Avatar: The Last Airbender

It started out as a date. Evan really likes Avatar: The Last Airbender and, though I had never heard of it, he wanted to see the movie in theaters. So, being the girlfriend, I accompanied him to the live action movie opening week. I had no idea what Avatar was about at the time. The only thing I knew was there were these super adorable creatures called turtleducks that I had seen while flipping through TV one day. I thought Avatar was going to be a very boyish fighting show of sorts…what I think of when I think of Pokemon or Dragonball Z (although, I have never really seen either show….I\’m just speculating.) But, Evan wanted to see it see it, so I went. I must admit, the movie peaked my interest. I saw it as a metaphor for our times: destroying and taking over the world. I felt that the concept was well thought out and their was depth to some of the characters, particularly Aang and Zuko. Evan and I talked about the movie on the way home and it was at this point I made a rookie error. I mentioned that I was interested in watching the show in its entirety to understand the storyline better. At this point, there was no going back. In a few days, Evan had acquired the whole series and was just so excited about watching Avatar with me…there was no turning back.

I honestly could never have expected how much I would grow to love that show, specifically Sokka. In the movie, I had no opinion about him…they did not portray him properly. In the beginning of watching Avatar, I felt that he was too over the top and annoying…and somehow tragic. Now, I\’m in the second season, and Sokka has grown to be my favorite character. Pretty much everything he does is great. I am truly a fan. I also love the character development of Zuko…he\’s so complex and angsty…he\’s a good guy, but his family and honor are wrapped up in destruction. He\’s a classical tragic hero. I was quite surprised that this cartoon actually has depth and meaning: speaking to the human condition and representing both the conflicts and triumphs of the world. At least, that\’s what I got from it.

But the real reason I chose to write about this today, was because I came across the line of Mattel\’s action figures for Avatar: The Last Airbender and was totally in shock by what I saw. They have action figures for Aang, Sokka, Zuko, the Blue Spirit, Appa, Momo, Random Firebending Soldier, Jet and Roku. Does anyone feel like something is missing? Where on earth is Katara? Now, I know, that I may be getting my master\’s in sociology so some might accuse me of reading too far into things…but how can Mattel possibly justify there being no female action figures when one of the main characters…the one who narrates the beginning sequence, is a female. Not to mention the Earthbending Master, Toph who travels with them. Even Azula is missing and she plays a substantial role in the series as well. But they have a random firebending soldier? Oh, wait, I lied they have a *plush* version of Katara. Because girls like stuffed dolls they can cuddle up with? Forget that Katara is a pretty awesome waterbender…cutting through metal and creating tidal waves and such. No, random, unnamed firebender gets a real action figure while Katara and Azula have to sit idly by on a bed somewhere as some kid\’s teddy bear. Ridiculous.

\”Don\’t let the caving get you down, Sokka!\” – Traveling Nomads

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