Aang

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Aang
Avatar: The Last Airbender/The Legend of Korra character
Aang kneeling in a battle pose, holding his staff behind him.
First appearance "The Boy in the Iceberg (Book 1: Water)"
Created by Michael Dante DiMartino
Bryan Konietzko
Portrayed by Noah Ringer (The Last Airbender)
Voiced by Zach Tyler Eisen (original series)
Mitchel Musso (Unaired Pilot)
Ben Helms (Nicktoons MLB)
Noah Ringer (The Last Airbender)
D. B. Sweeney (The Legend of Korra)
Information
Full name Avatar Aang
Nickname(s) Bonzu Pipinpadaloxicopolis the Third
"Twinkletoes"
Aliases Kuzon
Species Human (airbender)
Gender Male
Occupation Avatar (Mediator of balance, peace, order and reconciliation)
Title The Avatar
Family Gyatso (guardian)
Spouse(s) Katara (wife)
Significant other(s) Soulmate:
Appa (animal guide)
Raava (Deity, personification of harmony and concord)
Incarnation:
Roku (immediate predecessor)
Korra (immediate reincarnation)
Children Kya (daughter)
Bumi (firstborn son)
Tenzin (second son)
Relatives Affinity:
Hakoda (father-in-law)
Pema (daughter-in-law)
Sokka (brother-in-law)
Grandfamily:
Jinora (granddaughter)
Ikki (granddaughter)
Meelo (grandson)
Rohan (grandson)
Religion Air Nomads
Nationality Air Nomads
Age Pre-series: Born 12 years before "0 ASC"
Avatar: The Last Airbender: 12 (biological) / 112 (chronological) in 100 ASC
Comic books: 13 (biological) / 113 (chronological)
The Legend of Korra: Deceased 66 (biological) / 166 (chronological) in "153 ASC"
Bending Element Air (native)
Water
Earth
Fire
Energy
Lightning (redirection)
Hair color Black / Dark Brown (generally shaven)
Eye color Hazel / Gray
Position Protagonist

Avatar Aang (安昂 ān 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 of the elements 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 before joining new friends Katara and Sokka on a quest to master the elements and save their world from the imperialist Fire Nation.

Aang 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.

Creation and conception[edit]

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.[8] 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[8]

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).[8][9][10] The creators of the show intended Aang to be trapped in an iceberg for one thousand years, later to wake inside a futuristic world, wherein he would have a robot named Momo and a dozen bison. 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.[8]

Airbending, the martial art Aang primarily uses in the show, is based on an "internal" Chinese martial art called Baguazhang. 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.[11]

In the episode "Tales of Ba Sing Se", Aang’s name was written as 安昂 (ān áng) in Chinese.

Personality and characteristics[edit]

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.

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[12]

According to the show's creators, "Buddhism and Taoism have been huge inspirations behind the idea for Avatar."[13] As shown in "The King of Omashu"[14] and "The Headband",[15] a notable aspect of Aang's character is his vegetarian diet, which is consistent with Buddhism, Hinduism, and Taoism.[13] In the Brahmajala Sutra, a Buddhist code of ethics, vegetarianism is encouraged.[16] 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.[17] He is also depicted showing ethical reluctance in killing Firelord Ozai,[18] and eventually strips Ozai of his bending instead of killing him.[19]

Appearances[edit]

Avatar: The Last Airbender[edit]

Pre-series[edit]

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 only in their teens) and relocate him to one of the other Air Temples.[20][21] 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.[9][21]

Book One: Water[edit]

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.[9] His reawakening catching the attention of Zuko, the banished prince of the Fire Nation, Aang is forced to leave with Katara and Sokka accompanying them when they learn he is the Avatar.[10] Aang and his new friends visit the Southern Air Temple where they meet a winged lemur that Aang later names Momo. It was 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 informing 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.[22] Upon arriving to the Northern Water Tribe, after a few conflicts, Aang became an apprentice of Waterbending master Pakku alongside Katara.[23] 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.

Book Two: Earth[edit]

In the second season, Aang learns earthbending from Toph Bei Fong after he has a vision of the blind earthbending prodigy in a swamp. On their journey, they are chased by Fire Princess Azula and her friends Mai and Ty Lee.[24] After learning of the Day of Black Sun in a secret underground library, Aang and his group 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 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.[25] 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.

Book Three: Fire[edit]

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 before and his remaining allies attack the Fire Nation's capital; but are thwarted by Azula.[26] However, Zuko has a change of heart, rebels against his father,[27] and offers to teach Aang firebending. Aang and Zuko also improve their firebending powers with the help of their world's last two dragons.[28]

During the finale, finding himself on a strange island, Aang is reluctant to actually kill Fire Lord Ozai despite his four previous past lives 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 as the new Fire Lord. The series end with Aang and his friends relaxing at Iroh's tea shop at Ba Sing Se, where Aang and Katara share a kiss.[19]

Comics[edit]

Aang appears in the comic Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise that follows Aang and his friends after the events of the third season. In the comic, Zuko asks Aang to kill him if Zuko follows his father's footsteps. Additionally, Aang is confronted with the "Avatar Fan Movement", a growing group of young individuals trying to live as the air nomads did, but Aang views these people as parodying and denigrating the memory of his people.[29] He also has a more limited role in the direct sequel Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search. He has a more direct role in the third comic arc Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Rift where he is trying to reconcile respecting the past and teaching others Air Nomad culture while also adapting to the world's political and technological changes. As well as witnessing Toph's conflict with her father and trying to sort out an angered spirit dating back to the days of Avatar Yangchen.

The Legend of Korra[edit]

Pre-series[edit]

Some sixty years prior to the series, Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko founded the United Republic of Nations, and its capital Republic City. In the following years, Aang had married Katara and they had three children: Bumi (named for Aang's old friend), Kya (after Katara's mother), and Tenzin. In his adult years, Aang grew a neatly cropped chinstrap beard, which many statues of Aang's adult form depict him with, including the one in the restored Southern Air Temple. He also founded the Air Acolytes, a sect who eschewed their home cultures in favor of following the Air Nomads' way of life (the comics reveal that the first Air Acolytes were the reorganized Avatar Fan Club).

In 128 ASC, forty-year old Aang assisted Toph in arresting Water Tribe crime lord Yakone. As Aang watched the trial where Yakone was convicted of using the rare and illegal technique bloodbending, Yakone tried to escape Republic City by using his unique abilities to subdue everyone in the court room, thus leaving them unconscious. Able to resist Yakone's bloodbending through the Avatar State, Aang used his energybending abilities to put a halt to Yakone's plans.

Being frozen in an iceberg for a hundred 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 50's 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 ASC. Aang was survived by his wife Katara and his three children, but he did not live to see his grandchildren, all of whom would be 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 the Southern Water Tribe female Korra. Aang had intended for the Order to simply guide and guard Korra, but several mishaps in the aftermath of Aang's death 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[edit]

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

In the sequel series' first season, Avatar Aang's spirit occasionally served as the spiritual advisor to seventeen-year old Korra (much like his past life Roku did for himself). Originally, Aang was 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 was only after she lost her ability to bend that Korra allowed herself to listen to her past lives, at which point Aang restored her powers by triggering the Avatar State and teaching her to energybend.

Book Two: Spirits[edit]

The sequel series' second season revealed 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. Aang himself later appeared along with Roku, Kyoshi and Kuruk before Korra in a vision and encouraged her to learn the origins of Wan (the first Avatar) and Raava. Aang, or possibly a vision of him, later appeared 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 was severed when Vaatu extracted and subsequently killed Raava, the divine Avatar Spirit entity within her. Even though Raava was reborn and fused again with Korra, she discovered to her dismay that her spiritual connection to Aang and all past Avatars was gone forever.

Appearances in other media[edit]

Games[edit]

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.[30] Two sequels were made: Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Burning Earth,[3][31] 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]

Films[edit]

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]

Main article: The Last Airbender

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.[32] 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.[33][34][35] 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.[36] Noah Ringer later identified himself to Entertainment Weekly as an American Indian.[37]

Critical reception[edit]

In the show's intended demographics, Aang has been received exceptionally. 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."[38] There are many similar descriptions about Aang as a childlike character who is "reckless and excitable".[39] 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.[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Avatar Trading Card Game". Nickelodeon. Archived from the original on 2008-03-02. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  2. ^ a b "Avatar: The Last Airbender Trading Card Game". BoardGameGeek. Retrieved 2008-03-24. 
  3. ^ a b "Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Burning Earth" (Flash). Nickelodeon. Archived from the original on 14 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  4. ^ a b Nickelodeon. "Avatar Escape From The Spirit World" (Adobe Flash File). Viacom Corporation. Retrieved 2008-02-19. 
  5. ^ "The Nickelodeon Shop — Avatar". Nickelodeon. Retrieved 2008-02-11. 
  6. ^ a b created by Michael Dante DiMartino & Bryan Konietzko. (2006). Avatar: The Last Airbender Cine-Manga Volume 1. Avatar: The Last Airbender Cine-Manga. Tokyopop. ISBN 1-59532-891-2. Archived from the original on 16 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  7. ^ Marnell, Blair. "'Last Airbender' Star Noah Ringer Joins ‘Cowboys And Aliens’ Cast.” MTV. April 19, 2010. Web. February 14, 2011.
  8. ^ a b c d DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan (2006). "In Their Elements". Nickelodeon Magazine (Winter 2006): 6. 
  9. ^ a b c Director: Dave Filoni, Writers: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko (2005-02-21). "The Boy in the Iceberg". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  10. ^ a b Director: Dave Filoni, Writers: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko (2005-02-21). "The Avatar Returns". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  11. ^ "Nickelodeon's Official Avatar: The Last Airbender Flash Site". Nick.com. Retrieved 2006-12-02. 
  12. ^ DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan (2007-09-06). Interview: Avatar's Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino. Interview with Eduardo Vasconcellos. IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on 18 November 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-11. 
  13. ^ a b DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan (2006). "Myth Conceptions". Nickelodeon Magazine (Winter 2006): 7. 
  14. ^ Director: Anthony Lioi; Writer: John O'Bryan (2005-03-18). "The King of Omashu". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.
  15. ^ Director: Joaquim dos Santos; Writer: John O'Bryan (2007-09-28). "The Headband". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  16. ^ Jing, Fanwang. "Brahmajala Sutra Translated Text". Purify Out Mind. p. 4. Archived from the original on 4 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-12. "He must not create the causes ... and shall not intentionally kill any living creature." 
  17. ^ Director: Lauren MacMullan; Writer: Aaron Ehasz (2005-04-08). "The Spirit World (Winter Solstice, Part 1)". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 7. Nickelodeon.
  18. ^ Liu, Ed (2008-07-18). ""Sozin's Comet" Produces an Epic Season Finale for "Avatar the Last Airbender"". Toon Zone. Retrieved 2008-07-20. 
  19. ^ a b Director: Ethan Spaulding; Writers: Elizabeth Welch Ehasz, Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko (2008-07-19). "Sozin's Comet". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 58-61. Nickelodeon.
  20. ^ Director: Lauren MacMullan; Writer: Aaron Ehasz (2005-06-03). "The Storm". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  21. ^ a b Director: Lauren MacMullan, Writer: Michael Dante DiMartino (2005-02-25). "The Southern Air Temple". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  22. ^ Director: Giancarlo Volpe, Writer: Michael Dante DiMartino (2005-04-15). "Avatar Roku (Winter Solstice, Part 2)". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 8. Nickelodeon.
  23. ^ The Waterbending Master". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Nickelodeon. 2005-11-18. No. 18, season 1.
  24. ^ Director: Ethan Spaulding; Writer: Michael Dante DiMartino (2006-05-05). "The Blind Bandit". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.
  25. ^ Director: Giancarlo; Writers: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko (2006-12-01). "The Guru". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  26. ^ Director: Giancarlo Volpe; Writer: Michael Dante DiMartino (2007-11-23). "The Day of Black Sun Part 1: The Invasion". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 10. Nickelodeon.
  27. ^ Director: Joaquim Dos Santos; Writer: Aaron Ehasz (2007-11-30). "The Day of Black Sun Part 2: The Eclipse". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
  28. ^ Director: Ethan Spaulding; Writers: Elizabeth Welch Ehasz, Tim Hedrick (2007-12-14). "The Western Air Temple". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  29. ^ Yang, Gene (2012). Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise (3). Dark Horse Comics. 
  30. ^ "Avatar: The Last Airbender Video Game". Nick.com. Nickelodeon. Retrieved 2008-03-22. 
  31. ^ "IGN.com: Avatar: The Burning Earth". IGN. Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  32. ^ Sperling, N (2008-12-17). "Movies" 1026. Entertainment Weekly. p. 15. 
  33. ^ Graeme McMillan (2008-12-17). "Avatar Casting Makes Fans See... White". io9 (Gawker Media). Archived from the original on 20 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-19. 
  34. ^ Jeff Yang (2008-12-29). "'Avatar' an Asian thing- why isn't the cast?". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 1 February 2009. Retrieved 2008-12-29. 
  35. ^ Naomi Tarlow (2008-12-29). "Protesters oppose "whitewashing" in new Shyamalan film". Daily Pennsylvanian. Retrieved 2008-12-29. 
  36. ^ Hoffman, Jordan (2010-05-21). "Racebending — The Controversy Continues — The Last Airbender". UGO.com. Archived from the original on 24 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-16. 
  37. ^ Karen Valby (November 3, 2010). "Noah Ringer of 'The Last Airbender' has nothing up his sleeve: EW at 'The Kids' Table'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved October 8, 2011. 
  38. ^ Lyons, Kendall (2005-12-08). "Avatar: The Last Airbender". Animation Inside. p. 2. Archived from the original on 22 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-02-15. "Aang seems to be the lighthearted kid that you can easily familiarize yourself with. He seems to bring comfort in the most dangerous or hostile situations." 
  39. ^ Robinson, Tasha (2006-03-07). "Avatar: The Last Airbender". Sci-Fi Weekly. p. 2. Archived from the original on 2008-02-17. Retrieved 2008-02-15. "Aang, meanwhile, is as reckless and excitable as a kid his age should be, but he also shows the marks of a monastic life of training and responsibility." 
  40. ^ Mell, Tory Ireland (2008-02-27). "Avatar: The Last Airbender - "The Spirit World (Winter Solstice, Part 1)" Review". IGN Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2 March 2008. Retrieved 2008-03-11. "As the Avatar, Aang seems unstoppable, but as Aang, he is just another Airbender..." 

External links[edit]