Avatar: The Last Airbender opened strong on Netflix last week, welcoming old and new fans alike to the adventures of young airbender Aang. As the latest reincarnation of the Avatar, he is the only being capable of controlling bending or controlling earth, water, wind, and fire. But control does not necessarily mean mastery. And if you’ve been missing for a hundred years and people expect you to save the world, things get a bit more complicated.
The three-season show has been highly acclaimed by critics for various reasons. For one, it has heavy east Asian references. From customs and costumes to landscapes and architecture, the world of Avatar Aang highly alludes to different regions in Asia. But the references do not stop there. Bending styles in the series are based on real-life martial arts styles, which bring philosophy and authenticity to each movement.
The other top reason why Avatar is a much-loved series is because of the life lessons one can learn just by simply watching the series. Here’s a spoiler-free look on what you can learn when watching Avatar: The Last Airbender
The past does not define your future, as failure is a part of life
Multiple characters in The Last Airbender carry the weight of their past mistakes. But they eventually learn from them and do things right the next time. The series introduces young audiences to the fact that things rarely go according to plan, but you can still win depending on how you react.
A person’s surface hides many surprises
TIn the first episode , everyone expects Aang to be a very old master. But he looks like the exact opposite. Throughout the show, Aang and his gang are also characters who are far from what they look like. First, they have a firebending prince for a foe, and he is literally scarred for life. They also meet a paraplegic who can do aerial combat with his flying wheelchair. They also encounter very old people who can offer more than just wisdom. Later on, they run into a blind girl who will surprise them with what she can do.
War is never fair
The Last Airbender is set during a Hundred Year War. During this time, the Fire Nation has conquered territories and kingdoms, and the show does its best in portraying the ugliness of war: from racism to treachery, historical revisionism and propaganda. These are pretty deep concepts for what is originally intended as a kids show, but Avatar does a very good job on this aspect.
Avatar: The Last Airbender definitely has more lessons in store for viewers. It offers some of the best character developement that you can see, together with tasteful gags. As viewers delve deeper into the philosophy of each bending, they realize that more concepts have been there the whole time. This cycle of learning and relearning is what keeps the fandom of Avatar: The Last Airbender alive.