I would GREATLY welcome comments from any Avatar fans on my flist, as well as anyone who would like to start watching the series and follow along with my posts. This is the reason I'm making two separate posts: I've been working on the Baka Rosians to get them to watch this fantastic show, and I want them to be able to follow and comment on my observations without fear of being spoiled.
So. Please feel free to comment, but KEEP COMMENTS SPOILER-FREE on this post. If you have spoiler-y comments, please save them for the spoiler-friendly post, which will be along shortly. THANK YOU!
Chapter 1: The Boy in the Iceberg
It's fun to see how wide-eyed and innocent the kids are at the beginning. Katara, especially, seems so young.
I hate Zuko's Book 1 hairdo. Still, I recall I was inclined to like Zuko from the start. I remember thinking early on, as has been said by others, that Zuko is what Draco fans wanted Draco to be. I recall thinking as I watched the first few discs that between the beautifully broken boy and his sanguine, tea-loving father-figure—a fascinating pair quite similar to my favorite characters from Fruits Basket, Kyo and Kazuma—that I was fast becoming a Fire Nation sympathizer. And I recall thinking that was rather like being one of the Slytherfen, only…not.
"Will you go penguin sledding with me?" Gotta love how Aang asks Katara out the very first time he speaks to her. ;)
Avatar has a notably good musical score, IMO. In this episode I enjoyed the wild piccolo* music when Aang first demonstrated flying with his glider to the villagers.
*Maybe not a piccolo, but some similar sort of high-pitched wind instrument. I recall from some of the commentary tracks I've watched that the composer used some unusual ethnic instruments in the score.
Chapter 2: The Avatar Returns
Ah, Zuko. So ruthless and single-minded. The only one with enough sense to realize that when the last air bender shows up after 100 years of everyone believing his kind is extinct that he pretty much has to be the Avatar. *loves*
The brother-sister relationship between Sokka and Katara really warms my heart. I sometimes feel like bro-sis relationships don’t get enough play in fiction, you know? But Avatar definitely delivers on that count.
I really love Sokka. Before Zuko showed his first signs of w00bieness, I think Sokka was my favorite character. (Except for Iroh, of course, whose love of jasmine tea won me over from the beginning.)
Chapter 3: The Southern Air Temple
This is the first episode to add a layer of depth to Zuko. We see that he doesn't entirely approve of his father's administration (he calls him a "fool" for expecting the Earth Kingdom to just submit to Fire Nation rule even if the capital is captured), we get some hints about his banishment and that there is some important backstory on why he is where he is now, and we see that his commitment to the nebulous idea of "honor" outweighs his commitment to his country—and to his father, really—in his decision to try to hide the Avatar's existence from Zhao. Not to mention his behavior in the Agni Kai. Meanwhile, Iroh's hedonism continues to crack me up.
Chapter 4: The Warriors of Kyoshi
This episode has two different romance threads—one between Aang and Katara, the other between Sokka and Suki. I like how the tone is light, humorous, and youthful. It seems very fitting to the characters and the series overall.
I love it when Zuko's fire bending looks like break dancing. Yeah, I think I prefer Shaolin Kung Fu, too (see below).
Behind the Scenes Kung Fu Featurette
These are some very brief featurettes of Sifu Kisu, the show's martial arts consultant, explaining how each form of bending is based on a particular martial arts discipline:
Water bending = Tai Chi
Earth bending = Southern Hun Gar Kung Fu
Fire bending = Northern Shaolin Kung Fu (Sifu Kisu's "preferred style")
Air bending = Ba Gua
The coolest thing about these is the side-by-side shots of clips from the show with footage of Sifu Kisu performing the same moves.
COME GEEK OUT WITH ME, AVATAR FANS!
P.S. Remember to REFRAIN FROM SPOILERS in the comments.
P.P.S. Does anyone know where I can find good Avatar icons? Or...can I steal some of yours???