EDIT: I forgot to mention, but special thanks to Mooseboy108 for making one of the videos I used in this log. Out of the four videos I feature, his is the one with slow motion.
Hey guys, it is here that we start what is probably going to be the most....challenging leg of this journey, especially for our heroes. We all know how edgy Mike and Brian can be. They simply do not shy away from some topics that most would tiptoe around in their kids cartoons. Inevitably, they're going to have to cover some painful topics, because if there's anything that Episode 17 has alluded to, death, and other traumatic things WILL happen, perhaps...even to important characters. I have never watched this of the cartoon, however, I'm getting the feeling that this is going to be a very painful watch indeed....
It's odd really. For how much I've been anticipating the end of Season 1, I wondered why I was so slow to post the rest of the logs for Season 1. All this time, I thought it was simple laziness, however, after thinking about my predictions about the next few Episodes, and perhaps listening to 4:12-5:12 of "Goku's Spirit Bomb" on Youtube one too many times, I'm starting to suspect that there's been another reason. Will my grim visions come to fruitition? Find out in the next coming days on...
Avatar: The Last Airbender!
So, starting with Katara and Aang switching their usual roles in terms of their relationship with Sokka, it's here that I immediately wonder why the Gaang never decided to give Appa a rest if he was so tired. And just why were the Water Benders so rude in how they introduced themselves to Aang? Seriously, I thought they were going to either fight the Gaang or capture them based on their actions. They couldn't have just said "hey, we're over here"?
Speaking of rude, at first, I was quite opposed to Sokka hitting on Yue even with Suki still out there. However, as Artefacto on AvatarPortal has pointed out, it really was nothing serious after all, so Sokka is spared my snarkiness this time. It's a good thing to, I would've rode his keister on that one. And considering how much of that Katara already gives him at times.... Sokka: So uh you're a Princess! You know, back in my tribe, I'm kinda like a Prince myself!
Katara: Ha! Prince of what?
Sokka: A lot of things! Uh, do you mind? I'm trying to have a conversation here!
Katara: My apologies, Prince Sokka.
Ugh, Katara, can you at least wait until he's done talking with Yue before you start busting his balls? Seriously! I mean, the guy was clearly nervous and trying to strike up conversation however he can, we don't need your backseat driving! I really just cannot understand why she does this sometimes, she's usually a nice girl otherwise. Maybe if she hadn't thrown him off of his game, we wouldn't have had lines like this... Sokka: So it looks like I'm gonna be in town for awhile. I'm thinking maybe we could....do an activity together?
When you're trying to get with a girl, this has got to be one of the most awkward lines you can possibly throw out, I swear. It's a good thing Yue's so understanding... Katara: Very smooth.
Well maybe if you hadn't so rudely interrupted him, he would've done better. I mean, the guy was doing fine
before that. It wasn't until after Katara's little outburst that he started losing his cool and stumbling over his lines. Jeez louise....
Still, I did really like Sokka's conversation with Yue. It was cute, and I thought it characterized Yue well right from the get go. I think it's kind of cool how well they characterized her in this Episode in general actually, despite how little dialouge and screen time she had....
I mean, you know some of those girls? You know, the kind that make a lot of facial expressions and faces at what you say, and make you nervous as a result, but, it's not out of unintelligence or mockery? You know, they're just curious people who enjoy observing people they consider interesting, and like getting real involved in conversations? I'm not sure I'm perfectly describing it, but, it's like one of those unique kind of girls. That's the impression I get from Yue, and I like the animation on her facial expressions throughout her conversations. She seems pretty polite and understanding to, fortunately for Sokka.
Unfortunately for Zuko, Zhao is not so polite. As a matter of fact, aside from putting two and two together and figuring that Zuko was the Blue Spirit, I think Zhao was pretty stupid in this Episode, as usual, contrary to what some reviewers of this Episode think. I mean, I can get why Zhao's plan seems like an act of "ingenuity" at first glance. I mean, not only is he gaining more men, but he's rendering his rival paralyzed without a crew...but see, when you start really
thinking about it, it's just another example of Zhao's lack of foresight, to me at least...
First, lets look at the Risk vs. Reward aspect of Zhao's decision. Even in the unlikely scenario that everyone in Zuko's crew is fully and 100% willing to side with Zhao and not betray him at some inopportune moment....well, big whoop. We already know that Zuko's "crew" is nothing but a ragtag group of the most incompetent bunch of ninnies in the Fire Nation, so even if they don't pose any problems, they're still gonna be almost completely worthless, making Zhao's trip a waste. Secondly, why is Zhao so willing to trust Iroh? Zhao already knows that he's Zuko's Uncle, which already creates the problem of familial bonds, and he's already seen in Episode 3 that Iroh's just as willing to lie as Zuko is. Is he really so dumb that he actually believed Iroh when he denied that he was in on the whole "Blue Spirit" debacle, the same way he was in on Zuko hiding the Avatar's existence from the world in Episode 3?
Personally, if I were Zhao, I would've either taken the Cook and the Helmsman and nobody else, or I would've had all
of the crew killed. Now, thanks to his idiocy, he now has to face the very likely possibility that Iroh and his compatriots are going to throw a monkey wrench into his designs. Heck, it's not even a very smart move to recruit Iroh politically. If Zhao wins and it's a known fact that Iroh assisted him, there's always gonna be that lingering question in peoples minds..."Did Zhao really win out of his own talent, or did Iroh, 'The Great Hero of the Fire Nation', do most of the legwork"?
Speaking of idiocy, it seems that Aang's would be master, Pakku, is a raging misogynist. This doesn't sit well with Aang and Katara of course, as they raise a big stink about it. Yep, they lived in the Kyoshi Village from Episode 4, with this EXACT SAME form of gender discrimination, except with boys not being allowed to fight, and didn't seem to give it much thought. Oh, but now that it's WOMEN who are being discriminated, oh no, NOW it's an issue! Sigh...still, these ARE children we're talking about, so maybe this is just something they needed to make them fully aware of the hurts and pains of gender discrimination. Also... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDwUjkT01UU
C,mon Aang, are you seriously telling me you weren't able to see that coming? I mean, I guess it wasn't as embarrasing as your capture at the hands of the Kyoshi Warriors, but still, it never even occurred to you to raise your hands or flinch or anything? You've got better reflexes than that man, c,mon! You can do this!
By the way, before moving on to the next big thing, I'd like to point out something. Did anybody else notice that the song that plays during Sokka and Yue's second conversation happens to be a remix of Iroh's "Four Seasons, Four Loves" song near the beginning? I thought that was a nice touch...still though... Sokka: So, I'm still hoping we can see more of each other.
Princess Yue: "Do an activity", you mean?
Sokka: Yes! At a place....for some time!
Will you stop phrasing it like that?! Seriously, it's like he's trying
to insert innuendo. Anyways, we cut to Zuko for his exchange with Iroh... Iroh: The crew wanted me to wish you safe travels.
Zuko: Good riddance to those traitors.
...Um...Zuko, they didn't exactly have a choice in the matter. From what I can tell, the only one who had a choice was Iroh, and that was only because Iroh whooped his butt in Episode 3. And even if they did have a choice, their loyalty is to the Fire Nation, not you. They were only your escorts because they were assigned to you, and now that's changed. Unless your anger here is really just another one of your psychological shields, you're gonna have to get over it.
Still, in terms of sheer physical ability, it's absolutely AMAZING the way he defends himself against the bomb explosion. I mean, at first glance, it looks like he was caught off guard, but if you look very
carefully at what happened, you'll see that in actuality, what happens here is probably the 2nd most badass thing to happen in this show, and without a doubt Zuko's finest moment. I mean, lets take a look at this moment in slow motion, so you can SEE just how awesome Zuko was in this moment... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUv1AroWbew
I remember wondering how the H.F.I.L. Zuko survived it, so, it was as I was looking at screenshots and repeatedly pausing and unpausing the video that I discovered this moment of awesome.
Basically, Zuko momentarily loses his balance, but actually recovers
his balance and summoning two orbs of fire in his hands at the SAME TIME as he's getting blown back by an explosion
. Then, he gets into a horse stance, and summons a shield of fire so strong, that it actually holds up AS THE EXPLOSION IS PASSING OVER IT, so strong in fact, that by the time the shield breaks, the only thing the explosion can give him is a few scratches and bruises. And, he does all of this
in ONLY ONE SECOND
!! That's right, had Mooseboy not slowed it down, that whole entire moment wouldn't have lasted longer than a second
!! It truly has to be seen, in both slow motion and regular motion, to be believed. Seriously, I could keep replaying that clip all day, in both motions.
I cannot even imagine the sheer amount of speed, power, co-ordination, technique, and reflexes one would have needed to have to do what Zuko did. Just on this sheer display of awesomeness, I starting to wonder if Zuko could actually beat Aang at this point. His reflexes certainly seem to be better than "can't dodge a slow, telegraphed water attack" Aang. I think Aang could learn a thing or two from Iroh, he sure seems to be teaching Zuko some awesome stuff. See what happens when you don't get all anal about just how advanced of a set you're learning? It's hard to believe that there was actually a time when I considered Zuko to be one of the most pathetic villains I've ever seen, I swear.
Still, let me get this straight. Zuko was able to do all of this, is a fricken Ninja Master, can take hits like Ironman himself....and yet, his younger sister....IS STRONGER....than he is....now that's
a scary thought.
Anyways, Sokka gets dumped (with yet another remix of "Four Seasons, Four Loves" playing as Yue runs away), Sokka has a bit of irritation... Sokka: I don't get it. One minute she wants to go out with me and the next she's telling me to get lost! So how's waterbending training?
Oh, Sokka, you silly silly man. Don't you remember what you said in Episode 14? You gotta act aloof
, like you just don't CARE
one way or the other! C,mon Aang, you gotta show us that when Aang came to you, he came to the right place
And speaking of being in places, it seems that after Aang tries to teach Katara waterbending, they're caught by Pakku...who I guess was just...spieing on them for...whatever reason...I mean really, just what was he doing there? Is the guy just following them or what? What a douche... Chief Arnook: What do you want me to do? Force Master Pakku to take Aang back as his student?
Um...how about getting a different teacher? Is Pakku like the only guy there who has students? Is he the most qualified? It's hard to imagine, seeing how much of a douche he is. So much so, that Katara does the unexpected and actually challenges Pakku to a fight. I was completely caught off guard by that, and it's around this time that I started realizing how awesome this Episode was going to get. But, we'll get to that in a moment, we've got a scene with a certain "stupid pill snorting stooge" to deal with... Zhao: I'm devastated to hear about Prince Zuko....just, devastated!
Yes, as the way you tried to murder him and his entire crew in Episode 8 clearly suggests. And of course, Mr. Lie Detector here can't seem to figure out that even if Iroh did
know who was really responsible for Zuko's attempted assassination, that he's probably not going to tell him that to his face while he's in his lair, all alone without any backup to prevent any treachery. Why is he so slow to suspect Iroh of duplicity when he was so quick to catch on to Zuko's since Episode 3, anyways? I guess Iroh's just a much better actor.
So, Katara vs. Pakku! Can Katara do a good job against him? Well...yes and no. On one hand, being surrounded by water, both liquid and solid, seems to have done a lot for her ability to summon attacks, explaining why her attacks are so much more potent here than anywhere else (I've seen some people wonder why she's so much better here when she usually stinks in a fight). On the other hand, as I'm watching this fight it occurs to me that in some ways, especially in fisticuffs, Katara kind of...rough around the edges shall we say... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CpSt7e1xfak
Nice effort Katara, but you may want to wait until you can actually reach your opponents face before you start punching... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GWmZ2AgYLzw
Now who else but Katara could've possibly figured out that a Van Damme tackle
was the best way to go when your opponent is summoning up a thick, 12 foot long blast of concentrated water to fire at you from 20 feet away?
But, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't impressed by her performance. As a matter of fact, I was actually amazed by how well she handled herself. She didn't freeze up in fear at any point in the match, she did a great job of pushing through what must've been an extremely painful series of attacks, and some of her attacks actually looked really powerful...perhaps a little too powerful...
Seriously, has it occurred to anyone else how violent this match was? Do you have any idea how badly the two could've hurt each other had they been unluckier? I mean, first we have Pakku making Katara go so high into the air that, had she not been as lucky as she had been in landing, would've probably cracked her head open or at least have suffered a few broken bones. Then we have those sheets of razor sharp ice that Katara was sending at Pakku, which looks as though they could have easily gashed him open had he made one slip up. Then, we have those extremely heavy looking blocks that Katara dropped on Pakku, all of them looking as though they could've made a pancake out of him. And finally, we end with those sharp, heavy spikes that look like they could've decapitated Katara had Pakku made even one error in his execution...
It seems odd to me that none of the bystanders seemed to mind at all how much risk the two were putting each other in. I mean really, I know they both had a point to prove, but it still seemed pretty extreme.
Of course, as long as we're talking about danger, it's nice to see Katara's necklace actually getting the Gaang out
of hotwater for once! It's too bad for Pakku though, the way I understand it... Master Pakku: I carved this necklace for your grandmother when we got engaged. I thought we would have a long, happy life together. I loved her.
Katara: But she didn't love you, did she?
I'll say. So basically she knew he loved her, yet, she left without saying goodbye and
didn't even bother to return the necklace that Pakku MADE
for their marriage? Jeez, either Katara's grandmother was an irresponsible gold digger, or Pakku was an even BIGGER douche back then than was in this Episode (hard as that is to believe). Or, maybe Gran Gran was a bit absentminded, I don't know, I guess I shouldn't be so hasty... Princess Yue: I do like you! A lot. But, we can't be together, and not for the reason you think...
Oh...oh no...please, don't tell me...you're going to... Princess Yue: It's because, I'm engaged. I'm sorry!
....Oh, PHEW! That's a relief! See guys? This is why you shouldn't be so quick to make hasty assumptions! Heh, it's funny, I mean, I personally thought that there was...um, there was um...ahem, another reason
why it would've been a VERY bad idea for Sokka to get too attached to her. Maybe I should just learn to max and relax! I'm stressing myself out over nothing! I've gotta learn to be positive, more...upbeat! Yeah.
Anyways, that's it for me. As for the grade, this Episode is kind of a strange case for me. There are a lot of neat little touches that I really like, but then there are some little things that seem kind of...off. I thought it was a very nice touch how there would be "Four Seasons, Four Loves" playing in most of the scenes that Sokka and Yue shared, and I still really enjoy how they characterized Yue simply through the subtle facial expressions she had. I loved
the voice actor for Pakku, I enjoyed his performance very much. And despite his douchiness, I found him entertaining, and even funny at times And don't even get me started
on how awesome Zuko, who is VERY MUCH alive, was in this Episode...
Unfortunately, Zuko is kind of the start of the little things that irk me somewhat. First of all, I think it was a bad move for the writers to reveal that Zuko was alive. Personally, had I been quality checking the Episode, I would've altered the scene to be like this instead...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGz7hZeF_J8
Yeah, I know my editing isn't anything great, so...hey, here's to hoping that I'm at least better than 4Kids. Anyways, I just think that this way of showing Iroh's duplicity would've been just as effective without sacrificing any of the drama of Zuko's supposed death. Plus, it would've still been somewhat implied that Zuko survived, especially if you look carefully between 0:16-0:18.
And again, why is Zhao so willing to turn a blind eye to any danger Iroh might pose? Pretty much the only talent Zhao's EVER had, from beginning to end, has been the ability to sniff out deception. And now, even that's
being flushed down the drain? Now that's just cruel. But most of all, just what the H.F.I.L. was up with the way the Water Tribe practically shot the Gaang down in the beggining of the episode. Seriously, what WAS that?! So, all in all, I guess I'll give it an A-. There are some things that bugged me, but also some things I really liked....
Hmm...by the way, is it just me, or am I referring back to Episode 3 a lot lately?