Sidekicks are beloved fan favorites in every series. Whether it is Toothless, Abu from Aladdin, Or Gromit, animal sidekicks are some of the best out there. Avatar: The Last Airbender is full of such characters. Obviously, Momo instantly comes to mind, but the MVP of all animal sidekicks in Avatar is Aang's flying bison Appa.
Appa was and remained Aang's closest and oldest friend. This flying Bison transported Team Avatar on all of their expeditions across the four nations and even assisted in a battle or two. Think you're a fan of this high flying Bison? Here are ten facts that every fan should know about Appa.
10 He Is As Rare As Aang
Throughout the series, Aang is a constant source of awe for everyone he comes across. Not only is he the Avatar, but his status as the Last Airbender gives him an aura of mystique. Occasionally, it also gives him unwanted attention from bounty hunters or criminals just wanting to make a buck. Aang is a cultural rarity, but he is not alone.
Like Aang, Appa is an incredibly rare example of a lost culture and species. The last of the great sky Bisons and the preferred pets of the Airbenders, Appa is as much of a relic as Aang. Because of this, he has been stolen, sold, and worse. Fame isn't always what it's cracked up to be.
9 He Was As Much An Airbender As Aang
As stated, Aang was seen as the Last of the Airbenders. No other human could airbend, and the last of the air nomads had been massacred by the fire nation. Obviously, no one can argue against this. But, Aang was technically not the Last Airbender if one was to include other species. Appa was skilled in his own technique of airbending which was constantly put to use.
Appa's main source of his bending came from his tail, as it was the most versatile of his appendages. With a flick, he could gust up a gust of wind powerful enough to knock over hoards of soldiers and tanks. His ability to fly is also a form of airbending, as he manipulated the air around him.
8 He Knew Aang From Childhood
The bond between pet and owner goes beyond these titles. Some of the strongest friendships occur in these situations. Throughout Avatar, there was no stronger relationship than that between Appa and Aang. The unconditional love that bonded the two was unlike any other in the show. It only makes sense that a relationship this strong is over a hundred years old.
The pair met first when they were both children at the air temple. As is tradition, the infant Sky Bisons paired with the young monks of the Air temples. Aang and Appa instantly connected and have been inseparable ever since.
7 His Design Inspirations
The designs of the animals and creatures of the Avatar world are some of the most unique out there. Most of the animals are hybrids of creatures from our real-world (apart from the Earth King's Bear). Momo seems to be a cross between a bat and a lemur, for example.
Appa's design is similar. He certainly has elements of real-world bison, with his horns and body structure, but he has other odd features too. Much of Appa was designed after Manatees, which is evident in his face and tail. This makes sense as his flying maneuvers mirror the swimming patterns of manatees. Appa also shares elements with the famous Catbus from My Neighbor Totoro. His multiple legs, box-like figure, and transportation occupation feel like definite echoes of this Miyazaki design.
6 He Was Affectionate Towards Zuko
Prince Zuko was the definite villain of the series for a long time. Throughout the first two seasons, he remained a thorn in the sides of Team Avatar. By the end though, he eventually switched sides, teaming up with Aang and the gang and defeating his father, Fire Lord Ozai. While other members of the team were slow to trust him, Appa was immediately taken with the Fire Nation Prince.
Throughout the third series, a running gag was the overly affectionate Bison annoying Zuko with kisses. This affection was not unfounded. When Appa was imprisoned during season two, Zuko freed him from his bonds. This act of liberation is one that Appa never forgot.
5 He Was Part Of A Circus
Speaking of his imprisonment, Appa had one of the most heart-wrenching arcs during season two. When Team Avatar went to explore the Spirit Library in the Si Wong Desert, Appa was kidnapped by a band of Sand raiders. This would set off a course of very traumatic events for Appa. He was sold from owner to owner, across the entire Earth Kingdom.
At one point, Appa was even sold into a circus as their headlining act. He would fly around the top of the circus tent and wow audiences with his airbending feats. Sadly, this came at the expense of his own safety. He was tortured by the ringleader constantly. Thankfully, through the inspiration of a young boy, Appa was able to muster the courage to escape.
4 His Distrust And Fear Of Fire
As mentioned, Appa was a victim of awful abuse by the hands of the circus master. A skilled firebender, the Ringleader would create a whip of fire to torture Appa into submission. This generated a deep fear of fire in Appa that would not be overcome easily.
After his escape, Appa was beaten, tired, and alone. He flew all around the Earth kingdom until he found refuge in a cave. it was here where he encountered the Kyoshi Warriors and Suki who assisted in his rehabilitation. Though it took some coaxing, he eventually trusted the warriors and soon was able to continue his journey.
3 Assisted In The Search For Zuko's Mother
Seen through deeply depressing flashbacks, Zuko lost his mother when he was a young boy. After her mysterious disappearance, Zuko had to live a harsh and unrelenting life with few allies. After the war though, Zuko and Team Avatar planned to go searching for his mother. Appa was right there with him.
Appa might be seen often as a form of transportation, but he is always there during the toughest moments and journies. During such an emotionally volatile time for Zuko, Appa's secure presence had to have been a welcome one.
2 Helped Transport Fire Nation Colonials
Obviously, Appa is the perfect travel companion and mode of transportation for Team Avatar. he has taken them around the world and back multiple times without fail. That being said, Appa has helped far more than just Team Avatar. After the war, the team continued to go on missions throughout the four nations. One mission included transporting fire nation colonists back to their homeland.
After the war, the Earth Kingdom wanted to restore many of their lost cities which had been colonized by the Fire Nation. In doing so, many of these Fire Nation citizens would have been without a home. Thanks to Team Avatar, and the trusty transport of Appa, these colonists were taken home safely.
1 Remained A Lifelong Companion To Aang
Through thick and thin, no pair was as inseparable as Appa and Aang. As stated, they had grown up together, fought together, and presumably, spent the rest of their lives together.
The exact fate of Appa is unknown, but it is believed that he and Aang lived the rest of their lives together. While it was discovered later on that other Sky Bisons existed, these two relics had no peers. It only makes sense that they would live and, assumably, die together.