10 of The Best Fight Scenes in ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’
Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender is finally available on Netflix US!
The show is phenomenal for many reasons: it’s entertaining, funny, heartfelt, and has a lot of valuable lessons. However, what really makes Avatar an amazing show is the awesome fights. The show ingeniously takes different forms of martial arts and applies them to bending to make for the best fight choreography put on the screen, animated or not.
So, without further ado and much controversy, here’s ten of the best fights of Avatar: The Last Airbender. There’s plenty of fights, so for the sake of brevity, let’s focus on the one-on-one combat.
10. Katara vs. Pakku
Season 1, episode 8 “The Waterbending Master”: This was a pivotal moment for Katara. Not only did she prove herself to be a waterbending master, but she also proved that Master Paku and the misogynistic ways of the Northern Water Tribe were stupid. Waterbending women should do more than just heal, and Katara is the perfect example of that. In the choreography itself, you can tell that Master Paku was calm while Katara was beyond ticked off. Most of Master Paku’s moves were defensive and non-lethal, but Katara was out for blood. This really highlights the dynamics between an old man and a young girl who is sick and tired of being told what a woman should and shouldn’t do. Katara’s victory was a win for everybody; waterbending women in the tribe could learn how to fight and the tribe got more warriors to defend themselves.
“You can’t knock me down!” (Courtesy of Nickelodeon)
9. Zuko vs. Zhao
Season 1, Episode 3 “The Southern Air Temple”: This is the first Agni Kai we see in the show. An Agni Kai is a formal duel between two firebenders for honor that’s only won when one opponent burns the other. Brutal? Yes. Entertaining? For sure. Zuko challenged Admiral Zhao after he was blatantly disrespecting Zuko’s honor, but he really had no business challenging the master. At the time, of Zuko’s first Agni Kai with his father, Fire Lord Ozai it tragically ended with Zuko getting scarred and banished, and he hadn’t been practicing Iroh’s firebending techniques. This time, the fight the quick fight with Zhao showed tha Zuko is a great firebender, Zhao is a sore loser, and Uncle Iroh’s lessons work.
8. Sokka vs. Piandao
Season 3, Episode 4 “Sokka’s Master”: This is the episode where Sokka doubted his fighting abilities because he’s not a bender like the rest of Team Avatar. Keeping up his disguise as a member of the Fire Nation, Sokka sought out a master to teach him how to use a sword. This is the first time we see Sokka fight with a sword, a sword made from a space rock, no less. In this fight, we see two sides of Sokka: the clever one and the stupid one. He cleverly uses his environment to fight off the skilled master, but then stupidly ran away from him screaming for help with the sword dragging behind him. You gotta love it.
Space sword! (Courtesy of Nickelodeon)
7. Zuko vs. Aang
Season 1, Episode 15 “Bato of the Water Tribe”: We see Zuko fight Aang throughout the whole series, but this stands out because it shows how different their fighting style is. Zuko is aggressive in every sense of the word, and Aang anticipates and dodges every blow, only defending himself when necessary. What makes this fight so interesting is that Aang had a simple goal: get Zuko away from the village and get Katara’s necklace back. As soon as he saw the necklace on Zuko’s person, Aang’s fighting style changed to protect and get the necklace at all costs. The part when they were on the same well, trading and dodging blows, and using each other’s space to get a proper stance is the best.
6. Aang vs. Zhao
Season 1, Episode 16 “The Deserter”: This one wasn’t much of a fight, but it was a shameful defeat, nonetheless. With the memories of him burning Katara and the warnings of a firebending student who had no self-control haunting his mind, Aang figures he wasn’t ready to firebend yet. He encountered Zhao, who ignorantly thought he could defeat the Avatar by himself. Aang quickly realized Zhao was the student with no control and used it to his advantage. He got on all of Zhao’s wooden ships, taunted him, and then dodged every attack so it would hit the ship instead. He won without delivering single blow. Did I mention that Zhao is a sore loser? When Zhao saw all his ships on fire, he fire-blasted in a fit of rage as Aang easily escaped.
5. Toph vs. Earthbenders
Season 2, Episode 6 “The Blind Bandit”: This doesn’t necessarily break the one-on-one-only rule because Toph takes them out one at a time for the most part. It was the first time we see Toph in action, and she didn’t disappoint. She singlehandedly took out seven professional earthbenders in front of her dad who thought her blindness made her weak. She surprised everyone in that dome with her earthbending.
4. Appa vs. Momo
Season 3, Episode 9 “Nightmares and Daydreams”: This one still counts even if it was just Aang’s overactive imagination. The fight perfectly captured the two animal’s physicality: Appa is this hulk made of fluff and Momo is a small, feisty thing. Give them weapons and an arena, and you’re gonna get a show. I don’t know why the talented fight choreographers did this, but I’m so grateful they did. It was hilarious and wickedly entertaining; just the thing we needed to take a breather from the very heavy book three.
This should’ve been #1. (Courtesy of Nickelodeon)
3. Katara vs. Hama
Season 3, Episode 6 “The Puppetmaster”: So, we have to include the fight between Katara and Hama. For those who might not remember, Hama was a waterbender who was captured (but later escaped) because she had the dangerous epiphany: water can be found in nearly everything, like blood. Yes, she was the one who used bloodbending to escape and then tried to convince Katara to bloodbend too. Of course, Katara adamantly refused and Hama tried to bloodbend Katara to control her. We all know Katara is an incredibly powerful bender, and she easily applied the lessons Hama taught her by pulling water from grass and trees. When we think Katara has the upperhand against Hama, the bloodbender puts Katara in a situation that forces her to bloodbend as well. The fight was not only impressive to watch, but the ramifications of this plotline alters Katara for the rest of the series. Bloodbending also makes an appearance in the follow-up series, The Legend of Korra.
2. Azula vs. Zuko
Season 3, Episode 20 “Sozin’s Comet Part 3: Into the Inferno”: Siblings should never fight, but this Agni Kai was most definitely necessary. What made this fight perfect was the combination of choreography, music, and imagery. Unlike most fight scenes that have upbeat and exciting music that usually accompany a sign that ends with triumph for our heroes, this fight is tragic. The music choices reflect the family tragedy we are watching; two siblings who used to have meaningless quarrels were lethally fighting to take over the throne because their father is the worst father in the history of fathers. The incredible imagery of Zuko’s red fire contrasted with Azula’s blue fire add to the tension. Blue fire is hotter than red, so that must mean Azula is more powerful? Sadly for her, she was off her game for a number of heartbreaking reasons.
Wow. (Courtesy of Nickelodeon)
1. Aang vs. Firelord Ozai,
3×21 “Sozin’s Comet Part 4: Avatar Aang”: This was the fight we’ve all been waiting for. Although, we all know the show would have a happy ending and Aang is indeed a powerful Avatar, this fight still had us scared for Aand. Aang couldn’t get into the Avatar State, and Ozai was absolutely terrifying, even without a comet to enhance his powers. The fact that we never really saw Ozai bend until this moment made him even more intimidating. This two-episode long fight was beyond superb. We see Aang in all his Avatar glory and Ozai in all his Phoenix King glory. The action was epic, but my favorite part wasn’t until after Aang left the Avatar State. When Ozai tries to attack Aang behind his back when he is shown mercy, and Aang retaliates with an earthbending technique Toph showed him was downright legendary.
This is our top 10 fights, what are yours? Let us know in the comments down below!
Nothing but love.