Azula

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Azula
Avatar: The Last Airbender character
Azula's Blue Flames.png
First appearance "The Storm" (Cameo)
"The Avatar State" (Voice)
Voiced by Grey DeLisle
Information
Aliases Princess Azula
Crown Princess of the Fire Nation
Fire Lord Azula
Gender Female
Relatives Ozai (father)
Ursa (mother)
Zuko (older brother)
Iroh (paternal uncle)
Lu Ten (first cousin)
Azulon (paternal grandfather)
Ilah (paternal grandmother)
Rina (maternal grandmother)
Jinzuk (maternal grandfather)
Sozin (paternal great-grandfather)
Roku (maternal great-grandfather)
Ta Min (maternal great-grandmother)
Izumi (niece)
Iroh II (grandnephew)
Ikem (stepfather)
Kiyi (maternal half-sister)
Izumi's daughter (Grandniece)
Nationality Fire Nation
Bending element Fire
Heat
Lightning creation and redirection
Age 14[1] in the series
15-16 (The Promise)
16-17 (The Search)
Hair color Dark Brown
Eye color Gold

Princess Azula is a fictional character and antagonist of Nickelodeon's animated television series Avatar: The Last Airbender. Created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the character is voiced by veteran voice actress Grey DeLisle.

In the show, Azula is the crown princess of the Fire Nation and a Firebending prodigy.[2] Upon Fire Lord Ozai's orders, she begins a quest with her childhood friends Mai and Ty Lee to retrieve her exiled brother Prince Zuko and their uncle Iroh, while also attempting to capture the Avatar, a transcendent being capable of manipulating all four elements (Earth, Water, Fire and Air). Azula is known to be cold, cruel, manipulative, and, as her brother Zuko says, 'always lies'.[3] Throughout the series, she is shown to be capable of a much higher level of bending and yields blue flames, instead of red and orange, as well as having the rare firebending ability to generate pure whitish-blue lightning.

Appearances[edit]

Avatar: The Last Airbender[edit]

Azula first appears in a flashback during thirteen-year-old Zuko's Agni Kai, a duel that takes place between two firebenders using their pyrokinetic, thermokinetic abilities, against their father, Firelord Ozai, which left Zuko scarred and later banished - due to his refusal to fight his father, who took this as a sign of weakness and disrespect.[4] Azula makes a second brief appearance at the end of the first season, when Ozai tasks her with repatriating Zuko and Iroh, hers and Zuko's uncle who accompanied Zuko during his exile.[5] Although Azula's age is never stated in the series itself, the Avatar website gives her age as fourteen. She is Fire Lord Sozin's great-granddaughter through Ozai, and of Avatar Roku's through her mother, Ursa.[6] In another flashback, it is revealed that she is named after her paternal grandfather Azulon, Ozai's father.[3] Even as a child, Azula demonstrated her natural talents early in life, along with her tendency for malice and perfectionism. Her sharp wit and the skill she displayed towards Firebending gained her much attention and acclaim, often at Zuko's expense. Even when young, Azula suggests that her father would make a better Fire Lord than the heir apparent, her uncle Iroh, whom she dubbed "a quitter and a loser" for abandoning his siege of the Earth Kingdom's capital Ba Sing Se, which would have secured the Fire Nation's victory in the war, after the death of his son Lu Ten.[3]

After Iroh's brief cooperation with the series' protagonists, Ozai tasks Azula with capturing Zuko and Iroh. Azula eventually encounters the Avatar in Omashu, and in later attempts to capture him enlists her childhood friends Ty Lee and Mai.[7] Azula continues to pursue the Avatar, Zuko, and Iroh for the rest of the season. After her initial failure to enter Ba Sing Se using a giant drill to breach the city's strong outer wall, Azula comes in contact with the Kyoshi Warriors, fighters who, despite their lack of the ability to bend (the term given to the ability to manipulate the four elements) dress as and utilize the fighting style of Kyoshi, a past avatar,[8] whom Azula along with Mai and Ty Lee defeat and impersonate.[9] Thus disguised, Azula, Ty Lee, and Mai enter Ba Sing Se and plot a coup with the treacherous minister Long Feng,[10] only to betray him later, and annex the city to the Fire Nation. Azula encounters Zuko in Ba Sing Se and convinces him to join her in order to redeem his birthright as crown prince. During their showdown, Azula appears to have killed Aang with a bolt of lightning.[11] However, Azula gives Zuko credit for the kill, so that, in the event that Aang survived, Zuko would face the disgrace and dishonor of the failure.

During the two-part episode "The Day of Black Sun", Aang assembles an elite invasion force and attacks the Fire Nation capital, taking advantage of an eclipse that rendered the firebenders powerless. Having gained knowledge of the invasion during her infiltration in the Earth Kingdom, Azula warned the Fire Lord and evacuated to an underground bunker prior to the invasion. Azula and her agents stall Aang and his friends Sokka and Toph from finding Fire Lord Ozai before the eclipse, lasting only eight minutes, allowing the Fire Nation retaliate with full force once they regained control over their bending abilities, causing the invasion to fail.[12] Later, Azula, accompanied by Mai and Ty Lee, head to The Boiling Rock, the top security Fire Nation prison, where Zuko has been captured in an attempt to infiltrate the prison and rescue the captured forces of the failed invasion; but Zuko, Sokka, Suki (leader of the Kyoshi Warriors, who had been captured in the aftermath of their battle with Azula), and Sokka's father Hakoda escape. Mai betrays Azula, by aiding the group in escaping, and proclaims that she did so out of her love for Zuko, and the latter attempts to attack Mai, but is stopped by Ty Lee, who renders Azula incapable of bending by blocking her Chi (the energy within one which one would use for bending). After imprisoning Mai and Ty Lee,[13] Azula leads a platoon to the Western Air Temple, where she contends with Zuko.[14] In the finale, Ozai marks Azula his successor as Fire Lord; but soon afterward, Azula sinks into paranoia and banishes nearly all of her servants and advisers. Before she is crowned, Zuko and Katara interrupt the ceremony, whereupon Azula challenges Zuko to single combat in an Agni Kai. However, her attacks, while powerful, are wild and emotional while Zuko's are calm and disciplined; and when his attacks begin to overpower her, Azula sends a bolt of lightning towards Katara, but ends up striking down Zuko who attempted to redirect it.[15] She is ultimately defeated by Katara who takes her captive via Waterbending.[16] Following the end of the war, Azula is admitted to a psychiatric institution due to her mental breakdown, where she is closely monitored.[17]

Post Avatar: The Last Airbender[edit]

A year after the war's end, Zuko visits Azula with request for her assistance in gaining information from their father on the whereabouts of their mother. Azula accepts[18] and is watched by Zuko during an attempt at speaking with her father that turns mum, Azula afterward suggesting that he leave the pair alone. After Zuko does this and seeks to know what she learned, Azula dodges the question and distracts him with her bending long enough to access letters from their mother, which she burns and uses as leverage to be allowed to accompany her brother on his quest to find Ursa, willing to state what was written if permitted on the trip.[19] Her request is granted and during the adventure, she accuses Aang of having been in cahoots with her mother, fighting alongside Team Avatar[20] and confronting Ursa in her guise as Noriko, who, though amnesiac, apologizes for her lack of love. Zuko follows up by saying that she is still his sister no matter their relationship, leading Azula to flee.[21] Remaining hidden for several weeks, even after the others searched for her,[22] Azula resurfaces as the Kemurikage and assisting allies in escaping the mental institution.[23] A month later, she abducts children as hostages,[24] though they are later freed by allies of Zuko, who she tells in a confrontation that her goal in abducting them was to make him a more aggressive Fire Lord, disappearing once more.[23]

Appearances in other media[edit]

She appears as an antagonist in the video games Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Burning Earth[25] and Avatar: The Last Airbender – Into the Inferno[26] again voiced by Grey DeLisle. Azusa also appears in the live action feature film The Last Airbender in a flashback where Zuko gets his scar and before the end credits roll, she is played by Summer Bishil.

Conception and creation[edit]

Konietzko notes that Azula's design when compared to other main characters "came together relatively quickly". Azula was originally going to wear a heavily phoenix-themeed armor, though the idea was eventually abandoned. Azula's blue firebending was meant to symbolize that she was more skilled than Zuko as well as a prodigy in the art of bending and easily distinguish her attacks from his in their conflicts.[27] She was initially intended to have an arranged marriage during the third season.[28] Both creators hold the character in high regard; Konietzko believes she is "by far the most complex, interesting, and dangerous villain in the series" while DiMartino wrote that she was his favorite antagonist in the series.[27]

Voice[edit]

Azula is voiced by Grey DeLisle. Though DeLisle's favorite character in the series was Katara, she was still favorable of Azula.[29] DeLisle recounts crying over Azula's fate in the series finale, as it appeared to her that the character was undergoing trauma in not being able to get what she wanted through meaningful relationships and instead desiring to conquer those around her, but also feeling satisfied to "be able to voice her ultimate demise." DelisLe concluded that she had studied her "whole life" for well-written characters like Azula who were hard to come by.[30] Overall, DeLisle felt her life had changed positively from the role, and association with the series, relaying this to Janet Varney who would voice Korra in the sequel series.[31]

Characterization[edit]

Personality[edit]

Azula is a prodigy of the Fire Nation, she is also a dedicated perfectionist,[32] even as a child; and from a young age, Azula demonstrated sadistic aggression and lack of remorse in actions of harming others, both physically and emotionally.[3] There has been only one known occurrence of Azula showing remorse and apologizing.

Although an amazing strategist and capable of predicting her enemies' moves, she is awkward in social situations, and later admits to jealousy of Ty Lee's ability to attract potential sweethearts during "The Beach" episode. She ends up seducing Chan with Ty Lee's advice to act dumb; however, she scares him away when she shows her real personality.

From childhood she believed her mother favored Zuko and thought Azula monstrous, which she admitted to be true but it still hurt. After she was betrayed by Mai and Ty Lee, her mental state gradually collapsed. After her defeat, it is revealed in the graphic novel, The Search, that she was admitted into a mental institution in the Fire Nation due to her psychosis, paranoia, and deranged mental state. Both in the series and subsequent comics, she is shown to have hallucinations of her mother.

Although Azula acts cold-hearted towards her uncle and her brother, she appears to show some care and affection towards her friends, such as apologizing after unintentionally insulting Ty Lee, as well as looking out for her brother in early episodes of season 3. However, she can also be quite domineering and manipulative even towards her friends, as seen when she threatened Ty Lee into leaving her circus.

Firebending[edit]

Azula is highly skilled in Firebending which utilizes chinese martial arts techniques of Changquan, Shaolinquan, Lóng Xíng Mó Qiáo and Xing Yi Quan.[7][33][34][35] Azula is a very difficult person to defeat in single combat. Her excellent fire-bending abilities, hand-to-hand combat skills, intelligence, and agility make her a formidable opponent. She is also capable of lightning generation, one of the rarest types of firebending; Iroh notes that it isn't really possible to teach lightning generation, it's just something particularly powerful firebenders are capable of.[32]

Azula is unique in that she creates blue flames which implies the flames she creates are hotter and contain more energy according to Planck's law than those of other firebenders who bend red or orange flames. Azula can also use her firebending in previously unseen ways, such as jets of flames and whirling disks. She often firebends using only two fingers, rather than a closed fist or open hand common to other firebenders.[7] Azula can fight for long periods of time without tiring. She is also able to generate powerful shields of swirling flames, which she once used to withstand the simultaneous combined attacks of Aang, Katara, Sokka, Zuko, Iroh, and Toph.[36] She is even able to charge up her fire before releasing it, as was seen during one fight with Aang.[37]

Azula is able to propel herself, using her flames, in a manner similar to a rocket. This ability has also been extended as a means to fly for short periods of time as seen in the Boiling Rock.[38] She is also a skilled unarmed fighter; in "The Avatar State", she bested Zuko without firebending, and in "The Day of Black Sun", avoided the combined forces of Aang, Toph, and Sokka for several minutes without her bending to aid her. In "Appa's Lost Days", when Suki made a stab attack at Azula with her fan, Azula jumped horizontally and knocked Suki's sword out of her hand and onto a tree.[12]

Other skills[edit]

She also has the ability to lie easily without causing any change in her breathing and heartrate, indicating her psychopathic tendencies, making it nearly impossible to detect if she's lying, as demonstrated in the Episode "The Day of Black Sun". She is also an accomplished strategist, as she was able to conquer Ba Sing Se, a city thought to be impenetrable, while usurping the Earth King and hierarchy of the Earth Kingdom capital all in one swift move.[38][39]

Azula is an expert in persuasion. She is capable of using psychological warfare, intimidation, and mistruths to con other people into obeying her. She can also breathe fire, as shown when she was defeated by Katara and Zuko.

Reception[edit]

Azula ranked #9 of "The 20 Best Characters From The Avatar Universe" list by Zach Blumenfeld.[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Go to "Season 2" → "The Avatar State" → "Characters" → "Azula"
  2. ^ Pittarese, Frank (2006). "Nation Exploration". Nickelodeon Magazine (Winter 2006): 2. 
  3. ^ a b c d Director: Lauren MacMullan; Writer: Elizabeth Welch Ehasz (2006-05-12). "Zuko Alone". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 7. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Episode Tanscript. Nickelodeon. 
  4. ^ Director: Lauren MacMullan; Writer: Aaron Ehasz (2005-06-03). "The Storm". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 12. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Episode Tanscript. Nickelodeon. 
  5. ^ Director: Dave Filoni; Writer: Aaron Ehasz (2005-12-02). "The Siege of the North, Part II". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 20. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Episode Tanscript. Nickelodeon. 
  6. ^ Director: Ethan Spaulding; Writer: Elizabeth Welch Ehasz (2007-10-24). "The Avatar and the Firelord". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 6. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Episode Tanscript. Nickelodeon. 
  7. ^ a b c Director: Ethan Spaulding; Writer: Elizabeth Welch Ehasz (2006-04-07). "Return to Omashu". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 3. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Episode Tanscript. Nickelodeon.  Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "Return_To_Omashu" defined multiple times with different content (see the help page).
  8. ^ Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (October 13, 2006). "Appa's Lost Days". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 16. Nickelodeon.
  9. ^ Director: Ethan Spaulding; Writer: John O'Bryan (2006-11-16). "The Earth King". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 18. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Episode Tanscript. Nickelodeon. 
  10. ^ DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (December 1, 2006). "The Guru". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  11. ^ Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & DiMartino, Michael Dante (director). (December 1, 2006). "The Crossroads of Destiny". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  12. ^ a b Director: Joaquim dos Santos; Writer: Aaron Ehasz (2007-11-26). "The Day of Black Sun Part 2: The Eclipse". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 11. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Episode Tanscript. Nickelodeon. 
  13. ^ Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (July 16, 2008). "The Boiling Rock, Part 2". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 15. Nickelodeon.
  14. ^ Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (July 17, 2008). "The Southern Raiders". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 16. Nickelodeon.
  15. ^ DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 3: Into the Inferno". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  16. ^ DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 21. Nickelodeon.
  17. ^ From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. No longer updated.
  18. ^ Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Promise Part 3
  19. ^ Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Search Part 1
  20. ^ Avatar: The Last Airbender
  21. ^ Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Search Part 3
  22. ^ Avatar: The Last Airbender, Smoke and Shadow, Part 1
  23. ^ a b Avatar: The Last Airbender, Smoke and Shadow Part 3
  24. ^ Avatar: The Last Airbender, Smoke and Shadow, Part 2
  25. ^ Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Burning Earth
  26. ^ Avatar: The Last Airbender - Into the Inferno
  27. ^ a b Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Art of the Animated Series, pg. 87.
  28. ^ "An Avatar Spring Break with Mike and Bryan (part 2 of 3)". avatarspirit.net. 2007-04-06. 
  29. ^ "Grey DeLisle interview on reddit". reddit. 
  30. ^ "An Interview with Princess Azula of the Fire Nation (Grey DeLisle)". October 1, 2012. 
  31. ^ Guendelsberger, Emily (June 22, 2012). "The Legend Of Korra lead Janet Varney talks fun with fandom and strong female leads". The A.V. Club. 
  32. ^ a b Director: Giancarlo Volpe; Writers: Aaron Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch Ehasz, Tim Hedrick, John O'Bryan (2006-03-17). "The Avatar State". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 1. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Episode Tanscript. Nickelodeon. 
  33. ^ "Nickelodeon's Official Avatar: The Last Airbender Flash Site". Nick.com. Retrieved December 2, 2006. 
  34. ^ The Lost Scrolls: Fire, page 159 of The Lost Scrolls Collection.
  35. ^ http://www.kungfumagazine.com/ezine/article.php?article=1038
  36. ^ Director: Giancarlo Volpe; Writer: Joshua Hamilton (2006-05-26). "The Chase". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 8. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Episode Tanscript. Nickelodeon. 
  37. ^ Director: Giancarlo Volpe; Writers: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko (2006-09-15). "The Drill". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 13. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Episode Tanscript. Nickelodeon. 
  38. ^ a b Director: Michael Dante DiMartino; Writer: Aaron Ehasz (2006-12-01). "The Crossroads of Destiny". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 20. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Episode Tanscript. Nickelodeon. 
  39. ^ Director: Giancarlo Volpe; Writer: Aaron Ehasz (2007-09-21). "The Awakening". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 1. Avatar: The Last Airbender. Episode Tanscript. Nickelodeon. 
  40. ^ Blumenfeld, Zach (June 21, 2016). "The 20 Best Characters From The Avatar Universe". pastemagazine.com. 

External links[edit]