Avatar: The Last Airbender—Book 1: Water

avatar the last airbender season 1 dvd the complete book 1 water
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Great adventure, good characters, nice looking


avatar the last airbender season 1 title card review episode guide

Welcome to the start of an adventure!

The Fire Nation has waged world on the world with no Avatar to defend it.  When Katara and Sokka of the Waterbending tribe find a boy named Aang frozen in an iceberg, they realize they’ve discovered not only the last Airbender, but the Avatar that can save the world form impending doom.  Now Aang must learn how to master the elements before it is too late, but the Fire Nation and Prince Zuko hope to stop Aang and his friends before they can do it.

Avatar:  The Last Airbender—Book 1:  Water aired on Nickelodeon from February 21, 2005 to December 2, 2005.  The series received positive reviews and quickly gained a cult audience.

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Aang’s the daddy-mac

I was too old for Avatar:  The Last Airbender, but as a fan of fantasy and animation, I knew a lot of people who were into it.  I decided to give it a shot a pick up the series collection…and it is a series that has a lot of universal appeal.

I would have loved, loved, loved Avatar as a kid because not only is there a decent continuing story (something that was rather rare in cartoons when I was young), but the action and individual episodes stand-up better than a lot of other series.  The story shows a real progression for the characters who start out rather uninformed and set in their ways when the story begins.  As the characters grow and expand their minds, they open themselves up to new ideas and concepts…and as a result become better more rounded people.  It is a solid telling, but it doesn’t just feel like “lesson of the week” type preaching that some other TV series do.

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Who’s good? Who’s bad?

The characters also are rather fun and not one-dimensional.  It would be easy to have each character be their stereotype.  Aang could have been a happy guy who loves life and doesn’t find himself suffering between self-doubt and over-confidence.  Katara could have just been the Lisa Simpson type who always knows best or her brother only be the “fun guy” who is cocky and arrogant but pure of heart.  Instead each of the characters is multifaceted.  The prime example would be Prince Zuko who is beginning to waver between his people and doing what is right.

The concept set-up by the series is that each season is a season of learning as Aang grows.  The season demonstrates that others are learning from Aang as he expands his knowledge.  While Aang already “knows” airbending, this season primarily focuses on learning his waterbending skills.  This feels primarily out of convenience due to his friendship with Katara, and it will be interesting to see how Aang goes about learning earthbending and firebending since he hasn’t established close ties to anyone in either element…this of course is compounded by the coming of an asteroid that will be a world-killer if Aang cannot prevent it from striking.

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Now I’m afraid of platypus bears…

The series also looks quite good.  Until it had been on a while, I just assumed it was an adaptation of a manga due to its style.  The fact that it isn’t an adaptation and it is an original story creates an interesting, open pallet for how the characters can look and move.  It seems like it generally has to be one or another…manga or American style animation and it is interesting to see a true blend (something that probably will happen more and more as manga becomes less fringe and more mainstream).

Avatar:  The Last Airbender is impressive thus far.  It is nice to have a non-toy, non-adaptation original story that has depth and dimension.  The fact that the series had such a solid first season always is a challenge because it can either have the sophomore slump (the common result) or it can soar…we’ll see if Aang sores in Avatar:  The Last Airbender—Book 2:  Earth.

Avatar:  The Last Airbender—Book 1:  Water Complete Episode Guide:

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“The Boy in the Iceberg”

1.1       The Boy in the Iceberg Airdate:  02/21/05

For one hundred years, the Fire Nation has waged war on the world.  When Katara and her brother Sokka discover a boy named Aang and his flying bison Appa frozen in the ice.  Katara and Sokka find that Aang is the last Airbender and could be the legendary Avatar.  Unfortunately Aang is the target of Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation who intends to stop the legend from becoming true.  When Aang learns Katara is a Waterbender, Aang vows to find Katara a teacher and learns that he was frozen in the ice longer than he ever believed.

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“The Avatar Returns”

1.2       The Avatar Returns Airdate:  02/21/05

Aang’s revival has led Prince Zuko to the village of Katara and Sokka.  With the villagers in danger, Aang must decide how best to protect them as he faces off against Prince Zuko.

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“The Southern Air Temple”

1.3       The Southern Air Temple Airdate:  02/25/05

Aang travels to his old temple to find his people but discovers that a lot has changed over one hundred years.  Zuko continues to search for the Avatar, but a rival named Zhao decides to set his own quest to find the Avatar.  Aang, Katara, and Sokka make a new friend in a lemur named Momo.

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“The Warriors of Kyoshi”

1.4       The Warriors of Kyoshi Airdate:  03/04/05

Aang goes to Kyoshi Island with Sokka and Katara and finds being an Avatar makes him a celebrity among the population.  Sokka is taught a lesson in sexual discrimination and works to hone his skills.  As Katara encourages Aang to move on to evade the Fire Nation, Aang’s popularity could mean an opening for danger.

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“The King of Omashu”

1.5       The King of Omashu Airdate:  03/18/05

Aang goes to the Earth Kingdom city of Omashu where Aang used to spend time with his old friend Bumi.  Captured by the guards, Aang faces the king of Omashu and is faced with challenges to free Katara and Sokka.

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1.6       Imprisoned Airdate:  03/25/05

A stop in a forest in the Earth Kingdom leads to a meeting with a young Earthbender named Haru.  Katara learns that learning earthbending powers is forbidden due to Fire Nation control, but when Haru is forced to reveal his abilities, Katara, Aang, and Sokka find themselves on a dangerous rescue mission.

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“Winter Solstice—Part 1: The Spirit World”

1.7       Winter Solstice—Part 1:  The Spirit World Airdate:  04/08/05

Hei Bai is tormenting the people of a small Earth Kingdom village, and Aang could be the only hope in stopping it.  Iroh finds himself captured, and Zuko might have to give up his quest for the Avatar to save him.  When Sokka is kidnapped by Hei Bai, Aang is trapped in the Spirit World…and it could finally be a means for Aang to contact Roku.

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“Winter Solstice— Part 2: Avatar Roku”

1.8       Winter Solstice—Part 2:  Avatar Roku Airdate:  04/15/05

Aang’s vision and encounter with Roku has led Aang, Sokka, and Katara on a dangerous mission inside the Fire Nation.  Zuko returns to the Fire Nation despite his exile and faces off against Fire Lord Zhao to beat him in pursuit of the Avatar.  Travelling to the Fire Temple, Aang learns the meaning of his vision and the danger coming for the world.

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“The Waterbending Scroll”

1.9       The Waterbending Scroll Airdate:  04/29/05

Aang decides he better start learning his waterbending his skills with the danger facing the world and Katara agrees to help him.  When Aang demonstrates a strong ability in waterbending, Katara is jealous and the theft of an ancient waterbending scroll has pirates and the Fire Nation right on Aang, Katara, and Sokka’s tails.

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1.10     Jet Airdate:  05/06/05

Sokka tries to take a bigger leadership role, but leads himself, Aang, and Katara right into a Fire Nation camp.  Saved by rebels led by Jet, Sokka finds himself questioning Jet’s motives as Jet plans a big offensive to protect the forest.

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“The Great Divide”

1.11     The Great Divide Airdate:  05/20/05

A trip through the canyon known as the Great Divide has Aang, Katara, and Sokka trying to manage two bickering tribes of refugees.  While the Zhang and Gan-Jin continue their fight, Aang might have to find a way to get them to work together before the creatures of the Great Divide devour them.

avatar the last airbender season 1 episode 12 the storm aang

“The Storm”

1.12     The Storm Airdate:  06/03/05

A critical fisherman has Aang questioning his past and when he was told about being the Avatar.  The secret of Zuko’s scar is revealed as he crew questions Zuko’s commitment to them…and a great storm could test both Zuko and Aang’s fortitude.

avatar the last airbender season 1 episode 13 the blue spirit aang prisoner

“The Blue Spirit”

1.13     The Blue Spirit Airdate:  06/17/05

When Sokka and Katara fall ill due to the storm, Aang sets off to find a cure for them, but ends up a prisoner of Zhao’s soldiers…and his only hope could be an unlikely hero.

avatar the last airbender season 1 episode 14 the fortuneteller

“The Fortuneteller”

1.14     The Fortuneteller Airdate:  09/23/05

Katara, Aang, and Sokka find a village that bases all of their actions around a fortuneteller.  While Aang and Katara both fall under the fortuneteller’s predictions, Sokka questions the difference between coincidence and fate.

avatar the last airbender season 1 episode 15 bato of the water tribe june shirshu zuko

“Bato of the Water Tribe”

1.15     Bato of the Water Tribe Airdate:  10/07/05

The discovery of Katara and Sokka’s tribe mate Bato gives hope to Katara and Sokka that their father Hakoda is still alive.  Feeling dejected, Aang makes a mistake that could cost him his friends as Zuko uses a bounty hunter named June and her shirshu to track the Avatar.

avatar the last airbender season 1 episode 16 the deserter aang firebending

“The Deserter”

1.16     The Deserter Airdate:  10/21/05

Narrowly evading being caught in a Fire Nation town, Aang, Katara, and Sokka discover a group of rebel Fire Nation deserters who could teach Aang the art of firebending.  Aang’s zeal and eagerness to learn firebending turns dangerous and runs the risk of getting everyone captured by Zhao.

avatar the last airbender season 1 episode 17 the northern air temple teo

“The Northern Air Temple”

1.17     The Northern Air Temple Airdate:  11/04/05

Aang, Katara, and Sokka reach the Northern Air Temple only to find it inhabited by Teo and his father who have converted the Air Temple to suit their needs.  Angry at the destruction of his culture, Aang finds a secret about Teo’s father that could lead to all-out war with the Fire Nation.

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“The Waterbending Master”

1.18     The Waterbending Master Airdate:  11/18/05

Katara, Sokka, and Aang reach the Northern Water Tribe only to learn that old customs will not allow Katara to train with Aang.  Sokka meets Princess Yue but learns his new love might already be lost.  Zhao prepares a Fire Nation fleet to strike at the Northern Water Temple, but the discovery of Prince Zuko role in Aang’s escape creates a new problem.

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“The Siege of the North—Part 1”

1.19     The Siege of the North—Part 1 Airdate:  12/02/05

The Fire Nation has come to kingdom of the Northern Waterbenders…and war is inevitable.  Laying siege to the tribe, Zhao prepares for his ultimate attack and reveals his secret plans to weaken the Waterbenders.  When Aang enters the spirit realm for help, Prince Zuko makes his move.

avatar the last airbender season 1 episode 20 the siege of the north part 2 princess yue sokka

“The Siege of the North—Part 2”

1.20     The Siege of the North—Part 2 Airdate:  12/02/05

With the moon threatened by Zhao, the world could be thrown out of balance.  Aang finds himself forced to make a decision about his feelings toward Prince Zuko as a face-off with Zhao is inevitable.  Princess Yue reveals her origin to Sokka and might have to make the ultimate sacrifice as a result.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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