Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Avatar: The Last Airbender- Review of the TV series (2005-8)


I was persuaded by my son to buy the complete DVD set of the 2005-8 cartoon TV series Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Legend of Aang - 12 DVDs featuring 61 'half hour' TV episodes for about twenty pounds!

(Although I should mention the first DVD was of atrocious quality, with a kind of 'double vision' effect.)

After considerable initial scepticism about the project, I ended-up watching every single episode with my son - and looking-forward every day to the next (at weekends we sometimes watched three or four).

This is just about as good a TV cartoon series as it is possible to imagine - it has a very serious and satisfying story arc across all three series and sixty-one episodes, but individual episodes are most often free standing - aside from a few double episodes and a four-part finale.

It is just hugely enjoyable.

There are great characters and character development, a lot of humour, exciting fights using various 'martial arts' and special powers, multiple and varied settings and situations, and a considerable spiritual/ ethical element.

There is a lot of detail; the thing was done with real love - and in general is so much better than it needed to be!

In the end, it is the characters I remember most. Even the tiniest minor characters - such as the guards shopkeepers etc who are encountered - are given interesting characters, as if they had back-stories; but probably my absolute favourite is Uncle Iroh - who at first seems lazy and gluttonous, but turns-out to be a kind of Zen Master - who has attained enlightenment, lost ego, recognized the importance of small things (especially a good cup of tea), and returned to 'the world'.



Max said...

I watched this with my wife a few years ago (we've made a habit of watching cartoons/anime together a lot) and agree that it was fantastic in every way, which makes what they did with the sequel series bitterly disappointing.

Luqman said...

I can scarcely believe you reviewed this. The part I found most affecting was the redemption of Zuko and his reconciliation with Iroh. A beautiful mix of disappointment, love and forgiveness.

Aeoli said...

Uncle Iroh is the best. Final season was phenomenal. Ranks with Cowboy Bebop.