Avatar creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino confirmed a particular anime influence in a magazine interview:
The best anime balances great action sequences with humor and emotion, something we try to do on Avatar. We love all the films of Hayao Miyazaki, especially Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. Both movies deal with spirituality and the environment in an entertaining way. Also, there's a lot of great animation."
According to an interview with the artists of Avatar, Appa's design was based on the Catbus in My Neighbor Totoro, due to the peculiar task of creating a mammal with six legs.
Avatar draws inspiration from the anime works of Shinichiro Watanabe's Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo, as well as FLCL (Fooly Cooly) of Gainax. Other various studios from which inspiration was drawn include Studio 4 °C, Production I.G, and Studio Ghibli.
Bryan has commented that some of his most cherished Watanabe fight scenes were the fight between Bebop's Spike Spiegel and a drug smuggler in "Asteroid Blues," as well as the duel between Mugen and a blind female Jojutsu-user in the Champloo episode "Elegy of Entrapment (Verse 2)." Avatar director Giancarlo Volpe also claims the staff "were all ordered to buy FLCL and watch every single episode of it."
I win, /co/ loses.