Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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The Days and Nights of the Jasmine Dragon

My work BlackBerry started acting up a couple of weeks ago. The click wheel had been very worn down and so it was very difficult to make the proper menu selections and worse, it would periodically crash for no reason. And when I say no reason, I mean that it will sometimes crash without cause whilst in the holster. I spoke about it to my manager and he ordered me one of the new BlackBerry Curve 8330s that are now replacing the old model we'd been using. You may arch your eyebrow and say "that's an old phone," and you'd be right. On the other hand, it is a hell of a lot nicer than the one I had before, and is inherently better than your phone because the service is free.

I've taken a bit of a break from the music cataloging; I made it up to "M" when a Semagic crash (never had one of those before) caused me to lose everything I had done thus far with that letter. This was a rather daunting setback, as there are really a whole lot of films with titles beginning with the letter "M" that have soundtrack albums. It was a deflating event, although the task of doing this, while tedious, also has an element of fun as I'm being reminded of discs I haven't listened to in some time, and sometimes even having the chance to spin them up while I'm working.

This weekend I finished watching Avatar: The Last Airbender and have to say that I was quite impressed with it. While the show was indeed designed for children and doesn't contain anything that most couldn't handle; while there is some violence in the series a main point of the show is that the kids must often learn to find alternative means of solving their problems (a major point of the series finale is that vegetarian Aang, raised by monks, refuses to take anybody's life). Indeed, one of the things that was best about the show was that while it had an epic scope and dealt with some pretty big issues, it never lost sight of the sense of fun that it started out with, and kept the main characters age-appropriate.

Tying each elemental 'Bending' to a specific martial art allowed them to come across as legitimate disciplines for Aang to learn. It also gave the fictitious power of Bending a "process" and gave the fight scenes a certain verisimilitude that made them quite gripping. There were moments when the animation and artwork would become quite breathtaking, and the show's focus on the ingenuity of its protagonists meant that there were many moments where there were logical extensions of the specific abilities that wouldn't necessarily be obvious; the blind character of Toph and her ability to "see" through feeling vibrations in the ground through her feet was a perfect example of this.

It should be no surprise that my single favorite character was Iroh, who was voiced by Mako for the first two seasons, then by Greg Baldwin for the last. Mako is, of course, a fantasy icon from his appearance in Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer, and the character he played in Avatar is just as memorable if not in some ways more so ("Dragon of the West" indeed!). However, I did like the development of all of the characters and how they grow and learn over the course of the months the three series take place. It was nice to see that the ensemble was also quite diverse in terms of personalities, and also how Sokka, the character with the least innate abilities, was nevertheless the most resourceful.

Andrea Romano did the voice direction for the show. She appears in several of the Season 3 supplements, and has got to be one of the coolest people ever.

Trailer for the feature film version due out next year:

Tags: avatar: the last airbender, conan, work
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