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.
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".)