Yesterday was the fifteenth anniversary of the premiere of Avatar: The Last Airbender. The series is set in an Asian-like world where people can manipulate, or bend, the elements of earth, air, fire, and water with a single Avatar, able to bend all four, who must bring balance to the world. The plot follows the most recent Avatar named Aang who, after being frozen for one-hundred years, returns and must defeat the Fire Nation from taking over the world.
The series lasted from February 21st, 2005 to July 19th, 2008 lasting sixty-one episodes across three seasons. It was produced by American companies and was strongly influenced by Japanese anime. The producers utilized martial arts experts in the movements of the characters while the look borrowed heavily from real life Asian locations. It also explored themes rarely seen in traditionally children's animation such as genocide, sex discrimination, imperialism, and destiny.
The series was a massive hit that spawned an enormous franchise. It expanded into novels, comics, and video games. It was adapted as a theatrical film, had an equally successful sequel series, and has a live-action remake series currently in development. It remains one of the most watched animated series of all time and was one of the highest rated cable series both when it premiered and concluded. It was nominated for numerous awards and won many including Annies and Emmys. It has been praised as one of the best shows ever made and is credited with blurring the lines between children and adult entertainment.
The show featured the talents of Dee Bradley Baker as the sky-bison Appa and lemur Momo, Dante Basco as Fire Prince and villain-turned-hero Zuko, Grey Griffin as Fire Princess Azula, Mark Hamill as main villain Fire Lord Ozai, Kevin Michael Richardson as village leader Tyro, Scott Menville as firebending magician Malu, Clancy Brown as traitorous advisor Long Feng, Nika Futterman as Freedom Fighter Smellerbee, Rene Auberjonois as the Mechanist, Clyde Kusatsu as high monk Pasang, Jennifer Hale as Avatar Kyoshi, Phil LaMarr as Earth King Kuei, Carlos Alazraqui as swamp waterbenders Tho and Due, Robin Atkin Downes as a ship captain, Tara Strong as the baby Tom-Tom, Barbara Goodson as Song's mother, Nick Jameson as Colonel Shinu, Robert Patrick as swordmaster Piandao, Jack Angel as a pirate captain, John DiMaggio as actors playing Iroh and Toph, Benjamin Diskin as water tribe warrior Hahn, George Takei as the Fire Nation prison warden, Robert Ito as the Sun Warrior chief, Cam Clarke as socialite Lao Beifong, Fred Tatasciore as Fire Nation captain Yung, Ron Perlman as Ozai's grandfather Fire Lord Sozin, Quinton Flynn as the mugger Tycho, Dwight Schultz as the circus trainer, Jim Ward as a Fire Nation headmaster, Philip Proctor as a Fire Nation music teacher, Andre Ware a the sensitive ruffian, as well as Eric Bauza, Daran Norris, Tom Kane, James Arnold Taylor, and Rodney Saulsberry providing additional voices.