The Avatar is the master of all four elements and one of the strongest benders in the world at any given time. However, the Avatar is capable of more than just learning how to bend earth, water, fire, and air. Each Avatar has their own personality, strengths, weaknesses, and attributes. As such, each one was able to do different things that other Avatars could not. This idea is perpetuated in both Avatar Aang and Avatar Korra, the protagonists of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra. These shows gave us two different looks at who could be the Avatar as well as what they could achieve. Aang was a gentle, carefree spirit who would rather outsmart than battle his opponents. Korra, on the other hand, was a hotheaded person who would rush into a fight, ready to take down whoever got in her way.
Both of these Avatars went on their own journeys to restore balance to the world that led them to unlock abilities that the other never discovered. On top of that, their upbringings also led to them learning skills that the other never needed to know. By the time both of these characters become fully-realized Avatars, there are still several skills that were unique to them. Each Avatar leaves their own mark on the world and learns their own skills along the way. With that in mind, we’re going to explore 10 things Korra can do that Aang can’t and 10 he can do that she can’t.
20. KORRA: BECOME A GIANT SPIRIT MONSTER
At the end of Book Two of The Legend of Korra, the Avatar Spirit was torn out of Korra by the deadly combination of Unalaq and Vaatu. The two villains merged to become a giant spirit monster and headed toward Republic City. By going into the Tree of Beginning, Korra unlocked a power within herself that also allowed her to become a spirit monster in the same way.
She then went to Republic City to face Unavaatu head on. The two had a battle that nearly shook the entire world. It also raised some questions about how Korra was still the Avatar despite not having the spirit inside her.
19. AANG: TAKING BENDING AWAY
In the finale of The Last Airbender, Aang couldn’t go through with taking the Fire Lord’s life. After talking to just about everyone he knew for advice, it was a giant lion turtle that brought him clarity. The turtle revealed that, before the time of the Avatar, the energy inside someone was bent rather than the elements.
It was then that Aang unlocked energybending, which he later applied to take away Fire Lord Ozai’s bending. He passed on a version of this skill to Korra, who could restore bending, but she was never shown being able to take it away like Aang.
18. KORRA: METALBEND
Metalbending was a skill invented by Toph Beifong in The Last Airbender, and she was the only one that knew how to do it. Long after the show ended, she taught a whole new slew of Earthbenders the ability as well, including her two daughters. In Book Three of The Legend of Korra, Korra stayed in the metal city of Zaofu, where Suyin Beifong taught her how to metalbend.
Korra would later become a natural metalbender, capable of going toe-to-toe with Kuvira. It also marked her as the first metalbending Avatar. Considering most Avatars couldn’t do the advanced levels of bending, it spoke to Korra’s strength that she learned it.
17. AANG: REDIRECT LIGHTNING
In The Last Airbender, Fire Lord Ozai knew how to bend lightning, which was one of the deadliest arts in the world. Because of this, Zuko taught Aang a trick that Uncle Iroh invented: lightning redirection. This skill was crucial in fighting the Fire Lord, as he shot lightning at Aang several times.
The Avatar proved that he learned well, as he was able to catch the lightning and send it out into the sky (though it did weaken him in the process). Korra was never shown to use or need this ability, as she didn’t go up against anyone who could bend lightning.
16. KORRA: COMMUNICATE WITH RAAVA
Raava is the spirit of the Avatarorking alongside Avatar Wan, she was the entity that was able to hold all four elements. By passing through Wan, she able to transfer those skills to him. Eventually, the two were permanently bonded, which created the Avatar. However, Raava wasn’t introduced in the series until The Legend of Korra, meaning that Aang was never shown communicating with the great spirit, let alone even knowing it existed. Korra learned the existence of Raava and was able to communicate with her on several occasions, getting advice from one of the wisest spirits in history.
15. AANG: MASTERY OF AIRBENDING
When The Last Airbender begins, Aang already has his airbending tattoos, signaling that he already mastered airbending. He was the youngest person to master airbending, and even invented new techniques like the air scooter. Even before he mastered the other three elements, Aang proved to be a formidable opponent to the Fire Nation with his airbending alone, often not needing the other elements.
Korra struggled with airbending, though, having the most difficulty mastering it. She eventually mastered it as well, but never became as good as Aang was. After all, she was much more comfortable using her waterbending to get the job done.
14. KORRA: BEND SPIRIT ENERGY
Spirits were a big factor in The Legend of Korra, more than they ever were in The Last Airbender. In Book Four, things reached their breaking point. To create her perfect Earth Empire, Kuvira decided to create a cannon of spirit energy out of the vines from a massive spirit tree.
Her experiments worked, and she even attached the cannon to a giant, platinum mech. In the face of this cannon, though, Korra learned how to defeat it. Similar to how Aang learned to bend the energy within people, Korra learned to bend spirit energy, deflecting a full blast from the cannon.
13. AANG: FIGHT BLIND
One of Aang’s greatest teachers was Toph Beifong. Being a blind Earthbender, she not only taught him how to Earthbend but how to sense vibrations in the way that she did. Aang eventually learned how to fight and bend blindfolded.
This gave him a noticeable advantage, as he could predict enemy movements even when his back was turned. When Fire Lord Ozai tried to get the drop on him after being defeated, Aang sensed his vibrations and was able to counter his attack. This “seismic sense” as it would be called was later passed down to Lin Beifong, Toph’s daughter.
12. KORRA: MASTER THE ELEMENTS ON HER OWN
When we first meet Korra, she already has a grasp on how to bend fire, water, and earth at a very young age. She was touted as a bending prodigy, being able to use those skills without the need of any real teachers. By the time she was 17, she had perfected all three of those arts, with air being the only element she couldn’t master.
Meanwhile, Aang had only mastered airbending in his time at the Air Temples. The only way he was able to learn the other elements was by having other great teachers like Jeong Jeong, Pakku, Katara, Toph, and Zuko.
11. AANG: FIREBENDING FUELED BY DRAGONS
When Aang learned firebending, he was taught a different way than most firebenders learned. He and Zuko traveled to the Sun Warriors, where it was revealed that two dragons, labeled the firebending masters, still lived. Deeming both of them worthy, they taught Aang and Zuko what firebending was all about: fueled by life and not rage.
As such, Aang was an extremely powerful firebender, learning to keep his cool the whole time. Korra, on the other hand, clearly firebent out of rage, often resorting to it when she was frustrated or angry. With no hint of dragons around, there was no way she could’ve learned.
10. KORRA: BREAK FREE FROM BLOODBENDING
Bloodbending was one of the most powerful arts a waterbender could perform. While it was initially only doable on a full moon, Yakone and his two sons learned how to do it at any time. As such, Korra had to learn how to tackle a bloodbender to save Republic City. It was difficult at first, but she later proved to be strong enough to break free from a bloodbending hold.
This was something that Aang was never able to do. Even when he faced Yakone, the only way he broke free from the bloodbending the grip was by accessing the Avatar State, something Korra didn’t need to do.
9. AANG: ACROBATIC
Aang wasn’t much of a fighter. Instead of using his bending for aggression, he would only fight back when deemed absolutely necessary, doing everything he could in the process to avoid and evade his opponents. The reason he was so good at this was because he was an excellent acrobatic.
Using his years of airbending training to his advantage, Aang could zip around and over his foes with ease. He perform flips in the air and slide around any attack. He was even shown to do a lot of these feats without the aid of his bending. Korra was no slouch, but she was more of a fighter than an acrobatic.
8. KORRA: HEALING
Korra grew up in the Southern Water Tribe, where an older Katara lived. Katara was heralded as one of the best healers in the entire world. Having taught Korra everything she knew, the Avatar also became adept at healing through waterbending. Korra had healed her friends on multiple occasions, proving to be good at the art.
This was a skill Aang never learned, as it was an uncommon ability among waterbenders, and he was much more focused on mastering the art anyway. He didn’t need to know it, considering that Katara learned it and was a key member of the team.
7. AANG: EASILY TRAVEL TO THE SPIRIT WORLD
Being raised by Air Nomads, Aang was much more connected to the world around him. Despite having a lack of experience, he quickly mastered the art of traveling to the Spirit World, being able to enter it at will by the end of Book One of The Last Airbender. Aang would often talk to spirits and even learned how to directly communicate with his past lives when he wanted to.
6. KORRA: CALM DOWN SPIRITS THROUGH WATERBENDING
In Book Two of The Legend of Korra, the world was dealing with angry spirits that crossed into the physical realm. Korra’s Uncle Unalaq was more than prepared, though, as he was able to use his waterbending to calm down spirits and send them away in peace. Despite being a tyrannical maniac, he would pass on this skill to Korra, who would later apply it effectively.
She could calm down spirits just as well as her uncle did, and she even used the ability to lock away Vaatu after nearly destroying Republic City. Aang could calm down spirits as well, but he took a more direct approach and didn’t use waterbending.
5. AANG: BEFRIEND WORLD LEADERS
When Aang woke up after being in an iceberg for 100 years, he proved successful in befriending the world leaders. King Bumi of Omashu was already a good friend, leading him to have a connection there. The Earth King, while skeptical at first, learned to trust the Avatar in Ba Sing Se. Then there’s the fact that the Zuko became the Fire Lord at the end of the series, and he and Aang had a famous friendship.
The same can’t be said for Korra, who was often attacked and ridiculed by world leaders who stated that she caused more problems than she solved. She often butted heads with the president of Republic City.
4. KORRA: BEND IN THE SPIRIT WORLD
One of the big limitations Aang found while in the Spirit World was that he couldn’t bend. This became an issue when he had to face Spirits like Koh, the Face Stealer. The Spirit World was given greater significance in The Legend of Korra. It even led to Korra herself traveling to the Spirit World.
While there, she could bend. This was explained by Aang only having his spirit travel to the Spirit World, while Korra’s physical body traveled there, thus allowing her to keep her abilities. This made her more of a threat to the spirits that tried to harm her.
3. AANG: LEARNED FASTER THAN ANY OTHER AVATAR
Throughout The Last Airbender, it was both shown and stated that it took years before an Avatar could be fully realized. Avatar Roku took years traveling the world and mastering all four elements before he returned to the Fire Nation. Aang had to learn in less than a year, though, as the arrival of Sozin’s Comet would signal the end of the world.
Already being a master airbender, he studied and learned how to control waterbending, earthbending, firebending, and even the Avatar State. This made him learn the fastest out of any Avatar as well as the youngest full Avatar who ever lived.
2. KORRA: FIGHT WITHOUT BENDING
Korra was one tough and muscular girl. She was strong to the point that she didn’t even need bending to fight. Even when Amon’s chi-blockers leveled out her bending, she proved more than capable of taking them on. She was an expert hand-to-hand combatant, having both the strength and knowledge to face her foes.
She even punched through ice blocks during her battle with Tarrlok. Compare that to Aang, who was much better at evading and outmaneuvering his opponents. Without bending, he proved to be not much of a threat. When he had to hide his bending, it was only a matter of time before he would react out of self-defense.
1. AANG: CREATE A LANDMASS
This wasn’t something that Aang did during The Last Airbender. Instead, it happened in between that show and The Legend of Korra. When Korra arrives to Republic City to learn airbending, she is granted a place to stay at Air Temple Island, where Tenzin and his family lived.
It was a nice little island that has a bit more history to it than what’s on the surface. That island was created by Aang to help preserve the culture of his long-deceased people. He formed the landmass where his son and grandchildren would live. Korra hadn’t been seen creating a landmass of that size.
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