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Is The Last Airbender An Anime

Netflix’s Avatar The Last Airbender Will Likely Star Azula

The Last Airbender Animated Trailer

Avatar: The Last Airbender is known for its quality story, and its characters aren’t anything to laugh at. From Aang to Zuko and Katara, the animated series is filled with impressive heroes who flesh out the plot. Of course, these fighters have their own demons to face, and villains like Azula make that obvious. With Netflix now developing an adaptation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, fans have wondered whether Zuko’s sister would appear in season one. Now, a new report suggests the princess will make herself known.

Azula, the sister of Zuko and the psychotic princess of the Fire Nation, is reportedly set to appear in the upcoming first season of Avatar The Last Airbender’s live-action series, which would somewhat befit the original opening season of the animated series. While Azula does appear in Season One of the Nickelodeon series, it’s only until the second season that we are able to see the fire princess unleash her insane power as a fire bender, along with her ruthless demeanor as she hunts for both the Avatar and her brother Zuko. While the rumors are beginning to swirl that Azula will make an appearance, no casting decision has yet been made when it comes to Zuko’s deranged sister.

Twitter Outlet Avatar News shared the report that apparently the first season of Netflix’s Avatar The Last Airbender series will see Azula make her grand debut alongside the main cast of the beloved franchise, though the depth of her role is anyone’s guess at this point:

Is Avatar: The Last Airbender An Anime Or Cartoon Anime Isnt A Genre

Its true that;Avatar: The Last Airbender;consciously and openly;borrows a lot;of elements;we associate with anime… but not with;all;anime. The magic;system, battle sequences that are choreographed in an anime-like style, the odd villains, and the coming-of-age themes, with characters keen on becoming stronger and improving their world and;themselves,;are;elements;Avatar;shares with many anime;series.

But there are just as many anime works that have no such elements. These tropes;are;associated primarily with fantasy anime, particularly those marketed as;shnen. A ;shnen is;targeted towards a young male audience though not;necessarily;watched exclusively by this demographic.;;

For some, of course, this is the default;anime;aesthetic;due to;the popularity of;series;such as;Fullmetal;Alchemist,;One Piece,;and;Naruto.;However, fantasy;shnen;coming-of-age narratives;are far from the only;stories;anime tell. There are works with;a slice of life-type;telling simple stories that might have easily been told in another medium.

Horror works;such as;Another tell contemporary takes of small communities in darker, more subdued tones.;Realistic adult works;with a darker, more grounded animation style;like;Death Note;with no whimsical magic or choreographed fights;are;still;called anime;because;they fit the definition discussed;above:;works animated in Japan.;;;

Steven Universe And Steven Universe Future

The Thought Chakra, focusing on pure cosmic energy, blocked by earthly attachments

The Steven Universe series is one of Avatars great spiritual successors thanks to both series shared anime influences, references to Asian cultures and mythologies, universe-spanning message of empathy and communion among different cultures, and, of course, the fact that their heroes are lads imbued with cosmic power. At the center of both Aangs and Stevens power sit their respective attachments to their found families and the ways their heritages interfere with those attachments. Steven Universes reveals are all too good to spoil, so suffice it to say that if you appreciated the fact that Aang refused to reject his earthly, romantic attachments to Katara, you will vibe with basically every season of Steven Universes journey, from little human-alien boy to slightly older human-alien boy.

Watch Steven Universe on: Hulu; HBO Max

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Reasons Avatar: The Last Airbender Is An Anime

Avatar: The Last Airbender isn’t made in Japan, so does it count as anime? From animation and art style to its characters, we make the case why it is.

Avatar: The Last Airbender is famous for popularizing the Western anime style. Created and run from Burbank, the show is a massive homage in art style and storytelling to popular anime. But can it actually be considered an anime?

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The largest defining factor of Western animation vs. anime is the area of origin. But with overseas animation being popularized in the mid-80s,the open accessibility to Japanese anime titles, and Japanese anime exploring more Western styles of animation, the lines are becoming more blurred than ever.

Here are our reasons why Avatar: The Last Airbender is an anime.

Update May 22nd, 2020 by Louis Kemner: Now that the original Avatar: the Last Airbender series is on Netflix again, it’s back in the pop culture zeitgeist, and many new fans can be brought on board when they stream it. This series shares some overlap with Japanese anime, which is more mainstream and popular than ever, and it’s worth noting a few more reasons why Avatar: the Last Airbender is a close cousin to that style of animation. Anyone who enjoys anime is probably going to like Avatar, too.

The Legend Of Korra Main Characters

AniManga Corner: Anime / Manga Series: Avatar: The Last ...

Avatar Korra is the immediate incarnation of Aang from the original series. Athletic, confident, tomboyish and headstrong, Korra fully embraces and relishes her role as the Avatar, but lacked in spiritual development. Over the course of the series, Korra battles foes, both within and outside herself, as she tries to keep the world in balance. She overcomes having her bending removed by Amon, having her connection to her past lives severed by Unalaq and Vaatu, suffering posttraumatic stress disorder due to Zaheer‘s mercury poisoning, and having her position as world peacekeeper usurped by the military dictator Kuvira. Korra is especially notable in the Avatar franchise for connecting with the first Avatar Wan and starting a new Avatar cycle.

Korra was designed to be an inversion of Aang. Said DiMartino, “We also wanted to explore an Avatar who was the exact opposite of peaceful Aang, so we chose a hot-headed teenage girl from the Water Tribe. Her ‘punch first and ask questions later’ attitude opened up a whole new world of story possibilities.” Korra’s design was a collaboration between Konietzko, co-executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos and supervising producer Ki-Hyun Ryu. Four-year-old Korra was designed by Ryu. For Korra’s look and attitude, the designers took reference from mixed martial artistGina Carano as well as competitive female snowboarders.



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The Recap Sequence: The Fire Nation Play

It’s a common technique in television shows to have a recap sequence explain what’s currently going on. However, some older anime have an episode or two entirely dedicated to summarizing the events so far. This usually happens before;entering more serious storylines. For instance,;Gundam SEED;had two recap episodes explain the stakes before proceeding to the more climactic portions of its storylines.

However,;Avatar;didn’t even need a strict recap episode per se. Rather, in Season 3, a Fire Nation play explained the way the world saw events happen across the seasons. In turn, this play demonstrated a hilarious parodied version of the character’s personalities and their take on the stories,;even Uncle Iroh!

The Beach Episode: Calm Before The Storm

Most anime deliver fanservice in the form of a beach episode. Somehow, protagonists and sometimes, even villains deserve a break from their constant battles. And in this episode, they unwind with a short vacation. Narrative-wise, this helps flesh out their characters and provide much-needed funny moments for the anime.

Granted,;Avatar;didn’t follow the usual purpose of a beach episode. However,;the show certainly delivered an impactful beach-centric episode for Zuko and his friends. When Zuko accompanies his sister and their friends on a trip, the show reveals the more human side of their villainous selves. In turn, viewers get more insight into their personalities,;with this episode serving as;an instrument to demonstrate;Zuko’s;decision-making process.

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Is Avatar: The Last Airbender An Anime Series Or A Cartoon

Since Avatar: The Last Airbender was added to the platform, it has taken its place as one of the best cartoons on Netflix. Between the art styles, incredible character arcs, and overall wonderful plotline, its by far my favorite thing to come out of Nickelodeon. And for the longest time, I had also been considering it one of my favorite anime series.

But Avatar: The Last Airbender is not an anime series, and it comes down to a fairly simple reason: It didnt come out of the anime industry.

Though ATLA may look like an anime, feel like an anime, and have all the right themes for the genre, it just isnt an anime.

If this seems like a technicality, its because it is. But that doesnt make it any less true. A good comparison is how champagne is only champagne because it comes from a certain region in France. Everywhere else, its just sparkling wine.

Shows Like Avatar: The Last Airbender To Watch If You Like Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar the Last Airbender II ANIME OPENING (fanmade)

There’s no replacing the Gaang, but these shows should help fill the void

Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar: The Last Airbender;might be more popular right now than it was when it originally aired in 2005, and for good reason. The Nickelodeon cartoon is a fun, fantastical adventure that follows Aang , a 12-year-old boy who teams up with his friends to end an oppressive regime, using his unique ability to “bend” all four elements: water, fire, earth, and air. Avatar‘s story and animation have stood the test of time, so it’s a no-brainer why it continues to resonate with people all these years later. It helps that it has a pretty evergreen relevance rare for a kids’ cartoon, dealing with very real, very serious themes like genocide, classism, and pushing back against a militaristic, fascist society.

Avatar‘s the kind of show that leaves you thinking, “Well, what now?” after you finish. But don’t despair, because we’ve got you covered with a list of shows to watch next that just might help fill the void. Some are about embarking on magical quests, some are about super-powered teens, and some are just about growing up in a weird, scary world, but they all have something in common with Avatar.

Looking for more recommendations of what to watch next? We have a ton of them! And if you’re looking for more hand-picked recommendations based on shows you love, we have those too.

The Legend of Korra

Kipo and the Age of the Wonderbeasts

The Dragon Prince

Demon Slayer

The Boondocks

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To Understand Why It Isnt An Anime I Must Explain Why People Think It Is

The Squad


ATLA is extremely influenced by Asian culture. It is not specific with the cultures that it utilizes, but its clear that the show runners pulled from many South and East Asian cultures to form the different Nations.

For example, many fans of the show have drawn parallels between the Earth Kingdom and Chinese cultures; and the Fire Nation and South Asian cultures. Its not something that the show tries to hide, and it is very adamant about its portrayal of Asian culture. In other words, ATLA is an animated show with lots of Asian influences.

As anime usually finds itself rooted in Japanese culture, its easy for many people in the West to think that ATLA could fall into the same categories.


Many popular shounen anime feature fight choreography similar to the kind found in Avatar. Not to mention, ATLA features a main character who must go through the trials and tribulations of a troublesome journey. Aang is taught things, and he picks up friends along the way. To say the least, its a coming of age story.

To break it down even further; one could even draw similarities to the way ATLAs villains are presented, and the way music plays a part in setting the tone for certain scenes.

Heck, they even have a recap and beach episode. Its really easy to label Avatar as an anime! It checks those boxes that animes need to have. You can even find it on some illegal anime streaming sites if you look hard enough.

Castlevania on Netflix

Michael Dimartino And Bryan Konietzko On The Cultural Influences Of The Last Airbender

During their discussion, DiMartino and Konietzko also spoke about the responsibility of creating a series heavily inspired by Asian culture, especially with two white men at the helm. Recent conversations surrounding inclusion and diversity have prompted creators to look more closely at how theyre approaching stories , but;DiMartino said the two tried to be conscientious of the cultures that influenced their work even before that was the case.

We just naturally want to respect people and cultures. Part of the reason we created was admiration of Miyazakis films and Asian culture. So, it came out of a love and appreciation of it. It was just natural to try to honor it as best we could.

The creators dont deny theyve made some missteps, however. Now;were obviously even more aware and more conscious to do it right,;DiMartino said.

Even the Avatar world isnt monolithic.;It is very multicultural. We are two white American dudes, but there isnt one person who could represent the entire Avatar world. Its very much about these different cultures coexisting, and the beauty and the pain that comes out of that. Its just about a world thats trying to find balance and trying to coexist. Thats our default attitudes anyway.

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Spirited Away: Spirituality Environmentalism

DiMartino and Konietzko also cited another Miyazaki work,;Spirited Away, as an influence while conceptualizing;The Last Airbender.

“The stories and emotional depth of;Spirited Away;and;Princess Mononoke;were big inspirations for us,” they said.;In;Spirited Away, young Chihiro Ogino ends up working for the witch Yubaba after the latter turned her parents into pigs. She has to work and find a way to reverse the spell and go back to the human world.

Interestingly, fantasy and environmentalism stay as focal points in this Miyazaki film. Chihiro encounters individuals in her adventure, which turn out to be environmental spirits. In;Avatar,;spirits in the Spirit World;also represent concepts and metaphors. Moreover, interacting with these spirits often serve as a way for;Avatar‘s protagonists to discover new aspects of themselves.

Is Avatar: The Last Airbender A Cartoon


If ATLA isnt considered an anime, does that mean its a cartoon? Yes, or you could call it an animated series if youd like. You can also keep thinking its an anime if youd like, thats just not the official classification of the show.

But whatever classification people use doesnt make ATLA any less amazing. Whether its considered an anime or not doesnt matter because the show itself hits audiences at a deeper level than most. And one of the things that made it good was the cues it took from anime: Art style, fighting styles, and cultural themes.

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Avatar The Last Airbender; Anime Or Cartoon

In the anime community, it has been long debated if Avatar The Last Airbender can be considered an anime. In my personal opinion, Avatar cannot be considered an anime due to some important factors anime must-have.;

The first being that all anime must originate in Japan. Seeing that Avatar was written and produced in the United States, it fails to meet this important factor. Leaving Avatar is better classified as a cartoon.;

Secondly, all anime just originally be voiced in Japanese, seeing that it comes from Japan. Avatar The Last Airbender however was not voiced in Japanese, but instead was voiced in English. The show does not even have a Japanese dubbed option.;

Next it important to consider that most animes are based on mangas. A Manga is a Japanese graphic novel or comic book style type of writing, mostly seen written for older teens or young adults. While Avatar was not based on a manga, after the creation of the show a line of graphic novels was released, entailing not only the time during the show but years after as well.;

I believe it is also important to point out some key distinctions between anime and cartoons.;

There is also a significant difference in characteristics between anime and cartoons. Meaning that the way the show is drawn and illustrated is quite different. Cartoons tend to be a lot more soft and smooth lines, while anime tends to be a lot more boxy and rough.;

Avatar: The Last Airbender Opening Gives It Incredible Anime Makeover

One Avatar: The Last Airbender fan animated opening has given the series a long overdue incredible anime makeover! Avatar: The Last Airbender has been at the center of a lot of debate over the years as fans have wondered whether or not it could qualify as an anime due to all of the influences it wears on its sleeve. The anime umbrella has widened over the years to include it, but it was a fierce one back then. But fans have offered some great fully anime takes on the franchise that have really pushed the argument to the next level.

Now there’s an even better argument for Avatar: The Last Airbender being an anime series as now it’s gotten the anime opening it deserves! Artist atenahena has proved that the series is not only a great inspiration for an anime opening with their take on it , but still continues to have some of the most iconic characters in the animated world! You can check out a tease of it from @atenahena’s Twitter below and check out the full opening above!

The avatar opening is finally done! Watch the full video on my YouTube! #avatar#AvatarTheLastAirbender#animation

Would you consider Avatar: The Last Airbender an anime series? If so, would you want a proper anime opening theme sequence? Let us know your thoughts in the comments or you can even reach out to me directly about all things animated and other cool stuff !

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