No, it’s not James Cameron’s blockbuster 3D vehicle of cat-smurfs with a deliberate political message. And no, it’s not M. Night Shaymalan’s “The Last Airbender”, a ridiculous excuse of an adaptation that broke the bank, which is on Netflix’s Instant-queue… don’t watch it. No! This the three season epic tale of a mystical fantasy world of three nations against one tyrant nation with one hope of a hero.
“Avatar: the Last Airbender” is a Nickelodeon funded, American created, almost anime-like TV series that is wonderfully constructed, cleverly humorous and beautifully illustrated. The story is simple. The tale is set in a world with people that are known as benders. Four nations populate this world with their own respected bendable element: Fire, Earth, Water and Air. 100 years ago the Fire Nation attacked. When these crises happens the responsibility lands on the Avatar, the embodiment of all elements, who has the ability to bend them all and who is able to bring balance to the world. But when the Fire Nation attacked the Avatar disappeared leaving the world in disarray and oppression. After those 100 years, a brother and sister of the Water Tribe find in an iceberg the lost Avatar, Aang. His charge: learn how to bend water, earth and fire and bring an end the Fire Lord’s reign of control.
That’s the jist of the whole series. Throughout the episodes the characters run into side quests that don’t have to do with the main plot but does show the elaborate on the characters themselves. With each episode and situation there is a depth of urgency and stakes that hangs over the head of the characters so it grips the viewers as well. Sub characters and supporting characters weave in and out of the story that creates a community atmosphere. All these events lead up to an exhilarating and well paid off climax which leaves viewers satisfied yet sad for the closure.
The whole series is worth the watch. But the world doesn’t have to end; the original creators have expanded the universe into a new series, “The Legend of Korra” which focuses on the new Avatar 70 years later, a water bender young lady with determination and tenacity to take on the role and obligations of the Avatar. It just began and the first two episodes can be found now on iTunes.