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    In the world exist four nations, the nations of Water, Earth, Fire and Air, along with people who can use the element of their nation to their own benefit, known as "bending", a type of martial art. The only person in the world capable of using all four elements at once is known as the Avatar, the spiritual entity of the world reincarnated as a human. It is the goal of the Avatar to maintain peace between the physical and spiritual worlds. The Avatar also maintains the Avatar Slate, knowledge of all the world's past Avatars and self-defense. When an Avatar dies they are reincarnated as a new human but being killed before natural death will cause the Avatar to cease to exist.

    One hundred years before the show begins, the ruler of the Fire Nation Sozu begins a world war planning to expand his nation but is stopped by the Avatar Roku. After Roku dies his spirit is transferred to an new Avatar named Aang who is not quite ready to accept the responsibility at age 12. Sozu soon kills all the Air Nomads of the Air Nation making Aang the titular "last airbender" and leaving him to be the one to eventually overthrow him.

    The series was an anime-based series having the look and feel of an anime show but produced entirely in North America. The critically acclaimed series was also one the highest-rated animated shows of all time on Nickelodeon. A live-action movie was made in 2010 and a follow up series named The Legend of Korra was made in 2012.