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|"As you can see, Cranefish Town has gone through incredible growth--"|
|— Lao Beifong describing the rapid growth of Cranefish Town to Team Avatar.|
Cranefish Town was a large industrial city established on the shores of the western Earth Kingdom after the Hundred Year War. Named for the cranefish that inhabit the area, it was originally comprised of just a single street with three shops that supported the Earthen Fire Refinery, but the city subsequently underwent rapid expansion as new factories and buildings were constructed. With no officially established government, the running of the city was overseen by the Cranefish Town Business Council comprised of a group of local factory owners.
In the aftermath of the Harmony Restoration Movement, the city merged with Yu Dao and other former Fire Nation colonies to form the United Republic of Nations, with Cranefish Town, now known as Republic City, as its capital.
As result of its rapid expansion, Cranefish Town came to be plagued by unemployment and poverty, especially after new technologies were introduced that resulted many benders being laid off to cut costs. Many benders took this as offense, and refused to work for factories owned by nonbenders.
Resentful and jobless benders consequently formed criminal gangs which robbed nonbenders, fomented unrest, and fought turf wars with each other. When Team Avatar arrived in Cranefish Town, they witnessed a dispute between a firebender and earthbender gang that led to the destruction of nonbenders' homes.
Lao Beifong proposed banning public bending to stop the conflicts between benders and nonbenders. However, this only made the Business Council's bender members to further distrust the nonbender councilman, accusing him of having an anti-bender agenda. Avatar Aang rejected Lao's suggestion, and proposed creating a police force, seconded by Liling, who revealed she had recruited a security team of benders from Cranefish Town's population. When Liling called for a vote on Aang's proposal, the entire council voted in favor.
The city's nonbender owned factories were soon plagued by a series of attacked, which Toph Beifong discovered were carried out by Liling's daughters, Ru and Yaling. Toph gained Yaling's trust so that Team Avatar could infiltrate Liling's underground meeting for bender supremacists, where the Avatar's allies managed to overpower all of Liling's followers and imprison her in a cage inside the Earthen Fire Refinery.
Cranefish Town's Business Council building was set on fire following Liling's imprisonment. While Team Avatar went to douse the fire and rescue those trapped inside the building, Liling's followers managed to free her from the Earthen Fire Refinery. In order to prepare for an upcoming confrontation with the bender supremacists, Suki trained the factory's nonbender guards in chi blocking to prepare for battle.
Team Avatar and the factory's guards confronted Liling for the final time outside the Earthen Fire Refinery. When Aang entered the Avatar State, he prepared to take Liling's bending away, but was stopped by Katara, and he instead resolved to fight the poison she had spread around the city.
Lao Beifong thanked Suki for her help in detaining most of the bender supremacists, and Aang informed him that Suki had agreed to stay and bring the Kyoshi Warriors to train Cranefish Town's nonbender police, with Aang adding that trustworthy benders would be added to the police force in time. When Satoru asked if benders and nonbenders could truly work together after everything that had transpired, Aang and Suki enthusiastically responded that they could.
Aang told Katara and the rest of Team Avatar that he felt a special connection to Cranefish Town, thinking that it could become something special if it could overcome its problems. Katara and Aang agreed that he should stay in Cranefish Town, and that the city needed the both of them.
- Sokka considered Cranefish Town to be "a terrible name".
- In "And the Winner Is...", a Cabbage Corp advertisement on the radio describes the company as "Republic City's trusted name in technology for over fifty years". This indicates that the evolution of Cranefish Town into Republic City occurred, to some extent, by 120 AG, a mere twenty years after the end of the Hundred Year War.
- The design of Cranefish Town on Team Avatar's first visit was intended to feel "like it had grown far too fast, without much concern for the people living in it".