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In the final episode of The Last Airbender, Aang wins the fight against Ozai by taking his bending away, and we get this] awesome scene.

In season 1 of Legend of Korra, we see Aang take away Yakone's bending, but there is no crazy light show.

So is this a retcon? Or is the light show in the Aang vs Ozai fight just for our benefit and the characters can't actually see it?

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It could be because Aang was more accustomed to it. If you recall ATLA's ending, it was a major point for not just bending, but also for Aang himself. He had to defend his own spirit. The lion turtle voiceover in the spirit bending scene:

To bend another's energy, your own spirit must be unbendable, or you will be corrupted and destroyed.

I have to assume that after this, Aang got the hang of it. Also, we don't know how many times Aang had to use spirit bending before this, so he might have had practice in between.

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