Monday, January 7

Avatar 3.13 The Firebending Masters

Aang and Zuko pay an homage to Dragonball Z.

A new episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender aired over the weekend, and I have to say I'm very happy with what transpired. The latest episode, The Firebending Masters, picks up shortly after Zuko joined the Gaang as Aang's new firebending teacher. Unfortunately, once the lessons begin, something immediately becomes apparent- both literally, and figuratively, Zuko's LOST HIS FIRE. His firebending has suddenly become worthless, a far cry from the fury he unleashed in Crossroads of Destiny.
This seems to happen in every anime, show or comic I know; a bad-ass villain is a monstrous adversary, but when he/she turns good, they become wimps. Well, in Zuko's case though, there's a good explanation, which has to do with inner spirit and the source of firebending power. So, in order to regain his firebending (and gain something new), Zuko, along with Aang, go off on a quest to find those who know the forgotten secrets of fire- the mighty, fire-breathing dragons. Unfortunately, dragons have been extinct for years!

This episode is cool for many reasons- first off, the budding Aang-Zuko friendship is finally off in earnest, as the unlikely pair share an adventure together- the last time these two fought together was waaaaay back in The Blue Spirit in Book of Water, under very different circumstances. It's wonderful to note that they are each still nominally the same- Zuko is still the hot-head, but thankfully has none of the haughtiness and arrogance he had as the exiled prince. He even gets knocked around by a still-hostile Katara and Sokka, which may piss off Zuko fans a bit. Still, come on people- Zuko hunted them down for two and a half seasons. He can take a couple of episodes of roasting. In good time, they'll be good friends... count on it.

Anyway, the buddy episode is a bit light on the actual action, but there is quite a lot of amusing interaction between Aang and Zuko, a pretty cool revelation and some awesome sequences at the end- which is strangely enough not a fight or a battle but a DANCE. Between Zuko and Aang. I kid you not. I also hope this lays to rest ANY doubt that Zuko is indeed in with the good guys FOR GOOD. Oh, and there's a priceless Toph flashback which is just adorable.

Though not having stuff like any updates on Iroh or the baddies, Suki or any other plot points, the Firebending Masters is a really nice installment in Book of Fire, and a light-hearted contrast to the heavy emotion dredged up in the previous episode. Here's to hoping that the Gaang get into more serious adventures in the next episodes, due in the next couple of weeks. Later then!

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