King Bradley is a major supporting character in the anime/manga franchise Fullmetal Alchemist. He serves as the Fuhrer, the military leader and Head of State for the nation of Amestris. While he initially appears to be a jovial and kind man as well as a just ruler, this is all merely a facade: Bradley is actually a Homunculus and throughout the series he has been orchestrating campaign after campaign, waging war and destroying countless lives for the sake of acquiring Philosopher's Stones for his master.
In both the manga and 2009 series, Bradley's Homunculus name is Wrath and he was created by Father. In the 2003 series, he is known as Pride and was created by Dante. Though he is named after different sins in each series, his personality remains the same, as do his abilities. Bradley was created by implanting a Philosopher's Stone into a human body and so he ages like a normal human, making it easier to deceive the masses. He also possesses the Ultimate Eye, an ability that grants him short-term precognition, allowing him to predict his opponents' movements before they happen and swiftly evade and counter-attack.
Japanese Voice: Hidekatsu Shibata
English Voice: Ed Blaylock
In the 2003 anime series, Bradley first appeared in Episode 6 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 armoured 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 by 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 Maes 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 armour 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.
In Episode 51, 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.
Wrath is the secret identity of King Bradley. He was originally "Prospective Fuhrer Number 12" amongst hundreds in a secret program created by Father and the Amestrian military to find the perfect ruler of Amestris. The process involved gathering male infants from their birth and secretly raising them up. In makeshift classrooms, they were required to master certain subjects, some of them namely as Political Science and Humanities. When old enough, they would begin training with swords and would duel against one another in matches with everyone watching. Every candidate used the same type of sword.
After their training was complete, the doctors would then inject the Philosopher's Stone bearing Father's wrath into the candidates, the ones before Number 12 dying as the stone destroyed their bodies in rejection. When the Philosopher's Stone was injected into Number 12, his soul fought against the numerous souls in the Philosopher's Stone, draining it to only one soul. He ended up as the survivor of the process, becoming the first Homunculus with the ability to age and was given the name King Bradley. He wonders whether his soul is his original human soul or not. He quickly ascends to the position of Fuhrer (around the year 1894) through his combat prowess and apparent dedication to the military ideals of Amestris.
Bradley first appeared visiting the Elric brothers in the hospital shortly after the Laboratory 5 incident. Here, Bradley subtly implies he suspects there may be traitors among the military's high echelons and orders the Elrics, Lt. Colonel Maes Hughes, and Major Alex Louis Armstrong to watch their backs. Later, he is then seen in the military funeral of Maes Hughes, after the Lt. Colonel was murdered. Next, he travels to the South for a military inspection and personally leads the attack on the Devil's Nest after Alphonse Elric is kidnapped. His true identity is then revealed during his battle against Greed, revealing the Ouroboros tattoo on his left eye. He swiftly overwhelms his older sibling and personally kills many of his chimera underlings. He captures Greed and takes him back to Father, and reports to the Homunculi that the Elrics and Izumi Curtis would also be ideal sacrifices for Father's plan.
Throughout the story, Bradley maintains control over the constant strife in the military and manipulating the various players of Father's plans into their appropriate positions. However, the Elrics and their various allies slip out of his grasp or play their own games in secret, plotting variously to either top Father's schemes, overthrow Bradley, or seize control of the country back from the Homunculi who created it. When they finally strike close to the "Appointed Day", General Grumman has the Fuhrer's train blown up and Bradley's apparent death throws all the top brass into chaos.
Bradley reappears after men from Briggs have seized control of Central City. He then effortlessly disposes of all troops and a tank in his way, severely wounding Buccaneer in the process and is about to kill Vato Falman when he is confronted by the renegade Greed, who earlier had himself inside the body of Ling Yao.
They start fighting, and Wrath is unfazed by Greed's attacks and sustains no injuries whatsoever. Greed uses tips that Ling gives him, but still cannot seem to truly damage him. Greed on the other hand sustains several small injuries, each of which heal. Some of the Brigg's soldiers watch from nearby and decide to help, shooting at Wrath. However, this is not only pointless but leads to their immediate slaughter. Buccaneer then rises and in rage attacks Wrath, yet again only to be easily defeated, this time impaled by his sword through his stomach. However, Buccaneer uses this and uses his tight abs to pull the sword from Wrath. Wrath calmly picks up two combat daggers, stating he won't be as efficient. Greed savors the chance and fights Wrath, with his new advantage. Wrath can no longer harm Greed, but he is still capable of defending himself perfectly. Then, Fu joins the fray and instantly begins his assault on Wrath. Wrath however is yet again undamaged. Noting this, Fu asks Greed the identity of Wrath. Upon learning it was the man who nearly killed his granddaughter and cut off her arm, Fu angrily readies himself for battle.
The battle starts yet again, 2 on 1, Wrath still keeping up, uses his strength to disarray his enemies attacks. He manages to stomp down his dagger into Greed, subduing him, and then focuses on Fu. He uses his other dagger to disarm Fu's sword and then throws the dagger at Fu. Fu catches it, saving himself. However, now Wrath has a sword once again, and has made himself much more dangerous. He slices at Fu, cutting his dagger, headband, and forehead. Fu jumps back, but he is not able to keep up as Wrath slashes him and thrusts him into the air. This awakens Ling, who decides to protect Fu. Fu however, realizing he is just getting in the way, tells Ling to be a good king as his parting message, ready to make a great sacrifice. He knocks Ling down, and asks Greed to begin hardening Ling's body to protect him. Greed does so, to Ling's surprise. Ling then watches as Fu runs towards Wrath, setting afire four sticks of dynamite. Wrath however in one stealthy cut removes the firing tips of the dynamite, and slashes Fu powerfully across his midsection. As Fu begins to fall, feeling pathetic as he couldn't do anything, Wrath ends up impaled in the stomach.
Buccaneer stabbed through Fu's back into Wrath's stomach (hence he could not be seen by Wrath, making the move unpredictable), injuring him for the first time shown in the series. Buccaneer says that now he and Fu can take Wrath to hell together. Fu agrees, and happily thanks Buccaneer for letting him play that vital role. As Buccaneer begins bleeding relentlessly and as Fu suffers from his own injuries, the two are kicked back by Wrath. An enraged Ling with Greed's arms lunges at Wrath. Wrath blocks with his sword, but the sheer force was enough to break the sword, and he took the attack to the side of his head. Lan Fan watches in shock from above, horrified by her grandfather's ordeal, and quickly joins the fray.
Wrath's Ultimate Eye was soon damaged when Greed-Ling struck it and broke his sword. This is also noticed when Wrath throws his broken sword at a Briggs soldier, but ends up slicing his left arm instead of killing him. Wrath falls into the water below Central's gate. This, however, does not kill him, as he made his escape through a pipeline he found. Arriving underground, near the sewer, where Colonel Roy Mustang's group was, Wrath picked up the Philosopher's Stone intended to be used by Roy to save Lt. Riza Hawkeye. May Chang, having lost Envy's Philosopher's stone, tried to grab it, but was picked up by Bradley instead. Pride and Wrath then declare that Mustang is to be the fifth Human Sacrifice. After Pride performs a Human Transmutation, both Pride and Roy vanish. Dying and having fulfilled his role in Father's plan, Wrath then asks who among everyone present wants to go down in history as the person who finally manages to topple his regime. Scar and Wrath eventually face off in their final battle, and, as the battle commences, Wrath, piqued by Scar in every way asks his name, to which Scar replies he doesn't have one, having long discarded it. Wrath is heavily amused at it mirrors his own life; finally he can enjoy a final battle, to the fullest of his abilities with another nameless warrior, basically mirror images of one another. As he fights Scar, Wrath progressively becomes weaker, but is still able to fight evenly against the latter. As he pins Scar to the floor and readies to deliver the fatal blow, he is suddenly caught off guard when short pillars of spikes incapacitate his right arm, much to his surprise and confusion. Scar then reveals to him that he can now use the power of reconstruction on his left arm, thanks to his brother's research. After knowing that Scar can now use the power of reconstruction, Wrath is both amused and annoyed as he asks Scar if he and the other humans will ever give up in their pointless struggles. When Father activates the Nationwide Transmutation Circle, Scar and Wrath are then consumed in a massive black sphere, though they are unharmed.
Wrath continues his battle with Scar. Wrath wounds Scar and questions if he has turned his back on Ishvala and the teachings of Ishval. But Scar replies that in Wrath's mind and soul, there is only one answer: "There is no God!". Despite Wrath gaining an upper hand in the fight, he is momentarily blinded by the sudden appearance of the sun, and Scar seizes the opportunity to use his Arm of Deconstruction to destroy Wrath's arms. Before he can fall, Wrath grabs the blade of his sword with his teeth and stabs Scar in the midsection.
Severely wounded and on the brink of death, Wrath says that even though he never believed in God, he wonders if this is what it is to be "forsaken by God". When Lan Fan arrives, Wrath correctly presumes that she plans to avenge her grandfather. She asks Wrath if he has any last words, to which he says no. Lan Fan means to injure him further before he can die, stating that his life was truly sad and asks if he has ever truly loved anyone. Wrath tells Lan Fan not to utter such words when she knows so little. He tells her that his wife was chosen by him, and as such, he truly cared for her. When asked if he wanted to say something to her, he states that she doesn't need to know about him because "that is how it is between a king and his partner." After he breathes his last words, he passes away as his body seems to age, with his face having marks of alchemy, and his hair turning grayish-white.