Saturday, August 31, 2013

A look back at the characters from Avatar the Last Airbender: Part 1 The Heroes

Since I didn't want the original retrospective too run too long, I barely glanced over the characters. Well lets jump right into it starting with the heroes. I may have some difficulty putting the characters into words so please bear with me.

Aang is the avatar. Despite having the weight of the world on his shoulders in the beginning, he was originally more concerned with what ever kid wants to do: Have fun. Its rather heart-breaking when you first think about it. Here you have this kid whose lost everything, everyone he ever knew is likely dead, and its all because he has this grand destiny forced upon him. His journey from a kid to a hero is really one of my favorites. He is normally the one to try and keep the peace among his friends and also tries to resolve disputes in the villages they visit on their journey, both due to his role as Avatar and his upbringing as an Air Nomad. Those two roles complement his fun-loving personality very well. His dilemma at the end of the series was really well done. He had to choose whether he should kill Ozai or stick to his principles.

A waterbender. She and Sokka found Aang frozen in the glacier. She has no formal training as a waterbender and had to learn a lot of it on her own. Kind-hearted and caring though she doesn't react well to even the slightest betrayal. She also occassionally acts as a semi-mother figure to the others and is the most cautious. During their journey she found a semi-training partner in Aang while she taught him the basics of  waterbending. Her character arc near the end of season one is one of my favorites both due to the lesson it teaches and because you get to see how much her bending skills have grown. Originally, her dedication for her training went slightly overboard when she stole a waterbending tutorial scroll from a group of pirates who then went after her and Aang.

A non-bender. He is Katara's older brother and he helps carry alot of the comic relief in this series. Out of Team Avatar, I'd have to say he is my favorite since you get to see just how much he has changed and grown as a warrior throughout the series. My favorite scene with him is when he essentially gets intoxicated from drinking cactus juice in the Earth Kingdom desert. At the beginning, even his fights were mostly for comic relief which really pointed out his lack of skill due to him being neither a bender or a trained warrior. That changes when they arrive at Kyoshi Island and Suki teaches him the basics of hand-to-hand combat thus beginning his journey down the path of the warrior culminating with him becoming a master swordsman in season 3. He is very creative and has a great mind for strategy in the later seasons.

Toph Beifong:
The blind Earthbending prodigy and a fan favorite character. Despite being blind since he was born, she found away to "see" in a sense by feeling vibrations with her feet which is why she can respond to attacks with such speed. She can also apply this ability to feel people's heart-rate to tell if they are lying, though that trick doesn't work on people like Azula. She learned to the purest form of earthbending from the Badger Moles. Because she was blind, her family wanted her to just stick to the most basic moves but she began practicing in secret from her family and using her skills to compete in underground earthbending tournaments as "The Blind Bandit". She is rather tomboy-ish and reckless which sometimes puts her at odds with Katara. She is even able to bend metal by targeting the earth-based impurities in the metal.
Toph discovering how to metalbend
She is my third favorite out of the heroes just because of how outrageous and powerful she is. Interestingly enough, she is the only character in the show to get a last name.

The disgraced Fire Nation prince and arguably the hero with the most growth. While he originally wanted to capture the avatar to restore his honor and win his father's love and respect, he did free the Aang from the Fire Nation's clutches on more than one occasion in the first two season. Drama-wise, he has the best character arc of the heroes. This is due mostly to his inferiority complex when he is around his sister. His internal struggle is one of most realistic I've seen so far.
The blue dragon symbolizes Azula's influence,
 while the red dragon symbolizes Iroh's influence urging him to choose his own path
Constantly being torn between his perceived need to earn his father's approval or choosing his own path. All the while unknowingly being manipulated by his sister Azula. His Uncle Iroh is actually the tipping point for his decision. His dilemma was by far the most nail-biting and I didn't know if he'd side with his father or not.

Suki is going to be a little more difficult for me to put into words since she didn't get a lot of developement so I don't have much of an opinion on her. She is leader of the Kyoshi warriors and like Sokka she isn't a bender. Despite not being a bender, she is a master of hand-to-hand combat and for the most part can hold her own with Ty Lee or Azula. She showed up sparingly throughout the series and didn't get much development until after the Boiling Rock prison breakout. She was the one who taught Sokka the basics of hand-to-hand combat.

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