- This article is about the King of Omashu. For Aang and Katara's eldest son, see Bumi.
|"I hope you will think like a mad genius!"|
|— Bumi to Aang.|
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 confirmed to still be 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 you'll 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.
King Bumi was born in 12 BG in the city of Omashu. As a child, he became close friends with Aang, showing him how to use the Omashu delivery system as "the world's greatest super slide", which caused the young airbender to label Bumi as a "mad genius".
Sometime later in his life, Bumi was crowned King of Omashu.
Testing the Avatar
After being freed from his iceberg, Aang returned to Omashu in order to show his friends, Sokka and Katara, the mail delivery system, or rather, how to use it as a slide. After accidentally destroying a cartload of cabbages belonging to a cabbage merchant, Team Avatar was arrested and brought before King Bumi. However, Aang did not recognize his friend, who was now one hundred years older than when they last met. When asked what their punishment should be, Bumi told his guards to "throw them ... a feast!"
During the feast, Bumi tricked Aang into airbending by throwing a chicken thigh at him, revealing his identity as the Avatar. Now refusing to let them leave, Bumi demanded that they be thrown into a chamber, causing a confusion between him and a guard as to which chamber the former was referring – the good chamber or the bad chamber that had been newly refurbished. Bumi noted that the chambers should be numbered, but resolved the misunderstanding by declaring that the three be taken to "the refurbished chamber that was once bad". After a relaxing night's sleep, Aang awoke to find his friends missing, as King Bumi had taken them to blackmail Aang into completing three tasks for him, ensuring the Avatar's stay lest Sokka and Katara become encased in jennamite.
Bumi initially inquired Aang's honest opinion of his new outfit, to which Aang responded that it was "great". The king congratulated the airbender in his success of the first challenge, but proceeded to inform the Avatar that this had not been "one of the deadly tests". Initiating the actual challenges, Bumi instructed Aang to retrieve a lunchbox key that belonged to the former. As the airbender attempted the challenge, the king used an extensive amount of criticism to rebuke Aang in his employment of ordinary methods to attain his goal. Upon Aang's successful completion of the first test, Bumi administered the next test, which involved finding Flopsie, the king's pet, and bringing the animal to him. After the Avatar had finished the second challenge, Bumi called over his pet and began to rub the goat gorilla's "soft belly", showing affection toward the animal. He was interrupted by an impatient Aang, who wanted to proceed to the third and final challenge. King Bumi informed the airbender that the last test would be a duel and asked Aang to choose his opponent. The king presented two opponents from which Aang could choose, both of which were intimidating in appearance, bearing both armor and weapons. King Bumi was chosen as the Avatar's opponent, but it was soon realized that the young airbender had made a mistake as Bumi threw off his royal robes and flexed his muscles, revealing himself to be a powerful and muscular earthbender. Although Bumi had the upper hand during the fight, particularly against the run-and-evade tactics typical of airbenders, Aang eventually impressed the old man by creating a tornado to counter a powerful attack from the earthbender. While Aang seemed to have Bumi in a corner after this, ready to strike with his staff, he failed to notice that Bumi had positioned a large mound of rock a few feet above Aang's head. Bumi, however, was satisfied with Aang's performance and allowed the match to be called a draw.
Old friends reunited
Before releasing Sokka and Katara, the king demanded that Aang guess his name and gave him a few minutes to think on it, leaving Sokka and Katara minutes away from becoming completely encased in jennamite. At first, Aang was clueless, but as he thought about the challenges, he realized that each one was designed to make him think differently, as his old friend, Bumi, always had, prompting the Avatar to solve the riddle and once again declare Bumi as a "mad genius". Bumi explained to Aang that strength and bending alone would not be enough to defeat Fire Lord Ozai and that when it came time for Aang to face him, "[he] hope[s] [Aang] will think like a mad genius". After Bumi freed Aang's friends from the jennamite, he and Aang spent an enjoyable day using the Omashu delivery system as a chute ride, just like old times, and destroyed the same cabbage cart from earlier. Aang and his friends subsequently left Omashu to continue their journey.
Shortly after Team Avatar's departure, Omashu was attacked by the Fire Nation. King Bumi and the military captain Yung stood atop a wall and watched the opposing army as they launched flaming projectiles toward the city. When asked about the action of Omashu's military, Bumi responded by telling Yung to do nothing and began laughing maniacally. Before long, the city had surrendered.
Bumi was later visited once again by Aang, Katara, and Sokka, who had been hoping that Bumi could serve as Aang's earthbending teacher, but due to the king's imprisonment, this did not seem possible. Eventually, the Omashu Resistance made a deal with the governor of Omashu to exchange Tom-Tom, the governor's son, for the king. Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee met Team Avatar near the base of a statue in Omashu to execute the deal. King Bumi was lowered by a crane to the ground, but was revealed as being secured in an encasement that tightly covered his entire body, save for his face. As the Fire Nation girls discussed the losses that would result from Bumi's release, the king nodded in approval. The deal was not passed, and Bumi was again lifted to the air. Bumi was intercepted by Aang, who flew up to the cage and tried to smash the metal chain to free Bumi, as he was not willing to give up. The king was surprised by the young airbender's effort. The chain broke and Bumi, still in his cage, plummeted to a delivery chute below along with Aang.
After a chase down the city's large mail-delivery chutes, Bumi managed to halt Azula's pursuit by destroying her cart using earthbending, revealing that he, despite the metal cage in which he was being kept, was still capable of bending. However, Bumi disappointed Aang with the statement that he could not leave Omashu at that moment, as he was waiting for the proper time to strike against the Fire Nation from within. Bumi proceeded to teach Aang about the importance of neutral jing and advised the Avatar to seek an instructor skilled in neutral jing who would wait and listen.
Liberation of Omashu
Bumi spent several weeks imprisoned in his city, waiting for the right moment to escape, which came on the Day of Black Sun, where he broke out of his prison by earthbending with his face. Taking advantage of the firebenders' loss of power, he single-handedly liberated Omashu and destroyed Ozai's statue at the top of the city, sending it sliding down and off the edge of the city, before laughing and taking a bite of jennamite, retaking his city in mere minutes.
Order of the White Lotus
Before the arrival of Sozin's Comet, Bumi met with the Avatar's gang again at Ba Sing Se, along with Masters Pakku, Piandao, and Jeong Jeong and was revealed to be a member of the Order of the White Lotus. Bumi was the only one to notice that the group was missing a "very important member", as Aang and Momo had disappeared, but comically asked the group of Momo's whereabouts. The king later stated that as long as Momo and Aang were together, they had nothing to worry about. Sokka asked why they were all together, to which Bumi responded that "all old people know each other."
Later, while explaining to Team Avatar about how he liberated Omashu, he declared himself the world's greatest earthbender ever. Toph happened to hear this, questioned the accuracy of the statement, causing the two to exchange insults. They eventually decided to have an earthbending duel to settle who was the better of the two, with Sokka serving as the referee. The earthbenders kept fighting until Sozin's Comet was near approaching and it was time for them to begin their attacks. The match was called a draw, and it was said that there would have to be a rematch.
King Bumi joined in the Order's successful liberation of Ba Sing Se in the name of the Earth Kingdom, using impressive displays of his earthbending to destroy many Fire Nation tanks, in one instance by stacking them on top of each other.
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. 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'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.
- In several Indo-Iranian and Dravidian languages, the word "Bumi" is derived from the Sanskrit word bhūmiḥ (भूमिः), meaning "earth" or "land". It also holds the same meaning in Thai. 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 , 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 Beifong also claimed. She possessed a seismic sense that gave her a deeper connection to the earth than most earthbenders, allowing 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.
- Series co-creator Bryan Konietzko stated that he wanted to give Bumi the "creepy, long-limbed, hunched posture" of Gainax's Evangelions.
- 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.
|Ruler of Omashu|
Unknown - 100 AG
| Succeeded by|
|Ruler of Omashu|
100 AG - Unknown
| Succeeded by|
Unknown, eventually Kuvira