Avatar: The Last Airbender is a show that premiered on the 21st of February in 2005 on Nickelodeon. It was an American animation created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. There are now three seasons organized into the four elements (not including air). Season one is the Water “book” and it has a number of “chapters” which are all the different episodes (E.g. Book One, Chapter One- The Boy in the Iceberg).
The show is about a young boy named Aang who has been frozen in an iceberg for 100 years. Brother and sister Sokka and Katara discover him and a great journey begins. This is a world in which there is “bending” of air, water, fire, or earth by some people in each tribe. There is one person who can bend all four elements with training and helps to keep peace between all of the different tribes. This person is called the Avatar. The Avatar acts as the bridge between the world and the"Spirit World". Every time an avatar dies a new one is born in a different tribe and when that person goes into the avatar state they become aware of all their previous lives and are infinitely more powerful.
100 years ago the fire nation decided that it wanted “to spread its wealth” and decided to take over all of the other nations (or tribes). At this point in the story they have nearly succeeded and the Avatar is thought to have disappeared (if killed in the Avatar state the line would be broken). It turns out that the Avatar accidentally froze himself for 100 years and he is found by chance by a brother and sister of the water tribe.
From this point on Aang, the little boy who turns out to be the Avatar begins to learn of what has been happening for the past hundred years. He learns that all of the air nomads, his tribe have been killed by the fire nation and is devastated.
Avatar the Last Airbender is about a little boy who has to take on a lot of responsibility long before he is ready. It is about his adventures of trying to learn how to master all of the different elements, learning to accept who he is, learning to get along with his friends, and trying to avoid the prince and princess of the fire nation who are after him.
Artistically the characters are very anime-like and the backgrounds are pretty complex in comparison to the character’s iconic faces. All of the writing is done in Chinese characters. It is a show that has been influenced by numerous countries and customs. For example, each of the different bending styles is a different martial arts form. The water tribe of the north is extremely similar to the Inuit.
There are a lot of battles with swords and using bending but there is no gore or blood. The lack of vulgar language, gory language, and the inclusion of a moral at the end of each episode clearly show that the program is tailored to children. Despite this the creators tackle a number of extremely difficult subjects such as death and responsibility. The characters are also multi-dimensional, especially the “evil” characters, they often have a reason for their actions. There is humor on more than one level just like movies like “The Incredibles” have. For example, Aang is always excited to go “sledding” on the numerous strange animals of their world and Uncle Iroh in between chasing after the Avatar just wants to sit and have some tea.
Aang (Zach Tyler Eisen)- the young Avatar who was accidentally froze himself for 100 years. An airbender and always up for a game or penguin-sledding.
Katara-(Mae Whitman)- The young girl who finds Aang. She is a waterbender and the mother figure of the group.
Sokka- (Jack DeSena)- Katara’s brother who is “the warrior” but is most often comic relief. He does not bend and instead uses a boomerang.
Toph Bei-Fong- (Jessie Flower)- an earth bender that gets added to their group later on. She is blind, so she uses her feet to earthbend and sense what goes on around her. Later in the series, she invents metalbending.
Uncle Iroh- (Mako or Makoto Iwamatsu 72 and seasons three and on Greg Baldwin)- Zuko’s uncle who alternates between being very wise and just wanting to finish his tea. He is the guiding figure for Zuko and even sometimes for Aang’s group. He was a general and was supposed to be firelord but was displaced by his brother.
Prince Zuko- (Dante Basco)- Is the firelord Ozai’s son. He has been banished and his entire being is focused on trying to find and capture the avatar to regain his honor.
Princess Azula- (Grey DeLisle)- She is Zuko’s sister who seems to follow in her father’s evil footsteps. She is not completely one dimensional but is most often just the evil one.
Appa - (Dee Bradley Baker)- Appa is Aang’s flying bison.
Momo - (Dee Bradley Baker)- Momo is the little monkey-like creature that travels with them.