With a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, Avatar: The Last Airbender (and no, not the live action), is one of the best shows I have ever watched. I've seen a lot of TV series in my lifetime, mostly live action, but this one takes the cake. Although it’s an animation geared towards children, ATLA was able to touch my soul and heart in a way no other show has. For me, watching this show years later has been a nostalgic rollercoaster of emotions. The writing, the story, the characters, and the editing are all perfectly planned and well thought out.
Co-created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, with Aaron Ehasz as head writer, Nickelodeon released the show in 2005. The show is based on a world that is split into four nations of elements: water, earth, fire, and air. Katara and Sokka, part of the Water Tribe, find Aang, the long lost Avatar, frozen in an iceberg for over a 100 years. Within that time, the Fire Nation has started a war with plans to take over all four of the nations. Already, this plot has a lot of potential to create obstacles and adventure for the main characters to overcome and explore.
To me, the most important aspects of ATLA is the writing and character development. The writing is important because it is an animated show and while they can use editing and voice acting to show emotion within the characters, it’s not the same as live action. The writing of the show is amazing because although it is a “children's show” it has very serious and wise moments along with a light and funny mood. The story follows Aang and his gang to defeat the fire nation and through each obstacle is a lesson to be learned. Throughout the series you can see each character grow and develop and you feel like you are right there with them. Character development is especially noticeable in the character, Prince Zuko, as he turns from a vengeful fire nation leader to a caring and loving friend.
The artwork and fight scenes are amazing because they are specific and symbolic to each element. Each element has a different color (water is blue, fire is red… etc.). The fight scenes are choreographed so that with each element, there is a different style of fighting all based on Chinese martial arts.
I have learned many life lessons about love, revenge, the importance of friends, and loss all from this show. It will always have a special place in my heart.