It’s more accurate to say that we are watching Avatar: The Last Airbender series as a family (more or less, dh hasn’t been there for all of them). Miss M. has seen some YouTube clips of the series and finally asked if she could watch the whole thing. The Baron was all for it (he’s three–he’s usually all for things). Sir I. took some more persuading–he’s a sensitive kid and was afraid it would be *too* scary–but there is no way he’s going to let his siblings watch something without him.
I’m perfectly happy to let them watch it–er, watch it with them–because Avatar is the best cartoon series I’ve ever seen. Hands down. It’s the sort of series I wish I had seen as kid growing up in the–okay, I’m going to date myself here–80s and the early 90s. For one thing, it actually has character development and a plot arc. And it has actual yanno, variety, instead of the same episode over and over again in different guises–namely, Good Guys Fight Bad Guys and Win, Using the Same Move They Used Last Time to Win (yeah, I’m looking at you, Voltron of the Blazing Sword).
The makers of Avatar did a spectacular job of utilizing all the strengths of their medium. You don’t need a 5 gizillion dollar special effects budget for animated magical martial arts. Plus, animation lends itself really well to a certain type of comedy. Like the silly faces (the kids LOVE the silly faces). The soundtrack is pretty awesome, too. The music really makes the Agni Kai between Zuko and Zhao in episode 3.
We’re up to episode 8 in the first season. Some comments:
- I like the way they’ve created sympathy for Zuko–whose stated purpose in life is to capture Our Hero and drag him off to the Fire Nation–by pitting him against the older, stronger Zhao. Zuko is an underdog in his own nation, a banished prince with few resources, rejected by his own father and treated with contempt by the commanding officers of the Fire Nation. One can’t help but feel sorry for him.
- They balance serious and silly really well. We get dramatic intensity leavened with comic relief. It’s a combination that works for me–and works well in animation. I can’t see it working out as well in a live-action show.
- Already seeing a lot of character development in Sokka, especially in the Kyoshi episode.
- The scene with Roku-and-Aang coming out of the inner sanctuary in the Fire Temple? Never fails to send shivers down my back.
- Most hysterically funny scene so far: “That lemur… it’s earthbending!”
I’ll be posting up more thoughts on the series as we continue watching. Spoilers are included, so be warned.
In the meantime, there is a lot of fire, water, and airbending going on in my living room these days. I asked Sir I. today what parts he liked best and he responded with: “The fights. All of them.”
Yeah, that’s my boy.