|"Republic City is mine, Avatar. I'll be back one day to claim it."|
|— Yakone to Aang.|
Yakone was a powerful crime lord who threatened Republic City for many years. A corrupt and ruthless individual, Yakone longed for more power and used his unique psychic bloodbending abilities to control the United Republic capital through his criminal empire. For a long time, he was able to hide his forbidden ability and evade the law, until a final trial saw him sentenced to life imprisonment. Upon this judgment, Yakone attempted to escape, but following a brief scuffle with Avatar Aang, his bending was permanently removed.
Yakone was later freed by his gang and left Republic City for the Northern Water Tribe. There, he got married and became the father of Noatak and Tarrlok, both of whom he taught waterbending and bloodbending in hopes that they could eventually avenge him.
Crimes in Republic City
Prior to 128 AG, Yakone found a way to bloodbend without a full moon or even hand movements. He used this ability to become the head of his own criminal empire in Republic City. Although he had a history of arrests, he always managed to get acquitted of all charges.
In 128 AG, Yakone was accused of bloodbending after the testimony of several witnesses. Chief Toph Beifong, accompanied by some metalbending officers and Avatar Aang, arrested him while he was eating at Kwong's Cuisine. The criminal proudly claimed he would beat this charge as he had done with the previous ones.
Yakone was later taken to City Hall to be judged before the United Republic Council, where he was defended by a lawyer who appealed to the impossibility of bloodbending without a full moon. As witnesses had claimed, Yakone had performed the feat "at every other time except during a full moon", making the crime seemingly impossible to commit and their testimony to be suspect. Before announcing the Council's final verdict, Councilman Sokka stated the evidence was enough to convince the Council that Yakone was a "unique bender" and had used his ability to commit the crimes of which he had been accused. For this reason, the bloodbender was considered guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment.
However, Yakone stood up, grinning, and responded by bloodbending Sokka and the other Council members. Toph attempted to halt him with a metal cable, though he quickly overpowered her. He subdued all the people in the room, and used his bending to force Toph to unlock his handcuffs. Though Aang was able to withstand Yakone's hold the longest, the crime lord levitated him in the air effortlessly and laughed at his helplessness. He amusedly announced that Republic City belonged to him and promised to one day return to claim it, before throwing Aang violently on the ground and making his escape via an ostrich horse-drawn carriage. Much to his surprise, the Avatar chased him down and wrecked his carriage with an air blast. Returning the favor, Yakone managed to surprise the airbender by popping out of the wreckage and bloodbending him to stop his attack. Intending to kill Aang, Yakone lifted him into the air with his bloodbending and tried to snap his neck. However, his attempt was thwarted when Aang entered the Avatar State once again, breaking the criminal's bloodbending hold and trapping him within an earth shell. Helpless, Yakone could only squirm and scream as Aang removed his bending.
After Republic City
Sometime after his trial, with the help of his gang, Yakone escaped prison. Before leaving Republic City, he underwent surgery to change his appearance in a back alley practice in the underbelly of Republic City, and assumed a new identity. He headed to the Northern Water Tribe where he met a woman who would later become his wife. Eventually, his wife gave birth to two sons: Noatak and Tarrlok, who were born three years apart. Tarrlok and Noatak soon discovered they possessed waterbending abilities, and Yakone vigorously trained them in the art of waterbending every night. During one of these sessions, he revealed to them that his true identity was Yakone, once one of Republic City's most notorious crime bosses, and that his bending abilities were "stolen" from him by Avatar Aang. He also explained to his sons that it was their duty to avenge him by one day killing the Avatar and claiming Republic City for him.
During the full moon, Yakone introduced his sons to the art of bloodbending, beginning their training on animals such as yaks. Yakone eventually succeeded in teaching his sons how to bloodbend without a full moon; he was especially impressed with Noatak's skill while telling his youngest son to be more decisive and tough like his brother.
Sometime later, he forced Noatak and Tarrlok to bloodbend each other. When it came time to bloodbend Noatak, Tarrlok refused, causing Yakone to become furious and call him weak. When he made a threatening advance toward him, he was halted by his elder son, however, who quickly bloodbent him and threw Yakone's own words back at him, stating that it was he who was weak, because the Avatar had stripped him of his bending. The shocked and enraged Yakone reprimanded his son for using bloodbending against him and reminded him that he was the one who told them to use their abilities. Noatak countered that they were his sons not his "tools of his revenge", and, after failing to get Tarrlok to join him in running away, he flung his father into the snow and ran away on his own. Yakone and Tarrlok searched for Noatak for days, but they were unable to find him, leading them to conclude that he must have perished in the snowstorm. Thereafter, Yakone gave up on exacting his revenge against the Avatar, ceased teaching his remaining son any form of bending, and died a few years later.
Forty-two years after Yakone's trial, Tarrlok brought up Yakone during a council meeting, hoping that he would be able to convince the council to vote for the creation of his task force. Later on, Korra's visions of Aang's showdown with Yakone made the young Avatar realize that Tarrlok was Yakone's son.
During a mission to find and confront Amon, Korra and Mako encountered Tarrlok once more, who told them about his and Amon's childhood experiences and the hardships their father had put them through. After Amon's defeat and unmasking by Korra, he fled the city with Tarrlok at his side, hoping that they could start anew elsewhere. However Tarrlok, filled with shame that he and his brother had become the people their father had intended them to become, instead killed himself and Amon by blowing up the boat on which they fled, silencing Yakone's legacy.
Yakone was a corrupt and ruthless individual, having committed various crimes and atrocities with his bloodbending that ultimately led to his trial. After being found guilty, he wasted no time in using his ability and bloodbending everyone present, including Aang, Sokka, Toph, and even his own attorney, rendering them all unconscious before escaping.
After escaping prison and Republic City, Yakone began a new life in the Northern Water Tribe, where he married a local woman and fathered two sons. At first, Yakone appeared to have moved on from his past, finding a new happiness with his family. However, upon realizing that his children were waterbenders, he began training them in the art of bloodbending, hoping that they would eventually be skilled enough to avenge him by killing the Avatar. Allowing his hatred and quest for vengeance to consume him, he relentlessly drilled his sons, slowly beginning to view them as tools for revenge instead of his own flesh and blood. He did not tolerate any opposition and had no qualms about openly showing admiration for Noatak's abilities while demeaning Tarrlok's. His thirst for revenge even led him to force the boys to bloodbend animals and eventually each other. When Tarrlok refused to bloodbend his brother and was about to receive punishment from his father, Yakone was bloodbent by Noatak and called the true weakling.
After Noatak ran away, Yakone's personality changed dramatically. Heartbroken at the prospect of having caused his son's death and never being able to get back at Aang, he stopped training Tarrlok and was no longer focused on getting revenge on the Avatar, withering away and eventually passing away a few years later.
Yakone was a highly powerful waterbending master who was capable of using the rare technique of bloodbending, which he further developed to the point where he could psychically bloodbend another person, not requiring any form of physical movements. This allowed him to manipulate his target, or even multiple targets at the same time, around, and render them unconscious without exerting much energy. He had even discovered a way to use bloodbending without the presence of the full moon.
Despite his prowess in the outlawed skill, Yakone's bloodbending prowess proved ineffective against Avatar Aang in the Avatar State. However, even after Aang removed Yakone's bending, the former crime lord was still a highly capable teacher, having personally taught both his sons to master waterbending and bloodbending, even teaching Noatak how to perform psychic bending without any hands-on or visual aid from Yakone.
The Legend of Korra
Book One: Air (气)
- 104. "The Voice in the Night" (vision, no lines)
- 106. "And the Winner Is..." (vision, no lines)
- 108. "When Extremes Meet" (vision, no lines)
- 109. "Out of the Past" (vision)
- 111. "Skeletons in the Closet" (flashback)
- In the Ahtna Athabaskan language spoken by the Athna group of Alaskan Natives, the word Yakone, when used as a metaphor, can mean "blood spray on the snow".
- Yakone was the first known male bloodbender and the first person known to be able to bloodbend without the aid of a full moon. His two sons, Noatak and Tarrlok, inherited this ability.
- He was also the first person known to be able to bloodbend without requiring the use of his hands.
- He was also the second known person, after Hama, to have bloodbent Aang and Sokka and the first known person to have bloodbent Toph.
- Yakone was the second known person, after Ozai, to have had his bending abilities removed by Aang.
- Yakone shared many similarities with Long Feng, as each attempted to rule a city, Yakone through his criminal empire and Long Feng through his control of the Dai Li. Both leaders were defeated by Avatar Aang, and each tried and failed to reclaim their position and take revenge.
- They were also both voiced by Clancy Brown.
- Yakone was the first and only known character in the Avatar World to have plastic surgery.
- Yakone's plastic surgery to change his appearance was inspired by the film noir Dark Passage from 1947.
- Yakone's formal and elaborate wardrobe as a leader of Republic City's underground belly was inspired by The Godfather.
- Unlike most waterbenders, Yakone had light skin before his surgery, a trait that his first son, Noatak, seemed to have inherited.
- Despite being a waterbending master, Yakone was only ever seen bloodbending.
- Yakone is the earliest known leader of an organized crime syndicate.
- Yakone is similar to Ozai and Unalaq in that he is an abusive parent. In his case, he puts his desire for revenge above that of his children. However, unlike the latter two, he showed immense guilt and remorse after the supposed death of his elder son, causing him to abandon his goal of revenge.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 9, 2012). "Out of the Past". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 9. Nickelodeon.
- The Legend of Korra—The Art of the Animated Series, Book One: Air, page 98.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 23, 2012). "Skeletons in the Closet". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 11. Nickelodeon.
- The Legend of Korra—The Art of the Animated Series, Book One: Air, page 116.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (June 23, 2012). "Endgame". The Legend of Korra. Book One: Air. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
- The Legend of Korra—The Art of the Animated Series, Book One: Air, page 118.