Appa. Totally and completely Appa, for so many reasons.
Isn’t it funny how an animal got just as much character development as the other core characters? We have this friendly, trusting creature who goes through so much during book two (mostly off screen up until Appa’s Lost Days came along) that he breaks. Just totally, completely breaks. We’re so used to seeing this loving creature that seeing him shy away from Suki was a completely heart breaking moment.
There’s no doubt that Appa’s Lost Days was one of the best episodes in ATLA, and it’s little wonder that it got an award. The themes presented were dark, daringly so for a kid’s show. But it gave us one of the most emotional episodes in the entire series.
Seeing Appa lose his trust of humans and having to build it back up again was one of the most heart-wrenching experiences I’ve ever been through with a show. When we saw him reunite with Aang, and saw the look in his eye… Happy tears! These are happy tears!
And, of course, the comedy he brought to the show was always a pleasure to watch, as was his relationships with the other characters, from his bromance with Momo to his deep bond with Aang. For an animal to be such a well rounded character with such strong relationships, it would be a crime not to give him this. So, Appa, I tip my hat to you. Such a shame we can’t all have flying bison.