Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of my favourite shows of all time.
It not only has a fantastic story, along with animation, music, action sequences and themes but incredible characters as well.
Some of these characters are even among the best in television history so I am going to count down what I consider to be the top 10 best.
Before that though, I have a few honorable mentions of Commander Zhao and Firelord Ozai, who are good characters, just not good enough to get on the list.
So, these are who I consider to be the top 10 best Avatar: The Last Airbender characters.
When we were first introduced to Suki in Book One, episode four, The Warriors of Kyoshi, she seemed like a very interesting character but only one that would be recurring and not a part of the main cast.
This, for the most part, was true because we did not see her for the rest of Book One and she was only in a little of Book Two before she got captured by Azula.
It is in Book Three where she is made a part of the main cast after being rescued from the Boiling Rock Prison.
She would go on to take part in the final battle, helping Sokka and Toph destroy the Firelord’s airships, even saving them both at one point.
Suki may not get that much development, due to her limited screen time throughout the series, but she is still a really cool character due to her unique fighting abilities as a Kyoshi Warrior and her relationship with Sokka.
I am going to be honest and say that when Mai was first introduced I did not really care for her.
Yes, her skill with knives was pretty cool but character wise she just fit the trope of a moody uncaring teen.
The reason she is on this list though is due to her actions in the Book Three episode, The Boiling Rock Part 2.
It is in this episode where she betrays Azula to save her ex-boyfriend Zuko, leading her to say one of my favourite lines in the series, “I guess you miscalculated. I love Zuko more than I fear you.”
This was a really great moment for her because it showed her dedication to protecting those she cares about.
This along with the explanation of why she is so moody in the episode The Beach was enough to put her on my list at number nine.
8. Appa and Momo
Appa and Momo are basically the mascots of the show.
Appa, a sky bison, is Aang’s lifelong friend who has stuck with him through thick and thing and Momo was discovered as the last winged lemur in The Southern Air Temple.
Both stick with Team Avatar throughout the series and are mainly used for comic relief, especially Momo.
However, they also provide emotional moments for the show as well as Appa’s kidnapping was one of the big driving points for Book Two.
It was through the separation of Aang and Appa that we got a good look at how strong their friendship was through how both of them were reacting to their separation.
Appa was also very important to the show due to him being Team Avatar’s main form of transport.
While, Momo may just be comic relief and not important to the story he is still a lovable character that is shown to have a lot of heart, just like Appa.
Appa and Momo may be mascots but they are some of the best of any show.
Katara is the strong-willed mother figure of the series and provides a lot of emotional heart for the show.
I was genuinely surprised that I placed her at only number seven but that comes from no fault of her own, just that I like the characters further down the list more than her.
Katara herself is still a fantastic character who grows a lot from beginning to end.
In fact, some of the best episodes of the series are Katara centric like The Puppet Master, where Katara had to use the inhumane technique of Bloodbending to save her friends.
Then there was my second favourite episode of the series The Southern Raiders, where Katara and Zuko went to hunt down the man who killed her mother.
This episode had a lot of great growth for Katara, like with her going so far as breaking her vow of never bloodbending again when she thinks she has captured her mother’s killer, and her deciding not to kill Yon Rha but does not forgive him.
Throughout the show we have seen Katara at her best and lowest points presenting a strong character with a lot of emotional depth.
You might think it is a problem for me to consider the main character of the series, Aang, to be only the sixth best character but, like Katara, he is a fantastic character, just not as good as the ones further down, which shows how fantastic the entire cast of Avatar: The Last Airbender is.
Aang is the Avatar, the only one who can control all four elements and bring balance to the world.
It just so happens that he is also a fun loving goofball who would rather have fun with his friends than save the world.
This does not mean he is neglectful of his responsibilities though because, after realizing what his disappearance has done to the world, he takes on his responsibility as the Avatar, despite him never wanting to be.
Just like Katara, Aang grew a lot throughout the series, having matured a lot in the final episodes of Sozin’s Comet.
We got a look at his tragic backstory in The Storm where it was revealed he ran away from home after he learned the monks were going to take him away from his adoptive father Monk Gyatso when he got frozen in the ice, dooming the world to 100 years of war.
Watching his journey from here to Sozin’s Comet was great to see and only made better with how his character arc played into the themes of the show.
Sokka may just seem like comic relief when you see him in the first episode but he is so much more than that.
You only need to compare him to the comic relief of the series’ follow up The Legend of Korra, Bolin, to see that Sokka is the perfect type of this character.
Bolin’s sole purpose in The Legend of Korra was comic relief so there was little to no depth with his character, while Sokka, on the other hand, had so much more depth despite being comic relief, thus making him a more interesting character.
He was the smartest person in Team Avatar, constantly figuring out ways for them to get out of tricky situations.
Even better, he got a lot of great character development as well, both through the relationships he had and his character arc.
We got to see him grow through his loss of Yue and eventually learning not to be too overprotective of Suki, when dealing with the aftermath of that loss.
Sokka’s feelings of inadequacy were also addressed in episodes like Sokka’s Master and The Day of Black Sun Part 1, and this all lead to him becoming an experienced warrior by the end of the series.
Sokka was a great character with a lot of heart.
Sokka may be the comic relief character but I always felt like Toph was the funniest character of the series.
Her blind jokes always got a laugh out of me.
Despite being blind, she is one of the most powerful characters in the Avatar series due to her unique sense of vibrations that allows her to fight in a very different style to everyone else.
She is a very fun character with a lot of spunk and heart.
Although she is one of the more underdeveloped members of Team Avatar, Toph is still one of my favourites because of her great personality.
We first meet her in The Blind Bandit fighting in a pro-wrestling match, a fantastic way to introduce her that really showed her characteristics and her skill set.
Toph also had many inspirational moments throughout the series, like her inventing metal bending in The Guru.
This was an excellent scene that really showed Toph overcoming the odds.
Toph is a character who, out of everyone in the show, I would probably want to be friends with the most due to her fun personality and inspirational strength.
What can I say?
I love a great villain and Azula is the best one in the entire series.
She is not only my favourite villain in Avatar: The Last Airbender but one of my favourite villains of all time.
That shows what an excellent character Azula is.
Azula is, without a doubt in my mind, a complete and utter sociopath.
That may seem extreme for a Nickelodeon show but it is the only thing that makes sense.
She threatens her “friends” with physical injury if they do not join her mission, she taunts Sokka about what she has done to Suki and, worst of all, as an eight-year-old girl she celebrated when she learnt her father planned to kill her brother and laughed about it.
Yet, despite being a completely despicable person, Azula is still fascinating to watch.
Seeing her plan to overthrow the Earth Kingdom in The Guru and The Crossroads of Destiny was brilliant to see play out and her scolding line to Long Feng, “don’t flatter yourself, you were never even a player” is probably the biggest insult in TV history.
Then, despite all the terrible things she had done, the show actually succeeded in making me feel sorry for her at the end.
Watching her slowly descend into madness was very sad to see because she had gone from basically perfect in every way to a shell of her former glory.
The only problem I have with Azula is we do not know what happened to her.
I do know from reading the comics she escaped and is still causing trouble but she is not mentioned in The Legend of Korra and I just want an explanation as to where she is.
Azula is the best villain in all of Avatar and one of my favourite villains ever.
Iroh is the kind of guy who any person would be happy to have as their uncle.
He stuck by Zuko and supported him when no one else would.
Iroh has had some of the most emotional moments on the entire series as well.
When he celebrated his dead son’s birthday in The Tales of Ba Sing Se it was very emotional and his reconciliation with Zuko during Sozin’s Comet always makes me cry tears of joy at how beautiful it is.
Iroh always has great advice for people, as can be seen when he helps Toph in The Chase and is one of the most spiritual characters in the entire characters, except for the Avatar of course.
He also had his own little arc as it is revealed years before his son’s death he was a lot like other Fire Nation royalty as he planned to burn Ba Sing Se to the ground.
However, after Lu Ten’s death, Iroh became more spiritual and calm, joining the White Lotus when he realised what his Nation was doing to the world.
Iroh will do was is right above all else and is Zuko’s true father figure.
Heroic, kind and a father figure to everyone, Iroh is my second favourite Avatar: The Last Airbender character.
Honestly, who else could it be?
Zuko is not just the greatest Avatar character but one of the greatest characters of all time.
I know this might seem like a bold statement but I do not think I am exaggerating at all here.
Just look at his arc throughout the entire series.
He starts of as a conflicted villain, then becomes an anti-hero, then the conflicted villain again, until he finally realizes what is right and becomes a hero.
He goes through so much development throughout the series and all of it is excellently handled.
We got to see Zuko go from the conflicted, angered, banished prince to the confident, content, new Firelord.
It was not an easy journey, however, as Zuko made many mistakes along the way, most notably relapsing into his desire for his father’s approval by turning on Aang in The Crossroads of Destiny.
Despite this, we all saw that Zuko was redeemable through episodes like The Blue Spirit and Zuko Alone.
This all culminated in the two-parter The Day of Black Sun, where Zuko decided to do the right thing and join the Avatar to help defeat his father.
Watching Zuko face off against Ozai after so much abuse from him was very powerful, especially when he utilized Iroh’s technique of redirecting lightening.
From here we had the satisfaction of, after so much great build up, Zuko redeeming himself by helping each member of Team Avatar and then facing Azula for the throne with Katara.
Zuko’s arc is one of if not the greatest character arc ever put to screen and watching him grow was a pleasure to see.
Zuko is, without a doubt, the best character in Avatar: The Last Airbender.