see I watched Avatar before I turned fourteen, so I never realized just how YOUNG fourteen is. Now I realize how fucked UP it is for a fourteen year old girl to be manipulating, threatening, and killing people.
Like she’s this brilliant little political strategist, she’s blackmailing and lying to people and starting coups and she’s powerful and talented…
But she’s also really, really fucked up, like, remember when you were fourteen?
You were just a kid, really, you just started high school, you had acne and you said painfully embarrassing things and watched anime.
What was Azula doing?
Well argue that she’s evil, but she wasn’t born like that.
She was made that way.
Unlike Zuko, her personality took their father’s bullshit the OPPOSITE way.
She became what daddy wanted and that made her want his approval more than anything and guess what that brought her?
Misery and mental instability and the inability to connect to others.
Now Zuko’s character development is the greatest development ever written.
But hers is damn close because they HIT THE SAME POINT but Zuko hit it and realized oh shit…my dad sucks.
And Azula hit it and thought I need to become better. I need to become perfect. I’m the problem not daddy.
But she could never be perfect, you see, the world doesn’t go according to your plans, and your father doesn’t love you and won’t, because he’s using you as a pawn and your BROTHER realized this before you.
Your brother decided he wouldn’t be your father’s tool anymore.
I think one of the greatest scenes was when Azula was mangling her own hair.
Like that scene where she imagines her mother…
Earlier she had said “my own mother thought I was a monster” and then looked solemn…but light heartedly brushing it off by saying “she was right of course.”
But that always seemed to me like a quick cover.
Like me when I say “so I’m complete scum…how’s your day?”
You laugh off the things that hurt most.
Maybe she thought her mother hated her because she acted like her father.
Maybe she grew to resent her mother because she loved Zuko more for his compassion and the fact that they were probably more alike than she and her father.
It’s kinda common, actually, for a parent to be more fond of the child that more closely resembles them, it’s an ego thing.
Maybe she subconsciously knew that her father was more like her, but that he doesn’t truly love ANYONE cuz he’s an ass, and she told herself that his approval was enough.
But she didn’t get AFFECTION from him like Zuko got from their mother.
So in that scene where she sees her mother being affectionate but mocking as she tells her she looks lovely, maybe that’s all of her insecurities come back to haunt her.
Avatar is amazing.
Azula being 14 and THIS FUCKED UP.
Like incredible, you will never hate a villain more than Ozai.
He fucked up nations and fucked up his own family, and by all rights Aang should’ve killed him, like you wanted that to happen…but then he doesn’t.
And you realize Aang is a damn monk and all of these people, even if they can’t be saved, deserve compassion.
Azula, I believe, was saved. Zuko had more compassion for her, as he always did, than she ever had for him, but in a way, it’s really not her fault.
I’ve just realised why I love the Final Agni Kai so much (and why it’s the best fight in Avatar). They are both fighting like each other.
Zuko is confident and at peace with himself. His firebending is the best it has ever been and Azula is unhinged. So he stays on the defensive, exploits her weaknesses and exploits her unhinged mentality by antagonising her into fighting on his terms (e.g. “No lighting today?”) and making her do what he wants.
But Azula is fighting like Zuko. She is constantly on the offensive and driven by rage and a desperate need to prove herself. She’s caving under her family issues, feelings of abandonment and the slights that have been made on her honour. Because of this, she is blind to Zuko’s actions and can only focus on giving the battle her all and proving herself to her father. Hence why she falls for Zuko’s trap (e.g. “I’ll show you lightning!”)
I just love this show, and I find even more reasons to love it every day.
It’s easy for those who have never watch Avatar: The Last Airbender to pass off
the show as just another product of Nickelodeon, but those who have sat down
and given the show a chance quickly learn that this series stood far apart from
anything Nickelodeon had produced before.
So what made Avatar so different? For starters, it was
a linear story with a clear start and beginning. Viewers follow Aang, Katara
and Sokka as they embark on a journey to defeat the Firelord. The story grows
in complexity with each episode and little details easily brushed off at first
often become crucial parts of the series (remember the cameo of Azula sitting
next to Uncle Iroh at Zuko’s Agni Kai against his father?). This cartoon has
such a deep plot that producers felt it necessary to include a “Previously on
Avatar” segment before many of the show’ episodes. No other children’s cartoon-
to my knowledge- has had a plot so detailed that a recap was deemed necessary.
The very story of Avatar is so complex and beautifully woven that it needs
this, and the size of this grand endeavor does not go unnoticed.
Another thing that makes Avatar so much different than
an ordinary cartoon is the motives behind the “bad guys”. It’s a classic
cartoon motif for the bullies to be secretly insecure and emotionally damaged
themselves. There is often an episode that depicts the struggles of the main
bully and why they may not be as bad as we think. This is NOT the case in
Avatar. The two big baddies of the series- Azula and her father Fire Lord
Ozai- are genuinely evil. They show no remorse for their actions. In Azula’s
case, she has many clear characteristics of a sociopath. Even when she begins
to lose her sanity, she does not see the errors of her ways or beg for
forgiveness. Yes, we learn that she is emotionally wounded by her mother’s
rejection of her, yet we never see her use this as an excuse. She simply shrugs
this off and claims that her mother was right. She owns her evil and wears it with pride. At the final Agni Kai, she genuinely
wants to take down Zuko because of the joy it will bring her. She has no remorse
or emotional attachment to anything anymore, other than the pride behind her
Her father, Firelord Ozai, is even worse. While we get
to see brief moments of Azula’s humanity, Ozai never suffers a breakdown like
Azula. With the fury of a real-life dictator, he confidently prepares to destroy
the world to create a society fit to worship him and him alone. Even after
losing to Aang, he is filled with nothing but anger at losing his bending. He
isn’t even sorry that he was defeated. Fire Lord Ozai is filled with evil, and
Nickelodeon allows creators DiMartino and Konietzko to create characters
without any “dumbing down” for children. Ozai and Azula are genuine evil.
With the inclusion of genuine evil comes the
presentation of complex and emotionally grappling themes. One of these themes
presented early in the series is the theme of genocide- or the destruction of a
race of people. Avatar boldly dedicates an entire episode to the discovery of
the skeletal graveyard of Aang’s people. This is the first time in the series
where it becomes clear that the series will address topics much more series and
real-world than penguin sledding. Watching Aang realize that his people were destroyed
then left to rot brings the true humanity into the series. This only continues
as we see themes of child abuse, internal conflict, parental disagreements and
Avatar may be a cartoon, but it is a cartoon that
stands far above the rest of American productions. The series is deep and
insightful, with a complexity of characters and true evil and pain.
do u ever think about how the writers of avatar foreshadowed zuko’s decision to side with azula at the end of season 2 way back at the beginning of the same season when he was dreaming about the two dragons?
one had the voice of azula and the other iroh - both arguing for his soul. in the dream he chooses azula and the world he sits in falls apart, then in the crystal catacombs of the earth palace he chooses azula again and everything that he worked for in that city breaks apart from underneath him