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Friday, January 4, 2013

AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER (2005-2008)



Creators: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko

Rating: 9/10.

Set in a medieval world, with heavy Asian influences, this show examines the usual excitement of "superpowers" coupled with a coming of age story, all the while balancing a fine plot line of the horrors of war. Some people call it a kids show, I call it a journey. 

The Avatar world itself is fascinating enough to branch out into a hundred different stories. A certain percentage of the population can "bend," that is use martial arts and sheer willpower, to manipulate one of the four basic elements: water, earth, fire and air. The plot follows the adventures of a young airbender called Aang as he navigates the pitfalls and perils of fighting a much stronger, older enemy, even as he tries to reconcile with his destiny. 

Why, you may ask, is he at such odds with his destiny?

Well, because he is the Avatar. Or, one of the reincarnations at least. The Avatar is tasked with one simple job: to keep the balance of the world intact, using the special ability to bend all four elements. And right now, the world is careening way off balance. The Fire Nation, abusing the age old traditions of peace by succumbing to its imperialist tendencies, sparked off a war which has torn the world apart for a hundred years. Hope is scarce and victory has all but vanished. 

Can the Avatar save the day? 

The show is divided into three 'seasons' broadly based on Aang's mastering of the four elements and his understanding of what is expected of him. Since the series has a targeted age group of "tweens" (8-12) expect a certain amount of childishness and comic relief. These however, only serve to enhance the overall experience. 

With beautiful animation, believable characters and top-notch voice acting, this show serves out wisdom, morals and pure excitement while still retaining it's own brand of originality. And just to end with a teaser; Mark Hamill (best known for playing Luke Skywalker in Star Wars) voices one of the antagonists on the show. 

Watch it, you won't won't regret it.