Avatar: The Last Airbender

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Avatar: The Last Airbender
Avatar The Last Airbender logo.svg
Also known asAvatar: The Legend of Aang
Genre
FormatAnimated series
Created byMichael Dante DiMartino
Bryan Konietzko
Written byMichael Dante DiMartino
Bryan Konietzko
Aaron Ehasz
Tim Hedrick
John O'Bryan
Elizabeth Welch Ehasz
Joshua Hamilton
May Chan
Matthew Hubbard
James Eagan
Directed byLauren MacMullan
Dave Filoni
Giancarlo Volpe
Ethan Spaulding
Joaquim Dos Santos
Voices ofZach Tyler Eisen
Mae Whitman
Jack DeSena
Jessie Flower
Dee Bradley Baker
Dante Basco
Mako
Grey DeLisle
Cricket Leigh
Olivia Hack
Jennie Kwan
Jason Isaacs
Greg Baldwin
Mark Hamill
Composer(s)Jeremy Zuckerman
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes61 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Michael Dante DiMartino
Bryan Konietzko
Aaron Ehasz
Running time22 minutes
Production company(s)Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Broadcast
Original channelNickelodeon
Picture formatNTSC 4:3 (480i)
Original runFebruary 21, 2005 (2005-02-21) – July 19, 2008 (2008-07-19)
Chronology
Preceded by­Zuko's Story (comic)
Followed byThe Promise (comic)
The Search (comic)
The Legend of Korra (TV series)
External links
Official website
 
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Avatar: The Last Airbender
Avatar The Last Airbender logo.svg
Also known asAvatar: The Legend of Aang
Genre
FormatAnimated series
Created byMichael Dante DiMartino
Bryan Konietzko
Written byMichael Dante DiMartino
Bryan Konietzko
Aaron Ehasz
Tim Hedrick
John O'Bryan
Elizabeth Welch Ehasz
Joshua Hamilton
May Chan
Matthew Hubbard
James Eagan
Directed byLauren MacMullan
Dave Filoni
Giancarlo Volpe
Ethan Spaulding
Joaquim Dos Santos
Voices ofZach Tyler Eisen
Mae Whitman
Jack DeSena
Jessie Flower
Dee Bradley Baker
Dante Basco
Mako
Grey DeLisle
Cricket Leigh
Olivia Hack
Jennie Kwan
Jason Isaacs
Greg Baldwin
Mark Hamill
Composer(s)Jeremy Zuckerman
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons3
No. of episodes61 (List of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)Michael Dante DiMartino
Bryan Konietzko
Aaron Ehasz
Running time22 minutes
Production company(s)Nickelodeon Animation Studios
Broadcast
Original channelNickelodeon
Picture formatNTSC 4:3 (480i)
Original runFebruary 21, 2005 (2005-02-21) – July 19, 2008 (2008-07-19)
Chronology
Preceded by­Zuko's Story (comic)
Followed byThe Promise (comic)
The Search (comic)
The Legend of Korra (TV series)
External links
Official website

Avatar: The Last Airbender (Avatar: The Legend of Aang in Europe) is an American animated television series that aired for three seasons on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008. The series was created and produced by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, who served as executive producers along with Aaron Ehasz. Avatar: The Last Airbender is set in an Asian-influenced world[1] wherein some are able to manipulate the classical elements by use of psychokinetic variants of Chinese martial arts known as "bending". The show combined the styles of anime and American cartoons, and relied on the imagery of various East-Asian, Inuit, Indian and South-American societies.[2] Due to this style, the series regularly enters the conversation regarding its consideration as an anime work.[3]

The series follows the adventures of protagonist twelve-year-old Aang and his friends, who must bring peace and unity to the world by ending the Fire Lord's war against the other three nations.[4] The pilot episode first aired on February 21, 2005[5] and the series concluded with a widely praised two-hour episode on July 19, 2008.[6] The show is obtainable from various sources, including DVD, the iTunes Store, the Zune Marketplace, the Xbox Live Marketplace, the PlayStation Store, Netflix Instant Play (formally), and the Nicktoons Network.[7]

Upon release, Avatar: The Last Airbender was universally acclaimed by audiences and critics alike.[8] Praises went to the art direction, humor, cultural references, and themes. It was also commercially successful, garnering 5.6 million viewers on its best-rated showing and receiving high ratings in the Nicktoons lineup, even outside its 12–18-year-old demographic.[4][9] The series has been nominated for and won awards from the Annual Annie Awards, the Genesis Awards, the primetime Emmy awards and a Peabody Award among others. The first season's success prompted Nickelodeon to order second[10] and third[11] seasons. In other media, the series has spawned a critically panned but financially successful live-action film, titled The Last Airbender, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, scaled action figures,[12] a trading card game,[13][14] three video games based on the first,[15] second,[16][17] and third seasons, stuffed animals distributed by Paramount Parks, and two LEGO sets.[18] An art book was also released in mid-2010.[19] A sequel series, The Legend of Korra, premiered on April 14, 2012.[20]

Series overview[edit]

A map of the four nations. The characters at the top, 群雄四分, mean "the superheroes [the world or the country or the land] in four". The characters of the four lands are 水善 (Water Peaceful), 土強 (Earth Strong), 火烈 (Fire Fierce), and 氣和 (Air Harmony). The phrase at the bottom, 天下一匡, reads "correct all things under heaven".

Avatar: The Last Airbender takes place in a world home to humans, hybrid animals, and spirits. Human civilization is divided into four nations: the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom, the Fire Nation, and the Air Nomads. Each nation has a distinct society, wherein people known as "benders" have the ability to manipulate and control the element of their nation using the physical motions of martial arts. The show's creators based each bending style on an existing martial art, leading to clear visual and physical differences in the techniques used by Waterbenders (T'ai chi ch'uan), Earthbenders (Hung Ga kung fu, for the most part), Firebenders (Northern Shaolin kung fu) and Airbenders (Baguazhang).[21] In addition to these four types of bending, there are several minor subcategories of bending within them, including but not limited to: Metalbending (Earth), Lightningbending (Fire) and Bloodbending (Water). Energybending is a lost, fifth form of bending that makes its only appearance in the series finale.

At any given time, there is only one person in the world capable of bending all four major elements: the Avatar. The Avatar is the divine spiritual entity of the world continuously reborn and reincarnated in human form. When an Avatar dies, this spirit/soul is reborn and reincarnated into the next nation in the Avatar Cycle, according to the implied correspondence of seasons to the nations' cultures (Winter/Water Tribe; Spring/Earth Kingdom; Summer/Fire Nation; and Autumn/Air Nomads) and must master each bending art in seasonal order, starting with their own native/birth element. Additionally, the Avatar possesses an immensely powerful spiritual ability called the Avatar State, which briefly endows them with all of the knowledge and abilities of all past Avatars as a self-triggering defense mechanism, which can be made subject to the will of the user by extensive trial and training in total chakra energy harmony. Being killed in the avatar state can cause the Avatars to cease to continue.[22] If an Avatar is killed in the Avatar State, the reincarnation cycle is broken, and the Avatar identity will cease to exist.[23] Through the ages, the succeeding Avatars have served to keep a relative equality among the nations,[21] however, since the Avatar connects the material world to the spiritual world, and vice versa, the Avatar also must strive to keep balance between the worlds.[24]

Backstory[edit]

The events one hundred years before the beginning of the show are revealed gradually and out of order throughout the series.

More than a century before the beginning of the series, the ruler of the Fire Nation, Fire Lord Sozin, planned a world war to expand his territory; however, the Avatar at the time, Roku, prevented him from doing so. He waited for the Avatar's death, whereupon the latter would be reincarnated as an Airbender named Aang. Aang's Avatar status was revealed to him while still a child, despite the protests of his mentor Monk Gyatso. Aang, fearful of his new responsibilities and of separation from Gyatso, fled his home on his flying bison, Appa. The two were subsequently forced into the ocean by a storm, and Aang's protective Avatar State encased them both in an iceberg, in suspended animation. Fire Lord Sozin, in an attempt to kill the new Avatar, carried out a genocide of the Air Nomads, leaving twelve-year old Aang as the eponymous "last Airbender".

The war continued for one hundred years. Sozin was succeeded as Fire Lord by his son Azulon, and Azulon by the younger of his two sons, Ozai, the current ruling Fire Lord at the time of the series. The older son is Iroh, who laid siege to the Earth Kingdom capital of Ba Sing Se for over 600 days when he was younger.

Season one (Book 1: Water)[edit]

Katara, a fourteen-year-old Waterbender girl, and Sokka, her fifteen-year-old brother, find Aang, a twelve-year-old boy, and Appa, a flying bison, in an iceberg near their home at the South Pole. The two quickly discover that the boy knows nothing about the century-long war with the Fire Nation, and therefore must have been encased in the ice since before it began. After Aang is revealed to be the Avatar, the three begin to travel to the Northern Water Tribe at the North Pole so that Aang and Katara can learn Waterbending from a master. En route, Aang and friends visit the Southern Air Temple, where Aang discovers the genocide of his people and is visited by the spirit of his predecessor, Avatar Roku. Aang also finds the last winged lemur of the Air Temples, Momo. At the winter solstice, Aang has another encounter with Avatar Roku, who informs him that the destruction of his people was made possible by a comet, which greatly enhanced Firebending abilities. This same comet will return at the end of summer and allow the Fire Nation to win the war. Throughout their journey, the trio are pursued by Prince Zuko, the exiled son of Fire Lord Ozai, who seeks to reclaim his honor by capturing the Avatar. Zuko travels with his uncle Iroh, a legendary Fire Nation general and the older brother of Ozai. However, competing with Zuko for the Avatar is Commander Zhao, a powerful and cruel Firebender who craves the Fire Lord's favor. Shortly after the trio reach the Northern Water Tribe, Aang and Katara learn advanced Waterbending from the wise Master Pakku. Zhou follows them and leads a massive invasion force to capture the Avatar and destroy the last great Water Tribe stronghold, which is well defended. To overcome them, Zhao had discovered, in a hidden library in the Earth Kingdom, the existence of the Moon and the Ocean Spirits in the mortal world and he plans to eliminate the Moon Spirit to remove the source of the Waterbenders' power. He lays siege to the Northern Water Tribe, who guard the mortal forms of the Ocean and Moon in a secret oasis, and manages to kill the Moon Spirit after a fight with Aang and his friends. This causes a kind of lunar eclipse and takes away Waterbending. Aang, enraged, goes into the Avatar State and bonds with the, also, enraged Ocean Spirit to create a huge creature reminiscent of the koi fish that was the spirit's earthly form. This entity defeats the Fire Nation fleet and kills Zhao. Meanwhile, Princess Yue, a beautiful girl who had fallen in love with Sokka, gives her life and becomes the Moon Spirit, restoring the ability to Waterbend.

Season two (Book 2: Earth)[edit]

After leaving the Northern Water Tribe, Aang masters Waterbending under Katara's tutelage. While searching for an Earthbending teacher, the group meets Toph Beifong, a twelve-year-old blind Earthbending prodigy, and recruit her as Aang's master. She was also known as the "Blind Bandit" in an underground fighting arena, and her Earthbending prowess is so great that she eventually invents Metalbending by bending the scattered particles of 'earth' in the metal. Zuko and Iroh, now fugitives from the Fire Nation, attempt to lead new lives in the Earth Kingdom. Zuko, with the help of his uncle, tries to let go of his troubled past and his obsession with capturing the Avatar. As they travel around the Earth Kingdom while Aang learns Earthbending, the group finds a hidden library in the desert (the same library Admiral Zhao discovered) and learn that an upcoming solar eclipse will deprive Firebenders of their Firebending ability. The eclipse will leave the Fire Nation open to invasion and give Aang a chance to defeat the Fire Lord. While they are in the library, a group of Sandbenders kidnap Appa, complicating their travels. Princess Azula, Zuko's sister and a gifted Firebender, and her two friends Mai and Ty Lee, pursue the protagonists. Without Appa, Aang and his friends struggle to reach Ba Sing Se, the Earth Kingdom's capital, to tell the Earth King, Kuei, of the eclipse. Disguised as the Kyoshi Island Warriors (disciples of Avatar Kyoshi, who preceded Roku), Azula persuades Ba Sing Se's secret police, the Dai Li, to instigate a coup d'état, allowing the Fire Nation to capture Ba Sing Se. Both Zuko and Katara are captured during the coup, and although Katara offers him redemption, Zuko sides with his sister. Aang attempts to willfully activate the Avatar State, an act he had formerly avoided because it requires him to let go of his deep love for Katara, but Azula hits him with lightning, killing him and ending the Avatar's reincarnation cycle. Iroh, disappointed and sad at Zuko's choices, intercedes, allowing Katara to escape with Aang. She is able to revive Aang using magical water from the North Pole Spirit Oasis, but he can no longer enter the Avatar State at all, depriving him of one of his strongest and most powerful weapons just as Ba Sing Se, the strongest bulwark against Fire Nation conquest, has fallen.

Season three (Book 3: Fire)[edit]

Aang recovers from a long coma to find his allies disguised as Fire Nation soldiers on a Fire Nation ship. Zuko has been restored to the position of crown prince and Iroh is imprisoned as a traitor. Sokka has planned a small-scale invasion of the Fire Nation to defeat Fire Lord Ozai, taking advantage of the solar eclipse and staged by various allies encountered in previous episodes. After initial success, the invasion ultimately fails, as Azula had foreknowledge of the eclipse from her time undercover in Ba Sing Se. Only Aang, Sokka, Katara, Toph, and a few others escape, though some prisoners are eventually rescued. Zuko has a change of heart; defies his father; and decides to teach Aang Firebending. He is, initially, mistrusted, but he eventually manages to prove his change of heart and is adopted wholeheartedly into the Avatar's party.

In the four-part series finale, Aang and his friends confront Fire Lord Ozai, who plans to use the tremendous power and energy of Sozin's Comet to destroy the other nations and rule the world. Iroh breaks out of prison and leads the Order of the White Lotus (an international society of martial-arts masters, primarily now consisting of old men and including himself and Aang's allies, i.e. King Bumi, Master Pakku, Master Piandao, and Jeong Jeong) to liberate Ba Sing Se. Sokka, Toph, and Suki disable the Fire Nation's airships, preventing them from burning down the Earth Kingdom. Zuko challenges Azula, who is suffering a nervous breakdown after being named Fire Lord, to single combat. Initially, Zuko gains the advantage; but when Azula fires a lightning bolt at Katara, Zuko intercepts the bolt and is severely injured. Katara defeats and restrains Azula in chains and uses her Waterbending to heal Zuko. Aang, after an intense fight with Ozai, is about to be destroyed when he inadvertently re-establishes his connection to the Avatar State and defeats the Fire Lord. Aang is reluctant to kill him, and is able to overcome him by permanently stripping him of his Firebending with an ability called "Energybending" he learned from an ancient Lion Turtle prior to the battle.

Zuko is crowned the new Fire Lord and, with the help of the Avatar and his friends, begins rebuilding the three nations. After Zuko is crowned, he goes to confront his father in prison and demands the location of his banished mother. The team meets at Iroh's tea shop, the Jasmine Dragon, in Ba Sing Se to celebrate their victory. Aang and Katara embrace in a loving hug and kiss passionately as the sun sets.

Characters[edit]

Production[edit]

Michael DiMartino, one of the co-creators of the show, at the 2008 New York Comic Con.

Avatar: The Last Airbender was co-created and produced by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko at Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, California. Animation work was mostly done by three animation studios in South Korea: JM Animation, DR Movie, and Moi Animation. According to Bryan Konietzko, the program was conceived in the spring of 2001 when he took an old sketch of a balding, middle-aged man and re-imagined the character as a child.[1] Konietzko drew the character herding bison in the sky, and showed the sketch to Mike DiMartino. At the time, DiMartino was studying a documentary about explorers trapped in the South Pole. Konietzko described their early development of the concept:

We thought, "There's an air guy along with these water people trapped in a snowy wasteland... and maybe some fire people are pressing down on them..."

The co-creators successfully pitched the idea to Nickelodeon vice president and executive producer Eric Coleman just two weeks later.[31]

The series was first revealed to the public in a teaser reel at Comic-Con 2004,[32] and aired February 21, 2005. In the United States, first two episodes of the series were shown together in a one-hour premiere event. A second twenty-episode season ran from March 17, 2006 through December 1.[10] A third and final season, beginning September 21, 2007, featured twenty-one episodes rather than the usual twenty.[11] The final four episodes were packaged as a two-hour movie.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is notable for borrowing extensively from East Asian art[disambiguation needed] and mythology to create its universe. The series' character designs are heavily influenced by Chinese art, history, Hinduism, Taoism and Buddhism,[33] and Yoga.[2] Traditional Chinese calligraphy styles represent nearly all the writing in the series.[34] For each instance of calligraphy, an appropriate style is used, ranging from seal script (more archaic) to clerical script.[34] The show employed a cultural consultant, Edwin Zane, and calligrapher Siu-Leung Lee as consultants for the series' cultural influences.[2][35] The choreographed martial art bending moves were affected by Asian cinema.[1] In an interview, Bryan revealed that, "Mike and I were really interested in other epic 'Legends & Lore' properties, like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, but we knew that we wanted to take a different approach to that type of genre. Our love for Japanese anime, Hong Kong action and kung fu cinema, yoga, and Eastern philosophies led us to the initial inspiration for Avatar: The Last Airbender."[36] The show's character designs are influenced by anime; but the show is not considered an example of such.

All music and sound used in the series was done by Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn, who formed The Track Team. They experimented with use of a wide range of different instruments, such as the guzheng, pipa, and duduk, to compose background music.[37]

The term "Avatar" comes from Sanskrit (अवतार), wherein means "descent"; its roots are ava, "down," and tri, "to pass". In the Hindu scriptures, avatar signifies the mortal incarnation of a god (usually Vishnu). The Chinese characters apparent at the top of the show's title card mean "the divine medium who has descended upon the mortal world".[34] According to the plot, Aang unknowingly revealed he was the Avatar when by choosing four toys out of thousands, each of which were the childhood toys of previous Avatars. In Tibetan Buddhism, there is a similar test for reincarnations of a Tulku Lama. In Magic and Mystery in Tibet, Alexandra David-Neel writes that "a number of objects such as rosaries, ritualistic implements, books, tea-cups, etc., are placed together, and the child must pick out those which belonged to the late tulku, thus showing that he recognizes the things which were theirs in their previous life".[38] Each successor is expected to show signs of continuity with the previous Avatar, such as being born within a week of the death.

Avatar: The Last Airbender draws on the four classical elements for its bending arts: Water, Earth, Fire, and Air. Although each has its own variation, most ancient philosophies incorporate these four elements: examples include the classical Hindu, Buddhist, and Greek elemental traditions. In the show’s opening, each element is accompanied by two Chinese characters: an ancient Chinese seal script character on the left representing the element being shown and a modern Chinese character on the right describing some feature of the element. The character 水 (pinyin: shuǐ), which stands for water, is shown with 善 (pinyin: shàn), which means benevolence and adaptivity. The character 土 (pinyin: ), which stands for earth, is shown with 強 (pinyin: qiáng), which means strength and stability. The character 火 (pinyin: huǒ), which stands for fire, is shown with 烈 (pinyin: liè), which means intensity and passion. Finally, the character 气 (pinyin: ), which stands for air, is shown with 和 (pinyin: ), which means peace and harmony.[39]

In addition to the use of four classical elements in the series, the fighting styles associated with each element are derived from different styles of Chinese martial arts, for which the film-makers employed Sifu Kisu of the Harmonious Fist Chinese Athletic Association as a consultant.[40] Each fighting style was chosen to represent the element it projected. T'ai chi was used for "Waterbending" in the series, which focuses on alignment, body structure, breath, and visualization. Hung Gar was used for "Earthbending" in the series, and was chosen for its firmly rooted stances and powerful strikes to present the solid nature of earth. Northern Shaolin, which uses strong arm and leg movements was used to represent "Firebending". Ba Gua, which uses dynamic circular movements and quick directional changes, was used for "Airbending".[21][41][42] The only exception to these styles is Toph, who can be seen practicing a Chu Gar Southern Praying Mantis style.[43]

Reception[edit]

Ratings[edit]

When the series debuted, it was rated the best animated television series in its demographic;[44] new episodes averaged 3.1 million viewers each.[44] A one-hour special showing of "The Secret of the Fire Nation" which aired on September 15, 2006, consisting of "The Serpent's Pass" and "The Drill", gathered an audience of 5.1 million viewers. According to the Nielsen Media Research, the special was the best performing cable television show airing in that week.[45] In 2007, Avatar: The Last Airbender was syndicated to more than 105 countries worldwide, and was one of Nickelodeon's top rated programs. The series was ranked first on Nickelodeon in Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Colombia.[46]

The four-part series finale, Sozin's Comet: The Final Battle, received the highest ratings of the series. Its premiere averaged 5.6 million viewers, 95% more viewers than Nickelodeon had received in mid-July 2007.[47] During the week of July 14, it ranked as the most-viewed program for the under-14 demographic.[48][49] Sozin's Comet: The Final Battle also appeared on iTunes' top ten list of best-selling television episodes during that same week.[50] Sozin's Comet: The Final Battle's popularity affected online media as well; "Rise of the Phoenix King", a Nick.com online game based on Sozin's Comet: The Final Battle, generated almost 815,000 game plays within three days.[51] IGN listed the complete series as 35th in its list of Top 100 Animated TV Shows.[52]

Awards and nominations[edit]

YearAwardCategoryNomineeStatusRef.
2005Pulcinella AwardsBest Action Adventure TV SeriesN/AWon[53]
Best TV SeriesN/AWon[53]
33rd Annie AwardsBest Animated Television ProductionN/ANominated[54]
Storyboarding in an Animated Television ProductionLauren MacMullan for "The Deserter"Won[54]
Writing for an Animated Television ProductionAaron Ehasz and John O’Bryan for "The Fortuneteller"Nominated[54]
200634th Annie AwardsCharacter Animation in a Television ProductionYu Jae Myung for "The Blind Bandit"Won[55]
Directing in an Animated Television ProductionGiancarlo Volpe for "The Drill"Won[55]
200736th Annie AwardsBest Animated Television Production for ChildrenN/AWon[56]
Directing in an Animated Television ProductionJoaquim Dos Santos for "Sozin's Comet, Part 3: Into the Inferno"Won[56]
Genesis AwardsOutstanding Children's Programming"Appa's Lost Days"Won[citation needed]
59th Primetime Emmy AwardsOutstanding Animated Program"City of Walls and Secrets"Nominated[57]
Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation"Sang-Jin Kim" for "Lake Laogai"Won[57]
2008Nickelodeon Kid's Choice AwardsFavorite CartoonN/AWon
Annecy International Animated Film FestivalTV seriesJoaquim Dos Santos for "The Day of Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse"Nominated[58]
56th Golden Reel AwardsBest Sound Editing in a Television Animation"Sozin's Comet, Part 4: Avatar Aang"Nominated[59]
Peabody AwardsN/AN/AWon[60]

Other media[edit]

Art and comic books[edit]

Dark Horse Comics released an art book titled Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Art of the Animated Series, on June 2, 2010 which contains 184 pages of the original art and creation behind the Avatar: The Last Airbender animated series.[61] Several comic book short stories were published in Nickelodeon Magazine, and on June 15, 2011 Dark Horse released a collection of these and new comics in a single volume, Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Lost Adventures.[62]

Dark Horse also publishes a graphic novel series by Gene Yang that continues Aang's story after the Hundred Years' War. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise, published in three volumes in 2012, is about the fate of the Fire Nation colonies that eventually become The Legend of Korra's United Republic. A second set of three comic books, Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search, focuses on Zuko and Azula and the fate of their mother, Ursa.[63]

Promotion and merchandising[edit]

The two Lego sets: a Fire Nation ship and an Air Temple

Avatar: The Last Airbender's success has led to some promotional advertising with third-party companies, such as Burger King and Upper Deck Entertainment. Avatar: The Last Airbender-themed roller coasters at Nickelodeon Universe in the Mall of America and one formerly at Kings Island also appeared. During the show's runtime, Nickelodeon published two special issues of Nick Mag Presents dedicated entirely to the show. Various members of the Avatar: The Last Airbender staff and cast appeared at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con International convention, while Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko appeared with Martial Arts Consultant Sifu Kisu at the Pacific Media Expo on October 28, 2006. Avatar: The Last Airbender also has its own line of t-shirts, LEGO playsets, toys, a trading card game,[64] a cine-manga, and three video games, as well as an MMO.[65]

The Fisher-Price-produced action figure toy line generated some controversy with its exclusion of any female characters.[66] Mattel came to release information stating that they have taken account of Katara's increased role within the program, and that she would be included in the figure assortment for a mid-2007 release.[67] The figure ultimately went unreleased, however, as the entire line was canceled before she could be produced.

Nickelodeon executives have since released optimistic plans for upcoming marketing strategies in regards to Avatar: The Last Airbender. Nickelodeon President Cyma Zarghami openly stated her belief that the franchise "could become their Harry Potter".[68]

Video games[edit]

A video game trilogy about Avatar: The Last Airbender has been created. Avatar: The Last Airbender, the video game, was released on October 10, 2006. Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Burning Earth was released on October 16, 2007. Avatar: The Last Airbender – Into the Inferno was released on October 13, 2008. The three games were loosely based on seasons one, two and three, respectively. Players can select characters and complete quests to gain experience and advance the storyline. Despite lackluster critical reviews, the games did extremely well commercially; for example, Avatar: The Last Airbender was THQ's top selling Nickelodeon game in 2006 and even reached Sony CEA's "Greatest Hits" status.[69]

Avatar: Legends of the Arena, a massive multiplayer online roleplaying game (MMORPG) for Microsoft Windows, was launched on September 25, 2008 by Nickelodeon.[70] Each user is able to create their own character, choose a nation, and to interact with others across the globe.[70][71][72]

Film[edit]

The first season of the show became the basis for the 2010 live-action film The Last Airbender, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. It is claimed[by whom?] to be the first movie of a planned trilogy from each of the television 3 seasons. Critical reception was overwhelmingly negative from both critics and fans alike, earning the film a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and five Razzies in 2011, including Worst Picture. The film originally shared the title of the television series, but it was changed to The Last Airbender because producers feared it would be confused with the James Cameron film Avatar. The film version stars Noah Ringer as Aang, Nicola Peltz as Katara, Jackson Rathbone as Sokka, Dev Patel as Zuko, and Shaun Toub as Iroh.

Sequel[edit]

The Legend of Korra, a sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender, was announced at the Comic-Con in San Diego on July 22, 2010.[73][74] It is written and produced by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the creators and producers of the original series.[75] Initially titled Avatar: Legend of Korra, then The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra, it takes place seventy years after the end of Avatar: The Last Airbender.[76] The first season of 12 episodes aired from April to June 2012, and a second season of 14 episodes is in production. Nickelodeon also awarded an additional 26 episodes to The Legend of Korra, re-announced by co-creator Konietzko at the 2012 Comic-Con in San Diego.

The series' protagonist is Korra, a 17-year old girl from the Southern Water Tribe and the reincarnation of the Avatar after Aang's death. The character was partly inspired by Avatar Kyoshi of the original series, whom the creators say was very popular among fans. In order to avoid repetition of Aang's adventures during the original series, the creators wanted to root the show in one place: Republic City. A concept drawing of the city, released with the announcement of the series, shows the city's design as inspired by Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manhattan, and Vancouver with a steampunk vibe.[77] In the show's first season, Korra has to learn airbending from Tenzin, the youngest son of Aang and Katara, and contend with Amon's anti-bender revolution taking place in the city.[78]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan (2006). "In Their Elements". Nickelodeon Magazine (Winter 2006): 6. 
  2. ^ a b c Mark Lasswell (August 25, 2005). "Kung Fu Fightin' Anime Stars, Bo". New York Times. 
  3. ^ O'Brien, Chris (2012-07-30). "Can Americans Make Anime?". The Escapist. Retrieved 2013-07-19. 
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