“Wait. I thought this website only talks about anime.” Well, most of the time, yes. But we also talked about other pop cultures such as live action movies, manhwa, and many other things. And of course we do not want to miss the chance to talk about one of the biggest series of all time.
Back in 2005 when Nickelodeon launched this cartoon, Avatar: The Last Airbender (ATLA) got a massive response worldwide. Despite being only a “cartoon”, ATLA provided some brilliant story writing thanks to the duo of Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino. It had comedy, romance, lore, angst, and of course, actions, hence making ATLA just more than a “cartoon”.
16 Strongest Avatar The Last Airbender Characters
And like your typical justanimehype article, today we are going to discuss 16 strongest Avatar The Last Airbender characters. And relax, it is not like something that should be taken seriously. This is just for fun, and supposedly not igniting some sort of diabolical debates. Just imagine sitting down with your friends, grabbing some snacks, and having a good talk.
ATLA has some of the most amazing casts of any cartoon. (This is a personal opinion but still most people will agree with me) Almost every single character has their own unique traits and they are pretty distinct from other characters. They are well written, having their own motives, backstory, personality, even developments.
And this does not apply only to the main casts. Side characters (who sadly did not make it into the list) such as Jet, Haru, and many more, also have their own interesting story to follow. Again, this is a prime example of good character writing.
Speaking of good writing, these characters also have their own fighting style. Even the non-benders also can fight equally with the benders. What is so smart about this is that it is not always about who has more power, but sometimes it is all about strategy, thinking forward, and sometimes being cunning and slippery to win the battle. Not only that, benders also need to use their respective elements creatively to find a gap and strike their opponent down.
That is the main reason why we (or in this case, I personally am) are eager to talk about some of the strongest characters in ATLA. And with that, I am going to judge it by their skills, strategies, and creativity. And before we move forward, let us make some rules about this list.
- We are not going to talk about characters who are already dead;
- No other Avatar except Aang. This list would be basically filled with them if I include them.
- Also, no spirits or other beings that are not humans. Their power will of course obstruct the balance;
- Lastly, no characters from Avatar: The Legend of Korra. We are going to focus mainly on ATLA.
And now the rules are pretty much clear, we can start from number 16.
Starting number 16 with the warrior of the Southern Water Tribe. At the beginning, Sokka’s fighting skills are… Not the best. He can throw boomerangs, and clumsily use other weapons. But that was not Sokka’s main trait back in the 1st book.
Sokka has always been the brain of the team. Sure his strategy sometimes sucked. But when it is needed, Sokka can come up with brilliant ideas that help the team to clutch things out. He also likes to invent things and create “useful” gadgets for Gaang.
And in the 3rd book, Sokka upgraded himself to become a swordsman under the guidance of Master Piandao. Since he is the kind of fighter who uses trickery to fight, Sokka has created his own unique fighting style that is difficult to counter for some textbook opponents.
Another non bender who has an incredible fighting sense. Well she is the Leader of the Kyoshi Warrior after all. It has shown over the time that she is capable of handling a fight, even against elemental benders.
Suki is a well rounded warrior who is capable of close combat or using weapons. She has immense physical prowess for someone that looks skinny. Not to mention that she is also fast and agile during the match.
Her most famous fight is probably against Ty Lee, where she showcased her skills that the other Gaang did not possess. And let us not forget that Suki also has a sharp mind and is able to make strategies, just like her boyfriend did.
14. Ty Lee
(I used to have a crush on her. And I am not embarrassed to say that I still have a crush on her) This cute, bubbly girl has deceived many of us with her attitude and personality. Who would have thought that she is an extremely skilled combatant and a valuable asset on Azula’s team.
Ty Lee has an incredibly nimble and flexible body. This was her trait since she was a child, and even nurtured more when she joined the circus. This made her able to move incredibly quickly without losing her balance, making her as slippery as an eel.
It does not end there. Ty Lee also has the ability to block Chi pressure points. We have seen her immobilize some characters with this skill. Even Katara and Azula did not stand a chance. The only thing that she could not stop is Sokka’s forehead that is as hard as a diamond.
Ty Lee’s best friend is no different when it comes to fighting skill, even though her approach is slightly different. When Ty Lee is more of a close combatant, Mai excels in range combat with her knife throwing skills. Among all of the characters on the list, she is perhaps among the most dangerous non bender if she is left unchecked.
I mean think about it. When it comes to sharp weapons, even some of the most notorious fighters would be wary of it. And the fact that Mai can throw it with such pinpoint accuracy, it is almost always that the opponent will be badly injured.
Luckily, she does not like the idea of heavily injuring her opponent. She uses her knife skills mostly to disarm and to disable her enemies. But knowing her gloomy and kind of edgy personality, it is best to leave her alone to avoid bleeding excessively.
Aang’s lover is definitely not the most skillful water bender. But she is definitely a skilled one. If you compare her bending at the beginning of the series and the end of series, you can see how much Katara improved by controlling her bending.
She started as your typical healer who… Heals. After she got trained by Master Pakku, Katara became one formidable fighter in the group. As one of the smartest characters in ATLA, Katara has shown her capabilities of water bending, such as stopping rain to attack her mothers killer and freezing herself with Azula to chain her up.
And of course the main highlight of Katara (or perhaps her worst moment) is that time when she used blood bending to defeat Hama. And after getting used to it, she could use it when the full moon appears. But you know Katara. She will not use it unless she really really really has to.
11. Toph Beifong
Compared to Aang, Toph is more merciless when it comes to attacking the opponents. Perhaps this is a trait for Earth Kingdom people, being stubborn and stoic. But we can agree that even without that kind of personality, Toph’s earth bending will still hurt the opponents pretty badly.
Her blindness has become a running gag in the show. But because of it, Toph has a better sense than anyone else in the group, except maybe Aang and either Appa and Momo. That sense has proved to be useful for predicting attacks and countering them.
And on Toph of that (definitely pun intended. Sorry not sorry), her earth bending is arguably among the best in the series, even being able to defeat veteran Earth Kingdom Soldiers with ease. The best part of Toph’s earth bending is that she can also do some metal bending, something that only a seasoned bender could do.
Spoiler, he is the last non bender on the list. And perhaps the strongest of them all. Not because of his raw power, but Piandao is the typical fighter who uses experience and strategy rather than brute force. Not many characters on the list are that tranquil and peaceful like Piandao.
As a veteran of war, Piandao has a lot of experience in his belt, making him able to adapt to his opponent’s fighting style, even when his enemy is a bender. Not only that, he absorbed many kinds of bending form and can use it for his swordsmanship.
And even though I mentioned he is more of a strategic mind, Piandao is still strong and agile physically. Combined them all, and we have arguably the most complete martial artist in the series. No wonder characters such as Zuko and Sokka trained under him.
Zuko has arguably the best character development ever. The edgy boy from the beginning of episode one has become a reliable fighter and even quite a nice teacher. And his personality is not the only thing that improved from him.
Over the time, we also have seen Zuko’s skills slowly improve. Back then he would charge quite recklessly and not assess the situation (mostly because he is overconfident with his power. Not that he is weak since the beginning though). But as the story goes on, he learned a bit to cool his head down and try to analyze the situation before jumping out and attacking opponents.
His calmness becomes a great asset for him, since in the past he has lost many times because he rushed to attack his enemies not knowing what kind of danger he had to face. I guess Uncle Iroh did a great job to influence Zuko to become more patient.
Arguably the most promising fire bender in Fire Nation. She is strong, agile, and has a sharp mind. We have seen her constantly cornered Gaang, even better than what Zuko did. And of course, we need to talk about her 2 signature techniques that define Azula: lightning bending and blue fire.
Azula can create lightning from her body. Only a handful of people are able to do so, proving that she is certainly a prodigy. Azula also has a blue fire. It is a fire (welp… duh) but even hotter than the normal one, and more painful if it got hit.
But beyond that stoic look, Azula is a fragile teenager. And sadly, she eventually lost her mind at the grand finale of the series. We could only imagine what would happen if she stays as sharp just like the previous book.
7. Jeong Jeong
Back when Jeong Jeong was introduced in Book 1, he looked like a normal fire bender who has basic skills to control fire. And who would have thought that this person is actually a member of the famous White Lotus and possibly among the most skillful fighters in the group.
Jeong Jeong actually disliked his fire bending because he sees fire as something destructive (which is kind of true, depending on how you use it). Despite that, Jeong Jeong has mastered the art of flame and is able to utilize it well so that he can keep the damages at bare minimum.
Just like Zuko and Iroh, Jeong Jeong’s fire bending comes from a peaceful mind and tranquility rather than anger. Which is the reason why he actually has more power than everyone thinks. But Jeong Jeong simply does not want to show it.
Although she only appeared in 1 out 61 episodes of ATLA, Hama is perhaps the most dangerous character, and possibly, even more than Fire Lord Ozai. Yes, this situation can only happen under a certain situation. But when it occurs, it is possible that it cannot be stopped anymore.
Those who have watched the series remember Hama for her blood bending. It can only happen during a full moon. At that point, she could bend blood inside a human being and control them like a puppet. Hama used this technique to escape from prison.
Even when she cannot use her blood bending, Hama is still an immensely powerful water bender. She can draw and extract liquid from plants and use it on her will. And most importantly, Hama can manipulate someone using her nice and kind behavior as a mask to protect her true intentions.
Into the top 5, we can see how influential The White Lotus actually is. Master Pakku is regarded as the best water bender in the series, and despite having not much screen time, viewers can easily notice how strong he actually is.
The defining moment of Pakku is of course his battle with Katara (or more of a slaughter, I guess). He easily dominated her during the fight, and did not even break a sweat (maybe because of the cold? Who knows). The fact that Katara went all out while Pakku did not even use half of his strength is pretty much self explanatory.
We also got a glimpse of his action during the Sozin Comet when he fought a group of soldiers. Again, it seemed like he did not find that much difficult even though again, they are at the state where their fire power is immensely increased.
In ATLA, we rarely see Iroh fights. We can count a handful of times where he needs to go showing his true skills. But it is simply because Iroh is a peaceful human being who does not seek to attack people. But when he needs to, Iroh can show why he became the General of Fire Nation.
The leader of The White Lotus is extremely capable of fire bending. In the past many people feared him because they know there are only small chances for them to win the fight because of how powerful Iroh is. He is even capable of doing a rare lightning bending and redirecting them to other places.
Iroh’s fire bending is not based on temperament, something that fire elements are related to. Which is why he can control it much better than any other fire benders. Eventually, Zuko is able to follow Iroh’s step and becomes a great fire bender just like his REAL father figure.
The King of Omashu, despite being over 100 years old, seems to have not lost his touch when it comes to fighting. Just look at his body. Yes he became a hunchback, but you cannot deny the fact that he has some muscles to hit some enemies.
And there is his earth bending. Bumi is simply the best earth bender in the series. There is no argument or speculation about it. He is able to fight a bunch of elite soldiers during the Sozin Comet with ease. We even saw Bumi get caught by the Fire Nation and did not do anything because he simply did not want to. He just toyed around and had fun.
Bumi can also bend metal. Unlike Toph who needs to work harder than usual when it comes to metal bend, Bumi can do it rather easily. It is pretty insane that an old man like Bumi still has this amount of skills, hence putting him at number 3 spot is not really an exaggeration.
Fire Lord Ozai, even without the infamous Sozin Comet, is still a formidable fire bender. Is he stronger than Iroh or Jeong Jeong? Well possibly. Even Iroh had the thought that Ozai’s fire bending might exceed him in some way. I mean, why would he be picked as a Fire Lord if he is not strong?
Yes some of you would argue that Iroh was the one who should be the Fire Lord. But it is what it is. Ozai is crazy strong. He may use anger as his source of bending, but the thing is… It worked. And it has proven to be the most difficult opponent for Aang despite he had already controlled 4 elements.
Sadly this power seems not to last that long. Anger can be easily over written by any emotions, and it showed when he looked absolutely terrified seeing Aang’s Avatar State. Nevertheless, Ozai remains as one of the strongest characters in ATLA, at least before his power was removed.
“Well of course, he is the Avatar. He should be the number 1.” You may say that, but we need to remember that Aang did not gain this power overnight. He trained like crazy to obtain his Avatar power of controlling elements. It is even stated before the fight between him and Ozai that he still needed to practice about his bendings.
So, at that point, Aang has not fully mastered his Avatar power. He even did not manage to use Avatar State perfectly because of his love towards Katara. So, what makes him incredibly strong as an Avatar? Just like we have discussed many times before, it is because of his creativity when using elements.
Aang can control his elemental bending rather well despite rarely unleashing powerful attacks because of his soft nature. One main example is his air ball that is almost being used even at the final fight, being his signature move. And of course, it is not complete if we did not talk about his Chi Bending that finished everything peacefully.