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Avatar: The Last Airbender
Voices of: Zach Tyler Eisen, Mae Whitman, Jack De Sena, Dante Basco, Mako,Grey De Lisle, and Jessie Flower
Or at least damn close,between some of the most brilliant characterizations,and two very nicely melded plots concerning two of these characters,but best of all was the sense of,...balance. There was overall a nice balance between the spiritual,the dark,serious,and complicated, the relaxed and sweet, and the downright hilarious. The main plot being that Aang who is the Avatar who has the ability to bend the four elements,can and must learn the other three elements (he already knows airbending and for some Tear Jerker y goodness,he is revealed to be the last one) in order to stop the Fire Lord from using a comet to commit genocide,and the other plot being that son of said (Zuko) Fire Lord has been banished and must capture the Avatar to get back in his good graces. And I must say that they nicely combined them,to the point of one episode explaining how they really are Not So Different. Once that gets going,the writers nicely start to put heroes and villains on both sides and deconstruct the usual ways of the fantasy genre (Book 2 especially I mean really 4 kids topple a government? And you really don't expect the opposition to come back?
Alongside that good writing stuff is the top notch animation and effects,all from excellent research on various martial arts forms. Said research also extends to ensuring that proper writing is used,and so they hired a calligrapher. All this adds to a very pleasant atmosphere,even during the most intense scenes.
Now for my top 3 favorite parts which really help make this an A+
- The whole character of Toph
- Great sense of balance
- Brilliant inside jokes
And the bottom 3 which ultimately are ruled out
- The character derailing of Katara
- The three episodes called "The Great Divide"," Avatar Day", and "The Painted Lady"
- The resolution of the conflict is an Ass Pull
But other than those 3,and especially the top 3,this series is a classic.
How was Katara derailed? She seem pretty consistent to me.
Well, aside from some moments...
Book 3 kinda axed her sense of humor,her actions in "The Painted Lady", and "The Southern Raiders", and demeanor in "The Runaway" were very prickish. Compared to the rest of the Books,Katara was an angry Jerk Ass.
Admittedly this review isn't too well written,it's just so hard to articulate so much good stuff.
Oh, yeah she was very bitter in the The Southern Raiders, but then again she was confronting the killer of her mother...
If I found anything to be wrong in that episode was her telling Sokka he didn't loved there mom as much as she did.
You know, people don't act the same way all the time.
I just watched episode Great Divide. What's wrong with it? I thought it was pretty funn and love the way they ended it.
A fair few people dislike it because it adds nothing to the story, and Sokka and Katara act a little... differently.
I myself like the episode, and I can also tolerate Avatar Day for Sleuth!Sokka. The Painted Lady is alright too, but I do like me some Kataang, so that explains that.
I can't stand The Great Divide largely because the problem was solved by lying. Forget aesops, that whole 'explanation' was completely unbelievable.
I'm just gonna make one point...
So Toph is abrasive and sarcastic by nature, and it can come off as amusing... so in the eyes of fans, that's brilliant characterization?
Katara, on the other hand, is sweet and kind by default. She only resorts to nasty measures when she's broken - and even though she realizes she's wrong and makes up for it, and ultimately DOES NOT go through with her darkest desires - she's an overall jackass?
Fan Dumb at its finest.
No, it wasn't. As I've explained to several others, it was foreshadowed as early as Book 2: Earth during "The Guru" episode and the precedent for it was set by the introduction of Ty Lee's chi blocking ability.
Eh, debatable. I won't deny that there was precedent, but I feel like it still could have been set up better. Certainly, we could have used some build up in Book 3.
I think the dislike of Katara comes from how for most of 2 seasons she was little more than a straight man/voice of reason to the others in the Gaang. She had neither depth nor memorable shenanigans. Whereas Toph endeared to the audience with her attitude.
Then in season 3, Katara starts showing flaws in several episodes. I liked them, but they seem to have turned off some viewers who had no reason to like her before. Simply put, she had memorable flaws and bland, unremarkable strengths.
Compare her to Korra. She has both flaws and attitude at the start, and only becomes a voice of reason towards the end, presenting to the audience a lot more facets, and she is generally better liked.
On the matter of energybending, I would say that the real problem was not lack of foreshadowing but that it was given to Aang right when he needed it by something that never came up before.
If you're referring to the Lion Turtle, it was referenced 4 times prior to its appearance:
Also, lors of things happen in Avatar when it's needed. Some quick examples:
Point being, in the Avatar-verse destiny doesn't shoot dice. Things happen when they're supposed to. And if you want further proof, think back to when Aang tried to rescue Bumi. Bumi told him it wasn't time yet and said Aang needed to find someone else to teach him earthbending: someone who listens and waits. Then he returned himself to Azula's custody and bided his time.
I mean, I get what you're saying Miin U, but I don't think that it wasn't foreshadowed, so much as I don't think that the foreshadowing was necessarily sufficient - Lion Turtles are mentioned as existing, sure, but the idea that one could teach Aang Energybending came out of left field. Now, if Lion Turtles had been discussed earlier, as ancient beings who could bend energy, I think it would have been set up better. Hell, maybe if they had come up with Wan's story earlier, they could have used it as foreshadowing for the climax.
The set-up does exist, to an extent, but it's thin, and I don't think it's quite enough (and this is coming from someone who otherwise likes how Ozai was defeated).
Also, in regards to destiny...even if we assume that destiny is at work (and I do think that can be a way to excuse plot contrivances, so I'm not sure if that's a good enough reason), most of the stuff you've mentioned are perfectly reasonable developments without bringing destiny into it - for example, Zuko wanted to join Team Avatar, so he followed them after the failed invasion, and it's perfectly natural that Aang's firebending training would come up again at that time. Whereas the Lion Turtle shows up because...well, we don't know? People aren't just puppets for destiny to work through - they ought to have their own reasons for doing what they do.
Even that had precedence, since Guru was Patnhik was already leading up to that.
The Lion Turtle simply reminded him of what Patnhik said by elaborating on it: "Long ago... before man learned to bend the elements, they bent the energy within themselves."
Further, Ty Lee used chi blocking to temporarily cut off her opponents' flow of Ki. So to some degree, it can argued that she used a lesser form of energybending and, by Korra's time, Unalaq had mastered spiritbending (which he eventually taught Korra).
Sure, Zuko followed them to the Western Air Temple, but you didn't find it odd that he showed up at the exact moment the gaang was discussing where Aang would find a new firebending master?
That'd be like me wondering: 'how am I supposed to get 10 grand, by this afternoon?' only to have some billionaire pop up at that exact moment and go: 'what a coinky-dink, 'cuz I just happened to be in the area and just happened to have 10 grand I needed to give away. So, here ya go.'
Both series lampshaded the fact the destiny was at work several times: Aang saw visions of Toph before he even knew who she was ("The Swamp"). When Zuko wanted his uncle to become Fire Lord, Iroh said that wasn't his destiny. It was Zuko's. Just as Korra's decision to leave the Spirit Portals open brought the Air Nomad civilization back from the brink, and so on.
Let me put it this way - yes, "The Guru" establishes the idea of energy within the human body, and yes, Ty Lee is able to block her opponents' chi and temporarily remove their ability to bend. These indeed work as foreshadowing to energybending. My argument, however, is that wasn't quite enough - going from that to the idea of permanently removing bending is too big of a leap for me, and I feel like there's a narrative step missing there, like establishing that people can be given the ability to bend. And even it had been more built up, the fact remains that the idea that Lion Turtles are ancient beings who possess this ability and can easily teach it to people comes pretty much out of nowhere.
Again, I like the idea behind it, and I'll admit there was foreshadowing. But I don't believe it was sufficient. May I ask why you feel differently?
I agree that the series had a lot of unlikely contrivances, but I could overlook them as long as the characters showed their own agency in reacting to them. Everyone happening to be in Ba Sing Se at the same time was fine because it set up an epic fight and allowed a different tone to the story. But Aang\'s aversion to killing came up very suddenly (I knew it was coming, but should have been mentioned earlier) and then even more suddenly he is handed a solution with no involvement on his part. It would have worked if he had gone to seek energybending on his own initiative; it would also have given more direction to a season with far too much meandering filler.
To me the bottom problem is that the tension comes entirely from Aang\'s ideals, so it should be a chance for Aang to grow. But then the answer is given to him by deus ex machina and I don\'t see that he learnt anything from it. A plot point that comes up by author fiat and is resolved by author fiat is bad.
@KarkatTheDalek: I wouldn't say I feel differently, 'cuz I agree it could've used a bit more build up like you said. I'm simply saying it wasn't as out of left field as most seem to think.
Admittedly, it was only after rewatching the series 2-3 times that I started noticing the connections between "The Guru" episode, Ty Lee's chi blocking, and energybending. Afterward, I was sorta like: 'okay, I guess I can see it now'.
@Reymma: Aang didn't have time to go off on a separate journey to learn about energybending, since he already had his hands full with mastering the 4 elements + the Avatar state. Which was also cutting it close to the arrival of Sozin's Comet as it was.
However, it's possible that Patnhik may have been planning to teach Aang about energybending (after mastering the Avatar state), since he seemed to be alluding to it. But Aang took off before Patnhik could finish.
Ah, okay then.
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