That amazing series known as Avatar: The Last Airbender returns with another new DVD release! The fourth and final DVD release of season two, Avatar: The Last Airbender - Book 2: Earth, Volume 4, is finally here! Unlike last time, I actually missed seeing most of these on TV, so they were completely new to me. As I've already stated many times, this is an excellent animated series, and this release lives up to all the rest. There is plenty of action, adventure, comedy, drama, and of course multidimensional characters you can get behind with a story that will keep you enthralled to the end. And though this is the end of the second season, thankfully the show will be continuing on for a third season.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again... anyone who is familiar with Japanese animation will probably think this is one, as it has a strong anime influence. But be assured, it is an American production. See, we can put out amazing cartoons too. See! See! And it's not just the art style that makes this feel like anime, it's the way the story flows and arcs throughout the season, with mini-stories contained all along the way which all provide excellent character development. The characters come alive, they feel like real people, not like some other shows where the characters are seemingly invincible or have insignificant problems.
Okay, on to the plot. In the first season, Aang awakes from 100 year long stasis to find that he is the last of the airbenders. He makes friends with siblings Katara and Sokka, who awoke Aang from his slumber, and he learns that he must save the world from being domination by the Fire Kingdom. Thus, he begins learning the art of water bending. When the second season picks up, Aang has became quite adept at water bending and moves on to mastering the next element: Earth. Enter Toph, a young blind girl who just happens to be one of the best Earth Benders in the world. And his training begins.
By the time we get to the final episodes of season two, Aang has become pretty good at Earth Bending. During one adventure, the gang learns of an eclipse that will take place within the coming months, which is important because the Fire Nation gets its power from the sun... so essentially they looser their power during the eclipse. Though from that logic, wouldn't they lose their power at night as well? Or during a really cloudy day? Well they don't, so I'm guessing there must be something else involved in the eclipse than just the sun not being seen.
Anywho, the gang heads to the invulnerable city of Ba Sing Se, which is very powerful and has yet to fall to the Fire Nation. It's not like those fiery freaks aren't tryin'! In fact, as soon as the gang arrives, they've gotta help fend off yet another attempt at breaking through those enormous walls. Will the gang be able to stop the Fire Nation from breakin' on through to the other side? Of course! But it was a close one! Unfortunately, once the attack is over and the gang heads into the city, they are bummed to learn that they can't just get an audience with the king to tell them of the eclipse and ask for help assembling an army to attack Fire Nation.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to Aang and the gang, Aang's arch-nemisis Prince Zuko is also in Ba Sing Se. But Prince Zuko is there as a refugee, not because he's tracking Aang. In fact, Prince Zuko has no idea Aang is even in the city! Zuko and his Uncle Iroh set up a nice little life for themselves as tea servers while they hide from the Fire Nation's clutches. And thanks to Uncle Iroh's talents with tea, the quaint little shop becomes quite popular.
While Aang and the group try to find a way to see the king, Prince Zuko tries to adjust to his new life in Ba Sing Se as a humble tea server. Will he be able to drop his guard? Will he go out on a date with that cute girl who comes into the tea shop? Will he continue to pursue Aang once he finds a flyer of Aang's that's asking for information leading to his stolen Flying Bison, Appa? Will Aang find Appa? And most importantly, will Aang finally learn how to control his avatar state? One thing's for sure, this last disc of the season sure packs a lot fun!
Unlike the first disc in the series, there is no episode shown entirely as an animatic on this disc. Instead... audio commentary by the creators, the cast, and the crew! I have not had a chance to listen yet, but I hope to soon. Anyway, this is a great show for anybody and everybody, not just for kids. It is one of the few cartoons out there that would keep both children and adults entertained. I'm sorry that I initially let this show slip by me, so don't you go and make the same mistake!
Avatar: The Last Airbender - Book 2: Earth, Volume 4 is available starting August 14, 2007, released by Paramount Home Video. The entire first season, Avatar The Last Airbender - The Complete Book 1 Collection, is already out on DVD... now if only I had some money to buy it with.... And check out the official Avatar: The Last Airbender website for more!