When Avatar: The Last Airbender first aired in 2003, it captured all of our hearts and introduced us to a whole new world that we still can’t get enough of till now. It opened our minds and took us on an unforgettable journey alongside some amazing characters who truly left a mark on each of our lives.
It’s really hard to find a favorite character from the vast universe of this highly acclaimed series, due to the enormous amount of complex and lovable characters that allow us to get lost in their stories… while managing somehow to be relatable. Here are the 10 best Avatar: The Last Airbender characters, for your entertainment!
Update May 14th, 2020 by Louis Kemner: Right now, Avatar: the Last Airbender seems to be on everyone’s minds, and this show is still as popular as ever, even years after the last episode aired. The tale of Aang, Zuko, and the fate of the world is a classic one in Western animation, and the characters are really what bring this dynamic setting to life. With that in mind, it seems that just ten characters aren’t enough to illustrate the full extent of Avatar’s cast. Now, it’s time to add five more fan-favorite characters who have a major role to play in this remarkable tale.
15 The Boulder
This might seem like a silly entry at first, but despite being a goofy minor character, The Boulder represents one of the important themes of this franchise: people realizing their own potential and changing the world for the better with it.
For years, The Boulder was just a showman and athlete who threw rocks in an arena to please the crowds. Toph taught him a thing or two about proper earthbending, and he and his fellows eagerly took part in the Day of the Black Sun invasion. He has done some real growing up.
In some ways, Huu mirrors The Boulder, in the sense that he answered the call of duty and took part in the invasion of the Fire Nation. This plant bender couldn’t just sit idly by as history was being made out there in the world at large.
He is a man of peace and harmony, only using his plant-golem to defend the swamp. Even then, Huu would rather tap into the swamp’s many roots and enjoy how the entire world is connected like different roots of the same tree. He truly understands that we are all the same.
He may not be a bender, but the chief of the Southern Water Tribe is a remarkable man. Hakoda is the doting father of Katara and Sokka, who bravely fights the superior Fire Nation army to protect his children and his countrymen.
Hakoda entrusted the tribe’s protection to Sokka, and later, father and son fought together on the front lines, with Katara providing support with her incredible water bending. He also refused to yield to the warden of the Boiling Rock, an inspiring moment of defying oppression.
Pakku was rather cold at first, colder than any of the ice at the Northern Water Tribe. He was a stern teacher to Aang and refused to teach Katara at all, then subdued Katara in a proper waterbending duel.
But that’s not the end of Pakku’s story. He changed his mind and allowed the talented Katara to become his second student, and he admitted his envy that Katara’s grandmother, Kanna, married a different man in days gone by. But he later married Kanna, and became Katara and Sokka’s beloved new grandfather. He’s even a member of the White Lotus organization.
In the days leading up to the Hundred Year War, Aang and Bumi were good friends, and they often goofed off in Omashu. Today, he’s a very old but tough man who leads that city, and none of his boyhood quirkiness was lost.
As king of Omashu, Bumi is a fierce but patient warrior and a firm ally of Aang’s (as well as a member of the White Lotus). Like Toph, Bumi uses neutral jing, based on reading the earth and waiting for the proper moment to strike. It’s a valuable fundamental that not all earthbenders understand.
Let’s kick off this list with everyone’s favorite airbender! Aside from being an Avatar, Aang is a brave young boy who has gone through a whole lot in his lifetime; like emerging from an iceberg after he was frozen in the Avatar state for 100 years to find that a war waged by the Fire Nation wiped out his own.
Aang was faced with being the sole survivor of his kind and was challenged to bring back the peace that was once lost. Through all the tough times “Twinkle Toes” (as Toph calls him) always remained optimistic, courageous and a goofy kid at heart.
Daughter of Fire Lord Ozai and the princess of the Fire Nation, Azula was a firebending prodigy who was obsessed with power as well as being manipulative and sadistic. She had many mental issues, raised by her strict and ruthless father, and she believed that Zuko (her brother) was loved by her mother more than her which caused her to be jealous and act out in various ways. She suffered a complete mental breakdown when her defeat came at the hand of Katara and her brother Zuko right before she was supposed to be crowned the Fire Lord. She might not be a likable character but the show would’ve never been the same without her.
8 Ty Lee
Longing for individuality, Ty Lee was a goofy and energetic girl from the Fire Nation who had six identical sisters. Through the whole series, she sought to be unique and resented sharing similar appearances and qualities with her siblings. Alongside Mai and Princess Azula (her former friends), she went to the Royal Fire Academy for Girls.
To gain her own sense of self, she joined the Fire Nation Circus and became a truly skillful acrobat. She was the only to utilize Chi blocking, which is a combat technique that leads to paralysis of the enemy by targeting pressure points and stopping bending abilities for quite some time. Ty Lee managed to find her own identity against all odds and that makes her one of our top characters on the list.
Who doesn’t love this graciously loyal sky bison? Appa is one of the essential role players in the whole group. Aside from being the heroes only means of transportation, Appa acted as a carrier of their troubles and assisted them out of many of the situations they would get themselves into. The sky bison was also a great reminder of the long-lost Air Nomads and their formidable civilization.
His faithfulness and devotion to Aang gained him great reputation and admiration from loyal fans of the show, giving us the utmost pleasure to honor him as one of the best characters of the show.
The mastermind of the group, Sokka was always the one in charge of strategizing and war tactics due to his background of being a Water Tribe warrior of the Southern Water Tribe. He was the leader of the tribe when its men (along with his father) were sent to fight the Fire Nation, leaving the only teenage boy in the tribe training children to become future warriors and protect the South Pole.
Sokka is far more than just a comic relief character, he plays an imperative role in the story, especially responsible for the Invasion of the Fire Nation plan on the Day of the Black Sun.
Iroh was an easy-going, spiritual, and wise man, unlike most members of his own family. He was the former Crown Prince and a retired general of the Fire Nation as well as gaining the title of the Dragon of the West due to slaying the last dragon and his iconic ability of breathing fire.
His high knowledge and deep recognition of the four elements earned him the position of the wisdom-imparter among many allies and associates. He gave special attention to Zuko (his nephew) and took him under his wing; not only as a guiding presence but as a true father figure.
Katara is one of the most important characters of the show, and in fact, the whole story is told from her perspective (she is the actual narrator of the show). She is many girls’ role model, not least because of her unwavering bond with Aang and his cause (to bring back the lost peace and security for all the nations). She always tried to fill the role of her late mother Kya, especially when her father left to fight the Fire Nation.
Katara’s mastery of waterbending allowed her to be a formidable and irreplaceable asset in the group. Taking on adult responsibilities at a very young age led her to become the compassionate, independent and determined character she truly is.
This may be the unexpected wild card entry of this list, but it absolutely deserves its own slot. Let me tell you why Suki is by far the most underrated character of the show. She was the leader and eldest member of the female Kyoshi Warriors and a badass in her own right. This fierce warrior was respected and revered by her fellow clan members for her advanced combat skills and her incredible leadership.
She was a protective warrior when she first captured Aang and his group when they landed on Kyoshi Island, but was also a forgiving and supportive leader when she later decided to release and help them along their journey, after knowing that Aang was the Avatar. Her presence wasn’t consistent but for some reason, it still lingers with us.
Zuko has one of, if not the most, interesting plots of the whole show. He is an incredibly complex character with a backstory that can be easily told through the distinctive scar on his face given to him by his cruel father. He spent three years tracking down the Avatar by using manipulative tricks, trying to capture him to regain the lost respect of his father as well as his honor as the Prince of the Fire Nation.
Under Iroh’s (his uncle) guidance, Zuko overcame many hardships and came out on the other side, refusing his father’s way of ruling and instead joining the Avatar on his noble quest to retrieve the nations’ peace once again. Despite his dark history and unspeakable acts, he is a fan favorite and a likable character proving that it is never too late for redemption.
One of the most powerful earthbenders of her time. Toph is a force to be reckoned with, raised by overprotective parents and brought up with a visual impairment, she had to overcome tough circumstances to become the strong-willed girl with a tough exterior she is.
After gaining infamy due to participating in underground earthbending tournaments under the nickname “The Blind Bandit”, she left her life behind, aiding Aang in becoming his earthbending teacher and adding immense value to the journey they embarked on together. In addition to being hilariously witty, Toph’s incredible personality along with her wise old soul allowed for her to be truly one of the best in the series and the top of our list.
From heroes to villains, Aang to Zuko, and even Appa… these are the best of the best from Avatar: The Last Airbender.