Nickelodeon was one of the most dominant cartoon network in the 2000s, the most dominant network in this time period with some of the best cartoons to be brought from this era. This includes Prime Spongebob, Danny Phantom, Fairly Odd Parents, Hey Arnold, Invader Zim, MLAATR, these cartoons are some of the most displayed and iconic works that came from Nickelodeon. The station was peaking with brilliance and creativity on all ends with masterfully crafted TV shows. If you think it couldn't get better, you're wrong. Nickelodeon achieved a Magnum Opus state that the station, and maybe any other cartoon station will ever achieve. This Magnum Opus is Avatar. No, not the dumb blue people movie, but Avatar: The Last Airbender.
This show is the peak of creative and deep writing combined into a relatively engaging series. The writing is comparable to Naruto, but in a way much more simpler and relaxed than the likes of Naruto. Avatar can not compare to Naruto in anyway, shape, or form, but Avatar reaches a level of excellence that Western Animation studios have yet to complete. The animation itself is beautifully crafted, structure, and made. The background designed are beautiful, calming, and intense. The great work of colors and vibrancies with each setting is marvelous. The grasp of nature and life is beyond compare to others. The character designs are effective, memorable, and not uncomfortable to look at. It's a great complex yet simplistic look that makes the show an easy yet enjoyable watch.
Character development is a crucial part to the story and Avatar is a perfect example of beautiful character development. Aang becomes much more mature as the series ages and he becomes much more prepared and ready for the burden ahead. He develops a sensitive and caring nature to himself while using his power to restore happiness to the world. His ability to master elements and modes become a key resource. Aang is also fueled by many other characters who help him in his journey. Katara now has closure with her mother's death as the series ends, and is ready to move on to save the world. She is the backbone of Aang throughout the series in many ways and is the moral compass for Aang. She becomes a true leader and a passionate soul, with great expectations for the future. Sokka develops into someone more courageous, smart, and understanding in the series. He keeps the same attitude of loyalty and affection, but develops into a skillful leader that works with others ideas, versus his will to do only his way. He still remains comic relief in the story. Do I even have to mention Zuko, arguably the true hero of the story. Coming to terms with his fate, his boldness in breaking away from his father, his desire, and motives, he goes through the most change in this series and for the better. He becomes much more sympathetic for people and becomes a hero to Team Avatar. Zuko's character is essential and his turn became one of the most surprising revelations. There are also characters who are strong backbones for other characters, those being Iroh and Toph. Their willingness to stay to their character made them important, essential, and beautifully crafted characters. Their writing has never changed and it ultimately benefits. I do feel as if Ozai was underdeveloped a ton in this story and I would have liked for him to have much more time on screen.
The storyline is clear, comprehensive, simple, and fulfilling. There are no gaps or questions left in the series besides the future of the world to come. This is a beneficial gap in all plots. The lack of major turns and twists makes the plot a simple yet effective story that provides deep insight. The plot isn't too deep, which works to the benefit of the series, as its focus of character development makes up for that. There is a clear evil will and a good will and they both clash, and it is still entertaining to watch. While some arcs are certainly better than others, they are written in a great way. The Ba Song Sei, Final, Black Sun, and North Pole Invasion, being some of my favorite arcs.
The original soundtrack for this is truly amazing. The use of traditional Asian instruments, the calm vibe, and the pomp and circumstance battles fit the mood perfectly. This has one of the best tracks of any cartoon
In conclusion, Nickelodeon will never reach such a level of cartoon ever. This cartoon is truly a gem for western animation. This cartoon is a timeless relic of beautiful characters and story. This may be the closest thing there is to a rival of Naruto.
Character Development: 9.6