zuko and azula agni kai

Zuko and Azula have the most fascinating relationship in ATLA

Sibling rivalry is often a trite story of one sibling hating the other out of jealousy. On the surface, the Zuko and Azula may look that way. They have no problem blasting fire and lightning at each other and both of their parents had a favorite. But there’s so much more to it. 

First of all, I would argue that in spite of many near-fatal encounters, they don’t necessarily hate each other. It’s far more complicated than that. How they view each other is closely tied to how they view themselves.

For most of Zuko’s life, Azula is the standard he’s held to. She’s ambitious, ruthless, and a prodigy. No matter what he does, he can’t earn their father’s approval like she can. And she rubs it in his face constantly. When Azula is cruel to Zuko, Ozai affirms that she’s not wrong to do so. Zuko rarely argues with her because he’s been conditioned to believe she’s right. Zuko has internalized the blame for how his father treats him rather than project it onto Azula, and accepts how she treats him as normal. He has plenty of bitter feeling toward her, but none quite as clear as hate. 

Azula’s view of Zuko is even more convoluted. The first time we see Azula, she’s smiling because their father is about to burn him. The next time they meet, she berates him for being a failure of a son. It looks like she enjoys watching him suffer. 

But when Zuko helps “kill” the Avatar in Ba Sing Se, we get to see them in a new context. In the rare moments that they aren’t pitted against each other by the ever looming presence of their father… they actually get along fine.

Every time Azula appeared happy to see Zuko suffering, it was at the hands of their father. It wasn’t just that Ozai hurt Zuko, it what that Ozai hurt Zuko and not her. Every time Ozai insulted or injured her brother, it cemented Azula’s position as the favorite child. And she had to stay the favorite child because she’s seen what would happen to her if she wasn’t. Deep down, she knows just how conditional her father’s positive regard is. When Ozai leaves her in the Fire Nation while invading the Earth Kingdom, the first words out of her mouth are “You can’t treat me like Zuko”. Being better than Zuko is part of her identity.

When Zuko defects from the Fire Nation and begins to succeed without meeting, or even trying to meet, the standards set by their father, it throws her priorities into doubt. In her mind, Zuko is supposed to fail. But she isn’t truly unnerved until she’s betrayed by Mai and Ty Li. 

She is incapable of understanding why Mai would chose Zuko, and this drags to the surface her inability to understand why her mother preferred Zuko. She believed her mother loved Zuko and not her. Now Mai, her closest friend, loves Zuko and not her.

This conflicts with her entire view of the world. She sees the worth of a person as equal to their quantifiable skills and accomplishments. She has been admired, respected, and feared, but as far as Azula believes, no one has ever loved her. She was a prodigy who did everything right, while Zuko was the family screw up. Yet people loved him and not her.

For years, being better than Zuko was how Azula measured herself. Ozai said Zuko was lucky to be born. That he was worthless, weak, disrespectful, and both his children believed him. When Zuko left, he finally saw that Ozai was wrong about him. When Zuko returns during Sozin’s comet, Azula too is forced to see that her perception is wrong. 

Zuko has become the embodiment of everything she lacks.  She thought he was weak, but he’s not afraid enough to fight her fairly as an equal. She thought he was dishonorable, but really he was independent enough to break away from their father’s control. She thought he was worthless, but he’s found people who care about him in spite of his flaws. 

Azula isn’t just trying to kill him, but everything he represents. And when she can’t, she breaks. Zuko is still standing. She has nothing left.

Word of God (Bryke) confirmed that at the end of the Agni Kai, Zuko felt pity rather than hate for his sister. This continues into the comics as he genuinely tries to help her. He knows that while she may not have been overtly abused like he was, she was raised in the same web of lies, agendas, and violence.  

Their past left them both unable to trust people. Azula controlled everyone around her with fear. Zuko shut other people out and tried to do everything on his own. It isn’t until Zuko has left his old life behind that he slowly begins to let people in. 

While Azula hangs onto the beliefs of Ozai and the Fire Nation, Zuko can see their situation from the outside. He sees two screwed up teenagers who spent their lives fighting their father’s war, manipulated into a conflict that isn’t their fault, forced to kill each other over choices made a century before they were born. It took Zuko years to figure out the hell that was his home life wasn’t his fault, but only a few minutes to see that it wasn’t Azula’s either.

i was re-watching the final agni-kai between zuko and azula and i noticed something

throughout the entire match, zuko and azula are throwing straightforward, linear attacks at one another

and they deflect with the same kind of movement

but then when zuko does his firespin breakdance thing, its in no way linear, its completely circular

up until that point, theyd been doing classical firebending movements, but this one isnt really seen in firebending. but it IS seen in airbending

point is, zuko was learning from aang at the same time aang was learning from zuko

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.

The Last Agni Kai (And Why It Matters) -- An Analysis

(I know I swore that I wouldn’t make anymore Avatar: the Last Airbender posts, but it hurts too much to hold it back. Let my name now be marred with the title “Oathbreaker.” Temptation is too great a power to best.)

Originally posted by applepiemabiebabe

The Last Agni Kai.

This was, in my opinion, one of the greatest scenes in the entire series. No, not one of the greatest fights. One of the greatest scenes. Not only does it fully display the raw power Sozin’s Comet offered to any firebender who deemed to wield it, but it also fully conveyed the reality of war.

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A thought occurs to me.

Now I know next to nothing about Avatar: The Last Airbender, I didn’t have the channel it was on in the UK when it was airing and I didn’t have internet either. Everything I do know about ATLA (Which can be summed up as: Toph and Azula are both badasses) I learned from Tumblr.

But, I had a random idea today:
I have no idea if this ever happened in canon, if it didn’t it has probably happened in Fanfiction somewhere.

Waterbenders can control water in all its’ forms usually liquid water and ice. BUT there’s nothing stopping a waterbender from bending steam, more specifically superheated steam from something like a geyser.

Agni Kai rules state “It is a fight for one’s honor and is won only when one opponent burns the other”

So the queston is:
HOW BADASS WOULD A WATERBENDER HAVE TO BE TO CHALLENGE A FIREBENDER TO AGNI KAI AND WIN?

Honestly, Katara and Zuko could’ve gotten together if Aang died in The Crossroads of Destiny. Who needs dumb spirit water deus ex machina, anyway? It is a poor plot device, just like the rock that suddenly, magically made Aang into the Avatar. If Aang died, we would have the arc where Zuko fully gets to realize his love for Katara. Katara will learn to reciprocate and deal with the loss of her friend who was like a little brother to her.

It would be healthy and advance the plot in so many good ways. Aang was abusive to Katara, and she needs to move on from the mindset he forced onto her. Aang always goes into the Avatar state without considering how he would affect/hurt Katara. He tries to force her to go to the Northern Water Tribe with him. He is always pushing his ideas onto her whenever he can. Not to mention the Southern Raiders, where he keeps shoving his dumb ideology down her throat. Aang pressures the shit out of Katara, and she is constantly being manipulated by him.

After Aang dies, Zuko will go join the Gaang (except Aang is dead so now it will be the Zukrew). He will support them through the time where everyone is mourning, thus proving his loyalty to their cause against his own father. Zuko’s plot has always been much more compelling, and in a perfect world, his redemption arc will end with him killing his father. In the end, Zuko will Agni Kai with Azula, and while Katara defeats her, and Zuko and Katara kiss, then Zuko will run off and go to fight his father as it is his destiny.

While fighting Ozai, Zuko will be thrown onto the rock and his eye scar will hit the rock, and Zuko will become the Avatar. And Defeat Ozai. It is the redemption he deserved, and Aaron Ehasz planned it out from the beginning. And we the audience would get our lovely Zutara make out at the end and Katara will say, “I love you. I always have because you are NOT an abusive, midget twelve year old who is bald.” And Zuko will say, “I know baby”

And then the credits roll as they passionately kiss a lot.

Why people arguing about who won in the Last Agni Kai? The obvious answer is: No One Wins!

When Azula shot at Katara she broke the rules, Zuko fall down injured for jumping willingly at the fire. I know Zuko had the appear hand but the battle didn’t last, and the rules had been broken. That Agni Kai actually has no winner.