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, the final homunculus created by Father, but was changed in the 2003 anime to Pride, 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 and a thick black mustache, and a blue tint to his right eye as he is seen to wear an eye patch over his left. 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. 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.
PersonalitySeveral 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. He is rarely seen to associate with the other homunculi, aside from times when it is necessary to do so. 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.
Bradley also 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.
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. 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.
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. Because of this singular soul, Bradley doesn't have the extreme regenerative abilities of the other Homunculi (excluding his 2003 anime version) nor their immense longevity; he instead retains his natural aging process. This enabled him to pass off as an average human, allowing him to assimilate within the general population without suspicion.
Despite his fairly advanced age, his arduous and extensive training since childhood (as well as his alchemically powered Homunculus body) has conditioned him to the absolute peak of human physical potential, granting him considerable speed, reflexes, agility, and strength well beyond the standard of his age, even compared to most men still in their prime. He is noticeably faster and more agile, as well having more endurance than a regular human as he is able to actually deflect bullets with his sword and slice cannon shells in half, as well as sidestepping multiple people firing at him with rifles, even after walking all the way from the east to central. He also possesses remarkable stamina and resilience, able to continue fighting effectively even with critical wounds and reduced eye sight. A formidable opponent in battle, Bradley's lifelong training has given him remarkable mastery in firearms, martial arts, and has become especially known for his inhuman skill in swordsmanship, being able to wield up to five swords simultaneously and strike with blinding speed and precision, and can draw his sword with incredible speed and respond to an attack in an instant, similar to the art of iaido. He has also demonstrated himself to be extremely intelligent and skilled in military weapons. This is all his own skill as a human, as since he only has one soul in his Philosophers stone, he lacks the abilities of his brethren.
As a Homunculus, Bradley possesses a special kind of power in his left eye, giving him sight abilities that far exceed a regular human's eyesight; allowing him to read an opponent in battle and avoid oncoming attacks with little to no effort. This ability is known as the "Ultimate Eye". Bradley later states that his aging body irritates him, as it isn't able to keep pace with the power of his Ultimate Eye, suggesting that his power is exclusive to his eyesight and that his other physical abilities are purely his own from years of extensive training.
Overall, Bradley is easily one of the most powerful characters of the series, able to easily hold his own against the second Greed and Fu simultaneously with only two daggers, despite his lack of training with them. With only a sword and a hand grenade, he was able to easily destroy a Briggs Tank. Even after losing the usage of his Ultimate Eye and being severely injured by Buccaneer and Greed/Ling, he proves himself to be more than capable of fighting evenly and ultimately overpowering Scar, almost killing him twice despite the opponent's own considerable combat skill and use of Alchemy only losing due to his body giving out.
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. 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.
2003 anime (Bradley as Pride)In the 2003 anime series, Bradley first appeared in episode six, at the start of the Alchemy examination and is seen in the examination of Edward's alchemic abilities. Bradley is seen impressed by his ability to perform transmutations without a circle and makes Edward Elric the youngest State Alchemist ever, giving him the title of the Fullmetal Alchemist. Later in episode 8, he overhears Alphonse talking to Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye about the Philosopher's Stone. Alphonse did not know who Führer Bradley was at the time, and Bradley stopped Hawkeye from answering Alphonse when the armored boy asked her. Bradley gave Alphonse information about where to read up on the Philosopher's Stone, seemingly unfazed by the potential danger that he was putting Alphonse in allowing him to search for information on it. Later in the series, it is revealed that Bradley started and stopped the Ishval Civil War, an event that lead to the near extermination of the Ishvalan race before the start of the series. Bradley ended the war by sending State Alchemists in, although it was Bradley himself who started the war in the first place. The reasons for him starting the war are revealed later when he was discovered to be the Homunculus Pride working for his creator, a woman named Dante. Bradley is later revealed to have a wife and son. At some point, he secretly made Sloth his secretary, under the guise of Juliet Douglas. Bradley and the rest of his group in Central fled east and took command of the Eastern Command Center to escape the wrath of Scar, although Bradley apologized to Mustang for the hassle that was being caused. The Führer later returned to Central. The Führer accompanied Hughes and his team to save Edward and Alphonse from Laboratory 5, allowed Hughes to continue his investigation into the Homunculi, and also permitted the capture of Scar in Reole. However, Martel, the snake chimera found him talking about the deliberate destruction of Reole with Colonel Frank Archer. She cornered him and soon discovered him to be a Homunculus.
With his identity exposed and now his role as the Führer on the line, Pride hunts Martel who he finds hiding in Al's armor and stabs her dead with his sword. However, Al already has learned the truth about Pride and quickly tells Ed about it. Mustang, Armstrong, and the other members of Mustang's Unit also discover the truth as well. Roy decides to avenge Hughes with the help of Lt. Hawkeye.
A final battle between Pride and Mustang occurs in the Führer's estate. As Pride is on the verge of defeating Mustang, Selim appears with a sack, which in fact contains the skull of the person Pride was created from. Out of rage, Bradley strangles his young son to death. Mustang uses this opportunity to seize the skull and paralyze Pride. The Flame Alchemist repeatedly sets Pride on fire until he is no more. In the aftermath, Pride has been reduced to a puddle of red liquid. Mustang drops the skull onto the puddle and sets fire to it, melting the skull and ending Pride's life.
It should be noted that Bradley's age may be well over 60, as his aging appearance is revealed to be one of the abilities Homunculi can utilize should they apply time and effort. Also, he is remarked to be the strongest of the Homunculi, even more so than Envy, the first Homunculus.
Conqueror of Shamballa
In the movie Conqueror of Shamballa, Ed sees a man drive by that looks like Führer Bradley. He realizes after the confrontation that isn't Bradley, but his counterpart of a Jewish movie director named Fritz Lang.
- 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 for 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.
- Bradley was born for the specific purpose of potentially becoming both Führer of Amestris, and Father's final Homunculus "Wrath". As a child, Bradley was simply known as "Führer Candidate Number 12".
- 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 Russel-daniel-paul-blake-joseph-alan-eric-fred-orsen-trevor-richard-charleton-christopher-benedict-garfield-polyuthane-nicholas-robert-theodore-steve-michael-alvin-carter-brice-jeffrey-maragold-peter-ethan-aran-pappal-william-nathanial-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.
- In the 2003 anime, during his battle with Mustang, his outfit changes. In episode 50, it looked like a low tanktop 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 tanktop 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.
- 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 their any sooner he could have possibly saved her life.