|Relationships:||Katara (love interest/wife) Bumi, Tenzin, Kya (children)|
|Fandom:||Avatar: The Last Airbender|
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Aang is the protagonist of the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. He is voiced by Zach Tyler Eisen.
Aang is the Avatar - the only person who can use all four types of bending -a form of elemental magic inspired by martial arts- and the last airbender after the others were massacred by the Fire Nation. He becomes frozen in an iceberg while attempting to run away from the Southern Air Temple, and is broken free by Katara, who becomes his friend and eventual love interest. Aang is a cheerful character who initially struggles with his duty as Avatar, though he eventually overcomes this as he grows and steps into the role.
Aang has been the target of Hero Bashing. This bashing is often related to the canon Kataang pair 'getting in the way of the way of' Zutara, which was the most popular fanon pairing up until at least 2020 (see Kataang vs Zutara). While rare, it's not unheard of for an "Aang-antis" (as referred to by the fandom) to not ship Zutara. As a result of this bashing, recently an additional Tumblr tag was created for the character, "aanglove" so that fans who enjoy the character can browse content without running into mistagged hate.
Also, some fans have found Aang's refusal to kill Fire Lord Ozai due to his personal and cultural beliefs as selfish, and find Aang's last-minute solution to be a deus ex machina; others argue that Aang's pacifism is laudable and integral to both his character and his existence as an anti-war, anti-imperialist figure.
This relatively low popularity among fans has led to Aang being sidelined in fanworks, despite being the protagonist of the series. For example, the "Aang-centric" tag on AO3 has less than 50 works as of 2/7/21, while the tag Zuko-centric has over 700 fanworks. This disparity is also found in the overall popularity of ships, though most ships in the fandom fall behind the runaway popularity of Zutara and as of 2020, Zukka.
This lack of popularity is most prominent within the Avatar X AU trope in fanworks, where another character is given the role of Avatar. Zuko is the most popular character for this trope, but there have been instances of both Avatar Sokka and Avatar Katara AUs as well. In these works Aang is often portrayed as either an ordinary airbender, or having died in either the Air Nomad Genocide or the iceberg he becomes frozen in before the start of the series.
- Aang/Katara - Kataang: The most popular Aang pairing, as well as the canon pairing. Kataang, like most parts of the fandom involving Aang, has a small-to-decently sized passionate following.
- Aang/Zuko – Zukaang: The most popular m/m pairing for Aang, with most of the other pairings having under 25 works on AO3 as of 2/7/21.
- Aang/Toph Beifong – Taang
- Aang/Azula – Azulaang
- Remnants in the Mist, post-canon, Aang discovers surviving airbison.
- Ribs, Aang & Zuko focused fic set during canon at the Western Air Temple (Book 3).
- Lessons in Tea Making, canon-divergence fic in which Zuko gave up on his hunt for the avatar early on but the Gaang tries to convince him to become Aang's firebending teacher.
- Honor Returned, AU in which Zuko captures Aang in Book 1
- ok but can we talk about this by irresistible-revolution, 2013: On Aang's choices in the battle against Ozai, influenced by his culture.
- Aang, Bhuddism and Fandom Problems by irresistible-revolution on Tumblr
- Fire, Greed and Bhuddism by irresistible-revolution on Tumblr
- Avatar Aang, Feminist Icon?, Archived version by rickthaniel (2017)
- Aang Can Save Us All by Jill Bearup
Links & Resources
- "Aang-centric" works on AO3
- Aang (Avatar) works on AO3
- Aang tag on Tumblr
- Aang character filter on fanfiction.net
- Stories tagged Aang on Wattpad