You can’t deny it that this pic of Zuko being all sweet with his little sister is very identical to this promotional still of Seita and Setsuko of the classic Ghibli film, Grave of the Fireflies. Even zuko’s relationship with kiyi is similar to the one the two Japanese wartime siblings have. I think the artists who drew this still for the comic book based their drawing off this Ghibli still.
Avatar wiki mentioned that Zuko, Ursa and Azula were close before they grow apart. Love and peace replaced with jealously and haterd.
- Ozai basically chose to ignore his first-born son, Prince Zuko for him being weak Firebender, and because he seek love and protection from Ursa.
- Ozai claimed Azula as his “true heir” for being sharp/smart and a Firebender prodigy. He started teaching and raising her from very young age even before she start attending school. (Shape her personality from a very early age. She herself turns into a very hard, unforgiving and success-driven woman (“almost isn’t good enough”), whose aggressions not only turn towards others but also against herself.)
- Ozai overly abuse Zuko trying to break him and damage his self-esteem to have revenge on Ursa.
- Ursa tend to be over protective and loving toward Zuko to save him from Ozai (who is incapable of truly loving neither his wife nor his children nor anyone else.)
- Azula felt neglected from her mother so she tried to get her attention in subtle ways but mostly fail and Ursa frequently send her way.
- Her mother’s rejection left a deep scar in Azula, who in turn reacted jealous and spiteful towards her brother and, in secret, also against her mother.
- Zuko began to resent Azula and felt a lot of bitterness toward her, he start to challenge in intelligence and Firebending, when he fail her seeke more love and protection from Ursa.
- Azula eventually thinked that love and emotions are useless meanings and weakness. She believed that Zuko deserve the out come of being overly emotional and a failure. But she still feels the need to earn affection from her father “Raised by her father in an environment without a mother-figure, Azula had to be nothing less than perfect in her father’s eyes just to earn any affection from him.” Avatar wiki. “Father will be impressed with me!” Azula, Earth Kingdom Chronicles: the Tale of Azula)
- Eventually Zuko realized that his father was wrong about him, and realized the wrong the Fire Nation beliefs and wanted to change it.
- “Ultimately, it was the environment in which Ozai raised Azula, where fear, power, and perfection were the only reliable truths, that set the groundwork for her total mental collapse.” Avatar wiki
No one can escape from Ozai’s negative influence. If you were the failure child you will suffer. If you were the favorite child, you will suffer as well. Ozai is just poison to everyone he comes in contact with.
“Without a maternal figure, Azula and Zuko had to live up to their father’s expectations, and even though Azula succeeded, she was pressured into becoming a perfectionist, settling for nothing less than what would make Ozai proud.” Avatar wiki
Zuko wasn’t wrong when he described Ozai as the Worst Father in history. Both Azula, who completey identifies with her father and even adopts his behaviour, and Zuko, whose (forlorn) aim it is to gain his father’s love by catching the last Avatar. Both of them are desperate to earn their father’s love. Both of them try in vain.
At least I’m happy the creators start to heal the Fire siblings’ relationship in the current Fire Nation comics.
(Though it hurt me a bit they didn’t show interest in furthering in Azula’s character and give her a reason to exist that not tie to her brother’s development.)
What the creators are planning for in Fire Nation-centric comics
I did a search. Here is notes and observations I picked up from the Fire Nation comics based on certain aspects I’ve read in Avatar wiki and interviews with Yang/Bryke (and it fits the comics rhythm):
•The main relationships the creators writing now about and develop / healing are:
- Zuko and Mai romance relationship. (Maiko)
- Zuko-Azula relationship and destiny.
• Side relationships:
- Azula-Ursa relationship (it can be “side-plot” as well)
- Zuko-Ursa relationship.
- Ursa/Zuko-Kiyi relationship.
The characters that the creators have plans for/develop in the comics (as I read in interviews):
- Zuko: Continues develop as character and Fire Lord. (With everyone’s help)
- Azula: (The character plan) Creating group of warriors for the Fire Nation called “Fire warriors”; similar to what Avatar Kyoshi did. So it’ll be a little bit like the Fire Nation equivalent of the Kyoshi warriors. Which means character development.
- Mai: As character and the future Fire Lady.
- Ursa and Iroh. (Nothing clear yet, but they’ll play important roles as ever, especially Iroh)
Note: Kei Lo would be there in the next Fire Nation comic. There’s a strong possibility for him to end up with Ty Lee.
Characters like Kiyi, Noren (and Kei Lo) are designed to be stable and maybe a bit bland in order to accentuate the difference between their dynamic with Ursa compared to Zuko and Azula’s.