Thursday, October 07, 2010

avatar—no not that one, the other one

Three generations in our house have recently been captivated by the Nick toon, Avatar: The Last Airbender. I had seen it before, on and off, but never watched so many episodes in a row until now. I can't say I've got a total grasp of all the mythology yet, as we have been seeing some episodes out of sequence, but what I see I really like.Like enough to purchase Book One on DVD and get caught up.

 Ya gotta have friends
The animation is a combination of the current style of more action-oriented cartoons, like the Batman series (which I also love) mixed with some Pokemon and a dash of Studio Ghibli. The young eponymous hero Aang's "pet" Appa is especially reminiscent of the great Hayao Miyazaki's cat bus in My Neighbor Totoro. The references, fight scenes and comic relief are all good fun and somehow all work together.

The inimitable catbus
What I like the best about the show is not only is the twelve year-old hero undeniably cute, but he resourceful and brave. Aang and his friends are constantly thrust into real life and death adventures. Just like Harry Potter. Just like fairy tales. I think it is also great that my six-year old daughter is getting exposed to concepts like the power and nature of the four elements—mixed in with the cute and fuzzy animals and kids who can do some cool martial arts and take care of themselves.

I have to admit that I prefer this SO much more than the tween antics that can be found on Disney or the omnipresent iCarly. But even after the kid has conked out and gone to bed, Grandma and I find ourselves still watching.

Avatar: "The Avatar Returns"

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