One of the best kid's shows from the last decade, Avatar: The Last Airbender really showed us how it was done. This series proved that a deep story with complex characters in a dangerous world could be enjoyed not just by kids, but by teens, and adults alike. Watching the show makes you feel like the Four Nations is a real world and the events that occur are truly happening right now. Many characters, even those that appear for an episode or two, are important and integral to the main story. Aang, Sokka, Katara, Toph, and all of the main cast made a real impact on many people; to this day people watch the show and take something unique from it.
Aang really does get the short end of the stick on this one. Not only does he get frozen and feel all the bad things are his fault, but Aang also has to master all four elements within a few months. Aang is an airbending prodigy, but a few months is really pushing it. How on earth does he manage it? Aang does have incredible teachers like Katara, Toph, and Zuko, but being taught is only part of the learning process; you have to work at learning yourself. We do see Aang practice, but being the Avatar surely gives you a little bit of an edge. Also, a comet signaling the end of the world will do the trick. What is going on under Aang's skin? Why can he do what he does? Let's find out.
30 Aang Was Going To Be 10
Figuring out the ages of your characters can be a tricky one. For DreamWorks, they wanted to find the best balance of characters to appeal to their target audience of older kids and tweens, but also perhaps rope in some older viewers as well. In the original pitch for Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang was going to be 10 years old. However, this was a little too young for both the story and the target demographic. Aang was aged up to be 12 (read: 112) but was a master by 10 as a compromise.
29 He Was A Boss At 6
Being the Avatar is going to give you an edge in the bending classroom, however, it does not hurt to be naturally adept as well. Aang is such a prodigy that he was already bending at an advanced level by the time he was six years old. Bet it was rough being one of his classmates and having to go up against a guy like Aang. Knowing Aang, he probably would be nice about it and try to help you out.
28 Better Than His Teachers
While flashbacks in Avatar: The Last Airbender show Aang playing around or struggling with his destiny, it is clear from what lore we know that Aang was already a master before the show started. While he was exceptionally skilled and better than many of the monks at the air temple, there was a discussion of sending him away on a more rigorous training regime. Aang was not happy about this and ran away, something which caused him much guilt in later years.
27 A Young Airbending Master
It is true that Aang is an incredibly skilled Airbender. When we meet him, Aang has crafted his own airbending moves and can utilize many moves with ease. However, as the series progresses, Aang manages to master Airbending to the fullest, earning his abilities to project and fly. At age 12, he is the youngest airbending master that we know of. Even with all of the extra abilities, he stayed true to his defensive airbending moves where possible until he had no choice.
26 What About Being A Baby?
There is a moment within Avatar: The Last Airbender where we see a flashback with Aang as a baby. While it is totally adorable, it really is over in seconds and the episode moves on. Never in either series are Aang's parents mentioned or seen, and there is little discussion of him as a baby and toddler. There is the scene in which he selects toys to determine his Avatar fate, but that is about it. I am so curious about who his parents are and if he thinks about them sometimes.
25 Two Halves Of The Same Coin
One of the smartest parts of Avatar: The Last Airbender was the clear parallel between Zuko and Aang. Both were so different but similar and experienced similar journeys. When Zuko prospered, Aang suffered and vice versa. However, as the series went on, they began to be on the same level until they teamed up to battle the Fire Nation. It was something that fans really appreciated as a clever piece of storytelling. Also, now they both have stories to tell and cool scars to show.
24 Gotta Learn Fast
While most Avatar had years to learn the bending styles, taking their time and going at their own pace, Aang did not have it so easy. Thanks to his 100-year break in the ice, he only has an entire summer to master all four bending elements in time to battle Fire Lord Ozai. Depending on when the series started month wise, Aang has between two and ten months to master bending fully before the penultimate battle. No other Avatar learned all of the elements in such a short time span.
23 Aang Might End Zuko's Life
Thanks to his time with the monks, Aang is not one to cause unnecessary harm to others. Aang is so against ending the lives of other beings that he is a vegetarian. Aang outright refuses to take the lives of others, which is what makes the battle of Ozai weigh so heavily on his mind. In the comics, Fire Lord Zuko is concerned that he will become power mad like his father and asks Aang to end him should that occur. Initially unnerved by the idea, Aang does eventually agree to this.
22 The Avatar Fan Club
Being an all-powerful person is going to bring in admirers, but being as fun and easy-going as Aang attracts some other folks. Aang's likable personality and friendly, goofy nature garnered him more than a few fans, enough to form an official fan club. A lot of these fans are kids around his age, but there are adults who admire his skill and status as the Avatar. The biggest interaction Aang had with this club was during his stay on Kyoshi Island, where they followed him around constantly and he hung out with them for hours at a time.
21 See You On The Other Side
Not only can the Avatar control elements within our world, but he can also access the spirit realm. On multiple occasions, Aang has either traveled into the spirit world via astral projection or acted as a conduit between man and spirit. However, sometimes Aang's interactions with the spirits go a little bit further. In the comics and series, Aang has been possessed by a spirit, with the most well-known possession being during the attack on the Northern Water Tribe, in which Aang merged with the Ocean Spirit to defeat the Fire Nation fleet.
20 A Long And Happy Life
Aang, despite a few touch and go moments, lived a long and happy life. In fact, he is one of the longest living Avatars in history. If you count his time within the iceberg, Aang lived to be 166 years old before passing on. It is hard to imagine anyone beating Kyoshi, who lived to be over 200 years old. While he did not quite manage to hit the top spot, he did do well to live for so long, considering the stress and battles he has faced. Perhaps there is something to eating a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle?
19 Animals Are Friends, Not Food
Speaking of a healthy lifestyle, Aang is a vegetarian. His beliefs on the equality of life learned from the Air Temple monks mean that Aang is against taking lives, even for food. Aang accepts that others are different and never tries to force them to change, he does encourage Sokka to eat less meat sometimes. Aang is dedicated to this lifestyle, even when he took two tribes through a canyon during The Great Divide, he never wavered despite his desperate need for food.
18 Feel The Energy Flow
Aang's beliefs fueled his angst and fear over his battle with Fire Lord Ozai. How could he take the life of another person, even if that person was an evil dictator? It was something that Aang truly wrestled with and tried to find a way around. Aang had no idea what to do until he ran into a Lion Turtle. This Lion turtle taught him to energy bend, a discipline which Aang used to disable and remove Fire Lord Ozai's powers at massive risk to himself.
17 On The Defense
Airbending, at its core, is a defensive fighting style. While it is a dynamic and powerful bending discipline, it is often criticized for lacking any 'finishing' moves. This is partly due to its roots in Tai Chi, also a defensive martial art, and the monks' beliefs regarding the sacred nature of life. Because of this, an Airbender rarely strikes first or seeks to end a life, instead choosing to think outside of the box to disable or outlast their opponents.
16 A Heart-Stopping Moment
During a battle with Azula and Zuko in the Crystal Catacombs of Ba Sing Se, Aang had no choice but to enter the Avatar state and attempt to end the battle. While Aang was entering this state, Azula struck Aang in the back with a lightning bolt, severing his connection to the Avatar Spirit, the Avatar World, and ending his life. Katara managed to save his life using water from the Spirit Oasis, but he lost access to other Avatars. This was a truly alarming and devastating moment in the series few have forgotten.
15 Breaking The Blood Bond
During season three's The Puppetmaster, a stay with a kind old lady becomes a traumatic lesson in a dangerous subset of waterbending. In that episode, bloodbending is forced upon Katara by Hama. Bloodbending is a move that surrenders control of the victim's body to the captor, rendering it impossible to escape. Katara manages to escape it to save Sokka and Aang but it left her deeply scarred. In a battle with the criminal Yakone, Aang manages to escape bloodbending using his Avatar state twice in one battle, making him the first Avatar to do so.
14 The Best Food In The World
Everybody gets cravings for their favorite food and the craving can be intense when you are hungry; imagine how it would feel if you were starving. Unfortunately, Aang knows this feeling all too well. While escorting two tribes through a canyon, the groups had to avoid eating or drinking or else be attacked by predators. The two tribes snuck food and drink with them into the canyon and happened to bring Aang's favorite food; egg custard tart. Even though he was starving and tempted, Aang did not eat to protect the groups.
13 A Familiar Face
After the Hundred Years' War, things turned peaceful for the most part within the Four Nations. Cities were rebuilt and society changed, allowing for stability and peace. In Republic City, the capital of the United Republic of Nations, the main currency is Yuan and some pink bills have a picture of Avatar Aang on the front. It makes sense since it was Aang and Zuko that founded the city. Feels weird seeing Aang's face on bills, though.
12 Finding Your Voice
It turns out that Aang was pretty difficult to get hold of in real life, too. When casting voice actors for Avatar: The Last Airbender, Dreamworks struggled to find the right voice actor to play Aang. It took a lot of auditions and tries, but they eventually settled on Zach Tyler Eisen for the role of Aang. I think we can all agree that Eisen knocked it out of the park with his performance as the young airbender. well done!
11 Do It For Love
Love is difficult at the best of times, but it is even harder for the Avatar. Being on a time crunch and getting attacked on the reg left little room for romance in Team Avatar. Katara found crushes in Jet and even Zuko depending on who you ask. Sokka found love with Kaya, Princess Yue, and Suki. Aang, however, always had eyes for Katara. It was clear in the series that Aang had a crush on Katara almost since the beginning, while Katara hinted at it on occasion. Luckily for Aang, he got to marry his first love, Katara, and they even had children together.
10 Frostbite Stinks
Holding ice for a long time hurts, and getting frostbite can cause serious and irreversible damage to the human body. It is hard to say how Aang was affected physically after being frozen in ice for an extended period. He managed to stay alive and safe, but what if being stuck in ice hurt him in unseen ways? If you ignore the time he spent in the ice, Aang was relatively young when he passed into the spirit world forever. Being frozen and in a constant Avatar state for decades took its toll on Aang as he got older, causing him to pass of natural causes at 166.
9 What's In A Name?
Picking an episode title can often be harder than naming your characters. You want to intrigue the audience, but not give too much away. The creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender chose a slightly different path with their episode names. The first episode of the series is named The Boy In The Iceberg and the final episode of the series is named Avatar Aang. This clever use of titles reflects Aang's maturity and growth throughout the show, marking his development and character growth.
8 Defying The Status Quo
Sometimes, the acts of one individual can change the world. Avatar: The Last Airbender shows us that working to change the world can take an entire group of people. In a world with an evil dictator, it is easy to see why Team Avatar and their allies wish to take on Fire Lord Ozai and restore peace. It turns out that Aang is not alone in defying authority. Avatar Roku and Avatar Kyoshi also rose up against the leaders of nations for the greater good. It runs in his blood.
7 Severed Connections
When in the Avatar state, the Aang is at his most powerful and most vulnerable; while it empowers him with all the knowledge and skill of his previous lives, being lethally attacked in this state would end the Avatar for good. When Aang was attacked by Azula in the Avatar state, it severed his connection to past Avatars for an extended period. It took Katara's healing with Spirit Water and meeting the four most recent Avatars to get the connection back.
6 Read It In The Scars
Despite being so young, Aang does have two scars. While he has seen many battles and fights, Aang is lucky to only have two scars; however, these scars are deep and reflect bad memories. There is a large and rough scar on his back where Azula's lightning bolt hit him and another on the sole of his left foot where the lightning bolt escaped his body. Both of these scars are souvenirs of a tense battle and a rough moment in Aang's life.
5 Sticking To Your Roots
Becoming an Avatar often means becoming boundaryless, bridging the gap between people, cultures, and even worlds to keep balance. Many Avatars end up rejecting their roots and culture in order to do this; Roku defied the Fire Lord, Kyoshi disobeyed the Earth King, Korra the Water Nation Chief. Only two Avatars have stuck to their roots for the most part; Aang and Kuruk. Both of these Avatars have remained true to airbending and waterbending respectively despite mastering the elements.
4 Left-Handed Avatars, Unite!
Changing bodies and incarnations can mean gaining new skills or losing old features long the reincarnation cycle. It often means changing gender, culture, beliefs, and so on. One interesting little detail for Aang is that he is right-handed. Many of his previous incarnations were, in fact, left-handed, making this a neat little change for this version of the Avatar. Too bad he was not still left-handed for those audience members who are lefties.
3 Meeting The Original Benders
In the lore of Avatar: The Last Airbender, it is stated that each form of bending had a natural originator. For the waterbenders, it was the moon moving the tides. For earthbenders, it was badger-moles. For firebenders, it was dragons. For airbenders, it was air bison. From observing these animals, benders figured out how to bend and began developing bending into what we know today.
2 Getting Old
As mentioned earlier, Aang grew to a fairly old age. It is no small feat to survive through war and make it to 66 years old. It is even more impressive to survive an extra hundred years on top of that. While Aang's 166 years of life were impressive, there is one Avatar he could not beat; Kyoshi. Kyoshi lived to be 230 years old, by far the oldest of all previous Avatars. Too bad Aang could not quite make it all the way and have more adventures before passing on.
1 The Kids Aren't Alright
While Aang is a powerful figure who will be taught about in schools across all Four Nations, there is one thing that is often forgotten; Aang is a kid. He is a twelve-year-old boy during the span of the first series. It is hard enough for an adult to bear what Aang does, nevermind a child. To rest the fate of the entire world on a child is unfair and harsh but that is what Aang faces. It is partially this heavy responsibility that adds stakes and drama to the story