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I Rewatched The Animated Avatar: The Last Airbender As An Adult And Here Are My 10 Biggest Takeaways

 Zach Tyler Eisen in Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005).
Zach Tyler Eisen in Avatar: The Last Airbender (2005).

I did it. I rewatched the animated Avatar: The Last Airbender again after watching the live-action series, and I have so many takeaways that I have to share.

As someone who grew up watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, I was so excited for the new series. When it premiered, I binged it all in one night, and I'm still looking forward to Avatar: The Last Airbender Season 2 because I seriously enjoyed the heck out of it.

Afterward, I decided to revisit the series that inspired it all, the animated show from Nickelodeon. I binged the entirety of it in a weekend for the first time in years, and these are my key takeaways from it.

Suki capturing the Warden in Avatar.
Suki capturing the Warden in Avatar.

Katara, Toph, And Suki Really Shaped Me Into The Woman I Am Today

There are plenty of badass female benders and fighters in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender, but upon my rewatch, I have to give props to Katara, Toph, and Suki – because I didn't realize how much they had shaped me as a child into the woman I am today.

I've inherited Katara's heart and determination to learn and her fierceness for standing up for what I believe in. I've learned to be just as stubborn as Toph when proving my skills and showing others that I'm more than just what you see on the surface. And Suki? She's why I started my fitness journey years ago; her discipline and skill on the battlefield inspired me to become a better version of myself.

As an older Gen Z'r, I can openly say I am so proud I had these three women as my role models growing up, and I know that millions of other women can say the same thing.

Toph Beifong in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Toph Beifong in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

I Still Can't Believe Toph Created Metalbending Out Of Spite

Toph is hands down one of the best characters in Avatar, but when I rewatched Book 2 (Season 2), I still found myself in awe of her power when she created Metalbending.

Metal was used as a capturing device against Earthbenders precisely because, for years, no one had ever bent it. Toph took one look at it when she was captured, took that personally, and invented a new bending style just out of spite to escape and prove her captors wrong. I love it.

Aang and Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Aang and Zuko in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Zuko's Character Arc Is Still Unmatched

There are plenty of great character arcs on TV, but Zuko's is still one of the best, and I stand by that now, even as an adult. I've talked almost too much about it.

I forgot just how annoying and irritating Zuko was in the show's first season. He was evil and stood on business whenever he saw Aang, going above and beyond to capture him.

But, over time, we do see his genuine shift in kindness and vulnerability and his eventual betrayal of his family to save others. It's beautiful.

Sokka and Suki in Kyoshi Warrior makeup.
Sokka and Suki in Kyoshi Warrior makeup.

But Sokka's Growth Has Grown On Me Tremendously

I never really liked Sokka that much as a kid, but that's because I, too, had an annoying older brother and agreed with Katara, thinking he was the worst.

Now that I'm older, I've also started to admire Sokka's character arc. I always forgot that he began the series pretty misogynistic, believing girls were unable to fight. This was mainly because he was the only male left behind in his tribe to defend their people. He was forced to grow up and act like that.

However, the change we see in him from the first season to the last, thanks to being surrounded by powerful, strong young women, is fun to watch, where he learns to respect and follow women.

Iroh with the members of the White Lotus behind him.
Iroh with the members of the White Lotus behind him.

Uncle Iroh's Wisdom Has Fueled My Adult Years So Much

I'm pretty sure everyone who grew up watching Avatar: The Last Airbender loved Uncle Iroh with a passion, but I didn't realize Iroh's wisdom in the show had fueled my adult years in many ways.

He occasionally drops so many tidbits of wisdom that I think of getting them on a poster to hang on my walls because they're so smart. We all need an Uncle Iroh in our lives, especially now as adults.

Aang talking to Monk Gyatso in Avatar.
Aang talking to Monk Gyatso in Avatar.

Airbending Really Is Overpowered

As a kid, I always believed that the bending in Avatar: The Last Airbender was equal across all four elements, with some exceptions when people had specialty bending powers—like using lightning or Lavabending.

But, I've come to acknowledge that Airbending is overpowered in many ways. Watching Aang fight was like watching someone floating around fight all the time. He could make tornadoes; he could float above soldiers to make them run into each other; he could redirect bending back at someone else through the air – it's so overpowered. 

If I had to pick a second element that's overpowered, I'd pick Waterbending, specifically because of Bloodbending, but man…Airbending takes the cake on this one.

Aang looking at Katara in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Aang looking at Katara in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

I'm Sorry, But I Kind Of Don't Love Aang And Katara's Relationship Anymore

I might get some hate for this, but I don't love Aang and Katara's relationship anymore.

No, this isn't just my little eight-year-old brain loving Katara and Zuko as if they could be the best enemies-to-lovers romance ever. This is me, as an adult, realizing that Katara and Aang feel a little too mother-son-ish.

Don't get me wrong—I love their dynamic—but I always felt that Katara looked after Aang in a more maternal way rather than actively showing feelings for him. We don't see that genuine common emotion until Book 3. We got a little hint of it with "The Cave of Two Lovers" episode, but other than that, we don't see Katara show any serious interest in Aang aside from a few glances.

It almost feels like they get together out of trauma at the end rather than a genuine connection, but I don't know – maybe that's just me. The Avatar comics do a better job of expanding on it, but I still can't help but think about it.

Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Azula Finally Cracking Hits Harder As An Adult

Azula's slow downfall until she finally cracks in Book 3 hits way harder as an adult. I feel awful for Azula, something I did not think of as a kid.

Azula is a determined, disciplined Firebender and will do anything for power, even kill her own family, but this is because she was raised to be that way. She was raised to be this machine for her father to wield for his gain, and if she failed, who knew what would happen?

Then, she lets this power consume her to the point where her friends leave her, and no one wants to be around her. Even her mother haunts her mind, saying that she did love her, but it's not enough to stop her breaking. She's only fourteen, and it's such a shame to see a prodigy face such intense hardship and pressure that it turns her to this.

Azula and Zuko fighting in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Azula and Zuko fighting in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

God, The Animation Still Rocks Even Fifteen Years Later

This is just a random thing, but the animation slaps in this show. It's just freaking beautiful.

The bending is fluid, and the side characters that save the day are detailed wonderfully with their backstory and outfits – even the landscapes steal my breath away.

I could repeatedly rewatch that final Agni Kai between Zuko and Azula and never get sick of it—just pure beauty.

Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

This Show Really Is Great For Both Children And Adults

I've said this before, and I'll repeat it now, even more so for all grown-ups. Avatar: The Last Airbender is relevant today and is a show for kids and adults.

All The Major Changes In Netflix's Avatar: The Last Airbender From The Original Animation

Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Aang in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

If you're looking for all the major changes between the Avatar: The Last Airbender animation and the live-action, we have you covered. 

Sure, the animation is great for children, but the life lessons and role models they will meet are unbeatable. Then, for adults, there's so much wisdom, a great story, and fantastic character arcs that this show is pure, practically perfect television. It ebbs and flows in all the right ways, caps off storylines expertly, and is an experience unlike any other.

Out of all the television shows I have watched – and trust me, there have been plenty – this series is one of the few I would give anything to forget about and rewatch from the beginning without any knowledge. I'm envious of first-time viewers because they get to experience this masterpiece. And, I'll sit on the sidelines, cheering them on.

If you haven't watched Avatar: The Last Airbender or are looking to rewatch it, do that – it's worth every second and then some. I feel like rewatching it again even now—time to head to Netflix.