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  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception:
    • Never, ever, ever, call any part of this franchise "anime"; the universe was developed with anime stylings, yes, but it is a western cartoon. It's a common mistake, but doing so gets certain people really angry.
    • Do not mistake it for James Cameron's 2009 blockbuster Avatar when it is brought up in conversations.
  • Friendly Fandoms: In spite of the fandom being vicious to anyone who makes the mistake of calling the franchise anime, the franchise commands a lot of respect among actual anime fans. This is due to it taking influence from some of the most influential parts of Japanese animation, such as the works of Studio Ghibli. The franchise is regularly discussed casually among anime fans alongside their favorite series despite being a western cartoon.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: A YouTuber posted news that the next entry in the franchise after Korra will move to an April Fools gag in 2017. Jump forward to mid-September 2018...

    The Original Series 
  • Accidental Innuendo: "The Drill". Not only is the long stick like drill very phallic in appearance, but when the slurry overflows it looks like a "climax" into the wall.
  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: The Great Divide. It seems many viewers focus on the feud between the clans itself and Aang's solution to the conflict. However, from another viewpoint, the episode is a warning about getting caught up in arguments and controversies where there is no clear logical resolution because it's easier to align yourself with one of the groups. Both clans are telling different versions of the same story about a significant ancestor and don't seem to have any sort of evidence or documentation. Sokka and Katara find themselves weighing in on opposite sides of the feud because of which side of the story they heard first, and because of their views on how to adequately build tents in the dry season. This can also apply to the resolution of the conflict. Aang told a total lie to get the two to stop fighting; which DID end the feuding between the two tribes so they could focus and move past their long standing quarrel. A little lie helps if it avoids a worse outcome.
  • Anvilicious:
    • "The Great Divide." The tribes hate each other for very trivial reasons, and this is a Bad Thing. We get it.
    • "The Painted Lady." Katara's Chronic Hero Syndrome gets dialed up to eleven, to the point the entire episode could be renamed "I will never ever stop helping people, and anyone who doesn't agree with me or appreciate my efforts is a bad person!" What made this episode particularly egregious is the whole show, up until this point, took a subtle approach to "save the environment"—refreshing, especially for a kids show. Why the writers felt they needed to suddenly hammer home the message seems a bit baffling given how well it's handled before and after.
  • Arc Fatigue: It takes Zuko two and a half seasons to figure out he should be on the Avatar's side and that the Fire Nation as it stands is a horrible mess that he needs to redeem.
  • Ass Pull: A lot of people think the finale had two major ones. The first one with Aang being granted energybending by the lion-turtle is hotly debated as to whether it was or not, with the issue mostly being accepted in concept as it fits with the lore with the timing of its implementation and lack of foreshadowing being the most controversial. The second with Aang entering the Avatar state by hitting a perfectly-shaped rock as opposed to opening his chakras on his own is near universally considered a giant Ass Pull.
  • Awesome Ego: Toph proclaims herself the greatest Earthbender on the planet — and can back it up.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Katara: Strong female lead and good role-model, or over-emotional hypocrite?
    • Zuko: Badass relatable character with a sympathetic backstory, or wangsty, honor-obsessed Emo Teen who is way too easily forgiven?
    • Fans either consider Mai an amusing Deadpan Snarker or find her Emotionless Girl schtick to be dull. The comics have only made her more divisive as she comes off as Unintentionally Unsympathetic to many.
    • Suki: When she was introduced, she was a near-unanimous Ensemble Dark Horse. But her joining the Gaang for the final battle split the fandom in half. Some are happy to see her return with more spotlight, others thought that she was just sort of thrown in without much consideration or fanfare and it wound up making her duller. Not to mention she lost her distinctive Kyoshi Warriors garb.
    • Jet: Possibly one of the most controversial characters in Avatar: The Last Airbender due to his radicalized approach in dealing with Fire Nation colonizers, how he was unceremoniously killed off while characters like Ozai and Azula were left alive, and the way he was portrayed in the show. The series being put on Netflix has re-ignited the debate over whether Jet was in the right or wrong, with some people even flat-out calling the Avatar franchise "liberal propaganda". The timing of it being put on Netflix while anti-racism and de-colonization movements occur around the world has definitely not helped matters.
  • Broken Base:
    • Aang's conflict in the finale split fans between those who felt it came out of nowhere and those who felt it was perfectly justified given what we'd seen of Aang to that point. Then there's the controversy over whether the resolution of using the previously unseen Energybending so Aang could stop Ozai without killing him was reasonably foreshadowed or a complete Ass Pull.
    • Season 3: Fans either consider it to be the strongest season of the three or the weakest. Most of this is directed at the rather loose first half.
    • The revelation that Roku and Sozin were best friends and that both are Zuko's great-grandfathers. Some fans love it and view it as a good plot twist while others view it unnecessary and the most blatant case of Writers Cannot Do Math (taking into account the ages both would have to be when they had their kids; considering Rina was Roku's daughter and Ursa was born 76 years after Roku's death, Rina would have been at least 76-years-old when she gave birth to Ursa and at least 97 when she died.)
  • Catharsis Factor: Considering how smug and arrogant Azula has been in most of her appearances before now, the climax of “The Boiling Rock” is an immensely satisfying Break the Haughty moment for her. Not only does she fail to capture Zuko and Sokka, Mai's uncle betrays her, causing her to almost fall in a lake of boiling water, which is immediately followed by Mai and Ty Lee betraying her, ultimately leaving her feeling angry, humiliated and robbed of her bending power. Considering Azula bullied Ty Lee into accompanying her on her quest in the first place, it’s also satisfying to see Mai and Ty Lee finally end their toxic ‘friendship’ with the princess who's tried to manipulate them both through fear for years.
    Azula: I never expected this from you. The thing I don't understand is why? Why would you do it? You know the consequences.
    Mai: I guess you don’t know people as well as you think you do. You miscalculated. I love Zuko more than I fear you.
    Azula: (outraged) No, you miscalculated! You should have feared me more!
    The two girls charge at each other, before Ty Lee chi-paralyzes Azula in the back to save Mai, causing her to topple over onto the ground.
  • Complete Monster: Fire Lord Ozai is a genocidal, child-abusing fascist dictator who has dedicated weeks at a time and large portions of his national army to hunting down and killing a twelve-year-old and his friends. He forced Ursa into marrying him, and tried to kill her old lover out of spite. He obtained the throne when he manipulated Ursa into murdering his father to usurp the throne from his grieving older brother Iroh. He then thanked her with banishment from the Fire Nation and threatened to hunt them down and kill the children if she took them with her. He abused his son Zuko out of spite when Ursa claimed that Zuko was not his son even though he knew it was a lie, burned his face for speaking out of turn, and tried to shoot him with lightning when he decides to join Aang. He manipulated his loyal daughter Azula into becoming his perfect little villain to the point where she snaps from the pressure, only to later discard her to a completely meaningless position. Finally, his reaction to news of rebellions in the Earth Kingdom is to try to incinerate the continent. Even after his downfall he still tries to manipulate his son Zuko into being a tyrant like himself.
  • Crazy Awesome: Between his unconventional Secret Test of Character and his generally madcap personality, Bumi was a fan favorite from the word "Go".
  • Cry for the Devil: Though Azula seems like a completely evil Magnificent Bitch, her Villainous Breakdown and her status as a Tragic Villain coming to light in the finale is one of the saddest parts of the show.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Ty Lee is also a popular character due to her unique ability, Foe Yay with Sokka, and attractive design in general. Many were disappointed that she rarely appeared in Season 3.
    • Jet was meant to be a one-shot character, but fan popularity brought him back for four more appearances.
    • Koh only had a meaningful role in one episode, but he's so creepy that fans still yearn for his return to this day.
    • Jin only had a role in one filler episode, however is one of the most popular characters in fanart and fanfiction. Many love her due to her cute design, personality, and for being someone to ship Zuko with for fans who don't like him with Mai.
    • King Bumi for being a powerful earthbender, Crazy Awesome, and one of the few people who Aang knew before being frozen.
  • Evil Is Cool:
    • Princess Azula is regarded as one of the coolest characters in the series, as well as one of the most evil. Those are directly tied together (or rather how good she is at being evil).
    • Ozai. While he has nowhere as much screentime as his children, the ominous build-up to his character via flashback presents him as a truly intimidating figure. And once Season 3 kicks in, it shows that it's far from an Informed Ability, and he comes closest to giving Aang the fight of his life. The fact that he's voiced by The Joker helps.
  • Evil Is Sexy:
    • Azula. Being an Ax-Crazy sociopath does little to mitigate this. The sultry voice performance by Grey Delisle adds a lot more seductive undertones to her as well.
    • Ozai is this during the final battle, thanks to his Walking Shirtless Scene. As with his daughter, his voice actor definitely helps.
  • Fountain of Memes: Sokka. Practically every comedic moment he's involved in is basically a goldmine of memetic levels, most notably during his cactus juice-induced hallucinatory state.
  • Franchise Original Sin: The follow-up show's big complaint of having a lot of overpowered villains starts here, as far back as the introduction of Princess Azula and the Fire Nation upping its game after the first season, with Team Avatar running away constantly and winning only small victories for most of the rest of the show. However, this is tempered due to the villains always failing to capture the Gaang.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In "Jet":
      Katara: We were following instinct.
      Jet: You'll get yourself killed that way.
    • From "The Great Divide": "Settling feuds and making peace. All in a day's work for the Avatar." Tell that to the people of Yu Dao.
    • From "The Blind Bandit": An Earthbending member of the Fire Nation? Surely you jest.
    • Toph's attempt at having a "life-changing field trip with Zuko" getting blown off, followed by her grumbling, "this is the worst field trip ever," is funny until one sees The Legend of Korra. What she tries to resolve is her strained relationship with her parents, and the Time Skip sequel reveals that Toph's unresolved issues with her parents bleeds into her parenting of and relationship with her own daughters. The Rift, at least, shows her reconciling with her parents while Korra's third season has her making amends with her daughters.
    • A meta example: in "The Siege of the North, Part 1", Pakku sarcastically tells one of his pupils that if they keep their performance up, they may be able to fight a sea sponge in a couple of years. The creators confirmed in a commentary that this was intended to be a friendly Take That! towards Spongebob Squarepants, Nick's other most-popular show at the time. However, following the The New '10s, which had the Sequel Series Korra be completely Screwed by the Network at every possible opportunity in favor of Spongebob, this formerly lighthearted jab can seem a lot more serious/justified.
    • In "The Beach":
      • Azula comments that her own mother thought she was a monster, then jokes that she was correct in thinking so. The scene becomes much less funny after the finale, where Azula hallucinates Ursa showing her affection, which causes the princess to break down in tears.
      • Ty Lee says that spending time with her friends at Ember Island is something that she will remember forever. This heartwarming line becomes cringeworthy following the events of "The Boiling Rock - Part 2", where Ty Lee turns against Azula and is imprisoned in return.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Ozai's title in the finale is a reference to the Chinese "fenghuang" (the phoenix lord of demons, which is symbolic in and of itself).
    • The sheer number of accurate details from different cultures is immensely rewarding for anyone familiar with Asian history, and not just Ancient Asian history. Many of the best references and parallels are actually from 20th century China and Japan. Ba Sing Se especially will ring a lot of bells for anyone who's been to China lately. The Dai Li, for example, are named after a real person, the leader of the Kuomintang's State Sec known as the 'Bureau of Investigation and Statistics' during the Chinese Civil War, who were known for their extreme brutality in quelling dissent against the state. The 'Bureau of Investigation and Statistics' moved to Taiwan where they reorganized and still exist today. Likewise, Lake Laogai, the Earth Kingdom's secret prison, is named for the now-abolished, real-life prison camps of communist China (the equivalent of a Soviet gulag).
  • Gotta Ship 'Em All: The fandom has shipped almost every possible combination of characters, up to and including everyone with everyone else ''simultaneously''.
  • Growing the Beard:
    • In the trope sense, it seems most of the fans agree the show was great from the start but others like to point at various points in Season 1 (and up to Season 2) as to where it "really" hit its stride. "The Storm" which reveals the backstories of Aang and Zuko is a popular candidate.
    • "Avatar Roku: Winter Solstice Part 2" is the first time the Gaang enters the Fire Nation, the first time Aang meets Avatar Roku, the first time Zhao poses a threat to them, and is the episode where we learn that there is a time limit to defeat Fire Lord Ozai. Basically this episode kicks off the main plot.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Iroh exasperatedly telling Zuko he'll never find the Avatar in the first episode. Once you know Zuko's whole backstory, it comes off pretty damn callous in a rewatch since he's offhandedly saying "Oh, just give up on ever returning to your homeland, family, and birthright and go to bed." To be fair, they had no legitimate indication at the time that it was anything more than a Snipe Hunt used to manipulate Zuko to keep him from turning face in his exile.
    • In the Guru, Azula taunts to the Earth King when he learns that Long Feng was manipulating him by saying "It's terrible when you can't trust the people who are closest to you." It became dramatically ironic when Mai and Ty Lee turn against her in the third season, which causes her to undergo a Villainous Breakdown.
    • Hama passing down bloodbending to Katara doesn't seem like a big deal until The Legend of Korra, where two of the series' main antagonists are bloodbenders, and they don't need a full moon to bloodbend.
    • Zuko blowing off Toph when she tries to tell him about her unresolved issues with her parents, followed by her feeling disappointed that she didn't find a resolution to this central issue for her, becomes much harsher when The Legend of Korra reveals that Toph not finding a resolution to her issue with her parents affects her parenting of her own future daughters, which creates a host of emotional issues with them regarding her parenting. Somewhat alleviated after The Rift shows her rebuilding her relationship with her parents and the last season of Korra has her make amends with her daughters as well.
    • In "Nightmares And Daydreams", Mai is trying to cheer up Zuko, who just stumbled out of a war meeting with his father and sister, but he doesn't mention what happened in there. He seems depressed over it, though, and whatever happened in there helped him finally pull a Heel–Face Turn. We later see that this was the meeting where the Fire Nation decided to burn the entire Earth Kingdom to the ground, turning its surface to glass and murdering every single person there.
    • "The Beach" has Azula hilariously, yet somewhat painfully, try to socialize and act like a normal teenager but just cannot do it for the life of her. Then, you realize that it's because of this that she prefers to use manipulation and fear to get what she wants but it also sets her up for a lifetime of misery and betrayal once those tactics don't work anymore.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Toph asks Aang if it's possible for friendships to transcend lifetimes. Considering her own friendship with Aang's reincarnation Korra in the sequel series, it's safe to say it happened for her.
  • He's Just Hiding!:
    • Jet, Zhao, and Combustion Man get a lot of this. The sequel series reveals it's actually true with Zhao... In the worst possible manner.
    • Most fans still believe this of a number of Air Nomads. One of the comics actually had this be true... for a while.
    • According to Word of God, a small colony of Sky Bison were found by Aang in the remote mountains between the original show and Legend Of Korra, so depending on your viewpoint, the Airbenders really were just hiding.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • In "The Storm", Sokka describes a dream he had where Momo talked ("You said some very unkind things.") Two seasons later in "Nightmares and Daydreams", one of Aang's hallucinations starts with Momo talking.
    • In "The Fortuneteller", Katara hopes that the man she marries will be tall. Aang is shorter than Katara in the series, but we find out in The Legend of Korra that he had a growth spurt and wound up being a whole head taller than Katara.
    • The final scene of "The Ember Island Players" can also come off as this, as many fans came away from The Last Airbender with the same sentiments.
      Zuko: That... wasn't a good play.
      Aang: I'll say.
      Katara: No kidding.
      Suki: Horrible.
      Toph: You said it.
      Sokka: But the effects were decent.
      • On top of the constant complaints by the characters that their representations in the play are nothing like real life, accurately mirroring fan complaints of characterization and appearance in the film.
      • This YouTube video puts it in cartoon form.
      • There's also Aang's "Wait, is that a woman playing me?" Aang's stunt double in the movie is female.
      • On a semi-unrelated note one Cowboy Bebop-ladened review of the movie incorrectly stated that it was about a battle between the "Fire and Air Nations", the latter actually being used in the show in the episode "The Headband" as Fire Nation Propaganda/Historical Revision.
    • The existence of Koh the Face Stealer became this when a woman with the last name of Koh was hired to do the line art for The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars.
    • The first tie-in video game featured steampunk-heavy people who believed bending to be the source of all of the world's problems as the antagonists. Now look what's happened in the first season of The Legend of Korra. Somewhere, "The Maker" must be laughing her ass off.
    • In the 'Ember Island Players', the play's version of Aang is a girl posing as a boy. The next Avatar is a girl with boyish tendencies.
      • Double hilarious for Russian fans, since Aang & Korra in the Russian dub are voiced by the same voice actress, Olga Shorokhova.
    • For much of the series, we were told that metalbending was impossible (Hell, it's a major plot point in the episode "Imprisoned"), but then Toph came along and did just that.
    • In "The Siege of the North, Part 1", Hahn mispronounces Sokka's name with a long "O" sound. That same pronunciation is used for the entirety of the live-action The Last Airbender film.
    • Roku tells Aang that "being the Avatar doesn't hurt your chances with the ladies." In Korra, it turns out this is true even for female Avatars.
      • Similarly, the meaning of "bender" in the UK now has a whole different context in the show.
    • In 2007, Bryan Konietzko joked at Comic-Con, "I'll give you a spoiler. Cabbage Merchant. Fire Lord Ozai. Same guy!" While purely a joke in this series, in 2013, the irate cabbage merchant of another series would turn out to secretly be a villain... working for Mark Hamill (aka Fire Lord Ozai).
    • Also on the subject of Mark Hamill, the year the series finale aired, he voiced a villain very much like Ozai — obsessed with domination and destruction, and the ability to breathe fire. His name? Malefor.
    • Before the first season was over, Zuko's fans noticed he was a human version of Kovu from the 1998 Lion King II. Over 7 years after the series ended, Disney came out with The Lion Guard, a new installment in The Lion King franchise about a young hero who has a power that allows him to access all the power of his ancestors to cause things like great bursts of wind, earthquakes, rain, and erupting volcanoes in order to maintain balance in his kingdom — in other words, the Avatar State. Bonus? Like Aang, the hero constantly fears losing control of the power and harming those he loves. And sings a song called "Path of Honor."
    • In "The Firebending Masters," when Zuko needs to rediscover the original source of Firebending, Sokka jokingly suggests he could "jump into a volcano." While that may not be an effective way to learn the philosophy of Firebending, it turns out jumping into a volcano is a great way to acquire the Prince Zuko look.
    • In Book One, Sokka fell in love with Yue, a girl with white hair and a connection to the moon. Jack DeSena (Sokka's voice actor) would later star in The Dragon Prince as Callum, who ends up falling for Rayla, a Moonshadow Elf who also has white hair.
  • Incest Yay Shipping:
    • Zuko and Azula. It helps that they suffers a lot from Foe Yay.
    • Some between Katara and Sokka because of the time they dressed up as a married couple to pretend they were Aang's parents.
  • Inferred Holocaust: The show is often quite open about death by kids' show standards, but in particular there is no way that Aang didn't kill a hell of a lot of people in his Avatar-state rampage at the end of "The Siege of the North".
    • In the finale, it seems highly likely that many Fire Nation soldiers died when Sokka, Toph, and Suki crash their air fleet.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • The titular king in "The King of Omashu" also being Aang's childhood friend Bumi was a surprise when the episode first aired, but it's common knowledge now.
    • Zuko's Heel–Face Turn was fairly surprising when it first occurred, but it has since become one of the most popular and well-known parts of the show, and frequently cited as an example of how to do character development and a redemption arc properly. Most people who have been on the internet since Netflix announced the show was coming to the platform are likely aware of this before even seeing the first episode.
  • Love to Hate: Azula, for those that prefer her to not be a DILP. Long Feng too. Zhao is much less Evil Is Cool but definitely Love to Hate.
  • Magnificent Bitch: Princess Azula shows herself as far more ruthless and manipulative than her elder brother Prince Zuko. Pursuing the Avatar, Azula later conquers the supposedly impregnable city Ba Sing Se by sheer guile after winning its secret police the Dai Li to her side by sheer force of will and charisma. After supposedly killing Avatar Aang, Azula gives her brother credit, knowing that if Aang is found alive then it is Zuko who will suffer the wrath of their father Fire Lord Ozai. While she succumbs to madness at the conclusion of the show, The Search shows Azula begin to recover, even manipulating Zuko when he knows how dangerous she is, before she returns in Smoke and Shadow, having accepted she will never have the throne. Instead, Azula orchestrates a series of plots to force her brother to take a heavy hand, content to manipulate him into being the Fire Lord she believes he should be.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Toph. She even gets it in-universe, one of her students being surprised that Toph was born to human parents instead of willing herself into existence from a boulder.
    • Aang himself. Several have stated that if he hadn't been killed off prior to The Legend of Korra, then none of its big villains would have gotten very far in their respective sagas, since he isn't Unskilled, but Strong like Korra is.
  • Memetic Loser: Kuruk is treated as such compared to all other Avatars, due to dying very young, spending most of his short life trying to show off and impress the ladies instead of saving the world, and overall being such an apparent jerk that he lost his wife to Koh on their wedding day.
  • Memetic Molester: Azula, due to the massive amount of subtext at play between her, her friends and her brother.
  • Memetic Psychopath: Kyoshi, thanks to her frequent Flanderization by the fanbase as a Blood Knight who considers violence to be the best solution to any problem.
  • Mentor Ship: Aang got shipped with all 3 of his bending teachers — Katara, Toph, and Zuko.
  • Mis-blamed: Some people claim the energybending in the finale was thrown in as an Ass Pull in order to avoid killing on a kids' show, however Mike and Bryan claim to have had the idea as the resolution of the conflict in the series bible from the beginning.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: The epic sounds of Zuko and Azula shooting fire at each other during the comet-enhanced Agni Kai.
  • Multiple Demographic Appeal: Sure, it's a kids' show. It also tackles very mature themes, has plenty of fanservice for anyone who's interested, and isn't afraid to say die when it's warranted, all without becoming kid-unfriendly.
  • Narm:
    • In "Bitter Work", after Iroh refuses to shoot lightning at Zuko so he can practice the redirection technique, the prince stands alone in a thunderstorm and demands the universe strike him with everything it's got. When no lightning comes, Zuko starts crying and screams in frustration. The scene as a whole is unintentionally comical due to how over-the-top Zuko's reaction and facial expressions are.
    • Zuko's line "my father decided to teach me a permanent lesson, on my face" is suitably tragic... but still incredibly awkward.
  • No Yay: Invoked by Bryke, who (jokingly) suggested "Bluezula" during the infamous shipping-slideshow. You can actually hear someone in the crowd screaming "What is WRONG with you?"
  • Older Than They Think: The first series premiered in 2005. As early as 2004, various journalists have referred to the "Rust Belt" area of the United States as the "metal-bending states."
  • One-Scene Wonder:
  • Fire Lord Azulon only appeared in a flashback scene. He remains the only character Ozai showed complete respect towards.
  • The Yuyan Archers only appeared in a few scenes of one episode, but are highly memorable for being Badass Normals with Improbable Aiming Skills in a world full of people with Elemental Powers.
  • Periphery Demographic:
    • Despite being initially targeted at elementary school-age kids, the show become quite popular (likely even more popular) among preteens and teenagers. And young adults in their twenties. And not-so-young adults.
    • Toph being a girl rather than a boy was supposed to appeal to the female demographic... which it did, but the showrunners probably weren't expecting her to be equally popular with teen to college-aged men.
    • One of the Avatar video games on the Xbox 360 is popular among achievement hunters due to ease of getting 1000 points.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: A lot of them:
    • Aang and Katara = Kataang
    • Sokka and Yue = Suekka or Yuekka
    • Zuko and Mai = Maiko
    • Zuko and Katara = Zutara
    • Toph and Aang = Taang
    • Jet and Katara = Jetara
    • Suki and Sokka = Sukka
    • Toph and Sokka = Tokka
    • Jet and Zuko = Jetko
    • Azula and Ty Lee = Tyzula
    • Zuko and Aang = Zukaang
    • Zuko and Sokka = Zukka
    • Azula and Katara = Azutara
    • Mai and Ty Lee = Mailee
  • Realism-Induced Horror: Ozai is a tyrannical king who heads a war against the entire planet and tries to become the ruler of all the kingdoms. His most reprehensible behavior is his Domestic Abuse of his wife, children, and to a lesser extent his older brother. The comics made it worse by revealing he and Ursa were never in love. He forced her to marry him and the children were conceived under dubious consent.
  • Relationship Writing Fumble:
    • Some fans think Aang and Katara's relationship comes off as more familial than romantic at times as Katara acts as the mature Team Mom to the goofy Kid Hero Aang. The Will They or Won't They? aspect is dragged along and beaten to death until the very end of the series finale. This is even Lampshaded a couple of times throughout the series by the writers, most prominently in Ember Island Players where actress Katara says she only loves Aang like a brother.
    • Azula permanently sounding like she's trying to seduce her brother. Okay, admittedly, that's how she acts with pretty much everyone. But Bryke sure loved to tease the fans with this idea such as a possible pairing in the series being her and the Blue Spirit, aka Zuko's alternate identity.
    • Azula's interactions with Ty Lee, and vice versa, sometimes come off as romantic or resemble a Romantic Two-Girl Friendship but this was unintentional. Azula was manipulating Ty Lee for her own gain and Ty Lee behaved sycophantically towards Azula out of her extreme fear that Azula would harm her. When Mai betrayed Azula for Zuko, Ty Lee also betrayed Azula for Mai. Later confirmed in the comic trilogies that Ty Lee prefers Mai and is not on pleasant terms with Azula post-series. Azula is still angry at her for her betrayal and Ty Lee is naturally even more afraid of her than before. This jossed many Tyzula shipping fanworks. Still, their voice actresses like the ship. Azula's voice actress, Grey DeLisle has stated that she recognizes that a potential relationship between Azula and Ty Lee would be abusive. But since this is Grey DeLisle we are talking about, Azula/Ty Lee being an abusive relationship just makes the pairing even more appealing to her.
  • Rooting for the Empire:
    • Azula's ability to provoke this almost rivals Grand Admiral Thrawn. People want to see her win simply because they know it will be awesome to watch. Her conquest of Ba Sing Se without lifting a finger is something that must be seen to be believed.
    • Zuko can provoke this response simply for how horrible his life is.
  • Sacred Cow:
    • Avatar: The Last Airbender is considered by many to be one of the greatest television shows ever made (so much so that the show overall received a 100% approval rating from critics and a nearly perfect audience score of 99% on Rotten Tomatoes), and as such, some fans can get very defensive whenever any form of criticism is brought up. Saying that you don't like this show or that its heavily divisive Sequel Series, The Legend of Korra, is better is bound to be met with serious backlash.
    • It's safe to say that Iroh is this. He's easily the most beloved character in the Avatar universe, but what truly cements this was being voiced by the late Mako, whose passing only amplified people's love of Iroh. It also helps that he is an All-Loving Hero with a backstory that can and will break your heart.
  • Seasonal Rot: Though not as bad as other examples, with the second half of the season (to be more specific, the Day of the Black Sun two-parter onwards) picking up the pace, but many felt that the first half of Season 3 is the weakest part of the show. Fans were hoping that the Gaang being in the Fire Nation would provide opportunities to learn more about certain characters such as Ozai, Iroh, Azulon, Ursa, Kuzon, and Ty Lee. However, it consists mostly of filler episodes, many which aren't referenced in any other episodes. Many fan-favorites are sidelined such as Toph, Ty Lee, and Iroh. This season also wastes opportunities in returning characters such as Ursa and Koh, while most of the characters they do introduce are only given a single episode or are written off as quickly as they're introduced (Chit Sang is a good example). Also, many found that the writers placed too much emphasis on Rule of Funny or Rule of Cool to the point of being unrealistic. That being said, several episodes such as The Puppetmaster, The Beach, The Avatar and the Fire Lord, and Sokka's Master are still beloved on their own for exploring or developing the main cast in meaningful ways.
  • Ships That Pass in the Night: Teo (the guy in the wheelchair) and Ty Lee (one of the most acrobatic girls around) have some moderate popularity, despite the fact they never interacted and probably never saw each other. Fanfics that ship them usually include a mention of their meeting at Zuko's coronation to get around that problem in the easiest way available.
  • Ship-to-Ship Combat:
    • Rivals Harry Potter for some of the fiercest battles (Zutara vs Kataang) of all time.
    • There is a lot of animosity between Suki/Sokka shippers and Toph/Sokka shippers.
    • Zuko/Sokka (Zukka) became popular shortly after the series was put on Netflix, with many shippers attacking Zuko/Katara (Zutara) and Mai/Zuko (Maiko) shippers by claiming that Zutara is "racist" because Zuko's home nation persistently attacked Katara's tribe as well as the rest of the world (failing to realize that this claim would apply to Zukka as well - Het Is Ew is an explanation for this Double Standard) and that Maiko is a Destructive Romance that was Strangled by the Red String (which gave a boost to the Mai/Ty Lee ship that subsequently generated friction with many Azula/Ty Lee shippers). Some Zukka shippers have gone as far as to actively harass Dante Basco, Zuko's voice actor, simply because he favors the Zutara ship. Zukka's sudden explosive popularity has generated friction with some Aang/Zuko (Zukaang) and Jet/Zuko (Jetko) shippers as well, since the two used to be Zuko's more popular same-sex ships with accusations that Zukaang is "pedophilia" because of its 4 year age gap and that Jetko would be "unhealthy". As for Suki/Sokka, most Zukka shippers do not seem to mind that ship as much and write Suki out of the way or simply forget about her since her role in the series was minor.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning: The first two-thirds or so of the first season is considered by some to be a bit of a slog because it’s mostly world building. It’s not until episode 8 (40% mark) that Aang meets Roku who then explains the Myth Arc to him. The story plods around for another handful of filler episodes before really hitting the home stretch with Zuko’s development episodes and the kids getting to the Northern Water Tribe.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • Just because someone is your family does not mean you have to unconditionally love and obey them when they abuse you or make it clear they don't care about you. True family are the people who look after you, love you unconditionally despite your faults, and are willing to die for you.
    • For specific moments, there is a scene in season 3, episode 10 where Zuko delivers something of a Kirk Summation to Ozai:
      Zuko: "Growing up, we were taught that the Fire Nation was the greatest civilization in history. And that, somehow, the War was our way of sharing our greatness with the rest of the world. What an amazing lie that was. The people of the world are terrified by the Fire Nation. They don't see our greatness. They hate us! And we deserve it! We've created an era of fear in the world. And if we don't want the world to destroy itself, we need to replace it with an era of peace and kindness."
      Ozai: [laughs] "Your uncle has gotten to you, hasn't he?"
      Zuko: "Yes. He has."
    • The Painted Lady. Some saw Katara in this episode as a bit self-righteous and stubborn. Neither of which dispel the fact that the people were eating poisoned fish, the river was absolutely toxic, and that the industry that was causing all of it had to be stopped; and the people weren't doing anything about it causing them to suffer and eat mutated, two-headed fish full of toxic slush. Inaction IS an action, and doing nothing while people suffer, doubly so if you have the means to stop it and change things, is outright heinous.
  • Strangled by the Red String: Zuko and Mai being a couple in the very first scene involving both characters at the beginning of Book 3. The only build-ups to the relationship in the second book were a throwaway line from her friend Ty Lee note  and a scene in a flashback sequence set several years before where Mai appears to have a crush on him but there's no implication they've seen each other since. A comic with an original story had to fill in the gaps and explain how they got together. It's even argued that Zuko had more chemistry with Song and Jin, characters who only appeared in one episode each.
  • Spoiled by the Format: The invasion of the Fire Nation on the day of the solar eclipse is built up as the final confrontation, and the final blow to end the war. Too bad it happens in episodes ten and eleven out of twenty-one. Any savvy viewer would know Failure Is the Only Option for the heroes.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Ty Lee is so unbearably sweet she could give someone a toothache.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Ty Lee! She is a fan favorite with a unique ability, and is much nicer than Azula or Mai despite being an antagonist. We never really learn anything about her (other than she comes from a big family where she felt overlooked), and we only see her three times during Season 3, only in one of these episodes was she a major character.
    • Ozai and Iroh's father, Fire Lord Azulon was only briefly seen in one flashback episode and mentioned in passing in another. Despite being the Fire Lord before Ozai and despite the fact that most of the Hundred Year War passed during his reign we know next to nothing about him.
    • Koh, the Face Stealer is quite popular with many fans, yet we never see him after his debut (at least, not in the show proper. He makes appearances in some sort of (now defunct) online game and the sequel comics). Still, some fans are disappointed that he didn't appear in the show itself.
    • Aang's old Fire Nation friend Kuzon. Though he was most likely dead by the time of the show, it is a shame that we never really learn anything about him. This becomes especially annoying in Season 3 where the Gaang visit the Fire Nation, giving us the perfect opportunity to learn more about him including his friendship with Aang, his role in the war, and his possible connection to Zuko (due to their similar names and the fact that Aang compared the two). Word of God originally stated that Kuzon would play an important role in a Season 3 episode, but this unfortunately never came to be, though he does appear in a flashback in the comic "Dragon Days"
    • Azula's elderly advisors/instructors Lo and Li originally seemed to be Azula's equivalents to Zuko's Iroh only much colder in personality. Come Season 3, their role becomes more comical and it's revealed that they aren't even firebenders which makes no sense considering that it was implied that they were her firebending instructors.
    • Chit Sang was an interesting character who briefly joined the group along with Hakoda midway through Season 3 only to leave the following episode without a single line of dialogue!
    • Haru and Hakoda are competent warriors in their own right, but are shelved just before the Grand Finale.
    • Combustion Man is a menacing figure with unique firebending abilities and was hyped to be a major antagonist for the final season. However, other than acting as a somewhat arbitrary plot device to help Zuko earn Aang's trust, his relevance to the main story is minimal. He does not have any lines, his true name is never revealed and he is only fought in two filler episodes before dying in his final appearance.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Iroh's entire past, including his journey to the Spirit World, has left fans with many questions, yet has never been touched upon.
    • Before Season 3 aired, it was said that Zuko would begin searching for his mother in the season. Guess what never happened.
    • Koh ominously told Aang that they would meet again. This never happened onscreen.
    • Xin Fu and Master Yu seemed like they would become recurring antagonists in Season 2. They were only seen two more times and their role was greatly rushed at the end of the season. Furthermore, Xin Fu's plan to capture Aang for the Fire Lord seemed to have been thrown out.
    • The whole mistaken-kidnapping plot around Toph was resolved off-screen, including the revelation to the Gaang that she had lied about joining them.
    • Everything involving bloodbending. Despite only being the focus of a single episode, its horrific nature and backstory make it one of the most memorable plot points of Book 3. It wasn't until The Legend of Korra that the concept was explored to its true potential.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Zuko has been banished for speaking out in his father's meeting, burned by said father, and until Book 3, is given no respect from anyone in the fire nation, aside from his uncle and crew. He is also one of the most popular characters in the franchise thanks to his tragic backstory and sheer determination.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • Smellerbee has an androgynous appearance and wears masculine clothes, but is actually a girl. Her gender is only revealed when Iroh questions her feminine name in "The Serpent's Pass", after which she immediately takes offense at his mistake.
    • Because of his name, Nyla (June's shirshu) is often mistaken for a female. Doesn't help that he's only referred to with a pronoun once.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: While it seems to be primarily a kids' show, it does has its fair share of horror and, especially in the third season, deals with a series of very tough issues. The main character is the lone survivor of a genocide during which an ethnicity was completely wiped out and the 100 year long war seems to have spared not a single family from having lost relatives in combat or war crimes. The Starter Villain and Deuteragonist is the victim of absolutely horrific child abuse from his father that the series depicts without pulling any punches and is always Played for Drama. Some episodes in the third season even deal with an assassin hired to kill the protagonists and one of the heroes setting out to kill the murderer of her mother.


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