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Recap / Avatar: The Last Airbender "The Warriors of Kyoshi"

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The Warriors of Kyoshi interrogate the Gaang.
"I am a warrior. But I'm a girl, too."

On their quest to the Northern Water Tribe, Aang decides it's of vital importance that he ride Giant Koi Fish, a distraction which results in the gang being captured. Much to Sokka's surprise, however, the group who captured them is a troop of warrior women. His sexism doesn't exactly make them sympathetic to letting the group go free, but it turns out that these are the Warriors of Kyoshi, named after the previous Earth Avatar, and thus they are eager to help the Avatar. Aang's fame goes to his head as he attempts to impress Katara, while Sokka learns a lesson or two about gender equality from the Kyoshi Warriors—in particular, their pretty leader Suki. However, news that the Avatar is at Kyoshi Island spreads, enticing Zuko to pay a visit...


Tropes in this episode include:

  • Amazon Brigade: The Kyoshi Warriors are an all-female group, keeping in the tradition of their founder, Avatar Kyoshi. They also wear her warrior paint and dress to signify their heritage.
  • Answer Cut: When Aang says there is something about Kyoshi Island that makes him not want to leave, the camera pans to the right to reveal his giggling Groupie Brigade.
  • Audience Murmurs: When Aang airbends in the village for the first time, proving himself to be the Avatar.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Unagi means eel in Japanese.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Sokka does this while the Kyoshi warriors have him tied to a pole and surrounded.
    Sokka: There's no way a bunch of girls took us down.
    Suki: "A bunch of girls," huh? The unagi's going to eat well tonight.
  • Character Development: Sokka learns a lot about humility, and not to be sexist. This is probably also the first episode he realizes he's the Non-Action Guy.
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  • Chekhov's Gun: Aang uses the unagi, with its ability to spout water, to extinguish the flames of the burning village.
  • Combat Hand Fan:
    • The Kyoshi Warriors' main weapon. Based on real life Japanese weapons, as well. They use their fans in honor of Kyoshi who used a pair of fans when she was alive.
    • When Aang and Zuko are fighting, Aang grabs a pair of fans dropped by one of the Warriors and uses them to send a powerful air blast at Zuko, knocking him into a nearby house.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Sokka accepting his defeat gracefully and respecting the Kyoshi Warriors, as well as women generally. Psychologically, we would rather expect massive resentment from a young Proud Warrior Race Guy beaten by a bunch of girls; it would be more likely if he became a misogynist after this, if he weren't one already. Of course, it may just be that Sokka is unusually philosophical and intellectually mature...
  • Description Cut: Prince Zuko is trying to track down the Avatar.
    Prince Zuko: How am I going to find the Avatar? He is clearly a master of evasive maneuvering.
    [cut to the Gaang on Appa]
    Sokka: You have no idea where you're going, do you?
  • Easily Forgiven: Aang is surprisingly forgiving towards the Kyoshi Islanders for just moments ago threatening to feed him and his friends to the unagi for trespassing on their island.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: A somewhat downplayed example, but Katara gets rather jealous of the local girls that seem infatuated with Aang.
  • Groupie Brigade: Aang gets one of these for being the Avatar.
  • Humble Pie: Sokka gets handed a big mouthful when he goes to confront the Warriors of Kyoshi, and learns that he's not the great Water Tribe warrior he thought he was.
  • Laugh of Love: Aang's fangirls tend to giggle and squeal when they're with him, much to Katara's jealousy.
  • Mouth Cam: This is present to show Aang swinging across the unagi's mouth.
  • Off-Model: Aang is hit badly by it while running from the unagi; his face is grotesquely deformed and his arms turn into handless noodles. Luckily, the animators soon got things under control and this never happened again.
  • Riding into the Sunset: Team Avatar, joined by the unagi.
  • Sea Serpents: The unagi.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Straw Misogynist: Sokka is a downplayed example for being condescending to Katara, and written this way so the story can spell out that he is wrong and make him see the light.
  • Wake-Up Call: Aang gets comfortable on Kyoshi Island due to his fanbase, forgetting about the war that he as the Avatar is supposed to stop. And then Zuko attacks, giving Aang the reminder of his responsibilities he needs.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: The writers backed themselves into a corner when they said that Kyoshi was born on the island four hundred years ago. Roku died at seventy and Aang was in the iceberg for a century, implying that she lived to be roughly 230 (it's not clear if she was born precisely 400 years ago or if it was an approximation). People, and especially the Avatar, live longer in this universe than they do in real life, but the next most Long-Lived character is Aang himself and he died at chronologically 166.


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