15 reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime (2023)

Avatar: The Last Airbenderis famous for popularizing western anime style. Created and performed in Burbank, the show pays great homage to the art style and storytelling of popular anime. But can it really be called anime?

RELATED:Avatar: The Last Airbender: 10 Life Lessons That Are Still Relevant Today

The biggest determining factor of Western vs. Anime is the home range. But with the popularization of animation abroad in the mid-1980s, open access to Japanese anime titles, and Japanese anime exploring more Western animation styles, the lines are blurring more than ever.

Here are our reasonsAvatar: The Last Airbenderit's an anime.

Update 22 May 2020 by Louis Kemner:Now that the original Avatar: The Last Airbender series is back on Netflix, it's back in the pop culture zeitgeist, and streaming has the potential to bring many new fans on board. This series has some overlap with Japanese anime, which is more mainstream and popular than ever, and it's worth mentioning a few more reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is a close relative of this animation style. Anyone who likes anime will probably like Avatar too.


15 Tsundere Toph

15 reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime (1)

What is a tsundere? This term describes anyone who is distant, stern, or withdrawn at first, but later opens up and warms up. It is common to have tsundere characters (often girls) in Slice of Life and drama series.

"Tsun-tsun" describes someone who is cold and aggressive, and "dere-dere" describes a very loving person. So a character like Toph who went from tough to vulnerable and kind goes from cool to warm.

14 A tournament sequence

15 reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime (2)

In fact, that was itDie Legend of Korrathat had a proper tournament action, thoughAvatar: The Last Airbendershot him too. During Season 2, Aang was looking for an earthbender trainer and came across an earthbender battle ring.

RELATED:Avatar: Toph vs. Jinora for Best Girl

Colorful and brightly colored earthbenders competed there for the prized belt, and Toph, by far the smallest earthbender there, made it all the way to the top. Aang intervened and defeated her with airbending, but what he really wanted was just to talk to her.

(Video) Avatar: 15 Hidden Details You Missed

13 Secondary school

15 reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime (3)

Many anime series are set in high school, since the intended viewers are likely to be of school age, soToradora! forNisekoiforAzumanga Daioh!. There's a little homage to that idea in Season 3 when Aang ends up in a Fire Nation school.

After all, Aang stole a school uniform and was sent to class. He learned some fake history, joined the school's marching band, and even got into a (non-bloody) fight with the local popular jock. All in one day, academic style.

12 Eccentric villains

15 reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime (4)

Creative and unusual villains are hardly unique to Japanese anime (there are plenty of them in American comics, too), but some anime villains aren't just weird; They appear out of nowhere and die almost as quickly and are accepted as a normal part of the universe.

These characters stand out to the viewer, but not so much to the characters, and Combustion Man isavatarthe version of it. He is a telekinetic firebender who can create explosions at a distance and has a metal arm and leg like Edward Elricsteel alchemistFame. where did he come from How can he bend fire like that? There is no answer. Only he...It is.

11 Unequal technological levels

15 reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime (5)

This is a subtle and recurring theme in several anime series andavatarcertainly made the best of it. A lot of anime shows have fairly common takes, but some organizations or nations in these shows inexplicably have advanced technology of their own, usually for visual appeal or as a handy tool to explain how a villain's plan works.

RELATED:Avatar the Last Airbender: Aang vs Zuko for Best Boy

Yu-Gi-Oh!is an example of this: it's set in the 2000s, but somehow people are able to create these holograms for their deck and use all kinds of advanced technology, courtesy of Maximilian Pegasus. Inavatar, the Water Tribe uses sticks and rocks quite a bit, while the Fire Nation has technology more akin to WWI.

10 Die Recap-Episode

15 reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime (6)
(Video) Is Avatar: The Last Airbender Anime? | Idea Channel | PBS Digital Studios

Granted, this is a fairly common TV technique, but every anime has a clip episode at some point to save on the budget. It's always completely pointless and meant to fill out the season's lineup, but they're usually done in a fun way. Like in a sports anime, the team can be interviewed and the characters involved can intervene with funny jokes.

avatarit does so in the funniest way possible: by having a third party recap the gang's events while parodying what the team felt were flaws in the show. Yes, the first Katara was pretty boring in terms of hope and we can all laugh at that as Katara thought about it herself. And Toph was originally supposed to be a really muscular guy. So we also have some fun facts along the way. Admittedly, that doesn't really happen with anime flashbacks, especially since many are based on existing manga.

9 the general style

15 reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime (7)

Obviously, the art style lends itself to anime tropes.avatarhad by far the most realistic human designs for Nickelodeon. That's not to exclude other styles of 2D animation, but western animation tends to have simplified designs that make complex animation easier on a standard budget.

The big eyes and exaggerated facial expressions, a staple of anime, made their way into the show. And true to the anime, they served to add comedy to an already hilarious scene.

RELATED:Avatar: Uncle Iroh's 10 Most Inspirational Quotes

8 the lip lobes

15 reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime (8)

Lip flaps are basically what you call mouth animation when characters speak. And it's the bane of any localized dub existence, especially when switching from languages ​​like Japanese to English. Romance languages ​​(like French and Spanish) are much easier to dub because many words share the same roots and the vowel forms and grammar are similar.

Whileavatardid not have this problem of being aired in any English speaking nation, its lip lobes are more like those of the anime, animated in a fast pattern and more up and down which is typical for anime. You notice it more when the show runs through a longer speaking scene.

7 the camera movements

15 reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime (9)
(Video) 15 Plot holes In Avatar The Last Airbender

To save on the budget due to more complex character designs (and to save all that money on the epic fight scenes), many anime series have lengthy conversational scenes with a camera panning over a still frame.avatarit does so often, and for good reason, beyond budget constraints.avatarIt has a lot of backstory that falls to you quickly and efficiently. By moving the camera, it fools us into thinking something is happening and helps us focus our attention on the show.

RELATED:Avatar: Sokka's 10 Funniest Moments

6 The tropes of character

15 reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime (10)

Again, this can be applied to any storytelling medium, butavatarapplies to common anime character tropes. For example, Zuko is the ultimate edgelord and borderline tsundere. Aang is the happy, naïve hero we all cheer for. Sokka takes on the sidekick role with some insecurities about his worth on the team since he's not a bender.

The ones that break more traditional anime roles are Katara and Toph. That's not to say that many popular anime titles don't have the tough girl trope (think Olivier Armstrong fromsteel alchemist), but they don't usually have them in a central role.

5 the creatures

15 reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime (11)

Cute, cuddly, and sometimes terrifying, most anime include a cute mascot for their hero. Inavatar, you get two.

Both Appa and Momo have enough character (and sensibility) that the episodes centered around them are engaging and a breath of fresh air at times. Really, Appa finds his way back to Aang and breaks our hearts in the process... did anyone see this coming?

4 the beach sequence

15 reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime (12)

It's a long-standing joke among anime fans... but Avatar delivered. While the GAang didn't get the trope-worthy beach time they deserve, Zuko and his Fire Nation friends did.

While this definitely works in the style of fill-in episodes, it's emotionally impactful and provides an important foreshadowing of Zuko's decision in the season finale. We also get more information about all the other characters involved, making them human instead of villains.

(Video) Every Time Team Avatar Forgot Toph Was Blind 🙃 | Avatar: The Last Airbender

But they also played volleyball. What is that,Haikyuu?

RELATED:Avatar: 10 Crazy Katara Fan Theories That Were Actually True

3 to the music

15 reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime (13)

You would be lying if you watched it religiouslyavatarevery week and couldn't even hum any of the tracks. Composed by Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn, the soundtrack evokes the sounds of traditional East Asian music and only enhances the show's experience. Although all composers create their art with care,avatarIt felt like there was a special effort that is usually only seen on film.

Anime soundtracks tend to have the same love and care, with a dramatic twist. Although most television music (anime or otherwise) is composed using digital means, there is occasionally a program that is so special that it requires the recording of a live orchestra. The music team made it to the end, which is unprecedented for children's entertainment. While the same can be said for the anime, the instrumentals lean heavily towards the sounds of a live orchestra, more so than is often the case with western animation.

2 the fight scenes

15 reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime (14)

Oh god, the fight scenes. According to their respective martial arts styles, bending fights do not stop. The camera angles are particularly reminiscent of anime fights, with close-ups of fists and the screams that go with them. You know, when someone lands a particularly hard punch and says "AAAAAAAH!"

The fights don't last that long though and the big one that lasted more than one episode was between Aang and Fire Lord Ozai so the extra time was justified. And even if we added it all up, it only took one day.

1 Avatarstatus YIP YIP!

15 reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime (15)

The. The Avatar State. That's the anime thingAlways. Also, you can absolutely see the inspiration the team gotsteel alchemistin the 2003 version. The Avatar State is used as a kind of trump card, allowing the Avatar to draw on the knowledge of previous Avatars and channel that energy into powerful attacks. It drains the avatar's energy, leaving the avatar quite vulnerable despite the power associated with the avatar state.

But the glowing eyes and the resulting movements? Totally anime. So far, no other animation program has implemented this element. Even in superhero shows, there's nothing quite like what the Avatar State can do.


NEXT:10 Anime Characters More Powerful Than Avatar Aang


Why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime? ›

Avatar: The Last Airbender is not an anime. Avatar: The Last Airbender has been recognized as a popular anime by some, but it is actually an American animated television series. It is staged in an Asiatic-inspired world that first aired on February 21, 2005, and ended on October 3, 2008 [1].

Why isn't Avatar: The Last Airbender considered anime? ›

Why are Avatar: the Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra not considered anime? Because they're not from Japan. Simple as that. The word “anime” is the Japanese equivalent of “animation” or “cartoon”, but outside Japan the word is typically used to refer exclusively to productions that originated in Japan.

Why is Avatar the best anime? ›

Although Avatar: The Last Airbender isn't a stereotypical anime, it bears enough similarities with shonen series to be classified under this genre. At the same time, this American children's show is exceptionally designed and narratively unique, which sets it apart from other anime programs.

What kind of anime is Avatar? ›

Avatar: The Last Airbender
GenreAction Adventure Comedy drama Fantasy
Created byMichael Dante DiMartino Bryan Konietzko
Voices ofZach Tyler Eisen Mae Whitman Jack DeSena Dante Basco Jessie Flower Dee Bradley Baker Mako Greg Baldwin Grey DeLisle Mark Hamill
ComposersJeremy Zuckerman Benjamin Wynn
18 more rows

Does Japan consider Avatar an anime? ›

By American standards, the show isn't an anime since the show was produced in the United States rather than Japan, and the term as we know it is associated with Japanese animation. But if you ask a Japanese citizen, it might count as an anime as much as Bugs Bunny does.

What anime stands for? ›

The term anime [a·nuh·mei] is a Japanese colloquialism used as an abbreviation for the term “animation.” Generally in Japan, the word anime (written アニメ) is synonymous with animation of any kind from anywhere.

How much of Avatar is animated? ›

Avatar utilizes 60% CGI imagery, with a majority of the CG character animation filmed with revolutionary new motion-capture techniques using live actors. The other 40% of the film utilizes the traditional techniques of live-action imagery. James Cameron began to work on Avatar since the early 1990s.

Is Korra a cartoon or anime? ›

The Legend of Korra (abbreviated as TLOK), also known as Avatar: The Legend of Korra or simply Korra, is an American animated fantasy action television series created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko for Nickelodeon.

What is anime vs cartoon? ›

A cartoon is non-realistic visual representation of real-world objects and characters. Anime is semi-realistic visual representation of real-world objects and characters.

What makes something an anime? ›

Anime refers to a specific style of cartoon produced or inspired by Japanese animation. Think of it this way: all anime shows are cartoons, but not all cartoons are anime. The art style associated with anime is very unique and recognizable.

What is the difference between anime and cartoon? ›

Anime is known for its intricate and complex storytelling, which often features multiple plotlines and character arcs that are woven together to create a rich and immersive experience. Cartoons, on the other hand, are typically less complex and often rely on simple and straightforward storytelling.

Is the movie Avatar based on anime? ›

"Avatar" is a sci-fi re-imagining of the European colonization of the Americas, James Cameron said. The film drew inspiration from other movies with similar themes, like the Japanese anime "Princess Mononoke."


1. Why Avatar the Last Airbender is still Popular 15 Years Later
(Noa Constrictor)
2. Avatar the Last Airbender II ANIME OPENING (fanmade)
3. The Ultimate ''Avatar: The Last Airbender'' Recap Cartoon - BOOK ONE
(Cas van de Pol)
4. Avatar Generations | Avatar Aang - Character Spotlight | Avatar: The Last Airbender
(Avatar Generations)
5. If You Like Avatar the Last Airbender then You'll Love ...
(Super CES)
6. Avatar The Last Airbender 15th Anniversary Trailer [4K]
(Chris Ormondroyd)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Jonah Leffler

Last Updated: 10/24/2022

Views: 6600

Rating: 4.4 / 5 (45 voted)

Reviews: 84% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Jonah Leffler

Birthday: 1997-10-27

Address: 8987 Kieth Ports, Luettgenland, CT 54657-9808

Phone: +2611128251586

Job: Mining Supervisor

Hobby: Worldbuilding, Electronics, Amateur radio, Skiing, Cycling, Jogging, Taxidermy

Introduction: My name is Jonah Leffler, I am a determined, faithful, outstanding, inexpensive, cheerful, determined, smiling person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.