“Avatar” was and is one of the most interesting animated epics on television in years. With an industry looking to bring nothing but disposable cartoons and lame comedy even years after its end, it’s rare that we were able to sit and watch animated epics. “Avatar” was engaging, beautiful, and often very emotional. As a person who fancies himself an animation aficionado, it’s rare to find excellent storytelling in the medium anymore beyond movies, and “Avatar” proved me wrong in many instances as a simple children’s fantasy series.
“Avatar” has been a fantastic episodic tale of young Ang, the reincarnation of thousands of years of spiritual elemental benders who has gradually grown from an immature child in to a stern young man slowly realizing that in order to finally defeat the menace of the wicked Fire Benders who rule the land, he’ll have to murder the rule of all fire benders: The fire lord. And possibly die doing it. The last time we saw the group before the big finale, there was a destined eclipse that would momentarily prevent the firebenders from using their powers while the sun was blocked out.
But all was botched as the freedom fighters found themselves hopelessly outmatched and outgunned by the firebenders who were successfully able to stall while the eclipse stopped their powers. And of course playing her wretched mind games, ex-prince Zuko’s sister Azula was able to coerce hero Sokka in battling with her thus enabling the right window for the eclipse to end and allow her the fire bending abilities yet again. The failure caused the youngest of the freedom fighters to flee on Appa, while the oldest volunteered to stay behind and survive in the Fire Lord’s prison.
When we meet the group again, things are easily at their worst with most of the children and teenagers confused, tense, and sniping at one another. Zuko became an ally pleading for their forgiveness while training Aang to learn to firebend, and that’s only the tip of the iceberg, my friends. The final paid a great farewell by airing all the newest episodes before the big movie “Sozin’s Comet.”
The final episodes revolve around Sozin’s Comet, and the surge of power given to the Fire Lords thanks to its passing, and it simply didn’t disappoint. Everyone waiting for that final fight between Aang and Ozai is one of the most beautiful exciting moments in animation with some of the best scores ever composed, while everyone else in Team Avatar experiences a coming of age. In spite of his constant betrayal, Prince Zuko always had potential to be one of the best anti-heroes of the story, and he proved himself well by teaming with Aang to reclaim his powers after discovering his ability was being mysteriously stifled and weakened.
“Sozin’s Comet” like the rest of the series was fluid in storytelling and absolutely phenomenal in its momentum and pacing. The series brought some of the best action sequences that were built around heavy allusions to violence without ever resorting to graphic content. There was rarely any blood shed, but that mattered none thanks to the grueling fights that take place between characters. Especially in the finale.
Zuko and Azula battle to the death, Earth Bender Toph and valiant leader Sokka held up the forefront for their father, and of course as Ozai sought to conquer the world, his brother Iroh finally made peace with his nephew Zuko and took back Ba Sing Se with a host of other veteran benders. “Sozin’s Comet” is still a brilliant finale for fans of the series that have been waiting on the edge of their seat wondering if Aang would come to grips with murdering Ozai and stopping his reign of terror. Despite the big pay off feeling like a cop out in a sense, the big moment between Aang and Katara managed to deliver as an explosion of emotions and love between two people.
“Avatar: The Last Airbender” was never supposed to be an ongoing series (especially with the networks’ limits on episode numbers), but for three seasons we witnessed a magnificent underrated epic story and I’m glad I was able to see it through. I can’t wait to re-visit the series again and again.