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Author Topic: ASN Wants Your Episode Reviews!  (Read 48916 times)
yorokei
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« Reply #25 on: Jan 14, 2007 03:17 pm »

Personally, I think we should try and watch out giving out A's. I see a lot in this thread, and allthough many of us might have reviewed our favourite episodes, I still think an 'A' stands for a totally awesome episode that really keeps you on the edge of your seat. A good episode could be given a 'B' as well, which still makes it really enjoyable and above average. Just mentioning it ^^.
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« Reply #26 on: Jan 14, 2007 04:35 pm »

Is it alright to send reviews that you've done on another site? I've got a good number of Avatar episode reviews that I put up on tv.com, but I wouldn't want you guys getting into copyright issues with them or something Undecided.
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« Reply #27 on: Jan 14, 2007 04:38 pm »

Episode 112: "The Storm"
Score: A

An episode where we are shown how Aang's and Zuko's stories parallel each other, "The Storm" is an amazing flashback-driven chapter in the first season of "Avatar".

Aang is having mysterious nightmares where he loses the company of Sokka and Katara as storm clouds gather in front of him, and Monk Gyatso --his old mentor-- questions his disappearance. The mystery behind the nightmares is revealed as Aang relates his story to Katara. Simultaneously and interwoven with Aang's story, Iroh reveals the truth behind Zuko's scar and temper to their ship's crew.

From the parallel stories we see that there is more to Aang and Zuko than meets the eye. Aang was a happy and optimistic little boy whose life changes drastically upon learning that he is the Avatar. The weight of this revelation is very visible as Aang starts to be treated differently and loses friends in the process. Narrated synchronously with Aang's story but chronologically occurring almost a century later, we learn that Zuko has not always been a villain but that he used to be a kind-hearted and cheery young man -- that is, of course, until the fateful day where he defied one of the Fire Lord's generals. The defiance leads to a duel with his father, Fire Lord Ozai, who burns and scars the young prince's face and forces his exile, ordering him to complete a seemingly impossible task that would allow him to return home.

Both kids have lost all that is dear to them because of an impulsive action. Both kids by now understand the ramifications of their actions and how they affect their destiny, and they are both working towards achieving their goals. Aang, as the Avatar, brings hope to a war-ravaged world. Through Aang, Zuko hopes to regain his father's acceptance and love. Their destinies are intertwined, and they have been ever since Zuko first spotted Aang at the South Pole. And although they both have accepted their fate, they still retain part of their old selves. Aang accepts that he is the Avatar, that he needs to learn to use and control his power, yet he is still a cheerful kid who likes to have fun. Zuko is now a raving villain, but he still has a kind heart and cares about his uncle and the safety of his crew.

The big storm that consumes most of the episode serves as a symbolic and physical manifestation of both kids' troubled pasts. Aang is told by Gyatso that "storm clouds are gathering", and not long afterwards he gets trapped in a storm that would seal his fate for the next one hundred years. In the present, Aang sees storm clouds form in front of him in his nightmare, and later he needs to save Sokka (and an old man with whom he was fishing) from the tempestuous waves caused by a typhoon. Although there is no literal storm in Zuko's past, he did experience his father's ravenous appetite for pain and suffering. In a way, this was the storm in Zuko's past. He was caught off-guard by a force stronger than him, and he came out metaphorically shipwrecked. In the present, Zuko prevents an actual shipwreck from happening by listening to his uncle and getting the ship out of the way of the storm.

Similar and different at the same time, Aang and Zuko's pasts drive the story, and the similarities suggest a greater link between them that will only be revealed later on. Particularly compelling is the look that they give each other as Appa flies away carrying Aang and company out of danger. It suggests to us that they both know that they are linked somehow, and that they understand each other's plight, even if just a little bit.

Another important revelation comes from this episode: Iroh has the ability to redirect lightning. This power, in fact, becomes a critical part of the story later on. On the lighter side of the episode, we see a typical comedic moment from Sokka ("Food eats people!"), and we are introduced to Jinju, a one-time character who looks dirty and is the last one picked by a team in the air-scooter game.

From its symbolism to its narrative, "The Storm" stands out as a turning point in the Avatar's story. It is at this point that we start to consider Zuko as more than just a villain, and where we learn of Aang's conflicted backstory for the first time. It may not be a jaw-dropping, edge-of-your-seat episode, but what it lacks in excitement it more than makes up for it in character development.



Edited because I realized that re-ordering some paragraphs would make them flow better into the next, and I deleted one paragraph that didn't relate too much to the main subject I'm discussing. This is the final version.

[Loaded, though I removed the second and second to last paragraph. We'd like to keep them in the 500 word or so range if possible ~ Acastus]
« Last Edit: Jan 15, 2007 07:40 pm by Acastus » Logged


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« Reply #28 on: Jan 14, 2007 04:59 pm »

Personally, I think we should try and watch out giving out A's. I see a lot in this thread, and allthough many of us might have reviewed our favourite episodes, I still think an 'A' stands for a totally awesome episode that really keeps you on the edge of your seat. A good episode could be given a 'B' as well, which still makes it really enjoyable and above average. Just mentioning it ^^.

Well, speaking for myself, I only wrote my review because I loved the episode. I wouldn't be putting effort into it if I didn't care for the story.

I think we're going to get a lot of A's in this string.
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« Reply #29 on: Jan 14, 2007 05:06 pm »

Well, I usually make reviews for the sake of stopping long strings of quadruple A+ reviews and try to compare an episode to one that I sincerely think deserves an A. I also keep in mind that C grades are average episodes and not 'omg ima barf frm teh badnes'.
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« Reply #30 on: Jan 14, 2007 05:07 pm »

Is it alright to send reviews that you've done on another site? I've got a good number of Avatar episode reviews that I put up on tv.com, but I wouldn't want you guys getting into copyright issues with them or something Undecided.

No, we won't accept reviews made for other sites. Please don't submit them. We want ASN content to be unique, so if you want us to showcase your work, please make sure it is original!

Personally, I think we should try and watch out giving out A's. I see a lot in this thread, and allthough many of us might have reviewed our favourite episodes, I still think an 'A' stands for a totally awesome episode that really keeps you on the edge of your seat. A good episode could be given a 'B' as well, which still makes it really enjoyable and above average. Just mentioning it ^^.

Wise words, though everyone is free to grade as they choose. However, ASN reserves the right to reject reviews because the grade given is not well supported. If you give an episode an A+ and your review argues that it deserves the rating because it's all about character X and you just love character X, I doubt we'll take it. We don't have to agree with your rating or your argument for it in order for it to be accepted, but you do have to reasonably justify the rating you assign.

EDIT: Nat's review of "The Tales of Ba Sing Se" is a good example of a solid review that mixes criticism and praise. Also, I've just done a review of "The Great Divide" which basically pans the episode. Be careful with the latter. Critical, even caustic reviews are fine as long as they are well written and really contribute something.
« Last Edit: Jan 14, 2007 08:06 pm by Acastus » Logged
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« Reply #31 on: Jan 14, 2007 05:09 pm »

Does that mean if I change my grade to something lower you'll accept it? Grin
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« Reply #32 on: Jan 14, 2007 06:05 pm »

Episode 116: The Deserter

Grade: B+

Katara is shown to be the final decision in what the gang does in this episode. This is shown twice, both when the argument is between Aang and Sokka. The first example is when Aang decides that he wants to go to the fire days festival. Naturally Sokka disagrees, having a fear of going anywhere near the fire nation, "...where they're all fired up with all their, you know, fire?" The second time is when Aang wishes to try to seek out Master Jeong Jeong, which Sokka also disagrees with.

The Fire Days Festival is a very interesting aspect to this episode. It's the first time that we get to see normal fire nation life. The puppet show sticks out in my mind. Though it only sees a brief span of time in the episode, there is some of information we can determine from it. To start off this is the first time we see Fire Lord Ozai's face, though only in the form of a crude puppet. Another interesting aspect is that it seems that everyone in the fire nation is in favor of the war. All the young children cheer when their fearless leader blasts the Earth Kingdom Soldier. Later in the episode we learn that only two men have deserter the army and lived. Usually with any war there is opposition, but there seems to be nearly one hundred percent support for this war.

A very interesting part of this episode is after Aang burns Katara. Sokka runs over and tackles the Avatar. This is a great moment in which we learn alot about Sokka's personal feelings. Sokka has a deep hatred for firebenders which is let out when Aang mistakenly burns Katara. Sokka's hatred goes beyond any feelings of friendship he had towards Aang. Another part of Sokka that we see in this scene is his protectiveness towards his sister. "You burned my sister!" Sokka doesn't say, you burned Katara, but rather you burned my sister. I believe this choice of words is done on purpose. At this point in his relationship with Katara he sees her less as a friend and more as a sibling he must protect.

You can't do a review of this episode without at least mentioning the amazing battle between Aang and Zhao. Here is where Aang finally comes to realizes that Jeong Jeong's teachings did have a reason to them after all. Aang realizes that Zhao is considered a failure by Jeong Jeong. An incredible battle ensues in which Aang does not through a single punch.

The only part of this episode I disliked was the lack of closure with Jeong Jeong. I really would've liked the writers to have done a cut scene to show where Jeong Jeong and his gang have gone. Similar to what they did in Episode 108 when they showed what had happened to the fire sages and Zhao after the temple collapsed.

EDIT: I changed around a few things in my review to try and delete some information that just recapped the episode
« Last Edit: Jan 15, 2007 05:38 pm by jman1009 » Logged


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« Reply #33 on: Jan 14, 2007 06:18 pm »

Here is version two of my review of Book One, Chapter Nineteen. It is shorter, much shorter, the example review you gave of Winter Solstice Part 2 was 545 words, this is 616 words. Enjoy...

Ali Khan's review of...

Book One: Water
Chapter Nineteen: The Siege of the North Part 1

Grade: A

"Nice try pupil Sangok, a couple of more years and you might be ready to fight a sea-sponge"

These are the first words in what is undoubtedly an awe-inspiring chapter of the struggle against the Fire Nation. However, this will be no ordinary chapter, for it is a significant one, as in this very chapter the Northern Water Tribe is attacked by an enormous fleet led by Admiral Zhao. Their intent: "To destroy the last of the Water Tribe civilization."

Don't get a misconception, this may be Part 1 in an immense war between the Water Tribe and the Fire Nation but it is by no means a silence before a storm or a means of building tension before a final climax. This chapter, in itself, is an exhilarating, adventurous and exciting plunge into a cold, brutal and epic war.

The excitement generated as huge, fiery boulders are hurled through the sky towards the Northern Water Tribe is unparalleled by any other cartoon. The elation as Aang sets his eyes on the beautiful oasis is heart-warming. It can't be denied: This is one of the best chapters in the Book of Water.

The way the war is shown is exciting and entertaining. There is sheer thrill when Aang flies to and boards Fire Navy ships, eliminates enemies with powerful gusts of air and cleverly manipulates the Fire Navy catapults so that they can be used against the Fire Navy. The way this is done is funny and adrenaline-pumping.

You have all grown to appreciate Avatar's glorious music, but The Siege of the North Part 1 has outstanding music! At certain points, change is made from the usual fanfare and a softer, higher pitched and more elegant instrument is used to portray the delicateness of particular scenes. Through music, fear is induced when the Fire Navy arrive, your heart softens when Aang enters the oasis and a melancholy tone is taken in parallel to the scenes involving the romance between Sokka and Princess Yue.

But excitement, music and romance isn't enough, a good chapter of Avatar isn't complete without colour. Changes from the brilliant white and blue of the Northern Water Tribe to the darker, more threatening red and black of the Fire Navy ships is ingenious, helps to create the correct atmosphere.

The creators of Avatar once again create an immersive parallel story in which Zuko infiltrates the Northern Water Tribe in order to capture the Avatar. It does however seem that part of the story was missed out when Zuko arrived at the oasis, how did he get from where he entered the Northern Water Tribe to the oasis without being caught? But this can be excused due to the lack of time each chapter has. This sub-story adds another dimension to the struggle and becomes very involving. Although, you will notice more emphasis is placed on Zuko's pain and suffering as he swims through icy waters, we continue to be in doubt of whether Zuko really is 'the bad guy'.

A dramatic fight takes place (as always) but it is not often between Zuko and Katara. As bolts of fire and waves of water are thrown in either direction, you may notice the irony that a ferocious battle is taking place in the most harmonious place in the entire North Pole. The fight comes with a dramatic twist and you will not be unsatisfied by this exciting duel.

The Chapter ends more tensely than conclusively; it is an enthralling build-up to a dramatic finale and no doubt one of the best Chapters in the first Book.


[Loaded ~ Acastus]

« Last Edit: Jan 17, 2007 06:01 pm by Acastus » Logged
Invaderk
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« Reply #34 on: Jan 14, 2007 07:35 pm »

Welcome to my first post; I don't know what I'm doing here, but I'll give this review thing a shot...

     Episode: The Tales of Ba Sing Se
     Rating: A-

     I see that many people have given their opinions on this rather controversial episode, so I'll try to make this as different and short as possible.
     "The Tales of Ba Sing Se" turns out to be more of a filler chapter than an actual episode for Avatar. While this may at first seem disappointing - I know I sat back on the couch and crossed my arms in a huff - we soon come to realize that this episode actually has a whole lot to offer to us Avatards. While not very action packed - unless you count Aang being chased by every animal in the city - the chapter still holds its own and retains a certain amount of significance. It's a creative way of showing life in the big city.
     So what is it that caught our interest? Is it finally seeing Aang and Sokka shave, or is it Iroh and Momo's deeply touching encounters? My answer, friends, is a combination of all these things. The Tales of Ba Sing Se is rich in deep symbolism, running jokes, and an introduction to everyday life in a city that does not mention war.
     First, I find that the format provides a steady balance of emotions. Whether or not the creators had this in mind or not is not the question, but the result seems to suit us watchers just fine. Never at one point was I overpowered by one particular emotion from every episode. For example, if Momo and Iroh's stories had been placed together at the beginning, I may not have stayed for the rest of the episode because the overload of emotional baggage. Let's go into this just a tad.
     We start off the first tale with the light and sweet introduction of daily routine. The episode takes a turn near the end, however, when we get a little insight into Toph's mind. Our amusement turns to some pity, even if grudgingly so, and this prepares us for Iroh's tale. His story begins light as well, though it makes us wonder what he is up to throughout his adventures (which turn out to be highly symbolic, as I will mention later). When we finally discover the reason for Iroh's outing, we immediately drop the lightness of emotion again and feel that same sorrow and sympathy that we felt for Toph. Only, this time our feelings are more extreme.
     Aang and Sokka's stories are the peak of humor. While Aang's story is lighter than the rest, we still get a glimpse of his thus far emotional search for Appa. Sokka also gives us a little relief from our sad encounter with Iroh and Lu Ten, and we also find out that Sokka can whip up a decent haiku on the spot - this talent probably won't save his life in battle, but it's nice to know that Sokka has other talents beside fighting and being generally sarcastic.
     The emotional train takes another bumpy ride as we face off in Zuko's battle with his date. We feel anxiety for his ridiculous hair, humor during his "yes, I juggled" scene, and awkwardness throughout. On the other hand, we also learn to feel sorry for Zuko when we realize that he cannot have a relationship at this time. What will come of his love life? While Zutara and Kataang shippers face off, they must lower their weapons, if only for a moment, and look upon the challenge that is Jin. This episode puts all of our thoughts under considerable doubt, because Zuko has shown that he can do nothing with women at this particular time due to his mission. I sympathize with our scar-faced friend.
     At last, we reach the slowing calm that is Momo's tale. We watch as he searches for Appa, gets chased by some animals, and falls asleep in Appa's footprint. All the while we feel a lingering pity for our animal friend, a tad of humor, and a bit of speculation, which brings me to part II of my review.
Symbolism plays an important role in this story. Just about everything in Iroh's tale - from his song about the soldier marching home to his conversation with the mugger - can be symbolic of Iroh's own life. Such symbolism can also be pointed out in Zuko's 'fiery' date encounter, Toph's inner doubt, and Aang's need to help animals. What the symbolism means is, of course, up to you.
     The last thing I'd like to mention is this: to me, there's nothing better in a series than a running joke. Character development is, of course, important, but who would we be without our favorite Cabbage Merchant? He has appeared in numerous episodes, hardly ever longer than for him to exclaim over his precious produce, but he's there. He provides us with that little edge to our episode.
     So there you have it: my too-long review for the episode that many people didn't like. Being a frequent flier on the "Filler Chapter", I can understand what the writers may have been thinking at the time. While the episode didn't give us much in the plot sense, I think it is important that we learn about the struggles and adventures of the city that is Ba Sing Se.

-Invaderk


[Loaded, but please keep future reviews around 500 words or so. We gave a little leeway on 215 since it is many stories in one ~ Acastus]
« Last Edit: Jan 15, 2007 08:10 pm by Acastus » Logged


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« Reply #35 on: Jan 14, 2007 09:07 pm »

Episode: "Zuko Alone"
Rating: B+

After having watched "Zuko Alone," what may well strike you most immediately upon recollection is the fact that the tone of the entire episode is almost completely devoid of the humor which serves to "balance out" most other Avatar installments. Obviously, this will disappoint those who watch the show primarily for the gags, so be forewarned: I would guess that most watchers, though, will find it hard to ignore the simple but very noteworthy fact that the creators of Avatar were willing to put out an episode like this at all. This is, after all, a "kid's show" first and foremost, but via efforts like this, which unapologetically put the "dark side" of the war-torn Avatar world at the forefront, the creators let us know that they want to appeal to something more than their viewers' sentimentality. For this reviewer, "Zuko Alone" is perhaps the series' greatest single example of what truly sets Avatar apart from nearly every other "kids' show" presently on the air.

As the title suggests, this one takes a break from the "main" plot and focuses entirely upon scorched fangirl favorite Zuko, who has just decided to leave his doting uncle and traveling companion behind, and try to find his path through life on his own: save for a couple of "cameos" via flashback, he's the only "star" in the cast to appear at all. The episode relates what happens to him when he stumbles upon a destitute Earth Kingdom village during his travels, and also sheds some light on his heretofore murky childhood, via the aforementioned flashbacks.

The scenery of the episode, while not as grand or immediately striking as that of most others, stands out in its own, more subtle way: almost nothing seen within the episode is "pretty," for lack of a better word. The town is bare-earthed, parched and dusty, its buildings pathetic, half-ruined shacks, its people scrawny and sullen-faced, clothed in little more than rags. Zuko's flashbacks to his upbringing in the Fire Palace are, believe it or not, even more visually uncomfortable: the thoroughly unwelcoming corridors of his childhood are chillingly dark, save for sparse, threatening blazes of open flame, and every scene is viewed through muted colors and a fuzzy, indistinct filter, to enhance the impression of a child's real-life nightmare which refuses to fade with time.

Even more striking than the setting and characters, however, are the themes which the episode deals with. First and foremost, the aforementioned town has been ravaged by the war, but has not been touched by the Fire Nation: I'll leave it to you to see exactly what goes on, but suffice it to say that the Fire Nation is not the real enemy at work within the Avatar world: rather, it is the war itself. This is a refreshing departure from the pervasive and sinfully oversimplified "good guy/bad guy" setup seen in so many similar series. On a more "intimate" level, Zuko's flashbacks show viewers anything but an idealized childhood: as an indisputable "black sheep", we see him tortured daily by his prodigy of a sibling, Azula, and ignored by just about everyone else except his protective mother, who, just his luck, vanishes without a trace thanks to the additional specter of political intrigue, the details of which remain cloudy at Season Two's end.

The final minutes of the episode provide perhaps the most poignant set of scenes: Zuko, in dire straits, decides to finally take to heart a cliched bit of past advice ("Never forget who you are") from his mother: the classic setup for a miraculous, spirited comeback and a happy ending if there ever was one. Here, however, while being "true to himself" does allow Zuko to survive the battle at hand, the victory comes at a heavy price: the knee-jerk, unblinkingly prejudiced reaction of the townspeople to his true nature hits you like a ton of bricks if you've been brought up on "traditional" kids' shows, where "being true to yourself" is invariably rewarded. This time around, almost as if in a cruel parody of such ideals, Zuko rides off into the sunset, but in defeat rather than victory: he leaves for parts unknown once more, truly "Alone," in every sense of the word.

Despite the rather brave nature of the episode and its numerous aforementioned strengths, "Zuko Alone," unfortunately, doesn't quite live up to the standard of a truly "knockout" episode. This is due, not to its ambition, but rather to a smattering of unfortunate "technical" flaws: on a regular basis you'll find yourself distracted by some overbaked, melodramatic moments (anime-esque streams o' tears seem to flow just a bit too easily, among other things) alongside some thoroughly unconvincing voice acting, which do their utmost to take you out of the moment. The premise and flow of the episode by themselves is plenty to get "the point" across to the audience: however, by putting too much weight on things that should have been detail-oriented subtleties, the creators have over-garnished the episode, making it tougher to swallow than it should be.

Notwithstanding, "Zuko Alone" is undoubtedly an important episode: while definitely not perfect, and somewhat disappointing if you consider the true wealth of convention-busting potential it has, it remains a rare specimen worth seeking out and observing with relish. Much like the real-world lives of its viewers, Avatar also has a dark side, made up of shattered expectations, unanswered questions, and some decidedly unhappy endings. Unlike in real life, however, such things are not a weakness, but perhaps its greatest strength.

EDIT: Managed to bring it down to around 900 words...if that's still too long let me know.
« Last Edit: Jan 18, 2007 12:25 am by Whoever » Logged


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« Reply #36 on: Jan 14, 2007 10:48 pm »

101 The Boy in the Iceberg

Grade: B

   In the premiere episode of Avatar the Last Airbender, the opening unveils the fundamental concept of the show, a mystic land thrown into chaos by violent warfare.  The Avatar, a being of tremendous power who could set things right, has vanished mysteriously.
 After establishing that we are in for an epic adventure, the show begins quite modestly.  Like many fantasy epics before it, we begin in a quiet, remote corner of the globe, seemingly far from the terrible struggles enveloping the land.  Our Tatooine or Shire in this case is the polar reaches of the Southern Water Tribe.

The characters of Katara and Sokka are first to be introduced, and it is clear they have the contentious relationship most siblings can relate to.  They are voiced by newcomers Mae Whitman and Jack DeSena. Katara is the optimistic dreamer, with "magical" powers. Sokka is the cynical realist, with a dislike for the strange and unfamiliar. It is worth noting that this version of Sokka is played as a sort of "straight man" for the rest of the cast, enduring various comic humiliations at the hands of others. This stands in stark contrast to the use of Sokka in the later episodes, where he becomes more of a happy-go-lucky jokester.  The creative team has said that the strong performance given by DeSena inspired them to expand on his character.

Soon we are introduced to young Aang, left frozen for a century.  A mere boy of 12, he is the youngest of the main characters, a lighthearted rascal with a pure heart. From the moment of his awakening, he seems fascinated by Katara, a running theme that continues to obsess many of Avatar's young fans. He seems an unlikely savior to the war-torn nations, and indeed denies being the Avatar initially.

The main cast is rounded out by scenes of Prince Zuko, the scarred and dishonored son of the Fire Lord, and his uncle, Iroh.  Dante Basco gives a wonderful performance as the arrogant and impulsive prince, and the renowned Mako provides the voice of Uncle Iroh.  They are undertaking a quest to capture the Avatar, and are the main antagonists in season one.  Early on we see that uncle and nephew, like the siblings, share a fractious and complex relationship.
While Avatar shows the influence of modern Japanese animation, Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko avoid the clichés that plague most efforts from across the ocean.  Director Dave Filoni keeps things moving crisply, in contrast to the often drawn-out stories of japanimation.

Overall the tone of the first episode is rather comical and light. And yet by the end, we are reminded that these children live in a world of conflict, where menace lurks just over the horizon. This mixture of bright comedy, compelling adventure and intricate characterization is what draws such a diverse fan base to Avatar: The Last Airbender.


[Loaded ~ Acastus]
« Last Edit: Jan 15, 2007 08:12 pm by Acastus » Logged


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« Reply #37 on: Jan 14, 2007 11:03 pm »

Episode 205: "Avatar Day"
Rating: B-

A mostly filler episode, "Avatar Day" is there if only to show us that the Avatar is not necessarily well-liked by everyone. Humor permeates all through the episode ("Boomerang! You do always come back!"), but there's so much humor that it reaches the point of saturation.

The kids' experience at the City of Chin is both amusing and frustrating. The townspeople hate the Avatar because Avatar Kyoshi, one of Aang's past lives, is thought to have killed their founder, Chin the Great. Aang stands trial to prove his innocence, only to find out that the town's justice system is completely biased. Found guilty by means of hearsay, Aang is sentenced to death by being boiled in oil. He is spared because the Rough Rhinos, a ruthless gang of fiery ruffians, threaten to destroy the town. Aang defeats them, saves the day, gets honored, and they all live happily ever after. Cliché? Absolutely. Everything seems to flow way too easy for Aang. In spite of having been momentarily sentenced to death, nothing in general goes wrong for our favorite 112 year-old kid. The conflict seemed to have no real rising action, but rather a very short moment of tension that disappears faster than it was established. This is the main reason why this episode wasn't as great as it could have been.

Avatar Kyoshi's powerful performance, as her spirit takes possession of Aang's body, is possibly the only thing that makes this episode shine. Kyoshi was a powerful woman, a fully realized Avatar, with strong ties to her homeland. Although Katara and Sokka find evidence that would exonerate Kyoshi from the murder charges against her --through their visit to Kyoshi Island, where they are received by the one and only Foaming Mouth Guy--, Kyoshi boldly admits to having killed Chin the Conqueror after his world domination crusade brought him to Kyoshi's birthplace. Avatar Kyoshi's voice is fierce and commanding, which shows her confidence and intensity of character. Her actions display the Avatar's full power by single-handedly creating an entire island by separating it from the mainland. But after a few lines and some flashback images, Kyoshi's spirit is gone, leaving Aang weak and lightheaded. Kyoshi's part was too short, and she deserved more screentime like Avatar Roku has. Although Roku is Aang's immediate predecessor, and thus a mentor that appears regularly, Kyoshi was quite possibly Roku's mentor as well, yet we don't know anything about her aside from where she was born and that she created an island.

In a very short and easily forgettable side story, we see how Zuko decides to part ways with Iroh. Yes, later on we do remember that Zuko went out on his own, but seriously, does anyone immediately remember *when* that happened?

In all, "Avatar Day" is just slightly above average when it comes to "Avatar" episodes. The plot was cliché and the humor was overpowering. Kyoshi's appearance is the only thing making it worthwhile because, like Roku did in his namesake episode, it showed us the amazing power that the Avatar wields. A little less humor and a little more Kyoshi would have made the episode much better.




- Edited to change the score and change small bits of the last paragraph. Although I consider Kyoshi's performance as amazing, the rest of the episode wasn't so much. Final version.

- Edited again (real final version this time, I promise) to reduce the word-count. It now stands at 526 words (excluding title and score).


[Loaded ~ Acastus]
« Last Edit: Jan 17, 2007 06:09 pm by Acastus » Logged


ATLA Keeps: Kuei's necklace, Pandalilies, Zhaodburns, Sokka's DoBS speech
TLOK Keeps: Sparkly bush, Aang's statue, Korrlok, Asami's racetrack
ThePower06
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Naruto and Sakura- Standing Together as Equals


« Reply #38 on: Jan 15, 2007 02:02 am »


Episode 220: The Crossroads of Destiny

Grade: A-


 In the the final episode of season 2, Aang and Zuko are faced with choosing their destinies. The choice they make will determine fate of the world. The episode kicks into action as Aang, Sokka, and Toph race back to Ba Sing Se to save Katara. The writers have place heavy emphasis on Aang struggling with the decision to leave the Guru. This episode shows that the choices we make can have heavy impacts on us and the world we live in.

  Iroh provides good insight in this episode to the young Avatar concerning his feelings for Katara and giving in to the ultimate power, if we were to take a better look at this scene, one would say is earthly advice yield greater insight that spiritual advice? Sometimes the easy way out is not always the best choice to make, but there are those times where choice is not an option. Zuko displays more character development in this episode and he finally begins pursue his own destiny, however blood is thicker than water and old habits die hard, as he once again struggles between doing good and claiming the honor he so desires.

   Another strong point of this episode shows that those who you think are your greatest enemy are not always what they seem. Zuko and Katara who have long been enemies of one another ever since Zuko began his pursuit of the Avatar to restore his honor, have an understanding of one another. However, this trust is short lived as Zuko makes his decision to forgo good and pursue that which he so desired, case in point this shows it is easy to gain trust and easy to lose it.

     Katara's waterbending  in this episode has improved greatly in that she was able to hold her own against Azula and gain a slight advantage on her. I would like to point that Aang seemed a bit conflicted during his battle against Azula and Zuko in that he had a bit more difficulty in fighting them, which is a slight low point in the episode considering his bending development.

    There have been discrepancies in that it has been that Zuko went evil  in his decision, when the episode clearly showed that he just wanted to go home, to have his honored restored and to be the Firelord he wanted to be. This can be a teaching lesson that even the things we hold on to are hard to let go, the same would apply for Aang, conflicted with the choice he had to make. Last minute choices can have very grave consequences for those that pursue it. The Guru's words ring true once again to Aang as he tries a last ditch effort to let go of Katara and submit himself to the ultimate power. However, bad timing is a factor and Aang suffers for his choice, viewers can decide amongst themselve who had the greater knowledge of power, Guru or Iroh?

Aang and Zuko's choices have left the world in disarray and at the mercy of the firenation. One can only wonder what greater implications are in store for them because of those decisions?

The only other low point was that the episode felt rushed and a bit spotty in places. Overall, a very intriguing episode ending in a wondrous cliffhanger



« Last Edit: Jan 15, 2007 02:06 am by ThePower06 » Logged

Im not sure of the creator of the Avvie, but credit goes to you.
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« Reply #39 on: Jan 15, 2007 08:41 am »

Episode 202: The Cave of Two Lovers

Grade: B-

One of the most infamous shipping episodes to date, Cave of Two Lovers, not only offers up the chance of romance but also gives us a little background into the origin of the earthbenders. We start off with the scantly clad avatar gang wading in a river. Katara's waterbending lessons to Aang are interrupted by a group Hippies. At this point my head drops. Hippies in the Avatar world. The two groups have an awkward meeting and quickly establish a slight friendship on the fact that both the hippies and Aang... and the hippies are nomads.

Also in this episode you find that Zuko begins discovering how far this war actually reaches. When Iroh tries to drink a poisonous plant. And yes he likes tea that much. They of course must find a place for Iroh to receive medical assistance. This is where they meet Song. A young girl who's father had been taken away by the war. I was happy to see Zuko's immediate look of shock when Song showed him her scar. It solidified Zuko's naivety and general concern for other people like the story Iroh told in "The Storm."

The gang is actually what lead me to lower my grade a bit. I had to side with Sokka on the Hippie annoyance factor. Chong's constant singing was a bit over the top and was slowly chipping away the episode's continuity. Later when the cave begins to collapse the gang splits leaving Sokka with the Appa, Aang and Katara together and Sokka with the nomad/hippies, much to his chagrin.

I'm always compelled when I see the story between Oma and Shu. It was a nicely original tale and facilitated the naming of Omashu. After the story when Katara began brainstorming a way to get them out I saw why Sokka was separated from them. If he had been there he would have figured out the riddle no problem. Now for the lights out part. Great way to create a romantic enigma. No-one really knows what happened in the dark. The fact that they kissed or not has nothing to do with the pace of the rest of the episode. In fact it is completely dismissed through the rest of the season.

The end of this episode had to be the most telling. After seeing the pain Song and her mother went through Zuko, with a less than convincing thank you, steals their ostrich horse. That move was amazingly disappointing, but even though Zuko is more caring and considerate then many of his family members he still finds himself more important than anyone else, a trait synonymous with royalty.

Later the gang finally finds their way out of the cave. Sokka and the nomads on the backs of vicious beast and Katara, Aang and Appa through, yep you guessed it, love. I liked the character reconciliation at the end between Chong and Sokka. The red mark on Sokka's forehead signified the pain he went through to exit the cave. One thing that tickled me was quick witted analysis of Aang's position as the Avatar. Viewers are then thrust into a scene of the firenation's conquest of Omashu. A saddening picture in itself, but given the implications you find yourself as sad as the rest of the gang.

All in all this was an acceptable episode. There were no memorable fight scene's and the episode was filled with tactless humor. The most character development would have to be Zuko's. The Hippies weren't necessarily a welcome addition, but they were a change of pace. The kiss, or lack there of, is simply of no consequence. We already know that Aang is madly in love with Katara. However Katara's blushing at the end may call for a bit more from her side. So far we don't know what happened and maybe never will. Is that such a bad thing?


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« Reply #40 on: Jan 15, 2007 10:28 am »

Episode: The Chase
Grade: B+

The kids are being chased by Azula in her cronies in a giant tank. Hmmm, doesn't sound like much of a good episode. But what we've got is a quick-paced episode full of badass girls, Iroh's wisdom, and verbal spats with Toph, the newbie to the team.

Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee have unofficially been dubbed "Ozai's Angels" by the fans and it fits them to a tee. These three psychotic determined girls pursue Aang and his friends relentlessly into the night while the kids continue to fly on Appa, getting more and more exhausted as the time goes by.

Toph's little speech in her episode debut in "The Blind Bandit" filled us in on her character. She's disgusted at being judged as a helpless little blind girl by her domineering parents. Toph assumes that the only way to disprove that belief is for her to be as independent as possible, without asking or assisting anyone else. Now she rubs the wrong way with Katara, who thinks Toph's indifference to their teamwork is a sign of selfishness. Sokka and Aang look on while the girls rant and rave until Toph walks out.

The moment with Toph and Iroh was a refreshing breather in between the fierce action of Aang and his friends vs. Ozai's Angels. It's interesting seeing Iroh talking to someone else other than Zuko for once. But ironically, their conversation leads to the status of the exiled prince who is literally and metaphorically "lost". As we've just seen in "Zuko Alone", his haunted past and present misfortunes are questioning his morals and personal values. He's certainly becoming a far more human or "real" character than the arrogant aloof prince in season one. At any rate, it was very heart-warming watching Iroh help Toph "get back on her feet" with his advice that she reconsider her relationship with her new friends.

The end of this episode is remarkable for successfully combining all of the different characters and their fighting skills together in one big showdown. Suspense is heightened as Zuko barges in on Azula and Aang, turning the two-way battle into a three-way battle. The finale fight echoes the Western showdown scenario from "Zuko Alone" when all of the kidss show up and soon everyone jumping through broken walls and abandoned rooms to dodge Azula's lightning shots. Her snide comment about "enemies and traitors all working together" rings as a possible note to future circumstances between the Gaang, Zuko, and Iroh. Regarding what we've seen from Azula so far, I believe she's just a coward. Her false surrender before attacking Iroh and vanishing away only fuels my opinion that despite her superior skills at lightning/firebending, she knows nothing about honor.

Zuko's pain over his uncle is harsh-he's so upset that he drives the prized Avatar and his friends away!

Episode: Lake Laogai
Grade: A-

After watching Aang and his friends enjoy the city and keeping track of Appa's travels for two episodes, the show kicks back into high gear with "Lake Laogai". It continues where "City of Walls and Secrets" left off by successfully pulling together the plots and subplots as we advance towards the end of season two in a quick suspenseful half hour.

Watching Aang blow up in Ju Dee's face was priceless, as well as Toph's remark about Ba Sing Se: "Worse city ever!!" (Tragically, the inner corruption of Ba Sing Se has sunken in deeper than Toph or any of the other kids can presume at the conclusion of the season.)

Who would have guessed that Toph was also an earthbending lie detector? Obviously the kids are skeptical to trust Jet who suddenly turns up after his mysterious arrest and disappearance. The mounting tension reveals a different Jet from the smooth charismatic teen we saw in season one. He's nervous and alarmed when Sokka concludes that he's been brainwashed by the Dai Li to lead them off the trail-and Jet doesn't even know it!

The secret to this plot is Lake Laogai, the underwater headquarters of the Dai Li where they control dozens of Ju Dee agents ala Stepford Wives. In a quick flashback of painful memories, Jet is able to recall where they took him. Aang and his friends, along with Jet and his friends, all advance down the long creepy tunnel into Lake Laogai. A well-choreographed fight breaks out when Aang, his friends, and the three Freedom Fighters are all ruthlessly fighting off the Dai Li agents. It's remarkable how this handful of kids manage to resist the very muscle of Ba Sing Se and not just because the Avatar is doing all the work for them. Little do they know that a particular exiled prince is also after the bison that lies captive in another cell...

Some of us sighed in frustration to see Zuko going after Appa and his old mission but Iroh finally puts his foot down. No longer offering good-humored wisdom or gentle words of consolation, Iroh speaks harshly towards his nephew for his headstrong behavior. Not wanting to see Zuko driven on a fool's errand into a state of hopelessness, Iroh questions Zuko's intentions: What really is Zuko's destiny? What does it matter to him? Is he being ordered to live his life by the commands of others?

Zuko tries to defend his actions but his uncle refuses to let this fanatic chase continue any further and tears down the last walls of denial that Zuko has built around himself. Iroh says, "It's time for you to start looking inward and begin asking yourself the big questions. Who are you? And do you  want?" The moment when Zuko concedes and slams down his swords and mask, accompanied by his echoed anguish cry, is long overdue.

The underlying message of freedom in this episode is an emotional springboard that results in personal liberation. Long Feng sets Jet into a hypnotic state and commands him to fight Aang. An internal conflict is fueled by Aang's remind that the teen is a Freedom Fighter and it breaks Jet from the Dai Li's control. Zuko is also struggling inside, confused about breaking away from his father's demands and finding self-worth in spite of being rejected by his family. He is hurt and frustrated but with his uncle's prodding words but Zuko is finally coming to his own decisions after a long demanding spiritual journey throughout season two. He finally releases Appa. And he releases the Blue Spirit mask into the lake as an expression of liberating himself from past actions.

The only complaint I have about this episode is the animation. It looks stringy and awkward from Jet's rimmed eyes to the stretchy lips or Sokka's round-shaped head. If this was a typical "funny" episode I wouldn't mind so much but the suspense of Lake Laogai needs top notch work like "The Drill". Nevertheless, I'm pleased. Appa is back, Zuko is making strides, and a tear or two may be shed for Jet's tragic ending. Yue and Lu Ten might have some company in the other world....


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« Reply #41 on: Jan 15, 2007 12:21 pm »

Episode: 111 "The Great Divide"
Grade: B+

     The episode begins with Katara and Sokka fighting over chores, which soon proves to be a microcosm of the main conflict in the episode.  Though Aang solves this problem things will be much more difficult as he, and the others are planning to cross the Great Divide. 

     The Great Divide is a canyon that must be crossed in for them to continue their journey to the Northern Water Tribe.  That is when the episode really takes off when the Zhang and Gan Gin earth kingdom tribes enter the scene, which provides a deeper look into the earth kingdom itself as well as Aang, Katara, and Sokka. 

     The title Great Divide means more than just the actual canyon, but it also refers to the conflicts between the Zhang and the Gan Jin, portrayed as tribes that has been going on for a hundred years.  The title really shines light into what the episode is actualy about and how that reflects the diversity of the earth kingdom.

     One of the highlights that really ties the episode together is the story telling by both the Zhang and Gan Jin tribe leaders.  True to real life there are two opposing views of one story.  The Gan Jin tribe feels that their "patriarch", Jin Wei, was wronged as the Zhang tribe feels that their "noble" Wei Jin, was wronged.  This conflict is what makes the entire episode work and fit right into the story.  This is a great method in laying out the history and the vital information in the episode. 

     One of the suttle references to Ba Sing Se does not seem important when first viewing this episode that seems much more significant later on.  Both tribes were refuges after being attacked by the fire nation and they are heading to Ba Sing Se, which ties perfectly into the story line not just for the current episode, but reiterates the fire nation's advances into the earth kingdom and the importance of Ba Sing Se. 

     In the end the Zhang and Gan Jin tribes work together to get out of the canyon by helping each other from the canyon crawlers, but theat does not solve the conflct.  The end result is Aang solving the conflict by telling a good story of his own.     


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« Reply #42 on: Jan 15, 2007 12:28 pm »

Can you do a review that someone already did?
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I haven't given up hope yet. ;_;

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« Reply #43 on: Jan 15, 2007 01:45 pm »

Can you do a review that someone already did?
FNQ

Yes, but your chances of getting your review accepted dramatically decrease if there are already several very good reviews of an episode.  Yours has to be either absolutely fantastic or present a different opinion than the other reviews.  We don't want five reviews of one episode that all give it about the same score.
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« Reply #44 on: Jan 15, 2007 05:30 pm »

Ali Khan's review of...

Book One: Water
Chapter Nineteen: The Siege of the North Part 2

Grade: A+

We are at what is potentially the end of the Northern Water Tribe civilization. The Avatar has been captured; his spirit has just travelled to the mysterious Spirit World and Zhao's army advances into the great Northern Water Tribe. Victory is nigh for the Fire Navy and without the Avatar, all hope is lost...

How would one perfectly capture the spirit of such a climactic end to the thoroughly enjoyable Book of Water? Through expert story-telling, awe-inspiring war battles, mythical creatures, outstanding music and an epic climax in which a breathtakingly powerful being destroys the invasion force.

One of the main differences between The Siege of the North Part 2 from Part 1 is the involvement of spirits, divine beings and the much feared Avatar State in its most powerful form. At the paramount scene when Admiral Zhao has slain the moon, an astonishing series of events unfold in front of you where Avatar Aang combines with the Ocean Spirit to form a terrifying beast, capable of immense control over water and invulnerable to the Fire Navy's attacks. The beast is somewhat reminiscent of the Nightwalker from Princess Mononoke, a large lizard-like spirit composed of a partially glowing, see-through medium (in this case: Water).

This scene was the pinnacle of the First Book of Water and will be written down in the history of Avatar... and all TV shows.

And what of the brilliant music in this Chapter? The creators have, without a doubt, implemented music which is perfectly fitting to the location and the events. Every single note is what you are seeing on screen translated into rhythms and beats. The usual high chanting compliments the Avatar State but this time they are exaggerated twofold, creating an explosion of emotions in the viewer's heart, making everyone stare in awe at the giant creature as it engages a whole fleet in a few blows.

A film noir approach is even taken when the moon is killed as the entire Northern Water Tribe turns black and white, plunges into catastrophe without the moon to aid them. A second and last fight between Zuko and Zhao takes place (the previous one being the Agni Kai in Chapter 3) and although this fight isn't as masterfully produced as the Agni Kai, it has far more significance. Since this is the only hand-to-hand fight scene in the entire chapter (apart from the fight between Katara and Zuko), you could argue that the chapter is lacking in this respect. However, far more important events take place and you will not be left complaining about lack of combat!

I did feel that the voice actor for Princess Yue was somewhat lacking in expression, Johanna Braddy perhaps wasn't the perfect choice for Princess Yue. Despite this, Princess Yue was a very likeable character and I was sad to see her go near the end. But you may notice that when Yue decides that she is going to give her life to the moon spirit, the, "I have to do this" was rather monotonous.

The chapter is brought to an end with Aang, Katara, Sokka, Appa and Momo looking into the sky beyond the walls of the Northern Water Tribe, the moon clearly visible as a sign that Yue is still with them. When heroes gaze upon a vast expanse, it is indicative of an oncoming adventure...

Book One is closed, but not before an intriguing teaser is displayed in which Fire Lord Ozai appears to be briefing his daughter on an important mission, shrouded in mystery. Of course, with hindsight, we know that the mission was to capture Prince Zuko and bring him back to the Fire Nation where he can be locked up but nevertheless, the scene posed a lot of questions back then.

I hope you agree with my on this matter, Chapter Twenty of the First Book was a huge success in terms of generating a climactic event to excite, amaze and astound the viewer to the extent that they are completely immersed into the Avatar universe, worthy of an A+.




[Loaded. Please don't leave notes at the end of your reviews arguing why your review should be accepted. We are capable of making our own judgments on the merit of your submission alone. ~ Acastus]




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« Reply #45 on: Jan 16, 2007 06:45 pm »

Episode 213: The Drill   

Grade: A+

I would have to say that throughout all of the episodes so far, this one has to be my favorite and the best.  It basically goes to show how people hear one thing, think another, then realize that what they heard was a flat-out lie.  I just can't believe the amount of action in it.  The music seemed to fit perfectly with each step the characters took.  I just want to point out my favorite part, which is when Aang is ready to deliver the final blow and started running up the outer wall.  Everything seemed to tie together and when he got off of his air scooter and turned to run down the wall, that did it for me.  It was like an explosion.  This episode was truly amazing to me and inspiring...in some odd, funny way.  ^_^

 Grin
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« Reply #46 on: Jan 17, 2007 09:57 am »

Episode: 218 "The Earth King"
Grade: A

   This episode sets us up for a series of twists and turns.  There are a lot of events that occur that really connect to the past and to the future.  Aang and the others finally get to see the Earth King.  They ask him for help but Long Feng knowing the truth tries to disprove them at every turn, which portrays the type of man that he is even more.  Using the bite that Appa gave Long Feng to prove that the he was trying to cover up the war from the Earth King.
   
   The Earth King reluctantly agrees to hear what they have to say.  They take the Earth King to Lake Laogai, but the Dai Li have already been there one step ahead of them and destroyed the underground facility.  The Earth King agrees to go to the outer wall to see what the drill that has the fire nation insignia on it to prove that fire nation attacked.  Long Feng tries to disprove it by saying that you "can't trust domestic machinery" and the Earth King has Long Feng arrested.  However the Dai Li are still loyal to the Long Feng.  This provides an awesome series of events that portrays much more than words can ever describe about the Earth King's isolation from world events and how the Dai Li work to keep things hidden and that they would do anything to keep themselves in charge.
   One of the other major highlights is Zuko's two dreams that he has while he is sick.  Iroh is there taking care of him to get well.  The interpretation of these dreams has provided a lot of speculation and has not yet been fully resolved.  The first is of "Fire Lord Zuko" and there is a red and a blue dragon each giving conflicting positions on what Zuko should do.  The second is of Zuko waking up and going looking into the mirror and having Aang's features on his face.  I really like this method of demonstration how much conflict Zuko is having with himself. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Episode: 104 "The Warriors of Kyoshi"
Grade: A

   I really like how this episode moves the story along.  Zuko in obvious pursuit of Aang is having trouble following Aang's "pit stops" as he makes his way to the North Pole.  After going penguin sledding in a previous episode, it should be no surprise that Aang wants to ride elephant koi. 

   Aang, Katara, and Sokka are ambushed by Suki and the other Kyoshi warriors thinking that they were fire nation spies.  Aang proves that he is the Avatar by air bending.  There is a positive reaction.  Next, we have one of the classic funny scenes with the foaming mouth guy, who is among the excited in the crowd to hear that the Avatar is alive and here on Kyoshi Island.

   Sokka is mad that he got beat by a "bunch of girls" and tries to show off, but Sokka gets knocked off his pedestal by Suki, one of the Kyoshi Warriors.  Later in the episode Sokka humbly asks Suki to teach him and this provides a pivotal changing point in Sokka's character.  Again, character development continues with many characters through the show that is really a plus especially to have one so early on is great. 

   Aang gets some attention from the girls of Kyoshi Island.  Aang and Katara have a difference of views of the situation.  This is one of those true to life incidents that makes not only this episode, but the entire show so good and perfectly fits into the story line. 

   Zuko is accompanied with other fire nation soldier riding war rhinos and they attack the town.  The Kyoshi Warriors, and Sokka, attack the fire nation.  Zuko and Aang fight, but Aang is upset of the destruction that was a result of the fight.  Aang leaves so that Zuko will not destroy the town further.  On the way out Aang rides the unagi this time to put out the fire that was burning on Kyoshi Island.  The episode ends with Katara hugs Aang to show that she is glad that he is alive, together, and that thre are no hard feelings.   


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« Reply #47 on: Jan 17, 2007 06:27 pm »

Episode 207: Zuko Alone
Grade: A

Very few action cartoons outside of Japanese anime these days have anything close to a sympathetic antagonist or any interesting villains for that matter. Recent American action cartoons usually never give a reason to care for a villain or antagonist or in worst cases to not even understand why they have even fallen to darkness. Avatar is a grand exception to this rule by giving the highly original and spectacular Zuko Alone.

Zuko Alone completely breaks the mold for an action cartoon by completely focusing on one of the main antagonists in a serious light and not focusing on or even mentioning the main protagonists, even two of my favorite animated action shows, Cowboy Bebop and Full Metal Alchemist, can't even claim to that.

Zuko, when we first saw him, seemed to be the generic villain but soon we saw what he really was, a troubled young man still trying to get love and acceptance from his cold and distant father. Zuko Alone goes deeper than The Storm cared to and we learn much more about what made Zuko the way he is.

While Zuko helping the local Earth Kingdom peasant family was the event happening presently the flashbacks are what make this episode so grand. The present tale wasn't uninteresting at all though because it showed us that Zuko wasn't pure evil, not mugging a couple with a pregnant mother and trying to bond with the local peasant boy that lost his older brother in the war. What I find most spectacular of the present section is that neither Zuko or the Fire Nation himself are the antagonists but a band of corrupt Earth Kingdom soldiers who are extorting supplies from the defenseless Earth Kingdom villagers for "the war effort" which is really just for their own selfish needs. It really gives a realistic look at war because even the most righteous side of a war isn't completely safe from corruption.

Now to the flashbacks which I previously stated are the highlight of the episode. Avatar shows us how much entertainment and information we can get from flashbacks when the majority of recent television show flashbacks are just to fill up space and have no real relevance. Through these flashbacks we learn about Zuko's mother Fire Princess Ursa who at this time was of the very few that actually loved Zuko. Ozai is still seen as a cold and distant figure which could prove detrimental to the story in the long run but so far is permissible. This is also the episode where we learn about the death of Iroh's only son Lu Ten and Iroh's change in character which I hope leads to another episode like this. Iroh gives Zuko through mail an Earth Kingdom knife from an Earth Kingdom General that surrendered. On it is inscribed with the words, "Never Give Up Without a Fight"; Zuko keeps this with him on to the present.

Ozai is still power-crazed wanting to take the throne from his older brother, but their father, Fire Lord Azulon, refuses out of sheer disgust and swears that he will make Ozai feel the same pain Iroh is feeling right now. This leads to the darkest part of the episode and probably the show so far in which Azulon is found murdered the next day, Ursa leaving during the night telling a drowsy Zuko that she'll always love him, and Ozai ascending to the throne.

There is one major flaw to the flashbacks though that keeps the episode from getting an A+, Azula even as a child is shown to be a sadistic hell-spawn to the point when she shows utter glee over the death of Azulon and the disappearance of Ursa and revels in mentally torturing Zuko endlessly. That's just unrealistic and to me makes me think Azula is what Zuko is not, the clichéd "evil for the sake of evil" villain. People aren't born evil and children don't have a developed concept of good and evil, Young Azula clearly understands what she's doing and has an un-realistic enjoyment of it. That's the main reason I don't like Azula as a character, she's too evil to the point where I think it's becoming absurd. At least villains like Batman's The Joker have complete insanity for an excuse.

The ending of the present events ends in a more realistic and melancholy note, when Zuko reveals his true identity, the peasants force him out of the village, even though he saved the village from the corrupt soldiers. This really shows how a century of hatred and prejudice can override even the most righteous of deeds. Zuko Alone is truly one of the greatest hallmarks of the series and animated action in general.


[Loaded, deleted first paragraph to shorten a bit and edited second paragraph ~ Acastus]
« Last Edit: Feb 03, 2007 02:39 pm by Acastus » Logged

Ali Khan
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« Reply #48 on: Jan 18, 2007 12:33 pm »

Acastus, what do you mean when you write 'loaded' at the end of someone's review?
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Acastus
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Victim of the gelatinous cube.


« Reply #49 on: Jan 18, 2007 01:08 pm »

^ I mean the review has been accepted and it has been loaded on to the mainsite.
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