Lan Fan (ランファン, Ranfan) is a retainer of the Xing Empire's Yao Clan, a personal bodyguard of Prince Ling Yao and the grandchild of Ling's senior bodyguard, Fu. She is fiercely loyal to her prince; insults to his name cause her to fly into a rage (overwhelming her better judgment and dulling her usually sharp combat abilities) and she becomes flustered when unmasked in his presence.
AppearanceLan Fan is a young girl with back-length black hair usually tied back in a bun with the bangs loose and framing her face, dark brown eyes, and a lean, muscular, and fairly curvaceous figure. Her usual attire consists of a black Xingese secret soldier uniform covered by a layer of body armor. On her hands and forearms, she wears fingerless gloves with forearm/hand protectors lined with small spikes along the knuckles. Lan Fan usually keeps her face hidden on missions behind a red and white mask with the Yin half of the Yin-Yang symbol on the forehead (Fu's mask bears the other half).
After losing her left arm on the battlefield, Lan Fan has a combat automail replacement built for her while abroad. It is gunmetal-colored and its shoulder attachments are shielded by what appears to be a steel variation of Xingese plate armor. For combat, it is adorned with a spike strip wound around the hand as well as a long sword blade extending from the bottom of the elbow.
Usually quiet and shy (when unmasked) in Ling's presence, Lan Fan generally keeps to herself unless prompted, and like Edward, she has a propensity for being brash when angered. Her determination and loyalty can also be blunt almost to a fault whenever Ling and his goals are involved. She worries incessantly about the young prince wandering off constantly and will be found watching him more often than not. It is also revealed in the manga she has trouble expressing proper etiquette, such as saying a simple "thank you", especially to those she would consider "lower" than Ling.
She is known for not just her creativity and skill on the battlefield, but also for her undivided loyalty to a cause she deems worthy to fight for.
Ling Yao - As a clandestine soldier and retainer of the Yao clan, Lan Fan's duty to protect Ling is in her very blood, passed down her family line for generations. In that vein, her devotion to the young lord's safety and well-being is remarkable and she is more than willing to tend to his every command and sacrifice her life and body to protect him. Lan Fan's adherence to Ling is exceedingly strong, with the young girl becoming unnaturally flustered when unmasked in his presence and recklessly angry when he is insulted by others, and not denying that he is "very special" to her, when asked by Van Hohenheim.
Fu - Despite their familial bond, Lan Fan acts as an efficient and obedient subordinate to her grandfather, showing what appears to be a strictly professional face when on missions with him. However, even her duties as a soldier of the Yao clan cannot erase the love she has for the old man. She apologizes sorrowfully for disappointing him and cares deeply for his well-being, though she knows that in her heart and for her honor, Ling's safety comes first. Lan Fan was nearly as distraught as Ling when she witnessed her grandfather's death but managed to stay more emotionally stable. Later when she confronted Wrath (King Bradley) who was responsible for her grandfather's death, rather than seek revenge, she asked if there was anyone he ever truly loved.
AbilitiesLan Fan is an extremely skilled combatant, well-versed in the use of Xingese martial arts in both armed and hand-to-hand styles. She has been shown to be able to easily overwhelm a seasoned combatant the likes of Edward Elric and inhuman beasts like the Homunculi. Like most skilled Xingese warriors, she has the ability to sense other people's chi, giving her an edge in battle and the ability to identify the Homunculi, whose life energy is twisted by the large amount of souls trapped inside them. Lan Fan herself is particularly skilled in the use of kunai and quite partial to the use of explosives in combat. Her skills are further enhanced with her Automail which has a unique large blade protruding from the elbow, in which she was able to nearly kill the Homunculus Gluttony by herself with ease, attacking him numerous times before he could react.
Part in the Story
Envoy of the EastLan Fan is first introduced into the series alongside Ling in Rush Valley, appearing to cordon Edward Elric at her master's behest in order to learn more about the Philosopher's Stone. When Edward resists, Lan Fan engages him in combat, keeping just above the Fullmetal Alchemist's melee combat skills with her Xingese Martial Arts until Edward begins badmouthing the prince, at which point Lan Fan's moves become more linear and wild as her fury increases. Though Edward takes advantage of this long enough to destroy her mask with alchemy, Lan Fan uses the opportunity of his surprise at her identity to cut the wires in his automail arm with a well-placed kunai and ignite one of her grenades. After the rubble from the explosion settles, Lan Fan is horrified to see Ed's metal arm sticking up from beneath rocks and fears that the prince may be displeased that she killed his target, but upon taking hold of it realizes that Fullmetal had removed his inoperative arm and made a large snare trap with it for her. Even while captured, Lan Fan demands the mask back lest the Prince see her face, but she manages to escape with Fu while Ling creates a diversion.
Intricacies at Central
Lan Fan and Fu tail Prince Ling as he tags along with the Elrics to Central City, accidentally manage to lose him as Ling wanders off to find free food, but are summoned to him again some time later by smoke signals after he is broken out of prison by Barry the Chopper and led back to Warrant Officer Vato Falman's safe house. While Fu escorts 2nd Lt. Maria Ross to Xerxes, Lan Fan stays behind to keep watch over Ling and when the Prince goes over to question Alphonse Elric, he orders her to stay behind with Barry and Falman. Lan Fan, thanks to her ability to sense human presence, responds immediately when Barry the Chopper's re-animated body (sent by Lust) attacks the safe house. As Falman struggles to hold off the walking animal-like puppet, Lan Fan informs him that she can sense even more hostile presences nearby - about twenty or more clustered in one spot. She leaves to investigate the oddity when 2nd Lt. Jean Havoc arrives to provide backup and is surprised to find that the crowd of people she felt were all contained inside one being, the Homunculus Envy, who is both shocked to have been discovered in hiding and that Lan Fan as able to determine that he had several souls inside his body.
Envy engages Lan Fan in combat, but the young Bellatrix proves to be far too much for the Homunculus, managing to "kill" him several times without being injured herself and identify him even when disguised as another person or animal. Ling returns to Lan Fan's side to aid her just as Gluttony arrives to back up Envy and Lan Fan relays to her master that these strange creatures seem incapable of death and may be the key to immortality that they seek. The battle between the Yao warriors and the Homunculi continues until nightfall, when a frustrated Envy and Gluttony decide to end the fight and eradicate all witnesses by morphing to their true forms. But before they can, the disembodied voice of Pride echoes through the streets, commanding the two to stand down and return to base. As they leave, Lan Fan apologizes for allowing the key to immortality to escape, but Ling asserts that in doing so, they may have narrowly escaped death.
Hunting ImmortalsWith Fu still in Xing, Lan Fan serves as Ling's companion and bodyguard as he discusses immortality with Alphonse and cooperates in Edward's plan to capture a Homunculus for interrogation. Ling offers himself and Lan Fan for the plan, saying that, when the Elrics manage to draw one out of hiding, they will be able to sense their presence and come in as backup. Lan Fan and Ling lie in wait as Edward and Alphonse use Scar to bait the Homunculi into action and when Wrath and Gluttony appear on the scene, the Yao warriors sense Gluttony's souls and spring into action. Lan Fan has an easy time dealing with Gluttony on her own and informs him that he cannot escape, as his presence is very distinctive. Unfortunately, Wrath overhears this and, having a human body and therefore the presence of a human, is able to attack Lan Fan with his swords before she is able to identify him as a threat. Though Lan Fan is able to dampen the sword strike at the last minute and even break one of the Führer's swords, she sustains severe injury to her left arm. Unable to move or defend herself, Ling must step in to protect her and carry her on his back when Gluttony makes a move to devour her. Though she not only is unable to assist Ling as he battles Wrath, but also serves as a hindrance as he must fight with her on his shoulder (impairing his right arm), Lan Fan manages to ignite some of her grenades to help Ling escape from the Homunculi. Unfortunately, as Ling and Lan Fan flee, they realize that Wrath and Gluttony are steering them toward a dead end. Lan Fan, wracked with guilt overburdening the prince, asserts that with her left arm immobile and her fighting skills nullified, she will only lead to Ling's death at this rate. He refuses to leave her behind, but Lan Fan draws a kunai and declares that there are several things that can be sacrificed for duty. Biting down on her collar, Lan Fan uses the kunai to cut off her injured arm. The two tie the arm to a stray dog in order to leave a misleading trail of her blood for Wrath to follow as a decoy, similar to the decoy Ed used on her before, while they slip into the sewers to escape.
The Girl on the Battlefield
After leaving to help Edward, Alphonse and Lt. Riza Hawkeye capture Gluttony, Ling returns to pick Lan Fan up and take her to safety in the cottage Colonel Mustang has prepared just outside Central City limits. Mustang brings Dr. Knox, who performs emergency surgery on Lan Fan's shoulder wound to save her life. As she suffers on the makeshift operating table, Ling ponders aloud to the Elrics, telling them that he had thought the conviction he carried with him to Amestris would be enough to succeed, but that he now realizes Lan Fan had carried much more conviction than him. The surgery goes well and Ed and Al check up on Lan Fan as she recovers, asking if they can get her anything. She replies with a smile that she would like them to help her acquire a new automail left arm. Edward promises to introduce her to a great mechanic, but when Gluttony breaks free of his bonds and goes on a rampage, Lan Fan must be moved to Knox's house in the city for further treatment while Ling and the Elrics stay behind to fight. Lan Fan protests leaving her prince in danger, but is too weak to resist as she is sped to safety.
Lan Fan further laments the loss of her arm and her inability to help Ling as she recuperates in Knox's city home, but when Alphonse arrives with an injured May Chang in tow, she is heartened significantly by a message Al brings to her from the prince - a message written in Xingese stating that Ling has finally acquired the Philosopher's Stone. However, when Lan Fan asks the younger Elric brother where Prince Ling is, he is forced to tell her the horrible truth: that Ling's body has been taken over by the Homunculus Greed. Lan Fan blames herself rather than holding Ed and Al accountable for failing to protect Ling, but holds off despair with the knowledge that Ling's consciousness still exists inside Greed and persists in trying to regain control. Unable to lie still while her master struggles, Lan Fan demands that Alphonse acquires for her an automail arm immediately. When Alphonse tells her that recuperation from an automail prosthesis surgery will take at least a year, she responds adamantly that it will only take her six months. Their negotiations are cut short, however, when May - recognizing Lan Fan as a retainer of the Yao clan - attacks her. As each of the forty-three royal heirs are seeking to eliminate each other in the bid for the Emperor's favor and, subsequently, the throne, Lan Fan rises from bed and draws a hidden kunai with the full intent of dueling and eliminating her master's political adversary. But the battle ends before it begins when Dr. Knox intervenes, refusing to allow his two patients to injure each other further. Threatened into complacency, Lan Fan and May listen on docilely while Knox relates his experiences of the Ishval Civil War to Alphonse.
Several days later, when Fu returns from Xing, he is brought to Knox's home by the Elric brothers. For Lan Fan's failure to protect Ling as well as her depression over her lost arm, he slaps and berates her as her superior commander, but the old man is unable to hold back his sorrow for long and grieves intensely but briefly over his precious granddaughter's injury. Though Ed and Al restate their promise to help Lan Fan receive an automail arm, Fu declines their kindness on the basis that, now that King Bradley is keeping a closer watch over their actions, it would not be wise to endanger Winry or Pinako further by meeting with them. He assures the Elrics that they will find an automail mechanic of their own accord. Lan Fan and Fu don disguise and thank Dr. Knox for his kindness before quitting his home. The two leave Central City for Xing, but Lan Fan swears that she will return.
Messenger of the VoidIn Chapter 86, while Edward, Ling, Darius and Heinkel are cornered outside the Kanama slums by Pride and Gluttony, Lan Fan finally reappears with a new combat automail equipped with a band of spikes around the hand and wrist as well as a long blade protruding from the elbow. She rescues Ling and Edward by repeatedly cutting Gluttony apart, thereby keeping him at bay, but when her automail begins to malfunction (presumably as a result of having rushed her recovery in only six months), she switches to her trademark grenades. Though furious at Greed's infestation of Ling's body, she finds herself distracted by the sight of the undying Homunculus in danger and, with the added distraction of her malfunctioning arm has to be rescued from death by Edward after Pride eats Gluttony and takes on his power. After Van Hohenheim traps Pride, Lan Fan waits with the others in Kanama until morning, when they can sneak into the Homunculi's underground lair during Colonel Mustang's chaotic assault on Central City.
The group sneaks in through the secret passageways underneath Laboratory 3 and decides to split up in order to find the proper path. While Edward goes off in one direction with Darius, Zampano, Jerso, and Scar, Hohenheim opts to go in the other direction with only Lan Fan as assistance, initially using the excuse that an old man would much prefer to be alone with a young girl. However, as soon as the other group is out of earshot, Van gives Lan Fan permission to leave his side and search for Ling, with whose body Greed had suddenly absconded during the night. Lan Fan is reluctant to abandon Van at first, but thanks him for his kindness and disappears into the vent system to find her prince. She emerges atop the Central Command building during the battle against Wrath just as her grandfather is felled. As Ling and Wrath, who had been engaged in combat, topple together over the edge of the grand staircase, Lan Fan rushes to her prince's aid, grabbing his carbon-armored arm with her automail one and holding fast to keep him from falling into the water. However, Bradley grabs onto Ling's other arm to stop his own plummet and the combined weight becomes too much for Lan Fan's hastily constructed prosthetic to take and it begins to come apart under the strain. When blood from Lan Fan's left shoulder falls on his face, Ling urges her to let go and tend to Fu's wounds, but the blood is met with Lan Fan's tears as she informs the prince that it is too late; her grandfather has died.
After Wrath falls off into the water, Lan Fan pulls Ling to safety, where he mourns the loss of his comrade. As Central soldiers open fire once again, Lan Fan urges Ling to get down, but the prince covers his body in Greed's carbon armor and moves to the front line, ordering Lan Fan to protect the rear line while he keeps the gate to the Central Command compound safe.
In Chapter 105, after the activation of the Nationwide Transmutation Circle, it appears that Lan Fan has moved close enough to the array's center so as not to be drawn in by its influence. She emerges on the scene of Wrath's fresh defeat by Scar, deep beneath Central Command, and asks if the Führer has any final words before his passing. When he tells her that he has none, she laments that the Homunculus had lived a sad life and asks again whether there are words he would leave to his wife but Wrath chastises her for her softness and dies with his dignity intact. Sensing life still emanating from his location, Lan Fan discovers that Bradley had pilfered a Philosopher's Stone from the late Gold-Toothed Doctor and removes it from his pocket. Scar asks that she help him over to the five-point Transmutation Circle in the center of the room and she complies, allowing him to activate the Alkahestric Reverse Circle from its central point. While doing so, Scar explains to Lan Fan that Father had used his influence to suppress any information about alkahestry in Amestris so that no one would discover the truth - that the Homunculus had spread Philosopher's Stone energy just under the country's surface to serve as energy for transmutations instead of the energy from the earth's crust beneath it as used in alkahestry. With his explanation of his brother's plot to turn the energy against the Homunculi, Lan Fan begins to understand the unease she and the other Xingese travelers had felt upon arriving in this land.
Greed arrives shortly afterward just as a mysterious explosion rocks the surface, reportedly obliterating the Central Command building. When the Armstrong siblings, Mustang and the Chimeras appear on the scene, Greed explains to everyone that Father has both changed his form and become far more powerful. He warns that anyone who is unable to fight must stay behind while the rest go above to offer support to Fullmetal's group. Though Greed protests, Lan Fan insists that she come along, as it is her duty to protect Prince Ling and return the Philosopher's Stone to her homeland. Though she fights valiantly with the others, attempting to weaken Father's defenses with Xingese grenades, Lan Fan is thrown back by the energy released when Father loses his composure and becomes unable to fight. But when Fullmetal gains the upper hand, Lan Fan joins in cheering Edward on.
During Greed, Ling and Father's final showdown, Lan Fan returns to Ling's side just in time to see him separate from Greed, cutting Father's arm off as Greed destroys Father from the inside. After the battle, she remembers Dr. Knox's words and requests that Ling cease Xing's clan wars when he becomes Emperor, which he agrees to easily, much to her surprise. Lan Fan departs with Ling, taking her grandfather and May Chang home. She is later seen in the ending photo collage, masked and loyally at Emperor Ling's side.
- Lan Fan appears on the binding of manga Volume 16.
- Her seiyū, Mizuki Nana, also played Wrath in the 2003 anime series, and Armony Eiselstein from the video game Fullmetal Alchemist and the Broken Angel.
- Lan Fan also bears a resemblance to Tachibana from Arakawa's one shot Raiden 18.
- Lan Fan means cold rice in Cantonese/Chinese. A joke was made during the mid-show intermissions showing a picture of Lan Fan eating a bowl of rice during one of the episodes.
- The kanji most often used for Lan Fan's name on Japanese fanart are readable as "orchid fragrance." As Lan Fan's name is only written in katakana in the Japanese manga, this translation is probably fanon.
- The Chinese version of the manga uses the aforementioned characters 蘭芳・兰芳, read as lán fāng in Mandarin.
- Lan Fan has two theme songs from the Brotherhood album. The first is called "Sora Kaze," which means "sky breeze" in Japanese, and the second is called "Sotto, sotto," which means "softly, softly." Both are sung by her seiyu, Nana Mizuki.
- Lan Fan shares the same English voice actress, Trina Nishimura, with Mikasa Ackerman from Attack on Titan whose devotion to Eren Yeager mirrors Lan Fan's devotion to her prince.