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Avatar Book 3, Disc 2 (minus "The Day of Black Sun, Part 1) – spoiler-free reaction post - A Sorta Fairytale
October 2013
Sun, Jan. 18th, 2009 11:57 pm
Avatar Book 3, Disc 2 (minus "The Day of Black Sun, Part 1) – spoiler-free reaction post

This disc has audio commentary on chapter 6. Info from the commentary tracks will be marked with a "C". (There is also commentary on Chapter 10, but I'm doing that on the next post.)

Chapter 6: The Avatar and the Firelord

Commentary track:
Bryan Konietzko – Co-Creator
Michael Dante DiMartino – Co-Creator
Benjamin Wynn – Music and Sound Designer
Jeremy Zuckerman – Music and Sound Designer

C: They start out talking about how this episode is different form a lot of others in a few ways: It focuses on characters who are in the prime of adulthood, rather than children or "old people"; it has two storylines that are evenly matched and seamlessly joined, rather than a distinct "A story" and "B story"; it's more of a drama episode than many episodes.

C: "I'm just imagining Uncle writing that letter in lemon ink." Lemon ink? Does that show up with heat?

Zuko looks like a Jedi in his stealthy night time cloak. <3

C: They were careful to select actors for Roku and Sozin at different ages that would make the voices sound consistent.

The fart joke in this episode is so bizarre and pastede on yay. Maybe I just don't get fart jokes.

I love that they show young Gyatso with young Roku.

I like the progression of time during the flashback of Roku's training, and how they show that under normal circumstances it ought to have taken a long time for the Avatar to master the elements.

C: They talk about some of the Chinese instruments Jeremy learned to play for the score. It amazes me that he actually studied these unfamiliar instruments and played them himself.

Sozin's line, "We should share this prosperity with the rest of the world" struck a chord with me. I don't want to over-analyze, but I couldn't help wondering if this was, perhaps, a bit of a political statement about trying to spread something good, like prosperity—or democracy—in a bad way.

Fang wrapping himself around Roku right before the volcano takes him…*sniff*

The timeline for Ursa to be Roku's granddaughter is crazy. For it to work, you have to have Roku's wife having a baby quite late in a woman's fertile years, Roku's son/Ursa's father having a child in his 80s, and Ursa and Ozai looking quite good for their age in their various appearances in the show, among other things. (Of course, the Avatar writers have already proven that they are worse than JKR at maths—see my previous comments about Koh and Avatar Kuruk) Now, I do realize that the Avatar world seems to allow for longer lifespans than in our world, but there's no indication that it slows down the aging process such that a woman's fertile years would be increased, or such that a 47-year-old would look like he's in his late 30s. So I think this timeline does stretch the boundaries of believability a bit—but I can still buy it, just barely.

If you want the speculative timeline I came up with to figure this out, here it is (I placed the limitation that a woman could be no older than 39 at the time of her youngest child's birth):

0=Sozin and Roku's birth
3=Ta Min's birth
16=Roku begins Avatar training (Ta Min is a mature-looking 13-year-old)
28=Roku's marriage, (Roku is 28, Ta Min is 25)
40=Roku's falling out w/ Sozin (both are 40)
42=Ursa's father's birth (Roku is 42, Ta Min is 39)
55=Azulon's birth (Sozin is 55)
65=Roku's death/Aang's birth (Roku and his wife are 65 and 62, Ursa's father is 23)
77=Aang's disappearance, Sozin's comet (Sozin is 77, Azulon is 22, Ursa's father is 35)
110=Iroh's birth (Azulon is 55, Ila is 19, Ursa's father is 68)
130=Ozai's birth and Ursa's birth (Azulon is 75, Ila is 39, Ursa's father is 88)
140=Lu Ten's birth (Iroh is 30)
161=Zuko's birth (Ursa and Ozai are 31)
163=Azula's birth (Ursa and Ozai are 33)
170=Siege of Ba Sing Se ends, Lu Ten's death, Azulon's death, Ozai's coronation, Ursa's disappearance (Azula is 7, Zuko is 9, Lu Ten is 30, Iroh is 60, Ozai and Ursa are 40, Azulon is 115)
177=Aang's return (Zuko is 16, Iroh is 67, Ozai is 47)

How did the crown Sozin gave Roku manage to survive and make its way to Iroh? Roku dropped it in his house right before it was covered by lava.

C: They talk about Mako's death and re-casting the role of Iroh. They say that they had already planned to have a large section of episodes in which Iroh didn't speak, so Mako's death coincidentally turned out not to be as great a hardship on the production as it might have been. Also, they were lucky to find a voice actor who had already studied Mako's voice due to a previous role in a Broadway production.

Chapter 7: The Runaway

You know, I don't think Katara was really all that bossy or mom-ish until Toph joined the group and started stirring up things like the gambling schemes. Sokka was more often the mom-ish, bossy one in a lot of the early episodes.

LOL, Sokka and Aang's attempt to get Toph and Katara to make up by forging apologies is so childish. It's moments like this that make the show seem more realistic. Yeah, they're pretty tough kids, but sometimes their level of emotional competence…well, it shows that they really are kids.

So Toph got to discover metalbending, and Katara gets to discover sweatbending. That…doesn't seem quite fair. ;)

Chapter 8: The Puppetmaster

This time around I noticed on the closeup of Hama's face when she says "mysterious town for mysterious children" that her eyes are blue. How could the Gaang have missed that, huh? ;)

I feel sorry for Hama. Like Jet (and Zuko, really), she's not a bad person, but her sense of right and wrong has been damaged by the bad things that happened to her and the desperation she was made to feel by her circumstances. It doesn't absolve her of responsibility for the harm she's brought to others, but it does make it easier to sympathize with her.

Chapter 9: Nightmares and Daydreams

Mostly, this episode really doesn't do it for me. Kind of like the "brother" joke in "The Painted Lady", I just…don't get it. But there are a few things in it I find amusing, like Naruto!Aang, talking Momo and Appa, and the animals' samurai duel!

It surprised me to notice that Zuko doesn't advance his kiss score in this episode. The scenes between him and Mai in this episode are more angsty than lovey-dovey—more so than I had remembered. It seems silly to me that many Maiko shippers read this episode as sexy, just because Zuko appears to have stayed at her house all night. That may be so, but he also looked like lovemaking was the last thing on his mind. Seriously, I think he just brooded until midnight and then passed out on her couch. Mai was highly disappointed.

So I'm afraid there's no new kiss tally this round, even though I think of this as one of the more romance-oriented episodes (between Maiko's angsting, and the faux Kataang kiss, which I am, of course, not counting).

I'm going to save the first part of "The Day of Black Sun" for the Disc 3 commentary, so I can do the two-part storyline in one go. What a bad place to break the discs up, you know?


P.S. Remember to keep comments here spoiler-free! If you have something spoiler-y to say, even if it's in response to this post, please comment in the next post instead. Thanks!

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Mrs. B.
Wed, Aug. 25th, 2010 01:28 am (UTC)

I've continued to watch and am through this point with my kids. One thing in regards to the ep not working for you: I've noticed that the ones you don't *get* (which are often ones I don't enjoy as much either) are ones my kids do enjoy a lot. The pure silliness and randomness seem to work pretty well for them.

Edited at 2010-08-25 01:28 am (UTC)