Avatar: The Last Airbender is back on Netflix after what feels like 84 years, and I immediately said, “Ah, yes, my emotional support cartoon.” Rewatching it has been a blast, and solidified its spot as one of the greatest shows ever, in my eyes. Something I always appreciated about it was that they let girls be fighters, too. Avatar kicked it up a notch in that respect, though. They were like, “oh, you want to see girls being awesome strong fighters? What if we made them even more badass than you ever could’ve expected?” By the end of the series, Katara has gone from barely being able to create a wave, to being probably the most powerful waterbender in the show. Toph was awesome from the start, what with using her blindness to amplify her earthbending senses, but goes on to create metalbending and being even more awesome. Then there’s Princess Azula, with her one-of-a-kind, super-hot blue flame firebending and being one of the few people who can lightningbend, and her friend Ty Lee who can render any bender helpless with the use of her chi-blocking techniques. This time around, though, I realized there was one character who never really got her fair share of recognition: Suki, the leader of the Kyoshi Warriors.
Suki first appeared in the fourth episode of the first season. She won my heart by putting Sokka and his casual sexism in his place. Before the end of the episode, Sokka apologizes for treating her “like a girl” instead of a warrior, to which she says, “I am a warrior, but I’m a girl, too.” In that one simple statement, Suki actually says a lot. You can be a great fighter and kick ass, but you don’t need to harden yourself or suppress your emotions; you can protect your village from invaders while having a crush on the cute guy who just blew into town, and these things are not mutually exclusive.
Her first appearance was originally supposed to be her last, but Suki was brought back later in the second season. At first it seemed like the writers only brought her back as Sokka’s love interest, and to show that he was still grieving the loss of Princess Yue from the the season one finale. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case, and Suki goes on to play an important role in the plot from then on. She’s usually left out when people talk about or depict Team Avatar, but she was absolutely an irreplaceable part of the team. Without her compassion and gentleness, Appa wouldn’t have had the strength to continue his search for Aang. If not for her quick thinking and physical prowess, Sokka and Zuko would’ve had a much harder time escaping from the Boiling Rock prison. In the series finale, Suki plays an integral role in taking down Ozai’s fleet of airships. I haven’t read many of the Avatar comics, but I know Suki’s in them, and I’m glad her story got to continue. I hope, now that there’s somewhat of an Avatar resurgence happening, that Suki finally gets the love and recognition she deserves.
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