The world of Avatar: The Last Airbender is divided into four nations—Earth, Water, Fire, and Air—each with its own type of elemental magic, known as “bending.” The four peoples lived together in harmony the Fire nation began to invade its neighbors. Only the Avatar, a special bender born with the ability to manipulate all four elements, could have ended the war, but when the Fire nation began its attacks, the Avatar had mysteriously disappeared.
A hundred years have passed since the Fire nation began its invasion, and it now seems poised to complete its conquest. But two siblings from the water tribe, Katara and Sokka, have just found the missing Avatar, a twelve-year-old boy named Aang, and his flying bison frozen in an iceberg. Can Aang learn to master all four elements and restore peace?
This cartoon isn’t technically anime, but it’s certainly heavily influenced by anime in its character designs and plot structure. Creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino have specifically cited the films of Hayao Miyazaki as influences. The action scenes are particularly fun to watch; each type of bending is inspired by a different martial art—for example, waterbending is based on tai chi, and firebending is based on Northern Shaolin—and that makes the showdowns between the different characters very exciting to watch.