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I hope you will think like a mad genius!
~ King Bumi to Aang

King Bumi is one of the many important characters in the show Avatar: The Last Airbender. He is a lifelong childhood friend of Aang shortly before Fire Lord Sozin started the war and in later years he became the king of his hometown called Omashu.

History

In the Water Tribe saga, not long after Aang was released from the iceberg by Katara and Sokka, they visit Omashu (though Aang was unaware that Bumi was still alive at first) and unintentionally cause trouble there which led to one of the Earth Kingdom guards to take Aang and his friends straight to King Bumi. Bumi (now old aged) was surprised that Aang was still a kid upon first glance at him when his guards brought them in for sentencing. Rather than punishing them he threw them "a feast" and had a conversation, Aang lies about his real identity but King Bumi figures out he's the Avatar and forces him to stay in his castle to do three deadly challenges and keeping Katara and Sokka hostage by trapping them in a rock called jennamite. After completion of the challenges, Aang recognized Bumi after Aang figures out his name and hugged out each other.


Young Bumi

Bumi when he first met Aang

In the Earth Kingdom saga, Aang and his friends returned to Omashu so Aang can learn earthbending from King Bumi. Unfortunately, it was attacked and held captive by the Fire Nation. Bumi himself was captured and was unable to leave after a conflict with Fire Lord Ozai's daughter Princess Azula and told Aang to find another earthbending teacher that waits and listens before attacking (forshadowing Toph).


Later in the Fire Nation saga, Bumi is also revealed to be part of a secret society called the Order of the White Lotus when Team Avatar (minus Aang and Momo) was looking for Iroh. Like many of the original Avatar characters, King Bumi died of natural causes long before The Legend of Korra.

Legacy

Aang and Katara later named their first son after Bumi.

Personality

Bumi was the wild-eyed, eccentric, elderly King of Omashu. As a child, Bumi had been a close friend of Avatar Aang and he remained Aang's only friend from before the Hundred Year War to be confirmed as still alive. He became an old and wild man, prone to cackling and snorting laughter at unfunny jokes. Despite his supercentenarian age and his apparent frailty, Bumi was an earthbending master and quite fit for his old age, at one point claiming himself to be "the most powerful earthbender [anyone] will ever see".

Bumi's eccentricity arose out of the fact that he always kept his mind "open to the possibilities". As a child, Bumi decided to use the Omashu delivery system as a chute ride, for which Aang dubbed him "a mad genius", a name that Bumi seemed to appreciate. Although Bumi appeared senile, he was in fact a brilliant and patient tactician, willing to wait until the opportune moment to strike in order to produce the most favorable outcome. Bumi carried himself with the same composure during a quiet, peaceful meal as he did when his city was under attack and he rarely explained his actions, which tended to infuriate his subordinates.


Abilites

Bumi earthbends

Bumi was one of the most powerful earthbenders in the world.

King Bumi was a master earthbender who was one of, if not the best in the world. His style was very conservative and stressed waiting for exactly the right moment to strike; however, when said moment did come, he demonstrated extremely powerful techniques. Bumi could levitate entire houses, extremely large pieces of stone, create fissures with kicks into the ground, turn ordinary dirt into quicksand, quickly tunnel through the ground, and, most extraordinarily, earthbend exclusively with his face with little-to-no handicap, as seen in the episode Sozin's Comet part 2: The Old Masters during the The Day of Black Sun to break free from his prison. With rock pillars, Bumi could launch himself or heavy metal objects such as tanks into the air, and once toppled a large metal statue from underneath. Bumi could also bend jennamite. Also, despite his advanced age, he was highly agile, able to reach considerable distances with a single jump, propelling himself with his earthbending. Bumi may have seismic sense like Toph as he earth-bent several Fire Nation soldiers completely without looking.

Gallery

Trivia

  • King Bumi's headdress is reminiscent of that worn by the legendary Chinese general, Lu Bu, which also had two giant pheasant feathers. Such headgear is commonly worn by high-ranking ancient Chinese officers and generals, most often in the Beijing Opera.
  • The name "Bumi" means "earth" in Malaysian, Indonesian, and several Indian languages, and is derived from the Sanskrit word bhumi (भूमि), which also means "earth". However, since the word bumi with that exact meaning does not exist in Chinese, the negotiation letter in "Return to Omashu" had his name transliterated as 布米, which translates as "to spread rice".
  • He was the second oldest known living character during the original series at 112 years old, after Guru Pathik, who was 150 years old. The two are the only individuals known to have witnessed both wartime arrivals of Sozin's Comet.
  • Although Bumi told Aang that he would see him again when the time was right, he is not known to have done so again during the series.
  • When Aang was preparing to leave Omashu, Bumi said that they would need Momo. Later, when Bumi met the rest of Team Avatar prior to the arrival of Sozin's Comet, he said that they were missing someone important and asked where Momo was.
  • Bumi claimed to be the most powerful earthbender ever, which Toph also claimed. She possessed a seismic sense that gave her a deeper connection to the earth than most earthbenders and allowed her to perceive nearly everything around her and the then-unique metalbending; feats Bumi never exhibited. However, Bumi was at least perceptive to his surroundings, able to launch several Fire Nation soldiers from behind without looking. Also, Bumi could earthbend without having physical contact with the earth unlike Toph. Regardless, their respective claims are still debatable.
  • When Bumi was first introduced, there was no indication that he was royalty, suggesting that he somehow earned the title of King of Omashu.
  • Bumi was originally supposed to be a frail old man, but the creators thought that he looked better with muscular attributes.
  • Bumi's transformation from a seemingly feeble old man to a powerful fighter during Aang's trials in Omashu is similar to the transformation Master Roshi from Dragon Ball underwent when the Kamehameha Wave was first introduced.
  • Bumi was the oldest and first master earthbender shown in the series.
  • Bumi was the only high-ranking member of the Order of the White Lotus to never train anybody from Team Avatar. However, the tasks he made Aang accomplish to develop his ability to think "like a mad genius" as well as his advice on jings could be considered mental training.
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