Avatar: The Last Airbender

Genre(s): Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy, Coming of Age

Age-Appropriateness: 12+ (Violence, complex topics)

Platforms: Netflix, Amazon

Episodes: 61

TheAwersome Rating: 10 / 10 (I have not seen a better animated series in any genre)

Premise: Water. Earth. Fire. Air. Long ago, the four nations lived together in harmony. Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked. Only the Avatar, master of all four elements, could stop them, but when the world needed him most, he vanished. A hundred years passed and two youth of the dwindling Water tribe discovered the new Avatar, an airbender named Aang. And although his airbending skills are great, he has a lot to learn before he’s ready to save anyone. But they believe Aang can save the world.

TheAwersome’s Thoughts: I know, not really an anime. I don’t care. Favorite things here we go. Worldbuilding: The amount of thought, research, and attention to detail is incredible. Every nation’s culture, every element’s bending style and philosophy all draw on so much real-world research, being based in various martial arts, etc., that share those same principles. Story: This show truly shines with the stories of the individual characters. There is SO much real, raw, and relatable struggle that every character with a name has; it’s impossible not to see yourself or others you know in these characters. Character development is meaningful and lasting. Morals and Lessons: Probably my favorite thing about this show. Truly weighing consequences of decisions, finding who you are, coming to terms with abusive relationships, mourning the loss of loved ones, redemption, revenge, forgiveness, dealing with other cultures, the price of perfection, etc. etc. So many important topics are handled in down-to-earth ways without detracting from main storylines or feeling obviously preachy. And the humor is downright genius.

TLDR: Phenomenal worldbuilding, character stories and growth, complete with powerful and complex moral decisions. Plus genuine great comedy make this a must-see.

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