- For the anime exclusive character, see Wrath (2003 anime)
King Bradley (キング・ブラッドレイ Kingu Buraddorei ) is one of the primary antagonists in the Fullmetal Alchemist series, being that he is one of the seven Homunculi. Bradley was also the original Führer (大総統 Daisōtō ) of Amestris. In the manga series and the 2009 anime reboot, he was known as Wrath (ラース Rāsu ), the final homunculus created by Father, but was changed in the 2003 anime to Pride (プライド Puraido ), created by the ancient alchemist Dante. In both series, Bradley is the leader of Amestris and is seen to have almost inhuman swordsmanship. However, in the manga and 2009 anime series, he is an important character being that Amestris was created for the sole purpose of exacting Father's plan to become the ultimate being. As Führer, Bradley is the respected Commander-in-Chief of the State Military, even though his political standpoints are often questioned in certain instances such as the Ishval Civil War, which was only one of many insurrections focused on creating a massive Philosopher's Stone for Father.
In the manga and 2009 anime Bradley appears as an older man near sixty with an incredible physique for his age. He has a full head of black hair, with a few greying hairs and a thick black mustache, a blue tint to his right eye, and an eye patch over his left eye. Underneath his eye patch is "The Ultimate Eye", or his regular eye with the Ouroboros mark in place of the pupil and cornea. In the 2003 anime, Bradley's design is basically the same, but due to differing art styles, he has noticeably softer features with a thinner and less stocky build. His skin tone is more of an olive complexion in the 2003 anime.
Bradley is usually seen to wear a blue, full length military issue coat and slacks with black dress shoes. His uniform has a grey sash around it which he uses to carry his swords. Bradley is almost always seen with at least one sword on him, but has also been known to carry up to five and can wield all of them simultaneously. On occasions, he has been seen without his coat in battle, wearing his military issue slacks with suspenders and boots, along with a short-sleeve black undershirt. Other times, he is seen wearing a black vest with a white dress-shirt, dress pants, and formal shoes. At the time of the promised day, Bradley wore a white shirt with blue pants and a beige belt to hold his hand grenade.
Several differences are apparent in Bradley when compared to the other Homunculi, such as the ability to sympathize with humans and even show compassion despite his identity as Wrath. He is perhaps the most misleading of the homunculi, appearing generally calm and surprisingly pleasant, even with a frequent sense of humor when compared to the others.
Instances of his misleading demeanor include giving full credit to Colonel Roy Mustang for killing Isaac McDougal the Freezing Alchemist, despite Bradley himself being the one fully responsible for the criminal's defeat (2009 anime only). Another instance of this unexpected behavior was giving a melon to Edward Elric as a gift when he and his younger brother Alphonse were in the hospital, and afterwards mischievously sneaking out a window in the Elric brothers' hospital room to escape his assistant who was looking for him.
As pleasant as he may seem, Bradley embodies the true image of wrath when enraged. One instance of this fury was his trembling hands at Maes Hughes' funeral, upon hearing the Lt. Col.'s young daughter interrupting the honored silence with protests to her mother about her father being covered with dirt, and when recounting this memory, his hands trembled in fury at the thought of Elicia's screams interrupting the silence. Colonel Roy Mustang at the time mistook this as a silent weep from Bradley, only to discover later in the series that Bradley was trembling due to the difficulty of restraining his immense fury. In-battle, Bradley shows relentless determination and brutality, never hesitating to deal the finishing blow and fighting with a silent but deadly aura, a reflection of the inner fury that drives him and embodies his status as Wrath.
Since his entire life was planned out for him and he rarely if ever got to make his own choices, Bradley takes great pride in his wife since she was the woman he chose to marry, openly expressing this to Riza.
He is rarely seen to associate with the other Homunculi, aside from times when it is necessary to do so. He is more lenient towards humans than his siblings, due to spending the most time among them and once being a human himself. He also appears to secretly enjoy the complications that the Elrics and their friends have brought to Father's plans since he has lived a life where everything has been planned, controlled, or predicted. However, he still does express some annoyance towards humans, sometimes referring to their constant meddling as bothersome, even once remarking to Mustang, "You humans sure piss me off."
Bradley seems to have respect for those he deems worthy warriors. During his first battle with Ling Yao, he comments that Ling knows a thing or two about fighting and swordplay. Additionally, during his fight with Fu, Bradley states that Fu is an exceptional fighter, considering that he is even older than Bradley himself.
Bradley has openly expressed his disbelief of God, believing the concept as a tool to inspire fear and order in society. When Ishvalans claim that God will punish him for his crimes, Bradley scorns them, asking how long their God would wait and how many more lives Bradley would take until he'd finally take action, urging the Ishvalans instead to use their own strength to try and stop Bradley if they so wish. Despite this, he called out Scar for abandoning his previous beliefs and using alchemy even though his God, Ishvala, viewed it as abhorrent; upon his death, he noted the irony that his defeat from being momentarily blinded by the sun could possibly be a form of divine justice and an act of God. This implies that Bradley isn't exactly disdainful of the existence of God, but rather the way that humans attempt to use the threat of God against their enemies instead of fighting their enemies with their own hands.
He is scornful of the idea of fealty or sacrificing one's life for others, believing only that the strong should survive and that the loss of one life can only be balanced by the loss of another. This coincides with his beliefs on being a king, as he finds Ling's ideas of a king only living to serve his weaker subjects as foolish.
Powers and Abilities
As opposed to the rest of the Homunculi, Bradley was originally a human whose body was infused with a Philosopher's Stone that was made from wrathful souls. These souls fought and eventually dwindled to a single soul, which was the most wrathful of all. After his transformation into Wrath, Bradley possesses enhanced strength, speed, reflexes, stamina, durability, senses, agility, coordination, willpower, intelligence, and instincts superior to any human.
Enhanced Physiology: Being a human-based Homunculus, Wrath has the ability to physically age, which enabled him to pass off as an average human, allowing him to assimilate into the general population without suspicion. Despite being a Homunculus, Wrath's unique creation has resulted in the fact that the Philosopher's Stone which makes him inhuman is comprised of only one soul - his augmented physical abilities such as his remarkably high strength, speed, and agility are all his own, rather than being a product of the stone. However, due to the fact that his Philosopher's stone contains only one soul, he does not have the immortality and regenerative abilities of his monstrous brethren.
- Superhuman Agility: Wrath has flawless coordination, equilibrium, and dexterity. He can manipulate all of his bodily rotations, including spinning, turning, rolling, etc., allowing him to move his body in any way or direction, escape any restraint, and avoid any attack from any direction. He can perform any physical activity without difficulty like jumping and running along falling debris of an exploded train while in midair.
- Superhuman Reflexes: Wrath's reaction time is lightning-fast. It allows him to react to danger and events far faster than others. When shot at by multiple machine guns and a tank's artillery shell at point-blank, Wrath dodged, deflected, and sliced through them all with incredible ease, all while continuously charging forward.
- Superhuman Momentum: Wrath can control the acceleration of his own body, allowing him to attack or dodge anything without warning and at peak perfection. Wrath can generate great amounts of physical force through kinetic energy, even in a stationary position. His speed lets him channel the force into powerful strikes, Wrath can swing a blade with enough force to slice a wall and still cut clean through a person.
- Ultimate Eye: While it grants him an extra-sensory vision of his general surroundings, the Eye's true ability is precognition, allowing Wrath to perfectly and efficiently anticipate all variables and his opponent's attacks and take action with absolute efficiency without any effort. He can adapt perfectly to all factors achieving maximum efficiency in offensive and defensive strategy, ensuring optimal results as long as there is the slightest chance and depending on the means at his disposal. A simple glance will detect his opponent's or obstacle's nature, strengths, weaknesses, etc. making Wrath a perfect military field strategist.
A formidable combatant, Wrath strongly favors using swords, which he wields with deadly proficiency thanks to his unique gifts and lifetime of training, to the point where he can wield five blades simultaneously. Already a supreme swordsman and martial artist, he is made even more dangerous by his Ultimate Eye, which he conceals with his distinctive eye patch. Additionally, he has pointed out on multiple occasions that, while his eye is capable of reading any situation, his own aging body is often unable to keep up with the projected courses of action that his sight ability proposes to him.
Wrath apparently has the highest level of skill when it comes to the art of swordsmanship among all the characters, capable of easily fighting against both the second Greed and Fu simultaneously using only two daggers as well as being able to defeat the first Greed with ease. After being severely injured by Buccaneer and Greed/Ling with a surprise attack that rendered his Ultimate Eye useless, he proved capable of defeating Colonel Roy Mustang by charging him so quickly that he outran the Colonel's explosions. Then, still mortally injured, he fought and nearly bested Scar, nearly killing him at least twice during their battle, only to be stopped either by his wounds or circumstance. After the battle, Scar himself admitted that if he had fought Wrath while the latter was uninjured, he would have stood no chance. He has also demonstrated himself to be extremely intelligent and skilled in military weapons, as he was able to destroy a Briggs Tank with only a sword and a hand grenade.
A Human-Based Homunculus
As a Homunculus, Bradley possesses a Philosopher's Stone at his core. But the process of him gaining the stone was different when compared to the other Homunculi, being that he was an actual human who was injected with the stone when he was a young man in his prime. Bradley was born for the specific purpose of becoming Father's Wrath and developed into a potential leader of Amestris. When Bradley was a young man, Father injected him with a Philosopher's Stone created from wrathful souls, making him the first of only two human-based Homunculi. Out of all the other Führer candidates, he was the only candidate who didn't fully succumb to the stone, a feat that would've resulted in his death if he'd been too weak to overcome its power. Bradley later states to Mustang that he didn't know if he retained his original soul, or if his soul at that time was the single wrathful soul which eventually overcame the rest of the souls in the stone that he was injected with.
Bradley is also stated by Ling to be different from the other Homunculi, being that he can sense a singular chi or life force from him, as opposed to the other Homunculi who he states have multiple chi forces. The reason to this is that the other Homunculi possess stones created from the life forces of multiple people, while Bradley only has one spirit in his. For this reason Bradley lacks the regenerative abilities his siblings possess since he doesn't possess multiple souls within his stone to heal wounds making him physically the weakest Homunculus. Later in the series, Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye learns of Bradley's fabricated life and tells him that it was tragic that nothing about him was real. Bradley states that it was untrue, and shows pride in the only choice of his own that he ever had, the choice of making Mrs. Bradley his wife.
- Führer (alternatively spelled Fuehrer) means leader in German and it is also a title that's mostly associated with Adolf Hitler.
- As a member of the military, Bradley is named from a real world military vehicle, the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
- During the "Promised Day", in episode 55 and 56, Führer King Bradley can be seen carrying a Model 24 Stielhandgranate tucked into his belt. He uses the weapon to destroy a tank operated by Briggs soldiers at the command center. This also ties in with his Führer name, as the Stielhandgranate is of German design.
- Ironically, Wrath is the youngest Homunculus (at 60-years-old), despite being physically the oldest-looking. This is the opposite of Pride who is the oldest (over 3 centuries) Homunculus, despite having the youngest physical appearance.
- Interestingly, the youngest and oldest Homunculi are the only Homunculi to share a close, yet fake, father-son relationship with one another.
- As a joke in the non-canon 4-Koma Theater, it is stated that King Bradley's real name is Jugemu-jugemu Gokōnosurikire Kaijarisuigyo-no Suigyōmatsu Unraimatsu Fūraimatsu Kūnerutokoroni-sumutokoro Yaburakōjino-burakōji Paipopaipo-paiponoshūringan Shūringanno-gūrindai Gūrindaino-ponpokopīno-ponpokonāno Chōkyūmeino-chōsuke, derived from the Japanese folktale "Jugemu." The joke also states that Scar, another character whose real name is unknown, shares the same name.
- In the dub this is changed to Russell Daniel Paul Blake Joseph Alan Eric Fred Orson Trevor Richard Charletons Christopher Benedict Garfield Polyurethane Nicholas Robert Theodore Skeet Michael Alvin Carter Bryce Jeffrey Marigold Peter Ethan Arin Papa Willie Nathaniel Orville Chuck Slippy Slappy Zippy Zappy Angel Eyes.
- King Bradley is one of the only two human based Homunculi, being born human, but assimilating the Philosopher's Stone into his body later on, as opposed to the other Homunculi who were created through human transmutation with a Philosopher's Stone as the substitution for a soul.
- Wrath, in the 2009 anime, can be seen outside the room where Lust has just been killed, sliding his sword back into its scabbard. Meaning if he was able to get there any sooner he could have possibly saved her life.
- Wrath bears a resemblance to General Keiro from Hero Tales, another publication of Hiromu Arakawa's.
- Wrath also bears a resemblance to Joseph Stalin, a common symbol of wrath, who ordered the deaths over 6 Million of his own country's men, women, and children in state-sanctioned massacres and imprisonments, not too dissimilar to the 'Crests of Blood' and Maria Ross's false imprisonment in the FMA universe. The only difference is Stalin did it for less fantastical and more cruel reasons. Bradley's comment to Roy Mustang regarding the significance of death of a single man, which sounds quite similar, although flipped, to Stalin's infamous statistic quote, that being "A single death is a tragedy; a million deaths is a statistic." Subsequently, in Arakawa's short series Raiden-18, which revolves around Boris Karloff type Frankenstein monsters, Stalin's corpse is among the many other corpses owned by Professor Tachibana, and bears a striking resemblance to King Bradley.
- Wrath's loss of his arms might be a reference to Dante Alighieri's "Inferno", where the wrathful have their limbs ripped off the body.
- Also, him being blinded during his clashes with Ling Yao and Scar may be a reference to the third terrace of the mountain in “Purgatorio”. In this terrance, the wrathful wander in a thick, acrid mist, which represents the blinding nature of anger and fury.
- Scar's defeat of Wrath is a bit of irony. During the Ishvalan War, Wrath criticized the Ishvalans and their belief in God and challenges him to strike him down. In his final fight with Scar, Wrath once again denies the existence of God before the sun revealed itself and blinded Wrath long enough for Scar to sever Wrath's hands, defeating him. This indicates that it was an "act of God" that defeated Wrath.
- Interestingly, both anime series, including the movie connected to 2003 series, have the Homunculus named Wrath be the fifth one to die.
- In the 2003 anime, during his battle with Mustang, Bradley's outfit changes. In episode 50, it looked like a low tank top and his chest was visible, whereas in episode 51, it looked more like his outfit when he stormed The Devil's Nest in the manga and 2009 anime. This is because his shirt and tank top were burned by Mustang during the fight in episode 50, and Bradley uses his Homunculus abilities to create new clothes in identical fashion to all the other Homunculi in the 2003 series: tight clothes with black colors, with several red nodes connected by lines appearing on his shoulders, upper back, and the backs of his hands.
- According to an interview, Wrath, at one point in his past, went to Lust to find out about women and to Envy to learn how to compliment them. The end result was the future Mrs. Bradley slapping him.
|Lust | Gluttony | Greed | Sloth | Wrath | Envy | Pride|
|2003 Anime Exclusive|
|Wrath | Sloth | Pride|