Ever since creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko introduced the world to Avatar: The Last Airbender, fans and critics agree that the anime show is one of the best kids show to ever air on television. What makes the show so great is the incredible depth of characters that come and go throughout the three seasons. This article will highlight the five best characters that have been on the popular Nickelodeon show. However, Aang, Sokka, and Katara will be exempt from this list as they’re obvious choices when it comes to great characters. Let’s get started with the first name:
Can you imagine Toph as being a muscular male character joining Aang and the gang instead? The crazy thing is, this was originally an alternate character, who was supposed to be opposite of Sokka and a love interest for Katara. Thankfully, the showrunners dropped that idea for the sarcastic and spunky blind Toph Beifong. Introduced in the second two episode, The Blind Bandit, the powerful earthbender makes a great contrast for Aang, Sokka, and Katara, with her little rivalry with the latter brings some of the show’s funniest moments. However, the show wasn’t afraid to highlight Toph’s softer side and the insecurities she has despite being portrayed as a strong protagonist. Toph added a fun dynamic to the group that matched perfectly and there’s no telling how much of a void Team Avatar would’ve been if she wasn’t presented.
The sadistic and evil sister made her debut in The Storm and Azula is the perfect example of how to carefully craft a strong villain. Given the fact that this is a cartoon, the creators could’ve easily leaned on Azula’s villainous aspects, but they wisely decided to make her a three-dimensional being thanks to her friends, Mai and Ty Lee. We were able to see Azula’s lighter side that showcases that she’s more than a cunning vixen. Granted, Azula’s character never changes when she’s around these two, but she’s able to showcase her likeable side. Of course, after Mai and Ty Lee’s betrayal, Azula goes full blown crazy and her battle against Zuko was a great payoff for their sibling rivalry. What makes Azula stand out more than Lord Ozai is that we’re given a chance to connect with her character more than the Firelord, thus making her more of the interesting character of the two.
More of the anti-hero of the series. Introduced in the very first episode, Zuko came across as a jerk in the early seasons, but you understand why he was so obsessed with trying to capture the Avatar. The Prince just wanted his father’s approval. The confliction of Zuko’s morals is what makes him such an engaging character. He doesn’t hate the Avatar. And Prince Zuko has always had his heart in the right place. Zuko Alone was such a strong character driven piece because it truly painted the picture that Zuko is in fact one of the good guys in the midst of a sticky situation. Plus, his dynamic with Uncle Iroh was also a blast to watch. Either way, Zuko is arguably the best character in The Last Airbender due his complexity and badassery.
Another complex character when it comes to the fight of good vs. evil, though Jet’s story is more tragic. Making his first appearance in the self titled episode of Book One, we meet the leader of the Freedom Fighters group. We come to understand that Jet witnessed the death of his parents at the hands of the Fire Nation soldiers; however, Jet’s actions of killing an entire village are far more sinister than most of the villains on the show. Though Jet isn’t given as much airtime as Azula or Prince Zuko, the juxtaposition between his actions and words are what make him standout. Jet’s also in the class of an anti-hero, but somewhat more of a delusional character who doesn’t understand that most of his actions are vile and heinous. What’s great about Avatar is that the show wasn’t afraid to tackle mature themes, which is one of the reasons why most of these characters are so captivating. Jet’s death was a sad one. Even though we don’t actually see it, his final heroic moments and Smellerbee crying really packed a punch.
Like Toph, there were some alterations made to Uncle Iroh’s character. Originally, he was supposed to play as a double agent, turning on Prince Zuko in the later seasons. While that would’ve been an interesting direction to go in, keeping Uncle Iroh as the wise and caring mentor was still a great decision. His time with Zuko always brought moment of wisdom and laughs, and though he doesn’t match the hard complexity of some of these characters on the list, Uncle Iroh is simply a joy to watch in a show revolving a war.