Hello everybody!!! >V<
Before I move forward onto this review, I want to say that, this review will be the last until the 29th (December), as I’ll be celebrating Christmas with the family, and I trust you all will to -- make sense to leave these by the side for a bit.
So, yeah, I went to the; ‘splitting this review from one long review to two’, which makes more sense, and means people can read it, without feeling they’ve just finished an entire book! So here’s part two of…
“Winter Solstice, Part 2: Avatar Roku”
ReviewContinuing from the last episode, we find ourself still at the village from last episode. With Aang struggling in getting Appa to come with, as he explains, Katara and Sokka aren’t coming with -- oh yes they are!!! Sokka and Katara tell Aang that their coming too, and there’s nothing he can do to make them change their mind, ah friends, how lovely, and Appa agrees, especially after licking Sokka off his feet.
As the Gang fly off to the crescent island, Zuko comes into town, with a still half naked Iroh, I mean seriously, didn’t he hear Zuko; “put on some cloths!!!” -- Zuko demands to know where the Avatar is, as he suspects, and rightly so, that he (Aang) was there.
Cutting to a nice calming blue sky and sea back-drop, with the sun rising, what get, of course and awesome set-up to an action sequence! ^_^ We then get a scene where Iroh pleads Zuko to turn back, as they’re entering Fire Nation waters, since Zuko is banished from these lands! Zukos desperation starts to really come through here, saying his fathers will understand why he broke that banishment, rule…? -- I really got a sense that he, being Zuko is telling himself that, which some great voice work on the part of Dante Basco. Also, Mako Iwamatsu does a great job in not just sounds like a cautious parent, he also is a pretty good second voice, almost like external monologue of with Zuko’s saying/questioning to himself. Kudos to both Basco and Mako, and the director for this small touch! Catching a glimpse of the sky bison, Appa, Zuko orders for “full steam ahead”, and the chase is on! The Gang notice the iron (or at least I think it’s Iron) ship approaching fast, and then, a catapult -- wait WHAT! I never saw that coming! Firing the Fire Ball (copyright Katara), Aang use basic maneuvers to escape the trajectory of the approaching ball of fire. Both the Gang and Zuko and friends are then met by DUN DUN DAAAAUUURGH!!! A blockade! Iroh still urges for the prince to turn back -- back to the Gang, they devise that they need to bail north, then they can get around - but they isn’t no time, so they go for plan b, what the hell, let’s run through this blockade -- Iroh still trying to plead with Zuko, but he keeps going, in a heart-felt moment where he apologises to his Uncle. This small section, really showed me their relationship as Uncle and Nephew, it was much more than that! We the cut to the blockade were Zhao catches sight of the Avatar, and Zuko. He orders his men to fire, but in something am glad they showed was the soldiers slight questioning of Zhaos order as another Fire Nation ship was in range of their attack on the Gang, it really places it that not all of the Fire Nation are like Zhao - I liked it! >V< Zhao order to fire, which the ships do, and we get this awesome shot of all the fireballs in the air at once, flying overhead of Zuko in an instance of: HOLY SHIT!!! Back to Appa, with some more basic maneuvers around the mass of fireballs, explosions, *KABOOM*! This is simply a great action sequence with some pretty strong animation following from last episode. In return to the Gangs engagement with the fire-storm (Copyright to me >V<), Zuko and friends now feel some of the blunt of that storm, hitting the ships engines. Zhao fire another volley as the Gang retreat to the clouds, hoping they’ll give them some sight-cover! But it doesn’t stop the fireballs from doing damage as Sokka is flung from the Appa’s saddle and fall, but luckily for him Aang and Appa save him last second, only then to come face-to-face with Zhaos fleet! And in a feet of awesomeness, Aang blow up a single fireball, which was on a direct course toward them -- good job Aang, except, make sure you take note of gravity next time, ok! =_= They run the blockade, along with Zuko - but why let him pass we ask, only Zhao knows at the moment! >V<
Wooooah with *YAWN*, I need a coffee…leaves chair...
SLURP* Aaah...where were we…?
After the craziness that was the last sequence, the Gang reach their destination, the crescent island. Once landed Appa get some well need, kudos from the group, well Aang and Katara, Sokka ego goes awol for a second -- “Well, I was, talking to Momo!”
They Gang walk to this Paragon looking building, look sharp and in some ways dangerous, this is Rokus Temple, the crew wander in, only to be confronted by the Fire Sages, people who once loyal to the Avatar, both past and present. But aren’t, as they attack the Gang, Aang uses his swishing airbedning moves, and knock the Sages off their feet. As the Gang run, they run into one loyal Fire Sage - and helps them to safety and later Aang to Rokus room, through a secret passageway. This episode seems to be placing an emphasis in the point of not all Fire Nation are the same, they’re all people! I like the show give us some elements of that here, I hope they revisit it!? ^_^
Back to Zuko and Friends, he discovers from Iroh that Zhao want to follow him to the Avatar. Zuko decided he’ll lead Zhao on a wild Goose chase, with his smoke, letting Zhao follow suit (no pun intended).
Cutting to a silhouette of the temple, beautiful >V<, we get some backstory on the secret passages who Roku made. The Fire Sage then explains that the other Fire Sages were waiting for him (the next Avatar), but didn’t come. This lead them to siding with the Fire Lord and the Nation -- wow, what arseholes (assholes)!!! The part from this I really liked was how the writer took from a previous episode (The Southern Air Temple) and implemented that here, showing that each event was connected - giving life to the world and what happens in it!
After some more talking, they reach the room where Aang is suppose to meet Roku, but the door a locked -- couldn’t you just knock or borrow the key? But it’s soon explained that only a fully realized Avatar or a five other Firebenders, fire bend at the same time, this gives Sokka some ideas.
Back to Zuko, he decides to use the smoke as a cover to go and track the Avatar down, good plan. But Zhao notices, or at least I think he does!?
In a very interesting scene, the Gang attempt to blast the door open with their own type of firebending - it doesn’t work! But with fit of genius, Katara states, “it looked like it”! And since little Momo can get in, he, she? -- Makes it look like Aangs in there, they open door and *BOOM*! Caught by Zuko… Aang is unable to complete the plan, and in a last attempt, Aang knocks Zuko down the stairs, run to the door and get’s in!!! Look’s like some failed -- Sages am looking at you! o_o This episode is full of action and some nice fluidity in the animation, it looks like the show has it’s mojo! >V<
After the glowing light of success - the fire sages try to get into the room, with help from Zuko, but it doesn't work - the sunsets some more and the light finally reaches the statue, and then we get to meet, Roku! Voiced by the awesome voice of James Garrett, another highly talented voice actor! ^_^ In great respect to his previous self, Aang give a small bow, I really like this entire scene, it was clever, action packed and it had the knowledge to let the struggle be the drama.
Finally, Zhao comes to the party with some soldiers and gives a small round of applause to the Fire Sages explanation of why he did what he did (turning against the other Sages). Zhao give a little talk on traitors or something and basks in his own intelligence, as he’s just gonna wait for the Avatar to stroll on out!
Back to the meeting of Aang and Roku, we get some exposition of the comet vision. This comet was used by the Fire Nation to start the war, becoming incredibly powerful, and now, another is on it’s way after a 100 years…? Wow these comet have better time schedules than Ryanair -- Also, how does it work on the comet making the firebenders even more powerful? Is it the comet burning in atmosphere that creates this strength - if that’s the case, it’s an interesting idea! 0_o Anyway’s, Fire Lord Ozai will use the power of the comet to win the war -- btw that fire silhouette scenes just simply EPIC!!! It’s then revealed that Aang must defeat the Fire Lord, and learn all the elements before summers end, or the Fire Nation will rule all…! No pressure then… O_O
We cut to the Fire Nation soldiers readying themselves for the Avatar, with a very ominous score of a Tibetan chant. Zhao talks some more, by telling them to use all their might against the Avatar!
Cutting back to Aang and Roku, Aang understandably freak out about the notion of his new added weight of responsibility! Roku gives some comfort by stating that he knows “he can do it as he’s done it before”. I nice loose call back to the other Avatars >V< And then the best scene and surprise EVER, happens!The door opens and the firebenders unleash their fire, and defended by… ROKU!!! HOLY CRAAAP!!! 0.0 WHAT! This was a true awesome moment -- just crazy, seeing Roku standing there, and the reactions just sell it as a OMG moment, especially Zhaos! Roku blasts the fire back the firebenders, freeing Zuko, the Fire Sage and Sokka and Katara, before moving on to destroying the temple, with Aang and the Gang still inside, wasn’t protecting Aang...whatever! He just kicked soo much ass, that they bruises will last for years! As the awesome Roku lava bends...and destroys the temple, the suns rays leaves his eyes, and he leaves, and drops the mic! Aangs back to his normal self and they escape their doom on Appa’s back, good ol’ Appa! ^_^ Zhao talks some more, but in moans, moaning about his loss, and takes it out on the Fire Sages, what a swell guy…? Zuko escapes to, seeing the Avatar flee. And then, in a very powerful scene, we get Sokka and Katara comforting Aang after the news of this comet, but not up-close, but at a distance, no words, no nothing. Because no words could ease this massive weight of responsibility, especially on a 12 year old kid no less. And this distance makes us feel the distance of us understanding what Aang is feeling at this point, and even though his friends are there by his side, it still isn't enough.
Am going to give this episode a 5 out of 5 Stars, this was a great action packed, thrill ride, with some points of drama scattered here and there, and that I enjoyed immensely. It had everything that I enjoy about cartoon, and rolled it up into one great ball of fun.My only gripe though is, what connection does this have to part 1? I suppose you could say it was a continuation of last episode!
I hope you enjoyed the review, and please, leave me a comment of you experience when YOU first watched this episode! >V<
Thanks again & Happy Holidays ^_^
As I mentioned last review, and above, this is the last review until the 29th of December, then I’ll let New Year pass before continuing with the next set of episodes of this season.