Second Lieutenant Heymans Breda (ハイマンスブレダ, Haimansu Bureda) is an Amestrian soldier initially stationed at the East Area Headquarters in East City and one of Colonel Roy Mustang's most trusted subordinates, handpicked by the Flame Alchemist for his outstanding abilities and qualities.
Though it is belied by his laid-back demeanor and his meat-headed appearance, 2nd Lt. Breda possesses a remarkably keen intellect and strategic aptitude, having graduated at the top of his class from the military academy. Though those of his comrades who don't know him well take him for an imbecile, at first sight, he quickly proves his intelligence through his proficiency with strategy games such as chess and shogi (a board game from the east). Breda proves himself a well-rounded soldier, adequately acquainted with the delicate intricacies of both combative and political situations.
This is not to say that Heymans isn't without his more human side. He takes a liking to Edward Elric, often calling him by nicknames such as "chief" or "big guy", has an irrational fear of all dogs and appears to be rather close to 2nd Lt. Jean Havoc, who (according to photographs) was a classmate and friend of his in military school. Described by Colonel Mustang as a "good team player", Breda's duties within Mustang's unit often involve helping the Flame Alchemist gather information and coordinate the movements and abilities of other members. Of Mustang's subordinates, to whom he once referred to as chess pieces, Heymans Breda is the rook.
In the 2003 anime series, Breda plays little more than a small supporting role in the storyline, providing comic relief and backup alongside Jean Havoc, Vato Falman, and Kain Fuery. Notable instances of Breda's involvement in the anime are the scene wherein he displayed his comical fear of Black Hayate and when he disguised himself as Major Alex Louis Armstrong to distract Central Military Forces while the Major was in Central City, helping Colonel Mustang with his coup d'etat.
Manga and the 2009 anime
Breda plays a more significant role in the manga's storyline, however, beginning with the Mission to Rescue 2nd Lt. Maria Ross. When 2nd Lt. Ross is publicly arrested and has her crime printed as the newspaper headline, 2nd Lt. Breda is able to recognize the overly flashy actions taken by Central Command as a plot to place the blame for the murder of Brigadier General Maes Hughes on her, a fact that appeared to escape the notice of even Lt. Hawkeye. Offering his assistance to the Colonel, Breda is assigned to surreptitiously collect materials for Roy to transmute into a rudimentary mock-up of an adult female human body. After the mission to break Maria Ross out of prison succeeds, Breda serves as the rendezvous point for Jean Havoc and Ross, Barry the Chopper and Ling Yao, afterwards, acting as a liaison between Mustang and Ling as they coordinate Ross's extradition to Xing through Mr. Han.
From that point, Breda heads to Resembool and sends a message asking Major Alex Louis Armstrong to meet him there. Armstrong arrives soon afterward with Edward Elric in tow as his excuse and the three head across the Amestrian border with Mr. Han into the Eastern Desert, where they rendezvous with Fu and Maria Ross in the Xerxes ruins. Breda, Fu, Armstrong, and Edward exchange and synchronize their information regarding the Philosopher's Stone, the Homunculi and their connections to Central Command. Upon confirming that Ross had absolutely nothing to do with Hughes' death, Breda reveals his relief, as Mustang had ordered him to execute her immediately after getting all her information if it turned out that she was involved.Breda returns to Central City through Resembool and delivers his report to Colonel Mustang, but is dismayed to learn of Jean Havoc's paralysis. He visits his old friend in the hospital and states that retirement from the military is not a path that suits Havoc. Upset with the situation, Breda asks Roy if they can attempt to contact Dr. Tim Marcoh (whose location was presumably revealed to him by Edward and Major Armstrong) and have him heal Havoc's spine with his medical alchemy and incomplete Philosopher's Stone. Mustang agrees and Breda uses the last of his available vacation time to seek out Marcoh at his home. Unfortunately, shortly before 2nd Lt. Breda arrives at Marcoh's residence, the good doctor is accosted and abducted by Envy (disguised as Breda himself) and Gluttony. Breda finds the house forced into, ransacked and empty. Returning to Central with this new and distressing information, Breda is unable to act on any more outside missions because his vacation time is all used up. Even after Havoc announces to his comrades that he's chosen to be discharged due to his injury, Breda visits his old friend in the hospital, bringing him muscle training equipment and free weights and telling him not to slack off and get soft.
When Führer King Bradley forcibly disbands Mustang's unit in Chapter 52, Breda is reassigned to the West Area Headquarters where, despite being far from the center and closely under the Führer's surveillance, he manages to keep an eye on the state of affairs. In Chapter 78, Breda speaks to Falman from West HQ, exchanging information about the goings-on around the country, including the whereabouts of the Fullmetal Alchemist and the increasing carnage in the border war with Creta over Pendleton, noting that Pendleton is a part of the Nationwide Transmutation Circle.
In Chapter 85, Heymans Breda goes AWOL so as to rendezvous with Mustang, Hawkeye and Fuery in Central City as the start of Mustang's attack on Central Command and counteroffensive to The Promised Day. He gripes a bit at having to play the part of a thug in the abduction of Mrs. Bradley due to his appearance when so used to using his mind, but gets the chance to prove his tactical worth in the field when the fighting starts. In Chapter 94, Breda acts as the primary spokesman for Mustang's unit after they take over Radio Capital, revealing over a live broadcast that Führer King Bradley's train was attacked in the East Area and that no one has been able to find him since. He goes on to proclaim that members of Central Command have been trying to overthrow King Bradley and that their concealment of his disappearance is further proof of such, painting Mustang as a heroic loyalist. Whether or not this action was taken under Colonel Mustang's orders or even with his knowledge is unknown.When the Führer returns, however, and begins carving Briggs soldiers out of Central Command headquarters, Breda makes the call to paint Major General Olivier Armstrong as one of the lead conspirators in the coup in order to protect Mustang's position in the battle. Breda is among the Amestrian people who have their souls pulled out when the Nationwide Transmutation Circle is activated, but is revived after Van Hohenheim's countermeasure goes into effect, returning all the Amestrian souls to their rightful vessels. He is last seen next to Ross in a photo watching Havoc in physical therapy. In the anime, however, a photo shows Breda standing next to Rebecca Catalina and Havoc whose legs are fully healed.
- Like nearly all military personnel in the Fullmetal Alchemist series, Breda is named after a military vehicle, vessel or weapon, in his case, the HMS Breda series of Royal Naval warship, or the Breda HMG used by the Italian Army in WWII.
- Breda's codename "Braidykins" was revealed as the gag in a humorous manga omake.
- In the manga, it is revealed that Breda graduated at the head of his class, and that he and Havoc became best friends while studying in the military academy (much like Colonel Mustang and Maes Hughes when they were students in the academy).
- In the OVA "Kids", the young lookalikes of Edward, Alphonse, and Winry pass by a group of kids playing cards on a sidewalk. The kids resemble some of Mustang's men from the series, and one of them looks notably like a child version of Breda. This group seems to be playing some kind of card game, and the child Breda is grinning while the Mustang child hangs his head in shame.
- Mustang names all of his subordinates after chess pieces; Breda's is the "Rook". The Rook is the second most powerful piece in chess, moving vertically and horizontally as far as it wants and has an important role as a stock-still attacker and defender throughout the game, appropriate considering Breda's muscular physique (offense) yet high intelligence (defense).