Considered a classic by many viewers, and beloved by million of fans, Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix has recaptured the hearts of many viewers. First airing on February 25, 2005, for the Nickelodeon channel, Avatar: The Last Airbender catapulted into great heights and charmed millions of viewers accross the globe.
My exposure to the show was brief. It was the year 2010 and I was flipping to the cable channel and happened to watch an episode of the show. It was the episode when Aang had first visited his old friend King Bumi of Omashu. The story and the humor captivated me that I was glued to the T.V. screen for the next three back-to-back episodes. I loved every minute of it.
Below are a few of my highlights of the show.
Iroh – A sleeping giant.
A favorite character of mine, Iroh, the Dragon of the West. Iroh is prince Zuko’s paternal uncle, the older brother of Fire Lord Ozai. In the first book, Iroh was the wise advisor that guided Prince Zuko during his banishment. He played a support role for the prince and he never showed indication of superior fire bending power because of his relax and unfit body type. He loves his tea and has an affinity to music – which he lacks in talent.
As you progress through his story line, you learn how much the character has gone through his lifetime. Having to lose his only son in the battle of Ba Sing Se, and also being sabotaged by his younger brother Ozai for the throne of the Fire Kingdom, Iroh remains intact, collective and wise throughout the series. He never showed any passion of anger or resentment towards his younger brother – partly because he was deemed a failure in conquering the Earth Kingdom, and he seems to blame himself for his failures.
Throughout his journeys, He treated Prince Zuko like a son and has given him the paternal nurturing and companionship that Prince Zuko seeks with his own father. Even when betrayal was acted upon him by his beloved nephew, he showed him unconditional love and guided the prince to becoming the Fire Lord of the Fire Nation. Iroh, or General Iroh remains one of my favorite character in the Avatar universe. A powerful and wise general. He was a sleeping giant, awakened when he chose his destiny to help restore the balance of the world.
Azula – the talented strategist.
Princess Azula is introduced in Book 2 of the series. The sister of Prince Zuko and the favorite of Fire Lord Ozai due to her superior fire bending talents and intelligence. She quickly became one of the antagonist of the show. Showing no remorse with her cruel actions, she led the chase to find the Avatar with her two childhood friends, Mai and Ty Lee.
Azula is an amazing antagonist. A brash, smart-mouthed and intelligent fire bender who is a natural-born leader. Her natural talent for fire bending combined with her impeccable intelligence is a deadly combination – one that kept the Avatar and his friends on their toes throughout the series. With all of her great talents – that made her able to seize the great walled city of Ba Sing Se, comes the frightening reality that she doesn’t have any empathy. Her psychopathic tendencies are very pronounced that it made her even more darker and sinister than her father, Fire Lord Ozai.
Although born with leadership qualities, Azula led with fear and anger. It’s how she “recruited” her childhood friends, Mai and Ty Lee. Towards the end, her “friends” abandoned her when Mai showed distrust towards her during a battle (a battle when Mai chose to save her boyfriend Zuko). Ty Lee saw this opportunity to free herself from Azula’s hold, and from then on, Azula became unhinged and more paranoid of people – she became broken.
To analyze Azula’s character is to analyze each toxic people that I’ve met in my life. You can’t help feel sorry for her because all of her life, she only saw destruction, anger and fear. Which probably brought by her father. There was an episode when they all went to a beach party and she tried to act like a normal teenager but it was hard for her because she doesn’t know how to show compassion.
Regardless of her flaws, Azula is one of my favorite antagonist of an animated series. Sharp, calculated, and socially awkward. She trail-blazed the season with her impeccable presence.
Fire Lord Ozai battle with Avatar Aang.
The final battle of the series was spectacular. Although the series would have been more satisfying if Lord Ozai was the one actively terrorizing the Avatar and his friends from the beginning and not Zuko or Azula. The ending fight would have produced a different reaction. I was more emotionally involved with the final fight between Azula and Zuko because I saw the struggles of both characters throughout the series: I saw Azula’s peak to unraveling and Zuko’s character metamorphosis.
With Fire Lord Ozai, there wasn’t any emotional attachment other than Zuko’s own resentment towards his father, and a few backstory of his rise to power. The battle between him and Aang was still memorable. Aang not wanting to take Fire Lord Ozai’s life was commendable.
After going through the three books, it was evident why the series have gathered a cult-following. The rollercoaster of emotions and relationship dynamics by both protagonist and antagonist characters were captivating that you feel a sense of attachment with each characters as the series progress.
For those who’d rewatched the series on Netflix, how would you rate your experience now with the show? Who’s your favorite character and what was the most memorable scene for you?