The Best Female Benders In Avatar: The Last Airbender And The Legend Of Korra

Korra in The Legend of Korra.
(Image credit: Nickelodeon)

At this point, if you know me, you know I like Avatar: The Last Airbender. I’ve pretty much recommended it to every single person I have met and if for some reason you haven’t watched it yet, you truly aren’t living because this show is the greatest of all time in animation – at least in my opinion. 

But, The Legend of Korra, a sequel show that came out a few years after the original ended, is also very, very good, and you want to know what both of them have in common? Excellent female benders – and to be honest, they're oftentimes much better than the boys and freaking scary. Granted, I might be a little biased because I am a woman and have grown up loving these characters, but in honor of Women’s History Month, I’m going to be talking about my favorite female benders from the Avatar: The Last Airbender Universe.

Korra in The Legend of Korra.

(Image credit: Nickelodeon)

Korra (The Legend Of Korra)

I mean, we had to start off with her, right? Her show is literally called The Legend of Korra. How could she not be on this list? 

Korra isn’t the strongest Avatar ever, but to be honest, it’s because she was so young when she learned. If you think about it, most of the young Avatar’s that we have followed, such as Korra and Aang, have gone through years of hard training – more so with Aang, because he had to learn everything much quicker than Korra. The older Avatars are arguably much stronger since they had much more time to hone their skills. 

But Korra is still an excellent bender. Starting off at the beginning of the series, we see just how much she has honed not only her Waterbending (from her home tribe) but also Firebending and Earthbending as well. Airbending was the only one that was giving her trouble – and even then, she still ended up mastering it down the line. Truly, such a badass. 

Katara bloodbending in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

(Image credit: Nickelodeon)

Katara (The Last Airbender)

You know, it’s funny – when I was younger, I didn't like Katara a little because she was so mean to Zuko when he started to change, but as I got older, I started to realize that she was quite justified in her anger. And I’ve also realized that as I got older, Katara is freaking scary. 

While she began the series as a novice, barely able to hold a string of water in the air, she ended the series as not only a skilled Waterbender and a healer, but a Bloodbender. It’s rare that someone is able to use that ability – hence why Hama, the person she learned it from, kept it hidden for so long, and why Katara didn’t even want to use it. It’s like the Imperius curse from the Harry Potter franchise – it takes control of someone’s body, except this time, through their movements and not their mind. 

But even when she doesn’t use her Bloodbending, she’s still able to hold her own with her Waterbending. She defeated Azula in a one-on-one fight. Do you know how many people can take on Azula? Not that many. But we’ll get into that later. Put some respect on Katara’s name. 

Toph in Avatar: The Last Airbender

(Image credit: Nickelodeon Animation Studio)

Toph (The Last Airbender) 

Oh, Toph. The girl I absolutely loved. She was the best character in the whole show, to be honest. I could rave about her for hours. 

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Toph is unapologetically herself. A gruff and tough young girl who has a passion for fighting and Earthbending but was sheltered from her rich family, she ends up exploring the world with Aang and the gang in Season 2 of Avatar: The Last Airbender. 

She’s not only skilled because she can bend while being blind, which is super talented, but because she single-handedly created a whole new version of bending – Metalbending.

Literally just because she wanted to escape a metal box, she was able to sort out the rocks that were in the metal and escape. She started an entire movement. Legendary.

Jinora in The Legend of Korra.

(Image credit: Nickelodeon)

Jinora (The Legend Of Korra)

Dude, seriously, Jinora doesn’t get talked about enough. She is young. So young. She’s Aang’s eldest granddaughter in The Legend of Korra, but she is literally the youngest Airbending master. 

That’s right, younger than Aang. 

While Aang is obviously more powerful in the sense that he was the Avatar and had to do incredible amounts of training, Jinora is a powerful Airbender and you can clearly tell from how she uses her powers in the show. I would legit watch a series featuring her in the future. She’s such an interesting character. 

Ming-Hua in The Legend of Korra.

(Image credit: Nickelodeon)

Ming-Hua (The Legend Of Korra)

She bended water without arms. Without arms. 

Even though Ming-Hua was a villain of The Legend of Korra, I can’t deny that she isn’t powerful. She was born without arms but powered through her adversity and learned to be literally one of the most powerful Waterbenders during Korra’s time, causing mayhem. She turned water into tentacles to act as arms. 

While she didn’t end up using it for good, it’s still an incredible feat I have to give praise to. 

Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

(Image credit: Nickelodeon)

Azula (The Last Airbender)

The thing with Azula is that I genuinely feel bad for her. I’ve learned a lot about her from the Avatar: The Last Airbender comics and more, and to be honest, she’s just a victim of pressure from her family and needs serious therapy. She doesn’t beat my love for Zuko or her uncle, Iroh, but I have to say – she’s much more powerful than her brother. 

Not more than Uncle Iroh, but she could have gotten there if given the chance. She uses her rage to fuel her bending abilities, creating some of the most fiery flames that you could ever imagine and taking down her enemies with intense precision. She was incredibly gifted – until it was her downfall. 

Kuvira in The Legend of Korra.

(Image credit: Nickelodeon)

Kuvira (The Legend Of Korra)

Another Legend of Korra character that I genuinely really like is Kuvira. While she was, again, another enemy of the show, she was so tough and such a skilled bender. In the show, she is one of the strongest Metalbenders alive, and she’s able to use this to her advantage. 

She, along with her subordinates, take over the Earth Kingdom that is falling apart and is one of Korra’s most intense opponents. Kuvira is cold and calculating, which makes her even more powerful – her being a powerful bender is just the icing on top of the cake. She ended up seeking redemption later on in the franchise but still, her as a villain is just perfect.

Kyoshi in Avatar: The Last Airbender.

(Image credit: Nickelodeon)

Kyoshi (The Last Airbender/The Legend Of Korra)

I mean, we needed to include Kyoshi here. 

Avatar Kyoshi is often considered one of the more violent Avatars in the world of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra, but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t strong. Kyoshi used her strength (and her incredible height) to her advantage and was able to take down enemies very easily. It’s no wonder that there is an entire group of female warriors called the Kyoshi Warriors that are named after her. 

To be honest, I would be down for a Kyoshi-themed movie and would love to see her bend more from the few bits we’ve gotten. She’s such a badass

Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra have plenty of awesome characters to adore, but to me, I’m always going to love these girls the most. Not only are they skilled in every way possible, but they take it to another level. I need to see them all again ASAP.  

Alexandra Ramos
Content Producer

A self-proclaimed nerd and lover of Game of Thrones/A Song of Ice and Fire, Alexandra Ramos is a Content Producer at CinemaBlend. She first started off working in December 2020 as a Freelance Writer after graduating from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in Journalism and a minor in English. She primarily works in features for movies, TV, and sometimes video games. (Please don't debate her on The Last of Us 2, it was amazing!) She is also the main person who runs both our daily newsletter, The CinemaBlend Daily, and our ReelBlend newsletter.