Avatar: The Last Episodes
It's been three years. Three long years, yet the road of the Avatar has finally indeed ended when it was supposed to end... in easily one of the most amazing, intense and jaw-droppingly action-packed animated features I've ever had the pleasure to watch. The 4-episode ending to Avatar: The Last Airbender, collectively called Sozin's Comet (consisting of episodes 3.18 to 3.21) reveals to us the climax of three seasons of superb cartoon craftmanship. As his fated battle with Fire Lord Ozai approaches, Aang must come to a decision whether or not he can truly take a life- an action that is against every fiber of his being. But even the slightest hesitation will cost him his life against the most powerful firebender on earth.
Meanwhile, his friends and allies face battles on their own as a multi-pronged battle to take back the Earth Kingdom from the forces of the Fire Nation explode. On the night when Sozin's Comet finally arrives, the true powers and mastery of bending are revealed and the destiny of the world is finally decided.
MAN. OH MAN.
I have truly never seen an animated finale like Avatar's Swan Song. Though the first half of the 'movie' starts out leisurely (with a beach party, no less!), it's a steady build to the non-stop action of the final third of the climax. Once the action starts, it's a roller-coaster ride from there, with reunions aplenty, revelations and some of the finest and intense animated action you'll ever see from a US-made kid's show.
The execution of the climactic battles- the retaking of Ba Sing Se; Sokka, Toph and Suki's airship battle; Zuko and Katara's confrontation with a progressively imbalanced Azula, and Aang's own destined duel with Ozai are surely some of the best animated action scenes I've ever seen, be it in anime or otherwise. In fact, Aang vs Ozai is a battle that would make Saiyans stand up and take notice. Perhaps the best thing I can say about Aang vs Ozai is... for a battle that has been hyped and built up for 60 episodes- it doesn't just live up to expectations, it blows them all away.
Amazingly, all the action comes with no graphic violence, no blood (it IS still a kids' show ultimately) just PURE ACTION AWESOMENESS. And despite the A-team level of firepower and body count, it ALL WORKS. All the characters you've come to love (and hate) it all comes to a head in this one in one amazing action sequence after another, and I came away totally satisfied.
At the end of it, there is a bit of a convenient Deus Ex Machina and happy endings are delivered, though it is totally deserved. Not all issues are finished or ended totally (in fact, there are some new plots opened!), but after all is said and done we come to blissful contentedness a bright future ahead. Surely, this can't be an end to this incredible world given to us by Avatar's creators, artists, writers and vocal performers. I can't wait for more. New stories will probably follow, with new characters... but the Saga of the Boy in the Iceberg is one show I will cherish for the rest of my animation-loving otaku life.
For Avatar Aang and his new family, his new world and people... may you all live Awesomely Happy Ever After. Man, that was a freaking great ride. Is this series out on Blu-ray already or WHAT??!