The firstborn and only nonbender among Aang and Katara's three children, Bumi grew into a rambunctious child who needed close supervision. Similar to his sister Kya, Bumi was somewhat distant from his father, who was focused primarily on his Avatar duties, preserving Air Nomad culture, and trainingTenzin in airbending.
According to Bumi, he was kidnapped in a burlap sack and forced to enlist in the United Forces, where he became a commander. In the course of his career, Bumi was involved in many missions: he commanded a rescue operation in the mountains near Ba Sing Se; led his men against hostile Sandbender Tribes in the Si Wong Desert; and captured a band of pirates at the Hurricane Straits. The commander also claimed to have participated in a rock-throwing contest, during which he defeated an earthbender, winning a trophy as a result. Because of his achievements, unorthodox tactics, and exceptional character, many of his colleagues, including General Iroh, came to respect him greatly.
In 170 AG, during the battle for Republic City, Bumi was sent a wire by Gommu from General Iroh after the latter's fleet was defeated by Equalist biplanes. The firebender instructed Bumi to hide his armada at Red Sand Island until Iroh signaled him that it was clear to attack.
Bumi later arrived at Air Temple Island with reinforcements, crowing and cackling atop his ship, much to the embarrassment of his younger brother, Tenzin, who became annoyed upon the realization that he would have to entertain his hyperactive brother. Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo, however, were delighted to see their uncle.
Six months after arriving in Republic City, Bumi retired from the United Forces and came to live on Air Temple Island with Tenzin and his family. Bumi later stood at a gateway on Air Temple Island that doubled as the finish line to the air scooter race between Korra, Ikki, Jinora, and Meelo, serving as a referee. He waved a checkered flag as Korra passed and declared her the winner of the race. Bumi sided with Korra in her argument with Tenzin when she insisted that she had already mastered airbending, annoying his younger brother. When Tenzin dryly asked him if it were too late for him to rejoin the United Forces, Bumi happily announced that his resignation papers had already been processed and he promised "24/7 Bumi time" for his younger brother, pinching Tenzin's face in a teasing manner. He continued to tease his brother, as he mocked Tenzin's ability to be relaxed on a vacation, and suggested he accompany them for the purpose of seeing "Vacation Tenzin", which Tenzin opposed. However, when Korra interjected that they would first visit the Southern Water Tribe to attend the Glacier Spirits Festival, Bumi joyfully announced that Tenzin could not keep him from accompanying them there, as their mother, Katara, had already invited him.
Upon arriving at the South Pole, the brothers are reunited with their sister Kya, and Bumi teamed up with her to continue teasing Tenzin. At the royal banquet, Bumi mocked Tenzin over being potentially replaced by Chief Unalaq as Korra's spiritual mentor. When the time came that Tenzin was preparing his departure for the air temple, Bumi was allowed to tag along, after their mother had persuaded Tenzin to spend time with his siblings. As Bumi struggled to climb aboard Oogi, Tenzin helped him up with a small air blast.
Upon arriving at the Southern Air Temple, a frustrated Bumi and Kya asked for assistance with their luggage, though ended up severely annoyed by a female Air Acolyte who thought that they were Tenzin's servants. Their irritation grew as the woman reacted sympathetically upon learning that they were not airbenders.
The next day, as the family began relaxing, Bumi interrupted Tenzin's relaxation as he jumped out with an unbuttoned robe and boxers, much to the discomfort of his sister. Tenzin subsequently attempted to reminisce about past vacations with their father, only for his siblings to inform him that only he had accompanied Aang on those vacations. Suddenly, Jinora and Meelo arrived without Ikki. Jinora confessed that they had teased Ikki, causing her to run off. Meelo also mentioned a shark-squid in between Pema's questions, which Bumi claimed was his nemesis and became frantic thereafter. Tenzin, Bumi, and Kya soon began searching for Ikki.
Traveling far from the temple, Bumi briefly played a prank on Tenzin by pretending to be Ikki hiding in a bush. As Kya rejoined them, Tenzin wondered where he had gone wrong with his children. Kya believed this to be because Tenzin let his duties get in the way of being a father, remembering that Aang was exactly the same way, only for Bumi to squeeze Tenzin's cheeks and say that Aang always had time for the airbender. Tenzin brushed him off, insisting that their father loved them all equally and asked why they were even discussing things long past. After Tenzin ran off, both Kya and Bumi mocked him for running away in the "typical airbender" style.
As night fell, Bumi recounted a search-and-rescue operation he had performed outside of Ba Sing Se, which only irritated his brother, who criticized his embellishing regarding facing three typhoons. Bumi defended that he was only trying to inspire him. Soon after, Kya found footprints leading down the mountain, but instead of following those tracks, Bumi insisted they make their way down the waterfall, convinced that the faster route would be no trouble for benders. His siblings, however, upstaged him by effortlessly making it down to the bottom with their bending. Though Tenzin offered to air lift him down, Bumi refused his help, only to slip and fall into the water. Kya began to heal his head injury and chastised him for failing to accept that he could not do everything a bender could. Bumi disregarded her words, insisting that she was not their mother, prompting Kya to stop healing him and let the water splash on his head. Bumi attempted to turn to Tenzin for support, but his younger brother retorted that he had always been the most childish, whereas he had to be the responsible one. Kya took offense to the remark, stating that only she was willing to move to the South Pole to support their mother after their father had died. Tenzin defended that he had the responsibility of carrying on the traditions of the Air Nomads, but his siblings retorted that he should not be carrying the burden alone, since they are also Aang's children and started regretting joining him on this vacation. Tenzin confessed that he never wanted to bring them along in the first place and told them to return to the temple in case Ikki had returned while he continued searching.
Later the next day, Bumi walked into the air temple sanctuary and stood before the statue of Aang, wondering if he had done enough to uphold his father's legacy and help the world. Kya arrived and assured him that their father is proud of him, giving him a comforting hug. After Tenzin returned with Ikki, Bumi and Kya apologized to their brother for taking out their frustrations on him. Kya pulled out a picture that Katara had given to her before they had left, showing the much younger children with their parents in happier days. A few days later, Bumi witnessed in delight as Meelo orchestrated a ring-tailed winged lemur air show.
Having arrived at the Eastern Air Temple, Bumi engaged in a discussion with his sister, trying to convince her that he had once won a rock-throwing contest against an earthbender, though their conversation was cut short when Tenzin announced their itinerary for the day. However, before they could embark on the tour of the temple, Korra arrived, pleasantly surprising everyone. Bumi was shocked to learn the events they had missed by being closed off from the outside world, for which he blamed Tenzin.
When it became apparent that Korra needed to enter the Spirit World, Bumi tagged along to several locations where he witnessed Korra and Tenzin meditating in an attempt to cross over. He was shocked to hear Tenzin's confession that he had never been to the Spirit World before, though when his brother listed that as being his biggest shortcoming as a son of Aang, Bumi amusedly welcomed him to the "I Disappoint Dad Club". After Jinora told her dragonfly bunny spirits that is was all right to reveal themselves, Bumi bonded with one of them, as the entity landed and stayed on his shoulder; he named the spirit "Bum-Ju", short for Bumi Junior.
As they arrived at the location to which the dragonfly bunny spirits had lead them, Bumi witnessed Tenzin perform a cleansing ceremony. However, he chided his brother for having chased away the dragonfly bunny spirits. The ritual also drew out a swarm of bat-like dark spirits that promptly attacked them. Bumi ducked for cover and waited there until Korra had used Unalaq's spiritbending technique to calm them down.
Bumi spent the remainder of the day waiting with the others while Tenzin attempted to cross over to the Spirit World through meditation. Growing tired, he used a long stick to poke his brother in the back, asking whether or not he was in the Spirit World. When it became apparent that it was not going to work and that it was Jinora's destiny to guide Korra into the Spirit World, Bumi and his siblings remained behind to keep the young benders' bodies safe until they returned.
Later that night, Bumi tried to comfort his brother, who was concerned about Jinora, by reminding him that their father had entered the Spirit World on many occasions. When Tenzin worried that they would be defenseless without their bending, Bumi took offense, stating that this would not hold true for him. As Tenzin failed to develop a reason for the difference in his brother's situation, Kya came to his aid by proposing it was Bumi's positive attitude, to which Bumi responded that he preferred to think it was his "acute intellect and cat-like reflexes". He was advised by his brother to get some rest, offering to take first watch. Bumi told Tenzin to wake him and Kya if "interesting spirit-y stuff" began to happen, such as Korra and Jinora's bodies suddenly beginning to float away. Kya subsequently chastised her brother, and Bumi took a gentler tone, assuring Tenzin that he and his sister were there if he needed them. The next morning, Bumi was awoken by Korra's sudden return to the physical world.
Bumi subsequently followed his siblings, his eldest niece, and the Avatar back to Republic City, where he joined in the applause for Mako at the police headquarters.
While aboard the Zhu Li battleship from Varrick en route to the South Pole, Bumi occupied himself by playing a flute. When Tenzin suggested breaking through the security forces guarding the Southern spirit portal with brute force, the ex-United Forces commander objected due to their being outnumbered, opting for a more strategical approach. However, when he elaborated on a similar encounter in which he defeated pirates with a feather, two eggs, and a barrel of molasses, Tenzin promptly dismissed it as another one of his crazy stories. After receiving a distress signal from the Southern Water Tribe rebels, Bumi accompanied everyone else as they traveled to the Southern Water Tribe compound, where they left Jinora's body with Katara. When deciding on how to enter the spirit portal, Bumi once again brought up a similar tale regarding how he had fashioned together a catapult in order to bypass defending sandbenders and reach the water of an oasis. Although he was silenced once again by his brother, his tale inspired Asami to devise the plan of an aerial attack using a biplane and Oogi.
While Asami, Mako, and Bolin served as the distraction, Bumi, Tenzin, Kya, and Korra attempted to enter the spirit portal while riding Oogi. However, their way was blocked by dark spirits, who promptly attacked them. Bumi attacked a dark spirit which had attached to Oogi, declaring that if he went down, he was taking the spirit with him, causing both of them to plunge into the snow, where he resumed his battle with the spirit, using punches and a hidden knife, albeit with no success. However, when he equipped himself with his final item, namely the flute, the spirit's attention was drawn. Noticing the change in the entities behavior, Bumi played a cheerful tune, calming the dark spirit. At that moment, he was joined byNaga and Pabu, whom he cheerfully greeted as being his reinforcements.
Bumi made his way toward the Northern encampment, where he ambushed and overpowered a patrolling guard to steal his uniform. In disguise, he walked into the camp, and, believing all spirits could be calmed and controlled through music, he attempted make them into his army. His plan backfired, as the spirits grew angered by his music and attacked him. He hoped to escape from the spirits by seeking refuge inside a nearby mecha tank, but the spirits entered the engine, causing it to go haywire. In a desperate attempt to regain control, Bumi accidentally fired a tethered cable to the middle tower, causing the tank to circle the encampment and destroy everything. When the spirits made their way into the mecha tank's cockpit, Bumi ejected and landed into the tent where his friends and family were being held captive, knocking over Desna and Eska upon entering. When they all exited the tent and oversaw the wreckage Bumi had dealt to the camp, a baffled Tenzin inquired how he had managed to accomplish such a feat by himself. Bumi began to explain, though quickly decided against it as he knew Tenzin would most likely not believe him. Bumi entered the Southern portal with his siblings, Korra, Mako, and Bolin, though immediately left with Tenzin and Kya in order to find Jinora.
Bumi wandered through the Spirit World, calling for Jinora, though when it became apparent that that tactic would not work, Bumi suggested they locate Jinora's footprints and track them. However, his plan was quickly refuted by Kya, who pointed out that since he did not know whether or not a spirit left a footprint, his tracking skills would be useless. When Kya tried to locate Jinora by following spiritual activity instead, Bumi chided her for believing that would work, since there was spiritual energy in every direction in the Spirit World. He was silenced by his brother, who stated that they needed a spirit guide to help them. However, when the spirit they asked for help turned out to be a malevolent dark spider spirit, Bumi and his siblings were chased of a nearby cliff. Completely lost, they wandered around until they eventually encountered Iroh's spirit, who had been alerted of their presence by a Knowledge Seeker. When Tenzin declined his offer to lead them out, they were imparted the warning to not venture into the Spirit World too deeply, lest they end up in a place where only the lost would ever find them. Although Bumi did not understand the cryptic message, his brother did, and Bumi was subsequently led back to the hole of the scorpion spider spirit, where they let themselves be captured and dragged off toward the Fog of Lost Souls.
Inside the bar-less prison, Bumi was warned about the ability of the fog spirit to trap its prisoners in their own darkest memories and drive them mad. When Zhaograbbed hold of Tenzin, believing him to be their father, Bumi freed his brother with the help of his sister, before retreating into the fog, away from Zhao. To prevent losing each other, they tied Tenzin's sash around their midst and continued their search for Jinora. After a while, Bumi became affected by the fog's ability and came under the impression that they were surrounded by cannibals. He subsequently untied himself and ran off, wandering around by himself until the fog completely got to him and he resigned to his mental prison. However, after Tenzin reached spiritual clarity, Bumi was saved by him and led out. As soon as he was out of the fog, he started to regain consciousness; although, he had no recollection of what befell him. He made it out of the Spirit World by following a butterfly light spirit that Jinora had given them.
As they exited the Southern portal, they found the unconscious bodies of Korra, Mako, and Bolin, which they instantly took back through the portal to be healed inspirit water. Together with the others, Bumi defended the Tree of Time against invading hordes of dark spirits, who attempted to stop Korra from defeating the Dark Avatar. They managed to hold on long enough for Korra to save the world. As Vaatu's dark presence was purged from the area, the good spirits returned and Bumi was reunited with Bum-Ju, much to both their pleasure.
Bumi later stood by his family as Korra declared the Water Tribe Civil War to be over and the Southern Water Tribe independent. He happily listened, while cuddling with Bum-Ju, as Korra announced that there would no longer be a separation between the mortal and the Spirit World, marking the start of a new age where humans and spirits coexisted.
Two weeks after Harmonic Convergence, Bumi was chasing Bum-Ju around Air Temple Island, trying to get the spirit to wear a little sweater he had knitted. Bumi climbed to the tip of a tree branch hanging over a small but deep gorge, but the bough cracked under his weight, causing Bumi to dangle precariously over the edge of a cliff. He called out to Bum-Ju to help him, and the spirit responded by grabbing Bumi's coat. Bumi slipped out of the coat and plummeted into the gorge. However, he suddenly found himself airbending to prevent a hard landing; though he still fell the last few feet after his airbending ceased, complaining that the landing still hurt. The former commander quickly ran to tell his family, finding Meelo and Ikki, the latter of whom called for Tenzin at Bumi's request. Bumi tried to tell his brother about his feat and attempted to replicate it, but was unable to do so after several attempts, prompting Tenzin to dismiss him and call the family for dinner instead. At the dinner table, Bumi continued to make attempts at airbending, even blowing on a napkin to make it appear as though he performed the feat; an act his sister called him on. Recalling how he had airbent earlier, Bumi asked Bolin to bend a rock at him, an offer the earthbender declined. Meelo promptly threw a plate at his uncle, which Bumi stopped with airbending, thus proving his newfound ability.
The next day, Bumi continuously tried to again airbend at will, but again had no success. While Korra, Tenzin, and Ikki mused over how he could have become an airbender, one potential reason being Harmonic Convergence, Kya told Bumi that she had noticed a change in his aura, angering Bumi, who wondered why she did not tell him earlier. When the group learned that Bumi was not the only nonbender who had become an airbender, Bumi and Team Avatar decided to set off throughout the Earth Kingdom for the new benders, hoping to teach them the ways of the Air Nomads and rebuild the Air Nation.
The team set out to the Earth Kingdom on a Future Industries airship, first visiting a village that was home to Kuon, its new airbender. They met Kuon and his family and discussed his new abilities and responsibilities over dinner, but the new airbender refused to join them, desiring only to help his barn and family. After multiple unsuccessful attempts to recruit the new airbenders, the group discussed the best method for recruiting the new airbenders. After Bolin suggested throwing them into potato sacks and dragging them onto the ship, Bumi replied that said method was how the United Forces got him to join. He later assured a disheartened Tenzin that he still wanted to be an airbender, and helped come up with a new plan to dazzle potential recruits. Bumi was going to suggest decorating Tenzin's robes with sequins, but instead agreed with Bolin's idea of an "airbending street performance". During the performance that followed, Bumi demonstrated his airbending with several small gusts of wind from his hands as Bolin remarked on the progress that could be made in just a few weeks of training under Tenzin.
After a young orphan airbender named Kai joined the group, they headed to Ba Sing Se to search for airbenders. Along the way, Bumi and Kai trained with Jinora. Despite Bumi's experience as a fighter, Kai was able to best him, using airbending to sweep Bumi's feet out from under him. Upon helping him up, Kai playfully stole Bumi's wallet, prompting the retired commander to chase him. When the team had settled in Ba Sing Se, they soon noticed that Kai had gone missing. Like the others, Bumi was not able to find him in their house.
The next day, Mako and Bolin returned to the group to inform them that the Earth Queen had been capturing airbenders to conscript into her army. Bumi pointed out that technically the Earth Queen had the right to conscript her own citizens, causing everyone to glare at him. Upon Mako's suggestion that they check out Lake Laogai as a possible hiding place for the airbenders and Jinora saying that she could use her spiritual projection to investigate, Bumi asked if it was indeed the same technique Jinora applied to find Korra during Harmonic Convergence.
After finding out that the airbenders were being held underneath the Earth Queen's Temple, the group discussed what they could do to free them. Bumi suggested that they infiltrate the temple at night with two insertion teams and a third on the outside. However, he impractically suggested that they would need twelve tons of blasting jelly, a medium-sized bulldozer and a badgermole who knew Morse Code. Their party was soon joined by Lin Beifong, who had come to warn Korra that Zaheer, Ghazan, Ming-Hua, and P'Li were hunting her, and insisted that she return to Republic City, but instead joined their effort when Korra retained her desire to free the airbenders.
As night fell, the party easily overwhelmed two Royal Earthbender Guards and infiltrated the temple before splitting up. Korra, Tenzin and Bumi went looking for the airbenders while Mako, Bolin and Jinora went to free Kai. Once the airbenders were freed, Bumi radioed Lin and Asami to bring in their airships to extract them. The ex-commander was upset, however, that Lin did not understand his code names, believing no one liked them anymore. When it seemed like the coast was clear, Dai Li agents appeared to block their escape and attacked at the Earth Queen's order when the team refused to turn them over. As Tenzin, Korra, and the other airbenders attempted to hold the Dai Li off, Bumi caught sight of Lin's police airship and signaled for the group to flee. They ascended the scaffolding around the temple and, once they all reached the ship, Bumi radioed for Lin to begin the escape. The group was able to flee the city with everyone in tow and, by the next morning, landed safely in the city's outskirts.
Once at the Northern Air Temple, Tenzin began telling the airbenders about Air Nomad history. Like most of them, however, Bumi was not interested. During the story of Monk Tang Xu, for example, he instead lay on the ground, picking his nose. He got the group to laugh by sticking Bum-Ju over his face, mocking Tenzin's stories as boring in a hypothetical animal's voice, though much to his brother's annoyance.
Bumi was later telling three of his fellow students about his capturing of some pirates. When he was asked how he turned out to be so cool, he replied that he guessed it was something one was born with. At that moment, Bumi was approached by Tenzin. Annoyed, he believed his brother had come to "yell at [him] again", but instead, Tenzin sought his advice for getting the airbenders organized because he knew Bumi to be a natural leader. The former commander, after bragging about winning a natural leadership award twice, told Tenzin to break them down and build them up again, rule with an iron fist, and show them who the master was, remarking it was his pleasure to advise him upon being thanked.
The next morning, Bumi and the airbenders were awoken at dawn by Tenzin's blasting of a horn. He groaned in regret, realizing his brother had taken his advice to heart. They were sent on a ten-mile hike, exhausting Bumi while he complained about the cold. As Tenzin sent them right on to meditation, Bumi tried to reel him in by explaining his iron fist comment but was promptly silenced and told to focus on meditating. Upon being led to a training area, the former commander wanted to know if they could go back to sleep, but Tenzin instead started them on a balance drill. Bumi struggled and fell, only to be harshly told by Tenzin to get up while being called a soldier. Bumi slinked away, frustrated. After being told about head-shaving, Bumi, like the others, declined to have the deed done, before they moved on to the obstacle course. Neared the final portion, which involved climbing up a rocky cliff, he was told he had just thirty seconds left, lest the entire group run it again. However, Bumi slipped and fell into the mud. His frustration boiled over upon being told to get back on the wall, and he declared he never wanted to be an airbender and was too old to be back in what he considered as boot camp. He quit and left the exercise.
Upon being approached by Tenzin, who sought to apologize to him, Bumi walked away, not wanting to talk to him. He instead decided to vent his frustrations to Bum-Ju, saying he was not cut out to be an airbender, while dismissing protesting chitters as his opinion. At that moment, a small bird spirit approached them, going to communicate with Bum-Ju. Bumi realized Jinora sent the spirit and found out she was in trouble. He raced toward the airbenders to alert them of the news and, knowing that Tenzin was not around, knew it was up to them. After telling Ikki and Meelo to gather sky bison, they moved to find Jinora.
Bumi spotted that a group of bison rustlers had taken baby bison along with Jinora and Kai. Daw was worried to fight them, but Bumi rallied the group by saying that, although it was short, that moment was what they trained for. He suggested they needed to persevere as a team like they did on the obstacle course, dismissingOtaku's reminder of his quitting by saying he would not do so in that moment. He continued to say that, as the few active airbenders, they needed to stick together and would not leave until they brought their fellow airbenders home. He commanded their movements as they swarmed into the rustlers' camp and attacked them, forcing them to flee via truck, although still in possession of Jinora and the bison calves.
After Tenzin and Kai rescued Jinora and the calves, Bumi locked the rustlers in a cage on the truck, warning them about the new airbenders and not to mess with their bison. He was reproached by his brother, who expressed his pride for his natural leadership and spiritual connection, like what their father had. Bumi apologized for causing trouble, having been scared of not being able to measure up as an airbender. He also explained he never felt like a part of the Air Nation despite being Aang's son, but Tenzin assured him he was, leaving him to smile.
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