Avatar Aang… Do we need a better live-action adaptation?

Avatar Aang popularly known as The Last Airbender is an animated television series that was created initially by Michael Dante Dimartino and Bryan Konietzko, with Aaron Ehasz as the head of writing. The popular animated series was meant initially for kids. Therefore, from February 2005 to July 2008 it was aired on Nickelodeon for three seasons.

The best thing about this series is that it was made in America, now due to that the humor they have throughout the series can be fully translated to an English based audience, this with the fact makes it easier for most of the English speaking nations to have an easy time understanding the words they speak without any trouble.
The Setting

Avatar: The Legend of Aang is set in an Asiatic type of world in which most of the cultural beliefs and religion are shown throughout the series. In the series called Avatar, they show out different people who can manipulate the four elements of the world i.e. (Earth, Water, Air, and Fire with some telekinetic variants using some Chinese martial arts that is known as bending.

Avatar Aang in his Avatar state.

The basic premise on how they view everything is that human civilization is divided into four nations: the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom, the Air Nomads, and the Fire Nation. Each of these groups has a society based on their natural element, water, earth, air, or fire. Within each society, there are special individuals known as ‘benders’. The benders can manipulate pretty much anything containing their element.

The Avatar acts as an arbiter whose duty is to maintain harmony among the four nations, and act as a mediator between humans and spirits. When the Avatar dies, their spirit is reincarnated into a new body, that will be born to parents in the next nation in a set order known as the Avatar cycle.
By tradition, a new Avatar will travel the world to learn all four bending arts, after which they will begin in earnest their role as a global peacekeeper. The Avatar can enter a condition known as “the Avatar State”, in which they temporarily gain the skills and knowledge of all their past incarnations. Although this is when the Avatar is most powerful if the Avatar were ever to be killed while in the Avatar State, the reincarnation cycle would end, and the Avatar would never again be reborn.

Avatar Aang: The Synopsis

Over time, It all starts when the fire nation starts to become quite powerful – and when a comet comes close to Earth, the Fire Lord Sozin (then the Ruler of the fire nation) harnesses extra power from it and begins the wars to ‘benefit’ the other nations with the advancements of the fire nation and his tactics.

Of course, the other nations, who are being decimated and put into pressure don’t quite see it from the fire nation’s point of view (how strange). They fight for their lives and their own cultural identities, whilst hoping against hope that the Avatar will return.

The Avatar is the only one in whom all four bending powers can be mastered. There is only an Avatar, and he or she is actually an extension of the same ‘spirit’ that is reincarnated each time the Avatar dies. The Avatar appears sequentially through the different elements; the last Avatar was Roku of the Fire Nation. After he died, Aang was born into the Air nomad tribe. But when 12-year-old Aang learned that he was the new Avatar, he feared the responsibilities and the thought of being separated from his mentor, Monk Gyatso, before he was ready. Aang fled on his flying bison, Appa. But he was caught in a storm and crashed into the ocean. His protective Avatar state put him into a state of suspended animation within an iceberg.

Avatar Aang in the First Season: Water

One hundred years after Aang was frozen in the iceberg, Katara and Sokka (sister and brother from the Water tribe) accidentally awaken him. Aang now realizes he must fulfill his destiny and restore balance to the world by defeating the fire nation. Being already a master of the air, he sets out to master the other three elements with the help of Katara (who is an untrained water bender) and Sokka – who is brave, full of complaints, increasingly amusing, but not a bender of any kind (he does have a handy boomerang though).

So the quest begins… for most of their trip to the North Pole to begin training in water bending under a northern master, the group is pursued by Prince Zuko (banished son of the current Fire Lord Ozai) with his uncle General Iroh. Prince Zuko believes that capturing the Avatar is the only way he can restore his honor and be accepted back by his father.
Aang is also pursued by Zhao, a Fire Nation admiral aspiring to win Ozai’s favor. When his navy attacks the Northern Water Tribe, Zhao kills the moon spirit; Yue, the princess of the tribe, sacrifices her life to revive it, and Aang drives off the enemy fleet.

Second season: Earth.

In the second season, Aang learns earth bending from Toph, a blind twelve-year-old boy with earth bending skills. Zuko and Iroh, fugitives of the Fire Lord, become refugees in the Earth Kingdom, eventually settling in its capital Ba Sing Se. Both groups are pursued by Azula, Zuko’s sister. Aang’s group travels to Ba Sing Se to seek the Earth King’s support for an attack on the Fire Nation timed to some solar eclipse, during which fire-benders will be powerless. Azula decides to grab the opportunity thus bringing the capital under Fire Nation control and Zuko sides with his sister. Aang is mortally wounded by Azula, but he is revived by Katara. Speaking of Azula, Azula is the one that makes the story started really good! Like Umbridge in Order of The Phoenix, she strives!

Third season: Fire.

In the third season, Aang and his allies invade the Fire Nation capital during the solar eclipse but are forced to retreat. Zuko abandons the Fire Nation to join Aang and teach him fire bending. Aang, raised by monks to respect all life, wrestles with the possibility that he will have to kill Ozai to end the war. When Sozin’s comet returns, Aang confronts Ozai and uses his Avatar powers to strip Ozai of his fire bending ability; meanwhile, Aang’s friends liberate Ba Sing Se, destroying the Fire Nation airship fleet, and capture Azula. Zuko crowned as the new Fire Lord and ends the war.

Conclusion

In Conclusion, Avatar: The Legend of Aang has seen its share of critics and praises all around the table. It has received its share of praise for its soundtrack, cultural reference, humor, characters, and themes. My personal favorite is General Iroh of the fire nation: he is wise, patient, very humorous, and loves tea – he is also a powerful fire bender and so much more than what he appears on the surface…
The series explored many concepts rarely touched on in entertainment these include issues relating to war, genocide, imperialism, colonialism, gender discrimination, and female empowerment.

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