Saturday, September 5, 2015

Anything Saturday (1): Adventures in Binge Watching Avatar: The Last Airbender

It's been a loooong while since I wrote a random-ish post; so much for consistency, lol. I've had a couple of ideas, but you know how it goes: not enough time to turn them into posts. The few posts I did churn out went up on Sundays, but Saturday now works out better schedule-wise, hence the name change to "Anything Saturday." XD Now let me quit rambling and talk about my latest obsession: Avatar: The Last Airbender!

I am a big, big kid at heart, and I think I always will be. I still love watching animated shows and movies, even though it’s been a long time since I was part of the target age group for most of them, lol. I’d wanted to check out Avatar: The Last Airbender for ages; I know that a couple of my bloggy friends loved it, and it was one of Ally’s childhood faves, too. Ally kept reminding me over and over and over again that I needed to watch it. It’s a good thing that she’s so persistent, otherwise I probably wouldn’t be sitting here writing this ode to AtLA. And believe me when I say: I FREAKING LOVE THIS SHOW!

Where to start with the fangirling? How about with the animation itself? It is absolutely gorgeous, from the way each kind of bending is brought to life to the scenery. One of my favorite visuals from the series was the first time the gaang laid eyes on Ba Sing Se. That was a breathtaking tableau, as you witnessed the city in all its vast glory. And then there’s the bending—what I wouldn’t give to be able to bend any element. There’s such beauty and grace in each type of bending, and I got the chills whenever there were multiple benders, bending in unison. It was like watching the most mesmerizing of dances.

My mind is still in complete awe of the depth of the story lines and the incredible development of the characters throughout the series. A good number of episodes don’t wrap up neatly by the end of the twenty-two minutes or so; major plotlines span multiple episodes, and in some cases, an entire season. The storytelling is epic and compelling; the problem with binge watching a series like this is that there’s NEVER a good place to leave it for the night. I went to work quite bleary-eyed a few times due to ditching sleep in order to watch just one more episode of Avatar. And the bleary eyes were totally worth it!

Aang is one phenomenal hero. His destiny is to save the world—not a small burden by any means. For all of his youth (and he is still young, despite really being much older in actual years), he shoulders that weight with an awe-inspiring strength. Aang’s airbending skills are insane, and later, once he masters all forms of bending, he’s unstoppable as the Avatar, but he also possesses a gentle spirit that reveres life. I wish that I were more Zen like Aang; if I’m being completely honest with myself, I most resemble Azula in temperament when I get really stressed, lol.

Accompanying Aang on his journeys are some equally amazing friends. I LOVED the camaraderie between the core gaang: Aang, Katara, Sokka, and Toph (and, of course, Appa and Momo!). If not for Sokka’s jokes and quips, the series would not have been the same. He’s also a great leader in his own right and is simply spectacular in the final episodes of the last season. I adored the sibling bond between Sokka and Katara. Sure, they sometimes razz each other and get on each other’s nerves, but they’re also fiercely protective of one another. Katara is kind of the overall motherly presence within the gaang in addition to being one powerful waterbender. As the self-proclaimed greatest earthbender in the world, you just don’t mess with Toph. She’s not exaggerating, either—her skills are uh-mazing. While I never had a least favorite type of bending, I gained a whole new respect for earthbending once I saw Toph in action. This girl is a badass!

You may have been wondering when Zuko was going to show up in this post; obviously, I’ve saved my favorite character for last! I. LOVE. HIM. It’s as simple as that. The transformation that his character undergoes is astounding. ASTOUNDING! Okay, I confess that when I first began watching Avatar with Ally and she proclaimed her love for Zuko I was a tad skeptical. My response was something along the lines of, you love how obsessed this guy is with capturing Aang? But, as in almost all things, Ally was right, especially about me eventually loving Zuko too because I love broody boys. As more of Zuko’s backstory was revealed, I got it. Restoring his honor and being allowed to return home meant everything to him. As much as I loved all of the Avatar characters, it was Zuko’s arc that had me counting down the seconds until I could sit down and watch the next Avatar episode. I waited with rapt attention for the episode(s) when Zuko would reach the potential that his very wise uncle Iroh saw in him all along. Without going into spoiler-y detail, we’ll leave it at this: Zuko made me extremely proud by the end of the series.

I’m going to stop myself here because I could go on about Zuko indefinitely. I can’t promise that I won’t go ahead and write a post entirely about him someday. For now, though, I’ll wrap up all the Avatar/Zuko gushing by dedicating this post to Ally, who absolutely called 1) how much I would love the show and 2) how much I would love Zuko. Ally typically makes customized birthday cards for everyone in the family, and I’ve already put in my request: I’d like the front of the card to have the “Hello, Zuko here” scene on it. When this happens (and notice I said “when,” not “if.” Because this is happening.) next year, I’ll be sure to post a pic!


  1. I can't blame you, my son was obsessed with it when it first came out and I'd watch it with him sometimes. It is a very good series, I love the whole myth and concept, and Aang is so adorable!

    My current obsession right now is Masha and the Bear! Lol it's for kids but the animation is good and it's such a hilarious and highly entertaining show!

    1. Aang was especially cute whenever he blushed, so basically whenever he was around Katara. XD

      I'll have to check out Masha and the Bear! I'm always on the lookout for new animated shows to watch. :)

  2. YES! This post is life^^ We're around the same age and I have to say that I feel just like you do: I will always have tons of love for quality animation, superheroes and all other things that are 'supposed' to be for kids XD I got into AtLA because a dear friend recommended it to me vehemently and once I started watching, I wondered how I ever missed out on it in the first place. The animation is top notch, the story-telling is superb, the characters are unique, fleshed out and engaging, and the bending. THE BENDING. I've always adored elemental magic so you can imagine how many discussions there were about what kind of bender we think we'd be, what kind of bending is our favorite, least favorite and so on... I adore Aang as a hero and he was such a perfect Avatar ♥ It's like you said, he had too much on his shoulders considering his age but he was amazing through and through. By the end there, I was in awe, not only of his abilities, but of his knowledge and wisdom. Katara is a sweetheart and a powerful bender neatly wrapped into one. I love how she grew and her relationship with Aang. Sokka was the perfect comedic relief and I love that he was a non-bender struggling to find his way. The episode where he gets a mentor is still one of my favorites...along with Zuko Alone, The Beach and that killer 5-part finale ♥ And speaking of Zuko. ZUKO. OMG he seemed like such a righteous little snot when we first meet him, but it was like my beloved Iroh was there just to show us that there was more to Zuko than meets the eye. As Zuko's story arc evolved, I grew more and more obsessed with him until he finally came around. That's my favorite part of the series :D Oh and of course another favorite episode of mine: the one where Aang and Zuko discover the origins of Fire Bending ♥♥♥ Gah, I have so much love for this series that just reading about your experience makes me want to rewatch the entire thing. AGAIN. I've seen the series like 10 times now XD And YES I need a pic of that future Zuko card hahaha!

    1. This show- SO. MUCH. LOVE. ❤ ❤ I don't remember the last time I was so utterly blown away by a TV series. It's just perfect, especially because its characters are not.

      Ally and I loved The Beach, too; we couldn't help being amused by how bad Zuko, Azula, and Mai's social skills were whenever they tried to join any social activities, lol. The ep where Aang and Zuko met the Sun Warriors was another fave of ours, too. Again, we couldn't help laughing a little at Aang and Zuko stressing out over trying to keep their flames lit. XD

      I am super, super, super excited about the next Avatar graphic novel because . . . more ZUKO. I completely agree with your description of him in the beginning and never pictured myself even liking him, never mind LOVING him. It's absolutely my favorite thing about the series, too, that his character changed and grew so much, and that he made Uncle Iroh proud. ❤


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