Avatar: The Last Airbender (season 2)
|Book Two: Earth|
Cover for "The Complete Book 2 Collection" DVD
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||20|
|Original release||March 17, 2006– December 1, 2006|
Season Two (Book Two: Earth) of Avatar: The Last Airbender, an American animated television series on Nickelodeon, first aired its 20 episodes from March 17, 2006 to December 1, 2006. The season was created and produced by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko and starred Zach Tyler Eisen, Mae Whitman, Jack DeSena, Jessie Flower, Dante Basco, Dee Bradley Baker, Mako Iwamatsu and Grey DeLisle as the main character voices.
In this season, the protagonist Aang and his friends Katara and Sokka are on a quest to find an Earthbending teacher which finishes when they recruit Toph Beifong. After finding important information concerning the war with the Fire Nation, Appa ends up kidnapped. Their journey leads to Ba Sing Se, the capital of the Earth Kingdom, where they uncover great internal government corruption.
Throughout the season's airing, the show received much critical acclaim, with praises such as, "As a flat concept, Avatar: The Last Airbender is nothing special, but in execution, it is head and shoulders above other children's entertainment", and that "as a whole, the look of Avatar is consistently excellent." Season 2 has won multiple awards, including the "Best Character Animation in a Television Production" award from the 34th Annie Awards and the "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation" award from the 2007 Emmy Awards.
Between January 23, 2007 and September 11, 2007, Nickelodeon released five DVD sets for the season: four sets containing five episodes each, and a fifth DVD collection of all twenty episodes. All DVDs were encoded in Region 1. In the United Kingdom, only the season boxset was released without being released in four volumes first. The boxset was released on July 20, 2009.
The season was produced by and aired on Nickelodeon, which is owned by Viacom. The season's executive producers and co-creators are Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, who worked alongside episode director and co-producer Aaron Ehasz. Most of the individual episodes were directed by Ethan Spaulding, Lauren MacMullan and Giancarlo Volpe. Episodes were written by a team of writers, which consisted of Aaron Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch Ehasz, Tim Hedrick, John O'Bryan; along with creators DiMartino and Konietzko.
Most of the main characters from the first season remained the same: Zach Tyler Eisen voices Aang, Mae Whitman voices Katara, Jack DeSena voices Sokka, Dee Bradley Baker voices both Appa and Momo, and Dante Basco voices Zuko.
In a review of the Volume 2 DVD Release for Book 2, Gabriel Powers from DVDActive.com described the series as one of the best children's series in recent times, making comparisons with Samurai Jack and Justice League, and complimented it for its depth and humour. Powers also comments:
|“||Without dumbing down its characters, plots, or humour, and without overtly taming-up the action or peril, Avatar manages to enthral children and adults, ages 4 to 56...There is a genuine classic feel to the series, which uses actual Asian culture and lore as its base. Like Star Wars, the creative forces behind the show have tapped into that basic, generation spanning storytelling that will live long after the series' youngest fans are old and bitter.||”|
For the video and audio quality, Powers says "Season two generally looks better than the bulk of season one, but still has some issues" concerning image sharpness. Rotten Tomatoes gave it an 87% fresh rating in 2008. Jamie S. Rich from DVD Talk says that "As a flat concept, Avatar the Last Airbender is nothing special, but in execution, it is head and shoulders above other children's entertainment", and that "as a whole, the look of Avatar is consistently excellent".
The show also received acclaim for its visual appeal. In the 34th Annie Awards, the show was nominated for and won the "Best Character Animation in a Television Production" award, for Jae-Myung Yu's animation in "The Blind Bandit", and the "Best Directing in an Animated Television Production" award, for the episode "The Drill". In 2007, the show was nominated for "Outstanding Animated Program" in the 2007 Emmy Awards for the "City of Walls and Secrets" episode, though it did not win. However, the show did win the "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation" award for Sang-Jin Kim's animation in the "Lake Laogai" episode.
|Title||Animated by||Directed by||Written by||Original air date||Production
|21||1||"The Avatar State"||DR Movie||Giancarlo Volpe||Aaron Ehasz
Elizabeth Welch Ehasz
|March 17, 2006||201||3.38|
|Aang and his friends rest at Earth Kingdom Outpost after their journey from the North Pole. They are to be escorted to Omashu, where Aang intends to find King Bumi to teach him earthbending. But General Fong, inspired by Aang's battle-determining actions during the Siege of the North, suggests that Aang defeat the Fire Lord and end the war immediately by triggering the Avatar State. In the meantime, Zuko and his uncle are visited by his sister, Azula, who has come bearing a message from the Fire Lord, requesting their return home. After many failed attempts, the General finally succeeds in triggering the Avatar State by faking Katara's death. Aang nearly destroys the base in anger but is then told by Avatar Roku that if he is killed in his Avatar state that the Avatar spirit will cease to exist. The group decides to go to Omashu alone. Zuko and his uncle discover Azula's summons to be a ruse in order to imprison the pair. They escape however, but are subsequently forced to become outcasts, realizing that they are to become fugitives of the Fire Nation after Iroh's treacherous saving of the Moon Spirit at the North Pole, and Zuko's failure to capture the Avatar.|
|22||2||"The Cave of Two Lovers"||JM Animation||Lauren MacMullan||Joshua Hamilton||March 24, 2006||202||3.27|
|While on the way to Omashu, Aang and the group meet a group of carefree traveling bards, who take them through a vast tunnel known as the Cave of Two Lovers. Zuko and Iroh are sheltered by kind villagers after Iroh accidentally drinks tea made of a poisonous plant. Song, a young and compassionate healer, shows Zuko the effects of war from a normal citizen's perspective. Aang and Katara grow even closer as they discover the origins of the cave, which includes the tombs of the first two earthbenders. In the process, they share their first romantic kiss together. Their torch burns out plunging them in darkness thus setting off the glowing lights in the ceiling, allowing the group to escape and make it to Omashu, which is under control of the Fire Nation.|
|23||3||"Return to Omashu"||DR Movie||Ethan Spaulding||Elizabeth Welch Ehasz||April 7, 2006||203||3.20|
|Omashu has been captured by the Fire Nation. Aang and friends sneak in and are nearly captured, but Sokka fakes a deadly illness (pentapox) to scare off the guards. They meet a resistance movement, and help the whole city escape with the same fake epidemic. The Fire Nation Governor's infant son and Mai's baby brother, Tom-Tom, accidentally leaves with the citizens. Aang attempts to trade him for King Bumi, but Princess Azula calls off the trade. Aang manages to rescue Bumi after a fight with Azula, but Bumi allows himself to be recaptured, saying that he must wait for a more proper time. He instructs Aang to find an earthbending teacher who "waits and listens" before striking at the right moment.|
|24||4||"The Swamp"||JM Animation||Giancarlo Volpe||Tim Hedrick||April 14, 2006||204||3.10|
|While flying, Aang and friends are attracted to a mysterious swamp and get separated from one another. They begin to see unique illusions in the swamp: Sokka sees Princess Yue, Katara sees her dead mother and Aang sees a mysterious girl. They are reunited and attacked by a swamp monster who turns out to be a wise man from a tribe of swamp waterbenders. He explains that all beings are connected, as the swamp is a single large tree, and the visions are of people they have met or will meet. Meanwhile Zuko, disgusted with having to live as a beggar, dons the mask of the Blue Spirit once again.|
|25||5||"Avatar Day"||DR Movie||Lauren MacMullan||John O'Bryan||April 28, 2006||205||3.11|
|Aang and friends stumble upon a town celebrating an Anti-Avatar Day. The villagers blame the Avatar for killing their leader, Chin the Great, in a past life. Aang is arrested and put on trial for his crimes. Zuko disguises himself as the Blue Spirit to steal food for him and his uncle. Iroh is not happy with what Zuko is doing, and Zuko decides to leave him. After Fire Nation soldiers attack the village, Aang is pardoned after he defeats them. The town changes the anti-Avatar celebration to a pro-Avatar celebration.|
|26||6||"The Blind Bandit"||JM Animation||Ethan Spaulding||Michael Dante DiMartino||May 5, 2006||206||3.33|
|Aang is searching for an earthbending teacher, but with little success. While at Xin Fu's earthbending tournament Aang finds a talented blind earthbending girl named Toph and realizes she was the one in his vision. But she cannot become Aang's teacher due to her wealthy and overprotective parents. Xin Fu kidnaps Aang and Toph thinking he was cheated. Toph reveals her power by defeating Fu's gang, but her parents become even more restrictive. She runs away from home and joins Aang. Toph's parents, believing Aang had kidnapped her, promise Xin Fu and Master Yu a chest of gold if they bring her back.|
|27||7||"Zuko Alone"||JM Animation||Lauren MacMullan||Elizabeth Welch Ehasz||May 12, 2006||207||3.33|
|After leaving his uncle Zuko continues his journey to an Earth Kingdom town where a young boy named Lee befriends him. Zuko remembers his childhood, including Azula's psychopathic behavior and his own perseverance. Finally he recalls his mother's last words and the announcement that his grandfather died and mother has suddenly left. As Zuko defends the family his identity as the Fire Prince is revealed, and the boy and his family reject him because of it.|
|28||8||"The Chase"||DR Movie||Giancarlo Volpe||Joshua Hamilton||May 26, 2006||208||3.33|
|Aang and his friends are chased by a mysterious machine, which makes it impossible for the group to stop and sleep. The lack of sleep makes everyone irritable, and causes a quarrel between Katara and Toph. While fighting Toph blames Appa for the chase and the group realize that they are being tracked because Appa is shedding. Aang takes some of Appa's fur to act as a decoy to lure the followers away, but he is cornered by Azula. His friends, plus Zuko and his uncle, arrive to take Azula down together, but she injures Iroh in the moment of distraction and escapes.|
|29||9||"Bitter Work"||DR Movie||Ethan Spaulding||Aaron Ehasz||June 2, 2006||209||3.26|
|Aang finally begins his earthbending training with Toph, but grows frustrated when he encounters difficulty with the earth element, the natural opposite of air. Similarly Iroh tries to teach Zuko lightning, but Zuko's anger keeps him from having the cold precision lightning requires. Iroh says true wisdom comes from many sources, describes the four elements, and advises that understanding the other elements makes one whole. Aang finds Sokka in danger from a Moose-Lion and is able to save him by firmly standing his ground as an earthbender would. Iroh teaches Zuko a technique he learned from studying both Northern and Southern waterbenders, which safely redirects lightning.|
|30||10||"The Library"||JM Animation||Giancarlo Volpe||John O'Bryan||July 14, 2006||210||3.18|
At an oasis, the group encounters a professor who tells them about a hidden Spirit Library in the desert. Inside, Sokka discovers a crucial weakness to the Fire Nation that could end the war: the date of the upcoming solar eclipse which will cripple the firebenders' firebending. The spirit of the library, Wan Shi Tong, refuses to allow them to leave with the knowledge and sinks the library into the sand. Meanwhile, Appa is kidnapped by Sandbenders. They all escape from the library but are devastated by the loss of Appa.Note: That is Zhao's final official appearance in this series. He is shown in a clip from "The Siege of the North" at the beginning, recapping that Zhao found the library years ago. It is, however, a younger version due to the fact that he was a lieutenant at the time.
|31||11||"The Desert"||DR Movie||Lauren MacMullan||Tim Hedrick||July 14, 2006||211||3.18|
|The gang is stranded in the desert, helpless without Appa. Iroh finds a co-member of a secret society, using his White Lotus opening in Pai Sho, who helps protect Iroh and Zuko from the Fire Nation. While there, they are recognized by the men hired by Toph's father, who plan to capture them for the reward. After going through the many perils of the desert, Aang tracks down the sandbenders who stole Appa, and learns that Appa was traded to a merchant in Ba Sing Se. Upon hearing that Appa was muzzled, Aang becomes so angry and upset that he enters the Avatar State, almost wiping out the sandbenders, but is calmed down by Katara.|
|32||12||"The Serpent's Pass"||JM Animation||Ethan Spaulding||Michael Dante DiMartino
|September 15, 2006||212||4.10|
|After leaving the desert, the group meets up with Suki, and attempts to lead a couple through the Serpent's Pass. They are attacked by a giant serpent, but ward it off and make it across. Meanwhile, Zuko and Iroh are also on their way to start a new life in the Earth Kingdom capital of Ba Sing Se, and encounter Jet and some of the Freedom Fighters, with whom Zuko starts to bond. The group finally makes it to Ba Sing Se only to find the Fire Nation is about to send a gigantic drill to destroy the city's wall.|
|33||13||"The Drill"||DR Movie||Giancarlo Volpe||Michael Dante DiMartino
|September 15, 2006||213||4.10|
|Having successfully crossed the Serpent's Pass, Aang is determined to go to Ba Sing Se where he hopes to find his lost sky bison, Appa. However, he discovers a Fire Nation drill heading straight for Ba Sing Se, intent on penetrating the wall. Aang and the group succeed in stopping and destroying the drill from the inside. Meanwhile, Jet wishes to recruit Zuko for his Freedom Fighters, but learns that Zuko and Iroh are firebenders.|
|34||14||"City of Walls and Secrets"||JM Animation||Lauren MacMullan||Tim Hedrick||September 22, 2006||214||3.27|
Aang and the rest of the group arrive in Ba Sing Se to find Appa and inform the Earth King about the solar eclipse, but they are constantly hindered by their tour guide, Joo Dee. They soon learn that any mention of war is forbidden and enforced by the Dai Li, secret police of Ba Sing Se, and their corrupt leader, Long Feng, who appears to know something about Appa. Elsewhere, Jet repeatedly tries and fails to gather evidence that Zuko and Iroh are firebenders. His last attempt, challenging Zuko to a sword fight, ends in his own arrest and being brainwashed by the Dai Li into believing there is no war in the city.Note: This was nominated a Primetime Emmy for "Outstanding Animated Program (For Programming Less Than One Hour)".
|35||15||"The Tales of Ba Sing Se"||DR Movie||Ethan Spaulding||Joann Estoesta
|September 29, 2006||215||3.12|
"The Tales of Ba Sing Se" is a set of vignettes about each of the main characters' adventures in Ba Sing Se, providing a glimpse of their personalities and private lives.
Note: Iroh's tale was dedicated to his voice actor Mako Iwamatsu, who had just died 7 days after Chapters 10 and 11 initially aired.
|36||16||"Appa's Lost Days"||JM Animation||Giancarlo Volpe||Elizabeth Welch Ehasz||October 13, 2006||216||3.54|
After being abducted, Appa is traded to the Fire Nation Circus where the Circus Trainer mistreats him, though the Sky Bison soon escapes with the help of a small boy. He later unwillingly enters a fight with a Boarcupine, and though wins, is badly wounded. By fortune, Suki and the Kyoshi warriors come across Appa and help him recover from his injuries, but are later attacked by Azula and her team and Appa is forced to flee. He returns to his childhood home at the Eastern Air Temple, where he encounters a mysterious guru. The guru aids Appa in his search for Aang, telling him to find Aang in Ba Sing Se, but before he is able to, he is captured by Long Feng.Note: This episode won a Humane Society award for its portrayal of the mistreatment of animals.
|37||17||"Lake Laogai"||DR Movie||Lauren MacMullan||Tim Hedrick||November 3, 2006||217||3.27|
|Finally having had enough of the rules of the city, the group decides to go against the law to find Appa. As they do so, the gang meet Jet again. They find Smellerbee and Longshot and realize Jet was brainwashed by the Dai Li. They travel to Lake Laogai in the hopes of finding Appa. Instead, they encounter Long Feng, who mortally wounds Jet. Elsewhere, Zuko finds Appa and discovers that Aang is in the city. However, with encouragement from his uncle, Zuko decides to free the sky-bison and give up the Blue Spirit alter-ego forever. After an intense battle on the surface, Aang and Appa are finally reunited.|
|38||18||"The Earth King"||JM Animation||Ethan Spaulding||John O'Bryan||November 17, 2006||218||3.76|
|The group breaks into the Earth King's palace to warn Kuei about the War, which the Dai Li kept hidden from him. They eventually convince Earth King Kuei by showing him the destroyed Fire Nation drill and Long Feng is arrested for treason. Meanwhile, Zuko succumbs to an illness which Iroh calls a metamorphosis caused by his conflicting destiny and is haunted by nightmares. Azula and her best friends, now disguised as the Kyoshi warriors, have infiltrated the city.|
|39||19||"The Guru"||DR Movie||Giancarlo Volpe||Michael Dante DiMartino
|December 1, 2006||219||4.40|
|After the group receives letters that were confiscated by Long Feng, Aang meets Guru Pathik, who trains him to master the Avatar State through the unlocking of chakras. Toph is captured by Xin Fu and Master Yu, who transport her back to her parents, but she escapes by inventing metalbending. Long Feng is tricked into a deal with Azula where he will exchange Aang for control of the Dai Li. Aang unlocks all chakras but the seventh and last, which requires giving up all earthly attachments, which turns out to be his genuine and intense romantic love and affections for Katara. Failing to abandon his strong romantic attachment to Katara, Aang sees a vision of her in danger and leaves his training against the Guru's wishes.|
|40||20||"The Crossroads of Destiny"||JM Animation||Michael Dante DiMartino||Aaron Ehasz||December 1, 2006||220||4.40|
|With Long Feng released, Zuko prepares to capture the Avatar. Before he can do so, Azula takes control of the Dai Li (and hence Ba Sing Se), explaining that they admire her brutal discipline. She has Zuko imprisoned. When Aang attempts to free Katara, Zuko is told by his uncle that he must choose between himself and Azula. He chooses to help Azula attack the Avatar. Aang realizes that he must let go of Katara in order to save her and fulfill his destiny, but the Fire Nation princess zaps Aang with lightning while in the mightily powerful Avatar State, putting the Avatar near the brink of death. Iroh delays to allow Aang's friends to escape along with the Avatar's comatose body. Katara uses the mystically enchanted spirit water to save Aang as they flee from the now-fallen Earth Kingdom's largest city, Ba Sing Se, with the now deposed of Earth King Kuei.|
Nickelodeon began releasing DVDs for Book 2 on January 23, 2007. The first four DVD releases contain one disc that consisted of five episodes each. The final DVD was the "Complete Book 2 Box Set", which contains all of the episodes in the season on four discs, and packaged with a special features disc. All of the DVD sets for Book 2 were released with Region 1 encoding, meaning that they can only play on North American DVD players. Book 2 was released on Region 2 on July 20, 2009.
|Volume||Discs||Episodes||Region 1 release||Region 2 release||Region 3 release|
|1||1||5||January 23, 2007||Not released||June 4, 2009|
|2||1||5||April 10, 2007||Not released||August 6, 2009|
|3||1||5||May 22, 2007||Not released||October 29, 2009|
|4||1||5||August 14, 2007||Not released||March 31, 2010|
|Box set||4||20||September 11, 2007||July 20, 2009||September 9, 2010|
- 1.^ Production code format taken from the commentary for "Sozin's Comet: The Phoenix King"
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