Aang
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Aang

Avatar Aang
Avatar: The Last Airbender / The Legend of Korra character
Aang kneeling in a battle pose, holding his staff behind him.
A young Aang as portrayed in Avatar: The Last Airbender
First appearance"The Boy in the Iceberg"
Created byMichael Dante DiMartino
Bryan Konietzko
Portrayed byNoah Ringer (The Last Airbender)
Voiced byZach Tyler Eisen (original series)
Mitchel Musso (Unaired Pilot)
Ben Helms (Nicktoons MLB)
D. B. Sweeney (The Legend of Korra)
Incarnation(s)
Roku (immediate predecessor)
Kyoshi (preceding Roku)
Kuruk (preceding Kyoshi as Avatar, and Korra as a Water-bender Avatar)
Yangchen (preceding Kuruk as Avatar, and Aang as an Air Nomad Avatar)
Wan (original Avatar)
Korra (Aang's immediate reincarnation)
Information
NicknameBonzu Pipinpadaloxicopolis the Third
"Twinkletoes"
Kuzon
SpeciesHuman (Spiritually linked with Raava/the Avatar Spirit)
GenderMale
TitleThe Avatar
Avatar Aang
OccupationAvatar
Fighting style
WeaponB?
FamilyGyatso (guardian)
SpouseKatara
Significant Soulmate:
Appa (animal guide)
Raava/The Avatar Spirit (Deity, Spiritual personification of peace and order)
ChildrenBumi (son)
Kya (daughter)
Tenzin (son)
RelativesAffinity:
Hakoda (father-in-law)
Kya (mother-in-law)
Sokka (brother-in-law)
Pema (daughter-in-law)
Grandfamily:
Jinora (granddaughter)
Ikki (granddaughter)
Meelo (grandson)
Rohan (grandson)
NationalityAir Nomads (refugee)
Bending elementPrimary: Sub-styles:
Age12 (biological)/112 (chronological) in Book One & Book Two
13-14 (biological)/113-114 (chronological) in Book Three & Comics
Hair colorDark brown (generally shaven)
Eye colorHazel / Gray

Avatar Aang (Chinese: ; pinyin: ?n Áng) is a fictional character and the protagonist of Nickelodeon's animated television series Avatar: The Last Airbender (created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko), voiced by Zach Tyler Eisen.

Aang is the last surviving Airbender, a monk of the Air Nomads' Southern Air Temple. He is an incarnation of the "Avatar", the spirit of light and peace manifested in human form. As the Avatar, Aang controls all four elements (water, earth, fire, and air) and is tasked with keeping the Four Nations at peace. At 12 years old, Aang is the series' reluctant hero, spending a century in suspended animation in an iceberg before joining new friends Katara and Sokka on a quest to master the elements and save their world from the imperialist Fire Nation.

Aang's character has appeared in other media, such as trading cards,[1][2]video games,[3][4]T-shirts,[5] and web comics.[6] Aang has also been portrayed by Noah Ringer in the feature film The Last Airbender,[7] and voiced by D.B. Sweeney in the sequel animated series The Legend of Korra.

Appearances

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Upon death, Avatar Roku was reincarnated and Aang was born, and later raised by Monk Gyatso, a senior monk at the Southern Air Temple and friend of the late Avatar Roku. Even prior to learning he was the Avatar, Aang distinguished himself by becoming one of the youngest Airbending Masters in history by inventing a new technique. As a result of Fire Lord Sozin's increasingly hostile attitude towards the other nations, the senior monks decided to reveal Aang's nature as the Avatar four years before the traditional age (Avatars are usually told of their status once they turn 16) and relocate him to one of the other Air Temples.[8][9] Learning that he was to be taken from Gyatso caused Aang to flee the monastery on his flying bison, Appa, before being caught by a storm; the life-or-death conditions triggered the Avatar State, encasing the young Avatar and his bison in an air-pocket among icebergs, where he remained suspended for a century. Although Monk Gyatso had snuck in the bed late night to tell Aang that he won't be relocated to the Eastern Air Temple, it had already been too late.[10][9]

Book One: Water

After one hundred years of suspended animation in an iceberg, twelve-year-old Aang was freed when found by Katara and Sokka, yet unaware of the events that occurred during his rest.[10] His reawakening catches the attention of Zuko, the banished prince of the Fire Nation, and Aang is forced to leave, with Katara and Sokka accompanying him after they learn that he is the Avatar.[11] Aang and his new friends visit the Southern Air Temple, where they meet a winged lemur whom Aang later names Momo. It is there that Aang learns that he was in the ice for a whole century, and that the Fire Nation wiped out his people, including Gyatso. After a series of misadventures, Aang meets his previous incarnation, Roku, who informs him that he must master all four bending arts and end the war before the coming of Sozin's Comet at the end of summer.[12] Upon arriving to the Northern Water Tribe, after a few conflicts, Aang became an apprentice of Waterbending Master Pakku alongside Katara.[13] After helping the Water Tribe drive off a Fire Nation invasion headed by Admiral Zhao, with Katara as his teacher, Aang and his group journey to the Earth Kingdom to find an Earthbending teacher. Meanwhile, Fire Lord Ozai is angered that Iroh betrayed the Fire Nation. So he sent Princess Azula to hunt down Zuko and Iroh. [14]

Book Two: Earth

In the second season, Aang learns Earthbending from Toph Beifong[15] after he has a vision of the blind Earthbending prodigy in a swamp telling him to find her.[16] On their journey, they are chased by Fire Princess Azula and her friends Mai and Ty Lee.[17] The group learns about the Day of Black Sun in a secret underground library, and they attempt to reveal the information to the Earth King at Ba Sing Se. However, their flying bison, Appa, is captured by Sandbenders. Aang grows upset and angry and confronts the Sandbenders, learning that Appa has been sold. After stopping a Fire Nation drill threatening the safety of Ba Sing Se, they look for Appa only to find themselves dealing with the Dai Li before exposing their leader's deception. The group reunites with Jet helping them find Appa at Dai Li headquarters. They expose the Hundred Year War to the Earth King, who promises to help them invade the Fire Nation. Soon after, Aang meets a guru who attempts to teach Aang to open his seven chakras in order to control the defensive 'Avatar State'; but when Aang perceives Katara in danger, he leaves before the seventh chakra is opened, and thus loses his progress until the seventh is opened.[18] Though Aang manages to unlock the Seventh Chakra, he is mortally wounded by Azula, yet was saved by Katara before the injury became truly fatal.[19]

Book Three: Fire

In the third and final season, Aang is unable to use the Avatar State. Although reluctant with the plan at first, Aang accepts to have everyone think he had died and his remaining allies attack the Fire Nation's capital, but are thwarted by Azula.[20] However, Zuko has a change of heart, rebels against his father,[21] and offers to teach Aang Firebending. Aang and Zuko also improve their Firebending powers with the help of their world's last two dragons.[22] During the finale, finding himself on a strange island, Aang is reluctant to actually kill Fire Lord Ozai, despite his four previous past lives (Roku, Kyoshi, Kuruk, and Yangchen) convincing him it is the only way. But upon learning that he was actually on the back of a Lion Turtle, one of four that made the first benders by manipulating humans' chi, Aang receives the Lion Turtles' Energybending ability. With this ability, as he regained his Avatar State, Aang removes Ozai's bending ability, rendering him harmless and ending the Hundred Year War. Later, in the Fire Nation capital, Aang is seen beside Zuko, the new Fire Lord. The series ends with Aang and his friends relaxing at Iroh's tea shop at Ba Sing Se, where Aang and Katara share a kiss.[23]

Graphic Novel Trilogies

After beginning the Harmony Restoration Movement, an event that was meant to remove Fire Nation remnants from the Earth Kingdom, Aang agrees to end Zuko's life should he go down a path similar to his father, after the latter requests it, being stopped by Katara from entering the Avatar State as he began a later encounter with Zuko[24] and then tries to mediate protestors and the Yu Dao resistance,[25] afterward assembling members of a fan club and forming the "Air Acolytes", a group that he intends to teach the ways of the Air Nomads.[26] Aang then participated in a search for Zuko's mother Ursa,[27] successfully finding her and entering the Spirit World to assist in locating the Mother of Faces,[28] convincing her to grant Rafa a new face.[29] After a period of entertainment,[30] Aang is contacted by his former life Yangchen,[31] who tried contacting him about Old Iron's return.[32] Aang also has a fight with the Rough Rhinos when they try to oust him from the Eastern Fire Refinery.[33] Aang then aids in preventing Azula, disguised as the Kemurikage, from stealing any more children.[34][35] He later returns to the South Pole and reunites with Katara and Sokka during the festival of the rebuilt and newly expanded Southern Water Tribe, with assistance from dozens of waterbenders and healers from the Northern Water Tribe.

Avatar: The Legend of Korra

Being frozen in an iceberg for 100 years while in the Avatar State drained much of Aang's life energy. While he did not feel the effects for many years, after he entered middle age in his 50s, the strain of this exertion increasingly weighed upon his body. Ultimately, it resulted in Aang dying at the relatively young biological age of 66, in 153 AG. Aang was survived by his wife, Katara, and his three children, but he did not live to see his grandchildren, all of whom would become powerful Airbenders. Prior to his death, Aang tasked the Order of the White Lotus with finding and guiding the new Avatar after him. When Aang died, the Avatar spirit reincarnated into Korra of the Southern Water Tribe. Aang intended for the Order to simply guide and guard Korra, but several mishaps in the aftermath of Aang's death (including a kidnapping attempt by the anarchist Zaheer) and the still-fragile state of relations between the now-Five Nations resulted in Katara and Tenzin sequestering Korra in a compound at the South Pole, bringing teachers to her instead of allowing her to seek out her own.

Book One: Air

Avatar Aang's spirit with Korra in The Legend of Korra.

In the sequel series' first season, Avatar Aang's spirit occasionally serves as the spiritual advisor to seventeen-year-old Korra (much like the previous Avatar incarnation, Roku, did for Aang). Initially, Aang is only able to give Korra glimpses of his memory concerning Yakone in relation to her confrontations with his two sons, Amon and Tarrlok, the products of Yakone's Bloodbending vendetta on the Avatar. It is only after she loses her ability to bend that Korra allows herself to listen to her past lives, at which point Aang restores her powers by triggering the Avatar State and teaching her to Energybend.

Book Two: Spirits

The sequel series' second season reveals that Avatar Aang apparently treated Tenzin as his favorite child, due to his son's Airbender status; Kya and Bumi mentioned to Tenzin that Aang always took Tenzin on vacations with him, but never them. Aang's Air Acolytes also were unaware that Aang had two other children besides Tenzin. Tenzin himself insists that Aang loved all his children equally, but that Aang took more precedence in raising him since Tenzin would have to take care of future generations of airbenders. Aang himself later appears, along with Roku, Kyoshi and Kuruk, before Korra in a vision and encourages her to learn the origins of Wan (the first Avatar) and Raava. Aang, or possibly a vision of him, later appears in the Spirit World, encouraging Tenzin to move past the enormous legacy of being Aang's son and find his own path. Korra's connection to Aang and the other preceding Avatars is severed when Vaatu extracts and subsequently kills Raava, the divine Avatar Spirit entity within her. Even though Raava is reborn and fused again with Korra, she discovers, to her dismay, that her spiritual connection to Aang and all past Avatars is gone forever.

Book Three: Change

When Zaheer gave an ultimatum: Surrender to him or lose the new airbenders, Korra mediated into the spirit realm, she expressed her wish to call upon Aang's spirit and ask his advice in saving the new Air Nomads. Iroh's spirit assured her that, even though Aang was no longer able to guide her, she could ask one of Aang's closest friends: Lord Zuko.

Appearances in other media

Games

Aang's character appeared in the Avatar: The Last Airbender Trading Card Game on a multitude of cards.[1][2] He appeared in the Avatar: The Last Airbender video game as one of the four playable characters.[36] Two sequels were made: Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Burning Earth,[3][37] followed by Avatar: The Last Airbender - Into the Inferno.

Aang also appeared in Escape from the Spirit World, an online video game that can be found on Nickelodeon's official website. The game includes certain plot changes that are not shown in the show. The show's directors, Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, claim the events are canon.[4] Aang is also a playable character in the Nickelodeon game Super Brawl Universe. There is also a location in the game set in the Air Temple.

Films

Tokyopop has published a films comic (sometimes referred to as cine-manga), in which Aang, being the main character of the show, appears repeatedly.[6]

In 2010, director M. Night Shyamalan cast 12-year-old Tae Kwon Do practitioner Noah Ringer as Aang in the film adaptation of the series, The Last Airbender.[38] The casting of a presumed white actor in the role of Aang (as well as a primarily Caucasian cast) in the Asian-influenced Avatar universe triggered negative reactions from some fans, marked by accusations of racism, a letter-writing campaign, and a protest outside of a Philadelphia casting call for movie extras. A counter-movement was spawned in response by other fans who believed the casting was appropriate.[39][40][41] The casting decisions were also negatively received by several critics, who stated that the original casting call expressed a preference for Caucasian actors over others.[42] Noah Ringer later identified himself to Entertainment Weekly as an American Indian.[43]

Creation and conception

Aang's character was developed from a drawing by Bryan Konietzko, depicting a bald man with an arrowlike design on his head, which the artist developed into a picture of a child with a flying bison.[44] Meanwhile, Michael Dante DiMartino was interested in a documentary about explorers trapped in the South Pole, which he later combined with Konietzko's drawing.

There's an air guy along with these water people trapped in a snowy wasteland...and maybe some fire people are pressing down on them...

-- Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko[44]

The plot they described corresponds with the first and second episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender, where the "water people" (Katara and Sokka) rescue the "air guy" (Aang) while "trapped in a snowy wasteland" (the Southern Water Tribe) with "some fire people [that] are pressing down on them" (Fire Nation Troops and Zuko).[44][10][11] The creators of the show intended Aang to be trapped in an iceberg for one hundred years, later to wake inside a futuristic world, wherein he would have a robot named Momo and a dozen bisons. The creators lost interest in this theme, and changed it to one hundred years of suspended animation. The robotic Momo became a flying lemur, and the herd of bison was reduced to one.[44]

In the episode "Tales of Ba Sing Se", Aang's name was written as (?n áng) in Chinese.

Personality and characteristics

Clockwise from top left: Aang, Katara, Tenzin, Kya and Bumi

Michael Dante DiMartino, the show's co-creator, said:

"We wanted Aang to solve problems and defeat enemies with his wits as well as his powerful abilities".

-- Michael Dante DiMartino[45]

According to the show's creators, "Buddhism and Taoism have been huge inspirations behind the idea for Avatar."[46] As shown in "The King of Omashu"[47] and "The Headband",[48] a notable aspect of Aang's character is his vegetarian diet, which is consistent with Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism.[46] In the Brahmajala Sutra, a Buddhist code of ethics, vegetarianism is encouraged.[49] Furthermore, the writers gave Aang a consistent reluctance to fight and an aversion to killing. In "The Spirit World (Winter Solstice, Part 1)", Aang encounters an angry spirit destroying a village and kidnapping villagers; but instead of fighting the spirit, Aang negotiates.[50] He is also depicted showing ethical reluctance in killing Firelord Ozai,[51] and eventually strips Ozai of his bending instead of murdering him.[23]

Bending the elements

As the Avatar, Aang is capable of bending all four elements (air, water, earth and fire). The series' creators consulted a professional martial artist in the design of the show's fighting style; each of these styles philosphies and set movements corresponds to a specific "bending arts".[52]

The creators made bending a natural extension of consistent limitations and rules of the world. Everything in Avatar's world, whether it be clothing, culture or infrastructure, is influenced by bending. The City of Omashu uses a complex system of gravity and earthbending to transport supplies. The Water Tribes were a naval superpower: their buildings are made of ice and used waterbending as mechanisms for their walls and gates. Airbenders built temples atop high mountains and cliffs that could only be easily reached by Airbending and they have a hermetic ideology to reflect this isolation. The Fire Nation were the first to industrialize due to their ability to generate power and master metallurgy with their bending or fire and lightning.

At the start of the series, Aang is initially only proficient in air, having been able to bend them with ease since he was a young child. Through the teaching Katara and Zuko, he gradually learns waterbending and firebending; but struggles with Toph's teachings of earthbending due to its rigid nature conflicting with his desire for freedom. Aang utilizes all elements equally, but heavily favor's airbending for crowd control and non-lethal purposes, in accordance with his pacifism principles.

  • Airbending: the martial art Aang primarily uses in the entire franchise, is a Southern Temple Style based on an "internal" Chinese martial art called Baguazhang. Aang is the only person in living memory to have mastered this form of airbending, and would later pass down this knowledge to his son, Tenzin, who with the aid of Korra, would prove instrumental in the reconstruction and preservation of Air Nomad oral and intangible cultural heritage. Due to the genocide of his people, all other "styles of airbending arts" have been forever lost to history. This fighting style focuses on circular movements, and does not have many finishing moves; traits meant to represent the unpredictability of air and the peaceful character of Airbenders.[53] Airbending represents the element of freedom,[54] and is categorized as the most elusive of the "four bending arts". Airbending involves "smooth coiling and uncoiling actions"; dynamic footwork, throws, and open-handed techniques; and swift, evasive maneuvers designed to evoke the "intangibility and explosive power of wind". These techniques are intended to increase the difficulty for opponents to attack directly or land a lethal blow--allowing airbenders to defend themselves while also protecting their attacker from injury--a pacifist-philosophy that is prevalent among the Air Nomad people. Airbending lacks "finishing moves" or effective methods for permanently disabling foes, a weakness frequently exploited by opponents.
  • Waterbending: the martial art Katara teaches Aang in the series, is based on Chinese martial arts techniques of "internal style" T'ai chi ch'uan and Jeet Kune Do. When Aang traveled north, he learned Northern Tribe Yin-style. During the Legend of Korra, Katara is the only Master of "Southern Tribe Yang-style", forced to reconstruct the style from surviving manuscripts; all other masters were killed, their collective knowledge confiscated or destroyed by the Fire Nation.[55][56][53][57] Waterbending represents the element of change - a shapeshifter constantly changing forms -[54] and is categorized as the most adaptive or pliable of the "four bending arts". Waterbending emphasizes "softness and breathing" over "hard aggression"; fluid and graceful, acting in concert with the environment; creating opportunities where none exist; this "flow of energy" allows their defensive maneuvers to translate into focus on control and counter-offenses, turning their opponents' momentum against them. Despite these advantages, Waterbending is almost entirely dependent on inertia; it is essential for practitioners to not be rigid, but to be fluid and able to adapt to any situation.
  • Earthbending: the martial art Toph teaches Aang in the series, is based on chinese martial arts techniques of Hóng Quán and Chu Gar Nán Pài Tángláng.[58][59][56][53][57] Earthbending represents the element of substance.[54] Toph's style is literally "Toph's style"; a blending of her aristocratic family's "secret arts", and honed into a sharp blade through years of experience in gladiatorial arena combat. Earthbending is categorized as the most diverse and enduring of the "four bending arts".[60] Earthbending is the geokinetic ability to manipulate earth, rock, sand, lava, and metals in all their various forms. Earthbending utilizes neutral jing, which involves waiting and listening for the right moment to act decisively. Earthbending involves enduring attacks until the right opportunity to counterattack reveals itself, emphasizes "heavily rooted stances and strong blows that evoke the mass and power of earth", and demands precise stepping footwork to maintain constant contact with the ground. Earthbending parallels Five Animals movements (such as the tiger's hard blows and the crane's affinity to landing gracefully). Earthbending is at its strongest when the feet or hand are in direct contact with the ground, enabling earthbenders to transfer their kinetic energies into their bending for fast and powerful moves. This reliance on direct contact with the earth is a literal Achilles' heel; separating earthbenders from any contact with the earth renders them ineffective.
  • Firebending: the martial art Zuko teaches Aang in the series, is based on chinese martial arts techniques of Changquan, Shaolinquan, Lóng Xíng Mó Qiáo and Xing Yi Quan.[61][56][53][57] A century of warfare have corrupted the Fire Nation's rich culture, and with it, their firebending-styles "regressed" into militarized format based on hatred and raw aggression; Zuko and Aang sought to learn firebending in its purest and most harmonious form, and rediscovered Dancing Dragon Style from the last surviving dragons.
  • Energybending: Aang learned energybending from his desire not to kill. He is able to use energybending to connect with her inner spirit and gain cosmic energy from the universe.

The Avatar State

The Avatars standing in line, including Aang, Roku, Kyoshi, Kuruk, and Yangchen, in that order.
The Avatars (from right to left): Aang, Roku, Kyoshi, Kuruk, Yangchen, and other previous Avatars.

As the Avatar, Aang is as a bridge between "Material World" and the "Spirit World", the plane of existence where the universe's disembodied spirits dwell. His spirituality training progressed swiftly, granting visions and access to the various memories from his past lives.

His most powerful ability is the Avatar State, which allows him to access bending techniques he would not have learned during his own lifetime but throughout that of his predecessors. In addition, he also receives a massive boost in raw power, enabling him to easily overcome any opponent that tries to fight him head on. The form is activated by Aang being in a predicament that he will either not be able to combat with his current skills or when his life is in mortal danger. While speaking in the Avatar State, Aang's voice becomes in-sync with that of Raava's as a testament to their connection. His weaknesses in the state is that he is vulnerable, and if killed, then this would cause the Avatar to cease being reincarnated.

Critical reception

Aang was received exceptionally by critics and fans. Kendall Lyons stated, "Aang seems to be the lighthearted kid that you can easily familiarize yourself with", and that he "seems to bring comfort in the most dangerous or hostile situations."[62] There are many similar descriptions about Aang as a childlike character who is "reckless and excitable".[63] Reviews point out that "as the Avatar, Aang seems unstoppable, but as Aang, he is just another Airbender"; the review states later that the show continues to focus on a more realistic character instead of a perfect one by revealing many character flaws.[64]

In 2016, Screen Rant ranked Aang #15 on its "30 Best Animated TV Characters Of All Time" list.[65]

References

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  2. ^ a b "Avatar: The Last Airbender Trading Card Game". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved .
  3. ^ a b "Avatar: The Last Airbender -- The Burning Earth" (Flash). Nickelodeon. Archived from the original on 14 March 2008. Retrieved .
  4. ^ a b Nickelodeon. "Avatar Escape From The Spirit World" (Adobe Flash File). Viacom Corporation. Retrieved .
  5. ^ "The Nickelodeon Shop -- Avatar". Nickelodeon. Retrieved .
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  7. ^ Marnell, Blair. "'Last Airbender' Star Noah Ringer Joins 'Cowboys And Aliens' Cast." MTV. April 19, 2010. Web. February 14, 2011.
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