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What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Avatar: The Last Airbender isn't a one-dimensional display of cartoon violence. The well-developed fantasy material includes a spiritual aspect that underlies much of the plot, making it an epic martial arts tale, rather than a bang-'em-up show. As long as you're OK with the show's level of action, it's a fine pick for grade-schoolers.
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What's the story?
In AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER, imbalance has fallen on the people as a result of the Fire Nation having declared war on all of the other tribes. Harmony has fallen to the wayside, forcing the surviving tribes to scatter to the winds. All the while, a uniting force has been missing for a century's time, as war has been raging. This force is embodied by the Avatar -- a being who encompasses mastery and balance of all of the elements. This peaceful presence had been lost to the world -- that is, until he comes to life in the body of an 11-year-old boy named Aang. Though Aang is the last of his tribe, he possesses a happy-go-lucky nature, which immediately endears him to the siblings who have discovered him frozen in the ocean. They soon realize the extent of Aang's powers and accompany him on his quest to realize his past and his present place in the world.
Is it any good?
An epic fantasy about mythological tribes of people were represented by the elements water, earth, air, and fire, this may look like a video game send-up, but it's really closer to Japanese-style anime. Mixing magical fantasy and comedy, martial arts challenge sequences with Godzilla-style monsters, Avatar: The Last Airbender goes beyond the everyday action cartoon, bringing an interesting mix of Asian mysticism and epic fiction to the small screen. Take note -- adults may enjoy this one as much as the kids do.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the martial arts tradition, concepts of reincarnation, and elemental imbalance in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
What would you want to come back as in another life? What skills does martial arts help teach?
Find more TV shows that help kids build character.
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