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Avatar Book 1, Disc 3 – spoiler-friendly reaction post - A Sorta Fairytale
October 2013
 
 
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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Wed, Nov. 19th, 2008 12:31 am
Avatar Book 1, Disc 3 – spoiler-friendly reaction post

This post is for commentary with SPOILERS for episodes beyond Book 1, Disc 3.


Chapter 9: The Waterbending Scroll

I love the foreshadowing here: the mysterious importance of the Pai Sho lotus piece, disguised as comical treatment of Iroh's appreciation for the finer things in life.

Zuko really is quite cunning in his hunt for Aang; it's no wonder that in the finale the kids gave the job of finding Aang to Zuko.


Chapter 10: Jet

I should point out that the avatar_fans community had an interesting discussion about Jet today. Well, some of it's interesting. Some of it's at the level of "Jet is liek, sooocooool!1" vs. "JET SUCKS! ONLY ZUKO IS ALLOWED 2B EVIL THEN REDEEMED!!11!" But then there's also comments like this: "I was actually pretty impressed with him when he first appeared, as a character on the "good" side that both Aang AND Katara instantly trusted, who turned out to be so damaged - in S3 we had Hama, but even early on in the show Bryke wanted to show that there are bad guys on both sides and war messes people up."

Okay, here's a question for you (prompted by the party of Fire Nation soldiers they stumble on in the woods, all decked out in armor with swords and spears): How prevalent do you think firebending is in the Fire Nation, particularly in the military? And how common are non-bending soldiers? To me, it feels like whenever we see random Fire Nation soldiers, they almost invariably bend fire. But doesn't it seem like there should be more variation? I mean, Piandao is a powerful warrior, but not a firebender. Ditto Mai and Ty Lee. Yet your average foot soldier, it seems, can always bend fire. I don't know, it just doesn't quite add up to me. I would ask the same question of the Earth Kingdom, though I don't think we have as much info to go on with their military.

Man, Jet is such a smooth liar and manipulator. He sort of reminds me of Azula. (This should not be taken as me agreeing with the aforementioned Jet haters.)


Chapter 12: The Storm

You know, though I don't care for the half-bald hairdo Zuko has in season 1, I kind of think it was important for his character. I mean, even apart from the significance of the topknot-cutting in season 2. The style he has in S 1 allows the scar to be clearly displayed—it's really very stark. His later shaggy look subdues the scar by partially covering it up and framing it with dark hair rather than white skin. It lessens its conspicuousness, just as the event that caused it also lessens its hold over Zuko. In general, I like how the Avatar creators were not afraid to make changes to characters' appearances, and I like how those changes were not only very natural and realistic, but also in many cases subtly highlighted things that the characters were going through.

Whoa! I hadn't noticed that Iroh re-directs lightening in this episode. Nice hint of things to come.


Behind the Scenes – The Voices of Avatar

I admit I feel a bit cold toward Dante Basco due to the recent wank report; in particular, I was annoyed that he apparently allowed a fan to record him on a cell phone camera saying something about "fat Mai." I realize he was just doing what the fan asked him to do; as someone who frequents anime cons, I know that VAs and other celebrity guests are often pretty amenable to giving fans what they ask for, within reason. But I can't help agreeing with the commenter who said it was rather like giving in to a bratty child.

Please, Mr. Basco. Don't encourage bad fan behavior. I admit all fans are a little crazy, but there's good crazy, and there's bad crazy. I feel this particular request was bad crazy.

Joie

P.S. BTW, my icon is a lame attempt at a dubond (that is, a tribond for which I can only think of two things.) Who can tell me what the common thread is? (Hint: It's a little bit deeper than "eye injury".)

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5CommentReply

orcapotter
orcapotter
Orca キンバリー
Wed, Nov. 19th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)

I would imagine that the reason why the foot soldiers always bend fire is because the higher-ups design the army that way. Let the little guy do the dirty work, so to speak. Those who don't bend, like Piandao, Mai, and Ty Lee proved their worth in other ways - the two girls were friends with Azula from young childhood and obviously have mad skilz. A case of who you know, vs. what you know - or your ability to manipulate people. Those sorts of skills are obviously very valuable to the Fire Nation Army and government ... part of the reason why Zuko got in trouble with his father in the first place.


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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Thu, Nov. 20th, 2008 04:14 am (UTC)

Yeah, that makes sense. I was mainly wondering if there was any place for non-benders in the army. But I had forgotten that the next episode ("The Blue Spirit") actually provides a bit of an answer to that: the elite archers that capture Aang don't appear to be benders.


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spin1978
spin1978
Kyouraku Shunsui
Thu, Nov. 20th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC)

Pure speculation, but I could see the Fire Nation having a conscription policy for anyone with the slightest amount of Firebending ability. If you can bend, you end up in the Fire Nation military for some obligated period of time. I'm also sure they'd do what they could to retain as many Firebenders as possible, naturally.

Agreed on how the looks of the characters did change with time. Of course, there are plenty of stories where real time and "story time" don't line up at all (Bleach has been coming out since 2001 in the manga form, and it's been about a year in the main storyline), which is another story all together.


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hymnia
hymnia
Joie
Thu, Nov. 20th, 2008 04:23 am (UTC)

Pure speculation, but I could see the Fire Nation having a conscription policy for anyone with the slightest amount of Firebending ability. If you can bend, you end up in the Fire Nation military for some obligated period of time. I'm also sure they'd do what they could to retain as many Firebenders as possible, naturally.

That makes sense.

Of course, there are plenty of stories where real time and "story time" don't line up at all (Bleach has been coming out since 2001 in the manga form, and it's been about a year in the main storyline), which is another story all together.

I don't mind so much if it matches real time or not (Avatar doesn't, because it took about 3 years real time and less than a year story time); what gets me is a lack of internal consistency. American comic books and traditional soap operas--both of which I was addicted to in my teens--are terrible about having time pass more quickly for younger characters than for older characters. As such, the adult characters could stay in their prime 20s and 30s while their kids grew up to be teens old enough to get into their own set of dramas. Of course, comic books could sometimes explain this away with some sort of time-travel plot device, but they didn't always bother. Manga strikes me as more realistic about that sort of thing, as a rule.


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spin1978
spin1978
Kyouraku Shunsui
Fri, Nov. 21st, 2008 01:46 am (UTC)

I have an entire fanfiction written in my head about the post-series Fire Nation, and I probably overthought the military structure of the Fire Nation. But anyway....

...what gets me is a lack of internal consistency. American comic books and traditional soap operas--both of which I was addicted to in my teens--are terrible about having time pass more quickly for younger characters than for older characters.

Oh, 100% completely agreed. I think some of this is, "Well, people fall in and out of reading comic books, why write something to be consistent with an arc from 10 years ago when most of the people reading back then aren't any longer?" Also, since each manga/anime is the original property of the creator, it's not the product of many writers/artists over the years like you see in Western comic books. Dragon Ball, for instance, was done by Toriyama from the mid '80s to the mid '90s. Compare to how many writers/artists worked on, say, the X-Men comic books or the Batman comic books during that time period. There's also no silly-ass crossovers that convolute the fictional universe.

Most of the Western comic books I really enjoy are author-owned creations, although I really do like some runs on more mainstream, shared comic book properties.


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