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The Dart

The student news site of Davis High School

The Dart

The student news site of Davis High School

The Dart

Depression
Julia Adams, Journalist • May 15, 2024

What is Avatar the Last Airbender, and Why is it so Popular?

What is Avatar the Last Airbender, and Why is it so Popular?
As there has been a recent Netflix live adaptation of a popular cartoon, it has gotten morerecognition. But some of you may not know what this cartoon is about or have never evenheard of it.Avatar the Last Airbender (ATLA) aired on nickelodeon, on February 21, 2005. There are threeseasons in this loveable show, each having around twenty episodes per season. The creator ofATLA is Michael Dante DiMartino. He co-created this show with the head writer, Aaron Ehasz.Once this show was released, it became a popular show for young kids, teenagers, and evenadults.So, what is Avatar the Last Airbender about? In this world of the avatar, there are fournations. Each nation is based on one of the four major elements. Earth, water, air, and fire.People who could control these elements were known as benders, not everyone could bendthough. The Avatar is someone who can bend all four elements. Once they died, they wouldpass their powers onto someone in the next cycle. For example, if the avatar was an earthbender and they passed away, someone in the fire nation would become the next avatar. Ithappens at random; you never know which person will become the next avatar.

The show begins with a well-known character from the water tribe, Katara (Mae Whitman)
saying her famous line. “Long ago the four nations lived in harmony. Then, everything changedwhen the fire nation attacked.” Which leads us to the beginning of the story. It starts out in thesouth pole with a brother and a sister in a small fishing boat. Katara, the sister, is practicing herwater bending while her brother, Sokka (Jack De Sena) is trying to spear a fish. They get into adeep argument about water bending, since it is not allowed, and their boat ends up being takenaway in a rough stream. Their boat crashes into an ice burg and breaks down. This leads toanother argument and the ice burg behind them starts to glow. A beam of light escapes the iceburg, catching the eyes of a certain fire bender.In the distance, there is a fire nation ship. The person who notices the bright light is theprince of the fire nation, Zuko (Dante Basco). He is on a ship with his uncle, on a mission to findand capture the avatar. Once he sees the light, he tells the ship to head in that direction.Back to Katara and Sokka, the beam of light suddenly stopped. A young, 12-year-old boy fallsout of the ice burg. He wakes up and tells them his name, Aang (Zach Eisen). He is the lastairbender. They take him and his flying bison, Appa. Once they take him back to their tribe,they find out that he is the Avatar. He was trapped in the ice burg for 100 years, making him112 years old! He is a master of air bending, but he has yet to learn the other three elements.He has a short time to do this because of a comet that will be coming, giving the fire bendersstronger power. His goal is to defeat the fire lord Ozai, or Zuko’s father. In order to do this,Aang must overcome personal challenges and become physically stronger.This begins the journey of the first season (Book 1: Water). Their goal is to get to the northpole so that he can master water bending. The following season (Book 2: Earth) Aang and hisfriends visit the earth kingdom so that he can master earth bending. They meet anotherimportant character along the way named Toph. (Michaela Murphy) She is blind but is anincredible earth bender. The last season (Book 3: Fire) Aang has to learn fire bending and ittakes him a while due to an injury and personal things holding him back.It is an incredible show with lots of comedy, action, romance, and adventure. I wouldrecommend watching this show because it creates so many emotions and feelings towards thecharacters. I don’t want to spoil anything more, so with that said we’ll move on.After the tv show gained many views and positive feedback, there was a movie created toreplicate it. This movie came out in 2010, directed by M. Night Shyamalan. People thought thismovie would be good based on their love for the cartoon, but it was a disaster. The characterswere nothing like the original, the CGI was terrible and poorly displayed, and there were justtoo many things wrong with it. This movie had 5% rotten tomatoes! Long story short, it did notend well.

Just recently, February 25, 2024, Netflix made a live adaptation of the cartoon. Instead of a
movie, they made a series with 8 episodes. People were extremely nervous about thisadaptation due to the poorly made movie. But luckily it succeeded with 100% rotten tomatoes.I enjoyed this tv show, even though there were things that were different or didn’t exactlyfollow the original script. But I think people judge too harshly because live actions aren’t alwaysgoing to be exact to the last detail. The actors chosen for the show were a great choice, Ithought they all did amazing. I’m excited for the next season and many others are too!Why is Avatar the Last Airbender so popular? It is popular for many reasons, not only is it afun show to watch for entertainment, but it also has fun and lovable characters, it has a lot ofcultural references, lots of humor, incredible voice actors, and it overall has a beautiful artdirection to it. I think most of all, it tells a great story that is so creative that it catches theattention of all ages. These are all factors that make it a popular, and also a great watch, so tryit out!

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About the Contributor
Logan Linge
Logan Linge, Journalist
My name is Logan. I have a secret life. When I sneak out a night, it is for the good of the city. Not only am I a high school student, I am Batman. Justice will be served. #Served