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Shout Out / Avatar: The Last Airbender

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  • In the Season 1 finale, Pakku tells one of his students that in a few years he might be able to defeat a sea sponge. The creators later admitted in a commentary that it was a reference/friendly poke towards the fellow Nicktoon, one of its main competitors. The second season also contained a shout-out to its cancelled, fellow Periphery Demographic Nicktoon Invader Zim, for whom Avatar co-creator Bryan Konietzko had been an art director, as well as numerous shout-outs to its fandom, especially to the cosplayers and fangirls. Toph also bends the space rock Sokka gives her in "Sokka's Master" into what looks like the old Nickelodeon logo.
  • When Toph tells Aang, "You da man, Twinkletoes!", she flashes the Buddy Christ sign at him. It's a little difficult to make out, since she's aiming right at the camera and not slightly to the side, but it's there; she's pointing with the right hand and holding a thumbs-up close to her body with her left.
  • In the finale, Toph calls Sokka "Captain Boomerang".
  • The creators are huge fans of Gainax productions, particularly Neon Genesis Evangelion and FLCL. The art book mentions how the studio provided some inspiration for the show's elements.
    • Hei Bai's design is based on the Angels, whereas the long-limbed and hunched look of Bumi's body was inspired by the Evas themselves.
    • The image they drew of Aang with glowing eyes as part of their initial pitch to Nickelodeon was inspired by Naota.
  • The "Love and Peace" line in the finale is a Shout-Out to Vash the Stampede, who used the line "Love and Peace" frequently in Trigun. All Zuko lacked was the "Peace Sign" hand gesture.
  • There are affectionate parodies of Professional Wrestling in the Earth Rumble crew.
    • The Boulder is a direct reference to The Rock.
    • Fire Nation Man is a clear reference to Nikolai Volkoff with the use of his Fire Nation flag and his obnoxious national pride.
  • Aang successfully defends the Northern Water Tribe from a Fire Nation siege by having the Ocean Spirit merge with him, becoming a giant, glowing aqueous creature that is an obvious shoutout to the Forest Spirit's night form in Princess Mononoke. The concept of a human trying to kill a nature spirit also comes from the movie.
  • Katara parting the waters in "The Serpent's Pass" doubles as a shout out to both The Bible and The Prince of Egypt. The latter only because of the serpent's silhouette showing through the water in the same manner that a shark's did in the movie.
  • The gate to the Serpent's Pass tells people to "abandon hope" as do the gates of Hell in Dante's Inferno.
  • In terms of both design and personality, Mayor Tong (from the Season 2 episode "Avatar Day) is very much an Expy of Chi-Fu, from Mulan.
    • Not to mention, both characters were voiced by James Hong. Coincidence? Unlikely.
  • Toph calls Aang "Twinkle-toes" during Earthbending training. R. Lee Ermey used this as an insult against the new recruits in Full Metal Jacket, and Toph's use of "Twinkle-toes" fits her Drill Sergeant Nasty attitude.
  • In the episode "Jet", the fight scenes in the trees were inspired by Naruto, where many of the series' fights take place in gigantic trees.
  • The Zhang backstory in "The Great Divide" is animated in the style of Hiroyuki Imaishi, director of Dead Leaves, Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, and Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.
  • In the episode "Bato of the Water Tribe," bounty hunter June is seen arm wrestling with a man whose design is inspired by that of Ryu. She wrestles him again when she returns in "Sozin's Comet".
  • When Sokka is throwing around names for the team at the end of "The Drill", he suggests "Fearsome Foursome", which was the nickname of the legendary defensive lines of the NFL's Los Angeles Rams in the 60's and 70's.
  • The Scary Impractical Armor Aang wears in "Sokka's Master" features an oversized gauntlet that resembles Nightmare from the Soul Series. Also worth mentioning from that sequence: Tenchi's "Wind Sword".
  • Aang disrupts a band lesson by getting carried away. The episode in which this takes place is a Whole-Plot Reference to Footloose.
  • In Ba Sing Se, Zuko disguises himself with a mask that's actually Pazuzu, as seen in The Exorcist.
  • Cowboy Bebop:
    • The scene in "The Blue Spirit" where Aang asks Zuko if they could have been friends if they met earlier in life is based on a similar scene in the episode "Waltz for Venus" of Bebop.
    • The huge rock forest where Aang fights Ozai is called "Wulong Forest" after the currency in Cowboy Bebop.
  • The scene in the Season 3 episode "The Firebending Masters" where an idol pops up out of the ground and Aang says, "I'm just very suspicious of gems sitting on giant gold pedestals" is a shout-out to Indiana Jones.
  • Play Aang being female is both an homage to Mary Martin and a spoof of women voicing boy characters.
  • One of the steps of the Dance of the Dragon is part of the fusion dance
  • When team Avatar is trying to arrange a meeting with the Earth King, Joo Dee replies that "One does not simply pop in on the Earth King", referencing the memetic quote by Boromir from The Lord of the Rings.
  • In the episode "Avatar Day", Sokka channels Judge Bao, with some Sherlock Holmes elements, while attempting to solve the case.
  • A rather subtle one: Toph is blind and once played the "melon lord" for a training session, the Blind Melon Lord.
  • In the episode "Lake Laogai", Iroh says to Zuko "It's time for you to look inward and begin asking yourself the big questions! Who are you? And what do you want?" Both questions being core to the philosophies of the Vorlons and the Shadows from Babylon 5.