Avatar: The Last Airbender facts for kids
Quick facts for kidsAvatar: The Last Airbender
|Also known as||Avatar: The Legend of Aang|
|Created by||Michael Dante DiMartino
|Written by||Michael Dante DiMartino
|Directed by||Lauren MacMullan
Joaquim Dos Santos
|Voices of||Zach Tyler Eisen
Mako (Seasons 1 & 2)
Greg Baldwin (Season 3)
|Country of origin||United States
|No. of seasons||3|
|No. of episodes||61 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Michael Dante DiMartino
|Running time||24 minutes|
|Picture format||NTSC 4:3 (480i)|
|Original release||February 21, 2005– July 19, 2008|
Avatar: The Last Airbender (Known as Avatar: The Legend of Aang in Europe) is an American animated television series which lasted for three seasons on Nickelodeon. The series was created by Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko and Aaron Ehasz. Based on an Asian-influenced world of Chinese martial arts and elemental manipulation, the show drew on elements from traditional Asian culture, blending the styles of anime and US domestic cartoons.
The series follows the adventures of the main character Aang and his friends, Katara, Sokka, and later Toph and Zuko who must save the world by defeating Fire Lord Ozai and ending the destructive war with the Fire Nation, which began a hundred years ago. The pilot episode (The Boy in the Iceberg) first aired on 21 February 2005 and the series concluded with a widely praised two-hour television movie on 19 July 2008. The show is obtainable from various sources, including on DVD, the iTunes Store, the Zune Marketplace, the Xbox Live Marketplace, the PlayStation Store, Netflix Instant Play, and on the Nicktoons Network.
Avatar: The Last Airbender was popular with both audiences and critics, garnering 5.6 million viewers on its best-rated showing and receiving high ratings in the Nicktoons lineup, even outside its 6–11-year-old demographic. Avatar has been nominated for and won awards from the Annual Annie Awards, the Genesis Awards, the primetime Emmy Awards and a Peabody Award among others. The first season's success prompted Nickelodeon to order second and third seasons. In other media, the series has spawned a live-action movie trilogy, the first titled The Last Airbender, directed by M. Night Shyamalan, scaled action figures, a trading card game, three video games based on the first, second, and third seasons, stuffed animals distributed by Paramount Parks, and two LEGO sets. An art book was also released in mid-2010. Nickelodeon announced on 21 July 2010 that Avatar: The Legend of Korra premiered in 2012.
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Avatar: The Last Airbender takes place in a world that is home to humans, fantastic animals, and spirits. Human civilization is divided into four nations: the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom, the Air Nomads, and the Fire Nation. Each nation has its own natural element, on which it bases its society. Furthermore, people known as Benders have the ability to manipulate the eponymous element of their nation using the physical motions of martial arts. The show’s creators based each Bending style on a style of real-world martial art, leading to visual differences in the techniques used by Waterbenders (tai chi chuan), Earthbenders (Hung Ga kung fu, for the most part), Firebenders (Northern Shaolin kung fu) and Airbenders (baguazhang). Each country is also associated with a season: autumn for the Air Nomads, winter for the Water Tribe, spring for the Earth Kingdom and summer for the Fire Nation.
At any given time, there is only one person alive in the world of Avatar who is able of bending all four elements: the show's titular Avatar, the spirit of the planet manifested in human form. When an Avatar dies, he or she is reincarnated into the next nation in the Avatar Cycle, in the order of the seasons. Legend holds the Avatar must master each bending art in seasonal order as well, starting with their native element. For the Avatar, learning to bend their opposite element can be extremely difficult; the example shown in the series is Aang's inability to stand his ground head-on while Earthbending, his Airbender training having placed emphasis on circling, approaching from new angles and adapting on the fly.
The Avatar possesses a unique power called the Avatar State, which endows the Avatar with the knowledge and abilities of all past lives and acts as a self-triggering defense mechanism, although it can be made subject to the will of the user through various methods, such as extensive trial and training. If an Avatar is killed in the Avatar State, the cycle will be broken, and the Avatar will cease to exist. Through the ages, countless incarnations of Avatar have served to keep the four nations in harmony, and maintain world order. The Avatar serves as the bridge between the world of humans and the Spirit World, allowing him or her to solve problems that normal benders cannot.
Season One (Book One: Water)
One hundred years before the start of the series a twelve-year-old Airbender named Aang learns he is the new Avatar. Fearful of the heavy responsibilities and the separation from his beloved mentor Monk Gyatso, Aang flees from home on his animal guide, a flying bison named Appa. Caught in a fierce storm, they crash into the ocean, triggering Aang's protective Avatar State which freezes them in a state of suspended animation inside an iceberg. After his disappearance, Fire Lord Sozin, in past friend of Avatar Roku, knowing that the new Avatar is an Air Nomad, launches a genocidal campaign against the Air Nomads in order to ensure his plots for world domination will not be interrupted by the Avatar. Ironically, the Avatar is the only Air Nomad to survive the attack.
A hundred years later, Katara, a fourteen-year-old Waterbender girl, and her older warrior brother, Sokka, free Aang and Appa from the iceberg. The three travel to the Northern Water Tribe so Aang and Katara can learn Waterbending. While on their journey, Aang and friends visit the Southern Air Temple where Aang discovers that the Fire Nation destroyed the Air Nomads. At the Southern Air Temple Aang meets his Avatar guide, Avatar Roku. The trio are constantly being pursued by banished Prince Zuko, the exiled son of Fire Lord Ozai, who can only return to the Fire Nation and reclaim his honor and throne if he captures the Avatar. Zuko travels with his uncle Iroh, nicknamed "Dragon of the West", a legendary Fire Nation general and the older brother of Ozai, known as "Western Dragon". Competing with Zuko for the Avatar is Admiral Zhao who leads a Fire Nation assault on the Northern Water Tribe that is successfully repelled thanks to Aang and his friends.
Season Two (Book Two: Earth)
After leaving the North Pole, Aang continues to master waterbending with Katara. Searching for a new Earthbending teacher, the group meets Toph Bei Fong, a blind Earthbending prodigy who teaches Aang how to "see" using earthbending and vibrations. Meanwhile, Zuko and Iroh, now fugitives from the Fire Nation, attempt to lead new lives in the Earth Kingdom. Zuko, with the help of his uncle, tries to come to terms with his troubled past and his obsession with capturing the Avatar. Aang and his friends discover that an upcoming solar eclipse will deprive Firebenders of their bending, leaving them open to invasion and giving Aang his chance to defeat the Fire Lord. Azula, Zuko's younger sister, and her two friends Mai and Ty Lee pursue Team Avatar, who struggle to reach Ba Sing Se, the Earth Kingdom capital, and tell the Earth King of the eclipse. After capturing and impersonating the Kyoshi Warriors, friends of Team Avatar, Azula persuades an elite group of Earthbenders called the Dai Li to instigate a coup d'état, allowing the Fire Nation to capture Ba Sing Se. In a final confrontation, Zuko sides with Azula, who promises to restore his honor. Azula mortally wounds Aang, who is in the Avatar State, with a lightning blast. Katara revives Aang with spirit water from the North Pole, but his seventh chakra is blocked and he cannot enter the Avatar State.
Season Three (Book Three: Fire)
- See also: Sozin's Comet: The Final Battle
Aang awakens to find the group disguised as Fire Nation soldiers heading West on a Fire Nation ship, while Zuko has been restored to his position as crown prince. Sokka has planned a small-scale invasion of the Fire Nation to capture the Fire Lord's palace and defeat Fire Lord Ozai, taking advantage of the solar eclipse. The invasion will be staged by a ragtag group of benders and warriors who Aang has helped along his journey. Initially the invasion proceeds as planned, but Aang fails to find the Fire Lord before the eclipse ends, because Azula knew about the invasion. The invasion ultimately fails, and only Aang and his closest friends are able to escape. Zuko, in a change of heart, decides to defy his father and join the Avatar. Zuko catches up with Aang at the Western Air Temple and offers to teach Aang Firebending. After some reluctance from Katara and Sokka, Team Avatar allows Zuko to join the group. In the series finale, Aang defeats Fire Lord Ozai by taking away his ability to firebend. With Ozai defeated, the war quickly ends. Zuko is crowned the new Fire Lord and, with the help of the Avatar and his friends, begins rebuilding the four nations. The series ends as Aang and Katara kiss in front of the sunset.
Aang (Zach Tyler Eisen) is a 12 year old. He is the most important character in the series. He was frozen in ice with his flying bison, Appa, for 100 years. He was found by a young Waterbender named Katara. Now he is the Avatar, the master of 4 different powers: water, earth, fire and air. Aang is a hero, but he doesn't want to be a hero. He is trying to make the world good again.
Katara (Mae Whitman) is 14 years old. She is a Waterbender. This means she can move water by moving her body. She is in the Southern Water Tribe. Katara has a brother. His name is Sokka. They find Aang in a big ball of ice. He had been frozen for 100 years. Katara and Sokka go with Aang on an adventure to kill the evil Lord. His is called Fire Lord Ozai. She is his first teacher for water.<refgroup="Notes">Katara can do bloodbending. This means she can move peoples' bodies by "bending" their blood. She doesn't like to do this.
Sokka (Jack DeSena) is 15 years old. He is a warrior. He is also Katara's brother. He lives in the Southern Water Tribe. He goes with Aang on his adventure to kill the evil Fire Lord. He is very funny, so he says he is "meat-loving" and "sarcastic". Sokka is different from his friends. He cannot "bend" anything, he is a fighter and a thinker. He has lots of good ideas and weapons. He has a boomerang and a sword he made from a meteorite. Michael Dante DiMartino, who made the TV show, said that Sokka could have been a Waterbender, but he never learned how to do it.
Toph (Jessie Flower) is 12 years old. She is blind. She is an Earthbender. Her family is rich, but she doesn't like money. She is very strong and she likes to fight. When she meets Aang and his friends she thinks they are strange. She wants to help them, so she goes with them on their adventure. She is Aang's teacher for Earthbending. She is blind, but she can still see things. Toph "sees" with her feet. She feels the earth move a little bit. Then she knows what is happening. Toph is the most powerful Earthbender ever.
Zuko (Dante Basco) is 16 years old. He is the son of the evil Fire Lord, so he is a prince. In Season 1 he is the most important bad guy. Zuko's life was hard. Something happened and now his father doesn't like him. Zuko wants to catch the Avatar because he thinks his father would like that. Zuko does not like himself, he is angry, and his family is crazy. In the show Zuko learns how to be nice. He wears a blue mask to hide himself and then he saves people. In season three, he leaves the Fire Lord. He goes to Aang and becomes his friend. He becomes a Firebending teacher for Aang. At the end, he is the new Fire Lord.
Azula (Grey DeLisle) is a bad princess. She is a Firebender. She is Zuko's younger sister. She is an important bad guy in the show. Azula is very good at Firebending. It is easy for her to do it. She can make lightning. She is very mean to her friends Mai and Ty Lee. She uses fire to scare them. The Fire Lord likes her more than Zuko.
Iroh (Mako in season one and two, Greg Baldwin in season three) used to be a general for the Fire Lord. He can make fire in his nose and mouth, so they call him the Dragon of the West. He is Prince Zuko's uncle and teacher. The Fire lord is Iroh's brother. Iroh is older than the Fire Lord. He should be the Lord, but the Fire Lord lied, so that he could be the Lord. People think Iroh is nice, kind, and happy. He does silly things so people think he is not strong or smart. But Iroh is very smart and strong. Iroh has a secret group of friends. They are strong and good at fighting. The friends are called The Order of the White Lotus. In the last episode they fight the Fire Nation. They win and the world becomes a good place. Iroh is special because he learned how to do Firebending from Dragons.
|Appa||Dee Bradley Baker||Aang's flying bison|
|Momo||Dee Bradley Baker||Aang's lemur|
|Mai||Cricket Leigh||Zuko's girlfriend|
|Ty Lee||Olivia Hack||Mai's friend|
|Suki||Jennie Kwan||Sokka's girlfriend, the leader of the Kyoshi Warriors|
|Hakoda||André Sogliuzzo||Sokka and Katara's father, the chief of the Southern Water Tribe|
Avatar: The Last Airbender was co-created and produced by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko at Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, California. Animation work was done by the Korean animation studio DR Movie. According to Bryan Konietzko, the program was conceived in the spring of 2001 when he took an old sketch of a balding, middle-aged man and re-imagined the character as a child. Konietzko drew the character herding bison in the sky, and showed the sketch to Mike DiMartino. At the time, DiMartino was studying a documentary about explorers trapped in the South Pole.
Konietzko described their early development of the concept:
|“||We thought, "There's an air guy along with these water people trapped in a snowy wasteland... and maybe some fire people are pressing down on them..."||”|
The show was first revealed to the public in a teaser reel at Comic-Con 2004, and started show the episodes from 21 February 2005. In the United States, first two episodes of the series were shown together in a one-hour premiere event. A second twenty-episode season ran from 17 March 2006 through 1 December. A third and final season, beginning September 21, 2007, featured twenty-one episodes rather than the usual twenty. The final four episodes were packaged as a two-hour movie.
Avatar is notable for borrowing extensively from Asian art and mythology to create its universe. The show's character designs are heavily influenced by anime as well as Chinese art and history, Hinduism, Taoism, Buddhism, and Yoga. Traditional East Asian calligraphy styles are used for nearly all the writing in the show. For each instance of calligraphy, an appropriate style is used, ranging from seal script (more archaic) to clerical script. The show employed a cultural consultant, Edwin Zane, and calligrapher Siu-Leung Lee as consultants for the show's cultural influences.
The choreographed martial art bending moves were profoundly affected by Asian cinema. In an interview, Bryan revealed that, "Mike and I were really interested in other epic 'Legends & Lore' properties, like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, but we knew that we wanted to take a different approach to that type of genre. Our love for Japanese anime, Hong Kong action and kung fu cinema, yoga, and Eastern philosophies led us to the initial inspiration for Avatar."
All music and sound used in the series was done by Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn, who form "The Track Team". They made use of a wide range of different instruments (such as the guzheng, pipa and duduk) to compose a background music that fits into the world.
The term "Avatar" comes from the language of Sanskrit, one of the most ancient languages of India. The word Avatāra, (Sanskrit: अवतार), which means "descent"; its roots are ava means "down," and tri means "to pass." In the Hindu scriptures, avatara signifies the descent of Divinity into flesh. One who attains union with Spirit and then returns to earth to help humanity is called an avatar. The Chinese characters that appear at the top of the show's title card mean "the divine medium who has descended upon the mortal world."
When Aang was young, he unknowingly revealed that he was the Avatar when he chose four toys out of thousands, each of which were the childhood toys of the previous Avatars. In Tibetan Buddhism, there is a similar test for reincarnations of a Tulku Lama. In Magic and Mystery in Tibet, Alexandra David-Neel writes that "a number of objects such as rosaries, ritualistic implements, books, tea-cups, etc., are placed together, and the child must pick out those which belonged to the late tulku, thus showing that he recognizes the things which were theirs in their previous life." Each successor is expected to show signs of continuity with the previous Avatar, such as being born within a week of the death.
Elements and fighting styles
Avatar draws on the four classical elements common to many ancient philosophies for its bending arts: Water, Earth, Fire and Air. Although each has its own variation, most ancient philosophies incorporate these four elements in some way. Examples include the classical Hindu, Buddhist, and Greek elemental traditions. In the show’s opening, each element is accompanied by two Chinese characters: an ancient Chinese seal script character on the left representing the element being shown and a modern Chinese character on the right describing some feature of the element. The character 水 (pinyin: shui), which stands for water, is shown with 善 (pinyin: shan), which means benevolence and adaptivity. The character 土 (pinyin: tu), which stands for earth, is shown with 強 (pinyin: qiang), which means for strength and stability. The character 火 (pinyin: huo), which stands for fire, is shown with 烈 (pinyin: lie), which means intensity and passion. Finally, the character 气 (pinyin: qi), which stands for air, is shown with 和 (pinyin: he), which means peace and harmony.
In addition to the use of four classical elements in the series, the fighting styles associated with each element are all taken from different styles of Chinese martial arts. The series employed Sifu Kisu of the Harmonious Fist Chinese Athletic Association as a martial arts consultant. Each fighting style was chosen to represent the element it projected. Tai Chi was used for "Waterbending" in the series, and it focuses on alignment, body structure, breath, and visualization. Hung Gar was used for "Earthbending" in the series, and was chosen for its firmly rooted stances and powerful strikes to present the solid nature of earth. Northern Shaolin, which uses strong arm and leg movements was used for "Firebending". And Ba Gua, which uses dynamic circular movements and quick directional changes, was used for "Airbending". The only exception to these styles is Toph, who can be seen practicing a Chu Gar Southern Praying Mantis style.
When the show first was shown it was rated the best animated television series in its demographic; new episodes averaged 3.1 million viewers each. A one-hour special showing of "The Secret of the Fire Nation" which was shown on 15 September 2006, consisting of "The Serpent's Pass" and "The Drill", gathered an audience of 5.1 million viewers. According to the Nielsen Media Research, the special was the best performing cable television show airing in that week. In 2007, Avatar was syndicated to more than 105 countries worldwide, and was one of Nickelodeon's top rated programs. The series was ranked first on Nickelodeon in Germany, Indonesia, Malaysia, Belgium, and Colombia.
The series finale, Sozin's Comet: The Final Battle, received the highest ratings of the series. Its 19 July 2008 premiere averaged 5.6 million viewers, 95% more viewers than Nickelodeon had received in mid-July 2007. During the week of 14 July, it ranked as the most-viewed program for the under-14 demographic. Sozin's Comet also appeared on iTunes' top ten list of best-selling television episodes during that same week. Sozin's Comet's popularity affected online media as well; "Rise of the Phoenix King", a Nick.com online game based on Sozin's Comet, generated almost 815,000 game plays within three days.
|2005 Pulcinella Awards:|
|Best Action/Adventure TV Series||Won|
|Best TV Series||Won|
|33rd Annie Awards:|
|Best Animated Television Production||Nominated|
|Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production (for the 16th episode of first season The Deserter)||Won|
|Writing for an Animated Television Production (for the 14th episode of first season The Fortuneteller)||Nominated|
|34th Annie Awards:|
|Character Animation in a Television Production (for the 6th episode of second season The Blind Bandit)||Won|
|Directing in an Animated Television Production (for the 13th episode of second season The Drill)||Won|
|36th Annie Awards:|
|Best Animated Television Production for Children||Won|
|Directing in an Animated Television Production (Joaquim Dos Santos for the 20th episode of the thirt season Into the Inferno)||Won|
|2007 Genesis Awards:|
|Outstanding Children's Programming (for the 16th episode of second season Appa's Lost Days)||Won|
|Primetime Emmy Awards:|
|Outstanding Animated Program (for the 14th episode of second season City of Walls and Secrets)||Nominated|
|Individual Achievement Award (Sang-Jin Kim for the 17th episode of second season Lake Laogai)||Won|
|Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards 2008:|
|TV series (Joaquim Dos Santos for the 11th episode of third season The Day of Black Sun Part 2: The Eclipse)||Nominated|
|56th Golden Reel Awards:|
|Best Sound Editing in a Television Animation (for the 21th episode of third season Avatar Aang)||Nominated|
|2008 Peabody Awards:|
|"Unusually complex characters and healthy respect for the consequences of warfare"||Won|
Dark Horse Comics released an art book titled Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Art of the Animated Series, on 2 June 2010 which contains 184 pages of the original art and creation behind the Avatar animated series.
Promotion and merchandising
Avatar's success has led to some promotional advertising with third-party companies, such as Burger King and Upper Deck Entertainment. Avatar-themed roller coasters at Nickelodeon Universe in the Mall of America and one formerly at Kings Island also appeared. During the show's runtime, Nickelodeon published two special issues of Nick Mag Presents dedicated entirely to the show. Various members of the Avatar staff and cast appeared at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con International convention, while Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko appeared with Martial Arts Consultant Sifu Kisu at the Pacific Media Expo on October 28, 2006. Avatar also has its own line of T-shirts, LEGO playsets, toys, a trading card game, a cine-manga, and three video games, as well as an MMO.
The Mattel-produced action figure toy line generated some controversy with its exclusion of any female characters. Mattel came to release information stating that they have taken account of Katara's increased role within the program, and that she would be included in the figure assortment for a mid 2007 release. The figure ultimately went unreleased, however, as the entire line was canceled before she could be produced.
Nickelodeon executives have since released optimistic plans for upcoming marketing strategies in regards to Avatar. Nickelodeon President Cyma Zarghami openly stated his belief that the franchise "could become their Harry Potter". They expect consumers to spend about $121 million in 2007, rising to $254 million by 2009. The marketing plans are to be coincided with the release of the first live-action movie based on the series in 2010, which will be the first movie in a trilogy.
In the series of Avatar: The Last Airbender based a video game trilogy:
- Avatar: The Last Airbender, based on the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender
- Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Burning Earth, based on the second season of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender - Into the Inferno, based on the third season of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Avatar: Legends of the Arena, a video game for Microsoft Windows, was launched on 25 September 2008 by Nickelodeon. Each user is able to create their own character, choose a nation, and to interact with others across the globe.
In the series of Avatar: The Last Airbender based the trilogy The Last Airbender:
- The Last Airbender, which was released on 1 July 2010 (based on the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender)
- The Last Airbender 2, which was set to be released in 2012 (based on the second season of Avatar: The Last Airbender). There is no further announcement.
- The Last Airbender 3, which was set to be released in 2014 (based on the third season of Avatar: The Last Airbender). There is no further announcement.
List of actors
Avatar: The Legend of Korra
A series based on Avatar: The Last Airbender is currently in development at Nickelodeon and due for release in 2011. It will be created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender. The show, tentatively titled Avatar: The Legend of Korra, will be a twelve-episode mini series that takes place in the same universe, 70 years after the defeat of Fire Lord Ozai. The development period and release dates were announced at the annual Comic-Con in San Diego on 22 July 2010.
The series will focus on Korra, a teenage female protagonist and current incarnation of the Avatar, who, according to the president of Nickelodeon, will be "hotheaded, independent, and ready to take on the world". She has already mastered the elements of Water, Earth, and Fire, but needs to master Air. The character was partly inspired by Avatar Kyoshi of the original series, whom the creators say was very popular among fans. In order to avoid repetition of Aang's adventures, the creators wanted to root the show in one place, called Republic City. A concept drawing of the city, released with the announcement of the series, shows the city's design as inspired by Shanghai in the 1920s and 1930s, Hong Kong, Manhattan, and Vancouver. In the show, Korra will have to learn Airbending from master Tenzin, son of Avatar Aang and Katara, and contend with an anti-bender revolution taking place in the city.
While not targeting a different demographic than Avatar: The Last Airbender, Michael and Bryan have stated that the show won't cover more mature subject material necessarily, just different mature subjects, "It won't be another war, but a different sort of conflict." The creators also explained that there would be some "cheesy teen romance" for the main character, Korra. At the 2010 Comic-Con, it was revealed that the creators will continue to work with Joaquim Dos Santos and Ryuki Hung on the animation and design of the show. The creators also confirmed that they will directly write all twelve episodes, explaining that as a mini-series, episode fillers will be omitted, allowing for a "really tight" and "cool" story. In late July, Jeremy Zuckerman, composer of the original series, was confirmed to be returning to score The Legend of Korra.
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