If a young person watched TV in the 2000s, they probably saw episodes of Avatar the Last Airbender. It has been over 15 years since it first premiered. Yet, for many people, the show remains fresh in their minds.
A live-action remake is in the works, but fans are not hopeful since the original show’s creators left the project. Speaking of the creators, they went above and beyond for the creation of the cartoon. Series co-creator Bryan Konietzko helped by getting beat up on purpose.
‘Avatar the Last Airbender’ is a complex fantasy series
Avatar the Last Airbender is set in a world that contains imagery of mainly East Asian and South Asian culture. There are some indigenous influences as well. The show uses an element-based magic system where some people can bend either fire, earth, water, or air. The Avatar can manipulate all four elements and use the Avatar State.
The story centers around Aang, who wakes up after being dormant in an iceberg for 100 years. The world is war, and he is the last of the air nomads. With the help of Sokka, Katara, and Toph, Aang quickly has to learn the rest of the elements and defeat the Fire Lord before it is too late.
The animation in the first half is a bit dated, but the overall story and music still hold up. The world of the four nations did not end when Aang stopped Fire Lord Ozai. Several comics released after the show ended, and a popular sequel came out years later. Fans got to witness the relationships between the characters when Netflix released the series on the platform.
Bryan Konietzko fought frequently during production
The creators of Avatar the Last Airbender put in a lot of effort to make the show as authentic as possible. For example, each element bending got based on real-life martial arts styles. According to Mental Floss, Konietzko volunteered to help ensure the animated fight scenes looked realistic.
Animators often look at reference videos to see how people and things move. Sometimes, they record footage to review later. The Avatar the Last Airbender team had about three video sessions each episode. The creators consulted Northern Shaolin master Sifu Kisu for the fighting.
Kisu was one fighter for a scene, and Konietzko portrayed his opponent. Konietzko ended up on the mat or got pulled around more often than not. It would not be surprising if he felt sore or received a couple of bruises.
Even though Konietzko got beat up frequently, his hard work paid off in the end. The fighting helped made the show stand out among the rest.
‘Avatar the Last Airbender’ became a classic among fans
It would be an understatement to say that Avatar the Last Airbender was popular while it aired. Not only was it the highest-rated show, it undoubtedly defined a generation of young viewers. Fans were fascinated by the art, music, writing, and voice acting of the cartoon.
It can be hard for a fan to pick a single good moment since they can think of so many scenes. The humor, adult themes, and fantasy elements allowed the series to appeal to everyone of all ages. Several memorable lines still get quoted today, such as “That’s rough, buddy.”
People continue to contribute fan-made content and dress up as their favorite characters. Of course, Avatar the Last Airbender reached critical acclaim with multiple awards. When Netflix released the show on its streaming site, the show broke a record.
The cartoon replaced Ozark as the longest-running top 10 show. It goes to show how much the animated series means to so many people who grew up with it.