Why “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is still awesome, despite being a “kids” show released 16 years ago


Sandra Castanon, Staff Reporter

I  believe you have been missing on what is considered one of the greatest shows of all time. 

“Avatar: The Last Airbender” is the show that is perfection at its best. The praise I have for this show can’t even be expressed into words. I can say, however, the world needs this show in their life. 

I rewatched this series for the third time in my life after it was released on Netflion May 15th, 2021. After finishing it again, I was found still impressed and wanting more. 

This is a series with impeccable characters and arcs, flexible dialogue, continuity, compelling arguments of philosophy and society and a beautifully constructed world that will have you continue watching until two in the morning. Not because of tantalizing cliffhangers, but because the show is just that good. 

You can tell everyone involved in making this series put a lot of effort and enjoyed making this masterpiece. 

“Avatar: The Last Airbender” starts off with Katara and her brother, Sokka, two members of the Southern Water Tribe, fishing. When Sokka makes a sexist remark and angers his sister into waterbending, they discover a boy trapped in a glacier. The boy, Aang, turns out to be the last airbender, the destined avatar. 

We then see an entire culture in a war-stricken world. There are people who can bend the elements earth, fire, wind and air. The avatar is the only person who can bend all the elements and work to keep peace and balance in the world. 

The Fire Nation has started taking over colonies and is trying to take over the world when Sozin’s comet arrived 100 years before the story starts. They killed all the airbenders to stop the avatar, who was supposed to resurrect as an airbender.

These are the five key things I admired the most about this show: 

One being the world they built on this show, which is absolutely BREATHTAKING, with several influences from Hindu, Buddhist, Daoist and Confucianist religionsThe show was coated and filled with East Asian customs and cultures. 

Two being dynamics of the shows episodesIt can go from making a harmless comedic joke to covering intense topics in a matter of seconds. This show wasn’t afraid of predicting on complex forces of morality, such as one of the best episodes, “The Southern Raiders.” This is not only a huge episode for character development, but it also poses both an idealist and realist perspective on what it means to forgive someone who has deeply scarred you emotionally. These themes displayed throughout the show is the main reason I emphasized kids in the title because, yes, it is considered a kid show according to Netflix, but who says adultcan’t enjoy it as well? The maturity shown in this show by the characters can easily cater to an older audience with its take on intense topics.

Third would be the fighting sequences, heavily influenced by East Asian culture, particularly martial arts. Each bending element has their own style. Tai chi forms the basis of waterbending, Hung Gar forms earthbending, the Shaolin System forms firebending and Ba Gua forms airbending.These skills and styles are showcased throughout the show with beautifully animated fight scenes between the characters who continuously expand their knowledge to master their elements to end the war, with the youngest character being only twelve years old. 

Fourth is the music of the show. It is by far the best I have ever heard. No anime or other cartoon can give the sense of peace and serenity that this show can. The music was so traditionally well-composed with its East Asian influence with a bit of a modern sound. Its blend set the stage for every scene and episode.  

Now, fifth is I think something everyone who finishes the show will whole-heartedly agree upon: Zuko’s redemption arc. Zuko, the banished prince of the fire nation, starts off as a “villain” who wants to capture the avatar in order to restore his honor, but instead grows into a much deeper character as the show progresses. With the guidance of his uncle and a few mistakes, we see him find his path and restore his honor as one of the best characters on the show.  

With that being said, even after sixteen years, “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is still so relevant today and has been one of my all-time favorite shows since the first time I saw trailer on Nickelodeon. You can rewatch the series countless times and it would still be just as entertaining as the first time watching. I can imagine a two-year-oldten-year-oldfifteen-year-old, and adults all watching this show and enjoying every second of it. It truly has something for everyone: a complex plot and characters, action-packed fight scenes and serene music and animation. So, do yourself a favor and watch this timeless series.