“Avatar: The Last Airbender” (of Fond Memories)

In honor and excitement of the upcoming final season of The Legend of Korra, this week’s Throwback Thursday will take a look at its parent show, Avatar: The Last Airbender.

I remember scouring the television every weekend, trying to find the latest episodes (or even re-runs) of this show during its prime. It was like a spiritual offspring of DBZ to me. It was a show that had fights and fancy powers, but it was so much more. The show, although a Nickelodeon show, had deeper meanings than those on the surface, and it delved into character development like no other on the channel! It introduced you to many characters and made you hate and love them all.

The show first aired on February 21, 2005 and finished its run over three years later, on July 19, 2008. It was and probably still is one of the most popular shows to rise from the ranks of Nickelodeon. It had high viewership outside of the primary demographic (6 to 11-years-old). But really, it was just an awesome ride mixed with intense feelings of awe, hate, despair, love, joy, humor, and you name it!

When the show first starts up, it lets you know the backdrop and at the same time introduces you to the main movers of the series, the benders, and the avatar. It is pretty simple, but at the same time, it showcases the powers and lets you know the setting and the state of the world. This is all done in like a minute or two of intro.  Beautiful. Besides, the world map just makes my inner 4X gamer self all googly-eyed and wets my tongue.

avatar world map

What a great opening! I can recall the main points of the series first two episodes with warm fondness. They let you know that Sokka is a troll, but protective of his loved ones; Aang is an immature kid, but he’s the Avatar and wiser than he looks; Katara is a whiny busybody, but she has a sense of duty and purpose that will help lead them. These first two episodes give you a decent grasp for how the main trio behave and what the general feel of the show will be like.

avatar bending
The Avatar.

This show’s main appeal to me was the combat, really. I mean, people do some martial arts-like movements and they can bend the elements to their will. It is such a simple but brilliant idea, perfectly executed in its setting as well. The Asian influenced cultures mesh well with the benders movements. It has that appeal that watching old fighting shows like DBZ and old martial arts shows like Enter the Dragon. Just this combines them into that epic casserole of a show that we all love.

And by cool motions I do not mean like this sorry excuse:

avatar earthbending

but more along these lines:

avatar firebending

Then they even take it a step further in the later seasons. They introduce us to some tough ladies that are fan favorites. I’m referring to, of course, Toph, the blind earthbender that sees using her bare feet and her earthbending powers; the other is Azula, a Fire Nation princess that is hunting the Avatar for her own power and glory. She is cunning, ruthless, and powerful.

avatar toph

avatar azula

The show also knew how to take it easy. They were able to pull of the seriousness they needed but they were able to lace the show with humor that was very much appreciated. They basically even have an entire episode that is just dedicated to poking fun at their own show and characters. This episode, consequently, is one of my favorites: “The Ember Island Players.”

This episode is very funny if you are into the show; it takes the extremes of each character and pushes them to comical extents! Highlights of that episode are when Toph shows up and when Zuko gets defeated (these are at 6:50 and 12:20 respectively). Literal laugh out loud moments for me.

Besides that, they have other funny moments, from King Bumi to the Tunnel of Love nomads. And perhaps a recurring character who most people tend to love is below:

avatar cabbages

That cabbage guy shows up in like every season mostly just to get his cabbages messed up. But fans love him, I love him, you love him!

Perhaps the best part of the shows, even the Korra episodes, are the season finales. They pack these episodes full of action, epic combat, revelations and waves of emotion. Every season finale gave me goosebumps, filled me to the brim with a smorgasbord of feelings, and then left me to think and rethink and relive the moments of the episode.

This show spawned such a huge following; there were so many people that loved this show from many different ages. Korra rose from that sentiment. While it may not be as good, it is a worthy successor. And it is with these feelings and sentiments that I will be going with into the final season of Korra, which starts tomorrow.

What about you guys, are you going to watch Korra, and did you love this show? Did this bring back any fond memories? If so, share your favorite moments of the show down below!

Hope you enjoyed this, sorry if the use of GIFs is too much! I didn’t really know how to give bending justice by showing images.

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