Follow TV Tropes

Following

Headscratchers / Avatar: The Last Airbender - Fandom

Go To

  • When I Google Image Search "Katara", the first hit is a piece of fanart depicting a pregnant Katara, who moreover does not appear to be aged up at all. This bugs me. Why is this so?
    • Why does it bug you? Probably because it means a twelve year old and a fourteen year old...I don't even want to think about it. Fans will be fans. (Squick!)
    • Advertisement:
    • Well, actually, I was just bugged by the fact that it was there to begin with and liable to mislead anyone new to the series. On, um, multiple levels. (...The more I think about this, the more it is driven home to me that the Internet, in all its consequence-free, "information"-exchanging glory, is a scary place.) Dagnabit, why is that the first hit?
    • If it makes you feel better, when I googled it (out of morbid curiosity), I had to search 'Katara pregnant' in order to find it. Simply searching 'Katara' did not yeild an image of her pregnant on the first several pages.

  • Why is the Great Divide episode so disliked? I like it actually. I've seen far worse episodes.
    • I think people dislike it because its filler and nothing really important to the overall plot happens. Plus the fact that Aang resolves the conflict by making up some story makes the whole thing a bit pointless.
      • Actually, I found that to be the biggest saving grace of the episode. I really hated Aang (I've grown to cordially dislike reluctant heroes. I'm just tired of the trope) early on. And I utterly hated the episode when it seemed like he was telling the truth. But once Aang revealed that he lied, I started respecting him a bit more. Aang resolved their stupid conflict by lying, simply because it doesn't matter what really happened in the past.
      • Like I said, I've seen more pointless fillers in the series.
      • It's so widely disliked because some fans are too obsessed with Moving The Plot Forward. Like the much maligned "Jack's tattoos" episode of Lost, this episode doesn't add much to the overarching war story, but when viewed in the correct light, it serves to flesh out the main character and his role in the story. It features him doing that whole "bringing balance to the people of the world" thing that he's supposed to exist for. As for the other criticisms: people really do start feuds over stupid crap that spirals out of control after generations, the show has actually indulged in satire on other occasions, and there's absolutely no rule that every episode of a TV show must be identical in tone to the others. Two off the top of my head are the light and funny The X-Files episode "Bad Blood" immediately being followed by a Myth Arc-heavy two parter, and Farscape's 3rd season had a very tragic episode where a character dies of severe radiation poisoning immediately followed by....the same character (it's complicated) in a coma imagining he's in a Looney Tunes world.
      • This is an important point. Currently there is a fad on the idea that self-contain episodes are inferior to plot relevant episodes (so we should assume the Appa’s Lost Days or Tales of Ba Sing Sei are inferior episodes just for that), the same problem happens in others series like the idea that the Monster of the Week episodes are inferior to the “Story Arc” in series like X-Files or Buffy. Some people put the Story Arc in a pedestal, probably to feel “edgie”, nevertheless this troper personally enjoys the Monster of the Week format a lot, sometimes more than the Arc-related episodes. So is a matter of tastes (yet the people who hate the self-contain episodes seem to be louder nowadays).
    • Advertisement:
    • "The Great Divide" is NOT disliked because it's filler ("The Runaway" is one of the best episodes of the series, and it's completely filler). The fact that it's filler simply makes it easy to ignore. The episode would be perfectly normal quality on most other Western cartoons, but it's not up to the standards of storytelling and complexity set on Avatar. The Flaws of "The Great Divide" are:
      1. It's anvilicious, the entire point from beginning to end being to hammer home the message that prejudice and holding grudges are wrong. It's not delivered the least bit subtly or enjoyably.
      2. The conflict this anvilicious plot requires is solved by lying. Hypocrisy.
      3. The conflict is stupid and executed inappropriately for the context. Two tribes hate each other over differences of opinion over cleanliness (and an ancient dispute between two people that should no longer concern their descendants). Yes, in some contexts like Dr. Seuss' The Butter Battle Book or the first book of Gulliver’s Travels, a ridiculous, minor difference of opinion is intentionally used as satire, but Avatar is not a satirical work. A satirical approach to this problem doesn't fit in this context where elsewhere, serious cultural prejudices are shown to exist and one country is expanding its imperialist empire through conquest and systematic genocide. On that note...
      4. The conflict is juvenile compared to the other fare usually seen on Avatar.
      5. The things the show is normally careful to pay attention to are disregarded. Notice that Appa is treated as an Automaton Horse in this episode, suddenly effortlessly able to carry two tribes' worth of sick and elderly people across a canyon it takes two days to cross when carrying 7 kids is too much for him in "The Western Air temple."
      6. Aang's job of keeping peace and solving conflicts is treated way too lightly, like a comedy, when the show otherwise tries to show that his job must be taken seriously.
      • Actually, "The Runaway" isn't 'completely' filler. It foreshadowed a water bender's ability to be productive (which led up to the next episode), showed us how Sokka felt about Katara and how Toph felt about her parents, and developed Katara and Toph, and their relationship. "The Runaway" was much less filler than "The Great Divide." It also gave Toph an excuse to rag on Zuko ("You sent Katara and me to jail," or something), and taught the viewers a valuable lesson.
    • Advertisement:
    • So, what episode do you feel is worse, for instance?
      • The Beach. Why does no one else find this episode, a piece of Beach Episode fanservice in which each character's actions drip with needless angst and teen drama that wouldn't be out of place in a fan fiction (the cutthroat, calculating Azula bashfully asking Ty Lee for advice on getting a boyfriend?) As abhorrent as I do? Not even touching on how they give every character there a flaky Freudian Excuse in lieu of actual plot progression.
      • I'm with you on The Beach. You know how sometimes when someone is doing something embarrassing on a TV show you feel embarrassed too? Yeah, that pretty much sums up the entire episode for me. I know they're supposed to be awkward, poorly socialized teenagers and all, but the sheer level of awkwardness is just overwhelming. I would agree it feels more like a fan fiction than a real episode of the show. Not only that, but the supposed "character development" at the end felt tacked on just to give the episode some sort of point, because it was either something we already knew (You mean Zuko is angry and conflicted? Who would have guessed?), or entirely unimportant (Was anyone really dying to know why Ty Lee is so kooky?). The only sort of interesting one was Azula admitting she was in fact troubled by what her mother had thought of her.
      • I actually loved The Beach. You got to see a side of the Fire Nation characters you would never be able to normally see. I mean. c'mon, when do you see Mai and Ty Lee when they're not trying to kill/seriously injure someone (apart from when Mai is sucking face with Zuko, but still)? Some people may not care, but I really like the quartet and I enjoy slice of life moments like that. While it may not revolve hugely around the plot, I still thought it fit in nicely with the third season. Also, it introduced the mansion so when the Gaang has to hide out their later, you're not just like "Holy crap where did that come from?"
      • You know that these people that you are talking about are teenagers, right? And teenagers don't always have problems that most people deem "serious," right? And on some bease level, they are concerned with who they will end up with and what their friends think about them, right?
      • The Beach is more than just a fanservice-y episode. It sets up Zuko beginning to doubt his decision to side with Azula, which ultimately leads to him joining the Gaang, and shows that Ursa's low opinion of Azula actually bothered her, which becomes crucial during the finale. It's an important episode in terms of setting up the plot.
      • "The Beach" is important to the overall plot and characterization. I can't really call any episode my least favorite, but if I were hard pressed I'd probably list "The Fortuneteller" (no relevance to the main plot plus the dubious message and the portrayal of Sokka as a Flat-Earth Atheist and Straw Skeptic) and "Tales of Ba Sing Se" (too slice-of-lifey for my taste, overall just meh).
      • The Fortuneteller was at least funny, The Beach is the only episode I didn’t finish (too boring).
    • While I personally feel the episode wasn't particularly amazing, some of your points aren't exactly accurate. I'll focus solely on three since it's the most inaccurate: the two tribes didn't dislike each other over cleanliness. That was merely one of the things they chose to hate about each other due to the much deeper-rooted issue of their mutual history. Secondly, saying the feud is the result of an "ancient dispute" that shouldn't concern their descendants completely dismisses human nature. Many real-world peoples and cultures violently hate each other for things that happened thousands of years ago. If anything, the feud would have gotten worse over time if not for Aang.
    • Well, speaking personally, the reason I hated the episode had nothing to do with the fact that Aang lied - he was dealing with a dangerous feud and the truth of the matter had been lost to time, so it was a pretty effective solution. I thought the episode was stupid because the lie in question was so freakin' ridiculous. I could understand a 12-year-old coming up with a lie like that; what breaks the episode is that everyone else believed such a stupid explanation.
      • When I saw that, I also thought it was weird, but if you think of this as a contrst to other problems in the story that can't be so easily solved- the annihilation of the Airbenders, Firebender imperialism, Katara's unwilling ability in bloodbending- it was a big change to see a big problem with an easy fix. I felt at the time that they were trying to make a point.
      • In truth, by the end of the episode both sides did seem reasonably willing to let bygones be bygones already after what they'd been through recently. I never thought Aang's story ever simply fully convinced them; rather, it gave them the excuse they needed just then to be able to set aside their differences without losing face to the respective other side.
      • Well, Aang is the Avatar and he was alive at the time of the original dispute, so it's not so unlikely that they would swallow his story without questioning it.
    • For what it's worth, you're not the only one. I had no idea "The Great Divide" was so disliked until I read the wiki. I found it a solid episode and I can't really call any episode my least favorite. That's why I generally stay away from fandoms.
  • Calling Avatar an anime. Technically it is one since it's animation (anime = the JPN word for animation) but they use the western meaning. It's a western cartoon. No one calls Teen Titans an anime.
    • Yeah, no excuse for that. People who say that are probably 1) pretentious gits who use "anime" to mean "all animation" because they say that in Japan and Japan is obviously better, or 2) idiots who haven't seen any actual anime and therefore can't tell the difference, but are trying to sound smart online.
      • And some (if not most) legitimately think it's the English translation of a Japanese series.
      • I imagine that the obvious eastern influences present in the Avatar world add to the confusion. Teen Titans is from an obviously western source, regardless of art style. Avatar looks, superficially at least, like something that could have come out of Japan.
      • It does not "make perfect sense" to call Avatar anime, because it isn't anime. "Anime" does not automatically mean "high quality." Nor does "western cartoon" automatically mean "low quality". That's like saying that it makes perfect sense to call The Lion King a live action film because it's so good. Anime just refers to the production being Japanese animation, full stop.

        That said, I can see why people would think it's anime. As mentioned, it has a ton of eastern, both Chinese and Japanese, influences, plus all the writing shown in the series is in Chinese characters, which makes it look like it's being translated from those languages.]
    • You guys do realize that it is an anime right? Ignoring all the connotations of the word, Avatar is, by definition, an anime. People who claim otherwise are just idiots pretending to know Japanese.
      • No? Unless the definition of Anime (animated cartoons written and produced in Japan) has changed, no, it is not, by definition, an anime.
      • Anime just means animation. The real problem here is that there's some Values Dissonance on whether anime should be specific to only Japanese animated cartoons OR involve all forms of animation, regardless of where it came from. It's original meaning - one still used in its native language - is to cover all forms of animation. Whereas in the West, it's used to only refer to Japanese animated cartoons. So it's more of a question of what the person's meaning of "anime" is when they're using it. If the person is using the Japanese definition of anime, then yes, Avatar the Last Airbender is by rights an anime. If the person is using the Western definition of anime, then no, it's not an anime, it's just a Western cartoon. Other than mistaking Avatar as something Japanese when it's not, whether it's referred to as an anime or not isn't really an issue here, and I believe that's what the original poster of this point was addressing anyway - that the wrong country was getting credit for this series just because of its appearance. (Excuse me if I seem redundant or am not making sense, I am just writing this at a bad time of the night... well early morning)
      • I think it's pretty safe to say that the original question was referring to Japanese animation. I have yet to meet an English speaking person who knowingly refers to anything other than Japanese animation as "anime."
    • Yeah. Of course. Because pizza is only pizza if it's made by an Italian in Italy. It's an airplane only if it's made by two bike makers in their spare time. Anime boils down to a 'style' of animation, which originated in Japan. As Avatar is drawn and animated in this fashion, it is Anime.
      • I'm sorry, but that comparison is completely ridiculous. A pizza is still a pizza no matter where its made, but there are different "styles" of pizza - New York style, mennoush (Mid Eastern style), etc. We call these things by their respective names, because they are apart from our country/culture. Anime - inspired by western cartoons - just means animation, but another country adapted it just like Mid Eastern people adapted pizza. Avatar might be inspired by anime, but it isn't, in the same way that Ponyo was inspired by "The Little Mermaid", but isn't actually "The Little Mermaid". All forms of animation - regardless of their origin - are called cartoons. People, however, use "anime" for Japanese animation and "cartoons" for Western animation to differentiate between the two, because saying "I love cartoons" to someone when what you mean is cartoons made in Japan might confuse them. Does Avatar borrow a lot of themes from anime? Yes, just like metal borrows a lot from blues but isn't actually blues. Resembling something doesn't mean you are that thing. Avatar is a cartoon made by Americans. The creators have never called it an anime, and you shouldn;t either.
      • You sort of helped make the poster's point. If I can order "Chicago-style pizza" in California, then I can watch an "Anime-style cartoon" from America.
      • We do have a trope for things that look like anime but aren't. Just because Avatar resembles an anime doesn't mean it is an anime.
    • Hold it there guys, anime doesn't necessarily mean animation from Japan. It could also just refer to the art style (broad, but most Anime looks, well, like anime). Avatar is drawn in an 'anime' artstyle. You could call it an original english anime.
      • If you call something "an anime" that means it's animation from Japan. That is the definition of the term "an anime." Avatar is anime-style, but that doesn't make it an anime, any more than Kill Bill is a Kurosawa film just because parts of it mimic his style.
      • According to The Other Wiki , "Anime are Japanese animated productions featuring hand-drawn or computer animation." Japan =/= America. Avatar it not an anime.
      • The Other Wiki is not a valid source.
      • Wrong, "anime" is a term the Japanese use to refer to ALL animation. Westerners just took it to mean ONLY Japanese animation.
      • In this context, used by westerners, as a genre, yes, Anime means Japanese animation. Avatar is still not an Anime.
      • OMG, who cares?.. Apparently everyone, but that's not the point... Call it what you want, cartoon, anime, moving pictures...
      • It's the topic of discussion here, so we're discussing it. We can't just call it anything we want to call it (especially not "moving pictures" because those are films/movies).
    • Anime refers to animation from China and Korea and some other asian countries as well, since they are done in a similar style. And technically, Avatar was animated in South Korea...
      • I've never heard anyone call Chinese or Korean animation "anime". Besides, Batman: The Animated Series was also animated in South Korea. No one calls that an anime.
    • I think the reason people care about the distinction is because "anime" was the name given to Japanese animation after its surge in popularity in the Western market starting in The '90s. As a cultural phenomenon alone, I believe that is still a relevant distinction to make. One can call anything derivative of and inspired by the anime art style "animesque". Avatar, however, is considerably different from anime, to me. The values portrayed are very different (the women are treated with far more respect than in anime, for one), it's written with a Western audience in mind in general, and the quality of the actual animation is far more fluid than any non-OVA Japanese animated series I've ever seen.
      • Yes, Avatar looks distinctly different from Japanese anime.
    • Simple: the Japanese word アニメ (anime) simply means "animation", but the English word "anime", borrowed from Japanese, means specifically "Japanese animation". It's not unheard of with all the cross-pollination of languages. For example, in Russian, the word "champignon" (which in French simply means "mushroom") means a specific type of mushroom (Agaricus bisporus), and the Russian word "dog", of English origin, refers to a specific dog breed, the Great Dane.
    • The Western definition of "anime" is "animation produced and written in Japan", whereas the Japanese definition is that it's just their word for animation. In Japan, Western Animation/Avatar would be covered under "anime". In America, it is not because it's an American series and "anime" is specifically Japanese. Someone speaking Japanese that called Avatar an "anime" would be perfectly fine, because it is their equivalent of "cartoon" or "animation". Someone speaking English would be wrong, since the series is American.
  • Jet and Zuko. Why is it so hard to find a fanfic about them that isn't slash?
    • You might want to ask why it's so hard to find a fanfic about ANYONE that isn't slash. Rule of thumb: If they like each other, they will be paired together. If they hate each other, they will be paired together. If they don't know each other at all, they will be paired together.
    • Alternatively, Guy on Guy is Hot
  • Why do people keep saying that bending is genetic? Nothing in the show suggests that that genetics and bending are connected in any way. Word of God even says that the ability to bend is spiritual, so there is no reason to think this.
    • Because anyone using episodes as their sole source of research on the topic wouldn't be able to see it any other way. I don't remember any specific mention in any episode telling the audience that bending is solely and undoubtedly spiritual. And really, using our world as our basis, genes seem the most logical thing to acquire bending through. If you then think "Then where do they think Katara gets her bending from?" I'd actually point to Harry Potter, since in that series it's fairly common for a magical child to be born to non-magical parents. It's not genetic, but it's not outright spiritual. I dunno, that's all I can come up with in their defense for that case.
      • In Harry Potter, it's also possible for a child with no magical power (squibs) to be born to magical parents. It's likely that magical ability is a genetic trait in Harry Potter and genetic mutations or recessive genes can just come out and make a muggle-born child magical or make a wizard-born child a squib.
    • I'll respond your question with a question: If bending is truly spiritual, then how come non-benders, such as Sokka or Suki, can't gain bending powers? If "spiritual" means "religious" then non-benders should be able to obtain bending powers. if "Spiritual" means "personality" or "core beliefs", then again, why can't someone who's changed radically gain (or completely lose) their bending abilities? and if "Spiritual" means "a specific type of soul", well, why do all special-souls seem to stick to the same culture—why aren't waterbenders randomly born into firenation households, or vice versa? All this, thrown in with the nature/nurture debate, and you might see why people prefer to refer to bending as a recessively genetically inherited trait. At least that makes SENSE.
      • Well it clearly isn't just genetics. In the fortune teller episode, we see identical twins of which only one can bend. I suggest some sort of spiritual endowment from the spirit realm whenever a child is born. With the endowment being from external forces, it makes sense that only certain people get specific types of bending ability.
      • Maybe in the same way how in real life there are identical twins and only one is good at math?
    • It's partly genetic and partly spiritual. That's the official word.
    • Another way to think about it is that it's like genetics and epigenetics. Genetics give you the ability to bend, and the epigentics (reacting to your connection with the spirit world) attach methyl groups to the genes that allow you to bend.
    • Again, this is probably a matter of cultural misunderstanding. Just because something is said to be spiritual does not means is not related to blood or ethnicity. In the West, spirituality is something you can change, you can born in a Christian family and became a Muslim or whatever you want, in the East this is much less common, generally the people that born in a Hindu, Muslim, Parsee or Sikh communities will never change their religions, and some peoples have very specific religions like for example Shamanism among certain tribes or Zoroastrism among Parsees. Also in some cultures spiritual or religious professions are bind to certain families and are hereditary (for example in some cultures not everyone can be a Shaman or a Healer, you have to be son or nephew of the previous Shaman and/or Healer), there is a strong correlation between ethnicity and spirituality (or blood and spirituality) in the East.

      So, again, as we know this show is heavily based on the Eastern societies. If bending is something spiritual, does not mean is something that you can do outside your national community or bloodline.

  • Why do people constantly give Katara a new engagement necklace? That isn't the point of her necklace at all! It's specifically stated in-series that the betrothal necklaces are a Northern Water Tribe thing — one that Kanna clearly has not explained to her granddaughter, given that Katara had no idea what else the necklace could symbolise other than "this thing given to me by my mother who got it from my grandmother".
    • Because it's a nice romantic gesture which parallels our culture's engagement ring, so people understand it and it makes a good device in fanfics. And since it's only really stated in the one episode that it's a Northern thing (and Katara's lack of knowledge about it in the same episode is the only evidence that it's not a Southern thing) a lot of people forget that inconvenient fact and have Aang/Zuko/Whoever-the-heck-else give her one to show they care about her culture's traditions. Or, alternatively, the Southern Water Tribe does do the betrothal necklace thing and Katara just had a bout of (OOC) cluelessness about it because Bryke needed to have someone be unaware of that tradition for story purposes/her mother died before teaching her.
      • Also, the only guy in her tribe anywhere close to her own age is her brother—marriage is probably a topic that simply never came up for her because there were no available options.
Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report