The Avatar returns to the world searching for excitement, adventure and a good time! New friends, celebrity status, and the ruthless Fire Nation on his tail...can Aang face his destiny to save the world?
"Let me say first of all that I love this show. There are very few shows that my whole family will sit down and watch at the same time, and Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of them. The story of Aang and his friends trying to reach the North Pole so he can begin his quest for mastery of the four elements by learning Water Bending (to go with his Air Bending mastery), is not only very well done, its cool for both kids and adults. Based loosely on Chinese/Japanese mythology and martial arts, the character/creature designs are interesting, the action is always great, but not at the expense of the smaller moments, and the funny moments as well.
What I don't like in Nickelodeon only including the first 4 episodes on the first release. Why not release the whole first season? I understand this way is probably more price friendly for parents who's kiddos love the show, but it seems like they are trying to squeeze us for everything they can. But other than that, I'm planning on buying all the discs and can give this release my highest recommendation."
Anime-style show ... anime-style release schedule
faolin | New England | 01/05/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Yes, I'm going to join the chorus praising the series. It's stylish, the art and character designs are high-quality, and each episode holds up well for multiple viewings. There's drama, suspense, more action than you can throw a stick at, and plenty of humor to ease the way. The core characters are well-rounded, and they grow as the first season progresses. We get backstory slowly, woven into the story. We keep learning about the characters.
While I, too, would have preferred a series set over single-disk releases, I can't pretend to be surprised. I buy a lot of anime, and Japanese series are released one disk at a time. Maybe a complete set comes out sometime after the regular releases are done, with a nice box. Anime fans pay a premium for their fix - $20-$30 for 3-5 episodes, $80-$200 for a series/season box set. While this is Nickelodeon, not a US-license of a Japanese series, let's face it: Avatar isn't Spongebob. This show isn't like anything else on Nick. The production values are much higher, and the production costs increase proportionally. A $40 season set isn't likely any time soon.
There is a rumor that a box set with unknown bonus features will be released AFTER the single disks are all out. Again, this is typical practice for anime releases, not a nefarious Nickelodeon plot. Those who are disappointed or peeved should contact Nickelodeon to ask about a set. Let them know they've failed to meet your expectations. If you refuse to buy the series piecemeal - tell them why. If they don't get feedback, they're not going to reconsider their release strategy.
This series is well worth owning on DVD. The question is whether you want to treat yourself to a disk every couple-three months, or wait and see what is offered in a year or so. There's no wrong answer here... but buy it sooner or later. It is that good.
>>> JUNE 2006 UPDATE: a season 1 box set has been announced for September. No pricing information yet."
Updated DVD info
ttrentham | Austin, Texas United States | 11/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My wife, son and I love this show as well. It's really well done. There's a 9 hour marathon either tomorrow or Thursday.
According to [...], this DVD has the first four chapters:
Ch.1 - The Boy in the Iceberg Ch.2 - The Avatar Returns Ch.3 - The Southern Air Temple Ch.4 - The Warriors of Kyoshi
It also includes a "Behind-the-scenes Kung Fu" featurette. Whatever that means.
To echo the comment that followed mine, they're really gouging us for these. With only 4 of the half-hour episodes on this DVD, it'll take 5 DVDs to get us all 20 episodes from Season 1 (Book 1). At $12 per DVD, that's $60 for the first season. By comparison, you can get Lost: Season 1 with 24 episodes for $30 right now on Amazon and the same with the newly released season 5 of Seinfeld. For a closer comparison, the first season of Spongebob is $40 (20 episodes). Even Invader Zim gave you 17 episodes for $17! Jeez.
I REALLY hope they don't release a few of these and then later decide to do a whole season set for less money. I'd be tempted to hold off and wait. On the other hand, I don't want to hold off on buying it if they're gauging whether or not to release the whole thing by sales of the first one."
Flat out the best cartoon in America
Maria Waltner | Cincinnati, Ohio United States | 03/07/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is literally the best serialized cartoon made by Americans in the past 10 years. Michael Dimartino & Bryan Konietzko have created a fantasy world modeled after Asian nations and culture, full of martial arts magic.
Aang is the Avatar, the last of his race (the Airbenders). As Avatar he is capable of harnessing the four elements that govern their world and keep the peace between the four races (one per element) that populate the world. Shortly after learning his destiny as Avatar, Aang runs away from the responsiblity. Near to death after a becoming lost in a seastorm, Aang becomes sealed in ice for a hundred years.
He is set free by Katara and Sokka, who eventually become his traveling companions. Katara is a young untrained waterbender that is a driving force for Aang's change towards responsibility. In turn, Aang helps Katara to have more fun. After a time, Katara becomes his waterbending master. Sokka is responsible in his own way as well, but ends up as almost comic relief for some of the more emotionally charged scenes.
Additional characters appear and stay with the series. Prince Zuko is almost a foil for Aang at first before being shown as a more parallel character. He travels with his Uncle, Iroh. Zuko's sister and father, Fire Lord Ozai, tend to be the antagonists in the second book. All are fire nation (the bad guys) but we see in both Zuko and Iroh that that fact does not automatically make them evil heartless killers.
In book two we meet Toph, a blind earthbender girl who doesn't want her family to know that she's a capable bender. She becomes Aang's earthbending master, and is quite a tough teacher despite her apparent handicap of blindness.
The characters are memorable and well-developed. The plot line is terrific with many different possiblities of how things could turn out. This is not a cartoon that cops out on sadness or death. Avatar is not like some of the magical girl cartoons from Japan where people die and then in the next season or episode are right back up and kicking. Avatar is a better reflection of real life. When people die (and it's not always bad guys doing the dying) they do not come back. And sometimes the good guys do bad things either because they didn't have all the information or because there didn't seem to be any other alternative. Hard lessons like truth, justice and good triumphant aren't always learned the first time.
It's really a great cartoon for people of all ages and every stage of life.
One of the best in a long time
Thomas E. Tweedel | Austin, TX United States | 04/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Avatar is without a doubt one of the best all around shows to come down the pipe in a very long time.
I don't have cable so I haven't seen much of it on TV. I first found out about it when I was at a friends doing some work and it was on as background noise for the kids. It was somewhere in the middle of the season so I didn't know the story but I was really impressed. I though, wow, the Japanese have done it again. But having watched a lot of anime in my younger days some stuff didn't add up. The style was different, the sight gags and most importantly the body language of the characters was different.
I was really surprised when I found it was an American production! I wanted to see more. I was wondering if it was worth buying, my kid only being 2 ? so I figured what the heck, its not that expensive for one disk.
I ordered it and it was an instant hit at the house. My son loved it goes running around with a stick saying he's going to save the world. My wife loved it and I loved it. The show is written to a good middle ground between kids and adults. The kids will follow the story without issue and the adults will see deeper into the world. Its not too deep mind you but deep enough to feel there is more going on than whats immediately on screen.
I was really impressed by the creativity of the series and just how well done it was. The producers pulled together a lot of elements from Asian culture and tradition and blended them together into a credible setting in a way I've not really seen done very well outside of Asian works.
They've got a lot of gags and elements that are not exactly original. Strong liberated female figure in male dominated culture, chauvinist/clueless/useless guy, obligatory cute pet/sidekick, reluctant hero, ruthless villain etc. But they are well done and not overdone.
Many of the sight gags revolve around bad things that happen to the hapless/clueless guy. But they were well done enough to be funny without being tired. I was particularly glad they didn't give too much screen time to the cute pet/sidekick which some kids shows seem to devote about 1/3 of each episode to the antics of that creature. He (A flying lemur like creature) pops in and pops out for some good comic relief but never eclipses those involved in the story.
We also begin to see some depth in Character development and hints that some may not be exactly as they seem. Particularly with the apparent villains of the series. They actually have motivation and character beyond just wanting to give the hero's a bad day or ruling the world. "