One of my favorite series of all time is Avatar: The Last Airbender. And with the new Avatar Studios announced, it gives me another reason to gush about it. Not only is the series rich in animation and has an absolutely fantastic storyline, something I always adored about it was that the relationships, friendships, and everything else felt realistic. Nothing ever felt super forced where I was sitting on my couch thinking “this doesn’t feel right.” Everything made sense.
But over time, as I grew older, I began to realize that some relationships just outweigh the others, and really make you cheer for them. While everyone deserves happiness in their own way, these are some of the best relationships in Avatar: The Last Airbender, whether that be romantically, platonically or familial. Because I think it’s high time that they got the appreciation they deserve.
Honorable Mention: Zuko And His Honor
With how often this dude says “honor” in Avatar: The Last Airbender, the word isn’t even starting to sound the same anymore. But Zuko loves his honor that is for sure.
10. Iroh And Toph
There’s just something about that one scene with Toph and Iroh in Avatar: The Last Airbender in Season 2. When Toph first joins Aang and the others, she stomps off because no one is understanding her and she runs into Iroh, unbeknownst to her. Iroh has no idea who this person is. He has no clue she’s with the Avatar. But he still feels inclined to help a stranger because that’s the kind of man he is. And she genuinely takes his advice, happy to have someone helping her in these drastic circumstances that she has herself in.
It's nice to see such a different change in relationships besides the younger guys and see a nice friendship between the older, wise firebender and the strong earthbender.
9. Iroh And His Tea
Okay, this is silly but I’m pretty sure Iroh loves his tea more than himself in Avatar: The Last Airbender, if not just a little bit below Zuko. He opens his own tea shop. You really have to love tea to be that devoted to it. But it’s a love that I will always cherish.
8. Bumi And Aang
Bumi and Aang's friendship stands out to me because it feels like it's everlasting in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Even though Bumi only knew Aang as a young boy, he still remembers the fun times they had together and steps back into his childish ways for the young Aang, even if now he is an older man.
Bumi is still himself and still loves to have fun, which makes his scenes with Aang that more entertaining. What is even nicer is that he willingly helps Aang later on in the series with the battle at Ba Sing Se, showing that no matter what he will be on Aang’s side, even after all these years.
7. Toph And Aang (Taang)
I never shipped them romantically as a child (I was more of a Zutara shipper, sue me), but I did always love Toph and Aang's friendship in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Toph and Aang were the definitions of yin and yang – one was an earthbender and one an airbender, complete opposite elements. But you can clearly tell that Toph loves Aang and only wants what is best for him because he was one of the only people who really cared for what she wanted in the world.
So does Toph give Aang tough love? Of course she does. But everything is out of the affection that she has for him. And when Aang finally starts to pick up earthbending, Toph was so proud.
6. Cabbage Man And His Cabbages
There has never been a love so revered and admired in all of the Avatar: The Last Airbender fandom, and that would be the cabbage man and his cabbages. We only hope to reach the pinnacle of love as the cabbage man has done with the love of his cabbages. I only hope to hear someone yell “my cabbages!” to me one day.
Nah, I’m just playing, but you can’t deny that his bond with his cabbages is better than anyone else prior to his list. The man is dedicated.
5. Sokka And Suki (Sukka)
Let’s be honest, at the beginning of Avatar: The Last Airbender, I’m quite sure all of us wanted to punch Sokka for some of the misogynistic things he would say about women. Suki was also one of us. But, through training and education, Sokka learned that yes, women can be warriors too, and even better than men. And all of a sudden, his worldview began to change.
Sokka and Suki, while a bit rocky at first, really ended up having one of the strongest foundations of all the romantic relationships on this list. Even in Season 3, Sokka risked his and Zuko’s life once he realized that Suki was in the same prison as his father was, and wouldn’t leave without her. Not only that but they have created some awesome battles.
4. Zuko And Mai (Maiko)
Zuko and Mai just… work. I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t the hugest fan of Mai in Avatar: The Last Airbender. I thought she was way too gloomy at first, but what did redeem me at the beginning was the love that she had for her little brother. But only did I see later on why she and Zuko worked so well together.
Mai gave up everything so Zuko could be safe at the Boiling Rockprison. She knew Azula would hate her. She knew she would lose her friend, and possibly the respect of her uncle who ran the prison. But she didn’t care because she loved Zuko above all else. And honestly, they balance each other out. While Mai might be gloomy, Zuko ironically brings out the best in her. And she brings out the best in him. Do I think that there could be other pairings for both of them? Yes. But there’s no denying that out of the canon relationships on the show, they work well.
3. Aang And Appa
One of the best friendships on this list and in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Aang and Appa’s bond is eternal. They literally froze through the ice together. Appa would risk everything just so he can keep his owner, his partner, safe. We see even in “Appa’s Lost Days” in Season 2 that all he wants is to try and get back to Aang after his capture by the sandbenders, and he goes through some horrible experiences to try and get there. The bison is literally tortured and beaten.
And Aang clearly loves Appa too. I mean, when do we ever see Aang get angry? He’s always been the voice of reason, but when he lost Appa, he straight-up nearly killed those sandbenders before Katara pulled him out of it. It’s a friendship that will always stand high on my list.
2. Aang And Katara (Kataang)
I couldn’t have a relationship list without mentioning both Aang and Katara. Arguably, all throughout Avatar: The Last Airbender, we can see this relationship building up from a strong friendship to a romantic relationship. But really what I most adore about this is that it’s not rushed.
There are so many relationships in TV shows that are just put in there out of spite to please the fans but no, the creators of this show take their time with these two. We don’t get that kiss until the very ending shot of the series and damn do we feel like we deserve it after waiting for so long. But their love is so sweet and warm. They truly do love each other, so much. Romantically-wise, no one can beat them.
1. Iroh And Zuko
Yeah, they had to be at the top of this list, sorry not sorry.
Iroh and Zuko have the best bond out of anyone on this list. Even Sokka and Katara had their struggles as a family, but Iroh and Zuko always seemed to defend each other no matter what. More importantly, Iroh was that father figure for Zuko when he had none. Even when Zuko felt like he had to go it alone, Iroh supported him instead of fighting it. Even when Zuko was so confused and betrayed his uncle for the tiniest bit of respect from his father, Iroh still loved him.
And near the end, when Zuko is crying and just praying that his uncle will forgive him, Iroh pulls him in for a hug, saying he was only sad that he thought his nephew had lost his way. It’s heart-wrenching and real. To me, Iroh will always be Zuko’s real father. Ozai, you can step to the side.
Now, with the creation of Avatar Studios, I am only praying that we finally get that Season 4 we have been wanting for more than a decade. I’m holding out for a miracle.