Brigadier General Basque Grand is one of the higher-ranking officers in the Amestrian Military and a prominent State Alchemist known as the Iron Blood Alchemist (鉄血の錬金術師, Tekketsu no Renkinjutsushi).
Like Roy Mustang, Grand was a legend of the Ishval Civil War and has gained much notoriety for his actions on the Eastern battlefield. He is known among the ranks as a master of hand-to-hand combat in addition to his significant alchemical abilities, but was nonetheless murdered by Scar early in the series.
Basque Grand is a rather large and muscular man easily towering over most average sized humans. He is bald, and sports a large black pointy handlebar mustache (much like Grumman although curvier and the tips are longer), and a small scar on the left side of his chin. He wears the standard blue Amestrian State Military uniform, but rolls up his sleeves in combat to use his Transmutation gauntlets.
His appearance does not seem to have changed much since the Ishval Civil War. Like most state alchemists involved with the fighting, he wore a white coat over his uniform, as well as a cap.
In the Manga and 2009 anime
In the Fullmetal Alchemist manga, Brigadier General Grand is referred to only in flashback or in retrospect, as he is one of the earliest named victims of Scar's murderous rampage, but the flashback to the Ishval War in Chapter 60 displays him at the height of his prowess on the front lines. Grand appears to be a man of great honor, charisma and conviction, charging into battle as the vanguard regardless of his higher rank (Colonel at the time) and against the protestations of the enlisted men under his command. When the Supreme Cleric of the Ishvalan people, Logue Lowe, offers himself up to end the fighting, Grand takes the man under his protection and leads him to Brigadier General Fessler in the hopes of finding a quick resolution to the war. But Grand is driven to take more direct action when Fessler proves to be too committed to the massacre to allow a meeting between Logue Lowe and Führer King Bradley, shooting his superior officer coldly and assuming Fessler's command position.
Though the act was witnessed by a fair number of soldiers (the then Captain Maes Hughes included), all present state their approval of Grand by verbally attributing Fessler's death to a stray bullet. Logue Lowe offers his thanks to Grand, but the Iron Blood Alchemist shrugs it off, merely stating that he hopes negotiations with Bradley go well.
In an omake, Fullmetal Alchemist author Arakawa Hiromu reveals that Scar was able to defeat Basque Grand despite the Brigadier General's proficiency in hand-to-hand and alchemical combat by catching him in the night after he exited a pub, soused to dizziness. In the 2009 anime series, however, Grand took on Scar in an alley and overestimated his alchemy's ability to keep the murderer confined, therefore being caught off guard and killed. It is unknown whether Grand was at his peak, but the episode shows no indication that the Brigadier General was drunk.
In the 2003 anime series, Basque Grand plays a more significant role in the early storyline as an antagonist, first appearing in Episode 6 and is shown bullying Shou Tucker into delivering results with chimera research so as not to be shown up by Colonel Mustang and his new acquisition of Edward Elric. He forces the Elrics to leave Tucker's home after he finds out that Ed has been attempting to access Tucker's research without clearance and later attempts to cart Tucker's daughter Nina away to a lab for study (presumably Laboratory 5) after it becomes apparent that her father had experimented on her but the Elrics intervene to allow Nina to escape only for her to be subsequently murdered by Scar. Grand reappears in Episode 13, interrupting Ed and Hughes' conversation about Marcoh to reveal his disgust with the Crystal Alchemist for deserting during the Ishval War as well as to forcibly move all the officers from Central City in with the East City officers in what is later revealed to be as a result of Scar's presence in Central City and the threat he poses to State Alchemists. Grand, in Episode 14, follows Ed and Al to Marcoh's current location at the Nameless Village and storms in with a platoon of soldiers to arrest Marcoh and confiscate his Red Stone with Ed, remembering Grand's attempt to detain the Tuckers, in pursuit. The armored car is stopped by Scar. However, despite having the added power of the Red Stone at his side, Grand was so preoccupied by trying to use the stone that Scar was able to attack. Basque Grand is then killed by the Ishvalan avenger.
During Tim Marcoh's flashback in Episode 15, Grand, who held the rank of Colonel, was one of the commanding officers during the Ishvalan Civil War. Despite Marcoh's wishes, Grand authorizes the use of Marcoh's research to amplify the powers of the State Alchemists to quickly end the war, not caring about the lives of the Ishvalans since the deaths of soldiers and civilians is a part of a war. He also has Roy Mustang execute Winry's parents. Despite them serving as doctors in the war and treating both sides, Urey and Sara Rockbell were accused of treating the Ishvalan insurgents that were killing Grand's soldiers.
Later, during the infiltration of Lab 5, Envy disguises himself as Basque Grand in order to shepherd prisoners for Philosopher's Stone ingredients and attempts to fool Edward, but fails due to the Fullmetal Alchemist's presence at the real Brigadier General's death.
When Ed is transported to the Earth, there are posters with a man who could be Basque's counterpart on the Earth.
Powers and Abilities
Due to the 2003 anime series taking its own turn, the Iron Blood Alchemist's abilities differ greatly between the manga and anime versions of the character, but in both, Grand is a notable combat alchemist. Grand has also been noted to possess considerable strength and is highly skilled in hand-to-hand combat.
In the manga, Basque Grand is portrayed during the Ishval War as wearing two elaborate gauntlets with stylized metal plating on the forearms and the backs of his hands, and rings around the wrists. The rings are inscribed with alchemical markings while the seven plates on each arm are marked (in descending order from elbow to wrist) Inuenies, Occultum, Lapitem, Visita, Interiora, Terrae, Rectificando. In order, meaning: You will find, Secret, Stone, See, Insides, Of earth, (by) What shall be rectified.
Grand transmutes by slamming his fists together to create a transmutation circle with his arms (similar to the styles of both Solf J. Kimblee and Edward Elric) and then uses direct hand contact to transform large nearby objects to the shape of his choosing. In particular, Grand displays acute understanding of metallurgy and weapons construction, able to use his alchemy to create massive numbers of armaments and cannons out of rock and stone. In chapter 60, Grand transforms an Ishvalan building into a huge mass of weapons including several cannons, gatling guns, and chained flails.
note: "Visita interiora terrae rectificando invenies occultum lapitem" comes from an alchemical symbol in a text by M. Daniel Stolzius von Stoltzenberg, an alchemical scholar in the Paracelsus tradition, and translates, literally, to "See the insides of earth through that which shall be right, you will find the secret stone", figuratively meaning "Discover the innermost essence of earth in a correct manner and you will find the philosopher's stone".
In the 2003 anime series, Grand also sports a pair of gauntlets, but they are much less elaborate than in the manga, resembling instead the gauntlets worn by Alex Louis Armstrong. Though Grand did not have the opportunity to reveal his alchemical style before he was murdered by Scar (barring a single instance in which he transmutes his gauntlet into a form that makes punches more effective, used when he sucker-punches Ed), a flashback to the Ishval War depicts Grand as specializing in the transmutation of firearms. He is shown encased in an iron, egg-shaped mass with several small explosive cannons sticking out of it, firing into the desert. Although, this style may only have been used by Grand because he'd had a government-issued Philosopher's Stone augmenting his abilities at the time.