ATLA Episode Reviews 104-106
Airspeed Prime back once again with some Avatar The Last Airbender Episode reviews. My aim with these is to get at least 1 post (so 2-4 episodes) out per week.
So lets get straight into the reviews for 104 The Warriors Of Kyoshi, 105 The King Of Omashu and 106 Imprisoned. Very much the tale of 3 newly introduced Characters.
104 The Warriors Of Kyoshi
Written By: Nick Malis
Directed By: Giancarlo Volpe
Animated By: JM animation
First Aired: March 4th 2005
This is really the first non introduction based episode of the show, we have gotten past knowing our main characters and this is the first episode where we see what many of the episodes of this show will be about. Book 1 from this point on is interesting in that there is very little plot at all in the episodes, but loads of character development, this episode for example was referenced why they are where they are (Aang with the map in 102), it is also important to not that this episode takes place before 108 where they learn about the comet, so them being in no rush makes sense at this point as they have all the time in the world.
The episode itself is as I mentioned above a very character focused episode, Sokka really the focus with Aang learning something too. It may appear that this episode bashes you over the head with the theme of sexism, a theme that many shows struggle to do well at all. ATLA deals with this in episode 4 and does so amazingly well, the reason is that we know from episode 1 that Sokka is sexist, not on purpose where you hate him for it, he has no idea he is being offensive. Also because he is clearly wrong about most things he says about girls, he claims they cannot be warriors when he himself is not a good warrior. Another thing that helps this episode is the way Suki and the other Kyoshi Warriors react to Sokka’s sexism, they do not ever call him out, but instead show him he is wrong by showing off their own skills, in turn showing Sokka how inadequate his own skills are. The a type of scene I will probably mention countless times in these reviews happens, a sincere scene between characters, Sokka very honestly and humbly apologises and the big thing asks to be trained by girls, which is a big thing to show that he is aware of how wrong he was. Then Suki does not bash him over the head about how wrong he was, but agrees to train him as long as he abides by all their traditions. Other great moments in this side of the story are that Sokka is called a girl by Oyajii near the end of the episode as he is in Kyoshi warrior gear and instead of taking offence he just accepts Â it and goes to help in the fight.
Suki herself is interesting as a character and also as she is the first minor character introduced that we will see come back, the first of so many minor characters that Avatar introduces and develops so well. As a character she is also well done for the reasons mentioned above, but for me the standout moment that in a way defines her character is her quote at the end as she kisses Sokka on the cheek
“I am a warrior, but I am a girl too”
Showing the opposite side of what this episode has done, not only Sokka realising that girls can be warriors too, but that Suki also does not define herself as just a warrior and is still a girl, a girl who happens to be a warrior. Taking all generalisations out of things for both herself and Sokka. The relationship between herself and Sokka is subtly done, but done none the less, the fact that she accepts his apology, trains him alone and even that the two are competitive with each other when Sokaa finally gets the better of her once in training.
The other sides of the story are b plots in comparison to Sokka and Suki. Aang and Katara argue over the attention Aang is getting from the other girls, showing for the first time that Katara may also like Aang as he likes her. Again it is a sincere and honest scene (as you can see these are going to happen a lot in these reviews) that is the resolution, they both admit they were being silly arguing and apologise. We also see Aang for the first time accept his role as the Avatar on his own, for the wrong reasons at first, but when the island is attacked he really steps up and even when he and his friends are escaping as the island burns, he makes the decision to tame the Unagi and save the town. We start to see the unwilling Avatar accept his role more and more. Even Katara has moments like this, when she saves Aang we just how good of a waterbender Katara will become with training, she does some subtle bending when she takes the water out of Aang’s lungs.
Zuko is not really a focus in this episode, but we do see his sheer intensity and drive to capture Aang, so intense that he destroys a town to get to him, something the real Zuko would never have done. We see how much him wanting to get his honour back from his father has warped him.
Overall a really well done episode, covering a tricky issue with ease and introducing new characters with ease. Great character development for most characters.
Favourite Moment/ Aang wanting to be the Avatar and help Kyoshi Island, so he dives off Appa into the water, tames the unagi and puts out the fire before leaving. Amazing moment
Favourite Line/ “I am a Warrior, but I am Girl too” – Suki
105 The King Of Omashu
Written By: John O’Bryan
Directed By: Anthony Lioi
Animated By: DR Movie
First Aired: March 18th 2005
A very good (and Hilarious) episode that deals with an interesting concept. This episode could have come across as very much filler had it not done a few things. The first of which is having Bumi still be alive, Aang having someone he knows still alive and how that is only revealed at the end, the second thing is what Bumi reveals at the end about Ozai and really setting Aang’s goal for him. So we do actually get some plot in this episode while still continuing on Aang’s quest to do fun things, in this case the Omashu Mail
An odd episode in that Zuko and Iroh do not appear, so the complete focus in on Aang and friends in Omashu. I think that really works here, with the whole mystery of who the king is and the challenges and also it would make sense, Aang got away, Zuko has lost the trail temporarily. So this break from the chase work on multiple levels.
The standout thing from this episode has to be Bumi as a character, he just makes this episode what it is. From the flashbacks to young Bumi to his crazy antics and even his more serious moments near the end, he is a very interesting and fun character. The Mad Genius himself truly does live up to that name, If I had lots of time I would probably end up quoting every single line from him here as they are so well written and funny. But even more than what he does it is just funny to think “How on earth did he become King, who agreed to that? O.o”. Once again for the second (will be third) episode in a row we are introduced to a new character who instantly fits in with our more established characters, by the end you love Bumi just as much as Aang or Katara. What is also interesting in this episode in relation to Bumi is how much his spirit has rubbed off on Aang, why Aang likes to ride things so much and even moments like him dressing up as the old man and calling himself the glorious name that is BONZU PIPPINPADDLE-OPPSOKOPOLIS THE THIRD, and the fact that Bumi in this episode even goes along with this saying the name perfectly and believing Aang is from a made up place called Kangaroo Island even making a wonderfully bad joke about it.
“Oh, Kangaroo Island, eh? I hear that place is really hoppin!”
I will move on before I talk about every single Bumi scene. The challenges are the action side of this episode, and when you find out that it is just Bumi trolling Aang more or less it makes them even more hilarious because he goes as far as to put Sokka and Katara in danger with growing rock candy, lol, but despite the madness Aang actually learns from the challenges, to look at things like a mad genius. All the challenges show the madness of Bumi, getting his lunchbox key which happens to randomly be dangling in the middle of a waterfall above a pit of spikes, sending Aang into an arena with a real rabbit and Flopsy to put Aang off and then the fight. The first challenge really shows us the skills of an Airbender, the agility, flexibility and speed all on show as Aang attempts to get the key and even how he avoids being killed by the spikes. The second challenge is hilarious because it is just an odd name for a huge animal that is the issue. Then the big fight, which is one of the best 1 on 1 bending fights in the whole series, even the build up Aang trying to outsmart Bumi, but Bumi predicting this and outsmarting Aang again. The fight itself is once again a clear show of the different styles of Air and Earthbending, Aang uses speed and agility to avoid the strong, steady and powerful earth attacks of Bumi, we see Aang go on the offensive for one of the first times and it works pretty well, using the tornado as a defence and attack.
The final scene I want to talk about is later on in the episode where Bumi, serious for once, reveals that Aang needs to confront Fire Lord Ozai once he has mastered the 4 elements. It finally gives Aang his goal and the group some more direction. Ending the episode with something the two did 100 years ago was great to see, Aang still the same Age, Bumi 112, yet still the same as 100 years ago loving the Omashu Mail chutes.
Overall one of the funniest episodes of the series with one of the best minor characters of the series introduced. Not going to top any top episode lists, but a endlessly fun episode.
Favourite Moment/ The whole scene where Bumi and his guard discuss the various chambers, absolutely brilliant, Bumi trying to be all king like and just ends up having this crazy conversation about old and newly refurbished chambers.
Favourite Line/”Oh, Kangaroo Island, eh? I hear that place is really hoppin!”
Written By: Matthew Hubbard
Directed By: Dave Filoni
Animated By: JM Animation
First Aired: 25th March 2005
Â Imprisoned, an episode that some of the fandom does not seem to like too much, the reason I often hear is that Katara is annoying in this episode. I completely disagree, Katara quite simply is Katara in this episode. She cares FULL STOP. That is who she is, and part of what makes me like her so much as a character, her passion to help people if she can is her strength, I am not annoyed that she sometimes puts it ahead of the groups aims, I love that she does this as it shows how strong she feels about these things. Katara and Haru are the main characters of this episode, Zuko only makes an appearance at the end so like last episode the focus remains where it needs to, which helps this episode.
Back to Katara, This episode really for the first time shows us what the Fire Nation do in the towns they take over, they completely take advantage of the townsfolk, more or less taking all their money for taxes, they keep down any rebellion by taking any Earthbenders to a metal offshore prison rig. Effectively forcing any earthbenders to not use their own natural abilities. It is both the Fire Nation taking advantage of these people as well as what this does to their bending that angers Katara. We see Katara bond with Haru as the Fire Nation have taken away their parents, Especially powerful is the scene where Haru reveals what his bending is to him, his one way to feel connected to his father, showing that bending is much more than for fighting.
This episode is actually very well written in that the main conflict uses so much of the set up, the old man who Haru saves only tells on him because of how much the Fire Nation take advantage of the town, he does it to help himself. Then Haru is taken to the prison rig. Katara feels responsible for this and is eager to save him. We get an hilarious scene in the middle of a quite tense episode where the group use Airbending and some amazing acting to convince the guards that Katara is an Earthbender and get her sent to the rig also. It is these scenes on the rig with Katara, Haru, and Tyro, Haru’s father that really show who Katara is as a character and what defines her. She cannot comprehend why they are doing nothing to escape, her hope speech (one of many) while often made fun of do do a good job of showing Katara as a character, her powerful speech falls on deaf ears as the Warden has broken much of the earthbenders spirits, they are just doing what they can to survive. Despite this she is eager to help them, the big quote here is this one.
“I’m not leaving. I’m not giving up on these people.”
The warden himself is also a new character, we only see him in this episode, but he is interesting in just how cruel he is, he talks so easily about how he has crushed the earthbenders Spirits, he is so confident of no rebellion that he does nothing to stop Katara’s speech. Throwing the captain overboard for asking a question further shows this.
Then the big escape plan is put into action, cleverly using the same concept as Katara’s fake Earthbending. They get the coal onto the deck of the rig and Katara once again gives an impassioned speech to spark a fightback, Katara has given them the tools they need to fightback it is up to them now. It appears to fail again, and it is ultimately the Wardens overconfidence and lack of respect for the prisoners that is his downfall what he says
“Hahaha! Foolish girl! You thought a few inspirational words and some coal would change these people? Look at these blank, hopeless faces.Â There spirits were broken a long time ago. Oh? But you still believe in them? How sweet. They’re a waste of your energy, little girl. You’ve failed.”
backfires on him, it riles at least Haru up enough to fight back and follow Katara, which in itself is well done in that Haru has been the most infuenced by Katara talking to her before, which soon sparks off everyone, Tyro being the most important as he was the one most unwilling to fight back. He inspirational words have worked, their spirits clearly not broken. They soon overpower the Warden and the other guards with creative uses of coal. Once again a sincere scene between Tyro, Haru and Katara is a highpoint of this episode, They both thank Katara for helping them find their courage again, so much so that they are going to take back their whole town. That is the sort of impact Katara can have on people, again I see a lot of fans complain about Katara in this episode, did they watch this episode is my response.
Overall an amazing character focus episode on Katara, we really see her strength as a character and that she really is the emotional heart of this series.
Favourite Moment/ Tyro holding up The Warden and him saying he cannot swim, Tyro epically letting the coal fall away saying “Don’t worry, I hear cowards float!”
Favourite Line/ “I’m not leaving. I’m not giving up on these people.” – Katara
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