1. It embraces feminism by dealing with sexism and having strong female characters.
The water bending master:
Pakku: I’m sorry, I think there has been a misunderstanding. You didn’t tell me your friend was a girl. In our tribe, it is forbidden for women to learn waterbending.
The Warriors of Kyoshi:
Sokka: …You need to give girls space when they do their sewing.
Katara: what does me being a girl have to do with sewing?
Sokka: Simple. Girls are better at fixing pants than guys and guys are better at hunting and fighting and stuff like that. It’s just the natural order of things.
Sokka: I treated you like a girl when I should’ve treated you like a warrior.
Suki: I am a warrior. But I’m a girl, too.
2. It deals with controversial and difficult issues (for example genocide)
3. It reverses gender stereotypes.
For example, in The Blind Bandit, Sokka wants to shop for a bag and katara beats up two young men for information.
Sokka: [Looking at his bag, holding it out.] What was I thinking? [Angrily to Aang.] I don’t need a new bag! Why did you let me buy this?
4. Great character development.
Example: Zuko, need I say more?
5. It humanises the enemy.
For example, in the headband and the beach. Both episodes remind us that these ‘villains’ are mostly innocent people who have nothing to do with the politics and killings.
6. It displays the complexity of mental illness.
7. It has implications of domestic abuse.
Between Zuko and his father. We know that Ozai dislikes Zuko- he tells him that he was lucky to be born, he gives him a scar across his face and humiliates his in front of everyone he knows, this being just the tip of the iceberg.
8. It show how corruptive power can be.
For example, Sozin was a ‘good guy’ until he became firelord. This demonstrates that even the most righteous of people can become rotten from power.
9. Deals with the pressure if responsibility.
Aang is forced to save the world at age 12… Nothing more really needed to be said here.
10. And finally, there is the absence of parental figures.
Aang never knew his parents and was raised by monks. Zuko’s mom was banished when he was just a child and Katara and Sokka’s mother was killed defending her daughter and their father left them to go fight in the war. This obviously takes a toll on the characters. Zuko no longer has an ‘ally’ in his family, other than iroh who was probably not around much due to being a general. Katara and Sokka are the only people on their tribe of that age left, leading to them being lonely and eventually leaving to help the avatar.
Katara: How could you leave us, Dad? I mean, I know we had Gran-Gran, and she loved us, but we were just so lost without you.