I now have so very, very many feels about this particular sulky prince:
I have really strong reactions to this type of character. Invariably I end up feeling somewhat embarrassed about it, because really, who reacts so strongly to such things? Especially when it involves characters from a cartoon. But to be honest, Zuko's character arc affected me more than those in the majority of things aimed at grown-ups.
Zuko reminds me a lot of Gaara.* At least, I react to them in the same way. Their personalities are quite different, but there are distinct similarities in their overall situations. Either way, they're both characters I get quite emotional about. I identify with both of them, and the fact that both manage to get improbably happy endings makes me feel hopeful; on the other hand, I have to admit that a good part of what makes me identify with them is both their anger and bitterness and also their isolation from people around them. Also the sense of having some intangible thing that they're obsessed with and desperately looking for. (I think "love" falls into this category for Gaara; in both cases you could say it really boils down to what might be called "worth.")
Come to think of it, Akito's like this as well. In any series that has a character like this, I'll find them and adore them.
Related: this part of Naruto makes me have so many feels every time:
I'm almost ridiculously attracted --- in a completely non-sexual way --- to this character type, and I end up being quite defensive of this type of character. So it makes me feel a lot happier than it probably should every time I get into a fandom that has one of these characters and discover that other people liked them too. It makes me feel validated.
(Otoh, because my immense attraction really is completely non-sexual and is much more an attraction born of identification than anything else, I also inevitably end up feeling nonplussed by the number of people who think these characters are sexy. It's not something I can relate to at all, so in a way I also end up feeling a bit left out.)
It's the feeling of being on the one hand relatively talented and yet on the other somehow still not entirely likable or not entirely good enough that resonates with me. And at times I get worried that, because the real world isn't fiction, I won't get my happy ending where I stop being so bitter and become an actually acceptable person who has her shit together and isn't so damn spazzy.
I feel sort of like BAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWW about it all.
* Also, crack art on the fact that their dads are hella similar will be upcoming. BECAUSE SERIOUSLY YOU GUYS.