Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Believe Care Invest: Avatar: The Last Airbender

Katara narrates a long montage of the history of the Avatar and the war. Sokka and Katara are fishing when icebergs smash their boat. Katara gets mad and her water-bending powers split open an iceberg. A magical boy is frozen inside. They realize he has air-bending powers but don’t realize yet he’s the avatar, capable of all four types of bending. They take him back to their village, where he goes penguin-sledding with Katara and avoids talking about his past. Then the fire nation attacks their village.

Why Aang might be hard to identify with: He’s a little careless: He doesn’t care that his flying bison covered Sokka in snot. He’s kind of a screw-up: He gets his tongue stuck to his flying stick.

  • He has an irrepressible personality. As soon as he wakes up he says to Katara, “I need to ask you something… Please… Come closer… Will you go penguin sledding with me?”
  • He has a complicated series of tattoos that individuate him.
  • He has a bizarre pet.
  • He has secrets that he’s keeping.
  • He’s lost everything.
  • We see brief flashbacks to some traumatic event.
  • He’s got even more superpowers than other characters with superpowers.
  • He’s got a cool glider thing.
Strength / Flaw: Irrepressible / Irresponsible

Why Katara might be hard to identify with: She’s less goofy and more serious than the boys, so she’s the least fun character.

  • She has a bizarre backstory and a unique culture.
  • She’s got an odd signature hairstyle
  • She has beliefs: “I still believe that, somehow the Avatar will return to save the world.”
  • She’s ignored: Her brother won’t look when she’s using her powers and he’s generally boorish toward her.
  • Her mother’s dead and her father’s been gone for two years.
  • Her boat gets smashed.
  • She’s got water bending powers.
Strength / Flaw: Responsible / No fun

Why Sokka might be hard to identify with: He’s sexist: “Leave it to a girl to screw things up.” He’s unadventurous: “I’m just saying that if I had weird powers, I’d keep it to myself.” He’s unsure if they should get involved with Aang.

  • Like Katara, he has a bizarre backstory and a unique culture.
  • Like Katara, he’s got an odd signature hairstyle.
  • A man of appetites: “Mmm… I can already smell it cooking.”
  • Classic ironic humiliation: “Watch and learn, Katara, this is how you catch a fish.” Then she gets one and he doesn’t.
  • “Why is it that every time you play with water, I get soaked?”
  • Like Katara, his mother’s dead and his father gone for two years
  • Every hero has superpowers but him, which understandably gives him a complex.
  • He gets called out on making muscles every time he sees his reflection in the water.
  • His boat gets smashed.
  • He gets covered in snot
  • The “men” he commands in the village are all little boys
  • He has adult responsibilities in the village.
  • He hunts food with a spear
  • He has a special war club
  • When they get attacked, we see he’s a natural leader.
Strength / Flaw: Leadership qualities / Jerky


LMNtrees said...

Are you going to do The Expanse? I think that would be interesting because it took a while for the tv series to catch on, which makes me wonder if there is a structural problem in there somewhere. (Good thing Jeff Bezos liked it!) It could also be interesting to compare the tv series with the book series. Also, I love your annotation project.

Matt Bird said...

Glad to hear it! I've never seen nor read The Expanse, though I hear the books and the show are both great.