How did Avatar construct such realistic characters?

Originally published at: How did Avatar construct such realistic characters? | Boing Boing


" At the very least, it can’t be worse than the last live-action adaptation."

As we say in Ba Sing Se… There was no live action Avatar film.
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I don’t see why they keep trying to do a live-action re-make of this particular series. The animation not only allowed the original’s creators to do everything they wanted without expensive cgi and sfx, not only spared them the costs of hiring actors and extras, but is also charming in and of itself.


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I’ll say one good thing about the live action movie, it pushed me to check out the animated series.


Normally I would agree with you but I enjoyed the live action bebop (wish netflix believed in as much as they first did) so i have some high hopes for this. The casting alone has me excited.


From what I recall the creators originally wanted to do live action and more mature themes some of which are still reflected in the animated version. M night completely ruined the first live action interpretation.

I think the success pf the show was really dependent on the fact that it didn’t speak down to children and they were were able to deal with more complicated issues. Again, I think this is something that the original creators were hoping to do in live action.

One thing I wonder though. The article says the show is more than 20 years old. It originally aired between 05 and 08. Was there a version the predated the Nickelodeon version?


The original pilot came out in 2003. So with production time I can see the math of 20 years old.


At first, I thought you meant that movie with the blue people, and I was thinking, “Realistic characters??? What have you been smoking?!”


This is what most people miss about the show. It was for kids and about kids and, despite the grim story arc, allowed them to just be kids while also exploring how kids would actually react under such duress. Some of my favorite episodes are when they step away from the bigger narrative and explore their relationships or, in the example of the ”Ember Island Players”, how their own legend being retold as it’s happening still elicits fairly childish responses.

Greatest show of all time.


Ugh, they couldn’t even muster realistic dialogue for that turd.

Certainly one of the best of the era, but there have been plenty of great kids shows during the past 20 years.

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I didn’t say kids show. People can keep their prestige meth fantasies and police procedurals. Avatar is the GOAT.


I’m going to attribute the character greatness to the fact that they’re all flawed.

Everyone (including the overpowered characters) have deep vulnerabilities.

Everyone loves Iroh now, but he was at point a monster.

Aang constantly questions whether he can really do what he really does have the power to do.

Except Toph. Toph is perfect, and I think we can all accept that. All Praise the Melon Lord!


I finally watched it through last year on Netflix after bouncing HARD off of it earlier due to it’s grating, condescending sense of humor and ugly “American high school drawing anime” art style.

The show definitely gets off to a rocky start, but develops some interesting character and political complexity around the time the characters arrive at Ba Sing SE. It kind of goes off the rails at the end with some overwrought drama where our protagonist who has been flinging people off cliffs, into walls, and waging literal war, is suddenly deeply conflicted about killing a fascist genocidal dictator.

The show also obviously interesting from a world building perspective to have a high fantasy world with zero white people and no (overt) Western cultural references. Though we have a huge grain of salt that this is the product of two white dudes creating caricatures of Inuit, Japanese, Chinese, and Tibetan cultures, and weirdly mashing them up with the Greek classical elements. (And voicing almost everyone with white folks…)

All in all a deeply flawed show, but an interesting one for its time. It paved the way for better stuff in the same vein, like Voltron and Korra, and arguably paved the way for one of the greatest shows of all time, Steven Universe, so it deserves some credit.

I appreciate how the Avatar comics centered more Asian and Asian-American creatives, and it sounds like Nickelodeon’s new Avatar group is involving Indigenous and Asian creatives from the get-go, which gives me some hope for future franchise entries.

Really? Sure, some of it was juvenile … but grating and condescending?

He’s always been conflicted about conflict. That was what the whole show was about. He never wanted to harm anyone but had to to save himself and his friends. And at the end he knew he could destroy his enemy … having the knowledge he has that power over his enemy of course causes him internal strife: what to do with that?

Hey, cool, you found some (but not all) of the cultural influences! Good for you.

Uh, I don’t understand what you mean with your ‘have a huge grain of salt’?

And ‘caricature’? How do you see that? Homage, influenced by, adapted, stolen from … sure … but caricature? Nah.

Yeah, that’s what creative people do: they take all kinds of elements and make something new.

For one: who cares?

But also: Avatar last airbender voice actors - Google Search

Hot take.

Many would argue Kora was good but not as good as AtlA. And you spelled Bojack Horseman wrong.

That means absolutely nothing; gimme names and portfolios … IDGAF about nationalities or heritage if the people involved are passionate and can bring knowledge and skill and good writing and pacing and editing and directing to the picture.


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