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Avatar: The Last Airbender


Reverend Jax
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So, for those that are not at all familiar with this series, Avatar: The Last Airbender is an American- made Japanese-style Nickelodeon animated series. Just about everything about this series is made to give the appearance of it being a Japanese-made anime.

 

avatar-cover.jpg

 

It's an epic involving a somewhat complex mythology that basically goes something like this.

 

The Setup:

 

In this world, all human civilization is divided into four "nations", the Air nation, the Water nation, the Earth nation and the Fire nation (within all but the Fire nation there seem to be allied but autonomous "sister tribes"). Within each nation, there is a class of warriors called Benders that can manipulated their native element, with natural talent and training influencing the skill level of the individual Benders. There is always one Avatar, a Bender of one of the four nations who can bend all four elements. When the Avatar dies, he/she is reincarnated as a baby in the next nation of the avatar cycle that parallels the seasons (winter for water, spring for earth, summer for fire, and autumn for air), so an Avatar that was born a water Bender will be reborn in the Earth nation. The Avatar also has the ability to go into the Avatar state, unwillingly achievable only in a state of true danger, where he/she taps into the consciousnesses of all the past avatar and gets really powerful. If an Avatar dies in the Avatar state, the Avatar cycle is broken. The avatar existed to maintain harmony between the four nations.

 

The Backstory:

 

So, the story involves alot of characters, but mostly revolved around Aang, a 12 year-old Air Nation born Avatar. While training on his Airbending, he is caught in a storm while traveling from the Southern Air Temple to the Eastern Air Temple to complete his training. He entered the avatar state and is able to protect himself and his flying bison by freezing themselves in a small glacier, that unfortunately drifts near the South Pole where it cannot thaw. Trapped in suspended animation, the avatar is not reborn and the Fire nation declares war of the other three nations. The war continues for 100 years before Aang is discovered by two Water nation teenage siblings, Sokka and Katara. Aang wakes to a world where the Air Nation has been completely wiped out by the Fire nation (hence the title of the show, the Last Airbender) and the Water and Earth nations are not faring well against the Fire nation. Aang must complete his training in the remaining three Bending styles while staying as much under the Fire nation's radar as possible before being able to face the Fire nation and bring an end to the war.

 

The story also regularly focuses on prince Zuko, the exiled Firebender only son of Lord Ozai. Zuko feels find and capturing the Avatar is his only path to honorably regaining his father's approval.

 

The show is very well produce with excellent voice talent, including Mark Hamill, Clancy Brown, and Jason Issacs, in secondary roles among others. I'm about half way into the second season and I'm hooked. They are in the third season right now. They call the seasons 'Books' and name them after the elements, so the first season was called Book 1: Water, the second was Book 2: Earth, etc, so it's likely the creators planned a four season story arc which they mean to end.

 

Anybody else into this show?

Edited by Reverend Jax
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CJ AND I LOVE IT. Oh my god. I love it. It's really good!! We're stuck right now in the second season... We've only seen about three or four eps into it I think? Maybe just one or two... I think I'll go on the hunt for a torrent for it. I take it the second season is complete by now, ja?

 

 

 

Woah I'm way behind! Are they into third season now?!

Edited by MetalHeart
edit to add words, yo.
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It sucks that it's ending :( But the three movies will be awesome! I think Cj told me about them, but it totally skipped my mind. Thanks Jax!!

 

edit- ooooh ok I've seen through season two before and just portions of Season three. My bad! haha I'm so sillers.

Edited by MetalHeart
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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...
the dvd for the third quarter of episodes comes out in about a month, half that set haven't been aired so they should be showing new ones on the tv soon

 

Nickelodeon has been really assholish with releasing new episodes, it SHOULD have been done by now as there is a comic releasing soon that is an epilogue to the 3rd season. Hopefully it will all be done soon.

 

Supposedly there will be more seasons but the Story of Aang and crew ends this season, with a new story picking up in S4. Nick has been treating this show like shit though. So who knows?

 

One thing that hasn't been talked about is how Andrea Romano is the voice acting director for the show. She has been the director for all the best DCU cartoons (Except 'The Batman') and in my opinion she is the best in the business. I wish more video game and anime productions would use her, or someone who is at least half as good as her, voice acting would actually not suck for once.

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They released up to episode 55, fulfilling the dvd obligation (meaning season 3 dvd 3 of 4 is done), and did it in a really dickish way in one large block dump. Ah well, M. Night Shyamalan is going to do direct the three live action movies, if he doesn't kill the franchise first.

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Yeah, unfortunately, Live Action Avatar means child actors, and that's always a gamble, especially in heavier roles. The casting for Katara, Sokka, and especially for Aang are doing to be critical. She may be a tad too old, but if production on this had started a few years ago, Keisha Castle-Hughes (from Whale Rider) would have been a great Katara. Obviously, some kids with a little martial arts experience would be good.

 

Anyway, looks like all the final episodes will begin airing July 14th. Here's Nick's official trailer for the finale.

 

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  • 1 year later...

Thought I'd move our TV show discussion to its proper place, Jax. :blink:

 

Quick comment after reading the posts about DVD releases: boy am I glad I waited until the series was over before I began watching it! I finished all three seasons/books in a little over a week.

 

Probably Book Two is my favorite as a whole with Book One coming in a very close second. Book Three was outstanding up until epsiodes 10 & 11 (Day of the Black Sun) and the rest of the season kinda felt like mostly filler from then on. This thread has been dead for nearly two years, but I'll go into spoiler tag territory here to discuss my thoughts on the ending (?) of the series.

 

 

I put the question mark in parentheses above b/c I wonder if the series is truly over as Zuko's quest for his mother still seems like a possibility and Azula still apparently has firebending and is now even more unhinged (and arguably totally batshit crazy) than before. I was a little disappointed by the final battles and the deus ex lion turtle to solve Aang's problem w/ killing the Firelord. Also I felt the whole "no killing" conundrum was glossed over a bit too much in the series as a whole for it to play such a big dilemma for Aang in the last four episodes. Sure Aang's avoidance of the issue is keeping in line w/ his character through the series, but the show really needed a stronger "killing is wrong" tone to truly put that conflict for Aang in better perspective for the viewer. As a society we're taught killing is wrong, but we're also shown constantly that the bad guy dies in the end.

I like that the show's finale focused on this conventional plot device "swithceroo" though. Very unique in these sort of epic tales.

 

 

Also, I did find myself thinking about the ending more than I believe I would've if the series had ended

by satiating my bloodlust as a viewer by killing the Firelord and, more importantly, Azula. Seriously, fuck that fratricidal bitch! But not having the satisfaction as a viewer of seeing Azula being blood bended into a bolt of fire

was a very small sacrifice for the overall message the finale leaves viewers with. And in my mind that makes for a truly successful finale.

Edited by Mr. Hakujin
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You thought the second half of Book 3 was filler? Wow, that wasn't my impression at all.

 

And yeah, the

dues ex lion turtle

is a point of debate among fans. I think M Night would be wise to change that ending some what, or at lease to some foreboding of it so it seems less out of nowhere.

 

So, whose you favorite character? Mine's Toph (cause it sounds like 'tough!'). Favorite episode?

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You thought the second half of Book 3 was filler? Wow, that wasn't my impression at all.

Yeah, I kinda did. I guess if I were a fan of the series over the course of the 4 years it was on air then maybe spending entire episodes on some of those plot points wouldn't have felt like filler. But the "

Zuko Field Trips" and the Ember Island episodes only really served to highlight plot points and character traits the viewer was already exposed to.

However I can see the appeal for long term fans, and the EMber Island episodes especially were fun. But when you're basically finishing up the last part of a season in one day you kinda want the series to get on w/ it already. I guess instant access is kind of a blessing and curse in that case.

 

And yeah, the

dues ex lion turtle

is a point of debate among fans. I think M Night would be wise to change that ending some what, or at lease to some foreboding of it so it seems less out of nowhere.

Avatar wiki points out two other mentions of it earlier in the series, but they were fairly cursory and didn't really point to it being a significant creature or part of the overall Avatar mythos at all for it to play such a huge (pun!) part in the finale.

 

So, whose you favorite character? Mine's Toph (cause it sounds like 'tough!'). Favorite episode?

Yeesh, that's a tough one as I really think it works so well as an ensemble series. Seriously, the more I think about it the more I believe if done well it could be one of the best film franchises in cinema history. There are so many great characters w/ great story arcs. But, gun to my head, I'd probably pick Katara. Aang is a close second, but Katara becomes such a badass by season three.

 

I'd have to think on my favorite episode for a while though. I might be able to go season by season, but one epiode for the overall series? Not likely...

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  • 4 weeks later...

I was telling Nick the other day that I thought a game based on The Last Airbender (the show or movie) would be awesome on X-Box's upcoming Natal peripheral that captures body movement without a controller. In the story, the main character Aang starts off using Airbending, which is based on Bagua Kung Fu, then Waterbending based on Tai Chi, then Earthbending based on Hung Ga Kung Fu, and finally Firebending based on Northern Shaolin Kung Fu. The first two use few kicks, if any at all, making them ideal as easier styles for a game, then Earthbending has a few kicks, while Firebending has the most by far. Nck says he foresees only disastrous self-inflicted injury and property damage, but I also see potential awesomeness.

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Depending on how the Natal ends up, that is if it can deliver on the hype, I'd think Avatar: TLA would be a perfect property for the system. But would it really be able to pick up the nuances of those body movements?

 

Did you ever play and of the Airbender games for Wii? I looked at reviews on Amazon and it seems to be a pretty mixed bag--there's three games out now I think--as far as using the Wiimote for realistic movements goes.

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  • 1 month later...

Ha! I know, it's annoyingly emotional when Appa gets bison-napped. I agree w/ Jax in that Appa's return is triumphant.Also, the episode where they go through what happened to him while he was missing is pretty great.

You're at a really interesting point in the series now...

Edited by The NZA
CMON YOUSE GUYS
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Yeah, it really is.

Nothing goes right for the Gaang. Can you imagine that assault on the Earth King's palace from the beginning of episode 218, in a live action movie? And didn't Aang and Appa's reunion damn near break your heart?

 

 

Did you start season 3 yet?

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*sigh*

Again w/ all the spoiler tags muppet baby nza? The series has been over for, what, two years now?

 

Anyway, I agree w/ your analogy that S2=

Empire. Although I re-watched ESB this weekend, and I think Aang whines less in 3 seasons than I Luke does in his entire 10 minutes on Dagobah.

 

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yeah, luke's a whiner, big revelation there! haku's like a mountain sage who comes down to tell people be careful, that coffee might be a bit warm. ps bindu, despite a hello kitty Pyramid avatar, has not yet completed Silent Hill 2, a game released in 2001. if you wanna petition for spoiler tag expiration dates, be my guest, spoiler-bot.

 

up to ep 14 "The Boiling Rock, part 1" next.

Zuko stepped his shit up, joined the (eventually?) winning team and learned how to cut a rug with dragons. soon as my man Irho shows up, things'll be gravy...

but yeah, the backstory keeps coming and getting darker. for a show that cant (on screen) kill much of anybody, its at least letting the writing get harsh. not bad..for babies.

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