ATLA blessed our screens almost 16 years ago and is still considered one of the most beloved cartoons ever created.
1. The Originality
It tells an original story, set in a world divided into four nations – the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom, the Fire Nation and the Air Nomads. In this world, some individuals are born with the ability to “bend” these elements. The Avatar is the only person who can “bend” all four elements and must keep the peace between the four nations and the Spirit World. The story focuses on 12-year-old Aang, the sole survivor of the Air Nomads and the current Avatar, who wakes up after one hundred years in an iceberg.
2. The Animation Style
Its animation style is reminiscent of Japanese animation and American cartoons. The series was influenced by several cultures including China, East Asia, India and indigenous cultures. This can be seen through the intricate details of traditional clothing, the world, action sequences, and mythological lore.
3. The Themes
While Avatar: The Last Airbender may look like your average children’s cartoon, it’s a much more complex series that focuses on important and mature themes. Some of the themes explored include female empowerment, genocide, internal struggles and the lessons we learn on our journeys. These themes have had such a lasting impact and are one of the main reasons why people continue to re-watch the series.
4. The Characters And Development
One of the reasons people are drawn to the show is its main characters – Aang, Katara, Sokka, and later in the series Toph. It’s the depth of storylines such as antagonist Zuko’s redemption arc, Katara’s empowerment, the wise words of Uncle Iroh, and Aang’s struggles with his destiny that keep the audience coming back to this series. You even get invested in minor characters along the way like the Cabbage Merchant and King Bumi.
5. The Action
Throughout ATLA, we can see the inspiration of Asian cinematic feature films. The combination of epic action sequences, inspired by martial arts and the dynamic fight scenes which depict elements of acrobatics, add to the hype of the show. The memorable “bending” techniques and their distinct movements are ingrained in your mind from the very first episode.
So, whether you’re returning to watch Avatar: The Last Airbender or tuning in for the very first time, get ready for an epic animation and an experience that will never leave you disappointed!
All three seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender are available to stream for FREE on 10 play on demand.