haunting Ground offers an especially disturbing view of Homunculi. Every character but the protagonist and the Big Bad are Artificial Humans, including the protagonist's father. (He and The Dragon are clones.) Debilitas and Daniella seem to be two successful creations, to say nothing of the rambling failures and Fetus Terrible Mooks. Daniella mentions being unable to experience taste, pleasure or pain. There is no given reason for their creation except as cheap labor and For Science!.
    • Note: the world 'successful' (when used in the regard of Daniella and Debilitas) is extremely lenient, given their less than reassuring temperaments...
  • Helen's Mysterious Castle: The Artificial Humans of the city in Floor 4 are Homunculi, created together with the other monsters. In Ardis's laboratory, some other Homunculi are common enemies.
  • It's not yet been completely explained what exactly homunculi are in Mabinogi, but Eabha is one.
  • My Lovely Daughter, by Game Changer Studios, tells the tale of an alchemist that must create and raise homunculi... Then murder them and use their souls as part of a ritual to resurrect his dead daughter.
  • In NetHack, Homunculi are one of the weakest types of demon. It, again, has a sleep-inducing bite.
  • Homunculi are just items in the Persona series of games. They will take an instant death effect for the player so you don't get a game over.
  • Safiya of Mask of the Betrayer creates these to act as scouts and servants. Her most advanced one, Kaji, serves as her familiar and a partial rogue for the team.
  • In Ragnarok Online, homunculi are somewhat like pets, except they can fight for their owners, level up, and gain skills. The only humanoid ones (Lif) are cute monster girls, while the other options are birds (Filir), Blobs (Vanilmirth), sheep (Amistr), or monkeys (Amistr's other version).
  • A Homunculus features as a major character in Shadow of Destiny. This is an especially interesting case, as Homunculus is, in fact, a djinn-like being who is contained in the philosopher's stone. The process of "creation", in fact, only releases him.
  • Referenced in the blurb for the technology "Industrial Nanorobotics" in Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, delivered quite passionately by Sister Miriam of the Believers:
    "Already we have turned all of our critical industries, all of our material resources, over to these...things...these lumps of silver and paste we call nanorobots. And now we propose to teach them intelligence? What, pray tell, will we do when these little homunculi awaken one day and announce that they have no further need of us?"
    Sister Miriam Godwinson, "We Must Dissent"
  • Ivy from the Soul series sought to create a homunculus animated by an artificial soul between Soulcalibur III and IV, knowing that carrying the cursed blood of Soul Edge would likely deem her ineligible for wielding its opposite number, Soul Calibur. With a clash between Ivy and her undead father Cervantes resulting in her lab's destruction and Cervantes stealing most of her soul, Ivy was forced to replace her soul with the artificial one in order to stay alive (though V revealed she freed her original soul and all others claimed by Cervantes after defeating him). Her creation presumably was eradicated along with the remainder of Ivy's belongings and research.
  • In Super Robot Wars Reversal, Duminuss creates a trio of homunculi. They look like cute children but much are stronger than humans and pilot weird-looking Humongous Mecha. Duminuss and the homunculi return in Original Generation Gaiden, with one of them making Heel–Face Turn this time.
    • Einst Alfimi/Alchimie is also, if not an outright example, a strong allusion. She's an empty (at first) simulacrum of humanity created by the Einst, and her proper name is German for "alchemy."
  • Vatista from Under Night In-Birth is an Autonomic Nerve, a kind of magical construct built in ancient times to protect the Hollow Night and exterminate the extra-dimensional Voids. It is unclear exactly what an Autonomic Nerve is and how one is created, but Vatista can consume food and has a sense of taste. Blazblue Cross Tag Battle explains that Autonomic Nerves are inorganic doll bodies given human souls so they can possess art and instinct, but it is unclear if the souls are newly-created or taken from living people. Given the suggestion that ten thousand Autonomic Nerves were created originally, the latter prospect would require human sacrifice on a mass scale.
  • Valkyrie Profile also features homunculi (or at least similar creatures called chimera), mostly created by the twinked-out multiclass Alchemist/Necromancer/Runemaster/Sorcerer, Lezard Valeth. The first one seen is basically just a big, stupid, frankensteinian monster, but his best creations are basically enhanced human bodies worthy of a goddess. Which makes sense, seeing as he'd planned to use them to incarnate the Valkyrie with.
  • Rudy of Wild ARMs is an Artificial Human called a "holmcross," originally a mistranslation of "homunculus", retained in the remake because it was thought to sound unique and cool. He's said to be made of living metal.
  • World of Warcraft: Homunculi are highly-lifelike undead created by the Burning Legion to infiltrate mortal kingdoms. They're undetectable to even undead-hunting experts, but bleed green ichor.
    • There are other monsters called homunculus introduced before the official lore versions. They appear in at least 2 instances: the Sunken Temple and Karazhan, and are white imp-like demons. Word of God confirmed that the name was chosen because it's cool, and the two kinds are unrelated.
  • Homunculi in the Ys franchise are essentially Fairy Companions, created by members of the Clan of Darkness through magic. However, Ys IX: Monstrum Nox states there's another type of homunculus that can exist - a biological clone of a living subject by using its memories, created through alchemy. This homunculus is practically identical to its source, but there's an inherent Fatal Flaw, where homunculi created as an infant has a higher chance at surviving long-term than a homunculus created when its origin is older. Series protagonist Adol Christin as the "Crimson King" finds this out the hard way, since the latter is actually a homunculus of the real Adol.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Fate/stay night and its spinoffs, homunculi are created through alchemy by combining human genetic material and several elements. They come in several varieties:
    • The von Einzbern family are alchemy specialists, and all members of the family we've seen are homunculi.note  They're invariably red-eyed, white-haired, and female, and most are created as adults that appear to be in their 20s. They have extraordinary magical ability, and some can even potentially live forever while being technically "unkillable," though not indestructible. Too bad Illyasviel and her mother Irisviel aren't that kind. Sure, it makes them much more human than their counterparts... but Illya dies a year or so after the end of any route she survives in and is actually eighteen despite only appearing to be ten. Sucks, huh? Illya is also exceptional in that she was conceived and born like a human child.
    • Leysritt in Fate/stay night is, in some ways, even odder than Illya: She has her lifespan linked with Illya's, so she will die when Illya does if she (Leys) isn't killed first. She can also transmute into the Dress of Heaven that Illya wears when performing soul magecraft. And she has Super Strength on par with many heroic spirits.
    • There's also Mordred, who's basically an alchemical clone of her "father", Saber. She also grew up much faster than a human and thus has the mind of a child, partly explaining her personality in Fate/Apocrypha.
    • Additionally, the main character of Apocrypha, Sieg, is a homunculus. He's noticeably a more "defective" version, as not only only is his body weak, but his model at most only lasts for about two or three years. He himself was meant to just be a Living Battery before he escaped. After being badly wounded and having Siegfried's heart implanted, his body literally ages up to compensate and it's posited he could survive for at least a century with it. Of course, Siegfried's heart has other effects no one expected, such as allowing him to turn into a copy of Siegfried for a limited time, as well as slowly transforming his body into a nigh-immortal dragon.
    • Rani VIII of Fate/EXTRA is a creation of the Atlas Institute alchemists of Egypt.note  She has brown skin, and shares her creator's purple hair and eyes. She's a walking supercomputer able to connect directly to the cyber world, and her internal organs appear to be made of opal.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry Beatrice tries to invoke this, as her explanation for a woman who looks just like her existing in 1967 was that Kinzo Ushiromiya had made a homunculus and trapped her soul in it. In EP7, however, it's revealed that this is false: the Beatrice of 1967 was actually Kinzo's daughter and Beatrice's mother.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 
  • In Charby the Vampirate the Orrotta are basically Scotodino designed homunculi that are often mistaken for elves.
  • In Creative Release, a homunculus appears to ??? to try and stop her from leaving her current location. It doesn't work - she doesn't mind killing things that, according to her, aren't even alive to begin with.
  • In Girl Genius, Sparks make all sorts of crazy stuff, so artificial life isn't something unusual, though most of it ends up eating wanderers in sewers or wastelands. As the Castle informed Agatha that once her ancestress sent two hundred warrior homunculi in a little invasion... just to get acquainted with a prospective fiance.

    Web Original 
  • The RPC Authority has RPC-102, which are a group of monsterous miniuture humanoids, originally created via alchemical means, but capable of reproducing on their own as a viable species.
  • SCP-030.
  • Serylites are an universally female race created by a magical septer which impregnates any women who uses it with a clone-daughter. Aside from usage of the septer, they're universally sterile.
  • In 2015, Youtuber Как Сделать posted a video documenting what he described as the process of creating and growing a homunculus following the ancient precepts of Alchemy. Skeptics began attempting to duplicate the experiment themselves. The original video can be found here.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Graphic illustrations called "homunculi" are used by neurobiologists to illustrate how much of the brain's gray matter communicates with each of our body parts. As our hands, feet, and faces contain far more nerve endings, and individual motor units of muscles, than an equivalent volume of arm, leg, neck or torso, these homunculi have huge heads, feet and hands on little spindly bodies. To say nothing of the genitals.

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