Cartaphilus (カルタフィルス Karutofirusu), also known Joseph (ジョセフ Josefu), is an Alchemist and a monster cursed with immortality. He serves as a recurring antagonist of the series.
Cartaphilus has a body of a boy in his early teens, but his body seems to hold something much larger and more sinister. He has no left arm, so he replaces it with others that he has stolen such as Renfred's. He has long straight silver hair with bangs that he uses to cover his eye when Renfred shoots him.
Cartaphilus wears a long coat, shorts, and a striped shirt underneath suit and vest.
He detests feeling pain and suffering, fearing the day when he will decay. He has no qualms, however inflicting misery on other living things. He lacks motive, and does what he wants with no repressions. He lacks a reasonable motive for his actions and is quick to lose interest. He seems to occasionally have memory loss, wondering who he was talking to just a few minutes after talking to said person, or even going as far as forgetting himself and others, as shown in Chise's dream. He is seemingly prone to (supposedly) extreme suffering, but the reason remains unknown. He hates being called Cartaphilus, saying that it is a cursed name and preferring the name Joseph. Also, for unknown reasons, he has stated that he hates Chise.
He is the reason the stagnation by the pond exists. Years ago, he told a man that cats actually had nine lives, by taking them away, he could create a potion that gave their vitality to a human. With it, he could save his wife from illness. By following Cartaphilus, the man killed many cats and the potion he created caused his wife to decay in front of him. Cartaphilus then states that his true intention was to see if a human could resist over the curse of a beast, and the man went mad.
Since then he has made several appearances in the manga. Being the reason Alice went in search for The Church Yard Grimm known as Ruth, who soon after meeting Chise became her familar. The loss of this "ingredient" resulted in him attacking Alice and Chise with his chimera whom, instead of hitting alice, peiced Chise through the chest. This of course Enraged Elias starting a battle in which he flees after Alice Blows away his arm.
He then later finds out about Chise Hatori's Dragon curse using Stella to spy on her and Elias and manages to convince Chise to meet him to see how the two curses would react in an effort to stave off his own decay. This results in him Exchanging an eye with Chise.
Skills and Abilities
- Control Body: Cartaphilus is able to take control over another person's body, as shown when he took control over Stella's body.
- Curse of Immortality: Cartaphilus is cursed with eternal life in a body that is constantly degenerating. He requires a constant supply of parts to keep functional.
- Monstrous Physiology: Cartaphilus is able to transform parts of himself into monstrous shapes at will. It is unknown whether the monstrous form is his true appearance or whether it's attained by alchemy. When he was shot in the head, tentacles came out. He also transformed his hand into a large, monstrous claw.
- Master Alchemist: Cartaphilus is an alchemist of great skill. His specialty seems to be the creation of powerful chimeras.
- "Fufu... are you surprised that I'm a pipsqueak?"
- "My curse and yours... who knows, they might interact nicely."
— to himself, about Chise
- "You might call me a monster because I do what I want regardless of what that does to others."
— to Elias
- "What must we do to find salvation?"
— to Chise
- Cartaphilus is the name for a legendary figure, called the "Wandering Jew" in English. Cartaphilus was cursed with eternal life following an indiscretion directed towards Jesus of Nazareth. One of the many names he has been given is "Joseph". Beginning in the 1930s, a caricature of this figure has been used by anti-Semites, mocking the diaspora and persecution of the Jewish people.