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Characters / Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Fire Nation

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These characters hail from the Fire Nation. Most of them serve as antagonists to Aang and his friends.

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Fire Nation

Fire is the element of power. The people of the Fire Nation have desire and will and the energy and drive to achieve what they want.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Played With. The two most evil people in the Fire Nation are both super hot, whereas for the most likeable, one is average looking, while the other would be handsome if it weren't for his scar (though his female fanbase may beg to differ).
  • Bigger Is Better: Compared to any vessel in other nations, the ships used by their navy are huge.
  • Blade on a Stick: Fire Nation soldiers who aren't benders typically use spears as weapons.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • The Fire Nation royalty wanted to destroy the Avatar. But the first Avatar himself originated from the people who were the ancestors of the Fire Nations.
    • In the original series, the Fire Nation is the dominantly villainous faction with its members making up the majority of the show's antagonists. Comes the sequel series, the Fire Nation ends up being the only faction that doesn't do anything villainous, and its members regularly offer aids to the protagonists. Somewhat justified by the fact that they underwent decades of rehabilitation from its imperialist past to ensure something like that can never happen again.
  • The Empire: Obviously. An oppressive, despotic, militarized regime led by an evil tyrant who rules it by force after his grandfather orchestrated a comet-enhanced genocide against the Air Nomads.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The Fire Nation's military has plenty of women amongst its ranks, and there was no problem with Azula possibly inheriting the throne. There were also a fair few girls in Aang's class, so even peasant girls are given the same education as boys.
  • Fascist, but Inefficient: Even the Fire Nation suffers this trope. Interservice Rivalry is common between the Army and the Navy as shown in "The Blue Spirit", some regions on the Mainland have Dirty Cops amongst the Domestic Forces who can be easily bribed (a fact exploited by Sokka in one of Toph's scams) or coerced by outlaws like Combustion Man, and commanding officers tend to kill off their soldiers quite frequently. As for Ozai, he causes more problems for his own family than anywhere else.
  • Fantastic Naming Convention: Many Fire Nation characters have a "Z" somewhere in their names. Non-aristocrats seem to have more Sinitic names (Zhao, Jeong Jeong, Li), while the names of high-ranked nobles are either Japanese or Japanese-sounding (Roku, Sozin). Also of note, the Fire Nation is the only culture in the Avatar world with names of Indo-European origins (Azula, Spanish; Ursa, Latin; Agni Kai, Sanskrit).
  • Fantastic Racism: Played with. Other races are looked down upon by the Fire Nation, as Earthbending was banned in one village, while Zhao even went as far as to call Fire the superior element, and Earth Kingdom people were often treated as second-class citizens. However, they have employed non-Fire Nation helpers against the heroes (though it's not clear if they're held in any degree of contempt), and mainland civilians of the Fire Nation (usually) don't give second glances towards the Gaang, even if they show signs they're not Fire Nation. In return for their oppression, the other races expressed this towards the Fire Nation, as shown in "Zuko Alone" and Katara's own personal hostility against them.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: In culture and polity, the Fire Nation is meant to resemble Southeast Asia (notably Thailand and Burma), Imperial Japan, and the "Golden Eras" of Chinese civilization - the Han and Tang Dynasties. This is in contrast to the other superpower of the Avatar world, the Earth Kingdom, which is largely based on Chinese civilization's period of "decline" - the late Qing Dynasty. Physically, the Fire Nation landscape draws heavily on Iceland, to the extent of Real Place Backgrounds now and then.
    • The Sun Warriors, the predecessors of the Fire Nation, blend elements from pre-Columbian cultures of Latin America-notably the Maya and Aztec civilizations-with Malay, Indonesian and-to a lesser degree-Indian influences.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: Azula and her companions: Ty Lee is a Bare-Fisted Monk (Fighter), Azula is a firebender who uses blue fire and lightning (Mage), and Mai typically works at long range with throwing knives (Thief).
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • In an ensemble of the Four Nations, The Fire Nation is Choleric. They viewed power, military prowess and pride as success. Many were either corrupt, cruel or ruthless in nature. Instigating wars and showing undying loyalty towards the Fire Lord was all they truly cared about.
    • In "The Beach", Zuko, Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee form this dynamic. Zuko is the Melancholic, being very conflicted, moody, and irascible. Azula is the Choleric, unquestioned leader of the group with a fierce competitive streak. Mai is the Phlegmatic, painfully unemotional and disaffected. Ty Lee is the Sanguine, a social butterfly who's charming and peacekeeping.
  • Gender Is No Object:
    • Women are present at every level of authority - female Yu Yan Archers, female guards, Princess Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee.
    • There was one concerning instance in the Grand Finale, when Azula was told to stay home by her father, but that in truth was due to her father seeing both of his children as disposable rather than to her gender. She didn't take it well either way, because she thought her father loved her and not her brother.
  • Heel–Face Turn: After Ozai is defeated and Zuko takes his place on the throne, the Fire Nation has since been reformed to a more heroic stance.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: Firebending soldiers are shown to be lousy shots when trying to hit the heroes. Yuyan archers on the other hand, have deadly accuracy.
  • Important Haircut: Most of the Fire Nation citizens, and anyone in the military, ties their hair up into a topknot if it's long enough to do so. Outcasts such as Jeong Jeong, and later Zuko and Iroh, cut their topknots off to immortalize their status.
  • Irony: The Fire Nation is primarily a naval power. After getting airships, they've started taking to the skies as well.
  • Light Is Not Good: The Fire Nation has this secondary to Kill It with Fire. The Power of the Sun? Check. Lawful Evil tendencies? Check. The best Firebenders' use of Lightning Bolts? Check. Subverted with the good Firebenders.
  • Light Feminine and Dark Feminine: Ty Lee and Mai respectively. Ty Lee is a chipper Genki Girl who's upbeat, spacey, and utilizes acrobatics in her attacks. Mai is an Aloof Dark-Haired Girl with a dark color scheme, a blunter fighting style, and a more serious demeanor.
  • Motive Decay: Fire Lord Sozin began the Hundred Year War because he wanted to share the Fire Nation's prosperity with the other nations of the world by uniting them under one banner. At the end of his life he realized he was in the wrong, but by then it was too late, and his descendants dropped any pretence of benevolence in favour of just ruling over the world with an iron fist, but continued to peddle Sozin's motives as propaganda to the masses.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Sozin made it official policy that the duty of every Fire Nation citizen was to obey and serve the Fire Lord without question, and anything less makes a traitor. He honestly seemed to think this applied to the Avatar as well. Roku disagreed.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: While more closely based on Imperial Japan, the people of the Fire Nation are taught to consider their nation to be the greatest of the four and that it is their duty to rule over the others. The Fire Nation army already has one genocide under its belt by the start of the story and has to be stopped from carrying out another.
  • Personality Powers: Initially, their fire is apparently produced by hate and anger, and firebenders follow accordingly. It later turns out firebending is fueled by passion of any kind, including positivity. Indeed, outside of the distinctly villainous Ozai, Azula and Zhao, the average Fire Nation citizens are actually surprisingly warm and friendly once you get to know them. However, lightningbending, derived as it is from waterbending techniques, requires calm and self-control.
  • The Power of Hate: As a part of the militaristic campaign the Fire Nation has set for itself during the Hundred Year War, Fire Nation Society has twisted Firebending, which was originally an overpowering force tempered by Heroic Willpower, into an uncontrollable force of destruction that is fueled by one's rage and anger. This is brought to light in "The Firebending Masters", when Zuko's Heel–Face Turn has left his firebending ineffectual, no longer having his emotional baggage to fuel it and learning the old philosophies from the remaining Sun Warriors and the Masters. It's safe to assume that the Fire Nation relearned this when Zuko became Fire Lord.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Averted with (most) of its rulers, but Played Straight with many of the normal citizens and some Mooks. All in all, most of the inhabitants of the Nation are workers and soldiers obeying the orders of their legitimate ruler... Too bad that this ruler is also a genocidal dictator. The Nation as a whole drops the "Villain" part after Zuko becomes the Fire Lord.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Black worked into their sigils and units as a secondary color to the traditional red.
  • Skeletons in the Coat Closet: Fire-bending Mooks have faceplates that resemble skulls.
  • Sleeves Are for Wimps: Given how hot their country is, more than a few guards and soldiers tend to wear sleeveless uniforms.
  • Soldier vs. Warrior: Technically, Fire Nation people are born warriors, but their military is full of professional soldiers. Once they join, they are obligated to follow orders, fight strategically, and conform to organization, for one cause only; to serve the Fire Lord. This heavily contrasts the Water Tribes, who are free-spirited warriors at heart.
  • Spikes of Villainy: Fire Nation architecture utilizes harsh edges and sharp spines on their roofs. They used to have more spikes on the shoulders, as shown by the outdated uniforms captured by the Northern Water Tribe.
  • Take Over the World: Fire Nation's main goal has been world domination until after Ozai is defeated.
  • Theme Naming: The Fire Nation seems to have a thing for the letter Z and the long O sound. As such, most of the major characters have either or both in their names.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Those with morals, but who still serve the Fire Nation, usually excuse its evil actions as For the Greater Good.
  • We Have Reserves: A core principle of the Fire Nation Military. Pretty much every military unit is treated as expendable, but as shown in "The Storm", novice troops are even more expendable than their best troops.
  • Written by the Winners: There's at least some historical revisionism going on in Fire Nation schools, where kids are told of the Fire Nation's glorious victory over the Air Nomad armies. Y'know, the pacifist Air Nomads.

Azula's Companions



Voiced by: Cricket Leigh (original), Viviana Navarro (Latin American Spanish)
Daughter of very high-class Fire Nation nobles in charge of colonizing Omashu for Fire Lord Ozai. Mai was constantly forced by her parents to be quiet in order to keep up appearances. As a result, Mai finds no enjoyment in anything other than her childhood crush Zuko. As an expert with throwing blades, Mai was recruited by her old friend Azula to help her in her schemes. Although she does have a soft spot for Zuko and Tom-Tom, she's so apathetic to everything that she doesn't care about being Azula's soldier.
  • Aloof Big Sister: Subverted. In her debut episode, Mai is presented as an accomplished warrior who shows little emotion in regards to everyone, including her own baby brother, but the comics show that she cares greatly for him.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: She is almost as tall as Zuko, has long black hair, and is very aloof and cold.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Her father turned to The Dark Side, with the ambition of overthrowing Zuko. A mild example though, because he doesn't see himself or his daughter as enemies. Mai on the other hand, happened to inflict this on him because what he's doing isn't right.
  • Badass Normal: Whereas most fighters in the series battle mainly by bending the elements, Mai is a normal human who specializes in knife throwing. However, the fact that Azula chose her, along with Ty Lee, for her elite team instead of other benders is a testament to her effectiveness.
  • Battle Butler: Along with Ty Lee, the girls are essentially Azula's Battle Butlers.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: The Brawn to Ty Lee's Beauty and Azula's Brains, being blunt and direct, Silk Hiding Steel.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Her parents wanted a girl who would sit still and do nothing, until they had a son to serve as their heir. They got exactly what they wanted, and are confused when Mai as a result becomes an Emo Teen.
  • Becoming the Mask: Pretends to be in love with Kei Lo so she can get information out of him. Though she is later shown to feel bad about this, eventually breaking up with him once she admits to herself she is still in love with Zuko.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Inverted with Azula. She was bored out of her mind with her father and wanted Azula's excitement.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Mai is the least talkative member of Azula's group and generally likes to keep to herself, but she's also a very skilled Lady of War who uses knives as a form of weaponry, so it's not a good idea to take her calm and withdrawn nature for granted.
  • Beta Couple: With Zuko. Their romance is the second-most prominent one on the series after the one between Aang and Katara. The two romances also act as foils to each other in many ways, as Zuko and Mai are established as boyfriend and girlfriend at the start of Book 3, and despite the fairly positive relationship that they have, they do tend to come to blows over their opposing temperaments and have a number of experiences that severe their bond. Aang and Katara, meanwhile, do not get together until the end of the very last episode, are almost always on good terms with each other and only occasionally have a misunderstanding or argument.
  • Big Sister Instinct:
    • It seems to be subverted when Azula forces her to call off the hostage exchange involving Tom-Tom and King Bumi. Mai knows, however, that you don't defy the princess — Azula could have easily killed Tom-Tom and engaged in Shoot the Hostage— and she sees that Tom-Tom is giggling in his "captor's" arms, showing they Wouldn't Hurt a Child. She also reveals later that her parents made her repress her emotions so as to preserve her social status so it would be in-character for her to repress any fears in favor of trusting Azula's method worked.
    • The story arc of Rebound, a comic sequel to "The Promise" series, portrays this. After undergoing Character Development and her breakup with Zuko, she discovers her father gathered an Ozai-loyal faction and intends to raise Tom-Tom into loyalty to Ozai and hatred for Fire Lord Zuko. With that, Mai snatches Tom-Tom away (who ran into her arms) and brings him to a friendly aunt where she knows he'd be raised well. Did we mention her taking Tom-Tom away was all while fighting off the Ozai faction by herself with him on her back?
  • Birds of a Feather: With Zuko. They're both perpetually frowning Emo Teens with some kind of family issue who are from the Fire Nation and use bladed weapons.
  • Blue Blood: She is the daughter of very high-ranking Fire Nation nobles in charge of colonizing Omashu for Fire Lord Ozai.
  • Broken Bird: Her mother treated her like a liability instead of a daughter, was not allowed hobbies or even to speak unless spoken to, and her only friends were Ty Lee and Azula. Doubly so that by the time Tom-Tom came around, her father had the position of Govenor and thus had much more freedom than her. No wonder Mai is so cynical and bitter! As of Smoke and Shado.; her mother left her father and while Mai and she aren't exactly on the best of terms, things are slowly improving for both of them.
  • Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl: Zigzagged with Zuko — Both manage to be both with each other. For the brooding part, they both come from a dysfunctional family which led to them becoming Broken Birds but in different ways (Zuko having anger issues and Mai suppressing her emotions). As for the gentle part, both encourage one another to express themselves in healthier, non-problematic ways.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Mai does this a lot as a teenager after Tom-Tom is born. She's not amused by how her parents are opportunistic social climbers that would take over a city they don't know and besides which is boring her to death. Much later, she tells off her father for trying to raise Tom-Tom into another of his pawns when he brings the kid to an anti-Zuko meeting. He was a child so he didn't know any better than to obey his parents, but Tom-Tom deserves better than to be raised as another tool.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: While turning her back on Azula at the Boiling Rock, she managed to consistently pin several guards onto solid metal architecture, using the same knives with which she attacks everything and everyone else. More passively, she's on even footing with the average elite bender, such as Early-Season-2 Katara and half the Terra Team sent to attack The Drill.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: In a flashback, we see her admiring Zuko from afar as kids.
  • Childhood Friends: With Azula and Ty Lee as we see in a flashback to their childhood shenanigans.
  • Co-Dragons: With Ty Lee, to Azula. Both of them are the number two henchfolk.
  • Cool Big Sis: "Rebound" portrays her as this to Tom-Tom, who thinks she's awesome.
  • Dark Action Girl: Mai is an accomplished Fire Nation warrior who antagonizes the heroes for most of Book Two. This is reflected in her appearance, as she dresses in red and black clothes, wears a dark makeup palette, and has black Femme Fatalons. However, she pulls a Heel–Face Turn late into Book Three and becomes an Anti-Hero.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Especially in Book 2, where sarcasm and general dry humor is almost her only form of communication, and she uses it so often that she easily gives other snarky characters like Sokka and Toph a run for their money. While she still does it frequently in Book 3, it's not quite as prominent there as we get to hear her talking in Sincerity Mode a lot more, particularly in her interactions with Zuko.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Throughout most of Book 2, Mai is very cold and dismissive to just about anything the world has to offer, acting rather scornful even to those who are on her side. Book 3 sees the start of a very long and gradual emergence from her shell, with key points in the transition including these moments:
    • In "The Beach", she openly explains to Azula, Ty Lee and Zuko why she became so cold and stoic in the first place, something she would never have done in Book 2.
    • In "The Boiling Rock Part 2", she pulls a Heel–Face Turn and confesses to Azula that her love for Zuko is far stronger than her fear of her.
    • In the comics, after the war ends, Mai is slowly growing out of the "I-hate-everything-and-everyone" mentality she had in the series, having become more protective of Tom-Tom and even acting as an ally to Team Avatar.
  • Easily Forgiven: Despite serving as Azula's accomplice, mistreating her servants, manipulating Kei Lo, covering up assassination plots, putting Zuko's family in danger, and so one holds a grudge against her. This is because, like with Ty Lee, they presume that she was goaded into helping Azula and thus put their animosities behind them. Being the Fire Lord's girlfriend at the time also helped smooth things over for her.
  • Emotionless Girl: Mai repressed her own emotions as a child in order to conform with her parents' expectations, leading her to grow up as a cold young woman who speaks almost exclusively in a monotone.
  • Emotion Suppression: She doesn't express herself because she was raised with the idea that her expressions could somehow hurt her father's political career.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • In "The Beach", Mai is absolutely disgusted with a jealous Zuko when he punches out a guy who was trying to talk to her beforehand, even though she had told Zuko that she was not in the least bit interested in the other boy.
    • Likewise, as she tells Zuko, it wasn’t that he broke up with her that made her mad. It's that he thought doing it by a letter was a good idea. Mai says she would have preferred if he had talked to her in person. Zuko tries to justify it by saying he didn't want her marked as a traitor, but Mai doesn't buy it.
  • False Friend: To Azula, a rare example where this quality is heroic. As shown by her betrayal in "The Boiling Rock," Mai never really liked the Fire Nation princess, she was just afraid of her, but her love for Zuko manages to overpower her fear.
  • Flechette Storm: Her preferred method of attack is to throw several knives at once to incapacitate her enemies.
  • Foil: To Toph, in a way. Both were raised by very fancy families that suppressed them, Toph's parents overprotecting her because of her blindness and Mai's parents keeping her well-behaved so she didn't jeopardise her dad's political career. Toph responded by defying her parents, acting out and really enjoying her earthbending, whereas Mai obeyed them, becoming very insular and apathetic to almost everything.
  • Foreshadowing: There are a couple of hints that Mai isn't as dedicated to Azula and the Fire Nation as she acts which leads to her Heel–Face Turn.
    • In "The Drill" Mai absolutely refuses to go fight in the slurry, making her the only person on the Drill who does not obediently listen to Azula.
    • In "The Crossroads of Destiny" she just lets Sokka, Toph, and the Earth King take Bosco without a fight, even if they're in the middle of an important operation.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: With Azula, Ty Lee and Zuko, as the calm, reserved and indifferent Phlegmatic.
  • Goth: The Gloomy type. She has dark hair and clothing, and has a generally sullen and snarky nature.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Betrays Azula to save Zuko's life in "The Boiling Rock Part 2", starting off Azula's Villainous Breakdown. By the time of the post-series comics, she's a fully-fledged ally and sometimes-companion to Team Avatar.
  • Hero of Another Story: Since Rebound, Mai has been involved in a personal war against the New Ozai Society.
  • Honey Trap: For Kei Lo. Mai only starts to date him to use him to her advantage.
  • Hypocrite: Takes great offense to Zuko not telling her everything, and also becomes furious when Zuko wants to know what she's thinking.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Dumps Zuko as soon as she realized dating the Fire Lord is not a normal teen romance like she thought, but barely interacting with him at all because he is busy trying to end a 100-year war and fix his country.
  • Iconic Sequel Character: She's one of the most notable recurring characters of the show but didn't appear until Book 2.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Is outwardly calloused, but her impassive and apathetic behaviour is not without reason — her upbringing was rather suppressing and confining, and as a result the façade she puts up is essentially a way to hide how sad and depressed she is on the inside. Likewise, she does value the relationships she has with her close ones (if you can describe them like that) to some extent — Zuko is able to bring out her more positive side, and when she reunites with Ty Lee at the beginning of Season 2, they share a hug and talk to each other in an "old friends" fashion.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Her main outfit is a long, elegant dress.
  • Knife Outline: She throws knives strong enough to cause grown men to fly backward and still have enough momentum to get stuck in an iron wall.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: In "The Crossroads of Destiny" when Sokka and Toph break out of their prison cells and incapacitate Ty Lee to take back the Earth King's bear, Mai doesn't even bother to fight back, telling them to just take the bear.
  • Lonely Rich Kid: She grew up with no friends other Ty Lee and Azula, and they eventually lost contact due to the former joining the circus and the latter being directly involved in the war.
  • Long-Range Fighter: Mai uses throwing knives and typically never gets up-close and personal with a target.
  • Love Redeems: She follows Zuko in Heel–Face Turn because of his turn and her love for him.
  • Loving a Shadow: She loves the Zuko from before his banishment and doesn't know how to deal with him after his Redemption Quest, with Zuko flat out telling her: "I knew you wouldn't understand" when she believes he is betraying the Fire Nation. Their relationship is vitriolic but they try to work things out. They break up again in the comics, but Mai's obsession with Zuko is evident even to Kei Lo.
  • Maybe Ever After: She and Zuko get back together at the end of the show, only to break up about a year later in the comics. However Gene Luen Yang, who used to write said comics, implied that they are eventually going to get back together (it remains to be seen if this will come true now that he's not writing them). Zuko never once mentions a wife in Korra . His grandson, Iroh II, only mentions Zuko and his mother, Izumi. Izumi is only in the show for two scenes and only speaks in one of them so it's not like she ever got around to talking about her mom. There are some notable hints, however, that Mai is her mom. The two of them share the same very distinctive jawline, which Mai's mother had as well. "Izumi" translates to "fountain" in Japanese which has meaning to their flashback as kids. Mike and Bryan have also straight-up ignored the question about who her mom is so the jury is still out, but it should be noted that both Mike and Bryan are big fans of the Zuko and Mai relationship.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Mai is the Cantonese pronunciation of 袂 meaning "sleeve of a robe", which is where Mai conceals her weapons.
    • Her name is phonetically similar to the Japanese mei (冥, めい), meaning "dark", which is relatable to her gloomy personality.
  • Moral Myopia: Mai is completely uninterested in anything that doesn't effect her directly.
  • Muggle–Mage Romance: She cannot manipulate any element, but has been in a relationship with Zuko, who is a firebender.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: She's revealed to have this attitude, and is quick to chew Zuko out for joining the Avatar and essentially committing treason against the Fire Nation. This is likely another reason why she assists Azula.
  • Never My Fault: Does a lot of horrible things in Smoke and Shadow but blames Zuko and Azula for all of it.
  • New Old Flame: Mai's first appearance makes it clear that she and Zuko have some kind of history, but aside from some Ship Tease in a childhood flashback, the two don't interact until the next season, with Mai instead being an ally to Azula (and thus technically Zuko's enemy). Once the pair are on the same side, however, they have an instant off-screen hook-up.
  • Nominal Villain: Mai and Ty Lee only follow Azula on her mission to carry out the Fire Nation's campaign of conquest out of fear of her (and boredom, in Mai's case). In "The Boiling Rock", Mai proves her love for Zuko to be stronger than her fear of Azula and turns on her. This in turn leads to Ty Lee turning on Azula when the latter attacks Mai.
  • Not So Stoic: Mai is capable of emotion, it's just buried deep down. When her friends press her to express herself, she angrily screams at them to leave her alone.
  • Nothing Up My Sleeve: A borderline Hyperspace Arsenal example, Mai conceals a dart launcher on each wrist and ankle as well a several types of throwing knives and shuriken.
  • Odd Friendship: With Ty Lee. Mai is grumpy and withdrawn, while Ty Lee is cheery and outgoing.
  • Ojou: Daughter of a high ranking official.
  • Only Sane Woman: Well, sane in comparison to Azula and Ty Lee, at least. While Mai isn't exactly the most moral person around, she's easily the most mature, normal and mentally stable person on Azula's team. She's much more levelheaded than Ty Lee and isn't the ruthless, homicidal sociopath that Azula is. Whenever she has the opportunity, she is more than content to just sit back and snark at her companions whenever they're being too weird for her to handle. She lampshades her status as the only sane one in "The Beach", where she apologizes for not being able to be "as high-sprung and crazy as the rest of you".
  • Opposites Attract:
  • Perpetual Frowner: Even when she's cuddling with her boyfriend she's frowning.
  • Pretty in Mink: One of the few outright luxurious clothes she wears is a fur-trimmed cape while on a date with Zuko.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: She only helps Azula because she has nothing better to do.
  • Raven Hair, Ivory Skin: It's a classic noblewoman look and its implied she didn't get out much before joining Azula's team.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Subverted. Her garb is dark red overlaid with her black hair. Though she is one of the least friendly characters on the show and is firmly an antagonist for most of it, she is not inherently evil, even becoming an ally of the heroes in the sequel comics.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The quiet, stolid and withdrawn Blue to Ty Lee's energetic, emotional and sociable Red.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: She's in a constant on-off relationship with Zuko. It's unstable to say the least. They get together only to break things off a few months later. They make up but then decide to call it quits again. It's supposed to be a contrast to Aang and Katara's solid relationship.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Ty Lee says she was an only child for 15 years until the birth of her brother who was established as 2 years old. This makes Mai at least 17 years old but official sources list her age as 15.
    • Smoke And Shadow has Zuko recalling a time when Mai told him of the terrible ordeal Tom-Tom faced in Omashu and her protectiveness of him but the actual episode had Mai outwardly apathetic. This is consistent with her characterization as not showing her emotions outwardly, but led many viewers to assume that she didn't care about Tom Tom.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: She dates Kei Lo in the comics, as an attempt to get over Zuko after breaking up with him; however, it is notable that she admits she does not care for Kei Lo as much as Kei Lo cares for her, as she does not want to get her heart broken again. She behaves overly-antagonistic to Zuko when he is around, and overly affectionate to Kei Lo at the same time, clearly in an attempt to make Zuko jealous. She later ends her relationship with Kei Lo when it is obvious to her that she is still in love with Zuko.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Mai seems to have been attracted to Zuko in the first place, exactly because he was not a megalomanic evil aristocrat like his father and his sister. They only get back together after he gets over his anger issues (during the Troubled, but Cute phase he is in for the early half of the series) and returns to being a nice friendly young prince. While she's seriously pissed about him leaving in the dark of the night to join the Avatar, she's impressed enough by his decision to do the right thing that she fights Azula to cover his escape.
  • The Snark Knight: Mai's surpressive upbringing took a severe toll on her outlook on life, causing her to adopt a rather bitter and scornful view of the world, along with a plethora of sarcastic things to say about it.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: Mai's cold and distant personality led her to grow up without any friends, but Book Three reveals that her current behaviour is merely the result of her strict upbringing. When Zuko encourages her to display her emotions, she reacts by furiously ordering him to leave her alone.
  • Statuesque Stunner: As tall as her boyfriend, Zuko, she is the tallest of the teenaged female characters.
  • The Stoic: Her face is almost always locked in bored indifference.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: She acts cold towards everyone, but her softer side is shown by her interactions with Zuko.
  • Sweet Tooth: She loves fruit tarts with rose petals on top.
  • Tall, Dark, and Snarky: A raven-haired Snark Knight. It's a trait she shares with Zuko.
  • Technical Pacifist: In most of her fights, she chooses to disable her opponents by pinning their clothes to walls instead of killing them.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl:
    • Mai is the girly girl to Azula's tomboy. While she puts on a stoic and brooding, snarky front, Mai actually has quite a lot of feminine qualities underneath. She can be quite romantic at times around Zuko and appears to have a fondness for fruit tarts with petals on them. She also hates getting dirty as shown when she refused to enter a slurry pipeline to chase her enemies. Meanwhile, despite having her servants pamper her up sometimes, Azula is otherwise anything but feminine. She is a cruel and ruthless militaristic young girl and warrior of the Fire Nation who as a child rejected dolls and favoured knives. She is incredibly violent, competitive, and powerful. Even when she tries to be more romantic and girly and get herself a boyfriend, she messes it up by rambling on crazily about world domination.
  • Trophy Child: Her parents raised her to be perfectly behaved, with her opinions and emotions hidden, in order to help her father's political career; in return, she got whatever she wanted, though she wasn't interested in material wealth and rebelled against them later on.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Zuko. Even when their relationship is on the rocks, she remains loyal. Two instances: the Boiling Rock encounter where Zuko explains his treason and desertion and inspires her to defy Azula herself, and again in the "Rebound" free comic day issue where she discovers her father wants to use her as an insider against Zuko in a bid to put Ozai back on the throne.
  • Victory Is Boring: In "The Chase", Mai and Ty Lee spend the first half of the episode relentlessly pursuing Katara and Sokka. By the time they catch up, the siblings are exhausted and are easily defeated by them, prompting Mai to express her disappointment at them.
    Mai: "I thought when Ty Lee and I finally caught you guys, it would be more exciting. Oh well, victory is boring."
  • Violently Protective Girlfriend: Played with.Her love for Zuko leads her to save him in "The Boiling Rock", but by this point they have already broken up.
  • When She Smiles: Just like her boyfriend, she frowns so often that she looks really cute when she smiles genuinely.
  • Woman Scorned: Acted like one when Zuko dumps her via a written note before doing his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Yamato Nadeshiko: She has potential to fill in the yamato nadeshiko shoes and has the perfect looks, but personality-wise, she's more deadpan than the standard and a lot of her apparent elegance is born out of apathy, as it was forced on her by her mother so she wouldn't "embarrass" the family. Her most Yamato Nadeshiko moment comes when she defies none other than Azula for the sake of the man she loves. "I love Zuko more than I fear you!"
  • You Shall Not Pass!: In "The Boiling Rock", Mai fights off the prison guards in order to enable Zuko to escape, and is imprisoned for it.

    Ty Lee 

Ty Lee

Voiced by: Olivia Hack (original), Vanessa Silva (Latin American Spanish)
"My aura has never been pinker!"
Daughter of Fire Nation nobles, Ty Lee made an effort to distinguish herself from her six identical sisters. After joining a circus, Ty Lee was forcefully recruited by her childhood friend Azula. Although she's an expert martial artist able to stop bending by striking pressure points, she's more interested in doing handstands and being girly than doing villain work. Nonetheless, she's easily cowed by Azula, making her a loyal, if very quirky, minion.
  • Always Identical Twins: Her sisters show up in the comic and indeed they're pretty similar save for different color schemes on their clothes (and one being a bit of a jerkass). Ironically enough after Ty Lee left the circus when Azula came calling, they had arrived trying to find her and they themselves likewise joined the circus. Guess it does run in the family.
  • Anti-Magic: Ty Lee's fighting style revolves around striking specific "chi spots" on her opponent's body to immobilize them. When performed against benders, her blows can prevent them from controlling the elements altogether.
  • Anti-Villain: Ty Lee is a genuinely nice person who only agreed to participate in the Hundred Year War after Azula threatened her into joining her team. Once Ty Lee builds up the courage to stand up for herself, she pulls a Heel–Face Turn and becomes a trusted ally of Team Avatar.
  • Attention Whore: Due to having six identical sisters and not receiving the attention she wanted as a child, Ty Lee developed the urge to stand out among her peers upon maturing. As a result, she started performing at a Fire Nation circus, and a later episode displays her charming multiple boys to curb her cravings for attention.
  • Aura Vision: Ty Lee believes in auras and claims to be able to deduce a person's mindset by reading them. In her debut episode, she states her aura is pink; and later on calls Mai's "dingy and gray".
  • Badass Adorable: She is a cheerful and bubbly teen girl who can beat grown men to death with her bare hands. She easily downs powerful benders despite not being a bender herself, using her knowledge of the human body to block the flow of chi to stop benders from bending.
  • Badass Family: The comics reveal her sisters to be just as skilled as she is.
  • Badass Normal: Benders dread fighting her because of her talent at stopping their bending ability. The fact that Azula chose her, along with Mai, for her elite team instead of any other benders should also tell you something.
  • Bare-Fisted Monk: Ty Lee is extremely agile and uses her hands to reach pressure point to disable a bender's ability to use their element. This bites her in the ass in "The Drill" when Katara is able to keep her stuck in the slurry pipe where she can't chi-block her.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Every outfit she wears shows off her stomach in some way, except for the Kyoshi Warrior armor.
  • Battle Butler: Along with Mai, the girls are essentially Azula's Battle Butlers.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: Ty Lee is the Beauty to Azula's Brains and Mai's Brawn, being bubbly, flirty, an acrobat, and Ms. Fanservice.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: After nearly two seasons of being intimidated into obeying Azula's every order, Ty Lee finally works up the resolve to turn against the princess in "The Boiling Rock", striking her former friend down in order to protect Mai.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: The most bubbly and silly of her friends, yet her martial skills are such that she alone can take down an entire infantry of earthbenders.
  • Blue Blood: She is the daughter of Fire Nation nobles, though her family's not as prominent as Mai's.
  • Boobs of Steel: She's endowednote  in the show, and one of the most feared fighters in the show, thanks to her chi-blocking abilities.
  • Braids of Action: She wears her hair in a high ponytail braid when traveling and fighting in a war.
  • Brainless Beauty: Downplayed. While Ty Lee is certainly very pretty and a Cloudcuckoolander who has thoughts that are rather spacey and out-there, she is still quite knowledgeable about her chi-blocking and acrobatic skills, and is also able to understand whatever order Azula gives her. She also has a great ability to understand the mood of whatever situation she's in, particularly in "The Beach", where she tries her very best to convince her companions that arguing over each other's current problems won't help matters.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Chi blocking, which allows her to take on and defeat powerful benders by the dozen. Not only that, but she's able to jump a whole lot farther and is far more agile than most characters in the show. Aang has the cheat card of mastering airbending, but Ty Lee only has years of circus training to back up her skills.
  • Chekhov's Gun:
    • In "The Drill", the heroes struggle to come up with a plan to destroy the titular weapon. Upon being reminded of Ty Lee's fighting style, which revolves around striking her opponent's pressure points to disable them from the inside, Sokka has an epiphany and proposes they infiltrate the vehicle to destroy its inner mechanism, setting in motion the episode's main conflict.
    • Her chi-blocking abilities become very significant in the first season of Legend of Korra, and are a preferred weapon of choice by Gilak's minions in Avatar: The Last Airbender – North and South.
    • The prior-set but later-published Imbalance comics also have her chi-blocking be a major plot point. At the end of the series, Ty Lee says she was allowed to join the Kyoshi Warriors in exchange for teaching them to chi-block. By Imbalance, Suki has mastered the skill, terrifies the local bending supremacists, and begins to teach the residents and proto-police forces of Cranefish Town, the proto-Republic City.
  • Childhood Friends: She befriended Azula and Mai when the three attended the Fire Nation Royal Academy. Years later, the trio would come together once more to hunt down the Avatar and take over Ba Sing Se.
  • Circus Brat: Ran away to a circus to stand out among her six identical sisters.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Weird case of this trope. Ty Lee is far from stupid; but she's REALLY easygoing when not in a fight.
    Ty Lee: Look at that dust cloud. It's so... poofy. Poof...
  • Close-Range Combatant: She's able to deftly dodge bending attacks in order to get in close to them and hit their pressure points.
  • Co-Dragons: Same deal as Mai, to Azula, in that she is the number one minion.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: She's bubbly, goofy, and air-headed compared to other antagonists, yet her unique ability to instantly paralyze foes with a single strike makes her one of the biggest threats to the heroes.
  • Dance Battler: Played with. When Ty Lee fights Sokka in "The Crossroads of Destiny", she deliberately throws a series of slow punches for the boy to avoid, then giggles and compares their "battle" to a dance.
  • Dating Catwoman: She develops a crush on Sokka in "The Chase" and flirts with him in "The Crossroads of Destiny", by which time he reveals to her he's already commited to Suki.
  • Dissonant Serenity: What makes her scary and seemingly display a lack of empathy is that she chi-blocks and does Azula's bidding with a big smile even though she was forced into it. It's later revealed that the attitude is a coping mechanism for dealing with the constant terror of working for Azula. When the mask falls away, she's actually pretty sad about her life and how her friends are miserable.
  • The Ditz: Comes across as this with her bubbly personality.
  • The Dreaded: Multiple benders who fought her and got their powers shut off are shown to be terrified of her afterwards, with Katara specifically mentioning how frightening her first experience being chi-blocked was. In subsequent fights, the main characters are more concerned with distancing themselves or outright avoiding her, including Aang himself.
  • Dude Magnet: In "The Beach", Ty Lee had 5 guys trying to get with her at the same time (seen at the end of this clip), whereas Princess Azula couldn't even land one.
  • Easily Forgiven: She's quickly forgiven by the Kyoshi Warriors after they bonded in prison, even though she helped put them in there in the first place and impersonated them to deceive the Gaang. Suki explains that she earned her way in by teaching them chi-blocking. Though some are implied to still feel awkward around her, and Sokka isn't comfortable with the idea.
  • Face Realization: During "The Boiling Rock Part 2", Mai pulls a You Shall Not Pass! to save Zuko. After being captured, she prepares to face Azula's wrath. This is when Ty Lee surprises everyone, including herself, by blocking Azula's chi to save Mai.
  • False Friend: To Azula, another rare heroic example. It's a more ambiguous case than with Mai, whose friendship with Azula was more obviously a front, but in either case, it's clear that Ty Lee was A) following Azula primarily out of fear and B) prefers Mai over Azula.
  • Fantastic Fighting Style: Ty Lee's combat technique revolves around dealing a series of quick, precise blows to her opponent's pressure points to quickly incapacitate them. While this is the basis of the real life art of Dim Mak, chi blocking's main use is to paralyze the victim's limbs and demands absurd precision from the practitioner, making it unlike any existing fighting style.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: With Azula, Mai, and Zuko, as the exuberant, cheerful and hyperactive Sanguine.
  • Friendly Enemy: She's quite flirtatious with Sokka.
  • Genki Girl: Energetic, perky and quite friendly to boot.
  • Girly Bruiser: Probably the girliest (for lack of a better word) major female character, and she's a very formidable opponent.
  • Girly Girl with a Tomboy Streak: In "The Drill", she doesn't hesitate to jump into a drainpipe filled with mud, which Mai adamantly refuses to do.
  • Good Costume Switch: Joins the Kyoshi Warriors which means donning their uniform.
  • Good Feels Good: She loved entertaining people at the circus, and then she stopped Azula before she could attack Mai. So it's more a case of she always wanted to do good but was too afraid of Azula to do otherwise.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Out of only two times Ty Lee's cheerful nature vanishes, the first is during the fight with the Kyoshi Warriors, where Ty Lee seems to think the warriors have declared themselves prettier than her, Azula, and Mai, when they said nothing of the sort. And yet curiously, she has no problem declaring Azula the "most beautiful girl in the world".
  • Head-Turning Beauty: In "The Beach" she had every guy drooling over her in a swimsuit.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Chi-blocks Azula to save Mai in "The Boiling Rock Part 2", starting off Azula's Villainous Breakdown. Much like Mai above, she remains a Face in the post-series comics, joining the Kyoshi Warriors under Suki's leadership, and is an ally and sometimes companion of Team Avatar.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Mai. Her friendship with Azula may have fallen apart, but she was willing to risk her life and defy Azula to save Mai.
  • Hidden Depths: Perky Female Minion Ty Lee turns on Azula, 'cause despite the fact that she's been Azula's puppy dog throughout the series, taking a kill shot on one of her friends draws the line.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: She joined a circus to demark herself from her six identical sisters. Then in a short comic, she discovers her sisters became their own group in the circus she was part of. This leads her to quit the circus forever, due to her sisters taking away what made her special.
    Ty Lee: At least I'm different now. 'Circus freak' is a compliment!
  • Iconic Sequel Character: She's one of the most notable recurring characters of the show but didn't appear until Book 2.
  • Innocent Gray Eyes: Unusual among Fire Nation natives, who tend to have gold or brown eyes. Likely indicates her innocence compared to the other two in her Girl Posse.
  • Innocently Insensitive: She doesn't see why Sokka would freak out on seeing her in Kyoshi Warrior clothes in the final episode, despite the whole flirting with him while chi-blocking him into full-body paralysis during season two, impersonating his girlfriend's followers, locking him and Toph in the Ba Sing Se prisons, and staging a coup that ended the war in the Fire Nation's favor.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: She helped Azula take down the Kyoshi Warriors, who were in the wrong place at the wrong time with Appa, merely because Azula wanted to fight them. Suki gets her rematch at the Boiling Rock and actually has Ty Lee on the ropes, getting revenge for her capture the imprisonment of the warriors. After she saves Mai from Azula, Ty Lee gets tossed in the same prison with Suki's teammates and friends for opposing her former best friend. Though the experience mellowed her, if we take her word for it.
  • Little Miss Badass: She's only 14 years old, but she's able to defeat benders with little to no effort.
  • Logical Weakness: Being a Close-Range Combatant who relies on speed and agility, Ty Lee is rendered completely helpless in "The Drill" when Katara and Toph bend the slurry back into the drill after she tries to follow the benders out the drill's slurry pipes and she's rendered unable to move.
  • Mage Killer: Her pressure points can shut down bending which makes her the ideal person to fight benders, then we find out Badass Normals are even less safe against this technique.
  • Magic Skirt: While averted with the details of her normal clothes, the outfit she wears during her circus act in Return To Omashu has a large skirt that stays rigid even though she's in a handstand for the entier scene.
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Downplayed: Ty Lee's certainly dangerous due to her fighting skills, but she doesn't have a malicious bone in her body, only following along with Azula out of a mix of fear and friendship.
  • Morality Pet: Subverted. Ty Lee is the only person Azula shows a smidge real affection to. However, Azula's emotional manipulations and threats of physical harm still prevent them from developing a real and deep friendship, and Azula stays a villain.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Despite her young age she's easily the most developed and shapely of the main female cast. She's also very flirty, is the Beauty of her friends' Beauty, Brains, and Brawn dynamic, always sports Bare Your Midriff, and wears a very flattering bikini in the Beach Episode.
  • Nice Girl: One of the friendliest and most upbeat characters in the series.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Ty Lee chi-blocks Azula in The Search when she knocks over the tray, and Azula takes advantage of her temporary flexibility to slip out of her straitjacket and find Ozai's letters. In Ty Lee's defense, it wasn't like she knew Azula was learning how to work around chi blocking.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Her flirting with Sokka in Kyoshi Warrior guise alerted him and Toph that she was an impostor, because Sokka is with Suki at the time, the Kyoshi Warrior leader, and Toph recognized her voice. Up to that point, Azula and her posse were doing a good job fooling the Gaang.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
    • In-universe. Her ability to strip benders of their powers, even temporarily, makes her more terrifying to Katara than the Ax-Crazy Fire Nation princess who chucks lightning bolts at you. The worst part is she'll smile about it.
    • Another in-universe example is in the comics where Ty Lee, after a year free from Azula's grasp, still can't shake her fear of Azula waiting to strike her down.
  • Nominal Villain: Mai and Ty Lee only follow Azula on her mission to carry out the Fire Nation's campaign of conquest out of fear of her (and boredom, in Mai's case). In "The Boiling Rock", Mai proves her love for Zuko to be stronger than her fear of Azula and turns on her. This in turn leads to Ty Lee turning on Azula when the latter attacks Mai.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: Subverted with regards to Azula in The Search. Azula asks if Ursa was responsible for getting Ty Lee to lose her fear of Azula, but after leaving, Ty Lee says to Zuko, "She's wrong, you know. I never lost my fear of her."
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Given the way she looks and acts, you probably wouldn't think she was any real threat. However, her athleticism and chi-blocking abilities make her The Dreaded to benders and an opponent non-benders have to take seriously.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: The episode "The Beach" revealed that at least part of her bubbly personality is an act.
  • Odd Friendship: With Mai. Ty Lee's cheery and friendly nature easily makes her a complete contrast to Mai, who is gloomy and surly most of the time.
  • One-Woman Army: Took out an elite team of earthbenders by herself.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • When Zuko pushes her Relative Button about being a circus freak, she actually is saddened and angry. Ty Lee explains she joined the circus to get away from her sisters.
    • Ty Lee's usually all smiles, even as she's chi-blocking people. Her fight with Suki on the gondola is one of the few times Ty Lee looks outright angry, glowering as Suki deflects her every blow.
    • Her betrayal of Azula is this for everyone involved at that moment! Mai was legitimately shocked that Ty Lee had it in her, Azula went down in aghast that her more loyal friend went against her, and even Ty Lee herself stood there as if to say: "Oh wow, I just did that."
  • Opposites Attract: A platonic example with Mai; Ty Lee is an upbeat Genki Girl while Mai is a sullen Emotionless Girl. Despite this, their friendship with each other turns out to be more genuine than either of their bonds with Azula.
  • The Paralyzer: She can (temporarily) disable bending ability, designating her as the anti-bender combatant.
  • Perky Female Minion: One of the most iconic examples in modern pop culture, to the point that she provides the page quote. She's sweet, kinda spacey, and overall a perfectly decent person who just happens to be employed by the bad guys, and she provides some welcome moments of levity whenever Azula happens to be around.
  • Pink Means Feminine: She's the girliest one between her, the Ax-Crazy Azula, and Aloof Dark-Haired Girl Mai, shown by her being the most successful at flirting with regular teen boys in "The Beach." She also comments on how her aura is pink.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: She's only going after the Gaang because she's working with, and is terrified of, Azula. Then she ditches her. She's a different flavor from Mai, who will pass on doing things if she doesn't feel like it, Ty Lee doesn't have a malicious bone in her body, but she will do everything Azula tells her to.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: The energetic, emotional and sociable Red to Mai's quiet, stolid and withdrawn Blue.
  • The Runaway: Left her family to join the circus. A comic explained it was because she wanted to differentiate herself from the rest of her sisters and couldn't do that at her home.
  • Shipper on Deck: Ty Lee genuinely thinks Zuko and Mai look cute together.
  • Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Doesn't give a damn about any of the Fire Nation beach boys drooling over her, and instead develops a crush on Sokka.
  • Smarter Than You Look: She may be energetic, quirky and a bit ditzy, but that doesn't make her dumb.
  • Stalker with a Crush: A mild case to Sokka. She's stalking the avatar on Azula's orders but she never passes up the opportunity to flirt with him. Sokka prefers if she keeps a distance from him while doing that.
  • Stepford Smiler: At least some of her attitude is a ruse to keep Azula happy. In the comics, while she remains cheerful and upbeat, twice she lets slip that Azula's treatment of her has somewhat traumatized her.
  • Submissive Badass: Ty Lee's an astounding gymnast and chi-blocker that does Azula's bidding without question.
  • The Tease: While obviously downplayed given the ages of the main characters, she very much enjoys leading on her admirers and flirting with Sokka.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: She has a quick one of these decisions at the very end of "The Boiling Rock", being caught in the middle of what would have been a fight between Azula (Lawful) and Mai (Good). She chooses to be good and sides with Mai, and ends up imprisoned for it, but she doesn't regret her Heel–Face Turn for a second.
  • Token Good Teammate: In a team where Azula is Obviously Evil and Mai is extremely apathetic, Ty Lee stands out for being genuinely friendly while still being an antagonist.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl:
    • She's the Girly Girl when you pair her up with Azula; she's much more gentle-natured and affectionate than Azula's relentlessly brutal aggressiveness.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Ty Lee's chi-blocking subtly gets stronger throughout Season 2. The first time she chi-blocks Katara in "Return to Omashu", Katara remains upright and is merely unable to bend. When she does it to Sokka in "The Chase", she causes parts of his body to fall asleep. In "The Drill", she chi-blocks and knocks out the Terra Team with a couple blows tops for each. Finally in "The Guru", Ty Lee needs only to lay a single hand on Katara to deliver a One-Hit KO.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: By the beginning of Legend of Korra, she's effectively this trope. The prior-set but later-published Imbalance comics shows how Ty Lee fulfilled her claim when she said at the end of the ATLA series that she was allowed to join the Kyoshi Warriors in exchange for teaching them to chi-block. By Imbalance, Suki has mastered the skill, terrifies the local bending supremacists, and began teaching the residents and proto-police forces of Cranefish Town, the proto-Republic City. Eventually the skills became so widespread and refined that it made its way into the foundation of the Equalist Movement decades later. During that time, the Equalist leader Amon would attempt to use chi-blocking and his own bending to wipe out Benders entirely, including the new Avatar and the friends and family of Avatar Aang, and nearly succeeded.
  • Valley Girl: Much like how Mai is the Avatar world's version of a Goth, Ty Lee could be seen as this world's equivalent of a valley girl. She definitely has the outgoing and slightly airheaded mannerisms, and has quite a lot of experience with boys (despite not being all that interested in the ones who are drawn to her in "The Beach").
  • Villainesses Want Heroes: Downplayed; she flirts with Sokka quite a bit, but never tries to make him hers like many examples of the trope.
  • Waif-Fu: Lots of flips and twists and jumping in her fighting style; she's a circus performer after all.
  • Yes-Man: To Azula, if only because she's terrified of her. When she turns on Azula, Ty Lee was just as surprised as everyone else.

    Lo and Li 

Lo and Li

Voiced by: Takayo Fischer
"Azula, we are concerned for you and your well-being!"
Lo and Li are a pair of elderly twins, who serve the Fire Nation Royal Family as Azula's advisors and Firebending mentors, despite not being Firebenders themselves. Every scene of theirs is with Azula.
  • Affably Evil: Book 3 shows some warmer aspects to their personalities, with the duo warmly welcoming the Fire Nation teens to Ember Island, and the finale having them express genuine concern for Azula's mental health.
  • Badass Normal: While Lo and Li are never seen fighting, it's clear that when you consider the attitude of the Fire Nation royals, being an advisor must mean you're pretty good at what you do. According to the writers, they were the ones driving Azula's tank train in "The Chase", meaning they have some proficiency with machines.
  • Characterization Marches On: In book two, Lo and Li are depicted as cold, emotionless firebending instructors. In book three, not only is it revealed that the two aren't actually firebenders, but they are reduced to comic relief to contrast Azula's wickedness.
  • Creepy Twins: At first. In their last few appearances, they are creepy because of their withered age and the fact that they teach Azula. Then they become comic relief.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Lo and Li are horrified when they find out Azula has banished all the servants in her palace as well as the Dai Li. Worried for her mental state, they propose postponing the princess' coronation, but this only serves to turn Azula's wrath against them.
  • Evil Old Folks: Downplayed. They are never seen performing any evil deeds, but are lifelong patriots to an evil society.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: In "The Beach", it's revealed that when they were young, they were quite beautiful. They provide the trope's image.
  • Large Ham: They make a bombastic proclamation when Azula and Zuko return triumphantly. Also qualify as Hammy Herald.
  • Muggle with a Degree in Magic: They aren't firebenders themselves, but they're qualified to teach the art to a member of the Fire Nation's royal family.
  • Recurring Element: At first, they seem to be Azula's answer to Zuko being with Iroh, but that doesn't come to pass.
  • Single-Minded Twins: They're constantly finishing each other's sentences or speaking in unison, and their physical actions often mirror each other. They're so identical that Azula (who was, admittedly, in the midst of a psychotic breakdown at the time) can't even tell them apart.
  • Theme Twin Naming: Their names are the exact same, bar a single letter. It's also a Punny Name in that it plays off a Chinese phrase that means "to mutter endlessly".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never do find out what happens to them after Azula tries to banish one of them.

Fire Nation Military




Commander / Admiral Zhao

Voiced by: Jason Isaacs (original), John Knuckey and Carlos Carvajal (Latin American Spanish)
"I am a legend now! The Fire Nation will for generations tell stories about the great Zhao who darkened the moon! They will call me Zhao the Conqueror! Zhao the Moon Slayer! Zhao... the Invincible!"
The power-hungry and glory-seeking Commander and later Admiral of the Fire Nation. With his greater resources and army, he served as Zuko's rival to capture Aang in the first season. However, he considered the capture of the Avatar to be a minor project compared to his dream of KILLING THE MOON!
  • Adapted Out: In-universe, he does not appear in the Ember Island Players' adaptation of events, aside from a doll vaguely resembling him being held by Player Aang while she is embodies the Ocean Spirit.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: They don't know who he is, but Kya expresses pity for Zhao when encountering him in the Fog of Lost Souls. The pity goes away when he threatens her little brother, and she covers him in fog when Bumi tosses him away.
  • Arc Villain: Zhao is the main antagonist of Book One. He relentlessly pursues the Avatar throughout the season and orchestrates a siege during the two-part finale, intending to murder the Moon Spirit and destroy the Northern Water Tribe. Additionally, he develops a rivalry with Zuko and attempts to assassinate him near the end of the season, putting him at odds with both the heroes and the Fire Nation prince.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: He's very confident in his abilities, but lacks any self-control and is prone to making mistakes. In "The Deserter", Aang exploits his reckless attacks to manipulate him into destroying his entire fleet.
  • Artistic License – Military: In his first appearance, he is greeted by Zuko and Iroh as "Captain Zhao", to which he replies that he is now Commander Zhao. Using common naval ranks, this would actually be considered a DEMOTION, since commander is a rank ''below'' a naval captain, which is equivalent to an army colonel. Likely, the writers mixed up Commander and Commodore - the latter of which would be a Rank Up. We can probably assume that the naming convention is slightly different in the Avatar world.note 
  • Assassin Outclassin': Played for Laughs, as it didn't take much effort for Zhao to avoid Hahn's pathetic attempt at his life during the siege of the North Pole. All Zhao had to do was step to the side and let Hahn rush right past him.
  • Asshole Victim: He's an unlikable and egoistical Admiral who kills the Moon Spirit without caring about the consequences it may have for the rest of the world. Naturally, the Ocean Spirit is pissed and not only destroys the entire Fire Nation fleet but drags Zhao into the water... where he ends up in the Fog of Lost Souls, forever cursed to wander as a forgotten footnote of the past.
  • Badass on Paper: He's one of the Fire Nation's most valuable commanders and quickly rises through the ranks. He also never wins an on-screen fight and most of his military escapades end in complete failure. Most of his successes are due to his subordinates or leeching off of Zuko's hard work. On the other hand, he does actually successfully capture Aang with the use of the Yu-Yan archers and manages to pull off his utterly insane plan, which succeeds in crippling the Northern Water Tribe and takes a Deus ex Machina to undo his scheme.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: The Heavy of the first season alongside Zuko. While he's nowhere near as persistent a threat as the prince, he's the highest ranking Fire Nation officer encountered in the season and his invasion of the Northern Water Tribe is the central focus of the finale, making him a bigger existential threat.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: He never considered the environmental and spiritual consequences of killing the moon. It's a vengeful Ocean Spirit, the soul-mate of the spirit of the moon, that comes to end him.
  • The Bus Came Back: He's a prisoner in the Spirit World in the second season of The Legend Of Korra.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Defeats Hahn with a Nonchalant Dodge. Given how much of a Pyromaniac Zhao is, the assassin's incompetence is underscored by the fact that Zhao doesn't try to firebend.
  • Deliberately Bad Example: By being evil, he's ironically used to offset the idea that all Fire People are evil. Zhao is a ruthless warlord and total Jerkass with no redeeming virtues whatsoever. In his rivalry with Zuko, Zuko's own very real virtues shine all the brighter in comparison.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Where to start? He was so obsessed with the prospect of destroying the Northern Water Tribe that he was willing to kill the Moon Spirit, completely ignoring the ramifications of effectively destroying the moon. Not only that, he didn't account for how this would royally piss the elements off. His actions cause the Ocean Spirit to single-handedly obliterate the invading Fire Nation army and cripple what was left of the fleet.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Zhao was initially set up as the biggest threat to the Gaang with rapidly increasing resources as he gets promoted during the first season. Then Azula (the crown princess) shows up and not only dwarfs him in effectiveness and authority, but also prowess (being one of three people alive able to bend lightning). To say nothing of the fact that Aang ultimately fights against a Comet-empowered Ozai.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: His final shot in the first series is the Ocean Spirit dragging him into the ocean. In Season 2 of The Legend Of Korra, it's revealed that he's been rendered utterly insane and immortal, trapped in the spirit world forever.
  • The Dragon: Zhao starts out as this to Ozai, being his top admiral. Since his defeat at the end of Book One, Princess Azula takes his place in Book Two.
  • Evil Counterpart: For Zuko. Zhao who is older than him, experienced in war, willing to sacrifice others to further his own career, and seems to have favor within the Fire Nation, helping him go through the ranks. In the pursuit of their goals, Zuko is open to solutions that avoid needless collateral damage, having little interest in pointless cruelty beyond his goal, whereas Zhao is willing to go to the cruelest lengths to get what he wants. They also attempt to capture Aang for different reasons; Zuko so he can restore his honor and return home, Zhao as a vanity project.
  • Evil Versus Evil: His goal of capturing the Avatar leads him to develop a conflict with Zuko, who needs to capture Aang himself in order to restore his honour. Throughout the season, the two constantly interfere with each others' efforts, with Zuko going as far as to risk his own life to free Aang in "The Blue Spirit".
  • Face Death with Dignity: When the Ocean Spirit grabs him and Zuko tries to give him a helping hand, Zhao refuses the offer and lets himself drown out of sheer spite.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Pride. He refuses Zuko's aid out of pride when the Ocean Spirit is dragging him away.
    • His temper. In the episode The Deserter Aang deliberately taunts him in order to get him riled up enough to not notice where he is firing his blasts. This ends with his entire detachment being destroyed. In the Book 1 finale he impulsively kills the Moon Spirit after setting it back into the oasis seemingly just because he was that infuriated that Iroh tried to stop him.
  • Fate Worse than Death:
    • Zhao considers the consequences of being rescued by a disgraced Prince of the Fire Nation to be this. However, in The Legend of Korra, it's revealed he was transported to the Spirit World and thrown in the Fog of Lost Souls, a sort of prison that can drive people mad with their worst memories if they stay in it too long. It's made even worse by the fact that you don't age in the Spirit World, and thus, you cannot die of aging. Zhao is doomed to wander the Fog of Lost Souls forever.
    • Zhao wanted to be remembered for all time as the great conqueror who killed the Moon Spirit. By the time of Korra, no one even recognizes his name. Even Aang's kids have no idea who he is when they run into him while trying to rescue Jinora. Definitely a fate worse than death from Zhao's perspective, although his enemies might consider that poetic justice.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Acts polite to Zuko and Iroh when he's first introduced, but his manners towards the former quickly prove to be an act. Even when he attempts to act polite to Iroh he still can't help but belittle him for his failure to take Ba Sing Se.
  • Foil: To Zuko. He exists to demonstrate that while Zuko is an antagonist, he does not lack a moral compass. Zhao, on the other hand, is completely irredeemable.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: For trying to destroy the moon, the Ocean Spirit captures Zhao and condemns him to live within his own head for eternity.
  • General Failure: Zig-Zagged, in an example of Strategy Versus Tactics. Zhao repeatedly proves that he's actually rather insightful and capable of formulating effective tactical plans or combat manoeuvres to gain the upper hand- such as accurately deciding the Yuyan Archers talents are wasted guarding a fortress and using them to succesfully capture Aang, then not underestimating and almost recapturing him by simply choosing to wait for the right moment to strike, easily overpowering Zuko until the latter broke his footing, seeing through Zuko's attempt to use his damaged engine's smoke as a cover, or planning a nigh-flawless invasion of the Northern Water Tribe. However, his ego and Hair-Trigger Temper inevitably get in his way and undo any long-term advantage he may have. He got beaten up by a teenager, captured the Avatar only to lose him again, burned down his fleet because a twelve-year-old was making fun of him, and killed the Moon Spirit, effectively dooming himself to wander in the Spirit World for eternity. Even his plan to defeat the Water Tribe is an example of a short-term victory that would have had insane long-term detriment, as (threatening the Moon Spirit, or even just Yue and her father, would have been far more effective than actually killing the Moon Spirit, which unleashed Gaia's Vengeance).
  • Glory Hound:
    • In "The Blue Spirit" episode, Colonel Shinu calls his Avatar hunt a "vanity project".
    • His speech upon capturing the Moon Spirit has him reiterate his dream of being remembered for generations as the man who killed the Moon.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: He is the reason why Wan Shi Tong dislikes humans, as Zhao decides to use the information he acquired from the spirit's library to kill Tui and La. He also burned down an entire section of the library containing the collective information, history and culture of the Fire Nation.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper:
    • In "The Deserter", Aang's taunts infuriate Zhao to the point he burns down his entire fleet in a blind rage.
    • After being convinced to release the Moon Spirit, he immediately goes from somewhat calm (though reluctant) to furious in a split second.
  • Hate Sink: Because Prince Zuko is too sympathetic of a character to hate and Fire Lord Ozai will not be fully explored as a character until Book 3, Zhao is introduced as an alternative target for the audience to detest. He is arrogant, cruel, callous, and willing to damn the whole world for his ego.
  • The Heavy: Gradually eclipses Zuko as the villain driving the plot of Book 1, eventually becoming the main antagonist in the finale. Despite this, he is not the series' Big Bad and is defeated following his attempted invasion of the North Pole.
  • Hidden Depths: He realises that Zuko is the Blue Spirit just by looking at the dual dao swords displayed in his cabin. In general, he's rather smarter than he seems, and capable of being patient when he can control his temper. If he gets goaded, however, that goes straight out the window.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: How Aang defeats him in The Deserter. Realizing that Zhao is reckless with his firebending and prone to anger, Aang intentionally goads the Admiral to fire at his direction... which happens to be where all of Zhao's boats were.
  • Honor Before Reason: When Zuko reaches out to try and save Zhao from being dragged to his death by the Ocean Spirit, Zhao refuses to take it, choosing death over accepting help from his sworn enemy.
  • Hot Blooded Sideburns: A hot-tempered man with a large pair of sideburns. Sokka even uses them to identify him when asked who the Fire Nation's admiral is.
    Sokka: His name is Zhao. Big sideburns, bigger temper.
  • Hypocrite: Zhao calls Zuko a coward for refusing to deal him a lethal blow after winning their Agni Kai. Then when Zuko turns his back, Zhao tries to attack him from behind and is stopped by Iroh who flat out told Zhao that even in exile, Zuko was far more honorable than the admiral.
  • Incompletely Trained: He abandoned his firebending master out of frustration before his training was complete. As a result, he lacks the discipline to properly utilize his firebending potential. It really shows in his fights with Zuko and Aang, who have considerably less experience than him but beat him handily every time.
  • Informed Ability: He's said to be a Firebending Master, but he tends to lose most of the fights he's in. Granted his tendency to underestimate his opponents and Hair-Trigger Temper are usually what contributes to his defeats rather than a lack of actual skill - he dominates the early part of his fight with Zuko, and only loses once he gets arrogant and Zuko (who's already a highly skilled Firebender and ends up as one of the greatest in the series) regains his composure.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: He looks an awful lot like Jason Isaacs with a slight East Asian redesign.
  • Ironic Hell: He said he wanted to be remembered for serving the Fire Nation and killing the Moon. The Ocean Spirit ends up transporting him to the Fog of Lost Souls, where he is doomed to wander around mumbling he is the Moon Slayer and will capture the Avatar. No one remembers him, and Aang's kids even remark on him with pity when they see him. He undergoes a Villainous Breakdown when seeing Tenzin, mistaking him for Aang.
  • It's Personal: While Zhao and Zuko have a mutual disdain for each other at the start of Book 1, by the end it has grown to full blown hatred on both sides as they both try to one up the other in capturing Aang, eventually leading Zhao to outright try and have Zuko assassinated.
  • Jerkass: And that's just putting it mildly. Zhao is a callous, cruel, ill-tempered, and arrogant officer without a redeeming quality to be found. His treatment of Zuko shows this most often (a flashback to Zuko's fateful duel with his father shows Zhao smiling at the sight of a 13-year-old boy being disfigured by his own father), but he also delights in throwing his weight around with lower-ranking officers, evidenced by his Psychotic Smirk when his promotion enables him to order Colonel Shinu to loan Zhao the Yuyan Archers.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Jerk: Seemingly spares the moon spirit that he captured at the behest of Iroh... only to promptly Kill It with Fire shortly afterwards. This ends up being his undoing.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: Zhao often gets in conflict with the officers of local Fire Nations garrisons in the Earth Kingdom because they are more interested in continuing to expand the Fire Nation's rule, as well as protecting Fire Nation assets, while Zhao is focused on capturing the Avatar, which they see as a vanity project.
  • Karmic Death: His pride sends him to his death because he did it to avoid an Embarrassing Rescue. It has a contemplative ethical Lampshade Hanging in Kyoshi's flashback in the finale. It turns out in The Legend Of Korra that he isn't dead, but he might as well wish he was.
  • Kick the Dog: When Zhao captures Aang in "The Blue Spirit", he callously asks the young Airbender what it's like to be The Last of His Kind, just to get under his skin. Aang promptly responds by air blowing him into the wall and then escapes with Zuko's help.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: One of the only times (probably the only one) the audience will cheer for Zhao is when the equally unpleasant Hahn launches an ill-advised attack on him, which Zhao defeats with ease.
  • Kill the God: His dream in life is to kill the moon, which in the Avatar universe is a sentient being. He technically succeeded in killing the Moon Spirit.
  • Knight of Cerebus: Not to the same degree as Azula, but he proves to be far more dangerous than Zuko. Zuko is a better fighter than him but Zhao's position and resources, not to mention him being more competent, make him a bigger threat. In most of his appearances he actually gets pretty close to capturing Aang or at least makes them work for victory.
  • Large and in Charge: Spends the first season quickly rising through the ranks to become one of the fire lord's top admirals and is always the tallest person in the room.
  • Large Ham: Zhao's ego and temper, both of which are towering, make him prone to dramatics. His (short-sighted) boasting of how his legend would grow after slaying the moon spirit is a standout moment.
    Zhao: They will call me Zhao the conqueror! Zhao the moonslayer! ZHAO THE INVINCIBLE!
  • Madness Mantra: When he's trapped, forever, in the Fog of Lost Souls. "I am Zhao The Conqueror. I am The Moonslayer! I will capture The Avatar!"
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Pissing off the Ocean Spirit got his own fleet annihilated.
  • Pick on Someone Your Own Size: Zhao's age wasn't revealed, but he's still an adult man who starts an intense, personal rivalry with a 16-year-old boy. Not to mention he's trying to imprison a 12-year-old boy. Granted, he does pick a fight with Jeong-Jeong, a full grown Firebending Master (his former Firebending Master), but he runs from Iroh. Given that this is Iroh and he's mad, this is wise.
  • Pride: Zhao's driving force and Fatal Flaw. He's immensely proud of his firebending prowess and military standing, his pursuit of the Avatar is driven by a desire for glory, and the easiest way to provoke Zhao is to challenge his ego, which is remarkably easy to do. His desire to kill the Moon Spirit is a further expression of Zhao's pride; he's less interested in the military victory of conquering the Northern Water Tribe than he is in being immortalized as the all-powerful slayer of the Moon. His pride even leads him to refuse Zuko's help when the Ocean Spirit has Zhao in its grasp; unable to stomach the idea of being saved by his rival, Zhao doesn't resist his fate, and ends up deeply regretting it. Or he would, if he still had the presence of mind to recognise his hellish circumstances.
  • Rank Up: In "The Blue Spirit", he's promoted to Admiral, which conveniently gives him the authority to commandeer the Yuyan Archers for his own hunt for the Avatar.
  • A Real Man Is a Killer: He seems almost as angry with Zuko over showing him mercy than he is about being defeated by him.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He is on the receiving end of one by Iroh, after losing his Agni Kai with Zuko and trying to shoot him In the Back.
    "So this is how the great Commander Zhao acts in defeat? Disgraceful. Even in exile, my nephew is more honorable than you."
  • Red Baron: He dubs himself as "the Conqueror" and "Moon Slayer".
  • The Rival: To Zuko. They fight over capturing the Avatar and eventually Zhao tries to have him assassinated.
  • Sanity Slippage: Decades in the Spirit World have left him a babbling lunatic.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • When he makes Iroh truly angry and witnesses him easily defeating his soldiers, Zhao wisely decides that it's time to flee.
    • He has this reaction when he sees an Avatar Roku-possessed Aang emerge from the sanctuary at the Fire Temple, abandoning his mission and retreating with his troops.
  • Shadow Archetype: Serves this role to Zuko in Book 1. While Zuko is still a villain at this point he is also a Noble Demon with a sympathetic reason as to why he wants to capture the Avatar. Zhao on the other hand has all of Zuko's worse traits, such as his temper, pride and general jerkassery, without any of the noble traits that make Zuko sympathetic. Even his reason for wanting to capture the Avatar is far more selfish since he just wants him for the glory as opposed to Zuko who is trying to reclaim his honor. Zhao shows that, as bad as Zuko can be, he could have been far, far worse.
  • Smug Snake: He's nowhere near as dangerous on a personal level as he wants to be (Zuko kicks his ass one-on-one, and Aang dodges all his attacks with little effort and tricks him into destroying his own ships, both doing so by exploiting his ego and Hair-Trigger Temper), but his humiliation makes him even more obsessive and ruthless in pursuit of his objectives, to the point of trying to destroy the moon without realising - or caring - that this would also devastate the world.
  • The Sociopath: He lacks Zuko's moral compass and is dead set on capturing the Avatar and killing the Moon Spirit purely for his own glory, even when everyone continues pointing out how horrible an idea the latter goal is. Other scenes show him smiling at Ozai scarring Zuko and him belittling Iroh about the failure of Ba Sing Se without even considering the fact that Iroh's invasion cost him his son.
  • Sore Loser: Zuko spared his life in their Agni Kai only for Zhao to mock him for being a coward and try to nail him while his back was turned. It's implied that his loss to Zuko is why he starts hounding him just as much as Aang throughout the rest of the season.
  • Starter Villain: Zhao is significantly more powerful and skilled than the average Firebender, but severly hampered by a lack of discipline and restraint. And he is a genuinely exceptional tactician, but hampered by his own ego and arrogance. And while he has the vast resources of the Fire Nation at his disposal, he also lacks any sort of serious personal connection to the Gaang. All of this serves to make him a credible threat to the heroes while still leaving room for later villains to be more effective by virtue of surpassing Zhao in one area or the other.
  • Stupid Evil: Despite having seen that Zuko is capable of tracking Aang, Zhao treats him with nothing but contempt - though he eventually gets savvy enough to try and have him killed before he goes for the North Pole. This is taken up even further when he opts to kill the Moon Spirit, despite warnings that he is going to doom the entire world including the Fire Nation.
  • This Cannot Be!: Zhao utters this in "The Siege of the North - Part II", expressing his disbelief that the Moon has been restored after he killed Tui.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Despite Iroh repeatedly warning him that killing the Moon Spirit will lead to horrible repercussions, Zhao arrogantly follows through with his plan, dismissing it as Iroh's supposedly superstitious fear of the spirits. As a result, the enraged Ocean Spirit decides to avenge the death of its mate by obliterating the Fire Nation forces, culminating in Zhao being dragged into the Spirit World for eternity as punishment for his crime.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Zhao is a deconstruction of this trope: fire is exactly the wrong element to rely on pure power over actual skill, considering how dangerous it is when not properly controlled. Not only does he lose to anyone he can't just straight up overpower, but he's also a danger to himself and the people around him.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: In his first appearance he loses to Zuko mainly because he underestimated him and was caught off guard, though it helped that Iroh was Zuko's teacher. By the end of the season, a frozen, injured, and likely exhausted Zuko (who's been beaten up twice by Katara, nearly drowned, nearly froze to death, and still recovering from having been blown up) is able to fight and eventually overpower him on skill alone.
  • Villain Has a Point:
    • He tells Zuko as early as the third episode that if his father wanted him back, he would have welcomed him back long ago rather than sending him on a Snipe Hunt. His father doesn't care about him, and Zhao points out Zuko has the literal scar to prove it. Azula even emphasizes his point later on by saying that Ozai would never want Zuko back unless it was to lock him up for doing something completely shameful.
    • He tells Zuko that, if he has information on the Avatar, he should tell him if he has any pride left for his Nation. Later on after finding out that Zuko was the Blue Spirit he tries to have him assassinated. When Zuko confronts Zhao in the North Pole Zhao calls him a traitor for releasing the Avatar. While Zhao is only saying this because he wants the glory for capturing the Avatar himself he's not wrong in pointing out that Zuko withholding information on the Avatar, and later setting him free, means he's placing a higher priority on reclaiming his own honor over stopping the greatest threat to his Nation, as sympathetic as his motives may be.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Thanks to wandering around the Fog of Lost Souls for an eternity, he utterly snaps when he sees Tenzin, mistaking him for his father. Zhao grabs him and says he knows the Avatar has grown up but can still be defeated. Tenzin would normally be able to defend himself but he's caught off-guard by the man's determined boast. When Kya and Bumi toss him away, Zhao pathetically begs them to return so he can defeat the Avatar.
  • Villainous Legacy: He's Dragged Off to Hell at the end of Season 1, but his actions still result in Zuko and Iroh being branded traitors and spending Season 2 one the run and causes Zuko to see firsthand the damage his Nation has done to the world. He's also the reason Wan Shi Tong hates humans and sinks his library, thus causing Appa to be lost, which sets the Gaang's conflict in motion for the second half of Season 2.
  • The Worf Effect: He's established to be a master Firebender and demonstrates some impressive moves, but his fights are often used to demonstrate skill and character growth for both Aang and Zuko. Against Avatar Roku and Iroh, even he realizes how clearly out of his league he is and runs when witnessing their wrath.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Has no qualms attempting to assassinate a 16-year-old banished prince and attack/imprison a 12-year-old boy.


Admiral Chan

The admiral of the Eastern Fleet.
  • The Ghost: He's only ever talked about, never seen.
  • Man of Wealth and Taste: Judging by his beach house on Ember Island.
  • Poor Communication Kills: He's notorious among the Fire Nation navy for his poor communication skills. If he had been more diligent, they might have picked up that an entire battleship had been stolen.



Colonel / General Shinu

Voiced by: Nick Jameson
""[The search for the Avatar] is nothing but a vanity project! We're fighting a real war here, and I need every man I've got, commander."
Originally the commander of the Yuyan Archers, Shinu was promoted to the rank of High General in the final days of the Hundred Year War.
  • Ambiguous Situation: His reaction to Ozai's plan to burn down the Earth Kingdom. Presumably, he's clapping like the other officers, but considering his tone of voice when the Fire Lord was building up to the announcement, he never considered the idea himself and might even have been hesitant go through with such a drastic measure.
  • Colonel Badass: He's a colonel when first seen, and he's the only Fire Nation officer aside from Iroh to call out Zhao for his oversized ego.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Judging by his argument with Zhao, he dislikes Fire Nation officers putting their vanity before their nation's interests.
  • Rank Up: At some point between winter and summer, he was promoted to colonel to general.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: He takes this role during the war meeting before the invasion. As opposed to Azula and Ozai's plans to burn the rebelling Earth Kingdom to ashes, he proposes the far more rational idea of simply transferring domestic forces to bolster the garrisons. Granted, it might not have worked, as Zuko points out, but it's still a far more understandable choice than genocide.

General Bujing

Voiced by: Daniel Riordan
"What better to use as bait than fresh meat?"
One of the lead generals in the Fire Nation army. Zuko speaking out against Bujing's plan is what led to his scarring and banishment.
  • Ambiguous Situation: How did he feel about Zuko's Agni Kai, which he caused? He's visible in the stands when Zuko is scarred, and has a completely expressionless look on his face, unlike Iroh who is horrified and Azula and Zhao who are happy. He has an uneasy expression on his face upon seeing Zuko again in the Grand Finale, but it's unclear what this unease means. Fear that Zuko will be scarred again? Fear that Zuko will attempt revenge on him? Something else?
  • Evil Old Folks: Bujing is one of the Fire Nation’s aging top generals, and like all of them, they seek power and glory.
  • General Ripper: He gleefully suggests sacrificing an entire division of new recruits as a means of distracting an Earth Kingdom batallion.
  • Minor Major Character: He's one of the most significant figures in the Fire Nation military, but only appears in a couple of war room scenes with only two lines of dialogue.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Bujing is a very minor character in terms of his role on the show, but Zuko's entire character arc, one of the most famous in television history, never would've happened if he didn't suggest using inexperienced rookie soldiers as cannon fodder. On less of a meta-level, thanks to Zuko's gradual realization as to the atrocities of the Fire Nation due to his exile, Bujing's interaction with Zuko could arguably be said to be the true beginning of the end of Ozai's regime and the war that Sozin began.
  • We Have Reserves: The basis of his plan. A division of inexperienced recruits will be used as bait against an Earth Kingdom force, so they'll be distracted when more experienced Fire Nation soldiers attack from the rear.

General Mung

Voiced by: Daniel Riordan
A Fire Nation general in charge of a major factory, that's responsible for polluting of the village of Jang Hui.
  • Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Once he realises he's outmatched against the 'Painted Lady', he joins his troops in retreating.
  • Villainous Valour: Say what you will about him, but staying to face what looks like an angry spirit that had already defeated his troops, alone, takes some guts.

Research and Development


War Minister Qin

Voiced by: Kristoffer Tabori
War Minister Qin was the overseer of the Fire Nation military's technology, and despite the many failures of his inventions, his technological expertise ensured he remained a valuable member of the Fire Lord's cabinet.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: In "The Northern Air Temple". His attack on the temple is repelled but he suceeded in getting his hands on the prototype war balloon. This allowed the Fire Nation to develop the airships seen in Season 3.
  • Beard of Evil: Like Fire Lord Ozai, Qin is a villain who sports a blade-like goatee.
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible: An example that isn't completely clear at first, but becomes more obvious in hindsight. Qin supposedly gives Aang, Sokka, and Toph directions to the Fire Lord right away, but he really gives them directions to Azula, who proceeds to hold the trio off long enough for the eclipse to pass and give the Fire Nation an opportunity to win.
  • Chekhov's Gun: He finds the remains of the hot air balloon and it is implemented in Season 3. He also made the Mechanist design the Drill.
  • Co-Dragons: With Azula to Ozai, especially during Ba Sing Se's invasion with the drill. While they are equals in most respects, War Minister Qin calls the shots while in the drill, leading the invasion. His authority is based on the fact that he's in charge of the drill, and that's where Azula happens to be.
  • Evil Genius: Responsible for overseeing the Fire Nation's military technology.
  • Once a Season: Appears once per season, in "The Northern Air Temple", "The Drill", and "The Day of Black Sun, Part II".
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Seems to have decided the Northern Air Temple was more trouble than it was worth and with the war balloon he gained from the battle, he got what he wanted anyways.

Domestic Forces

    Boiling Rock Warden 

Boiling Rock Warden

Voiced by: Wade Williams
The warden of the Boiling Rock, the toughest prison in the Fire Nation. He's also Mai's uncle.
  • Break Them by Talking: He does this in "Suki, Alone", by reminding the prisoners of their lowly place on society and later to Suki herself for believing she could escape by planting vegetables in the prison to motivate the other prisoners and gladly tells her one of her fellow prisoners betrayed her to him and that she was completely alone.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He's Mai's uncle and is not happy that Zuko broke her heart, and this is why Zuko is his special prisoner, so he could stick that to him.
  • Good Behavior Points: In "Suki, Alone", a villainous one, he awards Biyu for betraying Suki and her fellow prisoners by giving her privileges like better food, a new uniform and a fancy room.
  • Honor Before Reason: Would rather die by drowning and/or being boiled alive than see a breakout at the Boiling Rock. He nearly makes good on that promise too.
  • No Name Given: His name goes unmentioned.
  • Oh, Crap!: When he learns that Azula and Ty Lee are at the Boiling Rock.
  • Pet the Dog: It's implied he pulled some political strings to free Mai and Ty Lee from jail, even though Mai is partially responsible for breaking his record.
  • Taking You with Me: He'll sacrifice anyone — including the Crown Princess of the Fire Nation and himself — to ensure his record isn't broken. As a bonus, he’d be dead before he gets punished if the latter does perish with him.
  • Wardens Are Evil: He's a warden and not a nice person.
  • Villainous Valor: When he says he'd rather jump into the boiling lake than allow prisoners to escape, he means it. For all the warden's faults as a person, he's clearly no coward.


Voiced by: Serena Williamsnote
A prison guard who is kind to Iroh when he is imprisoned.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Unlike Warden Poon and the rest of the guards, Ming is unfailingly nice to Iroh and even sneaks in extra food and special tea for him. On the morning before the eclipse, Iroh tells her to take the rest of the day off because he doesn't want her to get hurt during his Great Escape.
  • Nice Girl: Quite possibly the kindest member of the Fire Nation military.

Colonial Forces

    Prison Rig Warden 

Prison Rig Warden

Voiced by: George Takei
The warden of a prison in the Earth Kingdom that sits over a large body of water.
  • Bad Boss: Will throw his own men overboard if they prove an inconvenience. The next sentence, where he asks the next guard to find someone he hadn't thrown overboard, indicates that this is a habit of his.
  • Bait the Dog: Tells his guards to hold off on attacking Katara when she tries to start a riot... just so he can make a point about how broken the prisoners are.
  • Beard of Evil: An evil warden with a goatee and Fu Manchu mustache.
  • Evil Is Petty:
    • In his first scene, he throws a prisoner into solitary confinement for coughing in his presence.
    • He throws one of his men overboard for mildly correcting him, and it's hinted this wasn't the first time he'd done something like that.
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Has a low, smooth voice courtesy of George Takei.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Introduced inviting new prisoners to view him as their gracious host… before throwing one of the prisoners into solitary confinement for a sarcastic cough.
  • Villain of the Week: For the episode "Imprisoned".
  • Villains Want Mercy: When he finds himself at the wrong end of a prison riot and is about to be dumped into the sea, he tries to beg for his life: "No, please! I can't swim!"
    Tyro: Don't worry. I hear cowards float. [drops the Warden into the water]
  • Wardens Are Evil: Runs a brutal prison specifically designed to break the inmates' spirits.
  • Would Hurt a Child: He outright threatens Katara with death if she didn't stand down, and later sends an enormous fire blast at Haru.
See here for his folder.
    Tank Commander 

Tank Commander
A Fire Nation officer that blocks the way to Omashu, forcing Team Avatar - and some nomads - into the Cave of Two Lovers.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Considering his location in the Earth Kingdom, it's unknown if he's operating independently, or was connected to Ukano's occupation of Omashu.
  • Eye Patch Of Power: He has one eye covered by a patch, presumably from a war wound.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Even if the song predicting doom is the reason he gives for not following Team Avatar and the nomads into the Cave of Two Lovers, the idea to just seal them in is a pretty good one since taking tanks into a cave isn't the best idea. In his first appearance he immediately blocks Team Avatar's only escape route when they accidentally stumble into his units camp.
  • Tank Goodness: He has several under his command.
  • There's No Kill like Overkill: Justified. Assuming he knew who he was shooting at, launching dozens of fireballs at the Avatar was perfectly reasonable from his point of view.
  • Too Important to Walk: He rides in a tundra tank while pursuing Team Avatar and the nomads.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: He doesn't show up again after sealing Team Avatar and the nomads in the Cave of Two Lovers.

Elite Units

    Imperial Firebenders 

Imperial Firebenders
Firebenders chosen to protect the Fire Lord and his family.
  • Custom Uniform: Their armour has more red and is spikier than regular army units.
  • Informed Attribute: Despite being elite enough to be chosen to defend their monarchs, they lose every battle they take part in fairing no better than regular Mooks.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: They're certainly intimidating, especially since they usually stand completely motionless, not to mention their only distinguishable feature are the pitch-black slits they have for eyeholes.
  • Praetorian Guard: This is their role in the military, and they provide close protection to not just the rulers, but to high ranking VIP’s like Iroh.

    Yuyan Archers 

Yuyan Archers
An elite group of Fire Nation archers.
  • Badass Normal: They're not Firebenders, but their deadly percision and accuracy easily make up for it.
  • Cold Sniper: Always silent, famed for their accuracy, and dangerously effective.
  • Elite Mooks: The best archers in the Fire Nation, and prove to be too much for Aang to handle on his own.
  • Grappling-Hook Pistol: The Yuyan Archers move in the air by shooting an arrow attached to a rope and hold the rope in the hand not holding their bow.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: One of them shoots the Blue Spirit in the head, in the dark, without hitting Aang. According to Zhao, they can pin a fly to a tree 100 feet away without killing it.
  • Master Archer: The Yuyan Archers are an elite squadron of archers renowned throughout the Fire Nation for their stealth, accuracy, and ingenuity. In "The Blue Spirit" they prove more than a match for Aang, a young boy with prodigious bending potential and power, despite being nonbenders.
    Zhao: Their precision is legendary. The Yuyan can pin a fly to a tree from a hundred yards away without killing it.
  • Splitting the Arrow: Their Establishing Character Moment features one shooting a target with one arrow, then splitting that arrow with three more. Later on when they attack Aang, they shoot a wall of ice Aang conjures, shattering it.
  • Tattooed Crook: All of them have red bat-like tattoos over their eyes.
  • The Voiceless: None of them ever speak.
    The Rough Rhinos 

Rough Rhinos

Voiced by: Malachi Throne (Colonel Mongke)
"Colonel Mongke and the Rough Rhinos are legendary — each one is a different kind of weapon specialist. They are also a very capable singing group."Iroh

An elite mercenary group of Fire Nation cavalry that worked for Fire Lord Ozai during the war.

  • Alliterative Name: The Rough Rhinos
  • Arrows on Fire: Vachir's weapon of choice.
  • Badass Normal: Other than Mongke, none of them are firebenders though nonetheless capable and ruthless fighters.
  • Beard of Evil: Mongke has one, but Kahchi sports a truly impressive one.
  • Blade on a Stick: Kahchi uses a guan dao as his main weapon.
  • Bounty Hunter: They work on a freelance basis so they're not above going after Zuko and Iroh for the bounties on their heads.
  • Chain Pain: Ogodei uses bolas on chains.
  • Former Regime Personnel: Even after the war, they are still loyal to Fire Lord Ozai despite working for the Earthen Fire Refinery. They are still angry at the Avatar for defeating Fire Lord Ozai, which put them out of a job for a while.
  • Hazy-Feel Turn: In the comics, where they act as security detail for the Earthen Fire Refinery, but haven't changed morally.
  • Horse of a Different Color: They're named after the komodo rhinos they ride into battle.
  • Hidden Depths: If what Iroh says about them being a capable singing group is correct. Mongke even says that they're not there to give a performance.
  • Jerkass: During and after the war, Mongke is not a pleasant person to be around.
  • The Leader: Colonel Mongke commands the group.
  • Malevolent Masked Men: Yeh-Lu is never seen without his mask on.
  • Master Archer: A Yuyan archer named Vachir is among their number.
  • Playing with Fire: Colonel Mongke is the only firebender in the group.
  • Private Military Contractors: They're freelancers working for Fire Lord Ozai during the Hundred Years War, but afterwards they became security detail for the Earthen Fire Refinery.
  • Throw Down the Bomblet: Yeh-Lu, the group's explosives expert.
  • You Have Failed Me: A nonlethal variant. The comics reveal Vachir was dishonorably discharged from the Yuyan Archers by Fire Lord Ozai for failing to locate and kill Ursa's old lover, Ikem.
  • You Killed My Father: Mongke is responsible for the deaths of Jet's parents, though Jet never gets to confront him about this before Jet's death.
    The Southern Raiders 

The Southern Raiders
A military unit created specifically to harry the South Pole.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Katara takes care of them pretty easily in the modern day.
  • Custom Uniform: Their uniforms are more unique than other Fire Nation units, with their helmets having a bird theme.
  • Hollywood Tactics: Subverted. It looks like they're playing this trope straight by charging straight at the Southern Water Tribe warriors, but it's a distraction to allow their commander to sneak into the village and find the last waterbender.


    Current Commander 

Current Commander
The commander who took over the unit when Yon Rha retired.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: He lasts longer than the rest of his men put together against Katara and Zuko.
  • Rank Up: He was presumably promoted after his predecessor's retirement.


    Yon Rha 

Yon Rha

Voiced by: Tim Dang
"I'm afraid I'm not taking prisoners today."
The former commander of the Southern Raiders, a Fire Nation Navy special forces unit infamous for capturing or killing Southern Water Tribe waterbenders. During the last stages of the Southern Water Tribe Raids, he murdered Katara and Sokka's mother.
  • Abusive Parents: From what little is seen of his mother, she's shown to be a shrewish, ungrateful, verbally abusive woman. According to the writers, her treatment of him after the war grounded Yon Rha down from a terrifying monster of a man to the miserable wretch he is in the present.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Katara will never forgive Yon Rha for murdering her mother, but she realizes that he's too pitiful and pathetic to even warrant her vengance. She almost feels disappointed by this revelation since she really wants to kill him as the evil man she once remembered.
  • Basement-Dweller: After retiring as commander of the Southern Raiders he became a browbeaten shadow of his former self due to being forced to live with his verbally abusive mother.
  • Break the Haughty: He's become a shadow of his former self after he retired from the Fire Nation Military, living with his mean mother, having an unpleasant life and overall looking miserable. When Katara realizes this, she can't bring herself to kill him, so she just leaves him to his pitiful existence, at which point he breaks down crying.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Zigzagged. When Katara first encounters him again years after he murdered her mother, she asks him if he knows her. When he admits he doesn't recognize her, she threatens him, and it's enough to jog his memory of the little Water Tribe girl he fleetingly encountered six years ago. Since he remembers the rest of what happened that day, his expression says it all.
  • Call to Agriculture: A rare example where it isn't portrayed as sympathetic or indicative of an individual who wants to create life after taking so much of it during the war. Yon Rha's just a retired war criminal who happens to enjoy gardening as a hobby.
  • Cruel Mercy: What Katara subjects him to. His life in retirement is absolutely pathetic and terrible, as he lives with his utter harpy of a mother and has little to no prestige or fortune to speak of. Death would be a relief for him, so Katara doesn't give it to him.
  • Dirty Coward: He begins visibly panicking the second Katara and Zuko get the drop on him even though he has no idea who they are or what they want. The true depths of his cowardice are revealed when, after learning why Katara tracked him down, he attempts to save himself by offering to let Katara kill his own mother to make them "even". When that doesn't work, he resorts to begging and crying.
  • Empty Shell: His life after his military career is a hollow, miserable one. He is not happy and seems to going through the motion rather than actually living. When Katara confronts him, she becomes bitterly disappointed that her mother's murderer is nothing more than a pathetic, empty shadow of his former self.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: From the feared and respected commander of one of the Fire Nation Navy's most infamous special forces units, to a miserable doormat who lives with his shrewish mother and doesn't even put up a fight against her insults and abuse.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Yon Rha was the commander of the Southern Raiders who served during the final stages of the Southern Water Tribe raids. He killed Katara's mother and presumably committed multiple other crimes, before honorably retiring to his home village... where his abusive mother proceeded to make his life miserable. By the time Katara and Zuko track him down, he's been reduced to a pathetic shell of his former self. Seeing him like this, Katara decides that he's Not Worth Killing, and leaves him to keep living his life as he was, which is clearly a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Kick the Dog: Yon Rha could've just imprisoned Kya, like the Southern Raiders had been doing for years to waterbenders. Instead he decides to murder her, and he looks quite pleased about it beforehand.
  • Matricide: Though he doesn't personally try to kill his mother, he does try to bargain for his life by offering up his mother's in exchange to Katara, claiming it'd make things "fair" since he killed Katara's mother.
  • Not Worth Killing: After realizing what kind of person he is, Katara calls him out on being a weak, pathetic, empty human being, but as much as she hates him, she still can't murder such a pathetic wretch of a target in cold-blood. She leaves him behind, and Yon Rha is left sobbing in the rain.
  • Pet the Dog: Perhaps his sole redeeming quality is the fact that he did keep his word to Kya about leaving the rest of the Southern Water Tribe unharmed after she "revealed" the identity of the last waterbender.
  • Retired Monster: Once he went into retirement, Yon Rha was ultimately reduced to a pathetic shell of his former, monstrous self. That does not change the fact that he is an unrepentant war criminal who worked to purge the Southern Water Tribe of waterbenders and murdered Katara's mother in cold-blood.
  • Villains Want Mercy: In spite of gleefully murdering Katara's mother and doing who knows what other war crimes, when he's at Katara's mercy he's left feebly begging for her to spare his life.
  • Would Hurt a Child: When an eight-year-old Katara walks in on Yon Rha interrogating her mother, he doesn't outright threaten Katara's life, but the implication is still there with his hostile attitude towards her. Since he was in the Southern Water Tribe to kill the last waterbender present, not imprison them, and immediately killed Kya after she tricked him into thinking she was the waterbender, it stands to reason he would've done the same to Katara.
  • You Killed My Father: Yon Rha was the one who murdered Katara and Sokka's mother, Kya. Katara spends the duration of The Southern Raiders working together with Zuko to hunt him down and get her revenge.
  • You Monster!: Due to the traumatic memory surrounding their initial meeting, Katara constantly refers to Yon Rha as a monster when describing him to others. She only relents after personally confronting him and recognizing him as a thoroughly pathetic and empty person.


    Combustion Man 

"Combustion Man"

Voiced by: Greg Baldwin
"I've heard about you. They say you're good at what you do. And even better at keeping secrets. The Avatar is alive. I want you to find him. And end him."

A mysterious assassin hired by Zuko to hunt down and kill the Avatar. Relentless in his pursuit of Aang and seemingly unstoppable, he uses a unique form of Firebending by shooting laser beams that cause Stuff Blowing Up. Also known as Sparky Sparky Boom Man.

  • Achilles' Heel: Getting hit in the tattoo on his head screws up the flow of chi which creates his explosions, causing them to blow up in his face.
  • All There in the Manual: His unique form of firebending, combustion bending, isn't given a proper name until Book 3 of The Legend of Korra.
  • Appropriated Appellation: Both of his names were made up by Sokka for the sake of identification. Combustion Man never hears them and it's unknown what he calls himself. Zuko apparently knows his real name, but never gets a chance to say it.
  • Artificial Limbs: According to the writers, Combustion Man blew off his right hand and leg by accident while experimenting with his powers. He has since replaced them with metal prosthetics.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: Played with; while he is twice foiled by things hitting his tattoo, both times were completely unintentional and the gaang never figured out how to stop him. Sokka takes the credit for defeating him, with his boomerang.
  • Bald Head of Toughness: One of the toughest antagonists the Gaang faces in the entire series and is completely bald. He doesn't have much characterization or backstory given to him other than being an Implacable Man, hellbent on killing Aang, who uses a unique form of firebending that only one other person in the extended series is capable of using.
  • Bald of Evil: The shadow on his head shows he clearly shaves it to be that way. Considering that the only other combustion bender in the series does the same, this is likely an Invoked Trope.
  • Beard of Evil: Interestingly, he doesn't shave his face like he shaves his head. Likely another contrast to Aang.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: While it's shown that he's capable of normal firebending (as he burned the stolen message), he never used them during his battles, and relies solely on combustionbending. Furthermore, his powers lack versatility, and any disruption to his chi would leave him defenseless.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Gaang is no match for him in their first fight as his explosions allow him to counter any attack they launch. They opt to run from him instead of fight the next time they see him.
  • Dub Name Change: In the Swedish dub, as "Combustion Man" would sound utterly ridiculous if translated as is his name was changed to Detonatorn instead meaning "The Detonator".
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": His real name is never revealed, and the Gaang refers to him as Sparky Sparky Boom Man, then Combustion Man.
  • Evil Counterpart: The art book reveals he was intended as one of these to Aang. He possesses tattoos representing his bending prowess, he shaves his head (but not completely, like Aang does), and possesses a beard whereas Aang is clean-shaven. He is also Aang's complete opposite in personality, being silent but violent where Aang is outgoing and pacifistic.
  • Fatal Flaw: His inability to learn from his mistakes. You'd think getting parts of his body blown off would make him learn to be more careful with his bending, but he doesn't and this leads to him blowing himself up.
  • Flat Character: Combustion Man has no backstory or personality to speak of. His sole trait is his mastery of an unique form of firebending.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Sokka gives him the ever-so-threatening nickname "Sparky Sparky Boom Man".
  • Genius Bruiser: Nearly unstoppable in combat and has the wits to match. He's crafty enough to make sure to keep any word of Aang being alive from getting out, and when he captures Katara and Toph, he has both thrown in a wooden cell so they have nothing to bend.
  • Having a Blast: His unique form of firebending allows him to create explosions from a distance.
  • Head Blast: Combustion Man can fire explosive blasts from his forehead, using the Third Eye tattoo on his forehead as a focus.
  • Hero Killer: Subverted. Combustion Man is introduced as an infamous assassin who would be more than capable of hunting down the heroes. However, his powers only cause one casualty in the entire season: Combustion Man himself, who detonates his own body by accident after his chi flow was disrupted via a boomerang throw by Sokka.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Hitting the tattoo on his forehead causes his powers to go haywire and quite literally blow up in his face. When Toph did it by accident, it only caused him to misfire, but when Sokka hit him with his boomerang, it outright caused him to blow himself up.
  • Implacable Man: His job is to relentlessly hunt someone down and then kill them. His very high rate of success is why Zuko thought he could bring down the Avatar.
  • Irrevocable Order: Continues trying to kill Aang even when Zuko calls the hit off and offers him double to stop. According to the writers, this is because he realized that Ozai could pay him more than Zuko could hope to.
  • Made of Explodium: The basis of his power. A beam issues forth from his Third Eye, pops like a firecracker a few times en route to its target, and then *KABOOM*
  • Mysterious Mercenary Pursuer: Aside from his powers, we never learn much about him, or even his real name.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Sokka calls him "Combustion Man" for lack of anything else.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: His attack on The Western Air Temple ultimately allows Zuko to prove himself to the Gaang that his reformation is genuine by aiding them against the very same person he hired.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Neither "Combustion Man" nor "Sparky Sparky Boom Man" are his real names. Zuko never gets a chance to explain what his real name is.
  • Outside-Context Problem: While it ties into the wide possibilities each form of bending possesses (metal-bending, lightning-bending, and blood-bending for example), his combustion powers were unheard of to the Gaang and it takes them several battles to successfully fight back. Decades later, Sokka's recollection of him and his unique ability actually helps him to believe that Yakone has the ability to bloodbend when not under a full moon.
  • Perpetual Frowner: Fittingly for a cold assassin, Combustion Man is never seen smiling, emoting only cold determination or anger.
  • Power Incontinence: The reason he has a fake arm and leg is that he blew them off when experimenting with combustionbending.
  • Professional Killer: He's good enough at his job to go after the Avatar.
  • Psycho for Hire: His main method of attack/murder is projecting blasts that cause whatever they hit to explode, and he doggedly chases Team Avatar all the way to the Western Air Temple to do the job. In his final episode, Zuko, having undergone a Heel–Face Turn, confronts him during his latest assault and first threatens not to pay, and then offers to pay him double, if he backs off. In response, the Combustion Man attacks him before turning back to the Gaang.
  • Red Right Hand: His tattoo marks him as a dangerous and evil guy.
  • Scarily Competent Tracker: Even more so than Zuko, and without some tracking method like June's shirshu (the interceptor buzzard was helpful though), which really is saying something.
  • Shout-Out: His tattoo is based on the third eye of Shiva which is said to incinerate everything it looks upon.
  • Silent Antagonist: Says nothing aside from some grunts when he's mad.
  • Something Person: As both Sparky Sparky Boom Man and Combustion Man.
  • The Spook: The only things we know about him are his powers, the fact that he's a hitman who never speaks (at least onscreen), the fact that he's a Determinator, and that's it. We don't even learn his real name.
  • Tattooed Crook: He fires his beams from an eye tattoo on his forehead.
  • Terminator Impersonator: Unintentionally or not he counts. Lets see, a Fiery Stoic who rarely speaks, unceasing in his pursuit and a Juggernaut that blasts through any obstacles. More then a match for a team of accomplished benders including The Avatar who is essentially a living god. Equipped with prosthetics and finally dies in a fiery explosion, ending his arc.
  • Third Eye: Though it's only a tattoo, it allows him to fire his beams.
  • Tsurime Eyes: He has narrow, upwards arching eyes.
  • The Unreveal: Zuko apparently knows his name. He never shares that information.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: He's only got one arrow in his quiver, but combustion bending is one hell of an arrow.
  • Vader Breath: Since firebending is intrinsically tied to the performer's breathing, Combustion Man audibly inhales whenever he prepares to launch an attack. This becomes plot-critical in his second appearance, as Aang only manages to anticipate his ambush upon hearing him inspire.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer…: His concentrated explosions are the only weapon we see him use... and he remains in the top 5 for Team Avatar's deadliest opponents with that alone.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Doesn't care if he's sent to kill a 12-year-old.

Zuko's Crew


Zuko's Crew

  • Ambiguous Situation: Just why exactly they're with the banished Zuko is never addressed. It's implied that Iroh has something to do with it, but it's never confirmed.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: They are horrified to learn that Ozai was the one who gave Zuko his scar.
  • Evil vs. Evil: During their battle with the pirates.
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: Neither Zuko nor Iroh ever mention them after Book One or acknowledge their apparent deaths following Zhao's failed invasion.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: They're never seen doing anything particularly evil. The most they do is help Zuko in his hunt for the Avatar, and even that is just them following orders.
  • Supreme Chef: We see the ship's cook a few times. Iroh loves his cooking and is devastated when even he is recruited to serve in Zhao's fleet. Zuko appears to enjoy his food as well, since he insisted on saving his meal for later rather than let Iroh have it.
  • Villainous Friendship: They appear to have this with each other, considering they all take part in music night, take breaks together, and watch each other play Iroh at Pai Sho.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: None of them show up again after Zhao conscripts them for his invasion of the North Pole. Presuembly, they were either killed during the battle or by the vengeful Ocean Spirit.

Lieutenant Jee

Voiced by: Jim Meskimen
The ranking officer on board Zuko's ship.
  • A Father to His Men: His concern for the crew leads to his argument with Zuko. He also risks his life along with Zuko to rescue the helmsman from falling to his death.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Though he is seldom shown firebending, he seems to be the most skilled member of Zuko's crew, other than Iroh and possibly Zuko himself. He's shown sparring with the banished prince, and was even willing to engage in an Agni Kai against him.
  • Bring It: When Zuko challenges him, he accepts with no fear.
  • Everyone Has Standards: He is genuinely shocked to hear what Zuko's father did to him, and it gives him a much greater respect and sympathy for Zuko's motivations.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Initially, Jee harbors a dislike towards Zuko due to the latter's disregard for the crew, and thinks of Zuko as nothing more than a spoiled prince. It is only after Iroh tells Jee of Zuko's past, and why Zuko is so determined to find the Avatar, that Jee begins to understand, and become more willing to aid Zuko in his search.
  • Hidden Depths: An accomplished singer and pipa player.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: While he lacked the context to understand Zuko, Jee isn't wrong when he points out that Zuko is often disrespectful towards his crew and his uncle.
  • Mook Lieutenant: The Leader of Zuko's troops.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Lieutenant Jee launches on one in "The Storm" when Zuko tells him to know his place.
    "What do you know about respect? The way you talk to everyone around here, from your hard working crew to your esteemed uncle, shows that you know nothing about respect! (cue Face Palm from Iroh). You don't care about anyone but yourself! Then again, what should I expect from a spoiled prince?"
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Disappears after Season 1, when his crew is "borrowed" by Admiral Zhao for the Siege of the North. In all likelihood, he perished when Aang merges with the Ocean Spirit and annihilates the Fire Navy.


Ember Island



Voiced by: Erik Von Detten
The partying son of a Fire Nation Admiral.
  • Chick Magnet: He's a handsome guy, introduced shirtless on a beach who quickly earns a girl's crush. Unfortunately for Chan, that girl is Azula.
  • I Have to Go Iron My Dog: He makes an excuse to leave upon seeing Azula show off her blue fire and talk about conquering the world.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: When Azula and the others start breaking his house.
  • Wild Teen Party: Downplayed. He has parties at his parents house, but not of the terribly wild nature and he kicks out anyone who breaks something.




Voiced by: Noah Luke
A Fire Nation student Aang briefly befriends.
  • I Am Spartacus: He's the first of many students to put on a headband like Aang's to keep the headmaster from catching him (albeit over a party he threw rather than because they know he's the Avatar).
  • Jaw Drop: He gets one upon seeing Aang use earthbending powers as he leaves.
  • Nice Guy: Shoji comes across as a normal kid who's nice to a new student and enjoys carefree activities, which he invites Aang to participate in.
    On Ji 

On Ji

Voiced by: Tinashe Kachingwe
A Fire Nation student Aang briefly befriends.
  • Girl Next Door: She is friendly, wholesome, and cute, and technically became a childhood friend of Aang's since both were still children when they met.
  • Luminescent Blush: When Aang, who is disguised as "Kuzon", offers his hand in the crowd of students during the secret dance party, On Ji visibly blushes shyly when taking his hand and going to dance. She does show that she has a crush on him.
  • Nice Girl: She warns Aang about not getting caught by the Headmaster regarding Momo, and confirms she's not a tattletale. She keeps her promise not to snitch on him.



Voiced by: Matthew Underwood
A star student at the school Aang accidentally enrolls in, and On Ji's "boyfriend". He antagonizes Aang, who goes by "Kuzon".
  • Allegorical Character: He's a star example of what the Fire Nation school system could produce: A muscular build and a weak mind, being destined to grow up to become a strict Fire Nation military officer who would be hated by his subordinates.
  • The Bully: He antagonizes everyone at school and uses his position as a star student to do what he wants without consequence.
  • Bullying a Dragon: He attacks "Kuzon", unaware that he's actually Avatar Aang. He's lucky Aang is a pacifist who prefers non-violence.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Anyone who gets near On Ji while he's around will earn his wrath.
  • Eye Am Watching You: He uses his index and middle fingers to first point at his eyes and then at Aang to let him know he's watching his every move. He even provides the page picture!
  • Karma Houdini: Aside from not being able to land a single hit on "Kuzon", Hide never gets any sort of punishment at the end of the episode from his bullying or smug behavior, due to his good academic standing and the fact that Aang has bigger things to deal with at the time.
  • Pet the Dog: The only "positive" thing he's shown to do is not beating up "Kuzon" on their first meeting when he caught him talking to On Ji, showing that he's at least capable of taking "Kuzon's" alleged Fish out of Water status into consideration. The fact that Shoji is shocked about this makes this says it all.
  • Playing with Fire: He is a fire bender, as shown when he fire bent at Aang and burned his textbook to ashes.
  • Smug Snake: He may be tough compared to his fellow students, but his assumption that "Kuzon" was easy pickings led to him being humiliated in front of the student body. Later, he rats out Aang's secret dance party and smugly believes Aang will get sent to "reform school", and is annoyed when he escapes.
  • The Stool Pigeon: Of the Petty Patty type. He rats out Aang's secret dance party to the Headmaster in order to deliberately get Aang in trouble and removed.
  • Teacher's Pet: He's in good standing with the Headmaster, who gives him special treatment while ignoring his bullying of the other students. He will hide behind the coattails of the Headmaster when he's unable to actually beat up another student.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: After the "fight" he started with "Kuzon", he looked at the Headmaster with tears in his eyes and pretended to have been roughed up. He is then seen smirking at "Kuzon" behind the Headmaster's back as the latter leaves after accusing the former of starting a fight.


    Chit Sang 

Chit Sang

Voiced by: Ezekial Rollins
A prisoner at the Boiling Rock, who joins the prison break.
  • Ambiguous Criminal History: We never learn what he did to get thrown in the highest security prison in the world. He claims to have been framed.
  • Defector from Decadence: Mostly out of necessity, but he DOES technically betray his country by helping Zuko and not exposing the Avatar. Given the treatment he's faced at the hand of Fire Nation authorities though, he's probably not too broken up about it.
    • The Boiling Rock is reserved for POWs, traitors, and criminals too dangerous to put anywhere else. Discounting the first, there's a 50/50 chance he already betrayed the Fire Nation.
  • The Dog Bites Back: A prison guard bullies him despite him not breaking any rules. When he refuses to bow, the guard attacks him with fire and uses it his self-defense as an excuse to lock him in the cooler. Later, when asked to identify the mole, instead of ratting out Sokka, he points to that guard.
  • Dumb Muscle: The Warden seems to think so. He's a fast thinker when it comes to weaseling in on others' plans and understanding prison culture, but it's also worth noting that he got his friends and him captured by touching boiling water during their first escape attempt.
  • Hidden Depths: At first glance a not-too-bright thug; he proves himself to be good at understanding other people and turns the Warden's firebending attack back on him, hinting at a waterbending-informed understanding of the art similar to Iroh's rather than the "burn it all down" style of his countrymen.
    • Despite telling Sokka he owes him for not ratting him out and threatening to do it before, Chit Sang looks disappointed in himself for telling the Warden any details.
  • Noble Demon: He's a self-serving and brash lawbreaker, who nonetheless refuses to rat out Sokka and Zuko (even if he threatens to), keeps to himself until provoked by a bully guard, and looks out for his friends.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Doesn't seem too concerned either way that Zuko betrayed his nation or about joining the Avatar; he just wants out of the prison.
  • Opportunistic Bastard: Subverted; he could be seen as this, but when the "opportunity" is getting out of the Boiling Rock where he's singled out and bullied just for having self-respect, can you really blame the man?
  • Prison Riot: Knows how to start them.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Or at least, too dumb to form or succeed in an escape plan on his own. Putting his hand outside the cooler WAS a stupid move.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Even though he's been listed by some as a member of Team Avatar; we never see what happened to him after he left the Air Temple with Hakoda; or if his friends ever got out if the Boiling Rock.


Video Example(s):


Firebending Demonstration and Duel

General Iroh demonstrates firebending form for Fire Prince Zuko / a duel between Zuko and Admiral Zhao

How well does it match the trope?

4.94 (35 votes)

Example of:

Main / PlayingWithFire

Media sources: