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The Dwarf in the Flask, of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, is seen trapped within a flask during his first appearance.

At one point in the series, The Dwarf states that his greatest wish is to leave the flask (from FMA Wikia):

Being a homunculus with no form, the Dwarf in the Flask was unable to perform any alchemy of his own. Furthermore, though the flask was the only thing that keeps him alive, [The Dwarf] desired to exist outside it.

However, due to the emboldened part above, it appears the flask is somehow keeping him alive (though he is only corked inside it). How does it do this, and how would he die if he left?

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Because he had no form on his own. He's basically an essence of God, created from Hoenheim's blood.

If his flask would somehow break, his being would dissipate into the space, and lose his form and living consciousness.

Think of it as a soul with no body. Stuffed inside of a container, if that container would break, the soul wouldn't have anywhere to reside, and leave the world. (Al is a slightly different case, his soul is bound to the seal on the back of his neck).

  • Good explanation--it seems the little hands that The Dwarf forms must be just for effect, right? They have no particular meaning to his lack of form, I assume. – Killua Dec 26 '12 at 20:46
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    @Eric: Correct. He can't really use them for anything. Once he gained a body though, he could. – Madara Uchiha Dec 26 '12 at 20:55
  • The hands greatly resemble the hands that take body parts from those who commit taboo. This might be what homunculus has been before he was dragged through the gate and thus the arms might be an echo of homunculus' original form. – hajef May 22 at 19:40
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It seems that the question is answered in the same section you've quoted:

Being a homunculus with no form, the Dwarf in the Flask was unable to perform any alchemy of his own.

Also seeing as he is also:

While it is never fully explored, the being that would later call itself Father was originally a part of the existence within the Gate. Using the blood of his slave Number 23, the Alchemist to the King of Xerxes managed to contain a small portion of the knowledge and life of the Gate within a flask, capable of existing in the physical realm.

So it seems simply that both being a part of the gate and lacking any form, implies that without a container, the homunculus would simply "evaporate". But:

later, the homunculus is able to leave the flask because it gained a form: "Homunculus used this power to open the Gate of Truth and created himself and Hohenheim new immortal bodies, living embodiments of the Philosopher's Stone with the hundreds of thousands of souls of Xerxes split between them as their power."

  • +1 for mentioning the knowledge and the Gate; however, Madara's answer is correct and he beat you by a few seconds, so I've accepted his. – Killua Dec 26 '12 at 20:46

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