Homunculi (??? ???) are a subspecies of yokai in Wild Hunt and seem to act as the counterpart towards the more technological androids. Like androids, homunculi are well known for being artificial lifeforms created through man-made means, and mostly appear similar to humans. Despite largely appearing human-like, other appearances can be assumed by a homunculus, such as that of animals, plant life and other yokai. Due to the wide range of appearances a homunculus can assume, in order to classify a being as a homunculus, it must be clearly defined as possessing the same standard ability all homunculi possess, including their artificial creation.
As a foil to androids, which are human-like robots created through scientific and technological means, homunculi contrast this by being inherently magical creatures instead. Therefore, to create a homunculus, sorcery must be used, and inversely, no homunculus can be created without a sorcerer to perform the necessary spell.
Abilities and PowersEdit
Due to their nature and the process of their creation, homunculi all possess at least one similar power that acts as a calling card to nearby witnesses; this power being the act of physically transforming into whatever base material they were crafted from. Examples include a sword homunculus being capable of transforming its limbs, head and so forth into various types of swords, a fire homunculus becoming fire at will, or an acidic homunculus transforming into acid. Another indicator that the being in question is a homunculus when undergoing transformation is the lack of reciting an evocation before shapeshifting occurs, which heavily implies this power is not the result of Shapeshift Sorcery. This also points to a homunculus' transformation power as a natural skill that one can learn to use through studying and discipline, with varying results depending on the homunculus performing the ability. With enough practice, homunculi have shown that they have the potential to use their base material in a variety of ways, and can rely on their shapeshifting for more than just combat. A major limitation to their transformation power however, seems to be that they cannot become a foreign ingredient to their creation (ie: a homunculus made out of hair cannot become glass unless modified somehow, such as through sorcery.)
As an artificial yokai, homunculi react to essentia and sorcery in the same way all other yokai do, and can thereby manipulate both with relative ease when compared to non-yokai lifeforms. Naturally this means a skilled and crafty homunculus can wield two distinct and separate powers at any given time; their talent for shapeshifting as well as their affinity for sorcery. When combined in just the right way, this can lead to a multitude of different and interesting results, ranging from something comical such as a balloon homunculus using air related magic to help create balloon animals or whoopee cushions, to more serious and potentially disastrous uses, like combining a gaseous homunculus with an illusion-based magic to create wide-scale panic, manipulation and accidents.
Thanks to a homunculus' incredible potential as a combatant and servant, many are desired as either expendable, mass-produced soldiers and bodyguards or as custom made workers and assistants. This sadly can often come at odds with a homunculus' sense of individuality and independence, since unless otherwise overridden or subdued, a homunculus may feel as if it is no better than glorified cannon fodder, or as a slave. Adding to this is the nature of their core. As homunculi are not naturally made the same way humans, animals, plants and yokai are, their core is specially constructed from the ground up by their respective sorcerer. While still functional as an artificial core, it can still be difficult to tell if a homunculus has a true, genuine mind and soul, or if they are simply well programmed to mimic the aspects of a living being.
Physically, if given the appropriate organic parts, a homunculus can perform the same activities as a standard human would, including eating, drinking, sleeping, breathing, defecating and being capable of sentient awareness, planning, and abstract thought. This also means they can enjoy aspects of life like dreaming, love, friendship, music, excitement and so forth, and can also be susceptible to unpleasant situations, including physical, mental and emotional pain, exhaustion, illness, malnutrition, loneliness and more. On the other hand however, as homunculi are more or less man-made creations, their parameters can be adjusted and altered as a sorcerer sees fit, and so many of these traits can be given or taken away if a sorcerer so pleases.
- Homunculi are based on alchemic representations of little humans; with "homunculus" even meaning "little man" in Latin. Despite the origins of the name, this is in contrast to the varying heights of the homunculi in Wild Hunt, as some can average around 5 to 6 feet tall, while others may be taller or shorter depending on the circumstances of their creation. The reasoning behind their inclusion in the story seems to be for further emphasis of Wild Hunt's underlying motifs of duality, moderation and balance; as while homunculi and androids differ in the methodology to their creation (magic/technology respectively,) they also share common traits as artificial lifeforms and how they're viewed by and (mis)used by their creators. Naturally, the two beings come off as two sides of the same coin.
Homunculus - Wikipedia article about homunculi; the concept that inspired the homunculi of Wild Hunt