Difference between revisions of "Avatar: The Last Airbender"

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'''General Iroh''' (voiced by Mako Iwamatsu in Books 1 & 2 and Greg Baldwin in Book 3) is a Firebending master and former heir to the Fire Nation throne. After the death of his son at the Siege of Ba Sing Se, his younger brother Ozai superseded him as Fire Lord. Unlike most firebenders, Iroh lacks hostility toward other nations and generates his fire and lightning not from fury, as is conventional, but from a sense given to him by dragons, the original source of firebending. As a member of the Order of the White Lotus, Iroh has social connections throughout the Four Nations. Iroh is outwardly easy-going and friendly, and particularly fond of food, good tea (ginseng tea is his favorite), the strategy game Pai Sho, cheerful company, and pleasant music. Something of a hedonist in his old age, he focuses more on relaxation and amusements than on the pursuit of the Avatar, a habit that clashes with the obsessions of his nephew Zuko. At the end of the series, after enlisting his fellow White Lotus members to release Ba Sing Se from the Fire Nation's rule, Iroh reopened his tea shop within the city called the "Jasmine Dragon".
 
'''General Iroh''' (voiced by Mako Iwamatsu in Books 1 & 2 and Greg Baldwin in Book 3) is a Firebending master and former heir to the Fire Nation throne. After the death of his son at the Siege of Ba Sing Se, his younger brother Ozai superseded him as Fire Lord. Unlike most firebenders, Iroh lacks hostility toward other nations and generates his fire and lightning not from fury, as is conventional, but from a sense given to him by dragons, the original source of firebending. As a member of the Order of the White Lotus, Iroh has social connections throughout the Four Nations. Iroh is outwardly easy-going and friendly, and particularly fond of food, good tea (ginseng tea is his favorite), the strategy game Pai Sho, cheerful company, and pleasant music. Something of a hedonist in his old age, he focuses more on relaxation and amusements than on the pursuit of the Avatar, a habit that clashes with the obsessions of his nephew Zuko. At the end of the series, after enlisting his fellow White Lotus members to release Ba Sing Se from the Fire Nation's rule, Iroh reopened his tea shop within the city called the "Jasmine Dragon".
  
'''Toph Beifong''' (voiced by Jessie Flower)''' is a blind earthbending grandmaster of the prestigious Beifong family in the Earth Kingdom, as well as Aang's earthbending teacher. She is often sarcastic, direct, and confrontational; commonly depicted as the choleric and tomboy of the group. Though blind, Toph can feel vibrations in the earth. Through this heightened sense, she can identify people's locations, their distance from her, and their physical build. This 'seismic sense' provides her with a distinct advantage when facing other earthbenders in combat, as they require contact with the ground and extract rocks from their surroundings. As another result of her blindness, Toph has acute hearing, enabling her to recognize people by the sound of their voices and to eavesdrop on distant conversations. Unlike other earthbenders, Toph has a distinct style of earthbending not based on Hung Gar but on the Southern Praying Mantis, featuring quick generation of energy and low kicks, to suit her small stature. Toph taught herself metalbending by manipulating the metals' impurities at the end of Book Two and throughout Book Three.
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'''Toph Beifong''' (voiced by Jessie Flower) is a blind earthbending grandmaster of the prestigious Beifong family in the Earth Kingdom, as well as Aang's earthbending teacher. She is often sarcastic, direct, and confrontational; commonly depicted as the choleric and tomboy of the group. Though blind, Toph can feel vibrations in the earth. Through this heightened sense, she can identify people's locations, their distance from her, and their physical build. This 'seismic sense' provides her with a distinct advantage when facing other earthbenders in combat, as they require contact with the ground and extract rocks from their surroundings. As another result of her blindness, Toph has acute hearing, enabling her to recognize people by the sound of their voices and to eavesdrop on distant conversations. Unlike other earthbenders, Toph has a distinct style of earthbending not based on Hung Gar but on the Southern Praying Mantis, featuring quick generation of energy and low kicks, to suit her small stature. Toph taught herself metalbending by manipulating the metals' impurities at the end of Book Two and throughout Book Three.
  
 
'''Princess Azula''' (voiced by Grey DeLisle) is Zuko's younger sister who is a major antagonist in Books Two and Three. She is a gifted firebending master. After Zhao's death, Azula is sent by Ozai to capture the Avatar, Zuko, and Iroh. Her amorality and ability to act without hesitation or remorse also accounts for her ability to create lightning, a skill that requires peace of mind. Despite her cruel temperament, she becomes distraught when abandoned by her friends Mai and Ty Lee, and collapses mentally when her father leaves her the now-worthless position of Fire Lord, in which she becomes increasingly irrational, paranoid, and mentally unstable,[30] and ultimately suffers a full psychotic breakdown, in which she is overcome by Zuko and Katara. Following the end of the war, Azula is placed at a mental institution to be closely monitored.
 
'''Princess Azula''' (voiced by Grey DeLisle) is Zuko's younger sister who is a major antagonist in Books Two and Three. She is a gifted firebending master. After Zhao's death, Azula is sent by Ozai to capture the Avatar, Zuko, and Iroh. Her amorality and ability to act without hesitation or remorse also accounts for her ability to create lightning, a skill that requires peace of mind. Despite her cruel temperament, she becomes distraught when abandoned by her friends Mai and Ty Lee, and collapses mentally when her father leaves her the now-worthless position of Fire Lord, in which she becomes increasingly irrational, paranoid, and mentally unstable,[30] and ultimately suffers a full psychotic breakdown, in which she is overcome by Zuko and Katara. Following the end of the war, Azula is placed at a mental institution to be closely monitored.

Revision as of 07:55, 25 June 2019

Avatar: The Last Airbender is an American animated show from Nickelodeon. It is created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Brian Konietzko, as well as directed by Aaron Ehasz. The series is set in a fantasy Asiatic-like world where some people can manipulate the classical elements (water, earth, fire, and air) with psychokinetic variants of the Chinese martial arts known as "bending"; the Avatar is a person who is the only person in the world to bend all four elements, as well as being a bridge between the human world and the spirit world. The series is presented in a style that combines anime with American cartoons and relies on the imagery of East/South Asian, Inuit, and New World societies.

The series itself tells of how the world used to live in peace and harmony until the Fire Nation waged war against the other nations. A hundred years later, an Air Nomad Avatar named Aang awakens from being frozen and befriends by two Southern Water Tribe siblings, a waterbender named Katara and her non-bending brother named Sokka. Having run away at the start of the war, Aang comes to accept his role as the Avatar and learns to adapt to the world he had left behind. Later joined by other friends and fighting new enemies, Aang and his companions must bring peace and unity to the world by ending the Fire Lord's war with the rest of the world.

The series is praised for its art direction, humor, characters, themes, and cultural references. It was nominated for (and won) several awards and has sold plenty of merchandise like action figures, a trading card game, video games, and stuffed animals. The series inspired by a live-action movie called The Last Airbender, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, though it was critically panned. A sequel called The Legend Of Korra premiered in 2012, which stars the titular Avatar after Aang, and a live-action remake of the series is being made for Netflix.

Setting

Avatar: The Last Airbender is set in a world (parallel with that of a spirit world) that is home to humans and hybrid animals. Human civilization is divided into four nations, named after the four classical elements: the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom, the Fire Nation, and the Air Nomads. Each nation has a distinct society in which select people, known as "benders" (waterbenders, earthbenders, firebenders and airbenders), have the ability to telekinetically manipulate and control their nation's element using martial arts. The Avatar is the only person with the ability to bend all four elements.

The Avatar, male or female, is an international arbiter whose duty is to maintain harmony among the four nations, and act as a mediator between humans and spirits. When the Avatar dies, their spirit is reincarnated into the next Avatar, who will be from the next nation in a set order that is known as the Avatar cycle: Fire Nation, Air Nomads, Water Tribe, and Earth Kingdom. An Avatar is required to master each bending art, beginning with the element of their home nation, and proceeding to learn the others in the order of the Avatar cycle, starting at the age of 16. Avatars also possess the ability to enter a condition known as the Avatar State, in which they gain the knowledge and abilities of all past Avatars. Although it is when they are most powerful, if an Avatar were ever to be killed while in the Avatar State, the reincarnation cycle would end and the avatar would never again be reborn.

Story

More than a century before the events of the series begin, the Fire Nation experienced rapid industrialization, technological advancement and shifts in demographics. Fire Lord Sozin, ruler of the Fire Nation, planned a world war to expand his nation's wealth, territory and influence. He was prevented from carrying out his plans by Avatar Roku, who was born in the Fire Nation. After Roku's death, the Avatar was reincarnated as an airbender named Aang. Because the Avatar was now a child, Sozin saw his chance and proceeded with his militant plans. At the age of twelve, Aang learned about his avatar status because of the threat of Sozin's war. Afraid of his new responsibilities and of separation from his mentor Gyatso, he fled his home on his flying bison, Appa. Aang was forced into the ocean by a storm; he entered the Avatar State and encased himself and Appa in suspended animation in an iceberg near the South Pole for one-hundred years. Sozin, knowing the avatar's reincarnation cycle mandated an Air Nomad was the new Avatar, carried out a genocide against the Air Nomads during the passage of a once-a-century comet that increased the firebenders' power, and continued his world conquest. In the present day, as the Fire Nation continues its war against the other nations, Katara, a fourteen-year-old waterbender of the Southern Water Tribe, and her older brother, Sokka, find and revive Aang and Appa. Aang learns about the war, and the siblings join him to reach the Northern Water Tribe at the North Pole so he and Katara can learn waterbending. Aang's return attracts the attention of Prince Zuko, the exiled son of the current Fire Lord Ozai, who pursues them, accompanied by his uncle Iroh. Aang is also pursued by Zhao, a Fire Nation admiral who intends to win Ozai's favor and rob Zuko of his redemption. En route to the North Pole, Aang learns about the genocide against his people when he visits the ruins of the Southern Air Temple. During the winter solstice, Aang meets the spirit of his predecessor, Avatar Roku, and comes to terms with his responsibilities. With the Northern Water Tribe, Aang and Katara learn advanced waterbending from Master Pakku; Sokka falls in love with the chief's daughter, Princess Yue. Zhao's navy lays siege to the tribe, seizing the mortal forms of the ocean and moon spirits—the source of waterbending—and causing a lunar eclipse. Zhao kills the moon spirit to deprive the waterbenders of their abilities but Aang joins with the ocean spirit to drive off the enemy fleet while Yue sacrifices her life to revive the moon spirit. When Ozai hears about his older brother Iroh's resistance to Zhao, he sends his daughter Azula to capture Iroh and Zuko.

After leaving the Northern Water Tribe, Katara continues teaching Aang waterbending while the group searches for an earthbending teacher. They meet Toph Beifong, a twelve-year-old, blind earthbending prodigy who wants independence from her upper-class family. Pursued by Princess Azula, Zuko and Iroh lead new lives in the Earth Kingdom as wanderers and refugees, settling in the capital city Ba Sing Se. At a library guarded by the spirit Wan Shi Tong, Aang and his group learn an imminent solar eclipse could let them stop the Fire Nation before Sozin's Comet arrives. They journey to Ba Sing Se to inform the Earth King of this information. In the city, they find that the Earth King Kuei is a puppet ruler, manipulated by Long Feng, leader of the Dai Li secret police. After Aang's group exposes Long Feng's political machinations, Toph is captured but escapes by learning to bend metal. The Dai Li join Azula to instigate a coup d'état of Ba Sing Se, and Zuko, who has spent his time in Ba Sing Se trying to come to terms with his identity, sides with his sister Azula. During a face off in the catacombs underneath the ancient city, Azula nearly kills Aang, forcing the protagonists to retreat with help from Iroh and leaving the Earth Kingdom under the control of the Fire Nation.

Aang emerges from a coma to find his friends and allies disguised as soldiers on a Fire Nation ship, preparing to invade the Fire Nation capital during the solar eclipse. The invasion is at first successful but Aang and his friends cannot find Ozai and are forced to retreat. Zuko learns about his father's intention to destroy the Earth Kingdom during the return of Sozin's Comet; he begins to regret his decision, and abandons the Fire Nation to join Aang and teach him firebending. As the comet approaches, Aang, a pacifist, wrestles with the possibility that he will have to kill Ozai to end the war. As he, in seclusion, consults the spirits of his predecessors for advice, Katara and the others encounter Iroh, who is leading a secret society called the Order of the White Lotus. The Order liberates Ba Sing Se. Sokka, Toph, and the warrior Suki attack the Fire Nation's airships, while Zuko and Katara confront Azula to prevent her from being crowned as the new Fire Lord. As the comet arrives, Aang confronts Ozai but cannot get the upper hand until Ozai triggers Aang's connection to the Avatar State. Aang strips Ozai of his firebending powers. Zuko is crowned the new Fire Lord and arranges an armistice, establishing peace in the world.

Main Characters

Aang (voiced by Zach Tyler Eisen) is a young airbender from the Air Nomads, as well as the Avatar and main protagonist of the show. He often acts in a fun-loving, carefree manner. His pacifism and vegetarianism are primary traits of Buddhism. The creators intended Aang to "defeat enemies with his wits" and be a "trickster hero". Though Aang is often frivolous and enthusiastic, he becomes serious during a crisis.

Katara (voiced by Mae Whitman) is a waterbender from the Southern Water Tribe. She is Aang's best friend and eventual girlfriend. She is known for resisting gender stereotypes, but acts as den mother to the other protagonists. As a waterbender, she is able to heal injuries, change water into ice, and use it to cut through solid objects. She is known to become enamored easily, and is often angered by treachery or dishonesty.

Sokka (voiced by Jack DeSena) is Katara's older brother, a non-bender. With no bending power of his own, Sokka relies largely on a metallic boomerang, a blunt metal club, a machete, and later a black jian created from the metals of a meteorite. Surprisingly in an inhabitant of a mystical world, Sokka is an engineer and something of a jack-of-all-trades, in which respect he is easily able to understand the Fire Nation's advanced technology, and perfects the design of the hot air balloon. In addition, he is both heterodox and resourceful in his endeavors, and a source of comic relief throughout the series. Sokka was in love with the Northern Water Tribe princess Yue at the end of Book One and later shifted his affections to the Kyoshi Warriors' leader Suki in later seasons.

Appa (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) is Aang's pet sky bison, an animal guide. He is the group's main source of transportation in the Avatar world. He can create powerful gusts of air with his tail, harking to the fact that his species were the first airbenders. The creators inspired his looks from an American bison and a manatee.

Momo (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker) is Aang's pet flying lemur. He's introduced shortly after Aang and his friends start their journey, with Aang wanting to keep him as a pet (while Sokka wanted to eat him). Along with being a source of comic relief, he can be resourceful when getting someone out of a sticky situation. His design is modeled after a bat and a Sifaka lemur, while one of the creators based his behavior off of a cat he used to own.

Prince Zuko (voiced by Dante Basco) is a Fire Nation prince and a central character. After being exiled, prior to the beginning of the series, by his father Fire Lord Ozai for forfeiting a duel therewith, Zuko believed that capturing the Avatar would regain his honor. In addition to his Firebending, Zuko is proficient in the use of double broadswords wielded in his alter ego of the "Blue Spirit". Zuko's ancestry reflects his own anxieties, in that his paternal great-grandfather Fire Lord Sozin started the war while his maternal great-grandfather Avatar Roku attempted to prevent it. In Book One, Zuko fails many times to capture the Avatar, and in Book Two, Zuko and his Uncle Iroh earn further displeasure when they flee into the Earth Kingdom, where he befriends locals and goes so far as to rescuing them from corrupt Earth Army guards. When tempted by his sister Azula's offer of honor's restoration, he betrays his uncle to assist Azula's fight against the Avatar. In Book Three, Zuko eventually rejects his father Ozai's plans. After he learns the secret of firebending with Aang from two dragons, he becomes Aang's Firebending teacher; helps Sokka rescue prisoners (including his father Hakoda, his girlfriend Suki, and a large prisoner named Chit Sang); assists Katara in confronting her mother's killer; and receives his uncle Iroh's forgiveness. After defeating Azula, Zuko becomes the new Fire Lord and ends the war.

General Iroh (voiced by Mako Iwamatsu in Books 1 & 2 and Greg Baldwin in Book 3) is a Firebending master and former heir to the Fire Nation throne. After the death of his son at the Siege of Ba Sing Se, his younger brother Ozai superseded him as Fire Lord. Unlike most firebenders, Iroh lacks hostility toward other nations and generates his fire and lightning not from fury, as is conventional, but from a sense given to him by dragons, the original source of firebending. As a member of the Order of the White Lotus, Iroh has social connections throughout the Four Nations. Iroh is outwardly easy-going and friendly, and particularly fond of food, good tea (ginseng tea is his favorite), the strategy game Pai Sho, cheerful company, and pleasant music. Something of a hedonist in his old age, he focuses more on relaxation and amusements than on the pursuit of the Avatar, a habit that clashes with the obsessions of his nephew Zuko. At the end of the series, after enlisting his fellow White Lotus members to release Ba Sing Se from the Fire Nation's rule, Iroh reopened his tea shop within the city called the "Jasmine Dragon".

Toph Beifong (voiced by Jessie Flower) is a blind earthbending grandmaster of the prestigious Beifong family in the Earth Kingdom, as well as Aang's earthbending teacher. She is often sarcastic, direct, and confrontational; commonly depicted as the choleric and tomboy of the group. Though blind, Toph can feel vibrations in the earth. Through this heightened sense, she can identify people's locations, their distance from her, and their physical build. This 'seismic sense' provides her with a distinct advantage when facing other earthbenders in combat, as they require contact with the ground and extract rocks from their surroundings. As another result of her blindness, Toph has acute hearing, enabling her to recognize people by the sound of their voices and to eavesdrop on distant conversations. Unlike other earthbenders, Toph has a distinct style of earthbending not based on Hung Gar but on the Southern Praying Mantis, featuring quick generation of energy and low kicks, to suit her small stature. Toph taught herself metalbending by manipulating the metals' impurities at the end of Book Two and throughout Book Three.

Princess Azula (voiced by Grey DeLisle) is Zuko's younger sister who is a major antagonist in Books Two and Three. She is a gifted firebending master. After Zhao's death, Azula is sent by Ozai to capture the Avatar, Zuko, and Iroh. Her amorality and ability to act without hesitation or remorse also accounts for her ability to create lightning, a skill that requires peace of mind. Despite her cruel temperament, she becomes distraught when abandoned by her friends Mai and Ty Lee, and collapses mentally when her father leaves her the now-worthless position of Fire Lord, in which she becomes increasingly irrational, paranoid, and mentally unstable,[30] and ultimately suffers a full psychotic breakdown, in which she is overcome by Zuko and Katara. Following the end of the war, Azula is placed at a mental institution to be closely monitored.

References