The good, the bad, and what the the last airbender

Welcome to this week’s article of The Good, Bad, and What The?, where we took a good, long look at characters in movies, video games, anime, and books and put them on the judgement table to see if they are worthy to be in their respective stories. I strongly believe that well developed characters are more important than anything else in a good story, so I always judge them hard. At the end of every character’s evaluation I will give them one of four ratings: Good for those characters that are developed and deserve their place in the story, Bad for those characters that have no place being made or interacting with anyone else in the story, What The for the characters I just can’t figure out, and then the characters who are dull as dishwasher will get the rating of Sack of Potatoes.  Today on the judgement table: Sokka, one of the main characters from “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”

Sokka-avatar-the-last-airbender-17328899-300-352
The mighty Sokka

Everyone knows about “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, and of course, Sokka. “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is the story of Aang, Sokka, and Katara trying to restore balance to the world and stop fire lord Ozai. The Avatar disappeared for a 100 years until Sokka and Katara found Aang the airbender trapped in a block of ice with his buddy Appa. Now, they have to find people to teach Aang the other four elements so he can save the world. No, I am not going to type out the whole opening; I just tried really hard to avoid it there. You guys came here because we all gotta talk about the fan favorite, Sokka.

Let’s get down to business.

Sokka is the non bender of their group and also the comedic relief of many, many situations. A lot of shows have a comedic relief character, but many of those characters have issues. Because they were made the comedic relief, they often are less interesting or not as deep as the other characters. They serve to be funny and nothing else. Oftentimes, they won’t develop or do anything to push the story forward or have a deep backstory. They are there, they are funny, they are done. “Avatar: The Last Airbender” as well as “The Legend of Korra” however are beautiful shining gems of amazing writing. Neither show throws their comedic characters Bolin and Sokka to the way side and not care about them. Sokka is often hilarious I don’t think I will ever forget  the “Cactus juice, it’s the quenchiest! It’ll quench yah!” bit. Everyone who has watched the show has a favorite Sokka quote or moment, I say this with 100% confidence. For all of the jokes and nonsense Sokka pulls, though, he still do a lot for the main plot and himself as a character. He develops well and has interesting relationships with each character. He even makes some good plans when he actually tries. One of the aspects that made him the most interesting and a character with actual depth were his relations to people and how his past affected him.

water tribe
Water tribe!

Sokka and Katara are brother and sister and as such have the whole sibling rivalry thing but still care about each other. They often pick on and make fun of each other, very much like real siblings often do. The part that is different is the way that Sokka sometimes changes into a father figure. When Sokka and Katara were young, their dad left to fight the fire nation, leaving Sokka as the only man in the house. Their mother had passed away, so Sokka and Katara were on their own at this point. Sokka idolized his dad and wanted nothing more than to be like him. As such, he always tried to do everything his dad taught him and many of the skills Sokka knows came from their father Hakoda. Sokka would always try to take charge and wanted to protect everyone, especially Katara. This shows that Sokka is a more caring and important than the initial comedy act leads you to believe. Sokka had relations with every other character, too. He had a rough time when Zuko joined their team, he treated Aang like a brother, and he and Toph constantly bashed heads. Their whole team reminded me of a RPG with Sokka as that one character who has an opinion or something to say about everyone on the team. The most important thing, though, is that Sokka goes through a lot of love turmoil. He has a couple of women come in and out until he finally finds Suki. She is the girl he finally ends up with until the end of the series. Many comedic characters don’t get love stories or anything of the sort. The relationship of Sokka and Suki could be its own article, so I can’t go into all that. It was a very good relationship; I’ll leave it at that.

catcus juice
Cactus juice!

Now to Sokka’s development. Sokka in the beginning isn’t super serious or as devoted to the whole cause as Katara and Aang are. He has a hard time thinking that saving the world will work and finds it an impossible task. As time goes on, though, Sokka becomes the leader of the charge. He comes up with many plans and constantly keeps pushing team Avatar forward. On top of him growing to become the leader of their cause, Sokka also becomes a better and smarter warrior as a whole. There is an entire part of the show where Sokka wants to learn how to be a better swordsman so that he can become a bigger help to the team. Once finding a master, Sokka not only becomes a better swordsman but he learns many things from his master and creates his very own meteorite sword. The episode of Sokka’s training was one of my favorites in the whole show. After learning how to fight with a sword better and becoming a better war chief,  Sokka  essentially also becomes more charismatic. He invigorates his warriors and leads his team like an old war veteran. He is a leader, a strong fighter, a great companion, and through all this he is still hilarious. He of course also never drops his guard, because after all,  “We are fire nation territory…these are enemy birds!”

charge

Now for the verdict of Sokka. Well as I’m sure this is no surprise to anyone, Sokka get the verdict of Good. Sokka is beyond just good, though, Sokka is fantastic. He is an amazing character who is funny, likeable, a leader, and has a great amount of depth. He was a character you watched grow and become better and better with each passing episode. I like Sokka from start of the show and only learned to like him more as the show went on. “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is an amazing gem of a show with great characters and amazing story. Sokka is without a doubt my favorite character from the series.

  • Tal

    Personally I found every joke and “funny line” from Sokka to be forced, senseless, and just not clever humour at all. The sarcasm and one-liners didn’t make me laugh. The only thing I laughed at was when he was off his face on hallucinogenic cactus water. All of this detracted from his character and made it difficult for me to care about him or take him seriously. I only wanted him to stick around for Katara’s well-being, because she sucks at coping with the deaths of her family members.
    Later on in the show when he dropped it and started getting some proper work done, then I cared a little more about whether or not he stuck around.

    I’ve been trawling the internet to try and find a post where people could explain why they actually find him to be an amusing character, but nobody’s been able to shed any light on the matter. Any hints? 😛