|From left to right: Sokka, Suki, Toph, Katara, Zuko, and Aang|
Aang: The last airbender and the avatar, technically 112 years old. Frozen in a glacier, he is found by Katara and Sokka who help him look for bending masters after the Southern Water Tribe is attacked by Zuko.
Katara: The young waterbender who, along with Sokka, found Aang frozen in the glaciar. Due to being the only waterbender in the South Pole she had to learn alot of stuff on her own.
Sokka: Though not a bender, he has a great head for strategy and eventually becomes a master swordsman. He also carries a lot of the comic relief in the show along with Uncle Iroh.
Toph: A blind earthbender, yet she can see by using her feet to feel sound waves coming from the earth beneath her. Tomboyish, and a great ally to the team. She even invents metalbending.
Zuko: The disgraced prince of the Fire Nation. While at first he wanted nothing more than to capture Aang for the sake of his honor, his Uncle Iroh eventually made him question this path and after a nail-biting soul searching arc for him, he joined the team.
Suki: One of the Kyoshi warriors. Like Sokka, she isn't a bender but she is a master of hand-to-hand combat and is able to hold her own against the likes of Ty Lee and Azula.
Uncle Iroh: Though he is technically a side character, he was almost directly responsible for Zuko resolving his identity crisis. A funny yet sweet old man, he is also a powerful firebender. He even left the Fire Nation to help Zuko with his quest to capture Aang.
|That old man is badass|
|From left to right: Ty Lee, Mai, and Azula|
Ty Lee: A non-bender who has impressive acrobatic skills and is a childhood friend of Azula. She is able to hold her own with benders and can temporarily render their bending useless and even immobilize them by striking pressure points.
Mai: A childhood friend of Azula. A non-bender. She is an excellent marksman and will usually fight with throwing knives.
Fire Lord Ozai: The head of the Fire Nation and father of Zuko and Azula.
Side characters: Avatar the Last Airbender has an astonishingly detailed world for a kids' show with very memorable characters and even the side characters are great. King Bumi is my personal favorite.
|Seriously, who wouldn't love this crazy old man? XD|
|Case in point!|
From left to right: Jong Jong, Bumi, Iroh (center), Pakku, and Piandao
The beginning: The series begins at the Southern Water Tribe. Two siblings, Katara (a young waterbender and the only one in the south pole) and Sokka are out hunting one day when they stumble upon a boy and his pet sky bison frozen in a giant glacier. This boy is Aang and he is the last of his kind. He is an Airbender and the new avatar (a reincarnated person who can use all 4 elements who has existed throughtout his and acts as a sort of peace keeper between the four nations). Aang's growth as the avatar isn't complete as we learn he only knows airbending. Aang is able to escape the glacier and falls in love with Katara at first sight. Despite being the avatar, Aang acts just like you'd expect to a kid to act. He cares more about having fun.
You really get a great feel for who the characters are and their motivations, they don't seem like the usual one-note characters you get in kids' cartoons. You even get to see Aang grow from a fun-loving little kid to someone worthy of his destiny to save the world and he still shows that he knows when to relax and have some fun. You even learn how avatar state and the cycle of rebirth work as well as how the avatar is tied to the spirit world. The avatar actually has a lot of presence in the world and you get to see how Aang has affected this world in his past lives, both the good and the bad. You also get to see how Sokka grows more and more as a warrior throughout the final season.
The world really has this massive feel and quite a lot of detail to it. The locations, the cities they visit, and even the nations themselves don't feel like just places or destinations they need to go to just for the sake of the story. Everything in the world has its own unique feel to it. Nothing about the villages feels generic.
The bending styles themselves have quite a few variations as well, the ones with the most variations are water and earth. You get to see waterbending being used to heal, control the water in other people's bodies, and the show even goes so far as to show a style that is only practiced in the Earth Kingdom swamps (foggy swamp style). Earth's variations are metalbending (something created by Toph), Sandbending which is mostly practiced in the deserts in the Earth Kingdom, and Toph's own style of earthbending. In a great bit of ingenuity, certain bending elements are able to be combined to create substyles of bending like air and water mixing to create cloud bending or water and earth creating mud bending. Fire even has a secondary style: Lightning bending which only the most powerful firebenders can use. There is even one guy who has a style unique to him. Sokka dubbed him "Combustion Man" and he can shoot fire from an eye tattooed on his forehead. I'm not even sure what to call that style.
|Toph Metal bending|
The series even has a really great character arc for Katara at the northern water tribe and even has her experience culture shock as she realizes that though they came from the same place, the policies of the Northern Tribe are quite different from the Southern Tribe, i.e. women being forbidden to learn to use their bending for battle. That arc has one of my favorite fights: She goes head to head with the Northern Tribe's greatest master, Pakku, and you get to see just how much Katara has learned on her own. Its a shame they left that out of the live action movie.