|Well, that's not its name ... but ...
The term "Comet-Enhanced Agni Kai" has not been confirmed by official sources.
|"Wait. You want to be Fire Lord? Fine. Let's settle this. Just you and me, brother. The showdown that was always meant to be. Agni Kai!"|
|— Azula challenging Zuko to an Agni Kai.|
The Comet-Enhanced Agni Kai was a highly destructive Agni Kai fought between Prince Zuko and Princess Azula during the passing of Sozin's Comet. It inflicted significant fire damage to the surrounding areas. The majority of the battle was between Zuko and Azula, but Katara intervened after Zuko was shot by lightning trying to shield her, a blow which had rendered him unable to fight.
The battle held great political significance, as the two challengers were fighting over the right to the position of Fire Lord, and was also strategically important, as Zuko and Katara were able to defeat Princess Azula and gain control of the Fire Nation in concurrence with Aang's victory over Phoenix King Ozai, the liberation of Ba Sing Se, and the destruction of the Fire Nation airship fleet.
Also notable were the attitudes displayed by the battle's combatants. Azula had been known to be calm, precise, and deadly, whereas Zuko had been known to have a short temper. The Agni Kai demonstrated how recent events had affected the two siblings, as Azula finally lost her sanity and Zuko managed to gain the upper hand by staying focused and composed.
Zuko and Azula had had a long history of enmity. Zuko was unhappy that Ozai deeply favored Azula over him; likewise, Azula was upset that Ursa, their mother, deeply favored Zuko. This childhood competition expanded into extreme distrust and even hatred. They also both have been the first in line to the throne, due to Zuko's three-year exile which resulted in his temporary removal from the line of succession.
Prior to the arrival of Sozin's Comet, Prince Zuko, along with his allies from Team Avatar, except for Aang, as he was on the lion turtle at the time, met with his Uncle Iroh outside Ba Sing Se, where Iroh was preparing to lead the Order of the White Lotus in its mission to liberate the city. Iroh stated that Zuko had to claim his rightful title as Fire Lord, as Ozai and Azula were not fit to hold such a vital position. Iroh himself did not see himself as fit to rule, despite being the legitimate heir prior to Ozai's ascension; he reasoned that history would see it as a power struggle between two brothers, instead of the world returning to a peaceful state. Zuko had to accept the role in order to ensure peace between the four nations. However, Azula would not give up her throne without a fight. Zuko agreed to face her in one last battle, with Katara to help him. Zuko and Katara immediately departed to the Fire Nation Capital to carry out their mission.
The Agni Kai occurred on the night of the arrival of Sozin's Comet, which returned to the Earth every one hundred years and greatly enhanced the firebending powers of every firebender across the globe. Zuko and Katara arrived at the Capital City sometime after the comet appeared in the skies, and just as the Fire Sages were about to crown Azula Fire Lord, Zuko stated that he would become Fire Lord, not her. Amused, Azula challenged Zuko to an Agni Kai, "the showdown that was always meant to be". Zuko accepted, much to Katara's shock. Zuko stated that he did not want Katara to fight when the battle started, since although he had acknowledged that he could not defeat Azula alone, Azula's mental state had deteriorated over the betrayal of her friends Mai and Ty Lee,. In his own words, "There's something off about her; I can't explain it, but she's slipping." He reasoned that this would weaken her prowess, allowing Zuko to handle her without the risk of Katara getting hurt. Katara consented and stayed clear of the courtyard.
Zuko and Azula took their respective positions on each side of the coronation square. Azula sarcastically apologized to his brother for how it had to end but Zuko coldly told her off for the lie and the duel began. With both of their firebending dramatically enhanced by the comet, Zuko and Azula fired enormous fire blasts, with Zuko, despite his expertise with only red and orange flames, equally rivaling Azula's repeated attacks with blue fire due to how much his firebending had greatly improved and able to unleash his own assaults on his sister. As Azula's sanity continued to crumble, she became easily exhausted, and her attacks became less effective and she started to become overwhelmed by his brother's greatly increased prowess in firebending, even to the point of visibly being scared.
Azula attempted to encircle Zuko, increasing her mobility by propulsion with fire jets, while Zuko attempted in vain to hit her. However, he unleashed a fiery spin kick that managed to knock her down. Taunting her, he attempted to coerce his sister into resorting to lightning generation, in order to utilize that power against her. Despite Azula's awareness of Zuko's lightning redirection abilities, as demonstrated when he used it against their father, she succumbed to his goading and prepared such a strike. Zuko, meanwhile, prepared to execute his redirection technique, realizing that success could determine his victory.
However, noticing Katara standing behind her brother, Azula changed her plans at the last minute and directed the lightning bolt at the unprepared and shocked Katara instead, who watched frozen in horror as the attack approached. Zuko noticed what Azula was doing and jumped into the lightning's path. Catching the charge midair while lacking the proper stance, he absorbed the full force of the blast, and although he was successful enough in redirecting most of the lightning's energy to prevent mortal injury, the intense energy left him critically wounded and paralyzed, unable to continue the fight.
With Zuko out of action, Katara was forced to face a crazed and violent Azula alone, but her attempts to counterattack were rendered useless when Azula deprived her of any large source of water, leaving her vulnerable. Katara took cover, searching desperately for water, while the Fire Nation princess taunted the duo and used her firebending to chase the waterbender around the arena, intent on killing her. Finally, Katara found a storm drain filled with water, as well as a set of chains and came up with a plan to defeat Azula. When the princess cornered her soon after and prepared for a final strike, Katara tricked her into standing above the drain and, just as Azula prepared to strike, pulled up the water, freezing them both in ice. Unable to move, Azula watched helplessly as Katara liquefied the ice around herself and chained Azula's hands to the grate of the storm drain. Liquefying the ice completely, she tightened the chains to ensure Azula could not escape, effectively disarming her.
Katara rushed to Zuko's side to heal his wound and was relieved to see that he was all right. He thanked her for saving his life, though Katara answered that she needed to thank him. When Azula saw Zuko standing up, she finally descended into insanity; screaming and breathing fire in every direction, she struggled to break herself free until she knocked herself onto her side and sobbed uncontrollably. Zuko and Katara watched with shock and pity as Azula lost control of her emotions.
Azula's defeat coincided with Phoenix King Ozai's defeat at the hands of Avatar Aang and the liberation of Ba Sing Se. These victories effectively resulted in the defeat of the Fire Nation and the liberation of all conquered territories. The next day, Zuko ascended to the throne as Fire Lord and declared the Hundred Year War over, vowing to restore peace to the world and aiding in worldwide reconstruction to bring an era of love and peace. Zuko's final victory ensured the stability of the world and an end to all hostilities.
While Zuko imprisoned Phoenix King Ozai, he pitied Azula's current state and rather than worsening it by allowing her to rot in prison, instead transferred her to a mental health facility on a nearby island for constant supervision and possible treatment of her current condition.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Book Three: Fire (火)
- The title of the instrumental music track which plays during this battle is called "Last Agni Kai". The music during this fight was made more prominent than the SFX for dramatic effect.
- The idea that Zuko and Katara would battle Azula in the Royal Palace is an idea that found its origins in 2003, during a brainstorming session between the two creators. Therefore, the idea predates the pilot episode.
- Before this battle, the last time Zuko, Katara, and Azula exclusively fought each other was in "The Crossroads of Destiny". The only difference was that the siblings dueled against Katara and it ended in a swift victory for the former. This fight lasted much longer, even with Azula in her near-psychotic state.