Avatar: The Last Airbender (season 1)
|Avatar: The Last Airbender (season 1)|
Cover for "The Complete Book 1 Collection" DVD
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||20|
|Original release||February 21 – December 2, 2005|
Season one (Book One: Water) of Avatar: The Last Airbender, an American animated television series produced by Nickelodeon Studios, aired 20 episodes from February 21, 2005 to December 2, 2005. The series was created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, and starred Zach Tyler Eisen, Mae Whitman, Jack DeSena, Dante Basco, Dee Bradley Baker, Mako Iwamatsu and Jason Isaacs as the main character voices.
The season revolves around the protagonist Aang and his friends Katara and Sokka going on a journey to the North Pole to find a Waterbending master to teach Aang and Katara. The Fire Nation is waging a seemingly endless war against the Earth Kingdom and the Water Tribes, following the long-ago disappearance of the Air Nomads. Aang, the current Avatar, must master the four elements (Air, Water, Earth, and Fire) to end the war. Along the way, Aang and his friends are chased by various pursuers: banished Fire Nation Prince Zuko, along with his uncle and former general Iroh, and Admiral Zhao of the Fire Navy.
Each episode of Season One attracted more than a million viewers on its first airing. Season One won "Best TV Series" and "Best Animated Television Series" in the boys 9- to 14-year-old demographic at the 2005 Pulcinella Awards, which gives awards for excellence in animation.
Between January 31, 2006 and September 19, 2006, five DVD sets were released in the United States, each containing four episodes from the season. On September 12, 2006, Nickelodeon also released the "Complete Book 1 Collection Box Set", which contained all of the episodes in the season as well as a special features disc. The original releases were encoded in Region 1, a DVD type that plays only in North American DVD players. From 2007 to 2009, Nickelodeon released Region 2 DVDs, which can play in Europe.
The show was produced by and aired on Nickelodeon, which is owned by Viacom. The show's executive producers were co-creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, who worked alongside episode director and co-producer Aaron Ehasz. Eight episodes were directed by Dave Filoni. Animation directors Lauren MacMullan and Giancarlo Volpe directed five episodes each, and Anthony Lioi directed two.
Episodes were written or co-written by a team of writers, which included Nick Malis, John O'Bryan, Matthew Hubbard, James Eagan, Ian Wilcox, Tim Hedrick and Elizabeth Welch Ehasz. All of the show's music was composed by "The Track Team", which consists of Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn, who were known to the producers because Zuckerman was Konietzko's roommate. Two alternating Korean studios were enlisted to provide animation production support for the series, DR Movie and JM Animation Co.
A pilot episode for the series was made in 2003. It was animated by Tin House, Inc., written by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, and directed by Dave Filoni. Mitchel Musso voiced Aang in this pilot but was later replaced by Zach Tyler Eisen when the show began production. In the episode, Sokka and his sister Kya (Katara was named Kya at the time of the pilot) must travel the world to find masters for Aang, who is the Avatar; however, they must evade a critical foe, Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation, who wants to capture Aang.
This episode was first publicly released as one of the extras in the NTSC season 1 DVD box set, which were not available with the previously-released individual volumes. As the PAL box set lacks extras, the episode was not made available on DVD in PAL regions. The episode was released with audio commentary from the creators, which unlike commentary on other episodes in the season is not possible to disable on the DVD set. On June 14, 2010, the unaired pilot was made available with and without commentary for the first time via the iTunes Store.
Most of the show's main characters made their debut within most, if not all, of the first episodes: Zach Tyler Eisen provided Aang's voice, Mae Whitman as Katara's voice, Jack DeSena as Sokka's voice, Dante Basco as Zuko's voice, Mako as Iroh's voice, and Dee Bradley Baker as the voices of both Appa and Momo. Additional supporting characters include Admiral Zhao voiced by Jason Isaacs, and Jet voiced by Crawford Wilson.
Film critics appreciated the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender because it attracted the attention of "an audience beyond the children's market with crisp animation and layered storytelling." As for the video and picture quality, Gord Lacey from TVShowsOnDVD.com claims "the colors are bright, and the picture is nearly flawless." He says later in the review that "the audio is very nice, with lots of directional effects and nice musical cues." Barnes & Noble reviewer Christina Urban praised the season's masterful combination of "elements from Chinese kung fu, Tibetan philosophy, Japanese martial arts forms, and even Hindu spiritual beliefs". According to Aaron Bynum from AnimationInsider.net, "the series posted double digit year-to-year gains in May". He also said that the show has been number one in the boys 9- to 14-year-old demographic, and has attracted many age and gender groups in its pool of 1.1 million viewers who watch each new episode.
In addition, the season has won many awards throughout its runtime. During the 33rd Annual Annie Awards, the show was nominated for the "Best Animated Television Production" award. Because of the episode "The Fortuneteller", the show was nominated for the "Writing for an Animated Television Production" award. For the episode "The Deserter", the season was nominated for and won the "Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production" award. During the 2005 Pulcinella Awards, the season won the "Best Action/Adventure TV Series" award as well and the general "Best TV Series" award.
|Title||Animated by||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Prod.
|1||1||"The Boy in the Iceberg"||JM Animation||Dave Filoni||Michael Dante DiMartino
|February 21, 2005||101|
|While fishing, Sokka and Katara discover Aang and his ten-ton, six-legged sky bison Appa icebound floating on the sea. After freeing them, they discover that Aang is an Airbender from the Air Nomads, a race of people assumed to have died out a hundred years before. When he goes with them to the water tribe he doesn't reveal that he is the Avatar, that has the ability to bend the four elements. The Avatar is reincarnated generation after generation and would be the only one who could prevent the Fire Nation from conquering all the nations, which is why the Fire Nation exterminated the Air Nomads, Aang's tribe. Meanwhile, Zuko, the banished Prince of the Fire Nation, is patrolling the seas in search of the Avatar. While exploring an abandoned Fire Nation ship, Katara tells Aang about the war that had been going on for the past hundred years. They accidentally set off a light beam in the ship, which alerts Zuko to the village.|
|2||2||"The Avatar Returns"||JM Animation||Dave Filoni||Michael Dante DiMartino
|February 21, 2005||102|
|When Zuko locates the Southern Water Tribe village where Aang has been, he demands the Avatar be surrendered to him. Aang returns to the village, despite having been banished, to surrender himself to Zuko as long as he agrees to leave the village alone. Aboard Zuko's ship, Aang is at Zuko's mercy, but he eventually manages to maneuver away from the guards and to battle Zuko. Katara and Sokka take the flying bison Appa to go after Aang. Aang and his friends manage to defeat Zuko and his subordinates. Katara and Sokka decide to travel with Aang to the North Pole so that Aang can learn Waterbending from members of the Northern Water Tribe.|
|3||3||"The Southern Air Temple"||DR Movie||Lauren MacMullan||Michael Dante DiMartino||February 25, 2005||103|
|Due to an interest in reliving his old memories, Aang suggests a visit to the Southern Air Temple. He tells stories of his old mentor, Monk Gyatso, as well as sports and games that Airbenders used to play. At the temple, Aang finds a flying lemur, whom he names Momo. Upon arrival, it becomes clear to Sokka and Katara that the Fire Nation have slaughtered the inhabitants, but Katara keeps Aang in the dark to spare his feelings. When Aang discovers the truth for himself, he becomes upset and enters the Avatar State. Luckily, Katara calms him down and he is forced to accept that he is the last airbender. Meanwhile, because his ship was damaged by Aang in the previous episode, Zuko needs to stop at a docking area to have it repaired. There, he and his uncle run into Commander Zhao, who manages to learn that the Avatar has been found. Zuko challenges Zhao to a duel (known as an agni-kai) over the right to track the Avatar, which Zuko wins. Zuko spares Zhao's life; Zhao in turn tries to kill Zuko after Zuko turns his back on Zhao, though Iroh stops the attack in time.|
|4||4||"The Warriors of Kyoshi"||JM Animation||Giancarlo Volpe||Nick Malis||March 4, 2005||104|
|Looking for a short break from their travels, Aang brings the gang to the Earth Kingdom's Kyoshi Island, where he seeks to ride "Elephant Koi," large fish who inhabit the surrounding waters. Before they are able to leave, the gang are captured by a group of female warriors who live on the island. Aang is able to convince them to trust him, for Kyoshi was a past Avatar and he is the current Avatar. Sokka is trained by the Kyoshi Warrior Suki who manages to change his sexist attitude, and Aang lets the village's reverence of him go to his head. Meanwhile, Zuko catches up to them and begins to burn the village until the group draws him off.|
|5||5||"The King of Omashu"||DR Movie||Anthony Lioi||John O'Bryan||March 18, 2005||105|
|The next stop on the group's trip around the world is the Earth Kingdom city of Omashu. There, Aang shows Katara and Sokka the Omashu chute mail delivery system, which he and his friend Bumi (a Hindi word meaning 'Earth') used to ride for fun a hundred years ago. The trio gives the chutes a try but runs into trouble after it destroys a cabbage merchant's cart. Put in front of the crazy King of the city, the gang is unexpectedly given a feast. The King suspects that Aang is the Avatar and puts him through three deadly challenges to test his skills. After the last challenge, Aang is forced to figure out the King's name, and based on the nature of the challenges, he realizes that the King is his old friend Bumi. Bumi informs Aang of what his task as the current Avatar entails.|
|6||6||"Imprisoned"||JM Animation||Dave Filoni||Matthew Hubbard||March 25, 2005||106|
|Aang, Katara, and Sokka camp near a small Earth Kingdom town that is controlled by the Fire Nation, which bans Earthbending. Katara convinces a young earthbender named Haru to save an old man with earthbending, only to have Haru captured by the soldiers as the old man turns him in. Katara devises a plan to get herself arrested so Aang and Sokka can follow her to where Haru was taken and liberate him. While at the prison, a metal sea fortress that is impervious to Earthbending, Aang and Katara incite a rebellion with an inspiring speech and the realization that the coal powering the fortress is susceptible to Earthbending. The imprisoned Earthbenders manage to liberate themselves and return to their occupied cities.|
|7||7||"Winter Solstice, Part 1: The Spirit World"||DR Movie||Lauren MacMullan||Aaron Ehasz||April 8, 2005||107|
|Aang finds himself in a small Earth Kingdom village that is being attacked by a monster from the Spirit World. One night, this monster (named Hei Bai) captures Sokka. Aang decides to go after him. But after Aang is knocked out, he accidentally ends up in the Spirit World. There, he is told that Avatar Roku has a message for him. Aang proceeds to calm the attacking beast, restoring peace to the village. Meanwhile, Iroh gets captured by the Earth Kingdom. The soldiers who captured him wish to take him back to Ba Sing Se to face justice, the city Iroh laid siege to for 600 days during his youth as a Fire Nation general. This causes Zuko to stop his chase for the Avatar and to instead go after Iroh.|
|8||8||"Winter Solstice, Part 2: Avatar Roku"||DR Movie||Giancarlo Volpe||Michael Dante DiMartino||April 15, 2005||108|
|Aang has to travel to the Fire Temple to receive the message from Avatar Roku on the Winter Solstice. They are chased by Zuko and attacked by a Fire Nation blockade led by Zhao on the way there. When Aang gets to the temple he is shocked to learn the five Fire Sages there are no longer the Avatar's allies. However, a friendly sage helps Aang get to the sanctuary where he can talk to Roku. Avatar Roku informs Aang about "Sozin's Comet," which will return in just under a year and give the Fire Nation the power to finish the war. When Aang leaves the sanctuary, he is attacked by Zhao and the Sages. Aang defeats them when he manifests the spirit of Roku, who destroys the temple.|
|9||9||"The Waterbending Scroll"||JM Animation||Anthony Lioi||John O'Bryan||April 29, 2005||109|
|Aang grows frantic over the fact that he must defeat the Fire Lord in less than a year when he only has mastered one element and Team Avatar is still a long way from the North Pole. Katara, despite her limited training as a waterbender, begins teaching Aang, and is frustrated when he surpasses her without effort. However, Aang accidentally washes away their supplies while practicing. When they go into town to buy more supplies, Katara finds a waterbending scroll at a store run by pirates. After Katara steals the scroll, the pirates chase the group. Meanwhile, Zuko runs into the pirates and agrees to help them find Aang and the scroll that Katara stole. Zuko captures Katara and the pirates capture Aang and Sokka. A fight breaks out between Zuko's crew and the pirates. During the commotion, the group escapes with the waterbending scroll.|
|10||10||"Jet"||JM Animation||Dave Filoni||James Eagan||May 6, 2005||110|
|A band of guerrilla fighters, led by the rogue Jet, rescue Aang, Katara, and Sokka from a small group of Fire Nation soldiers. Jet invites the team back to the Freedom Fighters' hideout, where the group plots out its attacks. Sokka has suspicions about Jet, however, which leads the young rebel to tempt Sokka with missions. His plan fails, making Sokka more skeptical of Jet's motives. Aang and Katara decide to help Jet "save" a nearby Earth Kingdom town, but Jet's real intent is to drown the village, willing to sacrifice the lives of innocent civilians to destroy the Fire Nation garrison there. However, Sokka manages to evacuate the city, Earth and Fire citizens alike, in time to avoid Jet's plot.|
|11||11||"The Great Divide"||DR Movie||Giancarlo Volpe||John O'Bryan||May 20, 2005||111|
|The next destination the gang stumbles into is the Great Divide, the world's largest canyon. The group starts bickering, so Aang decides to put his Avatar skills to the test. He successfully solves their minor disputes, but Aang tries to put his skills to practical use, when two Earth Kingdom tribes, who have been in a feud for 100 years, need to cross the canyon together. Aang sends Appa across with most needy people of the two tribes, and, with the help of a knowledgeable earthbender, guides the rest across the vast, dry landscape. In the end, Aang is able to end the feud, and the two tribes travel together to the capital city of Ba Sing Se.|
|12||12||"The Storm"||JM Animation||Lauren MacMullan||Aaron Ehasz||June 3, 2005||112|
|The group is in need of money, so Sokka decides to help out a fisherman who is willing to pay him to help him on his next fishing trip, even though a storm seems imminent. The fisherman recognizes Aang as the Avatar "who turned his back on the world". Aang runs away in guilt, but Katara manages to track him down. Aang reveals to Katara that the monks at the Southern Air Temple wanted to send him away to the Eastern Air Temple to separate him from Monk Gyatso, the only person who cared about Aang as a person instead of as the Avatar. This led Aang to run away from home and (eventually) seal himself in the iceberg. Meanwhile on Zuko's ship, Zuko's crew begins to question his leadership, until Iroh enlightens them on how the prince was scarred in a duel, and was then banished from the Fire Nation, by his own father.|
|13||13||"The Blue Spirit"||DR Movie||Dave Filoni||Michael Dante DiMartino
|June 17, 2005||113|
|Sokka suffers from an illness due to his exposure to the elements during the storm. When Katara begins to contract the illness as well, Aang goes to a nearby herbalist institute in hopes of finding a cure for his friends. On his way to collect the remedy the herbalist recommends, Aang is kidnapped by a group of Fire Nation Yuu Yan archers, commanded by the newly promoted Admiral Zhao. However, a masked marauder, the titular "Blue Spirit," rescues Aang from Zhao; the "Blue Spirit" is knocked unconscious during the escape, and Aang discovers that he is Prince Zuko. Aang offers him friendship, but departs when he is rebuffed.|
|14||14||"The Fortuneteller"||JM Animation||Dave Filoni||Aaron Ehasz
|September 23, 2005||114|
|Katara, Aang, and Sokka go into a village that relies solely on the predictions of a fortuneteller, Aunt Wu. Sokka is skeptical and refuses to believe anything the fortuneteller says, and tries to disprove all the predictions she makes. Katara, on the other hand, is obsessed, and keeps returning to the fortuneteller for more predictions on her love life. Aang, who has just recently become smitten with Katara, attempts to attract her attention throughout the episode, with limited success; eventually he attempts to fetch a rare flower from the lip of a nearby volcano, which is revealed to be on the verge of erupting—a direct contradiction to Aunt Wu's predictions. Katara and Aang use waterbending to manipulate the clouds as a warning to the villagers, and the group manages to evacuate the village before the volcano erupts. As the lava comes toward the town, Aang pushes it back with strong airbending, causing Sokka to comment that Aang is a "powerful bender". This catches Katara's attention, as Aunt Wu had earlier predicted that she would marry a "powerful bender".|
|15||15||"Bato of the Water Tribe"||DR Movie||Giancarlo Volpe||Ian Wilcox||October 7, 2005||115|
|Sokka, Aang, and Katara find a seemingly abandoned Water Tribe fleet ship. Camping out by the boat, the kids discover that it belongs to Bato, an old friend of Katara and Sokka's father, Hakoda, and fellow member of the Southern Water Tribe. While they reminisce about the old days, Aang feels left out; when a messenger arrives with a message from Hakoda, inviting his children to visit them, Aang intercepts it and keeps it to himself, fearing they will abandon him. Later he comes clean about the message, but Sokka, furious at Aang for keeping it from them, is insistent on leaving to find his father. Meanwhile, Zuko finds a bounty hunter, June, to help him track down the Avatar. This leads to a skirmish, with Katara and Sokka returning to rescue Aang and resume their collective journey to the North Pole.|
|16||16||"The Deserter"||JM Animation||Lauren MacMullan||Tim Hedrick||October 21, 2005||116|
|The protagonists travel into a Fire Nation town, which is hosting a festival of Fire Nation culture. Unfortunately, Aang's identity is discovered, but a strange man, Chey, helps the gang escape. Chey tells the trio about "the deserter", a man named Jeong Jeong who is the first man to desert the Fire Nation army and live. More importantly, he is a firebender who is not allied with the Fire Nation. However, Jeong Jeong refuses to teach Aang, still haunted by his failure to teach self-control to a previous student; it is only when Avatar Roku intervenes that Jeong Jeong consents to teach Aang. Aang, unfortunately, shows the same disregard for discipline, and accidentally burns Katara. While she discovers that she can heal others, and herself as well, Aang still regards firebending as dangerous and vows never to firebend again. Meanwhile, Aang is tracked down by Admiral Zhao, who is revealed to be Jeong Jeong's undisciplined former student. He fights Aang, but Aang is able to escape him by using his lack of self-control against him; he causes Zhao to burn his own ship.|
|17||17||"The Northern Air Temple"||DR Movie||Dave Filoni||Elizabeth Welch Ehasz||November 4, 2005||117|
|A storyteller tells the gang of a group of people who travel in the air. According to the story, these people reside at the Northern Air Temple. The group decides to check it out, but are disappointed to just see normal people gliding. Aang is saddened that the Northern Air Temple has changed so dramatically since the time when he visited over 100 years ago, as its current residents have remodeled it extensively. Teo, a young paraplegic, convinces Aang to open the one remaining area of the temple left untouched. Aang is shocked to see the room stored with dozens of inventions with Fire Nation insignias on them. The Mechanist, Teo's father, confesses to aiding the Fire Nation with building weapons. When the Fire Nation comes to collect their latest invention, Aang tells them to leave. The Fire Nation proceeds to launch an attack against the temple, but Aang and the villagers manage to successfully defend against the attack. The Fire Nation, however, does manage to recover the invention, a war balloon.|
|18||18||"The Waterbending Master"||JM Animation||Giancarlo Volpe||Michael Dante DiMartino||November 18, 2005||118|
|After the journey to the Northern Air Temple, the group lurks around the waters surrounding the North Pole, seeking out the Northern Water Tribe. They are found by a group of waterbenders from the tribe, who show them the way. Upon arriving, the gang is welcomed warmly by the citizens of the Northern Water Tribe, and the chief of the tribe throws a huge party in celebration. Sokka meets Yue, an attractive princess whom he falls for. Aang and Katara seek to learn waterbending from a master named Pakku, but he refuses to teach Katara due to sexist customs. Katara proves herself worthy, both by demonstration of technique and by invoking the memory of Pakku's beloved ex-fiancee—Katara's own grandmother, who could not stand to live under the Northern Water Tribe's misogyny—and Pakku relents. Meanwhile, Admiral Zhao hires the pirates from "The Waterbending Scroll" to assassinate Zuko; hearing his nephew was killed, Iroh agrees to assist Zhao with an attack on the North Pole. But Zuko has survived, and, with Iroh's help, sneaks aboard Zhao's lead ship as his fleet departs.|
|19||19||"The Siege of the North, Part 1"||DR Movie||Lauren MacMullan||John O'Bryan||December 2, 2005||119|
|As the Fire Nation's forces close in on the Northern Water Tribe, the leaders and citizens scramble to find a way to defend against the armada. As night begins to fall, Admiral Zhao decides to heed Iroh's advice and halt the attack since waterbenders are stronger under the moonlight. Zuko leaves Zhao's ship and infiltrates the tribe on his own, seeking to capture Aang. Aang believes going into the spirit world and speaking to the moon and ocean spirits could give him the wisdom to defeat the Fire Nation. However, after Aang's spirit leaves for the spirit world, Zuko arrives to kidnap his body; despite stern resistance from Katara, he succeeds when dawn breaks and it is revealed that the Fire Nation is the strongest when the Sun comes up.|
|20||20||"The Siege of the North, Part 2"||JM Animation||Dave Filoni||Aaron Ehasz||December 2, 2005||120|
|Zuko struggles to find shelter in the freezing temperatures of the North Pole, while Sokka, Katara and Yue search for him and Aang. At the Northern Water Tribe, firebenders and Fire Nation tanks manage to infiltrate the city. Admiral Zhao slays the moon spirit, Tui, and the waterbenders lose their ability to waterbend. In anger, Aang, who along with Zuko was rescued by Sokka, Katara and Yue, goes into the Avatar State and, in joining with the Ocean Spirit La, destroys the entire Fire Nation armada and army, with the exceptions of Iroh and Zuko. Yue, who was imbued with some of the energy of the Moon Spirit when she was a baby, sacrifices her life to revive it, and becomes the Moon Spirit. Zhao is pulled underwater by the Ocean Spirit in retaliation for slaying the Moon Spirit, refusing to accept Zuko's help when he attempts to save him; Zhao is never seen again. At the end of the episode, Ozai assigns Azula a mission: to hunt down her traitor uncle and brother.|
Nickelodeon started releasing Season One DVDs in North America on January 31, 2006 with a series of single-disc sets containing four episodes per disc. Later the Complete Book 1 Collection was released on September 12, 2006 containing all twenty episodes plus extras on six discs.
PAL versions of the single-disc volume sets started being released on February 19, 2007;. As with the original Region 1 NTSC DVDs, each set contains four episodes per disc. The Complete Book One Collection was released on January 26, 2009 containing all twenty episodes on five discs. These Region 2 releases lack the commentary tracks and other DVD extras found on the Region 1 releases.
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|1||1||4||January 31, 2006||February 19, 2007||March 15, 2007|
|2||1||4||March 28, 2006||June 4, 2007||July 5, 2007|
|3||1||4||May 30, 2006||September 3, 2007||March 13, 2008|
|4||1||4||July 18, 2006||February 18, 2008||June 19, 2008|
|5||1||4||September 19, 2006||May 26, 2008||March 5, 2009|
|Box set||6||20||September 12, 2006||January 26, 2009||June 4, 2009|
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