Cartoon: Avatar: The Last Airbender

I know it’s not an anime, but I don’t think I’m going to be watching many cartoons, so we’ll just let this one slide.

I sat through all 3 seasons of Avatar recently and I just wanted to say a few things.

Cartoons are to Americans what Anime is to the Japanese. There’s a huge variety and they cater to all age groups. But sometimes the lines blur between cartoon and anime. It’s probably because they’re both animated and the japanese seem to enjoy remaking American cartoons (have you seen the slew of x-men animes?). Anyways, getting to the point, Avatar is a lot like your regular shounen anime. Partially because it draws a good deal from the Asian culture and also because its target age range seems older than your usual Sunday cartoon.

Before I actually air my opinions, I want to say that 1) I’m much older than the target audience and 2) I don’t really watch many cartoons, so I don’t really have a good basis of comparison (in other words, I’m going to compare this to anime).

So yes, Avatar started really well. I liked the premise a lot, I think it was really interesting. As mentioned it does have a good deal of Asian influences which made  it feel very familiar to folktales. At the same time, the plot progressed nicely and we met many unique characters. I was quite surprised when I found out that the show won a peabody award for unusually complex characters. I wouldn’t call the characters complex, I would just say they were facing some moral dilemmas. But I guess American cartoons don’t delve much into the whole why is the villan bad and all that very often. But credit must be given to how much the characters matured throughout the seasons. They learnt a lot and through they’re many experiences grew into amazing role models. My only gripe I suppose was how romance was handled. Completely ridiculous and really awkward.

I enjoyed the series while watching and am totally looking forward to the sequel that should be coming soon. Oh and did I mention that Avatar is fanfiction GOLD – the things one can do with this series is unlimited. Why? Because the series was very character driven and we’ve gotten to know the characters pretty well, so of course we’re going to have fun with them. Besides with romance so bad, it kind of calls for new ones to be written. Also they were pretty young when the series ended, so much can be said about how to continue their story. But yes, that’s besides the point.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is an interesting show that will strike a chord with shounen anime lovers.


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