Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Avatar: Hilarious, Fun, and... Steampunk?

Most of you already know how I feel about Avatar: the Last Airbender. It's well-written, has good voice acting (any any lapses are easily forgiven when you remember that most of the voice actors really are kids), well animated, and has good action. The dramatic parts work. The plot stays fresh, and doesn't try to change a winning formula. I like every single major character. I often spend entire episodes with a dopey grin on my face when watching this show.

But is it steampunk?

Well, no. The technology is mostly medieval swords-and-sorcery type stuff, and the setting is pseudo-Asian. But wait... what's this?!

In Season Three, the Fire Nation gets zeppelins (not really a spoiler, but still cool). Now, while this hardly makes Avatar a Steampunk show, it does mean that it has more zeppelins than Last Exile did. And Last Exile is supposed to be Steampunk.

Can you have Steampunk without zeppelins? Of course. But why would you want to?

On an unrelated note, I have found the karmic opposite of Avatar. A show as wonderful as Avatar must have something out there that's equally horrible, to balance the universe. It's a homemade roleplaying game called FATAL. Whereas Avatar is well-written, fun, and just generally well made, FATAL is a steaming pile of festering... something. It's indescribable. Just as "fun" can hardly describe Avatar, there is no word in the English language to describe how very not good FATAL is. This review tries to do so. It goes on and on, but fails in the end. I'm convinced that the reviewers spent so much time on the review to try to get as much out of having forced their brains to endure the abomination that is FATAL.

Don't waste your life reading the review. Just trust me: FATAL is a horrible waste of everything. Spend the time you would have devoted to curiously reading the review watching Avatar instead. You'll be glad you did.

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