|“||There's something comforting facing death like this, wouldn't you agree? It's all that matters, nothing else seems to exist outside my pure instinct to survive. Rank, personal history, birth, race, sex, the name given to you; it's all meaningless, this is the only thing that's real, to fight on behalf of my own life and nothing else. I've never felt so complete, I guess you could say I've finally arrived.||„|
|~ Wrath to Scar.|
|“||I've lived my life by forever following the path that had been set for me. Thanks to the idiosyncrasies of humanity, it was... at least a life worth living for... and maybe even a life worth dying for.||„|
|~ Wrath's last words after being defeated by Scar.|
Wrath, also known as Fuhrer King Bradley, is a major antagonist in the manga series Fullmetal Alchemist, and its second anime adaptation Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood. He first appears as the somewhat happy-go-lucky ruler of the country of Amestris, but he is later revealed to be in fact one of the Seven Homunculi created by the mysterious being known as Father. His entire life was devised so that he would rule Amestris on Father's behalf, to help him enact his plan.
He was voiced by Hidekatsu Shibata and Hidenobu Kiuchi as a young in the Japanese version of the anime, and by the late Ed Blaylock and Christopher Bevins as a young in the English version.
At first glance, King Bradley appears as a cheerful and easy-going man who frequently escapes responsibilities to have some free time, offers people melons and watermelons or dresses as a tourist when he goes to a countryside town, while at the same time ruling his country with an iron fist and sometimes adopting a hands-on apporch while dealing with threats.
In truth, Wrath is distant, reserved and merciless, as devoted to Father's cause as any other homunculus. Being born from the Deadly Sin of Wrath, he is extremely irascible, though his anger seldom manifests as violent outbursts, but rather as a cold and controlled anger that gets unnoticed.
Despite being a ruthless warrior and ruler, who openly disdains the concepts of God and divine punishment, not caring the slightest about the lives of those he is tasked to slaughter (such as the Ishvalan ethnic and their leader), his goofy persona is not entirely made up. Wrath often complains that his entire existence is boring, given that it was entirely decided and orchestrated by others without disturbance. As such, he harbours a distinct fondness for unpredicted things, and he loves when he can make his choices, like when he decided to die in a fight.
Although Wrath dismisses humans as hopeless weaklings who struggle in vain in a world too big for them, and scorns their attempts to fight for lost causes, he always remains polite and respectful, if aloof and imposing, bears his foes no ill will and genuinely praises them when impressed. This shows that, for all his faults, his affable nature towards his people was genuine
He barely hides an interest for human nature, noticing with amusement that humans unexpectedly put a thorn in the homunculi's side. He somehow sympathizes with the protagonists, letting them escape after defeating them more than once out of genuine respect for them. Wrath enjoys simple pleasures like having a cup of tea or spending time with his family and is fond of his wife, as his marriage is the only element on his life that he could decide himself and she is the only human that he truly cares about.
Powers and Abilities
Wrath may be unable to regenerate but he has exceptional speed, strength, agility and durability, even greater than that of his siblings. He can escape from a collapsing bridge in the midst of an explosion, dodge point-blank gunfire, toss a full-grown body with one hand, and fight to the full extent of his skills even when severely wounded.
Wrath regularly complains that old age diminishes his speed and reflexes, but in truth it does not seem to hinder him that much. Given his current level of power, it can easily be guessed how formidable he was during his heydays.
Wrath is a highly talented swordsman who fights with two military sabers, and was even seen wielding three to five of them with immense proficiency. Such skills, coupled with his vastly enhanced physical condition makes him one of the mightiest fighters of the entire series. Even on fighting skills alone, Wrath is able to best Greed, Fu and Scar, who are already very powerful fighters in their own right.
Wrath's power, the "Ultimate Eye", is contained in his left eye, usually covered with an eye-patch to hide the homunculi Ouroboros mark. With it, he can see anything with flawless accuracy, including things beyond human sight like air movements, and predict the outcome of all situation, the aim of all blows and anyone's weak points. This makes his sword strikes even deadlier and enables him predict attacks and dodge in advance. This makes Wrath close to invincible in battle, as seen when he dominates Greed and Fu at the same time.
As Amestris absolute ruler, Wrath wields huge military power and an almost complete control over the military and the State Alchemists, which he uses to keep an eye on those useful to the homunculi and to replace troops who do not blindly follow him with ones that are more faithful. To put it simply, when on Wrath's bad side, one gets the entire country of Amestris against him, save from a few undisciplined factions.
60 years before the start of the story, Wrath was a nameless orphan with no relative, raised among other abandoned children for the sole purpose of becoming Amestris' puppet-king. They were all taught politic, military strategy and swordplay. When they came of age, they were infused with a Philosopher's Stone so that Amestris’ future ruler would be part of the Seven Homunculi.
The young man who would become Wrath was the twelfth candidate and the only one who could withstand the experiment. The newly created homunculus was named King Bradley and enrolled in the army, rising in ranks to become dictator of Amestris according to Father's designs. Contrary to the other homunculi, who hold the souls used to create their core Philosopher's Stone and can heal to an almost limitless extent, Wrath seems to only have the fusion of his human soul and his Philosopher's Stone. As such, he cannot regenerate, and being originally human, he is only homunculus who ages, albeit much slower than normal. Despite being the youngest homunculi, he is without a doubt the second strongest, right below his "adopted son" Pride, and one of their two thirds-in-command along with Lust.
Role in the Story
As King Bradley
Fuhrer King Bradley makes few appearances in the first chapters of the story. First when he visits the primary protagonists Edward and Alphonse Elric in a hospital, after they met Lust and Envy in the Fifth Laboratory, and discovered that it housed hidden researches on the Philosopher's Stone. He advices the protagonists to be careful and to avoid the secret organization behind all these experiments.
Bradley is later seen renewing Edward's license as a State Alchemist (an alchemist who works for the military) without any examination nor test, then accompanying him back to Dublith, hoping to meet the Elrics' master Izumi Curtis and appoint her State Alchemist. There, they learn that Alphonse got abducted by a homunculus named Greed, prompting Bradley to invade Greed's bar alongside a military squad to rescue the young armor-bound alchemist. He mercilessly slaughters most of Greed's chimera underlings and swiftly beats Greed himself into submission, revealing an Ouroboros mark on his left eye.
Real Identity revealed
Bradley brings Greed to Father, revealing himself as Wrath, the last homunculi. Before Father absorbs Greed back, Wrath reveals that Edward, Alphonse and Izumi have been through the Gate of Truth and can be used as candidates for the sacrifices that Father needs.
Wrath later witnesses Colonel Roy Mustang killing Lust, but he does not kill him, retreating unnoticed and calling an ambulance, having noted that Mustang makes a potential candidate for the sacrifice.
When the Elrics, the Xingese prince Ling Yao and his bodyguard Lan Fan team up to capture a homunculus, Wrath and Gluttony stumble upon them and he severely wounds Lan Fan. However they manage to escape through the sewers, after Lan Fan severs her left arm and binds it to a stray dog to serve as a distraction. Gluttony eventually gets captured and Wrath reports it to Pride, before sending Envy to free their "sibling".
A short while later, when Roy Mustang tries to leak to the military High Command that Bradley is a homunculu. He discovers that they are fully aware of Bradley's true nature and Father's plan.
Wrath then informs the Elric brothers that their childhood friend Winry Rockbell is constantly watched over as an unsuspecting hostage, threatening to kill her personally if they leave the military or step out of line. Yet he allows them to continue their alchemic researches.
King Bradley holds Mustang at the Central Command for the night, stating that he will not kill the Colonel, but will not allow him to wander, either. To ensure Mustang's cooperation, Bradley reassigns his loyal subordinates: Falman is sent to the north, Fuery to the south, and Breda to the east. Havoc is already gone, having returned to his family's home. For Riza, however, Bradley has something else in mind.
Having deduced that she is the closest and most deeply trusted of Mustang's subordinates, as well as possessing superlative skills, Bradley has decided to make her his own personal assistant. In simplest terms, she is being held as a hostage for Mustang's good behavior, meaning that the Colonel cannot make a move to defy Bradley or defeat the Homunculi without placing his "queen" in grave danger.
Upon learning that the Elric brothers are in Briggs Fortress, the next target for the homunculi's actions, Wrath frees Solf J. Kimblee from jail and sends him to Briggs with Winry, to keep an eye on them and remind them of the hostage situation. However, the Elrics make her escape and they go into hiding.
Wrath later fends off an attack from the reborn Greed, who regained his previous life’s memories.
Later in the story, Wrath supervises a military display in the West of the country, until an alert about a terrorist attack in Central City, (the capital of Amestris) prompts him to come back to Central. It soon appears that the alert was a trap, and the bridge on which his train was passing is then blown up. From then on Wrath would not be seen for a very long time.
The Final Battle
Wrath reappears in the midst of the final battle, when the troops of General Olivia Armstrong, the former leader of the fortress of Briggs, have successfully taken over the Military Headquarters of Central. It is revealed that he predicted the explosion thanks to his Ultimate Eye and could rush out of the train to escape the bridge as it was blown up.
He swiftly slaughters all the soldiers who attempt to shoot him, going as far as destroying a tank, and attempts to enter the headquarters, grievously wounding Armstrong's subordinate Captain Buccaneer in the process. However, Buccaneer manages to take away his saber, forcing him to fight with two daggers. Greed then appears and engages a fight against him.
Wrath quickly reveals his Ultimate Eye and gains the upper-hand, but Ling Yao's elderly bodyguard Fu enters the fray. Wrath easily holds off his two enemies and wounds Fu, who then attempts to blow himself up in a desperate attempt to kill his enemy, but not to avail. Wrath cuts all the fuses of Fu's grenades in a single strike, mortally wounding him in the process.
However, Buccaneer intervenes and hiding behind Fu's body, he manages to go unnoticed even by the Ultimate Eye and impales Wrath with his own saber through Fu's corpse. Infuriated, Greed strikes Wrath on the face before he can recover, destroying his Ultimate Eye. Wrath falls down to the moat around the headquarters, as Fu and Buccaneer pass away with a smile.
Yet Wrath survives once again and swims underwater towards Father's underground lair, where an Alchemist is forcing Roy Mustang to perform a human transmutation, so that he would see the Truth and become the fifth sacrifice Father needs. Pride and Wrath then intervene and Wrath pins Mustang on the transmutation circle with two newfound sabres, before Pride activates the ritual and takes Mustang with him in Father's throne room.
Wrath then fights to the death with Scar, a survivor of the Ishval people he had slaughtered 15 years prior, who sided with the Elric brothers after learning that the homunculi were behind the genocide. In spite of his severe wounds and the loss of his Ultimate Eye, Wrath drives Scar into a corner, but he who claimed that god was a myth is distracted by the light of the sun after the eclipse, symbol of god in Alchemy. Scar destroys both of his arms and he collapses at last, but not before he could stab his foe with his saber in the mouth.
Lan Fan then arrives, prompting Wrath to ask if she wants revenge for her grandfather. Instead, she asks if he feels some remorse after his sad life. He retorts that he has none, but in his last breath, he thanks his human foes for keeping his predicted life interesting until the end.
Contrary to the other homunculi, Wrath's corpse does not crumble into dust, but merely reverts to his real age, wrinkled and with grey hair, with his face covered with alchemy marks. It can be guessed that with his Philosopher's Stone gone, his corpse becomes human again.
- Issac McDougal
- Numerous Briggs soldiers
- Numerous unnamed people
- Numerous Ishval residents
- As a member of the military, Bradley is named from a real world military vehicle, the M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle.
- Wrath's death, like the other homunculi, is poetic and ironic. Wrath spent his life fighting humans and carrying dislike for them and their religious beliefs and is killed by Scar, a religious monk turned serial killer and a victim of Wrath's extermination of Ishval, and passed away peacefully thankful of humanity for giving his life meaning. He also died after losing both arms in the presence of Scar and Lan Fan who both respectively lost an arm because of Wrath's actions.
- Wrath's death mirrors the method through which the wrathful souls of humans are punished in Dante Alighieri's The Divine Comdedy. In the Circle of Violence wrathful human beings have their limbs tore off for having lived under the cardinal sin of Wrath.
- Wrath bears a resemblance to General Keiro from Hero Tales, another publication of Hiromu Arakawa's.
- Wrath also bears a resemblance to Joseph Stalin, the most common symbol of wrath, although Stalin only killed because of paranoia, not of dictatorship. Subsequently, in Arakawa's short series Raiden-18, which revolvs around Boris Karloff type Frankenstein monsters, Stalin's corpse is among the many other corpses owned by Profesor Tachibana, and bears a stricking resemblence to King Bradley.
- Later, Albus, an antagonist from the 2018 video game Octopath Traveler, would have a design resembling Wrath.
- Ironically Wrath is the youngest of the seven Homunculus, despite physically appearing as the oldest. Furthermore Pride, Wrath's adoptive son, is in fact his older brother and the oldest Homunculus despite looking like a child.
- Despite being the most vulnerable to harm due to his human-based origins (being unable to regenerate injuries and still aging like normal humans), Wrath is one of the strongest and most capable warriors among the Homunculi.
- In the fourth opening of the series Wrath is seen shedding tears before a confrontation with Scar, foreshadowing his final showdown, for unknown reasons, possibly to demonstrate he still carries some humanity within him (supported by his very marriage to his wife).
- 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.