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This article is about the character in the series. For the character in the film, see Appa.
"I guess this means we'll always be together."
Aang to Appa.[1]

Appa was Avatar Aang's loyal sky bison, who shared a strong bond with him and Momo as they were all some of the few remaining traces of the Air Nomad civilization.[3] Appa was most noted for his ability to fly in spite of his heavy weight, a feat achieved through airbending, which made him the primary means of transportation utilized by Team Avatar.[4]

Quick Answers

What is the relationship between Appa and Avatar Aang? toggle section
Appa shares a deep and meaningful relationship with Avatar Aang. As Aang's loyal companion, Appa is not just a mode of transportation, but also a trusted friend. Their bond is so strong that Appa is often seen going to great lengths to protect Aang and his friends.
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How does Appa, the flying bison, manage to fly despite his heavy weight? toggle section
Appa manages to fly despite his heavy weight through the use of airbending. This allows him to create powerful gusts of air, which he can use to lift himself off the ground and hover in the air. However, due to his size and mass, flying takes a lot of energy and Appa often needs to rest or stop after extended periods of flight.
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What role does Appa play in Team Avatar? toggle section
Appa plays a crucial role in Team Avatar as its main form of transportation, carrying them on his saddle during flight, capable of crossing long distances throught the air or swim through water.
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How did Appa become friends with Aang? toggle section
Appa met Aang when the young airbenders at the Eastern Air Temple were introduced to the sky bison, who would become their future companions. After being directed towards the young monks by his mother, Appa was offered an apple by Aang, the two of them becoming immediate best friends.
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Why did Appa develop a fear of fire? toggle section
After being separated from the rest of Team Avatar in the Si Wong Desert, Appa was sold to a Fire Nation circus to be part of their performance. The sadistic circus trainer used a fire whip to train the animals and force them to perform, with the experience causing Appa to become fearful of fire.
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Early life[]

Aang meets Appa

Appa and Aang met when the bison was a mere calf.

When Appa was still a young calf who lived around the Eastern Air Temple, young airbenders were allowed to meet their future companions, who would bond with them for life. The herd's mother willingly directed her calves to meet the young monks. Aang came forward and offered an apple to Appa, and the two became best friends almost immediately afterward.[1]

Just before the Air Nomad Genocide, Aang heard that the monks were going to separate him from Monk Gyatso and subsequently decided to run away, using Appa as his mode of departure. Appa did not know where he was going, only that he was leaving the air temples.

Journey to the North[]

Aang flew Appa over the ocean, at which point they were caught in a vicious storm which pushed the two underwater by stirring up the wind and the waves until Aang lost consciousness. Faced with a life-or-death situation, the young Avatar entered the Avatar State and froze himself with Appa in an iceberg,[5] the latter was stuck in hibernation along with Aang for one hundred years.

The pair were discovered by Katara and Sokka.[2] After this, Appa became the group's main form of transportation in their quest to help Aang master all four elements throughout the world.[4] He appeared in most of Sokka and Princess Yue's dates, tried to steal food with Momo in the Foggy Swamp, and became a beloved friend for all members of Team Avatar.


Appa captured

Appa was captured by sandbenders in the Si Wong Desert.

Appa became lost for a short while when the group was traveling through the Earth Kingdom, having been kidnapped by a group of sandbenders in the middle of the vast Si Wong Desert, while Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Momo were trapped in an underground Spirit library.

It was later revealed that Appa was eventually sold to beetle-headed merchants, who in turn sold him to a Fire Nation circus where a sadistic trainer attempted to make him part of the show. Encouraged by a sympathetic boy, he later escaped and hurried back to the Si Wong Desert where he last saw Aang. Understanding that his friends weren't there anymore, Appa journeyed throughout the Earth Kingdom until he encountered the Kyoshi Warriors, who healed his various wounds, physical as well as emotional, that he had sustained on his travels. They wanted to escort him back to Aang, but they were soon thwarted in their attempt when Azula and her allies attacked. He was forced to flee, ushered away by Suki while the warriors tried to delay the three Fire Nation girls.

On his journey, Appa encountered Guru Pathik at the Eastern Air Temple, where the Guru was able to tell Appa of Aang's location by reading his energy. Consequently, he flew to Ba Sing Se, where he was captured by Long Feng[1] and kept in a secret location under Lake Laogai until his rescue at the hands of Zuko, who was initially planning on utilizing him to capture the Avatar until he talked with his uncle Iroh, deciding to do the right thing and set the bison free.

Earth Kingdom[]

Appa found the group cornered by Long Feng and the Dai Li and was instrumental in their defeat, biting Long Feng on the leg when confronted by him. Once safe, Aang welcomed him in a tearful display of affection.[6] Appa took part in forcibly entering the Royal Palace of Ba Sing Se, providing the first key piece of evidence to King Kuei of Long Feng's subterfuge since Long Feng's bite mark still lingered.

When the Dai Li's cover-up efforts left the Earth King skeptical of Team Avatar's claims, Sokka made a last-ditch effort to show the king the ruined Fire Nation drill by enticing him with a ride on Appa. Since his saddle was lost during his capture, the group was forced to ride bareback on him and there was little to no time to regain it.[7] After the fall of Ba Sing Se, Appa was seen spiriting Team Avatar, including a near-fatally wounded Aang, the Earth King, and his pet, Bosco, out of the now-captured city.[8]

In the Fire Nation[]

Appa stayed with the group as they found their way aboard Hakoda's commandeered Fire Navy vessel and finally had a new saddle constructed for him. After Aang ran off into a storm, Appa and the rest of Team Avatar split with Hakoda's crew and chased down Aang, regrouping on Crescent Island.[9] As they traveled through the Fire Nation on the team's second but Aang's first time riding on the new saddle, Appa was forced to stay hidden until he did have to fly, while Aang and Katara created a cloud around him so that he resembled a cloud to any Fire Nation civilians.[10] When they left him and Momo alone, the gang had to cover Appa up with some form of camouflage.

Armored Appa

Appa was equipped with armor for the invasion of the Fire Nation.

After the invasion of the Fire Nation failed on the Day of Black Sun, Appa took Aang's friends and all of the younger members of the invasion force to the Western Air Temple in search of refuge.[11] Unbeknownst to Team Avatar, Zuko abandoned the Fire Nation during the invasion and followed them to the temple. When he arrived, Appa immediately welcomed and licked him, a direct result of him remaining grateful to the prince for freeing him from his imprisonment in Ba Sing Se. Despite Appa's obvious welcoming of Zuko, the group did not accept the latter's proposal of teaching Aang firebending until he saved the group from an attack conducted by Combustion Man.[12]

In the final days of the Hundred Year War, Sozin's Comet's arrival, Appa helped Team Avatar, excluding Aang, travel to the Earth Kingdom,[13] where they had June and her shirshu, Nyla, try to track Aang. Unsuccessful, they instead tracked down Iroh, using his sandal, who was residing outside Ba Sing Se with the rest of the Order of the White Lotus.[14] Appa later escorted Zuko and Katara to the Fire Nation Capital for their confrontation with Azula.[14]

After the Hundred Year War[]

After the Hundred Year War's end, Appa was seen in Ba Sing Se with the gang as they celebrated their victory at the Jasmine Dragon, seemingly enjoying Iroh's tsungi horn music from the doorway of the tea shop.[15] After this, the team decided to take a ride on Appa before Earth King Kuei's celebration in announcement of the Harmony Restoration Movement to the kingdom.[16]

A year later, when the movement was being carried out, Appa helped Team Avatar transport Fire Nation colonials back to their nation.[16]

One year following the failure of the Harmony Restoration Movement, Appa once again embarked on a mission and transported Team Avatar to Hira'a in search of Zuko's mother, Ursa. However, he was visibly upset that Azula would be accompanying the team on the trip. On their way there, the party was attacked by a wolf spirit, so Appa aided in the battle against the beast.[17] Once the team learned about Ikem's flight up Forgetful Valley, he stayed behind and later flew back to Hira'a along with the remaining members of Team Avatar and the Mother of Faces.[18]

Though Appa was believed to be the last of the flying bison following the Air Nomad Genocide, Aang discovered a new herd during his adventures after the Hundred Year War, with colonies of healthy bison coming to reside at the air temples.[19] Appa was still serving as Aang's animal guide as of 124 AG. The Avatar reminisced about the time they met one another in a book that he passed down to his son Tenzin.[20]

In the mid-130s AG, Aang flew Appa to the police headquarters in Republic City after Tenzin was arrested for fighting some vandals. After Aang offered to take charge of both Tenzin and the vandals, Aang ushered Tenzin and the vandals onto the animal guide, so they could fly back to Air Temple Island. Tenzin was worried that the criminals might harm Appa, but Aang explained there was a difference between vandalism and harming a living being.[21]


Appa soaring

Appa soared well into the sky.

Appa seemed to have a reasonably trusting attitude, as he did not take long to accept the apple offered to him by Aang - to whom he became incredibly loyal -[1] and took an immediate liking to Sokka when he first saw him.[2] However, this trait was damaged due to his experience with the circus trainer[1] and the sandbenders.[1][22] In these difficult moments, he seemed to have similar feelings toward humans when he missed Aang and his family in the Eastern Temple[1] while he tried his best to find Team Avatar.

Appa might have had some degree of intelligence, yawning after Aang prompted him [23] and apparently "scolded" Hawky and Momo when the two fought due to Sokka's order that himself was in charge.[24] His intelligence was further shown when he was taking the team and Professor Zei to Wan Shi Tong's library, responding with a groan when Zei asked him a question.[22]

Appa was afraid of going underground.[25][26] Since his experience in the Fire Nation circus, he also developed a fear of fire.[1]



Appa airbends

Appa was able to generate large bursts of air with his airbending.

Being a sky bison, Appa possessed airbending and apparently used his tail as the main driving force behind his bending,[27][28] but he also had shown the ability to accomplish it with his mouth.[1] He mainly used his ability to fly at extreme heights and avoid attacks. Despite the tranquility related to his personality and species, Appa had shown himself to be capable of fighting whenever necessary,[1] creating powerful gusts of air with just a flick of his tail and gaining an advantage over his opponents by hovering.[29] He even defeated Long Feng,[7] Ty Lee, and Mai.[28]


Appa lifting tanks

Appa had enough strength to lift two Fire Nation tundra tanks with his horns.

Being a bison, Appa had a great deal of brute strength and endurance. The best demonstrations of this were in the fight against Nyla in the abbey,[29] and against a fully-grown boar-q-pine in the forest.[1] His strength was so great to the extent of Appa lifting two Fire Nation tundra tanks simultaneously each by the horn, flipping them over. Using his teeth alone, he was capable of grabbing Long Feng by his leg and throwing him a great distance.


Due to his size and mass, it took a lot of energy for Appa to stay aloft, so he could not fly for an extended time and periodically required stopping or resting.[12][28] However, there were times when he displayed extreme stamina, such as when Katara stated that they flew two days non-stop[30] and when he continually had to fly in order to avoid Azula, Ty Lee, and Mai for hours on end with only a few minutes of rest each time he stopped.[28] Furthermore, Appa was capable of carrying quite a burden on his back, having once carried seven medium-weight people in one journey.[11]

Other skills[]

Appa was capable of swimming, even being a fairly adept.[2][30] However, he would more frequently fly or walk[12][31] rather than swim.

Although lacking the ability to speak human language, Appa does understand human language.[1][32]


Main article: Appa's relationships


Appa's mother


Avatar: The Last Airbender

Book One: Water (水)

Book Two: Earth (土)

Book Three: Fire (火)

Avatar comics

Book One: Water (水)
Book Two: Earth (土)
Book Three: Fire (火)
Avatar comics

Graphic novels

Avatar games

Avatar books


  • Appa was originally a much smaller dog-like animal, albeit still larger than Aang. The design was eventually recycled into Naga, Korra's animal companion.
  • Co-creator Bryan Konietzko described Appa as a manatee-bison hybrid, although the manatee aspect of Appa is extremely subtle. Early development sketches of Appa show him with much more manatee-like facial features.
    • Early designs also show Appa with spiral horns, however, they were removed due to being "too difficult to animate by hand".[33]
  • Appa's design is similar to that of the Catbus from the anime film My Neighbor Totoro which was made in 1988. The six legs were a direct homage to Hayao Miyazaki's character.[34][35]
  • Appa's name is a palindrome, like Kuruk and Ikki.
  • In Avatar Extras for "The Library", it was stated that Appa had a double-chin.
  • According to his missing posters[6] and a statement made by Aang,[36] Appa's weight was ten tons. In "The Warriors of Kyoshi", Sokka referred to Appa as a "ten-ton magical monster".
  • Although Aang is said to be the last airbender in the series, Appa was also an airbender. This means more specifically that Aang was the last human airbender and more so the last Air Nomad.
  • Appa would not respond to the bison whistle if he was napping.[37]
  • As indicated by his flat teeth and diet, which was mainly composed of plants and fruits, Appa was a herbivore. Like most farm animals, he seemed to prefer hay when it was available, though he also consumed honey and attempted to snatch an egg when he was desperate for food.[1]
  • It was shown that Appa could sleep on his side with his legs wrapped around his tail.


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (October 13, 2006). "Appa's Lost Days". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 16. Nickelodeon.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Filoni, Dave (director). (February 21, 2005). "The Boy in the Iceberg". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  3. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (February 25, 2005). "The Southern Air Temple". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Throughout Avatar: The Last Airbender.
  5. Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (June 3, 2005). "The Storm". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Hedrick, Tim (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (November 6, 2006). "Lake Laogai". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 17. Nickelodeon.
  7. 7.0 7.1 O'Bryan, John (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (November 17, 2006). "The Earth King". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 18. Nickelodeon.
  8. Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & DiMartino, Michael Dante (director). (December 1, 2006). "The Crossroads of Destiny". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 20. Nickelodeon.
  9. Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (September 21, 2007). "The Awakening". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 1. Nickelodeon.
  10. O'Bryan, John (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (September 28, 2007). "The Headband". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (November 30, 2007). "The Day of Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch, Hedrick, Tim (writers) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (July 14, 2008). "The Western Air Temple". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  13. DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 1: The Phoenix King". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 18. Nickelodeon.
  14. 14.0 14.1 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 2: The Old Masters". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
  15. DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (July 19, 2008). "Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 21. Nickelodeon.
  16. 16.0 16.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Promise Part One (January 25, 2012), Dark Horse Comics.
  17. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Search Part One (March 20, 2013), Dark Horse Comics.
  18. DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene Luen (writer), Sasaki of Gurihiru (penciling, inking), Kawano of Gurihiru (colorist), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (letterer). The Search Part Three (October 30, 2013), Dark Horse Comics.
  19. San Diego Comic-Con 2011
  20. Avatar: The Last Airbender: Legacy, page 15.
  21. Hughes, Kiku (writer), Beck, Sam (artist), Ng, Killian (colorist), Betancourt, Jimmy; Starkings, Richard (letterer). "Clearing the Air" (August 14, 2021), Dark Horse Comics.
  22. 22.0 22.1 O'Bryan, John (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (July 14, 2006). "The Library". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 10. Nickelodeon.
  23. Malis, Nick (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (March 4, 2005). "The Warriors of Kyoshi". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 4. Nickelodeon.
  24. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (November 2, 2007). "The Runaway". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 7. Nickelodeon.
  25. Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (March 24, 2006). "The Cave of Two Lovers". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  26. Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director). (July 17, 2008). "The Southern Raiders". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 16. Nickelodeon.
  27. Hedrick, Tim (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (October 21, 2005). "The Deserter". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 16. Nickelodeon.
  28. 28.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (May 26, 2006). "The Chase". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 2. Episode 8. Nickelodeon.
  29. 29.0 29.1 Wilcox, Ian (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (October 7, 2005). "Bato of the Water Tribe". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 15. Nickelodeon.
  30. 30.0 30.1 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Volpe, Giancarlo (director). (November 18, 2005). "The Waterbending Master". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 18. Nickelodeon.
  31. Eagan, James (writer) & Filoni, Dave (director). (May 6, 2005). "Jet". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 10. Nickelodeon.
  32. Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (April 8, 2005). "Winter Solstice, Part 1: The Spirit World". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 7. Nickelodeon.
  33. Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Art of the Animated Series, page 21.
  34. Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Art of the Animated Series, page 20.
  35. Basco, Dante (host), Varney, Janet (host), DiMartino, Michael Dante (guest), Konietzko, Bryan (guest). (June 25, 2021). "Origin Stories with Mike DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko Pt. 1". Avatar: Braving the Elements. Episode 2. iHeartRadio.
  36. O'Bryan, John (writer) & Lioi, Anthony (director). (March 18, 2005). "The King of Omashu". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.
  37. Pittarese, Frank (2006-09-12). Nation Exploration: Air. Nick Mag Presents: Avatar: The Last Airbender. Archived from the original on July 2, 2011. Retrieved on August 13, 2013.

See also[]