“Avatar The Last Airbender” Review

Grace Bridges '25, Contributing Writer

Avatar the Last Airbender was a highly popular television animation in the mid-2000s. The show was recently brought to Netflix in early 2020, reaching and staying in the top 10 for multiple weeks. If you are a science fantasy follower, this series is for you

Throughout the three-season show, there are many positive influences and redemptions, with diversity being shown. The show follows a 12-year-old boy named Aang. Aang, the Avatar, the only person who can control all four elements: water, earth, fire, and his natural element, air. He was the next in The Avatar Cycle, a sequence of Avatars that are born in a pattern of different nations. Aang was born to the air nomads, one of the four nations, the earth kingdom, water tribe, and the fire nation. The four nations lived in peace until the fire nation attacked, they knew that the avatar was the only one that could stop them. To stop this from happening, they killed off all of the air nomads, but Aang escaped. He ended up on an iceberg where he stayed for 100 years. When he awoke, the war was still going. Aang’s main goal was to end the war, but the fire nation’s banished prince Zuko was desperate to reclaim his honor; the only way to do so was to kill the Avatar.

Not only does Avatar the Last Airbender have cultural diversity, but it also showcases many LGBTQ characters as one of the most prominent characters is former avatar Kioshi. Kioshi was confirmed to be bisexual who was considered one of the best and most powerful avatars.

The show also demonstrates indigenous representation, with more main characters (Aang’s travel companions, Kartra, and Sokka). They are from the Southern Water tribe. There are two water tribes, the southern and the northern. The northern water tribe, where Aang learns parts of water bending, is based on indigenous architecture. Going along with the theme of cultural representation, all four of the bendings are based on martial arts. Water bending is based on Tai Chi, earthbending is based on Hung Gar, firebending is Shaolin Quan, and airbending is Ba Gua: All of which originate from China.

Avatar also highlights the fact that people can change and grow to become better people. For example, Zuko who had hunted the avatar trying to kill him for many months to regain his honor starts to realize the extensive fire nation propaganda. How the war is not to give everyone a perfect life like in the fire nation but is actually about the control. Zuko’s character arc comes full swing when instead of hunting the avatar he helps in. Zuko became Aang’s fire bending teacher, showing him the ropes to take down Zuko’s father the Fire Lord Ozai.

Avatar the Last Airbender has many positive influences and a phenomenal storyline told with wonderful animation is a show that should be watched. Many fans agree, since the show did so well that it warranted a spin-off show, and many comics, movies, and soon-to-be live-action remakes of the television show.

I would give this show a 4 out of 4 stars.