A tv show review by: Lee Sonogan
(2005 -2008) 23min /Animation, action, adventure
“Sometimes life is like this tunnel. You can’t always see the light at the end of the tunnel, but if you keep moving, you will come to a better place.”—Iroh, Episode 2.19 “The Crossroads of Destiny”
This animated series is about a war-torn world of elemental magic, a young boy awakens to undertake a dangerous mystic quest to fulfill his destiny as the Avatar, and bring peace to the world. Story wise, it does a good job developing character based storys to the main four races of the world. Aang, Sokka and Katara travel this world full of elemental bending powers. ‘Avatar’ is derived from a Sanskrit word which literally means “those who descend.”
The symbols of the four nations that are written in the map of the avatar world has a literal meaning in Chinese calligraphy. For example, the symbol of water is joined with another that means virtue; for the one of earth, it means strong; for fire, it means fierce, and finally for of air, it means peaceful.
Only five of the characters throughout the series have their age explicitly mentioned: Aang is 112 though only 12 biologically, Zuko and Yue are 16, Toph is 12, and Tom-Tom, Mai’s brother is 2. It is also mentioned that Mai is fifteen years older than her brother, which makes her 17. Besides Aang, at least two other characters are over 100 years old. Bumi who knew Aang before he got frozen and Guru Pathik who knew Monk Gyatso. Certain pieces of information from various episodes also imply that Firelord Sozin, Avatar Kyoshi, and Avatar Kuruk had lived for over 100 years each.
Zuko was one of the last characters to be written into the show. The Fire Lord was meant to be the show’s main antagonist, but the writers realized he would not be able to cause Aang and his friends trouble sitting from his throne. Zuko was then written into the show. Speaking of the Fire lord, it is worth watching the whole series to see the last fight between Aang and the Fire lord.
The show has some kidish themes but overall a great animation full of story and visual action. I would even say it’s as good as the famous Hayao Miyazakis animated movies. Its fresh story telling is far beyond other dull animated shows. The research put into the story is amazing. The bending styles all coincide with different styles of fighting and can be seen in every episode. The show itself is also planned out, as minor questions formed in one episode may not be answered for another 10 some episodes later. After all the three seasons, you will be overly impressed. All I will say about the ending is that it is epic. I recommend this show to people who love animation with style, story with deep themes, Interesting action scenes and people who have watch The legend of Korra and not seen the shows origin.
”I know now that no one can give you your honor. It’s something you earn for yourself by choosing to do what’s right.”—Zuko, Episode 3.11 “The Western Air Temple”