I remember like yesterday when it was 2005 and Nickelodeon announced its anime-like series, Avatar: The Last Airbender. was coming to the network. I thought it would be a wannabe flop when I first saw it, as I was heavily into other anime shows at the time. It’s so good to know I was wrong, as it became the best show the channel has had in ages, and even spun off a show that was even better (which I never thought was possible). Finally the entire three season show is available together in the Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Complete Series set. This contains all 61 episodes along with the special features from the previous DVD releases across a whopping 16 discs, making for an amazing set that anyone and everyone should bend into their collection.
Show creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko bring us the story of Aang, a young boy who was trapped in an iceberg for a hundred years until being discovered and thawed out by a young brother and sister named Sokka and Katara. Turns out Aang is the Avatar, a being of great power who can control all four elements of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. Some chosen few are able to control one of the elements, or “bend” them into a combination of martial arts and their use called “bending”. Aang is already an airbender, but must learn how to bend the other three elements in his quest to become a complete Avatar while also saving the world and its people during his journey. It is here where the series really shines, as Aang and his friends meet both new friends and enemies along the way, each with their own backstory and reasons for doing what they do that makes for a fun and exciting show that will surely compel you to binge watch it until the end.
I could go on all day and night about how and why this show is one of the best out there, but it really is one of those things that you have to experience it for yourself to see just how great it is. Whether it’s the comedic elements of the show thanks to Sokka’s quick wit and charm, to Katara and Aang developing feelings for one another, or even a long time enemy in the series that is hunting down the Avatar who will become his greatest ally, this is a fantastic story you owe to yourself to watch. Did I mention Aang’s flying bison Appa or his flying monkey-like companion Momo too?
While it’s not high definition and is shown in fullscreen format, everything comes in clear and as detailed as the DVD format will allow. Colors, fluid animation (especially when people are fighting with or channeling the elements while bending), as well as fitting asian-influenced music and spot-on voice acting come through without a hitch. There’s also plenty of special features that will keep viewers busy for quite awhile, though there are a few terribly outdated ads on the DVD’s that will give you an unintended chuckle (2004’s Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events coming soon to DVD springs to mind). Here you’ll find behind the scenes extras, interviews, commentaries, and more that’s sure to pull you even deeper into all things Aang.
The Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Complete Series set is simply a must have for anyone’s collection, especially if you’ve never seen it or purchased any of the previous DVD season sets. Filled with endless adventures, drama, awesome martial arts and perfectly timed comedic parts, it’s easily one of the best shows you’ll ever see. Add in the sweet DVD extras and having all the episodes in one place to enjoy, and you have a box set that’s worth bending over backwards for. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.