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Wrath (Fullmetal Alchemist)

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All power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.
~ Wrath
God you say? Now this is intriguing, how much longer do you think your 'God' plans to wait before unleashing his fury? Just how many more thousands of lives must I take before he decides to strike me down?
~ Wrath (scorning the concept of God to the face of the leader of the religious ethnic he slaughtered)

Wrath, also known as King Bradley is a major villain from the manga 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 blindly follows his creator's orders, but he sometimes displays a sort of fondness for the human way of life.

Wrath is an exception among the Seven Homunculi as he was created from a human instead of being born directly from a Philosopher's Stone. Despite being the youngest homunculi, he is without a doubt the second strongest, right below his "adopted son" Pride and their third-in-command.

Origin

Sixty years before the start of the story, Wrath was an orphan without known family or even a name, who was raised among many other abandoned children for the sole purpose of becoming Amestris' puppet-king. They were all taught the arts of 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, nameless man who would become Wrath was the twelfth candidate and the only one who survived the transformation. He was transformed into a human-based homunculus and enrolled in the army under the name of King Bradley. Everything was planned to make him rise in ranks until he would become the dictator of Amestris.

Naissance de Wrath

Wrath is born

It must be noted that contrary to the other homunculi, who hold within them all the souls used to create the Philosopher's Stone that serves as their core and can regenerate their bodies to an almost limitless extent, Wrath cannot regenerate and seems to have only one soul, seemingly the fusion of his human one and the Philosopher's Stone in itself. Also and since he was originally a human, he is the only homunculus who ages.

Personality

At first glance, King Bradley appears as a cheerful and easy-going person who frequently escapes from his responsibilities as the country's ruler 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.

However, when he is revealed to be a homunculus, Wrath's true personality is unveiled. He is in fact cold, reserved and merciless, as devoted to Father's cause as any other homunculus. Given that he is 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 he 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, bears no ill will towards his foes and genuinely praises them when impressed.

He barely hides an interest for human nature, remarking that humans unexpectedly put a thorn in the Seven Homunculi's side and letting the protagonists escape after defeating one of them on more than one occasion. 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.

Powers and Abilities

KingBradly

King Bradley (Wrath) putting on a kind face before killing a chimera.

Wrath may not be able to regenerate but he is still has very high speed, strength, agility and durability, way over than that of the other homunculi's. He is able to escape from a collapsing bridge in the midst of an explosion, to toss a full-grown body with one hand, and to fight fully with his skills even when severely wounded.

Wrath regularly complains about his old age, which prevents him from moving as fast as he used to, but in truth it doesn't seem to hinder him that much. Given his current level of power, it can easily be guessed how formidable Wrath 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, which coupled with his 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.

Every homunculus wields a special power, in Wrath's case the "Ultimate Eye": His left eye, usually covered with an eye-patch to conceal the Seven Homunculi's distinctive Ouroboros mark, enables him to see absolutely anything with flawless accuracy, including things that a human eye cannot see such as air movements, and to predict the outcome of every situation, the aim of every blow and anyone's weak points. This power makes his sword strikes even deadlier and enables him to dodge attacks even before they are landed. When using his eye, Wrath becomes close to invincible in battle, as evidenced when he dominates the fight when facing Greed and Fu at the same time.

As Amestris absolute ruler, Wrath wields a 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 factions.

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 have met Lust and Envy in the Fifth Laboratory, and discovered that hidden researches on the Philosopher's Stone had been led there. 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 almost all of Greed's chimera underlings and swiftly beats Greed himself into submission, revealing an Ouroboros mark on his left eye.

Real Identity

000-31

Bradly ruthlessly kills Greed's henchmen/friends.

Bradley then brings Greed to Father, revealing that he is Wrath, the last born of the Seven Homunculi. Before Father absorbs Greed back, Wrath reveals that Edward, Alphonse and Izumi have been through the Gate of Truth and are candidates for the sacrifice that Father needs.

Wrath witnesses Lust's death at the hand of Colonel Roy Mustang, but instead of finishing him off he retreats unnoticed and calls an ambulance, seeing that Mustang could make a good candidate for the sacrifice if he were to open the Gate of Truth.

FMABD14

Bradley slices off Greed's arm and leg.

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 among the military High Command that King Bradley is a homunculus; he discovers that they are already fully aware of both Bradley's true nature and of Father's plan. Wrath himself scatters his faithful crew of subordinates in different affectations all around the country (not counting Jean Havoc, as he had to retire due to the injuries he sustained from Lust) and takes Lieutenant Riza Hawkeye, Mustang's most trusted subordinate, as his personal assistant to keep her hostage.

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.

Fullmetal alchemist eyepatch king bradley desktop 1280x720 wallpaper-276811

Wrath is surprised.

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.

Apparent death

When he learns that the Elric brothers are now in the Fortress of Briggs, the next target for the homunculi's actions, he orders the deranged State Alchemist Solf J. Kimblee to go to Briggs with Winry Rockbell to keep an eye on them and remind them that the young girl is held hostage. However, the Elrics manage to make Winry escape and they go into hiding.

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

Xx Bradley-Wrath

Wrath on the Promised Day.

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. Indeed Wrath cuts all the fuses of Fu's grenades in a single strike, mortally wounding him in the process.

Wrath blessé

Wrath gets wounded

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 and destroys his Ultimate Eye. Wrath eventually falls into 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 subterranean lair, where an Alchemist is attempting to force Roy Mustang to perform a human transmutation so that he would see the Truth and become the fifth sacrifice that Father needs. Pride and Wrath then intervene and Wrath pins Mustang on the transmutation circle on the ground with two newfound sabers, before Pride activates the ritual and takes Mustang with him in Father's throne room.

Wrath then engages his last battle against Scar, a survivor of the Ishval ethnic which was slaughtered fifteen year before the start of the story, who wants revenge against Amestris and 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 still drives Scar into a corner, but Scar eventually defeats him by destroying both of his arms, when Wrath gets distracted by the light of the sun after the eclipse. Exhausted and with no energy left, Wrath collapses at last, and Lan Fan appears to avenge Fu's death. Overcoming her desire for vengeance, Lan Fan asks Wrath if he is satisfied with living such a sad life and he replies that thanks to unpredictable humans like them, it was fun until the end, before passing away.

La mort de Wrath

Wrath welcomes death

Contrary to the other homunculi, Wrath's corpse does not crumble into dust, but merely ages of about ten years, while his hair become white and his face gets covered with wrinkles and alchemy marks. Most likely, the Philosopher's Stone inside him disintegrates while his corpse becomes human again.

Quotes

  • "Open your eyes. 'God' is nothing more than a construct created by man to inspire fear and promote order. If you wish to see me struck down, for all these atrocities, use your own hands to do so, not 'God's'."
  • "Let me get this straight, you think surrendering, and offering yourself will stop the war? How arrogant. The life of each human is worth one, that's it. Nothing more, nothing less."
  • "Why must everyone make such a fuss over the death of a single soldier? The moment a soldier dons his uniform, he accepts the reality that he might be buried in it."

In the 2003 anime series

Main Article: Wrath (FMA 2003)

Wrath (2003 anime)

Wrath as seen in the 2003 anime series

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