Off Topic: Avatar; the Last Airbender Review

Now where do I start? Hmm, well, I’ve been an avatar fan since the day it aired, I’ve waited 2 years for the finale to air on Nickelodeon South East Asia (which hasn’t even aired the book of fire yet) and I’m also a Zuko fanboy. =D

Anyway, I’ve just finished the last episode of avatar Season 3 and despite that dragon ball-esque final battle (which was the most awesome fight I’ve ever seen on a cartoon channel, scratch that It’s the most awesome fight ever! D:< ), avatar ended so well that for I wasn’t even wishing for another season.

Book 1: Air, Cover

So, for all you sotongs (What we use to call noobs in the jolly land of Malaysia) out there who have no idea what avatar is all about, let me enlighten you. Avatar is the story of a boy, who being the incarnate of nature itself serves as the balance keeper of the world. Set in a beautifully diverse world thats divided into four nations; Earth, Water, Wind and (you guessed it) Fire. His job, after his 100 year hiatus is to stop the Fire nation from spreading all out war and disrupting the balance of the world forever. Sounds like generic anime? Well, I thought Gurren Lagann was something not worth watching when it first aired, how wrong I was.

Anyway, enough fanboy rambling, time to start with the review. Frankly speaking, in terms of characters avatar has a large enough cast to flesh its story out for many seasons. Each character is developed significantly and more often than not, they reoccur sooner or later. The main cast however are fleshed out superbly; whether their characteristics, background or character development, its hard to find a character without some sort of motive. My favourites are Aang and Zuko, although I adore the rest of the gang too. Going off topic a bit, I want to talk about Zuko. Most people see him as an overly emo character, a stereotype banished prince looking for his place back home. Despite all that buzz about his character, and that horribly controversial thing he did at the end of season 2, I think his character is the most interesting, and easily empathized of all. Aang’s just Aang, I don’t need any other reason to love him. =)

Avatar book 2: Earth, cover

The overall plot of Avatar is actually quite simple; defeat the ultimate badguy to save the day. Though seemingly simple, the episodes, being mostly episodic in nature, show good direction, utilizing whatever time given to deliver a really great story; I can’t remember any episode I didn’t like. Character development episodes we’re chock full of good drama, comedy episodes we’re gut busting, and of course fighting episodes we’re just too awesome for words. As for the setting, oh my gosh, where do I start? Most of the little nooks and crannys in the world of avatar have been explored, much to my delight. Every place in the four nations the guys visit is diverse and different from the others, from lush jungles to high walled stone cities and even tombs. The creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko as well as their entire team have done an awesome job in my opinion, making all 61 episodes of avatar something to look forward too.

A simple illustration of the four kingdoms

Animationwise, avatar has always been smooth, slick and stylish. The fighting scenes, be it duels ,dances, flying, avatar state action, you name it, have all been totally awesome to watch. Part of what makes avatar so fascinating to watch are its bending battles, Zuko’s powerful firebending, Toph’s solid earthbending, Katara’s grace, Aang’s fiesty airbending and Sokka’s goofy fighting (hahahaha). The backdrops in avatar are always detailed, and though the environment isn’t Seirei No Moribito level, it certainly manages to give the background a very vivid and full look. Oh, did I mention that the bending effects we’re just cool? xD

Avatar Book 3: Fire, cover. I LOVE AANG’S HAIR!!! =D

Now, on to the sound. The music of avatar is just brilliant. From the unearthly monk chanting to the subtle, harmony of the sunghi horn (I love Iroh so much for constantly playing that thing), the soundtrack is just so diverse and more importantly; it sounds absolutely beautiful (and sometimes sinister). Also, since I usually watch my anime subbed and very few dubbed, I’ve got to say, the voice acting in avatar is just so good. Dante Basco‘s voice acting as Zuko is great to the last notch, capturing all Zuko’s flaring emotions with ease. Jack DeSena as Sokka is just awesome too, I mean who else would be able pull of Sokka’s joke voice? The late Mako as Iroh was just inspirational too, since he got that whole wise-old-man gig.

Iroh on his sunghi horn. It’s mesmerizing. T–T

The Avatar theme.

Omashu’s theme, Agni Kai, Panda Lilly theme

So, after all my ranting how would I rate avatar? Well since the creators got the idea from anime (such as FLCL) I guess It’s only fair that I use my normal rating system for avatar. So;

Awesome – Best of the best, saved for my favourites
Great – Way above the normal, worth keeping
Good – A few problems here and there but still nice
Average – Baseline level anime, watch if you have the time
Mediocre – Mediocre
Bad – I doubt there would be any of these on my blog since i’d probably have dropped them. xD

Avatar, beyond a shadow of doubt, ranks Awesome in my books. What else could I rate this great show? I think that more shows (non-anime or even some anime) would benefit from studying avatar, especially those aimed at fiction. SO, I really hope I did this great series justice with my review anf for those who haven’t watched it yet; my advice go buy the DVDs now! Cheers! =D

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6 Responses to “Off Topic: Avatar; the Last Airbender Review”

  1. omisyth Says:

    The Sozin’s Comet finale ranks as completely EPIC in my books, especially the music during the Zuko V Azula fight. One of the best animated series to be created in years (and to come out of America, maybe, ever) Must buy complete series!!!

  2. aangissweet Says:

    alright…first of all, great blog, really great blog…it sounds like you know your stuff about anime and tv shows

    i cant say u know FACTS about avatar becuz anybody can look those facts up on the internet

    but you know your stuff, way to stick up for avatar, maybe we should talk some time
    peace out

    ~~~~1~~~~

  3. Shin Says:

    I feel bad for dissing this simply because it’s not made in Japan, despite hearing many good things about it.

  4. Itazura Na Kiss - 15 « Anime Under The Sun Says:

    […] Anime Under The Sun My views on the anime I watch « Off Topic: Avatar; the Last Airbender Review […]

  5. issa-sa Says:

    @Shin: Hey, even weeaboo me likes this series… well what little of it I’ve randomly watched on Nickelodeon some time ago. Perhaps I’ll make time to watch it in its entirety one day.

  6. rroknedaj Says:

    Hehe, thamks for all the comments guys. i really hope the creators of avatar give us something as great as this the next time round. =D

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