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Hello everybody >V<, and welcome back to Lem0n Reviews - yeah, it took me ages to come up with that title. Anyways, I would like to thank everyone who read through my last blog/review post of “The Boy in the Iceberg”. All the comments helped me loads in writing this review, and with that said, here’s Review 2, Episode 2, of Season 1 of Avatar: The Last Airbender…¬_¬
“The Avatar Returns”
ReviewLike in the first episode, we’re met with the intro, but this time, with a difference. Aang is included, with him laughing as he crashes into a statue >V<. Which, did make me chuckle - you know, there have been many likable characters within animation, but with this small act of Aang slamming his face right into a stone statue, just cements (no pun intended ha >O<) that likability even more. One question though; does the intro change in each season, because, that would be pretty cool, if it did?
Anyways, once the famed white title has done it’s job, we get to the continuation of “The Boy in the Iceberg”, (because, that’s really what this episode was) with the returning Aang and Katara, walking back from the firework display in background from last episode. In fear of this firework, as it’s likely to have been spotted by a random Fire Nation ship, which just happened to be strolling through the South Pole, captained by Zuko and friends =_=, understandably ask Aang to leave. But ‘hell has no fury like a Katara’s anger’, who yells at Gran-Gran that she’s going to! And then a strangely adult thing happened, Aang turns Katara away and tells her to stay with her family and tribe, and he respectfully leaves. I got to admit, I didn’t expect that, I suppose, well it just caught me by surprise. It a really mature decision he’s made, which kinda shows that he does have an element of wisdom. >V< Aang says his goodbyes to a little girl, which was properly more intended for Katara, and then the terrifying thought enters his head, the state of his bedroom after 100 years away…!? Maybe, you should worry about other things, er, maybe like, I don’t know, THE WAR!!!? 0.0 Yeah, I know, he’s a kid...o_o
We then cut to Zuko, preparing himself for inevitable ass whipping, as he’s likely to face a fully realized Avatar (thank you Avatar Wiki =_=) after all, it’s not like the Avatar’s a...kid...oh wait, he is! Joking aside, I really did think showing both Zuko and Sokka readying it up for war, was a pretty powerful one. It kinda shows that, yes, this war going on, and it has for a hundred years, due to them both knowing how to prepare, especially at their ages. I also saw that the animation was much smoother and, the contrast was turned down a notch, it seemed like maybe this “episode”, was under a different animation studio, or at least a different Art Director. Or simply, the studio was finding it’s mojo, and began playing around with different elements to still give a respectful representation of Anime, and al by finding their own style as well.
After the necessary preparations are made, hehe, I’ve always wanted to type that >V<, we then catch-up with Aang, who’s sitting with comfortably with Appa, looking down at the village, what’s that, a ship, DUN DUN DAARR! --I know I’ve used that before, ¬_¬. In realizing the ship is on direct course for the village, Aang rushes back to save the day, and just in time it seems too.
Meanwhile, a massive metal ship has began shaking the Pole by cracking it’s way through the Ice to the village. Now, I’m just going halt there for a sec, and say, I honestly didn’t like this strange, quirky Sokka guy that much, but with this scene of him standing his ground, I mean, I would have could never imagine myself doing, ‘anything’ like that. And not just that, he protects his fellow villagers by fighting Zuko, in a failed but heartfelt attempt, but still try's! But you’re not beating the bad-ass that is Zuko. Seriously Zuko enter this scene awesomely, just swaggering down the ramp like, “s’up”.
But then *BANG*, Aang enters the scene with his own bad...penguin!? ¬_¬ ...and trips the angered Zuko, who now has a helmet on his butt! Before the final announcement; Aang is the AVATAR --WHAAAAT!!!???... DUN DUN, duur...yeah I’ll stop that. And, YES! Bending action, Aang and Zuko have their little Bending battle, before Aangs says “No”! And hands himself over to Prince Sinister in order to keep the Southern Water Tribe safe. What a good Avatar. >V< BUT I WANTED MY BENDING BATTLE...but wait there’s more!
As Aang leaves with Zuko, the village try to repair the village as best they can, but seem a bit defeated after seeing the Avatar saving them by handing himself over to the Fire Natio Prince. Now I loved this short clip, it really plucked my emotional strings, just seeing them, mentally beating themselves up for leading to the Avatars capture. I mean, what a short but strong little element injection. It’s at this point, I realized something, where’s Appa? My question is heard after Sokka and sister Katara go to save the Aang, after their question answered.
We then jump back to Zuko and friends, and Avatar, who mentions something that was strong in both regards, the line; “this staff will make a fine gift for my father, but you wouldn't know of fathers, being raised by Monks”. I know why, this was got to me a bit as I realize, where their families, what are they doing, and also having some acknowledgment of the Airbenders being dead, make very powerful - once that’s said, Aang is taken below and starts antagonizing the soldiers who are escorting him to the...brig maybe O.o? Before then, *BOOM* (I know, many bangs and booms, honestly, it’s fun to type, you should try it sometime! >V<), Aang blow an airbending blast, of sorts, propelling him backwards and the other guard forward. This is where the animation, cinematography and environmental design all come together, I mean these cuts of the interior of the ship, just amaazing! I don’t know why this was in there, but this scene just got me laughing out loud, it’s when Aang opens the door to a sleeping Uncle, and whispers “sorry”, HAHAHA, great visual comedy. I suppose the scene was used to lighten the mood, especially after that previous imagery of the ship.
Aang finally finds his staff, but only to find the bad-ass Zuko! Waiting for him behind the opened door, you know I wounder, how long was he waiting there? Just a question...anyways, after a very imaginative fight choreography, Aang finally gains the upper hand by slamming Zuko to the left, then to the ceiling. But Aangs escape is forded after Zuko grabs his ankle, dragging him down to the ship. This already great fight, turns awesome once Appa comes in ,with Katara and Sokka, for the distraction. And Aang is sho’ed off the ship by Zuko. But then (again, here’s another) *BANG* Avatar State, WOOO, now Aang is a bad-ass, flowing the water, and throwing everyone on the deck to the sea. YEY!!! >V< I’m feel so much younger now. >V< Once Katara freezes both her brother and ‘then’ the Fire Nation soldiers, Aang recuperates, and Sokka repays Zuko with head bumping of his own, but with full staff (Aangs glider).
Now this section was incredibly interesting, as now I see the opposites in Korra and Aang, Korra loves that she’s the Avatar and Aang isn’t. It’s said very simply, not just Katara and Sokka, but to the audience, I kinda would have to agree with him tho, that kinda back breaking responsibility of being the Avatar is just, well, back breaking. It’s a very strong, scene. And it leads Katara giving the most important speech, a journey to the North Pole, learning the elements of Water, Earth and Fire. With our plot and characters set here’s the time end and dream about Elephant-koi! >V<
Overall, I had great fun with this episode, it really made me feel like a kid again, it had; better animation, better art, continuation of great character development, and finally ACTION!!! >V< And now we know where we’re heading and why we’re going there, I would say, I get the feeling that these two episodes where written as one long episode, which makes me think perhaps Nickelodeon split the two up, either due to money restraints or, length, but to tell you the truth, I kinda liked it as two episodes. Maybe a part one and two might have been a better way of going around it? But I don’t know, am not a producer. =_=
All-in-all, I give this another strong, but one extra, 4 out of 5 Stars, a great episode, with an example of the Avatars power, some hints of things to come and with even more character development. Now this is the episode that has me hooked! =_=
Thanks for reading >V<, I hope you enjoyed my this review! =_= If you have any feedback, please leave the in the comments below, and tell me about your first time watching this episode. Thanks again!