Monday, 14 May 2012

Avatar Airbender: Behind the Anime

Avatar: The Last Airbender is the animated cartoon series on Nicks. I still watching this until now and never get tired (gee, I wonder why). Basically, the other reason I really into this cartoon is because it's Asian-influence. And I'm Asian.

As I can see through the story line, the elements of Asian are obvious, the way the characters been created and formed, the environment and its names. Aang dressed like Buddha monk, while Guru is obviously like Hindu divine-teacher. A young girl who help Iroh who drank a peculiar tea is wearing hanbok, a traditional Korean cloth, girls who teased Toph at the upper ring of Ba Sing Se is wearing kimono, a traditional Japanese cloth, and Ozai dressed with Chinese and Korean elements. Hmm, very Asian.

There are several characters that related to a lot to a different religion. For example, Aang met a white monkey in the spirit world when he tried to find an old spirit who knows about moon spirit. For me, that white monkey reminds me with the religion character which is Hanuman, the monkey God in Hindu, or Sun Wukong, the monkey king in Buddha (remember Journey to the West drama?). Dragon and panda, the jungle spirit who attacks the village and helping Aang to return into the real world is the  resemblance of the Chinese cultural and heritage. 

Therefore, names are filled with oriental styles. Momo and Appa are Japanese names, which means 'peach' and 'upper', very irony for both because Aang gave Momo's name when he saw a peach and Appa is a flying bison, always at the sky. And Aang is the Chinese name actually, while Katara sounds like Japanese. Although I don't know the meaning of Toph's name but I really like her and Beifong is obviously a Chinese name. How about Sokka and Zuko? I don't know the meaning of their name. Tell me if you know about it.

Although Avatar Airbender is Asian-influence cartoon, I sensed several religion that maybe not so obvious, or maybe it just my mind plays with me, but, I saw the resemblance of Jews candle light when Ozai gave his throne to Azula and put himself as the King of Phoenix. If you are the real fan of Avatar, you will see the follower of Ozai lit the fire inside the metal pole and the fire burst like with the form of Jews candle light. Then, through the episode when there is war at the North Pole, I can relate moon with Islam because moon is the symbol for this religion. Although it kind a blur to seek something that I can relate with Christian (except spirit water from the North Pole reminds me with Christian holy water) but the most thing that I can see is the modern weapon of Fire nation, which reminds me with Western countries. Oh, don't get me wrong, but hey, that's the truth ^^

And the final episode is the best, Aang didn't killed Ozai although he hates him. Peace are been declared through all nations, it restores all balances in the nature, and everyone is happy. Just like Aang says, "when you think about revenge, it will poison you." What's the point to declared a war when everyone is praying for your death? What's the point to seek the revenge, release the revenge through the 'revenge' ways when there's an option that won't hurt and killed you inside?

Avatar: The Last Airbender, I did learnt a lot through this anime. For me, it's more than a cartoon. It is the story of life with lesson learn, heritage, and culture that we can be proud of.

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