Avatar: The Last Airbender was a cultural phenomenon that is widely regarded as one of the best television shows ever, despite being an animated children's program. Even though the show aired on Nickelodeon for a three-season run, you'd be hard-pressed to find anybody from the ages of 8 to 80 that doesn't consider this series a masterpiece.
The lovable air-bending master, Aang, was definitely on the goofier side for somebody destined to save the world, but he is only 12 after all. That being said, Aang knew when to put the fun-loving tactics aside and get down to business with his bending capabilities, and so did a lot of the other elemental manipulators that he ran into along his travels. Here are the top 10 fights from the first season of Avatar.
10 Aang vs. Zuko
"I bet I could take you both with my hands tied behind my back." It was talk from a prepubescent who just got himself captured, but as it turns out, it wasn't even close. Not only did Aang take down the two guards looking after him, but he also took out the entire ship just for good measure (except for a sleeping Uncle Iroh).
This fight from just the second episode of the entire series had everybody wondering exactly what these benders could do, especially if a 12-year-old kid was able to do such damage. Add in the fact that it's the first time we see Aang enter the 'avatar-state'. To quote Sokka, "Wow... that was truly amazing."
9 Zuko vs. Zhao
Who says you can't fight fire with fire? The Agni kai is obviously a very sacred tradition and ceremony within the Fire Nation culture since it appears several times throughout the series (mostly when referring to Zuko's scar).
But in this particular fire-bending duel, the 16-year-old Zuko challenges not just a fully grown man to a battle, but an army commander, no less. It might not have been the smartest move, but having Uncle Iroh in his corner, combined with the world's sweetest break-dancing fire-kick, and Zuko took home the W. Should've scorched Zhao.
8 Aang vs. Hei Bai
The Spirit World was an amazing and extraordinarily important factor that caused countless significant events in the Avatar universe. And this was our very first connection to any of it. Aang and his friends role into a village that's being plagued by a spirit monster.
And Avatar Aang, Mr. Between-Worlds, decides to do his best to solve the situation and politely asks the spirit to leave and considers the matter done when he gets no answer. The only problem? As soon as he turns his back, a giant black-and-white six-armed, blue spirit-ray shooting monster appears out of the forest and sends Aang flying. And not in an air-bending way.
7 Team Avatar, Air Nomads vs. Fire Nation Army
These high-flyers gave the fire-nation as much trouble as they could handle when Aang, Sokka, and Katara befriended the refugees who made the Northern Air Temple their home. Turns out, they didn't 'make' it their home, so much as the fire nation 'permitted' it, but Aang put a stop to that agreement real quick (or rather, Sokka did with his gigantic stink bomb).
Though this battle was proof that Aang wasn't the only person left in the Avatar universe who could hold their own in the air, it, unfortunately, led to the Fire Nation obtaining air-power as well and we can't deny that was a bit of a downer.
6 Aang vs. Bumi
We're still convinced his name is Rocky. One of the best episodes of the entire series, let alone the season, introduces the audience to Aang's 112-year-old friend, King Bumi. The challenges that required Aang to use a left-of-center way of thinking in order to succeed were highly entertaining.
Plus, the multiple quirky twists were hilarious, such as the giant bunny being Bumi's pet and the Jennamite being rock candy. But the best part of the episode was easily the fight between the Avatar and the crazy-old king. This was the first true earth-bending fans got to see on the show, and Bumi was a heck of a candidate to show it off.
5 Zuko, Iroh vs. Earth Kingdom Soldiers
Outnumbered doesn't mean outmatched, and the most ferocious uncle/nephew duo in history knew it. This fight even occurred during the same episode that Aang fought Hei Bai, and this was clearly the more entertaining of the two. When Iroh gets captured by Earth Kingdom soldiers and they decide to crush his hands, it looks like the end of bending for our favorite wisdom-giver.
Turns out, Uncle Iroh means more to Zuko than capturing the Avatar, and his moral conscience ended up allowing him to not only save his uncle but give the show an awesome 5-on-2 battle along with it. Now please put some clothes on, Uncle!
4 Aang, Blue Spirit, vs. Fire Nation Prison Guards
This particular battle is two-fold because it's two separate instances during the same episode - and they're both ridiculous! The first one finds Aang desperately trying to find a cure for his sick friends, only to be ambushed by a group of elite fire-nation archers who hand him over as a prisoner to Admiral Zhao (yup, he got promoted).
The second is even better when a mysterious, masked warrior, proficient in dual-wielding swords and parkour, comes to rescue Aang from the prison. The escape itself is insane, with Aang and the 'Blue Spirit' taking on an entire prison's worth of guards on their own, but even more so is the reveal that it was Zuko behind the mask the whole time.
3 Katara vs. Pakku
Welcome to the family, Gramp-Gramp! How many people can say that the first real interaction they had with their grandfather was a duel? Katara could bend water as well as a fish in the first episode, but by the time she had reached the North Pole she had honed her skills to become an advanced student of the craft.
That didn't matter to Pakku, however, who still refused to teach her how to reach the rank of master since it was prohibited for women to do so. Katara made it clear that that didn't matter to her and she showed the stuck-up water-bending teacher what she was truly made of, and she kicked his butt while doing it (almost).
2 Aang, Appa vs. Zuko, June, Nyla
One of the episodes of the first season that can get lost in the long-line of great ones ironically has one of the top two fights scenes in it. The episode that introduces us to Bato, a member of Sokka and Katara's tribe and their dad's best friend, is incredibly flat and lack-luster up until the bit where it seems as though Aang has lost his friends for good and is on his own.
But when he has to go back to save them and runs into Zuko, he also finds a gigantic mole-rat/saber-tooth tiger looking creature waiting to paralyze him. The one on one battle that follows between Zuko and Aang is perfection and the battle deserves bonus points for letting Appa get into the action.
1 Avatar Aang vs. Fire Nation
No - it's not over. The moon spirit may have been floating belly up in a koi pond but Aang didn't hear any fat-lady singing. When Admiral Zhao discovers that the moon spirit resides within the body of a koi fish located at the North Pole, he sets out to kill the creature and hauntingly does so.
With what appears to be no hope left, Aang turns the glow-stick on and combines his spirit with the oceans (also a koi fish) to form a gigantic, glowing, water-bending koi-fish creature. The result is the complete decimation of the Fire Nation navy, the death of Admiral Zhao, and the solidification that Aang is the most bad-ass 12-year-old to have ever existed.