Maybe I should put this all in tag form, like this post, so people actually read it. I don’t know why desirability to read correlatively increases with difficulty to read, but okay.
I’ve always admired this Firebending training session for several reasons: their forms are synchronized perfectly, Aang’s finally catching on, yet Zuko’s fire visibly burns hotter than Aang’s to illustrate his superior mastery.
Now I have a new appreciation of this bit, which I only noticed watching the first gif continually for a good 15 minutes.
So, there, in the first gif, after Aang and Zuko throw down their firebomb, they both actually call some of the flames back to the them when they lock up their firsts above their heads. The fire collects around their arms, or rather the force they exert with their chi around their arms. It’s an exercise in defense against ambient fire, stray flames from a blast, which need to be dissipated whether they’re emanating from someone else’s bending or your own.
This is the control Aang so desperately sought. This is what makes Zuko the perfect teacher for Aang at this point in their journey, because Zuko has finally become the kind of individual capable of this finesse and philosophy.
It’s beautiful how the animation can speak such volumes.