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(19 votes, average: 4.84 out of 5)
May 14, 2012
Fourteen-year-old Katara (Nicola Peltz) and her fifteen-year-old brother, Sokka (Jackson Rathbone), are near a river at the South Pole. While hunting, they discover an iceberg that shoots a beam of light into the sky. Inside of the iceberg is a boy named Aang (Noah Ringer) and a flying bison named Appa. Unknown to them, Aang is the long lost Avatar – the only person on the planet able to “bend” all four elements. One hundred years have passed since the Fire Nation has declared war on the other three nations of Air, Water and Earth in their attempt to conquer the world.
Zuko (Dev Patel), an exiled prince of the Fire Nation, is on a quest to find the Avatar and bring him as prisoner to his father, Fire Lord Ozai (Cliff Curtis). Seeing the light that appeared from Aang’s release, Zuko and some Fire Nation soldiers arrive at the Southern Water Tribe to demand the villagers hand over the Avatar. Aang reveals himself as he surrenders himself to Zuko on the condition that he agrees to leave the village alone. On the ship, Aang is tested by Zuko’s Uncle Iroh (Shaun Toub) to confirm him to be the Avatar. After being informed that he is to be their prisoner for passing the test, Aang escapes using his glider and flies to his flying bison brought by Katara and Sokka. Aang and his new friends visit the Southern Air Temple and he learns that he was in the ice for a whole century and that the Fire Nation wiped out all Air Nomads, including his guardian, Monk Gyatso. In despair, he enters the Avatar state and finds himself in the spirit world where he encounters a dragon spirit that tells him to make his way to the Northern Water Tribe to master Water Bending.
While at a small Earth Kingdom town controlled by the Fire Nation, Aang’s group is arrested because Katara tries to help a young boy from a patrol. They incite a rebellion by reminding the disgruntled Earthbenders that earth was given to them. Katara is given a Waterbending scroll that she uses to perfect her Waterbending and help Aang learn as they make their way to the Northern Water Tribe and liberate more Earth Kingdom villages in the process.
During a side track to the Northern Air Temple on his own, Aang is betrayed by a peasant and captured by a group of Fire Nation archers, led by Admiral Zhao (Aasif Mandvi), a Fire Nation Admiral appointed by the Fire Lord. However, a masked marauder, the “Blue Spirit”, helps Aang escape from his imprisonment. Zuko is the masked vigilante, and Zhao realizes this. He arranges to kill the prince. Zuko survives the attempt on his life with Iroh’s help. He sneaks aboard Zhao’s lead ship as his fleet departs for the Northern Water Tribe to capture the Avatar. Upon arriving, Aang’s group is welcomed warmly by the citizens of the Northern Water Tribe. Immediately, Sokka befriends the Northern Water Tribe princess, Yue (Seychelle Gabriel). After a few agreements, a waterbending master, Pakku (Francis Guinan), teaches Aang waterbending.
Soon, the Fire Nation arrives and Zhao begins his attack while Zuko begins his search for the Avatar on his own, capturing Aang as he enters the spirit world to find the dragon spirit to give him the wisdom to defeat the Fire Nation. Returning to his body, Aang battles Zuko before Katara freezes him. As the battle escalates, Iroh watches Zhao capture the moon spirit Tui, with which its water spirit counterpart had assumed the form of a fish. Despite Iroh’s pleas, Zhao kills Tui to strip the Waterbenders of their powers and abilities to Waterbend. Yue explains to everyone that the moon spirit gave her life, willing to give it back as she dies in the process. With the tables turned, Zhao is drowned by Waterbenders after Zuko and Iroh leave him to his fate. Aang uses the ocean to drive the armada back. Aang now fully embraces his destiny as the Avatar as he, Katara and Sokka prepare to continue their journey to the Earth Kingdom to find an earthbending teacher for Aang. The Fire Lord learns of the defeat, and he appoints his daughter Azula (Summer Bishil) to capture the Avatar.
Nickelodeon has just greenlit a new animated series from Avatar: the Last Airbender creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. According to the network’s president, Brown Johnson, the series– currently titled The Legend of Korra– will be expanding the mythology of the Avatar franchise, setting it roughly 70 years after the original show’s events with a whole new cast of characters.
“Mike and Bryan have imagined a compelling new story inspired by the Airbender mythology that they so brilliantly crafted when the TV series began,” Johnson said. “This new avatar is not only a girl, but also hot-headed, independent and ready to take on the world.”
The Legend of Korra
The Legend of Korra follows the adventures of a “passionate, rebellious and fearless” teenager from the Southern Water Tribe, a girl named Korra. Having already mastered three of the four elements (Earth, Water, and Fire), she seeks to master the final element of Air. Her travels eventually lead her to the metropolis of Republic City, an epicenter for the modern Avatar world. Although a thriving society of benders and non-benders alike, Republic City is also ridden with crime, including an anti-bending rebellion that is gaining momentum. Under the guidance of Aang’s son, Tenzin, Korra begins her airbending training as she confronts the dangers ahead of her.
The Legend of Korra will be produced at Nickelodeon Animation Studios and is expected to begin airing sometime in 2011.
These are the creations of kornersphere
Avatar: The Last Puppet Bender – Hot Air
“Created for presentation at the 2008 New York Comic Con Avatar Fan Panel, I slapped this skit together with a short deadline mostly taken up by building the puppets.
It’s just after episode 311′s cliffhanger and Zuko is about to catch up with our heros! If you like & know about Avatar, you’ll get the humor. If you don’t… Probably not. XD
But hopefully you can still get a kick out of the puppet craft.
A very big thanks from me to Dave Roman, Alison Wilgus, and Johane Matte for letting me participate in their panel. I had a blast!
And of course many props to the insanely funny & talented Luliandfishy for coming up with and writing many of the jokes for me!
I do indeed fully admit & acknowledge that this is a take-off on the far more superior “Potter Puppet Pals” and no claims are made of it being wholly original in concept. ”
Avatar: The Last Puppet Bender – Coming Attractions
“Okay, here it is! A sort-of new Puppet Benders video. Things have been keeping me so busy with the San Diego comic con coming up that the bigger, better stuff keeps getting delayed. But so many of you have kept asking when the next video will be finished, something had to be done!
This is a special thanks to everyone who sent a message and commented on ‘Hot Air.’ More is on the way… And hopefully before the real series finale airs. ;P ”
Avatar: The Last Puppet Bender – It Aint Over Till The Plush Lady Sings
“Who says there aren’t any girls in the Avatar universe? Certainly not us anymore! A new video for ya. Hope ya’ll likey. This one was a nightmare to get done.
Lemmie also give a big shout-out & thanks to cwutieangel, the talented artist who painted our Western Air Temple backdrop! Be sure to visit her gallery page at: http://cwutieangel.deviantart.com/”
A “Very Special” Episode of Puppetbenders
“Our full length video made for & shown at Anime Central 2009 for our fan panel, “Avatar the Last Airbender: Beginning and Beyond.” With the help of a special guest star, Toph leads us in a discussion of a very important and culturally sensitive issue. Let’s all learn and grow shall we?”
By Amy Phan
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
The latest pan-Asian, anime-inspired series, “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” has generated a lot of early buzz despite the fact that the first film— of a possible three — won’t be released until July 2010.
Why? One reason may be because “Avatar” isn’t just a cartoon. As an Emmy-award winning series, “Avatar” has, in the blink of 61 episodes, become a huge franchise, where fans invest in action figures, trading cards, and stuffed animals.
The other reason for the buzz — which is mainly debated online — is due to “Avatar” fans being critical of the recent news that three of the four principal characters will be played by white actors despite the obvious use of Asian characters in the original series.
The casting directors initially planned to use four white actors to play the main roles; however, Variety magazine reported earlier this month that singer Jesse McCartney dropped out of the movie, and he was replaced by Dev Patel (“Slumdog Millionaire”).
Paramount, Nickelodeon, and the movie producers have yet to release a statement about their casting choices.
The silence hasn’t stopped a group of dedicated fans from protesting what they believe is the studio’s attempt to “whitewash” the film.
A step in the right direction
“[Patel is] an excellent young actor and well-qualified for the role. And we’re glad to see an Asian actor join the cast,” read the latest post on “Aang-Aint-White” (AAW), the online group protesting the cast of “Avatar.”
Despite the praise, the group also criticizes Patel’s casting as ethnically incorrect, as the role he will portray has cultural roots more closely related to China than Patel’s Indian background.
“[Patel’s casting] is a sign that the cast is not set in stone,” said Michelle Ikemoto, a member of AAW.
As an Asian American student majoring in animation in San Jose, Cali., Ikemoto said she hoped the “last decade of Hollywood’s rediscovery of Asian culture and the remakes of Asian classics” would provide more roles for minority actors in the film industry.
She found the film’s principal cast to be “especially loathsome.”
Ikemoto isn’t alone in her disgust.
With nine official postings, AAW has generated more than 1,600 comments so far — all in the span of two months.
AAW was created a few days after initial casting decisions were made public, in an attempt to “provide info and basic points to help set the tone of the protest and discussion of the cast in ‘Avatar,’” said Lee, the co-creator of AAW, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Lee works for the “Avatar” franchise. She said revealing her full identity may put her job in jeopardy.
The group’s message has generated national and international support from fans. The group’s name refers to the protagonist of “Avatar,” Aang.
What began as an attempt to provide basic information for those interested in the casting has quickly turned into a formalized letter-writing campaign. According to Lee’s estimates, about 600 letters have been sent to Paramount Pictures objecting to the casting. A few hundred more were sent to the producers of the movie.
A complicated issue
To be sure, the cast of “Avatar” is much more complicated than a simple racial debate. The original series showcases an array of talents not exclusive to Asian Americans. The show’s creators, Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, are both white. Many of the voice actors are white as well.
M. Night Shyamalan, one of the few high-profile Asian American producers, is spearheading the film, which leaves some thinking that an all-Asian principal cast is irrelevant.
If two white creators can create such a well-researched beloved series, why can’t a white actor have an equally authentic performance with proper research?
Fans on both sides of the argument have tossed these points back and forth.
“It would be like taking ‘Lord of the Rings’ — a very Eurocentric story — and casting Asian people in the heroic lead roles,” said Loraine Sammy, a video game developer in Vancouver, B.C. “‘Avatar’ is culturally specific,” she added.
What’s the big deal?
As Nickelodeon president Cyma Zarghami said to the San Francisco Chronicle, “[‘Avatar’] could become our ‘Harry Potter!’”
Like “Harry Potter,” “Avatar” is a profiting machine. The show’s franchise generates a good portion of Nickelodeon’s annual $250 million revenue, according to the Chronicle.
But to many, “Avatar” is more than a commercial success. To some, it’s a world where fans can follow character development, form an “Avatar” lexicon, and become deeply entrenched in the storyline.
Sammy said “Avatar” is a rare case where “a well-done American cartoon was immersed in Asian and Inuit influences.”
“It’s another perfect opportunity,” she said, “to showcase minority actors to an American audience.”
Sammy said she believes the show’s popularity among children is an important factor in reconsider the casting, as kids could learn more about Asian, Inuit, and Hindu cultures.
Spreading the message
As the first “Avatar” film is in its early production stage, no one is more surprised at the support for AAW than its creator.
“It just exploded in a way I never saw coming,” said Lee. “I was excited to see other people, who weren’t hardcore fans of the show, protest the cast, too.”
She said it’s an indication that people are no longer turning a “blind eye” to Hollywood’s “irresponsible decisions.”
Another AAW site organizer, Marissa Lee, agreed.
“The lack of diversity is a big deal,” said Marisa Lee, who is not related to AAW’s creator. “The public has demanded that the studio should seriously consider their casting decisions.”
If casting decisions have not changed in a year, the creator of AAW said that the group will “help whoever is organizing a boycott.”
“We want to make sure they aren’t financially rewarded for these decisions,” said Lee.
Source: NW Asian Weekly
For those who can’t get quite enough of Aang and his gang after highly raved about Nickelodeon animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender ended its season on a high note (read: 19 million viewers on its final week), you’re in luck, as the complete box set of Avatar Book 3 will debut on DVD this September 16.
Other than, of course, the 21 episodes of the phenomenal season, the DVD set will also have several bonus features, such as Inside Sozin’s Comet: Exclusive Four-Part Audio Commentary by Creators, The Women of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Book 3 Finale Pencil Test Animation, and Into the Fire Nation at San Diego Comic-Con.
If we’d remember, Avatar Book 3 saw Aang facing new challenges as he and his friends go undercover and enter the Fire Nation in order to find and defeat Fireload Ozai. On the way there, Aang his posse discover that Ozai plans to use the massive power of Sozin’s Comet to lord over the four nations. Trying to learn a lot of bending in a limited period of time, he is surprised to find some friends in the heart of the Fire Nation. We need not tell you how exciting the finale is, as Aang must fulfill his destiny of becoming a full-pledged Avatar or fail, and let the world fail with him.
Prior to the success it enjoyed on the small screen (now seen in over 105 countries complete with action figures, costumes, video games, even Lego products, the whole shebang), Avatar: The Last Airbender will not spare the big screen, as it is scheduled to be made into a trilogy of live-action movies by no less than M. Night Syamalan himself, which is slated for a July 2010 release.
First pitched to Nickelodeon in 2002, Avatar creators Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino didn’t realize it was going to be this big, they said in a prior interview.
After confirmation some months back of an official Avatar: The Last Airbender move being in the works, more details surface regarding the highly anticipated project. Unique to its kind as an animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender also has a huge following among the older markets, and this is seen to be one of its strength when it finally comes out.
That being said, The Last Airbender is set for release on July 2, 2010, with filming beginning in Philadelphia in May 2009. It will also be shot in Greenland. Meanwhile, the working title had the word “Avatar” stricken out so as not to be confused with the James Cameron project of the same title. With Cameron proclaiming that the upcoming Avatar movie will dwarf Titanic, even an M. Night Shyamalan feature better stay away from it.
As you may know, the first movie will be part of a trilogy of live-action films based on the series, with the first one tackling the main characters’ adventures in Book One. It is a joint venture by Paramount Pictures’ MTV Films and Nickelodeon Movies.
Considering the massive 19 million viewers who tuned in during Avatar: The Last Airbender’s finale, the movie will most likely be a hit.
In other news, Avatar is proving to be a very marketable franchise, with a wide array of games inspired by the series.
“It was just the story. I just loved the story,” Shyamalan said. “I loved the characters in the story and I felt like I could be me inside this larger canvas of this very long-form movie. I think it inherently had kind of family issues and serious larger topics–at the center, genocide–all kinds of stuff. Cultural differences at the center. It has Buddhism, Hinduism, things I’m interested in. It does have martial arts in a way that’s not bang bang bang, but more about the person mastering yourself and the things that I love. I took martial arts for a long time. A ten-year-old at the center. T hat point of view felt good, like I could do my thing.”
Gaming Event Continues Momentum Following Highest-Rated Series Performance Ever, the Avatar Season Three Finale
By PR Newswire
NEW YORK, July 25 /PRNewswire/ — Fresh off of its highest-rated performance ever on TV, Nickelodeon will treat Avatar: The Last Airbender fans to a unique experience this September with a brand-new, multiplayer global online game. In the game, Avatar: Legends of the Arena, which will serve as a prequel story to the series, players can create their own Avatar character and test their skills against players from around the globe in several 3D online arenas. Each game level will introduce and unlock new content, challenges, custom character outfits and more on an ongoing basis. The global game will live on a dedicated website http://www.avatarlegends.com and the beta version of the game http://www.tinyurl.com/5j6j6j* will be unveiled at Comic-Con International in San Diego on July 25.
“The launch of this multiplayer online game gives Avatar fans the opportunity to immerse themselves in the storylines during and beyond its tenure on-air,” said Jason Root, Senior Vice President of Nick.com. “This property has always had a deep online connection with its audience and the game offers a natural extension of the franchise to keep fans engaged with the property indefinitely.”
The global gaming event, which represents Nick.com’s (http://www.nick.com) first 3D multiplayer online role play game, will take place in 81 markets in ten languages, including: the United States; United Kingdom; Australia; New Zealand; India; Southeast Asia; Canada; Mexico; Argentina; Spain; Italy; France; Korea; Japan; Israel; Holland; Northern Belgium; Germany; Brazil; and Portugal. A total of 77 countries will launch the game on Sept. 15, with the remaining markets launching through the following months (non-domestic territories will vary).
Each 3D online arena within the game will host battles featuring up to four players at a time, but combat isn’t the only focus of the experience. Players will also be able to engage in role play, building their characters through training and arena duels. As players advance, they can upgrade their characters, unlock new bending moves, and acquire outfits and other exclusive equipment to make them the envy of others.
The animated series, Avatar: The Last Airbender, has inspired M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender”, a live-action epic adventure from Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies which will debut in domestic theaters July 2010. Series’ creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko will serve as executive producers on the film.
This fall, Nicktoons Network will serve as the on-air home for Avatar: The Last Airbender, and will feature a Sept. Avatar event and season three episodes of the series throughout Sept. and Oct. Additionally, Nicktoons will offer fans a chance to get in on the Avatar game, asking them to tune in on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. for episode-specific hints that will unlock exclusive content in Avatar: Legends of the Arena.
Available on DVD July 29, Avatar: The Last Airbender – Book 3: Fire – Volume 4 features the kid hero’s return to the Fire Nation to prepare for a final confrontation with Firelord Ozai. Fans will also have a chance to get their game on with Avatar The Last Airbender: Into the Inferno, a new action adventure video game from THQ, in stores this fall.
Launched in February 2005 on Nickelodeon in the US, the epic story of Avatar: The Last Airbender follows the journey of Aang (Zach Tyler Eisen), a 12-year-old boy torn between fulfilling his fate as the long-awaited Avatar and just wanting to be a regular kid. The Avatar season three finale, Sozin’s Comet, recently earned the series its highest ratings ever. The previous week’s season three new premiere episodes reached a total of 19 million total viewers (P2+). Avatar is a top ranked show on Nickelodeon’s international channels, and is number one on Nick in Holland and Germany.
DiMartino and Konietzko serve as executive producers of Avatar: The Last Airbender. DiMartino is an award-winning filmmaker and has worked on the prime-time animated series King of the Hill, Family Guy and Mission Hill. Konietzko was a character designer for Family Guy, assistant director on Mission Hill and King of the Hill and a storyboard artist and art director for Nickelodeon’s Invader Zim.
Nickelodeon’s popular animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender may have ended, but obviously the fever isn’t over yet. Aside from the planned trilogy of live-action films that will be directed by M. Night Shyamalan, the first of which is currently in production, the press’ attention has again given the cartoon glowing reviews.
Last Saturday’s finale, “Sozin’s Comet”—actually the series’ last four episodes shown together—was praised for its balance of fun for children and adults, much like how its main character Aang attempts to keep balance in the world. “This is complicated stuff, the reconciliation of religion and violence, and it’s beautifully rendered,” The New York Times said. “[It's] simple enough for Nickelodeon fans and subtle enough for their parents, with humor to puncture the pomposity inherent in the heroic genre.”
Also applauded is the sense of finality that the finale has conveyed to viewers. “[It] provides a powerful sense of closure to Aang’s story,” website Toon Zone thought. “This tale is finished. Those dangling plot threads aren’t an invitation to more direct follow-ups as much as they’re just reminders that life is messy and we don’t always get answers to the questions that we have.”
In an interview with Malaysian newspaper The Star, Avatar co-creator Mike DiMartino reasserted that the show’s third season is its last. “Since our initial pitch in 2002, Bryan and I have always envisioned Aang’s story having a beginning, middle and an end,” DiMartino said. “We wanted the characters to grow and mature along their journey and not do a series that goes on and on with no end in sight. To make a satisfying epic story, you really need to have a definite end.”
But the two creators still hope to see future incarnations of Avatar, although perhaps having a different storyline than the original’s. With some questions still unresolved at the end of “Sozin’s Comet,” there’s still a lot of room for a spin-off, perhaps. We might expect answers when DiMartino and fellow show creator Bryan Koneitzko appear in Avatar’s own panel at the San Diego Comic-Con this Friday night, where they are expected to show the last half of the program’s finale.
Source: Buddy TV
Nickelodeon’s Avatar the Last Airbender built its reputation at least partially through its dazzling displays of animated martial-arts. However, fans of the show may have noticed that the action sequences started getting larger, more intricate, and more creative somewhere around the middle of Book 2. The exceptionally sharp-eyed may have also noticed that Joaquim Dos Santos’ name started appearing in the credits at around the same time. Given Dos Santos’ work directing episodes of Cartoon Network’s Justice League Unlimited, we don’t think these two events are unrelated.
In an incredibly short span of time, Dos Santos has built up a sizable reputation as one of the top action animation directors working today (his skill has even led us to nickname him “Dr. Fight” here at the Toon Zone News Bullpen). We were able to speak with Dos Santos via e-mail about his time on Avatar and his brand of action-adventure animation shortly before the “Sozin’s Comet” season finale aired on Nickelodeon.
Note: There are spoilers for Book 3 of Avatar throughout this interview.
TOON ZONE NEWS: Just to make sure, you’re not the Joaquim Santos who does insane motor racing, right?
JOAQUIM DOS SANTOS: If that were me you would probably be see the crowd running in fear as I stuck my head out the window and projectile vomited all over them.
TZN: How did you join the staff of Avatar?
Cover art to video game ‘Avatar: The Burning Earth’ by Joaquim Dos SantosDOS SANTOS: I had been over at Warner Brothers directing on Justice League Unlimited, and I had heard rumblings that there was a pilot floating around about a little monk kid who did martial arts and used the elements to fight. Everyone in the industry who saw the thing was raving about how good it looked and how cool the characters moved. Some time went by and I was so busy at work that I just sort of forgot about it.
Then one day (months later) I come into work and everyone is talking about this show Avatar that premiered on Nickelodeon the day before. From what I could gather the animation and style was some really “next level” stuff — a real hybrid of anime visuals with Western story sensibilities. But again I was so busy and I did not have a TiVo at the time, so I just sort of let it pass me by. Finally, some time later (about a month I’m guessing), my wife (who was then my girlfriend) calls me up and says “I’m watching this show about a little monk kid with an arrow on his head. He and his friends are on this adventure with a giant bison and a little cute monkey thing…” I knew that the show had to be special if my wife, who does not work in animation, was calling me up to tell me about it.
That night I came home and watched the show for the first time (we had bought a TiVo by then). I remember it was the “Jet” episode and, needless to say, my mind was completely blown. I wondered who the heck are these guys Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko? I thought I pretty much knew all the guys that worked in action-adventure animation and these guys come out of nowhere and raised the bar way high!
By that time one of my co-workers (and the guy who happened to get me into the animation industry), Michael Chang had left WB to start working on the show. I called him up along with another buddy of mine who was working on Danny Phantom at the time and asked if they could give me the hookup with the powers that be over on Avatar. They happened to be looking for a storyboard artist at that time and they gave me a test.
I can remember my ego telling me at the time “You shouldn’t have to test for this show, you’re a big shot director.” My wife was working as a producer on a TV show that was filming in Vegas for a week. So I flew out to visit her and brought the test with me. While she was working during the day, I just locked myself in the hotel room, ordered a whole lot of room service and stayed hunched over my little light box for hours on end. I finished the test that weekend and turned it in on Monday. I heard from them the next week and they said the job was mine if I wanted it.
This acupuncture technique really sucksTZN: Avatar is a show where an episodes may need to rely on the script, the storyboards, and the fight choreography by Sifu Kisu to tell the story. Can you talk about how those things come together?
DOS SANTOS: The whole process is very organic. The writers will be very specific about choreography if it is important to the story, like in the finale when Aang hits his scar on the rock triggering the flashback and his transformation into the Avatar State. Moments like that are “beats” that you have to hit within a sequence to move the story forward, so the writers will call those out in the script specifically. Or sometimes Mike or Bryan will have a very specific idea of what they want to see in a sequence after the script has been finalized and those ideas will usually come up in the “start-up” meeting we have before we go into pre-production on a new episode. Those ideas will then get refined in our choreography meetings with Sifu Kisu.
But I’d say the brunt of the choreography is realized when we pitch our rough storyboard concepts. Once those are approved and most of the staging and shots are figured out, we have a second meeting with Sifu Kisu, where he will look over the action in the rough story boards and spell out the beats on film giving each movement the proper form. The board artists then take what has been filmed and use it as a point of reference when they create the final “clean” storyboard. The animators overseas also use this film as a point of reference to create the most authentic animated kung-fu on TV!
TZN: “Directed by Joaquim Dos Santos” is usually a good indication that the episode of the show is going to have some pretty incredible action sequences. Is this something that you’re drawn to naturally, or is that something you feel you have to work at?
DOS SANTOS: Thanks! I do love action! Growing up as a kid I watched a lot of action/adventure and martial arts films, so I think it’s something I gravitate toward naturally, but it never really comes easy. Keeping it new and fresh and exciting is something that always seems to challenge me, especially on a show like Avatar. It’s a simple equation: More Action (in the show) = Less Sleep (for the artist), so it can be sort of a double edged sword that way. Luckily, I don’t need that much sleep.
TZN: In a lot of your action scenes, we often get information about a character through the way they fight. Is that something you try to do deliberately?
DOS SANTOS: Wow! Thanks for noticing! I personally feel that you can gain a lot of information about a person or a character by studying the way they fight. Kind of like body language I guess. I find that “story within the story” aspect of a fight sequence very interesting. Even though it may not always come across to the viewer I think the effort put forth by the artist to get inside the combatants head usually makes the scene that much stronger.
Good form on Chit Sang’s Ippon Seoi NageTZN: Do you do a lot of research into fighting styles and fight choreography to stage your scenes, either as a storyboard artist or as a director?
DOS SANTOS: I am already a huge fan of combat sports — mixed martial arts specifically — and I’ve been training Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu for some time now, so I think that sort of helps with understanding how the body mechanics of a punch or a throw work. That kind of gives me a little bit of a leg up in the choreography of a sequence. I’m not preoccupied with the “how do I draw this or that.” It’s more worrying about the cinematography of the sequence, and for that I study a lot of film. I’ve got a huge DVD collection so if a scene I’m working on does not feel right I’ll pull out some film I feel is relatable to the scene I am working on at the time and study why those scenes work. That not only pertains to action sequences, but to all sequences with in a story.
TZN: What’s the difference between doing a giant sized, epic-scale battles and doing the one-on-one duels on Avatar?
DOS SANTOS: Both have their challenges, but I’d say the biggest difference is having to try and keep track of where everyone is from scene to scene in those big epic battle sequences. That can sometimes drive a director to the breaking point. Keeping a sense of scale can also be a bit tough especially when you do not always have the time to give a scene the length of time is deserves. In other words, fitting “Epic” into 22 minutes can be a challenge.
TZN: You directed one of the most memorable episodes of Book 3, “The Puppetmaster,” which introduced the idea of bloodbending. Where did you guys get the idea of bloodbending from?
DOS SANTOS: I think the bloodbending was something that Mike and Bryan came up with along with the writing staff, but to be honest I’m not quite sure. The mechanics of how it actually worked is something we worked out in one of many Sifu Kisu sessions. It creeped me out though.
Creepy, creepy Hama, the PuppetmasterTZN: Looking back on that episode, what would you do differently knowing what you know now?
DOS SANTOS: That is an evil question to ask. I am my own worst critic, as I think most artists are. To be honest with you, the list is way long on that one. Don’t get me wrong, I think it was a solid episode and super creepy to boot, but there are a bunch of little technical things that I would want to change that probably only I would notice. Overall, I wish we had given more time to the conclusion with Katara learning and mastering the bloodbending, since it seemed to wrap up a bit fast. It sort of seemed like the last 10 minutes were in fast forward.
TZN: You directed episodes 3 and 4 of the massive four-part season finale of Book 3. What was the hardest thing about assembling such a big production? Did you need to interact with the other two directors a lot to coordinate things?
DOS SANTOS: There was a ton of coordination that had to be done for the 4-part finale, and luckily for us a lot of it was done in the writing! Once each director is focused on his or her episode, they tend to go into their own little universe for about a month or so. I did not see a lot of anything except my episodes while I was working on them. Every now and again, I would hop into (finale directors) Giancarlo Volpe or Ethan Spaulding’s storyboard pitches to see what they had going on, but TV schedules are so tight that you really don’t have the time for big meetings on this. We all really relied on Mike and Bryan to catch things that would slip through the cracks, since they were overseeing the big picture.
Cover art to Nicktoons Magazine, by Joaquim Dos SantosTZN: Is there anybody’s work in animation or some other medium that you study or admire and aspire to?
DOS SANTOS: Oh man, there are way too many to name to be honest. I can say that I have been fortunate enough to have worked with a lot of the people I grew up admiring. And so many of the talented people I meet in the industry make me aspire to be a better artist every day.
TZN: What’s the one thing that you wish you could do better as a board artist or a director?
DOS SANTOS: Honestly, everything. I think I still have so much room to grow in all aspects of directing and storyboarding.
TZN: What are you working on now that Avatar has wrapped up for the time being?
DOS SANTOS: I have moved on from Avatar, although I still keep in contact with Mike and Bryan. I am now working as a Supervising Director/Art Director on G.I. Joe: Resolute, a micro series that will be released sometime in 2009 (read Toon Zone News’ coverage of it here — ed). Watch out for it — it is going to rock your socks off!
Toon Zone News would like to thank Joaquim Dos Santos for taking the time to answer our questions, and Maria Poulos at Nickleodeon for arranging the interview. Dos Santos will be a participant on the Avatar panel at this year’s San Diego Comic Con International, and fans should also visit Joaquim Dos Santos’ DeviantArt account to check out his artwork (including full-sized versions of some of the art above) and keep up to date on his latest news.
Source: Toon Zone
A perfect Avatar movie.
by Tory Ireland Mell
July 22, 2008 – When I first sat down to watch “Sozin’s Comet” I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew it would be something fun to watch, since this is a pretty much near perfect series, but never in a million years did I think I would have been subjected to this kind of television. It was so bad in fact that after watching it for the third time (in a row), I knew there was something terribly wrong, so I watched it a fourth, then fifth time. After the fifth viewing I realized something, not only was this the greatest animated movie I’d ever see, I’d seriously put it in the top ten films of all time. In fact, I’d go so far as to say they should put it in a limited release in theatres! No, it didn’t really take me five times to know how awesome it was, I knew it from the moment it started that I was in for something special. The other four viewings were purely for entertainment because it was that good.
If you’re going to wrap up a series this is definitely the way to do it. There wasn’t a stone left unturned, there wasn’t a character left out, whether they were actually there or just mentioned in passing, they were there. We even got to see a whole slew of past Avatars. Bringing closure to everyone’s story lines that were left unresolved, like the imprisonment of King Bumi. Holy Christmas was that an incredible scene.
The stylized art, from the popping eyes, to the whole dark tone was gorgeous to look at. From the beginning with its bright colors lent itself nicely to the pre-battle calm. Throughout the episode the colors began to darken, guiding us towards a very dark time, a very dark battle. The most incredible part of the animation wasn’t the battle sequences, which were perfect and looked great, it was the art of the Lion Turtle. He was just visually stunning to look at; it had that classic anime-look that I’ve always loved to see when watching old anime movies. The story through the animation was perfectly done.
Whether there have been some story problems in the past (which were few and far between) doesn’t make any kind of difference during this movie. Emmys are great but if television shows could get Academy Awards for writing, then this movie deserves nothing less. From the heartwarming (I shed a tear or two) reunion with Uncle Iroh and Zuko, to the humor that Sokka holds onto throughout (I will get to the action in a minute), and the severe character realization of Princess Azula with her terrifying cries after her capture, I couldn’t possibly fathom how perfect each character would pan out. Everyone had a voice; every creature had a purpose and meaning. Nothing was thrown in that didn’t need to be there. This story moved and kept us moving right along with it from beginning to end.
The choreography, and the direction of each and every action sequence was perfect to say the least. With the opening beach party battle between Aang and Zuko you could feel the tension in the air and got a little taste for things to come. Toph’s Iron Man battle suit was perfect, and that whole sequence was brilliantly written. Between Toph, Sokka, and Suki I didn’t know who was more exciting to watch; I was literally cheering during the whole fight.
When the inter-cuts with the Ba Sing Se took over, Zuko/Azula, and Aang’s battle with the newly named Phoenix Lord Ozai I hardly could take it! Every beat timed perfectly, each time we cut between a battle we were thrust right into the middle of something incredible.
Hands down two of the greatest battles I’ve ever seen — animated or not — were Zuko’s battle with his sister, and Aang’s with Ozai. They were both equally mind shattering. There is a certain beauty in violence in Zuko’s battle, accompanied with a brilliant score. Watching the siblings duke it out was one of the most moving and visually stunning sights I have ever seen. If you taped or TiVo’d it, go back and really pay attention to the score during this battle, you can literally close your eyes and see what is happening just by listening. That is magic in-and-of-itself. The slow motion flows with the music as the action sounds are muted down as the two put on a display of Firebending unlike any I have ever seen. Azula’s insanity mixed with her crazy blue fire, against Zuko’s newfound confidence, it was a symphony of fire to rock the ages.
Watching Aang and Ozai fight was the very definition of Yin and Yang, Davey and Goliath, the young Airbender versus the all-powerful Phoenix Lord. Besides the obvious, a testament to Aang’s character was that he really did give him a chance to do it without fighting, and in the end even redirected Ozai’s lightning strike. Aang is pure of heart, and I am most definitely contradicting myself, but in a world filled with scumbags and untrustworthy people, at the end of the day it is great to see someone on screen as pure and genuinely kind as Aang. I don’t know if it comes from a naive youth mentality, or if he is inherently a nice person, but the final character decision for Aang was the right one by the writers. Now on to the obvious — OMFG, Elemental Avatar Aang was un-goddamn-real! From him going into the A-State to the ensuing battle and onto the taking of Ozai’s bending ability I was on the edge of my couch throughout the wild ride. That’s writing, that’s action, and that’s Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Aang’s journey was an incredible one from a young unfocused boy to a powerful young man; Aang has been through it all. With the help of some friends, and some great storytelling, Avatar is sure to go down in history as one of the greats. Let’s just hope M. Night doesn’t screw up the franchise with his upcoming live action feature, Airbender (yes, it has a name change thanks to James Cameron’s CG film Avatar).
Not much more needs to be said, but I will give honorable mention to the White Lotus Crew, The Katara/Azula Fight, and Momo and Apa.
I leave you with this… Airbender SLICE! Airship SLICE! Bye, Space Sword, and I don’t think Boomerang is coming back.
NEW YORK, July 22, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Season Three Finale, Sozin’s Comet, Earns Number-One Spot On TV With Kids And Tweens
Full Week Of New Avatar Episodes Reach 19 Million Total Viewers
NEW YORK, July 22 /PRNewswire/ — Nickelodeon’s Avatar: The Last Airbender ended its third season with a “b-Aang,” scoring the series’ highest ratings ever, and earning the number-one spot on broadcast and basic cable television for the week with kids and tweens. The two-hour season-three finale, Sozin’s Comet (Sat., July 19, 8 p.m. ET/PT), wrapped up a week of new, half-hour Avatar episodes (Mon-Tues., Thurs.-Fri., 8 p.m. ET/PT), including a one-hour TV movie mid-week, Avatar: Boiling Rock (Wed. July 16, 8 p.m. ET/PT).
Ratings highlights for Nick’s Avatar week include:
– The season-three finale, Avatar: Sozin’s Comet, was the number-one telecast on broadcast and basic cable television for the week of 7/14/08-7/22/08, averaging 5.6 million total viewers, up +195% over last year’s like time period.*
– Sozin’s Comet earned the highest Avatar ratings ever with kids 6-11 and tweens, and triple-digit increases in all kid and tween demos. It averaged an 8.9/1.9 million K6-11 (up +123% over last year’s same time period), and a 9.2/2.0 million T9-14 (up +229%).
– All of the week’s new Avatar episodes, including the Saturday finale, reached 19.0 million total viewers combined.**
– The Wed., July 16, episode, Avatar: Boiling Rock (8 p.m. ET/PT), drew 4.0 million total viewers and averaged a 6.9/1.4 million K6-11 (up +86% over last year), and a 7.1/1.5 million viewers T9-14 (up +122%).
– On average, the week-long Avatar premieres earned a 7.6/1.7 million T9-14 (up +130% over the same week in 2007); a 7.3/1.5 million K6-11 (up +83%); and 4.6 million total viewers.*
– The new Avatar online Game of the Week on http://www.nick.com, “Rise of the Phoenix King”, generated almost 815,000 game plays (7/17-7/20/08) and in just three days, became the number-two online game for the week.****
– During the week of premiere episodes, Avatar became the number-one message board on Nick.com.
In Sozin’s Comet, Aang faces an epic battle against the Firelord, coming to terms with his destiny. Launched in February 2005, the epic story of Avatar: The Last Airbender follows the journey of Aang, a boy torn between fulfilling his fate as the long-awaited Avatar and just wanting to be a regular kid.
The animated series has inspired the 2010 live-action epic adventure, M. Night Shyamalan’s “The Last Airbender”, from Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. Avatar television series creators, Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, will serve as executive producers.
Nickelodeon, now in its 29th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 96 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for 14 consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc
Source: Market Watch
Katara eventually defeats Azula by trapping her in ice and heals Zuko, driving Azula into insanity. Sokka, Toph and Suki destroy the airship fleet. Aang defeats Ozai after going into the Avatar State and removes his bending abilities. Afterwards, Zuko is crowned Fire Lord. At the end, in Ba Sing Se, Aang and Katara kiss, ending the series.
Sokka, Toph and Suki begin destroying the airship fleet. Aang duels Ozai, but is soon overwhelmed because of his reluctance to kill him. Zuko fights Azula in an Agni Kai, but is shot by lightning in the process of saving Katara from the oncoming bolt.
The gang finds Iroh with June’s help. Iroh suggests that Zuko challenge Azula for the position of Fire Lord, with Katara to help. The others decide to intercept the airship fleet. Meanwhile, Aang comes to the conclusion that he must kill Ozai after talking to previous Avatars only to find out the island he was on was a Lion Turtle. The comet arrives at the end.
Aang is informed of Ozai’s plans to burn down the Earth Kingdom with an airship fleet. He disappears during the night, having sleepwalked onto a mysterious moving island. His friends cannot find him and seek aid from June. Meanwhile, Ozai is crowned Phoenix King.
The gang goes to the Ember Island theater to see a play about their journeys, but are not happy with the production and the inaccurate portrayals of themselves.
Katara and Zuko journey together to find the man responsible for the death of Katara’s mother, Kya, who was killed in a Southern Water Tribe raid.
This episode is continuing the jailbreak from the previous episode. Sokka, Hakoda, Zuko and Suki form a new escape plan, but it is complicated by the arrival of Princess Azula. In a desperate bid for freedom, the four escape due to the assistance of Mai, leaving Azula shocked and dismayed.
Sokka and Zuko break into the Boiling Rock Prison, the Fire Nation’s highest security prison, to rescue Hakoda. When they develop an escape plan after finding out Hakoda is not there, other prisoners become involved and ruin it. Now the two and a recently discovered Suki have to find another way out of the inescapable fortress.
Aang prepares to start his firebending training only for Zuko to realize he has lost all his firebending power, as he no longer draws his firebending power from rage, anger and his desire to capture Aang. They journey to find the true source of firebending.
The gang leaves the Fire Nation, humbled and embarrassed by the failure of the invasion. They head to the Western Air Temple. However, unbeknownst to them, Zuko is also following them in the hope of joining their group to teach Aang firebending.
Second part to “The Day of Black Sun, Part 1: The Invasion”. The eclipse has started and the gang only has a few minutes to infiltrate an underground bunker and find and defeat Ozai. Zuko confronts his father and learns about his mother’s banishment while Aang, Sokka and Toph fight Azula and her Dai Li agents.
It is the Day of Black Sun and the group meets up with the invasion force with Aang ready to take on the Fire Lord. However, they soon realize things aren’t going to go according to plan and their surprise attack isn’t so unexpected. Part 2 is “The Day of Black Sun, Part 2: The Eclipse.”
The group arrives at the rendezvous point for the invasion four days ahead of schedule with Aang beginning to feel nervous about the fast-approaching confrontation with the Fire Lord, leading him to have nightmares and then stop sleeping entirely.
In a Halloween installment, the gang looks into strange disappearances in a spooky town. There, an old lady named Hama teaches Katara some secret waterbending techniques.
Katara expresses her disproval when Toph discovers a way to make quick cash, resulting in a rift that leaves the group vulnerable and produces nearly disastrous consequences after the arrival of Combustion Man.
Aang and Zuko are taken on parallel adventures, which give them both insight into their forefather’s pasts.
Zuko, Azula, Mai and Ty Lee go on vacation to Lo and Li’s beach house, where they learn much about themselves and each other. Meanwhile, Aang and the rest of the team are being chased by the man, sent by Zuko, who fires explosive blasts with his mind from a tattoed “third eye”.
Sokka feels as though he’s not contributing to the team because he lacks bending abilities, so he seeks out a swordmaster who will teach him the way of the sword. He later goes on to make a sword out of a meteorite.
When the group travels to a starving fishing village, they meet a mysterious spirit.
Mistaken for a Fire Nation school student, the disguised Aang is forced to enroll in a Fire Nation school, but finds trouble obeying the rules. Aang’s hair helped to disguise him better with his headband. Meanwhile, Zuko tries to confront Iroh in his prison cell. He then hires Combustion Man to kill Aang in secret.
The third season begins with Aang aboard a Fire Nation ship and Zuko returning home. Aang wakes up with hair after having been in a coma for a few weeks.
When Aang has a vision that Katara is in danger, Aang, Sokka and Toph all rush back to Ba Sing Se to save her. They meet up with Iroh, who asks their help in saving Zuko who had been captured as well. While Aang and Iroh journey to the prison where Zuko and Katara are held, Toph and Sokka go to warn the Earth King of a secret coup, but are captured by Azula. Aang and Katara battle Azula when Zuko shows up and helps Azula. They are overwhelmed by Zuko, Azula and the Dai Li. Aang prepares to let go of his feelings for Katara to save her and meditates as he rises in cosmic energy, but is struck by Azula’s lightning bolt and falls. The gang escapes Ba Sing Se and Katara revitalizes Aang using the water from the Spirit Oasis in the North Pole.
Aang starts to learn control of the Avatar State from Guru Pathik at the Eastern Air Temple. Sokka is reunited with his father and Toph teaches herself metalbending while Xin Fu and Master Yu transport Toph back to her parents. Katara and the generals plan the Invasion of the Fire Nation. Later, she sees Zuko and Iroh running their tea shop.
The gang breaks into the Earth King’s palace to talk to him, Long Feng, and the Dai Li about the war. At their new house, Zuko falls spiritually ill as his latest action has set a different course for his future.
The gang continues looking for Appa, with Long Feng trying to throw them off by sending Jet to make them leave the city. They meet up with Longshot and Smellerbee and realize Jet was brainwashed. Elsewhere, Zuko discovers that Aang is in the city and begins his own search for Appa.
This episode starts during the events of “The Library” and shows Appa’s abduction and his various adventures over the next few weeks. These include performing in a Fire Nation circus, revisiting the former site of Wan Shi Tong’s library, fleeing a startled farmer and fighting with a boarcupine. Suki and her fellow warriors from Kyoshi Island help him recover from his injuries before the group is attacked. He flees to the Eastern Air Temple, where a mysterious guru provides him with aid on his search.
An episode composed of a series of vignettes where Katara and Toph have a girls’ day out; Iroh helps out people in town, preparing for an emotional day; Aang helps a zookeeper build a new zoo; Sokka accidentally ends up in a poetry club; Zuko goes out on a date; Momo looks through Ba Sing Se for Appa.
Aang and the kids finally arrive in the Earth Kingdom’s capital, Ba Sing Se, eager to tell the Earth King about the opportunity the coming eclipse, only to be stopped by mysterious forces within the city. Meanwhile, Jet tries to prove that Zuko and Iroh, supposedly simple refugees, are actually firebenders.
Aang discovers a secret Fire Nation super weapon heading straight for Ba Sing Se and must stop it before it destroys the great wall which protects the city from invasion. Meanwhile, Jet wishes to recruit Zuko for his Freedom Fighters, but learns a dangerous secret about him instead.
After leaving the desert, the group, accompanied by Suki, attempt to lead a couple who are expecting a baby through the dangerous Serpent’s Pass. While Zuko and Iroh are on the ferry to Ba Sing Se, they meet Jet, who is trying to turn his life around and takes an instant liking to Zuko.
Since Appa was captured, the gang walks across the desert to tell the Earth King about the Fire Nation’s secret. Aang grows angry and sad over Appa’s capture. Elsewhere, a secret society helps protect Iroh and Zuko from the Fire Nation and bounty hunters.
A professor tells the gang about a Spirit Library full of information, hidden in the Si Wong Desert. Sokka decides to find the desert library in hopes of finding secrets and weaknesses about the Fire Nation. When the group arrives at the library, they find that much of the information on the Fire Nation has been destroyed; however, they still find crucial information about firebenders that could possibly end the war.
Aang tries to learn earthbending from Toph, despite interference from his previous airbending training. Sokka becomes stuck in a hole after trying to hunt an animal. Elsewhere, Iroh teaches Zuko how to redirect lightning so he will be a more capable threat against Azula.
Aang, Katara, Sokka and Toph are chased by an unknown machine, which results in a lack of sleep. After Toph and Katara argue, Toph leaves and runs into Iroh, who is tracking down Zuko. After cleaning Appa so his fur doesn’t leave a trail for the tank to follow, Aang goes one way as a decoy and Sokka and Katara fly in another direction on Appa, the former of which results in a three-way fight.
After leaving his uncle, Zuko continues his solo journey. He meets a boy in an Earth Kingdom town who brings him home to dinner. While this happens, Zuko has flashbacks about his life before banishment, involving his loving mother and cruel sister, Azula.
Still seeking an earthbending master, Aang and the crew stumble upon an earthbending tournament. While there, they find a blind master earthbender, Toph, the girl whom Aang saw as a vision in “The Swamp”. Aang challenges her and easily defeats her with airbending, but she refuses to teach him earthbending. Both Aang and Toph are captured by the owner of the earthbending tournament.
After being attacked by a band of Fire Nation soldiers, the gang stumbles upon a town celebrating Avatar Day. However, they find out that this is an “Anti-Avatar” celebration and Aang is arrested for killing Chin the Conqueror in a past life. Sokka and Katara travel to Kyoshi Island to find clues to prove Aang’s innocence. Meanwhile, Zuko decides that it is best if he and Iroh split up.
While flying over a swamp, Aang, Katara, Sokka and Appa become separated by a tornado. After landing in the swamp, Appa and Momo are captured. Meanwhile, Sokka sees visions of Princess Yue, Katara sees visions of her mother and Aang sees visions of an unknown girl. Elsewhere, Zuko and Iroh seek money from local villagers.
Aang and the crew are shocked to find Omashu captured by the Fire Nation. They sneak in and are caught by Fire Nation soldiers, but released when pox marks on Sokka create the illusion of an illness. They meet the resistance and allow the whole city to escape by creating a fake epidemic with the same pox marks. While they are leaving, the Governor of Omashu’s son, Tom-Tom, accidentally leaves with the earthbenders who are willing to trade him for King Bumi. Elsewhere, Azula tracks down her old friends, Mai and Ty Lee, to help her capture Zuko and Iroh.
While on the way to Omashu, Aang and the crew meet a group of traveling bards, who take them through a vast tunnel known as the Cave of Two Lovers. In the cave, Aang, Katara and Appa become separated from Sokka and the bards. Elsewhere, Zuko and Iroh are sheltered by kind people after Iroh “accidentally” drinks the tea from a poisonous plant. Song, a young and compassionate healer, shows Zuko the effects of war from a normal citizen’s perspective.
After leaving the North Pole, Aang and the group travel to an Earth Kingdom military base to receive an escort to Omashu, so Aang can learn earthbending from King Bumi. The general there reveals a surprising plan, suggesting that Aang trigger the Avatar State to defeat the Fire Lord immediately. Meanwhile, Zuko’s sister Azula claims that the Fire Lord will pardon both him and Iroh if they return home with her.
Sokka, Katara, and Yue follow Zuko to save Aang. In the Spirit World, Aang learns the identities of the Moon and Ocean spirits and that they are in danger. As Aang returns to the real world, he is saved by Katara. Meanwhile, Zhao succeeds in capturing the Moon Spirit, the source of all waterbending. Aang enters the Avatar State to destroy the siege, Zuko defeats Zhao, and Yue gives her life back to the Moon Spirit to save the Water Tribe.
The Northern Water Tribe braces against the attack by the Fire Nation. Meanwhile, Zuko sneaks into the North Pole to capture the Avatar. Aang, realizing that the Water Tribe cannot defeat Zhao’s fleet alone, decides to visit the Spirit World to get help from the Moon and Ocean spirits.
Finally reaching the North Pole, Aang finds a waterbending master. However, the master refuses to teach Katara being that women are forbidden to learn the art. Meanwhile, Sokka spends time with Yue, Princess of the Northern Water Tribe. Admiral Zhao hires the pirates (first seen in “The waterbending scroll”) to assassinate Zuko while he prepares a massive fleet to invade the North Pole.
After hearing tales that people with the ability to fly are inhabiting the Northern Air Temple, Aang and the crew travel there, eager to meet airbenders. However, they instead find a misplaced tribe of Earth Kingdom natives, who, much to Aang’s disappointment, have renovated much of the temple.
After being chased out of a Fire Nation festival, Aang, Sokka and Katara encounter a group of Fire Nation deserters, led by firebending master and ex-admiral Jeong Jeong. After realizing this could be his only chance to learn firebending, Aang – with the help of Avatar Roku’s spirit – convinces Jeong Jeong to teach him firebending. Meanwhile, Admiral Zhao continues his chase for the Avatar.
Sokka and Katara meet Bato, a warrior from the Southern Water Tribe, at an abbey. When Aang overhears that Sokka and Katara are excited over the prospect of reuniting with their father, he hides a map leading to their father’s location. Meanwhile, Zuko, using Katara’s necklace, hires a bounty hunter named June to track down Aang.
Katara convinces Sokka and Aang to travel to a village after hearing of a fortuneteller named Aunt Wu who resides there. Aang and Katara become excited when the fortuneteller predicts their love-lives. Sokka, however, doubts Aunt Wu’s predictions and is proven correct when the volcano she predicted would not destroy the town becomes active.
Aang must travel to an herbalist to retrieve a cure for the ill Sokka and Katara. While returning to his friends, he is attacked and captured by the Yu Yan Archers, sent after him by the newly promoted Admiral Zhao. A mysterious masked swordsman, the “Blue Spirit,” assists Aang in escaping his imprisonment.
While a storm approaches, Aang tells Katara why he ran away from the air temple one hundred years ago. Meanwhile on Zuko’s ship, Iroh tells the crew the tale of how the prince received his scar and was banished from the Fire Nation.
While crossing a canyon on foot, Aang has to mediate between two tribes, the Zhangs and the Gan Jins, who have been feuding for almost one hundred years. After sending Appa to the other side with the sick and elderly, they become trapped in the canyon when their earthbender guide’s arms are broken.
A band of guerrilla fighters, led by the rogue Jet, rescue Aang, Katara and Sokka from a small group of Fire Nation soldiers. The Freedom Fighters request their help to rid the neighboring town of the Fire Nation, but Sokka soon grows suspicious of Jet’s true intentions.
Katara steals a waterbending scroll from a band of pirates and begins to teach Aang waterbending before they reach the North Pole. Zuko and Iroh learn that the pirates were robbed by the Avatar and team up with them in order to capture Aang.
Aang must travel to the Fire Temple, while battling Zuko and Zhao, to receive a message from Avatar Roku. He soon finds that even the once loyal sages of the Avatar are against him.
The gang finds themselves in a small Earth Kingdom village under attack by a Spirit World monster. Aang attempts to stop the monster from destroying the town and is accidentally transported to and trapped within the Spirit World. Meanwhile, Iroh gets captured by a group of Earth Kingdom soldiers and Zuko must track him down.
Aang, Katara, and Sokka camp at a small Earth Kingdom town where all the town’s earthbenders are arrested by the Fire Nation. Katara accidentally gets an earthbender, Haru, arrested. In her guilt, she tricks the Fire Nation into arresting her so she can help to free the earthbenders from the inside.
While in Omashu, Aang and the gang accidentally destroy parts of the city on a joyride on the city’s mail system. The King of Omashu challenges Aang to three tasks that require creative thinking before allowing Aang and his friends to leave the city.
As Aang and his friends begin crossing the expansive Earth Kingdom, they are captured by the female warriors of Kyoshi Island. Sokka is trained by the Kyoshi Warriors while Aang lets the villagers’ reverence go to his head. Zuko finds out that Aang is on Kyoshi Island; he attacks the village and Aang and his friends escape on Appa.
While journeying to the North Pole, Aang, Sokka and Katara explore Aang’s former home, the Southern Air Temple. Aang learns of his people’s genocide at the hands of the Fire Nation; his anger triggers his Avatar State, which in turn alerts the world that the Avatar has returned. Meanwhile, Zuko and his uncle, Iroh, have their ship repaired at a Fire Nation port commanded by a rival, Commander Zhao.
Prince Zuko attacks the Southern Water Tribe seeking to capture the Avatar, Aang. Katara and Sokka fly in on Appa to save Aang from the Fire Nation. After realizing that he is the long lost Avatar, they agree to accompany him on his travels to master the other elements.
Sokka and Katara, two teenage siblings living in the South Pole, discover Aang and his pet flying bison, Appa, trapped in an iceberg. After Katara frees him, she discovers that he’s an airbender and the siblings take him to their home village in the Southern Water Tribe. Meanwhile, his unfreezing attracts the attention of the Fire Nation’s Zuko intent on capturing him.