- This article is about the waterbender. For other similar uses, see Ming (disambiguation).
|"We could have just taken the elevator. Show-off."|
|— P'Li commenting on Ming-Hua's decision to scale a wall.|
Ming-Hua was a waterbending master, fugitive, and member of the Red Lotus born without arms. She was previously held in a maximum security facility above a volcano, monitored by the Order of the White Lotus until she escaped with the assistance of Zaheer and Ghazan in 171 AG. She was killed by Mako when he directed a bolt of lightning toward her, which was conducted and strengthened by numerous water tendrils attached to her body.
Imprisonment and escape
In 158 AG, Ming-Hua was involved in an attempt to kidnap Avatar Korra, which led to her detainment in a cell situated above a volcano that deprived her of any sources of water. Deprived of any entertainment, she occupied herself by making up stories about the guards. Thirteen years later, she was liberated following an attack on the prison by Zaheer and Ghazan, during which she was given enough water to create tentacle-like prosthetic arms to allow for her escape. After using pressurized water to open her cell, Ming-Hua used her prosthesis to assist Zaheer and Ghazan in defeating the remaining sentries. Once the guards were all immobilized, Ming-Hua thanked her companions for freeing her, stating she was flattered to have been liberated before P'Li, Zaheer's girlfriend. The three subsequently set out toward the Northern Water Tribe to free P'Li, the last member of their group.
Shortly after arriving at P'Li's prison under the cover of a snowstorm, Ming-Hua began to dash toward the facility while swiftly avoiding a series of ice bullets from Desna and Eska. The twins attempted to trap Ming-Hua by conjuring a barrage of iceberg spikes, though she navigated through them with ease by using her arm-like water projections before trapping the two waterbenders in columns of ice. She proceeded to leap into the air to gather enough momentum to turn herself into an ice drill, which she subsequently used to tunnel underground in order to reach P'Li's cell. After defeating the sentries posted outside the firebender's cell, Ming-Hua froze the metal door, making it brittle enough to open with waterbending. She promptly released P'Li from her restraints, and the two headed back to the surface, where they defeated the rest of their opponents before fleeing the scene with Zaheer and Ghazan.
Tracking the Avatar
The four made their way to Republic City, where they sought refuge in an apartment complex located in one of the several districts overran with spirit vines. Ming-Hua was involved in devising a plan to attack President Raiko, which was inevitably abandoned after Zaheer was discovered infiltrating Air Temple Island, compromising the four criminals. In order to leave the city, the four ambushed a delivery man, whom Ming-Hua threatened to hurt with an ice blade if he refused to cooperate.
Ming-Hua and her companions headed out of the city via a bridge, which was barricaded by officers in search of Ming-Hua and her associates. While questioned by the officers, the truck driver Ming-Hua held hostage wavered in his response, prompting the officers to force him outside of the vehicle to open the back of the truck. Having been discovered, Zaheer used airbending to temporarily fend off the police, while Ming-Hua drove the truck out of the city using her water prosthesis.
Following their escape, the four criminals temporarily camped in a forest outside of the city to discuss a way to find the Avatar. Ming-Hua expressed her regret over not having taken one of the officers hostage, as she believed that the police would have known about Korra's whereabouts. Shortly after being reassured by P'Li that they would find her in due time, Ming-Hua was startled to hear Zaheer exclaim that the Avatar was with the Metal Clan in Zaofu. With the help of Aiwei, Ming-Hua and the others were able to infiltrate the city of Zaofu and the four eventually made their way to the guesthouses near Suyin Beifong's estate. Ming-Hua used ice to cut a small circle from Korra's bedroom window, which allowed Zaheer to sedate the young Avatar and her polar bear dog, Naga, with shirshu-spit darts. Having captured the Avatar, the four prepared to leave the city but were inevitably discovered by Bolin and Mako, who began to attack the group with bending. Ming-Hua used her water tendrils to deflect a boulder from Bolin, before fleeing with the others when the guards began to sound the alarms.
The four were eventually discovered, with Ming-Hua remarking that their attempt to use the element of surprise failed. Ming-Hua and the others were subsequently trapped in a makeshift metal prison by Lin Beifong and members of the Metal Clan, who ordered the group to release Korra and surrender. As a safeguard, Ghazan created a lava moat around the group to prevent the guards from approaching, but they remained under fire, inciting Ming-Hua and the others to defend themselves with bending. In the ensuing battle, Lin and Suyin Beifong managed to drop down from metal cables and recapture Avatar Korra, prompting Ming-Hua to ensnare Lin's leg with a water tendril. However, her attempts to pull the metalbender down proved unsuccessful as Mako was able to break her tendril with a fire blade. Having failed in their attempt to capture the Avatar, the group retreated under the cover of a smokescreen conjured by Zaheer.
Misty Palms Oasis
Ming-Hua and the rest of her group took refuge inside a cave, from where Zaheer eventually entered the Spirit World and determined Korra's whereabouts. Having been tasked with retrieving the Avatar, Ming-Hua and Ghazan traveled to the Misty Palms Inn in order to capture Korra.
Shortly after they arrived, Ming-Hua caught Asami leaving the inn with Korra's body and proceeded to attack the nonbender with a series of ice bullets. She attempted once more to ensnare Korra with a water tendril but was promptly attacked by Mako, whom she engaged in a duel. In the ensuing battle, Ming-Hua managed to pin Mako to a wall and slam him into a nearby room, effectively incapacitating the firebender. Afterward, Ming-Hua trapped Bolin underwater by creating a water orb around him, before pulling the earthbender to the surface.
With both of their opponents subdued, Ming-Hua dismissed Ghazan to find Korra while she remained at the inn to watch Mako and Bolin. When Ghazan was unable to capture the Avatar, the two Red Lotus members returned to the group's hideaway, where Ming-Hua presented Zaheer with the two siblings, figuring that the airbender could find a way to benefit from their capture. She departed alongside her companions to Ba Sing Se in order to retrieve Avatar Korra from the Earth Queen's forces.
Overthrowing the Earth Queen
Ming-Hua, along with Ghazan, kept watch of the two brothers while the group drove toward Ba Sing Se and entertained Bolin's many questions about her imprisonment, remarking that she passed the time by creating stories about her guards, essentially deciding in her head which of them were having relationship troubles or regretting their careers. Bolin decided to use Ming-Hua's suggestion to invent a backstory for Ghazan, which impressed the lavabender but simply prompted Ming-Hua to look away in annoyance.
Once they arrived at the capital, the group headed to the Earth Kingdom Royal Palace under the guise of bounty hunters, where they surrendered Bolin and Mako to Earth Queen Hou-Ting as a gift. She was received well along with the other members of the group after the Earth Monarch decided to accept their terms of revealing the location of the Earth Queen's airbending regiment in exchange for the Avatar. When Zaheer discovered that Korra escaped the Earth Queen's forces, the group confronted Hou-Ting in her throne room and refused to reveal the location of the missing airbenders, prompting the Earth Monarch to order her Dai Li agents to apprehend the four. Ming-Hua helped her companions subdue the earthbending guards and effortlessly pinned an agent against a pillar with ice before witnessing Zaheer take down the Earth Queen by suffocating her.
Shortly after, Ming-Hua accompanied Zaheer along with P'Li to the city's communication tower, where she used a water tendril to threaten a radio operator when he refused to comply with Zaheer's request to use the radio system. Holding him up in the air, Ming-Hua angrily told the operator that it was not in his best interest to deny the man responsible for taking down the Earth Queen, prompting Zaheer to intervene and remind her that the group's efforts involved helping the city's citizens. Ming-Hua begrudgingly released the man and listened as Zaheer addressed the citizens of Ba Sing Se.
Securing the Northern Air Temple
After Zaheer relayed his message to Mako and Bolin, Ming-Hua and the other members of the Red Lotus commandeered a Ba Sing Se airship and headed to the Northern Air Temple. Shortly after the group's arrival, Ming-Hua ambushed and held Opal hostage in order to ensure the cooperation of Kya, Bumi, and the other members of the Air Nation, all of whom she led to one of the temple's courtyards to be addressed by Zaheer. Ming-Hua temporarily lost control over her water tendrils and was blown back against the wall by one of Tenzin's airbending attacks, though she managed to use water from a nearby fountain to recreate her prosthesis.
Ming-Hua promptly engaged in a duel against Kya after the airbending master enlisted the help of his siblings. During the battle, Ming-Hua combined her water tendrils to create a highly pressurized stream of water with the intent of overwhelming Kya, whom she continued to attack with a series of ice blades. She promptly redirected an icicle from Kya and reinforced it with a barrage of ice bullets, one of which managed to strike the healer and temporarily knock her off balance. Ming-Hua continued her assault by creating a water spout and rushing toward her opponent with an arm of ice, but she was blasted off the balcony when Kya directed a large stream of water toward her. Despite the setback, Ming-Hua recreated her prosthesis and drew the excess water from the balcony to fashion four additional water tendrils, which she subsequently used to push Kya back into the courtyard.
Ming-Hua worked with Ghazan to overwhelm Kya and Bumi, whom they eventually managed to push over one of the temple's balconies. The two promptly left their opponents for P'Li to finish off and headed back to the courtyard to assist Zaheer in battling Tenzin. Ming-Hua attacked the airbending master in tandem with the other members of her group, managing to strike Tenzin several times with jets of water and numerous ice bullets. She continued her assault along with Zaheer and Ghazan when Tenzin refused to surrender, lashing the airbending master repeatedly with water whips.
Capturing the Avatar
As part of her group's plans to force Korra into surrendering herself to Zaheer, Ming-Hua filled numerous Air Nomad robes with blobs of water to make them appear like the captured airbenders. She hid out of sight behind the figures and as soon as Mako had radioed to Korra that they had retrieved the airbenders, she allowed them all to spill empty and attacked Team Avatar with a series of water bullets. Ming-Hua continued her efforts, but quickly became frustrated with the fight and urged Ghazan to bury the temple in lava so that they could escape. The two proceeded to hijack a Zaofu airship and head toward Laghima's Peak, though they were both surprised to see Zaheer zoom past the vessel, having unlocked the ancient airbending ability of flight.
Ming-Hua and Ghazan regrouped with Zaheer in a series of Air Nomad caves located a few miles from the Northern Air Temple, where she demanded to know why the floating and meditating airbender never told them that he could fly. After being told that he had unlocked the ability by being completely devoid of any earthy tethers, Ming-Hua inquired about P'Li's whereabouts. Hearing that the firebender had sacrificed herself for their cause, she briefly exchanged a forlorn look with Ghazan before heading to where Korra was restrained.
As Korra was administered with a poison that would trigger the Avatar State, Zaheer gave the order to kill the Avatar as soon as the mechanism was activated, prompting Ming-Hua to freeze the ends of her tendrils in preparation. When Korra finally gave in and entered the Avatar State, Ming-Hua attempted to strike her with an icicle, though her attack was melted by Korra's fire breath and she was subsequently thrown against the wall by a boulder, bent at her by Korra who had managed to pull her right arm free. Although the collision made her momentarily lose her water tendrils, Ming-Hua recovered in time to evade another attack from Korra, who had managed to free herself completely and send four large boulders toward the members of the Red Lotus.
Although the Avatar escaped the caves in pursuit of Zaheer, Ming-Hua remained behind and locked in battle with Mako, dodging the firebender's attacks by navigating through the cave's columns. However, her defensive maneuvers depleted her water tendrils, as Mako's fire soon rapidly evaporated them as the battle progressed. While retreating, Ming-Hua tripped over a protruding crystal, causing her to fall back and lose the little water she still had left. As Mako cornered her, pointing out it was over as she was defenseless, Ming-Hua jumped into a pool of water in a cave below and fashioned nine water tendrils in an attempt to overwhelm her opponent. She renewed her attack, fiercely lashing out at Mako with a series of water whips, though he managed to evade her and retaliate with a lightning bolt aimed toward the pool. The water tendrils connected to Ming-Hua conducted the electric current through her body, resulting in her death.
Ming-Hua was a relatively laid-back individual who demonstrated a wry, sarcastic sense of humor on several occasions. She was able to remain calm and collected in any situation, as she did not panic when she and her group were discovered infiltrating Zaofu. While she retained her composed demeanor in battle, Ming-Hua was an aggressive waterbender who preferred the use of force and highly debilitating techniques, which she used to incapacitate and severely injure her opponents. She was not above attacking innocent people, threatening to kill the Ba Sing Se radio operator if he did not turn the city's communications system over to Zaheer.
Ming-Hua was highly self-sufficient and took pride in her waterbending abilities, even opting to carry P'Li out of her prison herself instead of taking an elevator. She was also fiercely protective of her friends, as she demonstrated when she repeatedly defended P'Li from Bolin and Mako's bending barrages during their attempted kidnapping of Avatar Korra.
Despite lacking arms to perform the complex fluid motions necessary in waterbending, Ming-Hua made use of her body to create two tentacle-like water arms strong enough to support her body weight when used as makeshift cables. The ease and fluidity with which she maneuvered her body allowed her to extend these tentacles to great lengths without jeopardizing strength or control. As a testament to her precision, Ming-Hua could bend the tips of her tentacles into hand-like appendages capable of grabbing an individual by the neck from a distance and tossing them across the room, all without breaking the tendrils themselves. She was also able to locally freeze portions of her tendrils, in effect fashioning the tips of her makeshift arms into an assortment of weapons or tools.
The strength of Ming-Hua's water tendrils allowed her to swing and navigate through obstacles with relative ease. She could use her prosthesis to execute amplified water whips powerful enough to pierce solid ground and materials used in construction. Ming-Hua was also capable of creating multiple arm projections, managing to effortlessly control as many as eight water tendrils simultaneously. Her use of several tendrils in unison provided Ming-Hua with exceptional mobility and substantially augmented her offense, allowing her to remain aloft for longer periods of time and execute numerous waterbending techniques in succession. Essentially, Ming-Hua's use of water tendrils as makeshift prosthesis allowed her to overcome her disability and perform otherwise impossible feats, such as driving.
As a further testament to her skill, Ming-Hua was able to maintain her water tendrils while performing other feats of waterbending, creating a water orb to trap Bolin despite already using one of her tendrils to clutch Mako. The extent of her resourcefulness as a bender was also evident by her use of her own body as a weapon, as she was able to generate enough momentum to turn herself into an ice drill capable of tunneling underground. Ming-Hua's use of the water tendrils also made her incredibly agile, capable of evading a series of ice bullets and navigating through numerous iceberg spikes with little difficulty.
Despite the numerous advantages provided by her prosthesis during battle, Ming-Hua's water tendrils had a critical weakness involving the conductive nature of impure water. Because of this, any attack involving lightning directed at Ming-Hua's makeshift arms would travel up toward her body and shock her. This weakness proved lethal when Mako electrified her tendrils with a bolt of lightning, resulting in her immediate death.
- Ming-Hua was the fourth known character to have a physical disability, the others being Teo, Toph Beifong, and Combustion Man. Like Toph, she was born with her disability, rather than receiving it later in life as the others did, and used her bending to compensate for her disability.
- Ming-Hua's character was inspired by a grim joke pitch by the series creators about Amon somehow surviving the speedboat explosion in "Endgame", but needing to use water in place of his missing limbs.
- A friend of Bryan Konietzko's, a woman named Michi, was used as a reference for Ming-Hua's design, with Konietzko noting that his initial designs using Michi's "cool" reference were too photorealistic compared to the show's artistic style.
- Ming-Hua was the seventh character to die on-screen in The Legend of Korra. The others, in chronological order, were Amon, Tarrlok, Wan, Unalaq, Hou-Ting, P'Li, Ghazan, and Hiroshi.
- Ming-Hua was originally conceptualized as a bloodbender, but the creators decided against featuring another bloodbending villain after Amon, making her the only Red Lotus bender not to use a specialized bending technique.
- The quieter, more understated sounds for when Ming-Hua moved her water arms were recorded using a hydrophone, a microphone used for recording underwater sounds.
- Along with her fellow Red Lotus members, Ming-Hua developed a vagabond form of combat, picking up moves as she traveled around the globe and adapting those techniques to her own personal style.
- Ming-Hua was voiced by Grey DeLisle, who voiced Azula in Avatar: The Last Airbender.