YMMV / Avatar: The Last Airbender

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    Franchise as a whole 
  • Fandom Berserk Button: Never, ever, ever, call any part of this franchise "anime"; the universe was developed with anime stylings, yes, but it is a western cartoon. It's a common mistake, but doing so gets certain people really angry.
  • Friendly Fandoms: In spite of the fandom being vicious to anyone who makes the mistake of calling the franchise anime, the franchise commands a lot of respect among actual anime fans. This is due to it taking influence from some of the most influential parts of Japanese animation, such as the works of Studio Ghibli. The franchise is regularly discussed casually among anime fans alongside their favorite series despite being a western cartoon.

    The Original Series 
  • Accidental Innuendo: "The Drill". Not only is the long stick like drill very phallic in appearance, but when the slurry overflows it looks like a "climax" into the wall.
  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: The Great Divide. It seems many viewers focus on the feud between the clans itself and Aang's solution to the conflict. However, from another viewpoint, the episode is a warning about getting caught up in arguments and controversies where there is no clear logical resolution because it's easier to align yourself with one of the groups. Both clans are telling different versions of the same story about a significant ancestor and don't seem to have any sort of evidence or documentation. Sokka and Katara find themselves weighing in on opposite sides of the feud because of which side of the story they heard first, and because of their views on how to adequately build tents in the dry season.
  • Americans Hate Tingle: While Avatar: The Last Airbender is considered to be one of the greatest shows that Nickelodeon has ever produced in the Western world, Japan hated Avatar. It's possible this is because the Fire Nation was heavily based on Imperial Japan, and Japan doesn't like to acknowledge the war crimes they committed in World War II. Ironically, its sequel series The Legend of Korra is a Cult Classic there.
  • Angel/Devil Shipping:
    • The basis for the massive Zuko and Katara ship, especially in the first season.
    • [insert Aang, Sokka, or any other good guy] and Azula.
  • Anvilicious:
    • "The Great Divide." The tribes hate each other, and this is a Bad Thing. We get it.
      • At least they realize this and skip it in the Ember Island play.
    • "The Painted Lady." Katara's Chronic Hero Syndrome gets dialed up to eleven, to the point the entire episode could be renamed "I will never ever not stop and help people and anyone who doesn't agree with me or appreciate my efforts is a bad person!"
  • Arc Fatigue: It takes Zuko two and a half seasons to figure out he should be with the good guys and that the Fire Nation as it stands is a horrible mess that he needs to redeem.
  • Ass Pull: A lot of people think the finale had two major ones. The first one with Aang being granted energybending is hotly debated as to whether it was or not. The second with Aang entering the Avatar state by hitting a perfectly-shaped rock as opposed to opening his chakras on his own is near universally considered a giant Ass Pull.
    • As a meta example, a lot of fans view the sequel comics as a attempt to answer questions that they ran out of time to answer in the show proper.
    • Aang suddenly having problems with killing Ozai in the last few episodes when he showed no hesitation or reluctance with the idea before. In "Nightmares and Daydreams" where Aang was mostly concerned with the idea of not defeating Ozai and failing the world again. During the eclipse invasion where he reaches the throne room and the bunker, he doesn't appear to have any issues with killing Ozai either time. Made even worse given how often Aang's actions have indirectly killed before (the siege of the North Pole being the most glaring example).
  • Awesome Ego: Toph proclaims herself the greatest Earthbender on the planet - and can back it up.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Katara: Strong female lead and good role-model, or over-emotional hypocrite? Most of her actions split the fandom in half as well.
    • Zuko: Badass relatable character with a sympathetic backstory, or wangsty emo teen obsessed with honor who is way too easily forgiven?
    • Mai: Some find her an amusing Deadpan Snarker, others think her Emotionless Girl schtick is dull. The comics have only made her more divisive.
    • Suki: When she was introduced, she was a near-unanimous Ensemble Darkhorse. But her joining the Gaang for the final battle split the fandom in half. Some are happy to see her return with more spotlight, others thought that she was just sort of thrown in without much consideration or fanfare and it wound up making her duller. Not to mention she lost her distinctive Kyoshi Warriors garb.
  • Better Than Canon: What some fans regard Aaron Ehasz's ideas that didn't make it into the series due to Executive Meddling or Creative Differences with Bryke.
  • Broken Base:
    • Aang's conflict in the finale split fans between those who felt it came out of nowhere and those who felt it was perfectly justified given what we'd seen of Aang to that point. Then there's the controversy over whether the resolution of using the previously unseen Energybending so Aang could stop Ozai without killing him was reasonably foreshadowed or a complete Ass Pull. For the record, the creators had the idea of Aang sticking with Thou Shalt Not Kill in their mind from the beginning of the series, they just didn't have anything specific. But the less said the better.
    • Shipping, anyone? Let's see, we have Kataang versus Zutara versus Taang versus Maiko versus Jetara. Then we have Sukka/George versus Yuokka versus Tykka versus The Doph versus Taang versus Toko versus Tokka. And that's not even mentioning anyone outside of the Five-Man Band or any of the crack/yaoi/yuri pairings.
    • Season 3: Fans either consider it to be the best season of the three or the absolute worst.
    • The revelation that Roku and Sozin were best friends and that both are Zuko's great-grandfathers. Some fans love it and view it as a good plot twist while others view it unnecessary and the most blatant case of Writers Cannot Do Math (considering the ages both would have to be when they had their kids; considering Rina was Roku's daughter and Ursa was born 76 years after Roku's death, Rina would have been at least 76 years old when she gave birth to Ursa and at least 97 when she died.)
  • Cargo Ship: Sokka/Boomerang, on again off again.
  • Complete Monster: Fire Lord Ozai is a genocidal, child-abusing fascist dictator who has dedicated weeks at a time and large portions of his national army to hunting down and killing a twelve-year-old and his friends. He forced Ursa into marrying him, and tried to kill her old lover out of spite. He obtained the throne when he manipulated Ursa into murdering his father to usurp the throne from his grieving older brother Iroh. He then thanked her with banishment from the Fire Nation and threatened to hunt them down and kill the children if she took them with her. He abused his son Zuko out of spite when Ursa claimed that Zuko was not his son even though he knew it was a lie, burned his face for speaking out of turn, and tried to shoot him with lightning when he decides to join Aang. He manipulated his loyal daughter Azula into becoming his perfect little villain to the point where she snaps from the pressure, only to later discard her to a completely meaningless position. Finally, his reaction to news of rebellions in the Earth Kingdom is to try to incinerate the continent. Even after his downfall he stills tries to manipulate his son Zuko into being a tyrant like himself. He doesn't regret any of those moments and feels no remorse for the consequences.
  • Crazy Awesome: Between his unconventional Secret Test of Character and his generally madcap personality, Bumi was a fan favorite from the word "Go".
  • Creepy Awesome: Koh the Face Stealer, Azula, and Hama.
  • Die for Our Ship: Has its own page.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • Zuko (especially before his Heel–Face Turn). As horrible as his life was, it makes it easy for the viewers to forget that his motives for going after Aang were entirely selfish. Zhao, Azula, Jet and yes, even Ozai.
    • Zhao. Unlike Zuko, he wasn't meant to be sympathetic but because Evil Is Sexy he wound up quite popular and many whitewash his transgressions/incompetence, especially with female fans.
    • Koh as well, to the point where many fans speculated that he would play a significant role in The Legend of Korra.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Suki was originally meant to be a one-off character, but they brought her back by fan demand and she eventually became part of the Gaang.
    • Mai has won over quite a few fans, though not as many as Ty Lee since she's still considered a Base-Breaking Character. It seems that the creators have picked up on this, and made her a recurring character in the comic's main storyline, with her prominently being displayed on the preview covers for Avatar: The Last Airbender – Smoke and Shadow, as well as being the focal character of Avatar: The Last Airbender – Rebound. Not to mention that there's a lot of speculation over whether or not she's Fire Lord Izumi's mother in The Legend of Korra as well, which will keep fan interest in her going for a while.
    • Ty Lee is also a popular character due to her unique ability, Foe Yay with Sokka, and attractive design in general. Many were outraged that she rarely appeared in season three.
    • Jet was meant to be a one-shot character, but fan popularity brought him back for four more appearances.
    • Zhao has his share of fans despite him only having a major role in the first season. It helps that Jason Issacs voices him.
    • Koh only had a meaningful role in one episode but he's so creepy that fans still yearn for his return to this day.
    • Jin only had a role in one filler episode, however is one of the most popular characters in fanart and fanfiction. Many love her due to her cute design, personality, and for being someone to ship Zuko with for fans who don't like him with Mai.
    • King Bumi for being a powerfull earthbender, Crazy Awesome, and one of the few people who Aang knew before being frozen.
  • Evil Is Cool: Princess Azula is regarded as one of the coolest characters in the series, as well as one of the most evil. Those are directly tied together (or rather how good she is at being evil). The same applies to her father, and to a lesser extent to the Fire Nation military.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Azula and Ozai. Mai and Ty Lee also, although they're merely antagonists, and not evil.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Subverted. For a long time the series, particularly the series finale, look to be building up to the very Family-Unfriendly Aesop that sometimes Violence Really Is the Answer. Aang speaks with all of his past lives and is told by Roku how many lives they could have saved if they had "acted decisively," and by Kyoshi and Yangchen how they were willing to do "anything" to save the lives of millions of people, and that as Avatar his duty is to put the well-being of the people of the world over his own path to enlightenment. It seems like the series is directing Aang to kill Ozai after all. However, Kuruk provides a clear opposition to the idea, advising Aang to "actively shape your own destiny." Ultimately Aang chooses to go with Kuruk's advice and finds a way to stop Ozai for good without having to kill him.
    • The Great Divide: Lying through your teeth is an acceptable and effective way to resolve deeply ingrained disputes.
  • Fandom Berserk Button: Do 'NOT make assumptions about the show based on the live-action movie. In fact, don't even mention the live-action movie.
    • Probably not a good idea to refer to Aang as "Avatar" as if it's his name or assume being the Avatar is the same as being an Airbender.
  • Fandom Rivalry: "A couple more years, and you might be ready to fight a sea sponge."
  • Fan-Preferred Couple:
    • Zuko/Katara is a legendary example (it's even the trope's image). In fact, it is very common among casual viewers or people who have never watched the series to think Zuko and Katara ended up together due to the sheer ubiquitousness of the pairing; there are roughly twice as many Zutara fics as there are Kataang ones. The two are the Designated Parents for the Gaang, have copious amounts of Ship Tease and spend the finale together as Fire-Forged Friends.
    • Tokka (Toph/Sokka) is Sokka's most preferred couple. And this was before Sukka (Suki/Sokka) was made canon.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: There are many fans who don't consider the sequel comics to be canon in any way, with The Promise, The Search and Smoke and Shadow being the most divisive, especially the latter two for respectively turning Ursa and Mai into Unintentionally Unsympathetic characters (to the point that the comics' depiction (not the show's depiction, who is considered to be one of the Base Breaking Characters in the fandom) of the latter is considered to be The Scrappy).
    • There is another group of fans who ignore the events of the finale or the entirety of Season 3 altogether.
    • For specific episodes, "The Great Divide" often gets this treatment and to a lesser extent "Avatar Day" and "The Painted Lady".
    • The sequel series, The Legend of Korra is completely disregarded by some fans of the Avatar franchise.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: Ozai. Though he fixes that in time for the final battle.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Responsible for a lot of the shipping between Zuko and Katara (not that shippers need any encouragement).
    • Zuko and Azula is almost canon. No, seriously.
    • Also Ho Yay with Roku and Sozin if the episode "The Avatar and The Fire Lord" is anything to go by.
  • Franchise Original Sin: The follow-up show's big complaint of having a lot of overpowered villains starts here, arguably as far back as the introduction of Princess Azula and the Fire Nation upping its game after the first season, with Team Avatar running away constantly and winning only small victories for most of the rest of the show, though this is tempered due to the villains technically losing in most encounters since the villains' goals were to capture the Gaang while the Gaang only needed to escape to technically win. Eventually the series provides more humanization for the Fire Nation characters (well, even more, if we count Iroh) and in the end they end up doing a Heel–Face Turn or losing, but the Fire Nation as a whole remains is an Implacable Man taking over everything and the efforts of Team Avatar to stop it remain mostly useless though Diabolus ex Machina.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In "Jet":
    Katara: We were following instinct.
    Jet: You'll get yourself killed that way.
    • From "The Great Divide": "Settling feuds and making peace. All in a day's work for the Avatar." Tell that to the people of Yu Dao.
    • From "The Blind Bandit": An Earthbending member of the Fire Nation? Surely you jest.
    • Toph's attempt at having a "life-changing field trip with Zuko" getting blown off, followed by her grumbling, "this is the worst field trip ever," is funny until one sees The Legend of Korra. What she tries to resolve is her strained relationship with her parents, and the Time Skip sequel reveals that Toph's unresolved issues with her parents bleeds into her parenting of and relationship with her own daughters.
  • Genius Bonus: Dear lord, everything. Ozai's title in the finale is probably a reference to the Chinese "fenghuang" (the phoenix lord of demons, which is symbolic in and of itself).
    • The sheer number of accurate details from different cultures is immensely rewarding for anyone familiar with Asian history.
      • This is not just Ancient Asian history. Many of the best references and parallels are actually from 20th century China and Japan. Ba Sing Se especially will ring a lot of bells for anyone who's been to China lately. The Dai Li, for example, are named after a real person, the leader of the Kuomintang's State Sec during the Chinese Civil War, who were known for their extreme brutality in quelling dissent against the state.
  • Gotta Ship Em All: The fandom has shipped almost every possible combination of characters, up to and including everyone with everyone else ''simultaneously''.
  • Growing the Beard: In the trope sense, it seems most of the fans agree the show was great from the start but others like to point at various points in season 1 (and up to Season 2) as to where it "really" hit its stride. "The Storm" which reveals the backstories of Aang and Zuko is a popular candidate.
    • Another common one is "Avatar Roku: Winter Solstice Part 2" due to it being the first time the Gaang enters the Fire Nation, the first time Aang meets Avatar Roku, the first time Zhao poses a threat to them, and being the episode where we learn that there is a time limit to defeating Fire Lord Ozai. Basically this episode kicks off the main plot.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Iroh exasperatedly telling Zuko he'll never find the Avatar in the first episode. Once you know Zuko's whole backstory, it comes off pretty damn callous in a rewatch since he's offhandedly saying "Oh, just give up on ever returning to your homeland, family, and birthright and go to bed." To be fair, they had no legit indication at the time that it was anything more than a Snipe Hunt used to manipulate Zuko to keep him from turning face in his exile.
    • In the Guru, Azula taunts to the Earth King when he learns that Long Feng was manipulating him by saying "It's terrible when you can't trust the people who are closest to you." It become dramatically ironic when latter, her own friends Mai and Ty Lee turn against her which causes a big Villainous Breakdown.
    • Hama passing down bloodbending to Katara doesn't seem like a big deal until The Legend of Korra, where two of the series' main antagonists are bloodbenders, and they don't need a full moon to bloodbend.
    • Zuko blowing off Toph when she tries to tell him about her unresolved issues with her parents, followed by her feeling disappointed that she didn't find a resolution to this central issue for her, becomes much harsher when The Legend of Korra reveals that Toph not finding a resolution to her issue with her parents affects her parenting of her own future daughters, which creates a host of emotional issues with them regarding her parenting.
    • In-universe, "Nightmares And Daydreams." An episode where Mai is trying to cheer up Zuko, who just stumbled out of a war meeting with his father and sister, but he doesn't mention what happened in there. He seems depressed over it, though. We later see that this was the meeting where the Fire Nation decided to burn the entire Earth Kingdom to the ground, turning its surface to glass and murdering every single person there.
  • He's Just Hiding: Jet, Zhao, and Combustion Man get a lot of this. The sequel series reveals it's actually true with Zhao... In the worst possible manner.
    • Most fans still believe this of a number of Air Nomads.
      • One of the comics actually had this be true... for a while.
    • In Universe example: When Aang is told that airbenders have not been seen in a century, he insists that they must be in hiding. Then he learns the truth...
      • According to Word of God, a small colony of Sky Bison were found by Aang in the remote mountains between the original show and Legend Of Korra, so depending on your viewpoint, the Airbenders really were just hiding.
      • Careful reading of the old drafts for Avatar will reveal that Aang was not the last airbender and many were just out there hiding. After the war had ended, he set off on a quest with Appa and Momo to find his people. This idea was dropped as the show went on and Aang truly did become the sole survivor as a way to make him tragic and give him more depth. His status as The Last of His Kind has been confirmed by Word of God.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In "The Storm", Sokka describes a dream he had where Momo talked ("You said some very unkind things.") Two seasons later in "Nightmares and Daydreams", one of Aang's hallucinations starts with Momo talking.
    • In "The Fortuneteller", Katara hopes that the man she marries will be tall. Aang is shorter than Katara in the series, but we find out in The Legend of Korra that he had a growth spurt and wound up being a whole head taller than Katara.
    • The final scene of "The Ember Island Players" can also come off as this, as many fans came away from The Last Airbender with the same sentiments.
      Zuko: That... wasn't a good play.
      Aang: I'll say.
      Katara: No kidding.
      Suki: Horrible.
      Toph: You said it.
      Sokka: But the effects were decent.
      • On top of the constant complaints by the characters that their representations in the play are nothing like real life, accurately mirroring fan complaints of characterization and appearance in the film.
      • This YouTube video puts it in cartoon form.
      • There's also Aang's "Wait, is that a woman playing me?" Aang's stunt double in the movie is female.
      • On a semi-unrelated note on Cowboy Bebop-ladened review of the movie incorrectly said that it was about a battle between the "Fir and Air Nations", the latter actually was used on the show in the episode "The Headband" as Fire Nation Propaganda/Historical Revision.
    • The first tie-in video game featured steampunk-heavy people who believed bending to be the source of the all of the world's problems as the antagonists. Now look what's happened in the first season of The Legend of Korra. Somewhere, "the Maker" must be laughing her ass off.
    • In the 'Ember Island Players', the play's version of Aang is a girl posing as a boy. The next Avatar is a girl with boyish tendencies.
      • Double hilarious for Russian fans, since Aang & Korra in the Russian dub are voiced by the same voice actress, Olga Shorokhova.
    • For much of the series, we were told that metalbending was impossible (Hell, it's a major plot point in the episode "Imprisoned"), but then Toph came along and did just that.
    • In "The Siege of the North, Part 1", Hahn mispronounces Sokka's name with a long "O" sound. That same pronunciation is used for the entirety of the live-action The Last Airbender film.
    • Roku tells Aang that "being the Avatar doesn't hurt your chances with the ladies." In Korra, it turns out this is true even for female Avatars.
      • Similarly, the meaning of "bender" in the UK now has a whole different context in the show.
    • In 2007, Bryan Konietzko joked at Comic Con, "I'll give you a spoiler. Cabbage Merchant. Fire Lord Ozai. Same guy!" While purely a joke in this series, in 2013, the irate cabbage merchant of another series would turn out to secretly be a villain... working for Mark Hamill (aka Fire Lord Ozai).
    • Also on the subject of Mark Hamill, the year the series finale aired, he voiced a villain very much like Ozai — obsessed with domination and destruction, and the ability to breathe fire. His name? Malefor.
    • Before the first season was over, Zuko's fans noticed he was a human version of Kovu from the 1998 Lion King II. Over 7 years after the series ended, Disney came out with The Lion Guard, a new installment in The Lion King franchise about a young hero who has a power that allows him to access all the power of his ancestors to cause things like great bursts of wind, earthquakes, rain, and erupting volcanoes in order to maintain balance in his kingdom — in other words, the Avatar State. Bonus? Like Aang, the hero constantly fears losing control of the power and harming those he loves. And sings a song called "Path of Honor."
  • HSQ: The entirety of the last two episodes.
    • Any of the season finales counts, the season 2 finale arguably even more than the series finale.
    • Zuko and Katara's battle against Azula in the finale is often regarded as the best fight scene in the series.
  • Hype Backlash: The series is very popular and has some... enthusiastic fans that can go so far as to claim its the greatest thing Western Animation has ever produced. Needless to say not everyone agrees. Bashing the show seems to be more acceptable as time goes on.
  • Incest Yay Shipping: Zuko and Azula. It helps that they suffers a lot from Foe Yay.
  • Inferred Holocaust: The show is often quite open about death by kids' show standards, but in particular there is no way that Aang didn't kill a hell of a lot of people in his Avatar-state rampage at the end of "The Siege of the North".
  • Internet Backdraft:
    • "Who's the greatest Earthbender in the world: Toph or Bumi?"
    • Anything related to shipping can generate this.
  • Iron Woobie: Zuko. Summed up this way during his Rage Against the Heavens:
  • Jerkass Woobie: Zuko during Season 1 and early Season 3. Katara in Season 3 counts due to her change in attitude being affected by her mother's death and how she uses Heel–Face Turn Zuko as an outlet to vent out her hatred of the Fire Nation that brought her so much pain. And in the end, Azula becomes one as well.
  • Lost Aesop: "The Painted Lady" seems to be setting us up to learn something about how Chronic Hero Syndrome can be detrimental to the greater good. Except then we're apparently supposed to believe that Katara was right all along—until the villagers call her out for cultural appropriation and making them look like fools. But then Sokka scolds the villagers for their ingratitude. And then the real Painted Lady shows up to and says "thank you," without any explanation of why she'd done nothing to help the villagers herself. Maybe the lesson was about people needing to help themselves instead of expecting supernatural aid, but then what exactly do you call the Avatar showing up unannounced and fixing all of your problems? Meanwhile, Sokka's concerns about them missing the eclipse if they keep stopping to help people are forgotten (in the very next episode they drop everything so that Sokka can learn to swordfight).
  • Love to Hate: Azula, for those that prefer her to not be a DILP. Long Feng too. Zhao is much less Evil Is Cool but definitely Love to Hate.
  • Magnificent Bastard:
    • Azula, who managed to take over an entire city practically all on her own.
    • Long Feng, an experienced Chess Master himself, also tries but he can't quite measure up to her.
    • Iroh elevates himself to this with his plan to break out of prison.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Parodied with Sokka's Wang Fire persona, who becomes a Fire Nation hero.
    • Toph. And Iroh.
    • Also Bumi.
  • Memetic Molester: Azula, due to the massive amount of subtext at play between her, her friends and her brother.
  • Memetic Mutation: Has its own page.
  • Memetic Psychopath: Kyoshi (see Never Live It Down).
  • Mis-blamed: Some people claim the energybending in the finale was thrown in as an Ass Pull in order to avoid killing on a kids' show, however Mike and Bryan claim to have had the idea as the resolution of the conflict in the series bible from the beginning.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Zhao crosses it by killing the moon spirit, which indirectly leads to Yue's death.
    • Fire Lord Azulon crossed it by ordering his grandson's death.
    • Long Feng when he brainwashed Jet, and then killed him as soon as he came to his senses.
    • In-universe, Zuko feels his father crossed it being willing to commit genocide instead of dealing with a few rebellions. This breaks Zuko of his need to get his father's love at all costs.
    Sokka: I always knew the Fire Lord was a bad guy, but his plan is just pure evil.
    • Sozin when he abandons Roku his former best friend to die and then wipes out a race of people all to make sure the next Avatar couldn't stop him. He himself realized he did this after a lifetime of telling himself it was necessary for a better world, but far too late to try and atone for it.
    • In-universe, Aang and Sokka warns Katara that she would cross over this if she finds and murder her mother's killer in cold-blood.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The epic sounds of Zuko and Azula shooting fire at each other during the commit enhanced Agni Kai.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: Sure, it's a kids' show. It also tackles very mature themes, has plenty of fanservice for anyone who's interested, and isn't afraid to say die when it's warranted, all without becoming kid-unfriendly.
  • Narm: Zuko seems to be a fountain of these:
    • Some consider Zuko's reaction to Iroh being attacked by Azula in Book 2 chapter 8 to be this.
    • Also, his Rage Against the Heavens moment earlier was a little over-the-top.
    • His line "my father decided to teach me a permanent lesson, on my face" is suitably tragic... but still incredibly awkward.
    • After Sokka tells Zuko the tragic story of how he lost Yue, the only answer he can come up is "that's rough, buddy", said in a blase voice as if Sokka had told him about some minor mishap.
    • The final fight against Azula, too. "Why aren't you using lightning? Afraid I might redirect it?" Come on, Zuko, that was worse than clichéd. A joke about losing her spark would've even been a better taunt.
  • Narm Charm: Despite being somewhat narmtastic, Zuko's comment on Mai's beauty ("You're so beautiful when you hate the world.") comes across as being rather sweet and romantic, albeit in an awkward, emotionally repressed teen sort of way. Considering who the little moment is between, the awkwardness of exchanging 'romantic' comments is arguably why it's adorable.
    • It helps that the "I don't hate you" "I don't hate you, too" followed by the kiss that comes afterwards is Played for Laughs.
    • Also Zuko's practice attempts to become a good guy and join the Gaang in the beginning of Season 3.
    • Even Azula has her moments of this when she tries to seduce some of the boys in the beach episode.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Kyoshi is the most direct and pragmatic of the known avatars, but is flanderized by fans into being a Blood Knight who breaths and eats violence just because she took responsibility for Chin the Conqueror's death without a second thought and outright advising Aang to kill Ozai.
    • Some fans still mock Zuko for needing someone to help him defeat Azula in their final battle, despite the fact that he was clearly winning before she targeted Katara.
    • Many fans view Zhao as a weakling due to his many failures despite the fact that he's been consistently shown to be a deadly firebender and skilled strategist. One could even argue that he's gotten closer to capturing Aang than Zuko or even Azula ever did.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Has its own page.
  • No Yay: Invoked by Bryke, who (jokingly) suggested "Bluezula" during the infamous shipping-slideshow. You can actually hear someone in the crowd screaming "What is WRONG with you?"
  • Older Than They Think: The first series premiered in 2005. As early as 2004, various journalists have referred to the "Rust Belt" area of the United States as the "metal-bending states."
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • Since Foamy Mouth Guy got more than one scene, this honor goes to Freestyle Guy from "The Headband".
    • Koh counts too, but he is mentioned other times.
    • Fire Lord Azulon only appeared in a flashback scene. He remains the only character Ozai showed complete respect towards.
    • The Yuyan Archers only appeared in a few scenes of one episode, but are highly memorable for being Badass Normals with Improbable Aiming Skills in a world full of people with Elemental Powers.
  • Periphery Demographic:
    • Despite being initially targeted at elementary school-age kids, the show become quite popular (likely even more popular) among preteens and teenagers. And young adults in their twenties. And not-so-young adults.
    • Toph being a girl rather than a boy was supposed to appeal to the female demographic... which it did, but the showrunners probably weren't expecting her to be equally popular with teen to college-aged men.
    • One of the Avatar video games on the Xbox 360 is popular among achievement hunters due to ease of getting 1000 points.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: A lot of them:
    • Aang and Katara = Kataang
    • Sokka and Yue = Suekka or Yuekka
    • Zuko and Mai = Maiko
    • Zuko and Katara = Zutara
    • Toph and Aang = Taang
    • Jet and Katara = Jetara
    • Suki and Sokka = Sukka
    • Toph and Sokka = Tokka
    • Jet and Zuko = Jetko
    • Zuko and Aang = Zukaang
    • Zuko and Sokka = Zukka
  • Relationship Writing Fumble:
    • Some fans think Aang and Katara's relationship comes off as more familial than romantic at times as Katara acts as the mature Team Mom to the goofy Kid Hero Aang. The Will They or Won't They? aspect is dragged along and beaten to death until the very end of the series finale. This is even Lampshaded a couple of times throughout the series by the writers, most prominently in Ember Island Players where actress Katara says she only loves Aang like a brother.
    • Azula permanently sounding like she's trying to seduce her brother. Okay, admittedly, that's how she acts with pretty much everyone. But Bryke sure loved to tease the fans with this idea such as a possible pairing in the series being her and the Blue Spirit, aka Zuko's alternate identity.
    • Azula's interactions with Ty Lee, and vice versa, come off as romantic but this was unintentional. Azula was manipulating Ty Lee for her own gain and Ty Lee was afraid of disobeying her. Later confirmed in the comic trilogies, and it jossed many fanworks by showing that Ty Lee is not on pleasant terms with Azula post-series (Azula is still angry at her for her betrayal and Ty Lee is naturally even more afraid of her than before.)
  • Rooting for the Empire: Azula's ability to provoke this almost rivals Grand Admiral Thrawn. People want to see her win simply because they know it will be awesome to watch.
    • Her conquest of Ba Sing Se without lifting a finger is something that must be seen to be believed.
    • Zuko can provoke this response sympathy for how horrible his life is.
  • Sacred Cow: It's safe to say that Iroh is this. He's easily the most beloved character in the Avatar universe, but what truly cements this was being voiced by the late Mako, whose passing only amplified people's love of Iroh. It also helps that he is an All-Loving Hero with a backstory that can and will break your heart.
  • The Scrappy:
    • "Zuko Alone": The Ungrateful Bastard villagers who ultimately reject Zuko upon learning his true identity, despite him bonding with them and even saving them from a crooked squad of Earth Kingdom soldiers. Consequently, some fans feel that said villagers actually deserved to be terrorized by said soldiers.
  • Seasonal Rot: Though not as bad as other examples, many felt that season 3 was one of the weaker ones. Fans were hoping that the Gaang being in the Fire Nation would provide opportunities to learn more about certain characters such as Ozai, Iroh, Azulon, Ursa, Kuzon and Ty Lee. However, it consists mostly of filler episodes, many which aren't referenced in any other episodes. Many fan-favorites are sidelined such as Toph, Ty Lee, and Iroh. This season also wastes opportunities in returning characters such as Ursa and Koh, while most of the characters they do introduce are only given a single episode or are written off as quickly as they're introduced (Chit Sang is a good example). Also, many found that the writers placed too much emphasis on Rule of Funny or Rule of Cool to the point of being unrealistic.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: Teo, the wheelchair bound guy, and Ty Lee, one of the most acrobatic girls around, have some moderate popularity, despite the fact they never interacted and probably never saw each other. Fanfics that ship them usually include a mention of them meeting at Zuko's coronation to get around that problem in the easiest way available.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat:
    • Rivals Harry Potter for some of the fiercest battles (Zutara vs Kataang) of all time.
    • There is a lot of animosity between Suki/Sokka shippers and Toph/Sokka shippers.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Zuko and Mai being a couple in the very first scene involving both characters at the beginning of Book 3. The only build ups to the relationship in the second book were a throwaway line from her friend Ty Lee note  and a scene in a flashback sequence set several years before where Mai appears to have a crush on him but there's no implication they've seen each other since. A comic with an original story had to fill in the gaps and explain how they got together.
  • Spoiled by the Format: The invasion of the Fire Nation on the day of the solar eclipse is built up as the final confrontation, and the final blow to end the war. Too bad it happens in episodes ten and eleven out of twenty-one.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Ty Lee is so unbearably sweet she could give someone a tooth ache.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Ty Lee! She is a fan favorite with a unique ability, and is much nicer than Azula or Mai despite being an antagonist. We never really learn anything about her (other than she comes from a big family where she felt overlooked), and we only see her three times during season 3, only in one of these episodes was she a major character.
    • Fire Lord Ozai never really got much character development or backstory despite his importance in the series.
    • Ozai and Iroh's father, Fire Lord Azulon was only briefly seen in one flashback episode and mentioned in passing in another. Despite being the Fire Lord before Ozai and despite the fact that most of the Hundred Year War passed during his reign we know next to nothing about him.
    • Koh, the Face Stealer is quite popular with many fans, yet we never see him after his debut (at least, not in the show proper. He makes appearances in some sort of (now defunct) online game and the sequel comics). Still, some fans are disappointed that he didn't appear in the show itself.
    • Aang's old friend Kuzon. Though he was most likely dead by the time of the show, it is a shame that we never really learn anything about him, not even a flashback. This becomes especially annoying in season 3 where the Gaang visit the Fire Nation, giving us the perfect opportunity to learn more about him including his friendship with Aang, his role in the war, and his possible connection to Zuko (due to their similar names and the fact that Aang compared the two). Word of God originally stated that Kuzon would play an important role in a Season 3 episode, but this unfortunately never came to be.
    • Azula's elderly advisors/instructors Lo and Li originally seemed to be Azula's equivalents to Zuko's Iroh only much colder in personality. Come season three, their role becomes more comical and it's revealed that they aren't even firebenders which makes absolutely no sense considering that it was implied that they were her firebending instructors.
    • Chit Sang was an interesting character who briefly joined the group along with Hakoda midway through season 3 only to leave the following episode without a single line of dialogue!
    • Waterbenders in general. Other than Katara we only really get one episode per season featuring other waterbenders, even in book one (water). Somewhat justified in that they only live at the poles, but still, compared to the amount of earthbenders and firebenders we see, it would've been nice to see some more waterbenders. The comic North and South was created in an attempt to rectify this.
    • Airbenders too. Sure, given the title, this is pretty justified, but it would've been nice to have seen more of Aang's flashbacks which could've featured other Air Nomads.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Bryke said that more airbenders would be introduced in Season 2 and 3 (either as flashbacks or as the hiding diaspora), but they decided against it in the end.
    • Iroh's journey to the Spirit World has left fans with many questions, yet has never been touched upon.
      • Actually Iroh's entire past. There was originally going to be an episode focusing on Iroh's backstory, but it was scrapped.
      • What makes this worse is that before season 3 aired, it was said that Zuko would begin searching for his mother in the season. Guess what never happened.
    • Koh ominously told Aang that they would meet again. This never happened onscreen.
    • Xin Fu and Master Yu seemed like they would become recurring antagonists in season two. They were only seen two more times and their role was greatly rushed at the end of the season. Furthermore, Xin Fu's plan to capture Aang for the Fire Lord seemed to have been thrown out.
      • On top of that, the whole mistaken-kidnapping plot around Toph was resolved off-screen, including the revelation to the Gaang that she had lied about joining them.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Zuko and Azula.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: Smellerbee, lampshaded by Iroh in "The Serpent's Pass"."
  • What an Idiot: So many examples it has its own page
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: While it seems to be primary a kids show, it does has its fair share of horror and especially in the third seasons deals with a series of very tough issues. The main character is the lone survivor of a genocide during which an ethnicity was completely wiped out and the 100 year long war seems to have spared not a single family from having lost relatives in combat or war crimes. Some episodes in the 3rd season even deal with an assassin hired to kill the protagonists and one of the heroes setting out to kill the murderer of her mother.
    • About the only tell (aside from the squeaky-clean language) is when characters are strangely incapable of outright suggesting they will kill each other. Further, while some characters are shown dying in the series, their deaths are never depicted outright (poked fun at in "Ember Island Players"). However, sometimes even Never Say "Die" can get lifted - such as showing Gyatso's remains a whopping two episodes into the series.
  • The Woobie:
    • Most of the cast has had their moments of this.
    • This show has two diametrically opposed Woobies at the same time, in Aang and Zuko especially after "The Storm" where we learn about Aang's feelings of guilt over running away from home and Zuko's abuse and exile at the hands of his own father (demonstrated nicely here). It's little wonder that Zuko got the Draco in Leather Pants treatment from the fans.
    • Katara when it comes to her mother's death, but became a Jerkass Woobie in Season 3 when she then uses Zuko, who becomes a member of the Gaang, as a mis-directed outlet due to his prior bad history with the Gaang to vent out her hatred of the Fire Nation that caused her mother's death and other turmoil in her life.
    • Sokka gets some of this from time to time, too, especially in "The Waterbending Master", "The Siege of the North", and "The Boiling Rock".
    • Then there's Azula, who goes from one of the greatest Magnificent Bastards to The Woobie over the course of only four episodes. And it actually works.
    • Appa during Season 2 - the episode "Appa's Lost Days" has him go through a certain level of Hell.
    • Even the pathetic and powerless Ozai after the end of the war is Woobie-ish for some.
    • Iroh, in an Iron Woobie kind of way, in that he doesn't let it show very often. For most of the series, he looks like a funny, yet awesome character who always has Zuko's best interests at heart... But then we find out that he lost his son in the siege against Ba Sing Se that he led, and it goes downhill from there.
    • Ty Lee, considering her childhood of neglect, the fact that she only befriended Azula out of fear, or that all she wanted was to be a circus performer but Azula bullied her into giving up her dream to join her in her hunt for the Avatar.
    • Then there's the Boiling Rock, one of the harshest versions of The Alcatraz in western animation. Horrible treatment aside, guards regularly let other guards enter prison cells to rough up the prisoners, with being caught doing so just resulting in little more than an exasperated sigh. Not to mention it's a given that the guards at the Boiling Rock torture prisoners for information in canon, and Suki was the leader of the group of warriors found in the company of the avatar's primary means of transportation, it seems likely that she would have been "interrogated" about his location.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/YMMV/AvatarTheLastAirbender