Avatar: The Last Airbender – Book 2 “Earth,” episode 15 – “The Tales of Ba Sing Se” – When Fictional Tragedies Meet Real World Ones

Tales of Ba Sing Se

       These shorts are really good and hit really close to home as Mako, the voice of Iroh died around this time. So not only are deaths being remembered and our characters experiencing moments of loneliness, but no doubt those who knew Mako personally were also experiencing something similar. He was a great actor and voice actor and in regards to “Avatar: The Last Airbender” was the voice of the best character on the show.

    I’ll be reviewing each of the stories individually and coming up with a score the episode as a whole after.

“The Tale of Toph and Katara” – Bonding Time

Written by Joan Estoesta and Lisa Wahlander

  The episode is Katara and Toph going to the spa and later taking on some bullies with bending and bonding over the experience. It is a fun short and we see that Toph is insecure in herself and that she puts on heirs of toughness because it is a defense mechanism…knowing that she doesn’t have to do that around Katara is a relief to her and they are friends afterwords.

Final Score: 8 / 10 (Needed exploration of Katara as a character).

“The Tale of Iroh” – Remembering Those Who are Lost and Living for Those Who Live

Written by Andrew Huebner

  This was a powerful episode and is the episode that ends with it being in honor of Mako who had died around this time. The story shows that Iroh is truly a member of the White Lotus and is at peace wherever he is in the world and wants to help those wherever he is. We see him help a child stop crying and a few other things around town too before he has the picnic to honor his dead son who had died in the Siege of Ba Sing Se. In this we see that guilt at not being able to help his son do the right thing is what motivates him. He wants to do good to others because he blames himself for his son’s death and not doing the right with the war.

Final Score: 10 / 10 (Best of the shorts)

“The Tale of Aang” – You Can Change Things

Written by Gary Scheppke

  This is an episode that shows Aang’s idealism and his role as the Avatar as we see him free the animals from the Zoo and make them a large area right outside the wall so they have space and the Zookeeper can make money again. It’s a fun adventure and we see that his desire to help animals is tied to him wanting to find Appa again.

Final Score: 7 / 10

“The Tale of Sokka” – A Play of Words

Written by Lauren MacMullan

  Like the Aang episode we see that Sokka stumbles into situations and is usually quite intelligent until he messes up. We see him being popular with the ladies as he out Haikus their teacher but he messes up when his ego takes over and we see how that is always his downfall. The moment he expresses himself as better than anyone, he is knocked down a peg.

Final Score: 7 / 10

“The Tale of Zuko” – Relief and the Shadow of the Past

Written by Katie Matilla

 This episode shows that Zuko is still trapped in the shadow of the Fire Nation. This is what keeps him from having a relationship with Jin, though we see that he is finally starting to live as he thanks Iroh for setting up the date and that he did have a lot of fun. In this we see that Zuko is aware of his issues he has within himself but doesn’t know how to face them or to not be the Prince. In this way he is bound to his role and family while Iroh is free from it. I really liked Jin as a character too.

Final Score: 9 / 10

“The Tale of Momo” – Alone

Written by Justin Ridge and Giancarlo Volpe

 This episode is about Momo’s search for Appa and how he is chased and nearly killed a few times in the city but how it’s kindness allows it to bond with other animals of the city. Sadly Mom is not able to find Appa and ends with Momo sleeping in Appa’s footprint.

Final Score: 8 / 10

  As a whole this was a great episode full of mini-stories that revealed to us information about our characters. Making the episode in honor of Mako was the right thing to do too. It is an episode that is reflective and could be argued as filler but what puts it apart from filler is that events happen to our characters that show us who they are define them. We see what what motivates our heroes and what they strive for within themselves and the world around them.

Final Score: 9 / 10. The episodes are all fun even though they vary in quality and as a whole they are well worth the watch. These are short stories that matter in “Avatar.”

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