|“||You're weak, just like the rest of your people! They did not deserve to exist in this world — in my world! Prepare to join them. Prepare to die!||„|
|~ Ozai to Avatar Aang|
|“||It's time for this world to end in fire and for a new world to be born from the ashes!||„|
|~ Fire Lord Ozai|
Fire Lord Ozai (simply known as Ozai) is the main antagonist of Avatar: The Last Airbender. He is the supreme antagonist of the series due to being in control of the Fire Nation and being the father of Zuko and Azula. He is also Aang's arch-nemesis.
He was voiced by Mark Hamill, who is famous for playing the hero Luke Skywalker, and voicing other villains such as The Joker, Niju, Malefor, Colonel Muska, Hobgoblin, Ferris Boyle, Alvin the Treacherous, and Dr. Stankfoot.
Ozai was born to Fire Lord Azulon, as the younger brother to Fire Prince Iroh, who was favored by their father and who would inherit the throne. He married a noblewomen named Ursa, who bore him two children, Prince Zuko, the eldest who was favored by Ursa, and Princess Azula, who Ozai would favor and who would become a prodigy in the art of Firebending. It is speculated that Ozai favored Azula and disfavored Zuko for another reason as well; Zuko was firstborn, just as the favored Iroh had been, while Azula was second in succession just as Ozai had been most of his life.
When his nephew, Lu Ten, was killed in battle Ozai believed Iroh (in his grief) would not be capable as Fire Lord. He asked his father, Azulon to relinquish the title of Fire Lord to him, noting that he would be capable of maintaining the royal bloodline. Outraged by this request, Azulon ordered Ozai to kill his son, Zuko. At first, Ozai was willing to comply with this request. However, his wife Ursa managed to save her son's life by taking his place. However, instead of being killed, she was banished. Azulon mysteriously died at about the same time (it was revealed in the comic The Search that Ursa had actually procured a poison for Ozai, with which he committed patricide on his father), and at his funeral Ozai was crowned Fire Lord, as Iroh was too sad to accept the role as leader of the Fire Nation.
Later in life, when Zuko was thirteen years old, he attended a military meeting, where one of Ozai's generals suggested that they send a group of soldiers to distract the troops of the Earth Kingdom while they had their other soldiers ambush the Earth army and then overcome the capital of the Earth Kingdom, Ba Sing Se. Outraged, Zuko spoke out against this plan, and he was punished severely: being forced into an Agni Kai against his own father. Zuko was unwilling to hurt his father, and as a result, the Fire Lord blasted his son, creating a huge scar on his face. Ozai banished Zuko unless he found the Avatar, master of the four elements.
Goals and Ambitions
Ozai's main goal is to conquer all the nations and rule over them under the title of "The Phoenix King". To do this, he attempted to use Sozin's comet to wipe out any remaining forces that opposed him.
Role in the SeriesOzai is mentioned several times throughout the show, but rarely appears. He is first mentioned by name in the episode "King of Omashu", by King Bumi. Most of his appearances are in visions that Aang has or in flashbacks of Zuko's past. The first time we see him outside of flashbacks of visions is in the finale of the first season, where he gives his daughter Azula the orders to capture his son and brother, who he blames for the failure in the invasion of the Northern Water Tribe. However, in all of his appearances prior to Season 3, his face is covered by shadows. In the Season 2 episode "Zuko Alone", his eyes aren't shown.
He appears far more in the very last season of the show, where his face is shown for the first time when he welcomes his son Zuko back home after he helped Azula and the Dai Li "kill" the Avatar (he survived thanks to some mystical healing water) and conquer Ba Sing Se. Throughout the first half of the season, Aang's gang and Zuko see many paintings and statues of him. The night before the Avatar and his allies invade the capital of the Fire Nation, where the solar eclipse will stop any firebending, the Fire Lord holds a war meeting with his children and his general. At this meeting, he came up with the plan to use his newly built airships to commit genocide against the people of the Earth Kingdom, leaving only the Fire Nation and the massively divided people of the Water Tribe left on the planet. This was it; he was evil, heartless and must be put down like a sick dog.
During the invasion, Ozai and many other nobles and soldiers hid in a giant metal underground dome near the capital city. Zuko confronted his father during the eclipse, informing him of his choice to join the Avatar, teach him Firebending and free the Fire Nation from Ozai's tyranny. When he is about to leave, Ozai tricks him into staying by telling him the story of his mothers death, revealing that she may still be alive. When he finishes the story, the eclipse ends and he shoots lightning at Zuko, who redirects it and escapes.His next appearance is around three days before Sozin's Comet arrives, which will increase the powers of any firebender to an extreme degree. He appoints Azula as the new Fire Lord, as he will be known as the Phoenix King, who will rule over all the nations and it's leaders. On the day of the comet's arrival, he boards the largest of the Fire Nations fleet of airships and heads towards the Earth Kingdom. While some of the Avatar's comrades take control of an airship and sabotage the rest of the fleet, Avatar Aang, having learned how to use all four elements, destroys the engine of Ozai's flagship and they begin to duel. For most of the fight, Aang and the Fire Lord are equally matched, with Aang using his skill in each bending art to block and evade most – if not all – of Ozai's blows.
Eventually, Ozai began to use his lightning-bending abilities, which backfires when Aang reveals his power to redirect it at Ozai. However, unwilling to kill another human being, he willingly misses the Phoenix King, who begins to overpower the Avatar, forcing him to retreat and protect himself in a boulder. After many strong blows, Ozai shatters the rock with a single jet of fire and sends Aang flying. However, this proves to be the Firelord's greatest mistake. As Aang was thrown back by the blast, a piece of rock pierces the scar on his back where Azula killed him, causing him to abruptly reconnect with the energy of the universe. Ozai attempts to finish off Aang only to be confronted with the young airbender returned in the Avatar State (where he has the power and knowledge of all the past Avatars). He proceeds to overpower Ozai in every way, manipulating the four elements in logic-defying ways, finally pinning Ozai down. Yet, as Aang prepares to deliver the final blow, he falters- still unwilling to take a life- abandoning the Avatar State and releases Ozai.
Ozai calls him a fool and attacks him from behind, but Aang traps him a final time and uses forgotten art called "Energybending" to take away Ozai's bending powers. During the battle, the Avatar's allies, defeated Azula, retook Ba Sing Se and destroyed the Fire Nation's fleet. Completely defeated, powerless, and broken, Zuko (as the new Fire Lord) throws Ozai into prison and interrogates him on the whereabouts of his mother.
While his time in prison, Ukano and the other Ozai loyalists establish New Ozai Society to rid Fire Lord Zuko from power. It ends up with Ukano being sent to prison after saving children from Azula and the Fire Warriors. He later confronted by Ursa, telling him that he had a weak heart as he told her to come back and grovel.
By the time of The Legend of Korra, he has passed away. He may have died of natural causes or may well have been finally executed.
|“||You're weak, just like the rest of your people! They did not deserve to exist in this world — in my world! Prepare to join them. Prepare to die!'||„|
|~ Ozai exhibiting his megalomania.|
Ozai was easily angered, tyrannous, oppressive, domineering, totalitarian, authoritative, and insatiably power-hungry. It was implied that Ozai's deep-seated anger stemmed from a failed relationship with his own father, Fire Lord Azulon, though his indifference, militarism, and cruelty are nearly identical to Azulon's. Iroh noted several times that his brother was "not the understanding type", and that he had never known Ozai to regret, forgive, or change his mind about anything. Believing morality to be a sign of weakness, Ozai found peace, kindness, and laughable concepts, and he despised those who followed moral principles. As such, he possessed little to no empathy and rarely showed any interest in the feelings of others.
This behavior was strongly influenced by his obsession with control and in order to achieve total control over the Fire Nation, Ozai was even willing to sacrifice his own family. When ordered by Azulon to kill Zuko so that he would know the pain of losing a son, Ozai admitted to Zuko that he would have gladly carried out the murder had Ursa not interfered. Eventually, he murdered his own father in order to usurp his brother's birthright and become Fire Lord. Similarly, he did not hesitate to sacrifice his subordinates if that meant he would obtain more power. As a result, Ozai supported the idea of sacrificing new recruits to defeat a powerful Earth Kingdom battalion so he could get closer to controlling Ba Sing Se. Likewise, he decided to use the power of Sozin's Comet to destroy the Earth Kingdom without standing still with the human loss that would mean. Despite that, Ozai did believe that a Fire Lord's duty was to protect his people, though he reasoned that was because they were extensions of his divine will as Fire Lord; by attacking them, an opponent attacked him. The ultimate expression of his obsession with control was his aspiration in life to conquer the entire world.
Nevertheless, in his younger years, Ozai showed limited care and compassion for his own family. When Ursa begged him to spare her former lover, Ozai complied to the request after being called "My Love" by his future wife.When he planned to cast his infant son from the palace, Ozai gave in after Ursa and the Fire Sages pleaded with him to give Zuko a chance. Ozai believed that he attempted to be a good father in his early years, a view shared by both Zuko and Azula. However, his pride, anger, and lust for power degraded his relationship with his family. He believed skill and accomplishment determined worth, which allowed the naturally cunning and talented Azula to rise to the position of his favorite child, while he ignored or psychologically abused Zuko. He had no qualms about making Zuko's life miserable just to get back at Ursa for snapping at him that she wished that Zuko was Ikem's son, rather than his. While his relationship with Zuko had always been tense, thenceforth Ozai began to torture Zuko with his perceived inferiority, saying that Azula was "born lucky", while he was "lucky to be born". After his wife's banishment, he continued to be psychologically abusive and vituperative towards both of his children and physically opprobrious toward his son. When Zuko was thirteen, Ozai burned his face and banished him from his country, simply because Zuko spoke out of turn during a war meeting, an action for which he never showed any remorse and merely claimed it to have been a lesson in respect. He only acknowledged Zuko when he helped his sister conquer Ba Sing Se and when he "killed" the Avatar. Eventually, Ozai attempted to kill Zuko when the latter announced his intent to join the Avatar, thereby defying his father. On the other hand, Ozai raised Azula to become his future heir, expecting nothing less than the best from her, which placed a great amount of stress on her and forced her to become a perfectionist. Ultimately, it was the environment in which Ozai raised Azula, where fear, power, and perfection were the only reliable truths, that set the groundwork for her total mental collapse.
However, despite his behavior towards his children, Ozai appeared to be remarkably compassionate and forgiving of failure for certain people, such as War Minister Qin and Zhao, who retained their positions and, in Zhao's case, was repeatedly promoted, despite repeated failures and bungles. Nonetheless, he saw his subordinates as expendable, substitutive, and replaceable, having no tolerance for those who failed to impress him, such as Kunyo or Vachir.
By the time Ozai crowned himself Phoenix King, he began to exhibit extreme megalomania, claiming to own the Earth and to "have all the power in the world".
|“||Do you think being Fire Lord is easy?! The throne comes with many pressures, and those pressures will change you! But if you can stand the heat, you'll become something more. Of all the people in the world, I have the wisdom you need, the wisdom of experience! Be honest with yourself, Zuko – Do you really believe you can handle it all on your own?||„|
|~ Ozai questioning Zuko about the challenges of being Fire Lord.|
After being stripped of both his bending and his throne, Ozai apparently still retained his jurisdictional and bureaucratic personality, as he casually lectured Fire Lord Zuko when he came to visit Ozai in jail. However, he would develop a calmer, more logical attitude toward life as he thought that Aang's belief of maintaining the four separate nations would only halt progress. This is apparently true as Yu Dao, a city that combined the effort from citizens of both the Fire Nation and the Earth Kingdom, grew from a small village to a very developed area. As Zuko sought out Ozai for advice, through their discussions, it was revealed that Ozai believed that good and evil, and even strength and weakness, were meaningless concepts. He believed that the only right and wrong were what he, or more accurately, the Fire Lord, decided, due to his divine right to rule. Any choice he made was the right one, simply by virtue of it being his choice, and that indecisiveness and attempts to guide oneself by moral principles were signs of weakness, and traits that he despised in Zuko.
Powers and Abilities
In his prime, Ozai was a master firebender and arguably the most powerful bender of any kind in the world next to the Avatar. Prior to his downfall, it was speculated that the only people in the world capable of defeating him were Avatar Aang and his older brother, Iroh. Ozai's bending style was liberal and ruthless, taking full advantage of the rage-fueled firebending style to produce flame jets and fireballs. However, he was most often seen manipulating the ambient fire in his throne room, making it dance and flare up through force of will alone. Ozai was deeply in touch with his firebending abilities, as seen when he was able to detect when his powers returned immediately following a solar eclipse from deep underground in a bunker.
Under the influence of Sozin's Comet, Ozai's firebending was noticeably enhanced, to the point where he was capable of single-handedly producing waves of fire larger than entire teams of regular comet-enhanced firebenders working together. He could also produce high-heat explosions and condensed jets of flame for close combat with the same destructive power. The blasts of flame he could produce were powerful enough to travel long distances without weakening, shatter stone, and propel him through the air at high speeds for extended periods of time.
Following his defeat at the hands of Avatar Aang, Ozai was stripped of all of his firebending powers, rendering him relatively helpless.
Ozai was one of the few master firebenders of his time able to generate lightning, and was arguably the greatest user of that skill. Prior to the arrival of Sozin's Comet, he was shown making an enormous bolt of lightning with both hands in seconds during the waning seconds of a solar eclipse when most firebending would be impossible. Under Sozin's Comet, his lightning powers were made even more deadly, allowing him to project large, violent strikes of lightning that spread over wide distances. He was, however, untrained in the Lightning Redirection skill developed by his brother, and was vulnerable to other firebenders capable of redirecting his lightning back at him.
Physical Strength and Reflexes
Ozai was in good physical condition and demonstrated above-average endurance and stamina, being able to resist gales of wind made by the Avatar which shattered the solid rock around him. He also demonstrated keen reflexes and fast reaction time in his bouts against Aang and Zuko.
In addition to his firebending, Ozai was known as a capable and patriotic leader, beloved by his people for his intelligence, charisma, and courage. Under Ozai's short tenure as Fire Lord (only five years), the Fire Nation saw the greatest industrial revolution it had known in over one hundred years, which contributed greatly to his legacy. While he had no military career to speak of, Ozai's rule saw the most successful campaigns of the Hundred-Year War, including the decisive victory at Ba Sing Se. Ozai was also a progressive and wise leader, as he recognized ahead of his time that the separation of the four nations was halting progress - unfortunately, his ambition and ego made him decide that the best way to unite the nations would be under Fire Nation rule. Like his daughter, Ozai had a natural disposition towards manipulation, using his cunning to secure his own political power. After his bending was removed, this became Ozai's greatest weapon, as he attempted to control his son Zuko from prison – goading his son to follow in his footsteps.
- Many of Ozai's characteristics, including his serious nature with a small amount of humor, and his favor of physical strengh over mental manipulation, is likely modeled after Darth Vader, an iconic villain of the Star Wars Saga. Addationally, both are a younger brother figure to a mentor of the protagonist (Iroh and Obi-Wan), and turned evil due to be consumed by hatred and jealously. They're also the father of one of the protagonists (at least by the time they serve as the main villain), who they attempted to turn evil but eventually failed. Both also using strategy, and were built-up to be the figure that one of the heroes (Aang and Luke) was destined to defeat. Interestingly, Ozai's voice actor, Mark Hamill, also played Luke Skywalker, Vader's son.
- It was also stated that the flashback scene of his Agni Kai challenge with Zuko in "The Storm" is based on Vader's confrontation with Luke in The Empire Strikes Back.
- Although, there is a difference: While Vader redeemed, Ozai is not. In other word, Vader could have become like Ozai if he let jealously completely consumed him.