Avatar The Last Air Bender
A century prior to the series’ opening, Aang, a 12-year-old Airbender of the Air Nomads’ Southern Air Temple, learned from the elder monks that he was the Avatar. Usually, the Avatar is told of his or her true identity after turning sixteen; however, the monks feared that a war between the four nations was on the horizon and that soon the Avatar would be required to maintain balance and order in the world. Shortly thereafter, the monks decreed that Aang would be separated from his guardian, Monk Gyatso and sent to the Western Fire Temple to complete his training.
Confused, frightened, and overwhelmed by these recent events and his new responsibilities as the Avatar, Aang fled from his home on his flying bison, Appa. While traveling over frigid southern ocean waters, a sudden storm caused Appa to plunge deep into the sea. Aang unconsciously entered the Avatar State, and used a combination of Airbending and Waterbending to protect Appa and himself.
By creating an air bubble around them and then freezing it, Aang was able to ensure that he and Appa could breathe and be protected from the storm until it dissipated. However, the storm transferred the bubble very near the south pole and it could not thaw, forcing the two of them into a state of suspended animation.
The series opens one hundred years later, with the Fire Nation on the brink of victory in its imperialist war. All of the Air Nomads are believed to have been destroyed. The Water Tribes are in crisis — the Southern Water Tribe’s warriors have left to wage war, leaving their home defenseless, while the Northern Water Tribe, though largely intact, is continually on the defensive.
The vast Earth Kingdom is now the only true barrier to the Fire Nation’s conquest, but as the Fire Nation continues to encroach on its borders and conquer its territories, hopes of victory grow bleaker with each passing year.
Two teenage siblings from the Southern Water Tribe — Katara, an inexperienced Waterbender, and her brother, Sokka, a warrior and caretaker of the tribe — discover and free Aang and Appa from the iceberg. Aang soon discovers to his horror that, during his absence, a century-long war has been waged.
The very year he vanished, Fire Lord Sozin took advantage of both the Avatar’s absence and the Firebending -enhancing powers of a passing comet (named “Sozin’s Comet,” for Fire Lord Sozin) to launch a war on the other nations.
To Aang’s shock and disbelief, the Fire Nation’s opening gambit had been a genocidal assault on the Air Nomads. The Air Temples were stormed and the Airbenders slaughtered in the Fire Nation’s effort to break the Avatar Cycle, leaving Aang as the last known Airbender in existence.
As the Avatar, Aang’s duty is to restore harmony and peace to the four nations. Along with his newly discovered friends Katara and Sokka, his flying bison Appa and his winged lemur Momo, and later the blind Earthbender Toph, Aang travels the world to master all four elements. During his quest, he must constantly avoid being captured by the banished Prince Zuko (who later joins the Avatar) and, later, Zuko’s cleverly deceptive and fiery sister, Princess Azula.
Although normally years of disciplined training are required to master a single Bending art, Aang must be a master of all four and defeat Fire lord Ozai by summer’s end, when the return of Sozin’s Comet will give the Firebenders the power to win the war. If these events come to pass, not even the Avatar will possess the ability to restore balance to the world.