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- The prince/princess wearing a mask and ninja-ing around with a secret identity.
- The Firelord/Emperor and his brother.
- The surprisingly dangerous little girl character.
- The elemental fighting styles.
- The underground base of the Dai Li/Lotus Assassins.
Avatar: The Last Airbender aired and Jade Empire was released mere months apart in 2005. You can expect a lot of aesthetic similarities (and there are more) from two pieces of fiction both drawing from Chinese mythology, and it’s doubtful there was any “ripoffing”.
But it is odd that two pieces of fiction based on Chinese mythology came out so close to each other. Not to mention the few similarities that are strangely similar. It also wouldn’t be too surprising if Avatar took a little inspiration from Jade Empire for season/Book 2.
Extra Bioware dream team-up!
To add to this old write up: I couldn’t help but feel early on that the Avatar: The Last Airbender story would have made for a brilliant Bioware game.
Imagine the game opening with you waking up from the ice. Conversing with Katara and Sokka, deciding how to treat your flying bison, etc. Then there’s the quest to master the elements in different places in different parts of the world – just like the Bioware formula of giving you about four locations to visit in any order for main questing purposes. The possibilities for good/evil choices as the Avatar would be immense too.
Curious about what all the fuss over the film was about, I decided to watch the series. And yes, before you write any comments or tut or roll your eyes, I know that it isn’t really anime. It’s close enough for me to put it in that category anyway.
The show is genuinely enjoyable, genuinely funny and just…Good. It’s not mind-blowing and it’s definitely a kids show. But from the writing, character development, incredible presentation, slick action, epic music, to the intricate plotting of the three season arc – it’s something the hard-working creators should be very proud of.
Annoyingly, I can’t really think of many recent ‘growed-up’ shows that top it. If you compare the level of writing in something like Heroes to this children’s cartoon…It’s kind of sad.
It does have some weak points. The occasional bit of “kiddishness”, from over-explanation to some weaker story elements. There are a few rotten episodes too, especially in the start of the third season.
My biggest criticism was a certain character arc at the end of season 2 and beginning of season 3 that made one character far too unlikeable and could have been handled a lot better. Instead of suddenly turning 180 degrees on all their character development
If you’ve got the time and the patience, the show is definitely worth checking out. If only for Sokka – who may just be one of the greatest TV characters in recent years.
P.S. Although Iroh is also a favourite of mine.
P.P.S. Oh, and Toph can be hilarious.
P.P.P.S. I can’t leave Apa out!
P.P.P.P.S. Okay, they’re all pretty likeable!