Avatar: The Last Airbender
The sequence opens by showcasing the four elemental bending styles: waterbending, earthbending, firebending and airbending. The waterbending is performed by Pakku, the earthbending by Sud, the firebending by Azula and the airbending by an Air Nomad. The sequence then cuts to the map of the Avatar World. After that, Katara explains the beginnings of the Hundred Year War launched by the Fire Nation. Following this, Avatar Roku can be seen bending all four elements and disappearing in a gust of air when Katara states that the Avatar disappeared. Next, Katara and Sokka are displayed, then Aang, showing scenes from the first episode. The title card is shown immediately thereafter. The Chinese characters that appear at the top of the show's title card mean "the divine medium who has descended upon the mortal world."
Katara narrates the opening sequence. In the first episode, she states:
"Water. Earth. Fire. Air. My grandmother used to tell me stories about the old days, a time of peace when the Avatar kept balance between the Water Tribes, Earth Kingdom, Fire Nation, and Air Nomads. But that all changed when the Fire Nation attacked. Only the Avatar mastered all four elements. Only he could stop the ruthless firebenders. But when the world needed him most, he vanished. A hundred years have passed and the Fire Nation is nearing victory in the War. Two years ago, my father and the men of my tribe journeyed to the Earth Kingdom to help fight against the Fire Nation, leaving me and my brother to look after our tribe. Some people believe that the Avatar was never reborn into the Air Nomads, and that the cycle is broken. But I haven't lost hope. I still believe that somehow, the Avatar will return to save the world."
In subsequent episodes, she says:
"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 my brother and I 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 I believe Aang can save the world."
In the unaired pilot episode, she says:
"Water. Earth. Fire. Air. My grandmother used to tell me stories about the old days, how the four nations once lived in harmony. How everything changed once the Fire Nation attacked. Only the Avatar mastered all four elements. Only he could stop the ruthless firebenders. But when the world needed him most, he disappeared. Nobody had seen him for a hundred years, until my brother and I found him, an airbender named Aang. The problem is, this Avatar is still a kid, and even though his airbending skills are great, he has a lot to learn before he's ready to save anyone. The Fire Nation will do anything to capture Aang before he masters all four elements, so I must keep him safe until he's ready to fulfill his destiny. My brother thinks I'm crazy, but I believe Aang can save the world."
"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 my brother Sokka and I discovered the new Avatar, an airbender named Aang. Although his airbending skills were great, he had a lot to learn before he was ready to save anyone. But from the first day I met him, I believed Aang would save the world. And you know what? I was right. With the help of his friends, Aang defeated Fire Lord Ozai and ended the Hundred Year War. Zuko, Ozai's son and our ally, became the new Fire Lord. Together with Earth King Kuei, Aang and Zuko promised to return the Nations to harmony."
- Main article: Writing in the World of Avatar
The Legend of Korra
The show opens by showcasing the four most recent Avatars bending their native element: earthbending by Kyoshi, firebending by Roku, airbending by Aang, and waterbending by Korra. The bending shown by these characters is different than what has been seen before. Behind each bender is calligraphy similar to that seen in the original series' background. Then it shows a picture of Team Avatar, followed by a map of the Avatar World. After that, Tenzin explains the transformation of the Fire Nation colonies into the United Republic of Nations, before the picture zooms in on the capital: Republic City. A statue of Aang is then seen on an island in the bay, and it is explained how the Avatar accomplished many remarkable things in his life, his eventual death, and the Avatar Cycle's continuity. As of the second episode, the opening sequence is much shorter: the display of bending is abridged to show only a few seconds of each element and it skips over the origin of Republic City to show the statue of Aang, but now Korra is standing beside in a similar pose.
Tenzin narrates the opening sequence. In the first episode, he states:
"Earth. Fire. Air. Water. When I was a boy, my father, Avatar Aang, told me the story of how he and his friends heroically ended the Hundred Year War. Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko transformed the Fire Nation colonies into the United Republic of Nations, a society where benders and nonbenders from all over the world could live and thrive together in peace and harmony. They named the capital of this great land Republic City. Avatar Aang accomplished many remarkable things in his life, but sadly, his time in this world came to an end. And like the cycle of the seasons, the cycle of the Avatar began anew."
In subsequent episodes, he says:
"Earth. Fire. Air. Water. Only the Avatar can master all four elements and bring balance to the world."
In most episodes, Shiro Shinobi narrates events of previous episodes, similar to Roku's "Previously on Avatar" sequence. The sequence is shown with an effect similar to newsreels in the 1920s.
- In the opening of both series, the airbenders are the only ones who begin their respective bending sequence without having both feet on the ground.
- In each opening, the fourth bender is the nation that series' Avatar is a native of.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
- While Katara says the words "everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked," a line of firebenders is shown as they are seen in the series. However, the war began one hundred years prior when the Fire Nation's armor supposedly had large shoulder spikes and a faceless helmet, according to Arnook.
- When Azula demonstrates firebending, she uses normal colored fire rather than her trademark blue fire.
- The Air Nomad who demonstrates airbending is the only bender in the opening sequence whose identity was not revealed.
The Legend of Korra
- Kyoshi is shown bending an element for the first time without using her fans.
- Aang is wearing different clothes than the ones he wears in the actual series. These clothes are also used for his design in the "Who is Amon?" photo album on Nick.com.
- Korra uses a waterbending move similar to the one she used during the semifinal match against the Bau Ling Buzzard Wasps.
- In the extended opening sequence, there is a picture showing the original Team Avatar: Aang is in his original Books One and Two design, Katara is in her original Book One design, Toph is in her original Book Two design, Suki is in her Kyoshi Warriors makeup, Sokka is in his original Book One design but also has his space sword from Book Three, and Zuko is in his Book Three design.
- ↑ Avatar: The Last Airbender — The Art of the Animated Series, page 72.
- ↑ DiMartino, Michael Dante; Konietzko, Bryan; Yang, Gene (w), Sasaki of Gurihiru (p, i), Kawano of Gurihiru (col), Heisler, Michael; Comicraft (let). The Promise Part 1 (January 25, 2012), Dark Horse Comics
- ↑ Pencil test of the opening credits for Legend of Korra, showing 3 distinct bending styles of movement.. KorraNation (March 8, 2012). Retrieved on March 8, 2012.
- ↑ Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (December 2, 2005). "The Siege of the North, Part 1". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 19. Nickelodeon.
- ↑ Legend of Korra: "Who is Amon?" Photo Album. Nickelodeon. Retrieved on July 2, 2012.
- ↑ DiMartino, Michael Dante, Konietzko, Bryan (writers) & Dos Santos, Joaquim, Ryu, Ki Hyun (directors). (May 5, 2012). "The Spirit of Competition". The Legend of Korra. Season 1. Episode 5. Nickelodeon.