Aang is the main protagonist of the Avatar - The Last Airbender animated series.
The twelve-year-old (well, technically a hundred-and-twelve-year old) plucky Airbending boy destined to save the world. When he learned of his status as the Avatar, followed by the monks trying to take him from his teacher/father figure, he couldn't handle the pressure and ran away from home. When he was caught in a storm, he defensively used his powers to seal himself in an iceberg, which protected him for a century while the other Air Nomads were exterminated by the Fire Nation in an effort to kill him. After being freed from the iceberg by Katara and Sokka, he now must face his destiny by mastering all four elements and defeating Fire Lord Ozai to restore balance to the world.
In the TWA, Aang debuted in Twisted World Animania: Team Furious - The Isle of Lost Light.
Aang is a young man with grey eyes and a clean shaved head with a blue arrow mark on top. He wears an orange cape over a yellow-orange long-sleeve shirt with an orange sash wrapped around his waist, brown baggy pants, brown socks and brown sandals. Aang once grew a short brown hair.
Aang was fun-loving, somewhat naive, and adventurous with a sense of humor. He possessed a deep respect for life and freedom, refused to eat meat and was often reluctant to fight in his younger years. He craved the stimulation of new people and places. His frequent off-course detours frustrated both allies and pursuers alike. He typically wished to forget his duties as the Avatar and would long for the normality that others possessed. Yet Aang had always prided himself on a complex social network of friends extending over all four nations, and war did not stand in his way. In addition, he looked forward to playing with all the exotic fauna in each place he visited. Whether it was otter penguins, hopping llamas, hog monkeys, or giant koi fish, no fit animal Aang saw went un-ridden.
Within this carefree exterior, however, Aang hid a great deal of guilt and a heavy mental burden in his duties as Avatar. As the reluctant hero, he wished he had been there to help his people a century earlier. This initially caused him to conceal his true identity from friends, and he still had a tendency to slack off in his studies of the bending arts, even though he naturally excelled at them. He also tended to become distressed when he saw destruction caused by the Hundred Year War, believing that as the Avatar, it was his job to prevent such events from happening. Eventually, Aang decided to stop dwelling on the past; however, on several occasions, his desire to end the War caused him to take desperate action such as attempting to induce the Avatar State or facing Fire Lord Ozai before he had fully mastered the elements.
Being the last airbender and having no living peers, with the exception of the aged King Bumi and Guru Pathik, Aang developed strong bonds with his friends, particularly Katara, explained by Guru Pathik as a reincarnation of his love for his people. His desire to protect them, however, led to violent emotional outbursts when they were threatened, and he even resorted to deceiving and hurting others to keep the group together such as when he heard that Katara and Sokka might leave the group to visit their father; he hid the map to their father's whereabouts and lied about ever having it in the first place.
Aang preferred not to use his bending skill in battle due to his peaceful nature. He preferred to solve problems non-violently. Even when forced into combat, Aang typically held back, fighting defensively and trying to subdue opponents without seriously hurting them, even if they were not human. This attitude was apparently common among all airbenders, who were all vegetarians and taught that all living things are precious. The only exception to Aang's pacifism was when his friends were threatened, in which case, he could become angry and attack his opponents, sometimes even entering the Avatar State.
Events in the Earth Kingdom, however, began to take a toll on his carefree personality. Aang's attitude changed dramatically when Appa was captured. He became visibly enraged and hostile, particularly toward Toph, who had kept Appa company while they were gone. Despite attempts by Katara to calm Aang down, his anger continued to grow until finally he flew off to search for Appa alone. Eventually Aang returned to the group, but he was still visibly upset. He violated the principles of airbending when Momo was snatched by a buzzard wasp. He gave chase and rescued Momo, but unnecessarily struck it down with powerful airbending. After Aang returned with Momo, the group was confronted by the sandbenders who had taken Appa. When one of the sandbenders, Ghashiun, revealed that they had sold the bison, Aang lashed out and destroyed all their sand-sailers in a matter of moments using his airbending. He turned his sights on the sandbenders and entered the Avatar State upon hearing that Ghashiun had muzzled Appa. Aang's rage was only stopped when Katara grabbed hold of him and held him in an embrace until he finally calmed down and returned to his normal state. Shortly after these events, Aang forsook all hope, choosing not to care at all in order to refrain from lashing out in anger and be hurt. The birth of the baby Hope lifted his spirits once again.
After failing in Ba Sing Se, Aang began to feel angry and upset with himself. He felt an urge to redeem himself and refused to let the others fight and be injured in the invasion due to "his mistake". Driven by a desire for redemption, he fled the ship on which the team was traveling, but the spirits of Yue and Roku allowed Aang to see that his mistakes were not his fault and encouraged to let others help him. He returned to his lighter attitude soon after.
Four days before the invasion, Aang began to have nightmares about fighting against the Fire Lord. He started to unravel and chose to avoid experiencing them by not sleeping. This caused him to mentally fall apart even more, and he suffered intense hallucinations, blanking off into realistic daydreams. On the night before the invasion, his friends finally coaxed him to sleep, during which he defeated the Fire Lord in his dreams and regained his sense of fortitude.
During the invasion, Aang became extremely upset upon not being able to find Fire Lord Ozai, believing that he had lost his only chance to defeat him and end the war. Aang expressed his determination to face Ozai anyway, even though at this time the eclipse had passed and Ozai was now capable of firebending once more. He was dissuaded, however, by Toph and Sokka, who advised him to retreat and attack at a more advantageous time.
fter the invasion, Aang was unwilling to face the reality of having to learn firebending, wanting instead to have some fun at the Western Air Temple; however, with the arrival of Zuko, he once again began training in earnest. Although he had planned to wait until after the comet to face Ozai, upon learning of the Fire Lord's plan to burn through the Earth Kingdom, he decided to engage him anyway, even though he was not fully trained. He became extremely conflicted, however, upon learning that he would have no other choice than to take Ozai's life.
Aang did show a somewhat flawed and stubborn side to his personality during the Harmony Restoration Movement. Like Roku, Aang was adamant on the idea that four separate nations would bring peace. This contradicted with Yu Dao, where citizens of two nations were able to live in harmony, make huge achievements, and have biracial families. However, Aang saw this as only another disaster that would lead to another war and persisted to move the Fire Nation colonials back to the Fire Nation, even if it meant separating them from their families. However, when Aang saw how intertwined the people from the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom had become and how his relationship with Katara was the same, he came to terms with the fact that his beliefs were outdated and realized that the world had changed significantly in the past hundred years. This prompted him to defend and support Yu Dao, found the Air Acolytes, and ultimately sever his spiritual connection with his dear friend, guide, and past life, Avatar Roku, who still completely refused and chastised Aang's choices. Later on, he and Zuko decided to form the United Republic of Nations as a compromise.
Although Aang retained his playful personality at times in his later years, as evidenced when he happily posed for a picture while spinning seaweed wraps between his hands, he had also grown up to become more serious and decisive. He became annoyed when Toph referred to him by his childhood nickname "Twinkle Toes", disregarding the fact that he was forty years old. He also dealt with criminal lord and bloodbender Yakone in a way described by Tarrlok as "head-on", contrary to his previous attitudes of trying to find peaceful solutions and his aversion to fighting. Aang remained calm, level-headed, and soft-spoken in his later years.
As a reincarnation of the entity known as the Avatar, Aang possessed the power to bend all four elements, making him the most powerful bender of his time. Though Avatar Roku said mastering the elements could take many years, Aang was able to learn all four with considerable skill in a year, though technically he did not completely master all four as stated by Zuko and Toph. As a result of his unconventional training, Aang never demonstrated most of the special subsets of the bending arts. However, he did display the abilities of lightning redirection and seismic sense, making him the first Avatar known to have learned these abilities. Most Avatars were not told of their status until they were sixteen years of age, but Aang had become a Fully Realized Avatar while he was still only biologically twelve years old. Thus, he became the youngest known Avatar to do so. As he was chronologically 112 years old, Aang also has the distinction of taking the longest to achieve this status.
By the time of the Air Nomad Genocide, Aang was already an airbending master, the youngest in history at that time. Aang achieved his mastery tattoos when he mastered thirty-five of the thirty-six tiers of airbending and invented a new airbending technique, the "air scooter", becoming the youngest known airbending master of his time at only twelve years old. The element of air was the one he utilized the most in battle. Once Aang began to learn the other elements, for tactical purposes he relied less on airbending, though it continued to remain his signature element. As a master, Aang's skill with airbending was exceptional; he was able to fight on-par with strong and powerful masters or against large numbers of opponents, despite not finishing his airbending training. He was shown creating tornadoes and currents of air strong enough to lift or deflect extremely heavy objects. Aang's skill with air was great, even perilous, though his pacifistic Air Nomad nature halted the use of air as a deadly weapon, unless he was enraged or in the Avatar State. Instead, Aang used airbending for pure defense, evasion, or other round-about methods of combat other than aggression. When not in battle, Aang used airbending in his everyday life, often for flying with his glider, or simply to augment his natural agility. While in the Avatar State, Aang's airbending power was magnified to the point he could erode solid rock away with a powerful gust of air.
Aang's airbending skills, especially his skill with the air scooter, greatly improved over time, evolving from being able to ride one to creating multiple air scooters simultaneously without any difficulty. At age forty, Aang was shown to have mastered the air scooter to a much greater degree. This version was superior in terms of size and duration when compared to the ones he showed as a child and was capable of being used as a high-speed method of transportation, as Aang quickly caught up with Yakone, despite the latter having had a good head-start. Aang was also capable of standing on the scooter, instead of sitting on it as he had done before.
Aside from his individual skill, Aang was also shown as a capable teacher, as he passed on the full extent of his airbending knowledge and techniques to his son Tenzin, who became a powerful master airbender in his own right.
Although Aang was originally better at waterbending than his fourteen-year-old friend Katara, his lack of focus allowed Katara to surpass him as she was later deemed a waterbending master after rapidly developing her skills while training under Master Pakku. Katara became Aang's teacher when they took their leave of the North Pole. In the early stages of his training, Aang showed prodigious skill in waterbending, being able to easily create a huge wave on his first try. Although he had great skill with waterbending, it was one of his least used elements in battle, instead favoring other readily-available elements such as earth or air. He did not carry a water skin, preferring to bend from large sources of water such as rivers, lakes, or oceans. His control over the element was monumental, capable of creating massive tidal waves, albeit with the help of the Moon Spirit, or bending entire streams of water. He was even able to extinguish a powerful, comet-enhanced blast of fire from Ozai and use the water to briefly put the Fire Lord on the defensive. While in the Avatar State, Aang could bend water from such remote distances a common waterbender could not reach, and he could raise the waters of an entire ocean, mimicking the moon pulling the tides, to cover an entire forest. He was also capable of compressing massive volumes of water into smaller streams, a normally incomprehensible skill, allowing an increase in force and pressure and making it easier to transport.
Because earthbending contrasted Aang's personality and his native element, air, he had great difficulty learning the bending art. Airbenders relied on indirect methods of combat, while earthbending required a head-on approach. When Aang was forced to protect Sokka from a saber-tooth moose lion, he stood his ground rather than avoiding conflict, showing an earthbender's attitude; he was able to earthbend soon thereafter. His earthbending improved greatly, allowing him to utilize air, water, and earthbending in combat together effectively. Earthbending even became Aang's second most used fighting style behind airbending, due to its general availability and defensive capabilities. Aang was capable of bending large boulders, sending massive columns of rock flying, or forming earthen armor around his body for protection. He also eventually learned to fight and bend blindfolded by detecting things through the use of seismic sense, a skill that he learned directly from Toph. Due to his pacifistic nature, Aang employed a more defensive style of earthbending, based on manipulating the earth to create walls, shelters and restraints to neutralize his opponents, rather than harm them. While in the Avatar State, Aang could manipulate massive columns of rock, compress boulders into pebbles, or send rocks flying at high speeds in rapid succession, while requiring no physical connection with the ground to earthbend. During the battle for Yu Dao, Aang managed to create a massive chasm around the entire city, effectively leaving it outside the reach of the Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom armies. When fighting against General Old Iron, Aang created a gigantic stone body of almost equal durability to that of the spirit's iron armor.
Despite the proficiency with which Aang used earthbending in his fight with Ozai, Toph stated that he could still improve.
While normally the Avatar must learn the four elements in the proper cycle, Aang was given the opportunity to learn firebending early from Master Jeong Jeong, instead of first mastering water and earth, in addition to his mastery of air. While training, Aang's impatience to learn the basics of firebending resulted in him harming Katara, an accident which caused him great shame. He swore from that point onward never to firebend again, out of fear of losing control. It was not until after the invasion plan failed that Aang sought to learn firebending again. After accepting Prince Zuko as his teacher and discovering the true meaning of firebending from the dragons Ran and Shaw, Aang no longer feared firebending and began his training in the bending art. He was shown to be quite skilled, yet initially reluctant to show the aggressive attitude required for firebending. Aang was capable of performing the ancient Dancing Dragon form, the breath of fire while simultaneously firing a stream from both hands, as well as highly powerful kicks and blasts able to incapacitate a Fire Nation airship, albeit with the help of Sozin's Comet. In preparation for his face off with Fire Lord Ozai, Zuko taught Aang lightning redirection, a highly advanced and unique technique of firebending that Zuko's paternal uncle Iroh invented by observing waterbenders. While in the Avatar State, Aang could create exceedingly strong and highly destructive streams of fire, as well as melt solid stone.
After being endowed with the knowledge from a lion turtle, Aang was able to use an ancient form of bending that precedes all other bending called energybending, which he used to strip Ozai of his natural firebending abilities, leaving the Fire Lord permanently drained and in a weakened state. According to the lion turtle, before the Avatar existed, people did not bend the four elements, but the life force energy within themselves. However, in order to bend another person's life force energy, the energybender's own life energy must be unbendable, or they could become corrupted or even destroyed. It was confirmed that Aang was not the first Avatar to learn energybending; however, there were few who had learned this particular bending art and even fewer who had used it due to its dangers. Energybending allows the bender to both strip and restore a person's bending abilities and transfer knowledge from one person to another.
At age forty, Aang's energybending skills had progressed, as he was able to strip Yakone's bending abilities almost immediately with minimal effort, unlike when he stripped Ozai's bending. He also demonstrated the ability to restore a person's bending, as seen when his spirit appeared before Korra and restored her bending abilities that had been taken by Amon's bloodbending. At the same time, Aang imparted the knowledge of energybending and control of the Avatar State onto Korra.
Aang was extremely agile and quick even without bending, proven while forced to hide his bending when masquerading as a Fire Nation student. He was able to defend himself without needing to resort to bending by simply dodging and avoiding attacks. This technique was first shown in Aang's fight against the student Hide in the Fire Nation school. Aang effortlessly defeated him without ever striking him, instead simply dodging his blows and pushing him when he was off-balance. He repeated this feat at Yu Dao against a group of firebending soldiers, dodging and evading their fire blasts with a variety of acrobatic moves and without resorting to any of his bending arts and at the end only having his clothes slightly charred. This fighting style was overall similar to the martial art Baguazhang, which consists of an intricate set of foot and palm movements to dodge, walk circles around the enemy, and strike unexpectedly as well as defend from all angles; this art emphasized the pursuit of harmony in conflict situations, rather than destroying or defeating the opponent – all principles that Aang used often.
Aang could use his glider staff with great skill as well, using it as a method of transport and sometimes for attack, defense, or bending.
Aside from his combat skills, Aang also displayed an impressive degree of artistic talent on a few occasions. He was an extremely talented and agile dancer, being able to perform somersaults in mid-air among other acrobatic feats and coordinate with Katara in a dance. His somersaults at that time did not seem to be aided by airbending, as he was in a public area surrounded by Fire Nation students and there was no sign of any air currents around him. Aang also displayed a degree of musical talent, as he was able to play an airbender's flute well enough for the Official Avatar Aang Fan Club to revel in his performance. He was also able to play the tsungi horn, although he was self-admittedly terrible at it.
As the Avatar, Aang was able to contact his past lives to seek advice and guidance. Being the immediate predecessor of Aang, Roku most often came to the young airbender's aid. For example, it was Roku who warned Aang about the impending return of Sozin's Comet and manifested through the young Air Nomad in order to defeat a group of firebenders awaiting the Avatar's appearance.
After receiving a letter from Guru Pathik, Aang journeyed to the Eastern Air Temple to learn to control the Avatar State. Guru Pathik revealed that the secret laid in the unlocking of seven chakras. Aang had little trouble with the first six, but struggled with the seventh – earthly attachments, mainly being Aang's attachment to Katara. Aang initially abandoned his training after receiving a vision of Katara in dire need of help, but later began to open the seventh and final chakra successfully and entered the Avatar State. However, moments after entering the Avatar State, the process was interrupted when he was struck with lightning from behind by Azula, killing him and the Avatar Spirit itself, though after their escape, Katara was able to use the special water from the Spirit Oasis to revive him.
Nonetheless, Aang's connection to his previous lives was severely damaged by this and, while in a coma, he undertook a journey to the Spirit World, where he met and reconnected with the four Avatars preceding him. While he succeeded in healing the Avatar Spirit, his physical injuries prevented him from accessing the Avatar State and connecting with his past lives. As his body healed, he managed to reconnect with them, though it was only when Ozai violently shoved him against a protruding rock, which unleashed the energy block in his back, that the connection was fully restored. Later, however, feeling that Roku's advice about the state of the world was no longer relevant, Aang deliberately severed his connection to his past self. This caused an unintentional severing of his connection to all his past lives before Roku, except in certain situations, such as special rituals. Later, Aang was able to restore his connection to Roku and all the past Avatars by recrafting the fire pendant on his meditation beads.
As the carrier of the Avatar Spirit, Aang also had the capacity to act as a medium, a bridge between the mortal world and the Spirit World. Even while still a young child, Aang demonstrated a natural affinity to the spiritual arts. Through meditation, Aang could separate from his body and travel to the Spirit World and, with the help of a spirit, his astral form could also visit the physical world's astral plane. Once in the Spirit World, Aang could travel freely and communicate with beings such as Koh the Face Stealer. This position as intermediary also allowed him to connect with other spirits while in the Avatar State; he combinedwith the Ocean Spirit to defeat the Fire Nation during the siege of the North Pole, and had also channeled his past lives, namely Roku and Kyoshi.
- Chronologically, Aang is the second oldest known Avatar, dying 166 years after his birth; Kyoshi being the first, having lived to the age of 230.
- Since Avatar Roku was the maternal great-grandfather of Zuko, Azula, and Kiyi, and was the previous Avatar, Aang, Zuko, Azula, and Kiyi were all spiritually related. Also, since Roku was Ursa's grandfather, Aang was also spiritually related to Ursa.
- Aang is written 安昂 in Chinese, meaning "peaceful soaring".
- Aang's stature and bodily proportions were inspired conceptually by the forms and Gung Fu movements of a young boy named Arjuna. Photographed for reference by Bryan Konietzko at age six, Arjuna's contribution was one of the early collaborations between the Avatar team and Sifu Kisu, Arjuna being Kisu's son.
- Aang's premature departure from his Avatar State training to rescue Katara, and its results, are reminiscent of Luke Skywalker's impulsive actions while training with Yoda on Dagobah in the Star Wars film "The Empire Strikes Back".
- Aang's aerokinetic abilities and arrow tattoo cause him to bear a resemblance to the comic book superhero Red Tornado.
- After Aang was shot in the back with Azula's lightning, he had two scars, one on his back where the lightning entered his body and the other on the sole of his left foot where the lightning left his body.
- Aang and Kuruk were the only known Avatars to remain true to their native upbringing, seeing as how every other identified Avatar defied their people's customs or political figures in some way. Yangchen was famous for doing whatever it took to preserve balance, Roku threatened the political leader of the Fire Nation, and Kyoshi defied the 46th Earth King's orders regarding the Peasant Uprising in Ba Sing Se, while Korra fell out with her father and the chief of the sister tribe.
- Many of Aang's closest friends were technically nobility: Katara and Sokka were the children of Hakoda, Chief of the Southern Water Tribe; Toph was a member of the Beifong family, a revered Earth Kingdom noble family; Bumi was King of Omashu; and Zuko was a Prince of the Fire Nation turned Fire Lord at the end of the Hundred Year War.
- Aang choosing four toys out of thousands – to identify him as the Avatar as these four toys were the same ones that past Avatars had chosen for generations when they were children – was the same procedure used by the Tibetan Buddhist monks to recognize the next reincarnation of the Tulku Lama. According to the book Magic and Mystery in Tibet by Alexandra David-Néel, "a number of objects such as rosaries, ritualistic implements, books, tea-cups, etc., are placed together, and the child must pick out those which belonged to the late Tulku, thus showing that he recognizes the things which were in his previous life.
- The names of the first episode, "The Boy in the Iceberg", and the last episode, "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang", show Aang's growth and maturity throughout the series, how he went from being a goofy, naive kid in the beginning to becoming a Fully Realized Avatar by the end.
- Aang was left-handed in one of his past lives, as mentioned by Katara.
- Aang was one of the only four characters shown as a newborn on either Avatar: The Last Airbender or The Legend of Korra. The others are Yue in a flashback, Hope, and Rohan.
- Considering that Aang did not officially begin his Avatar training until he was released from the iceberg, he became a Fully Realized Avatar more quickly than any other known Avatar, doing so in only twelve months.
- Aang was seen wearing a necklace, similar to the one that was on Gyatso's skeleton, at Zuko's coronation.
- Aang encased in a submerged iceberg is reminiscent of Sigmund Freud's psychoanalytic theory on the Id, Ego, and the Superego as a whole, which was contextualized as an iceberg. The small part of the iceberg is the ego, the conscious self, and was represented by the large block of ice destroyed by Katara's waterbending at the beginning of the episode. The Id, the unconscious self, is the submerged portion of the iceberg and thus is represented by the sphere of ice Aang encased himself in while in the Avatar State. An interesting revelation is that roughly 90% of an iceberg is submerged, and the Id therefore exerts much more influence than the Ego on one's mind; the Id is represented by the Avatar State.
- Aang, Kyoshi, and Roku were all known for defying the leader of their respective nations. Aang did not move to the Eastern Air Temple when he was told to and instead ran away. Kyoshi initially refused to aid the 46th Earth King when he asked her to aid in the Peasant Uprising in Ba Sing Se and Roku nearly killed Fire Lord Sozin in an attempt to put a stop to his imperialistic actions.
- When the creators first pitched the series, Aang was a ten-year-old boy; however, after a suggestion from Eric Coleman, they "aged him up".
- The concept of having thirty-six tiers of airbending and Aang not mastering one could have been taken from The 36th Chamber of Shaolin.
- Aang and Piandao are the only two confirmed characters in the original series to have had both their parents as benders.
- Aang has met the original source of every bending art: a flying bison for air, the Moon Spirit for water, badgermolesfor earth, and Ran and Shaw, two dragons, for fire.
- Including Tui's death in "The Siege of the North, Part 2" and his own fatal injury sustained in "The Crossroads of Destiny", from which they both were resurrected shortly thereafter, Aang was the fifth of eight characters to have been observed dying or being murdered in the original series. In chronological order, the others were Tui, Yue, Chin, Jet, Roku, Fang, and Combustion Man.
- Aang was originally voiced by voice actor Rob Paulsen in The Legend of Korra, before being revoiced post-production by D. B. Sweeney.
- Aang is shown as the airbender in the opening sequence of The Legend of Korra.
- Aang was the second known Avatar to create a landmass through his founding of Air Temple Island, the first being Avatar Kyoshi who founded Kyoshi Island.
- Aang was the first known Avatar to be bloodbent.
- He was also the second known person to break free of a bloodbender's hold by their own doing, although he was only able to do so by entering the Avatar State.
- Aang was shown energybending at the end of the original series and in the last episode of the first book of The Legend of Korra.
- Although in the original series Aang took Ozai's bending away, in The Legend of Korra, he restored Korra's bending.
- Aang was the first person known to be capable of restoring another's bending.
- As an adult, Aang's beard resembled that of co-creator Michael Dante DiMartino.
- Aang was the first known Avatar to have an interracial marriage.
- Aang appeared in every episode in the original series except for "Zuko Alone".
- Avatar Extras for "The Great Divide" stated that the egg custard tart was Aang's favorite food, which was evident when he discovered it in the Great Divide.
- Aang is the only known Air Nomad to be considered an honorary member of the Southern Water Tribe.
- An image of Aang is printed on the obverse side of the yuan bill.
- A vendor in the Earth Kingdom renamed his seaweed wraps "Aang rolls" after noticing how much the Avatar liked them.
- Michael Dante DiMartino stated that Aang was the hardest character to find a voice actor for across both series.
- Aang is the only known non-metalbending earthbender in the Avatar franchise with the ability to use seismic sense.