Growing up, I only watched a handful of episodes of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Unfortunately for Nickelodeon, the love of my life growing up was Cartoon Network which always supplied me with the best anime and cartoons. This also means I got to miss out on one of the best cartoons I have ever watched, so recently I decided to dive in for a first-season binge. It is such an inspiring and empowering animation that touches on some amazing subjects. The writing is simply spectacular, as well as the characters and their development throughout the story.
Starting with Aang, who is the embodiment of always remaining joyful no matter the circumstances: growing up does not necessarily mean growing old. Katara and Sokka are just pure courage and familial bond. The characters' dynamics with one another as well as the dialogue are incredibly powerful. Coupled with the animation and: voila, magic. I am so happy I finally got to watch and catch up on the anime everyone always talks about and it was so incredibly worth it. I decided to share some of my favorite moments of the show and the lessons learned:
The King of Omashu: There is something very endearing and innocent about Aang and about how he is able to remain a kid and enjoy life no matter the burden that has been entrusted upon him. Seeing the way King Bumi was with Aang and how he teaches the importance of thinking outside the box while still enjoying life.
Aang comforts the Hei Bai and speaks to Avatar Roku: I enjoyed this episode and how it showed how Aang is able to not just keep peace among humans, but with spirits as well in the way he gave the Hei Bai hope that its forest would grow again. Also, the way he is then summoned by the previous Avatar, Roku, in the spirit world and what Aang goes through to get to him after made an impression.
Zuko saves Aang: I know Zuko has his own agenda, but he still went and saved Aang from the Fire Nation. Zuko managed to put up a fight and won and managed to keep it up without relying on his usual moves. I find Zuko a very interesting character with a narrative that has a ton of potential.
Katara fights Master Pakku for her right and chance to learn water bending: In the Northern Water Tribe, Women are not allowed to learn water bending, only healing. Since Master Pakku refuses to teach Katara, she challenges him to a fight- and even though she does not win, she still does. She is able to win his respect and a place as his pupil. I found this to be one of the most empowering moments in the season.
The Siege of the North Fight to defend the Moon spirit: Turns out Admiral Zhao from the Fire Nation was able to find a way to slay the Moon spirit without thinking of the consequences. Aang then goes into Avatar state and joins with the Water Spirit, taking down the Fire Nation in an amazing battle. Princess Yue then gives up her life for the Moon spirit, restoring the balance between yin and yang. It was beautifully done though bittersweet, and nicely tied many of the season's themes together.