Still, it tied up the main plot and also did our hero justice. My sis spent the past week watching the show for the first time ever and just watched the finale and she adored Aang. I admit, when it comes to endings, it put a smile on my face watching the boy get what he'd hoped for :) Sure it was trite, what with the uplifting music and all Katara's confusion going POOF! but...it ended on a positive note?
Oh and before I forget - there seemed to be so many conections to other fandoms in my mind. LOVE AND PEACE - I thought of Trigun at that point. Unblocking of chakra made me go straight to Naruto. And that nod to Captain Planet at the beginning? LOL. Not to mention the suit of metal - Iron Man, anyone? It was lots of fun ^_^
Still...when I separate the finale into the four individual episodes, it felt like the whole thing could have been...tighter. I'm not sure why they left certain issues unresolved unless they are planning on future video cookies (in the form of a future series or specials or something). Ursa and Azula were the most obvious dangling threads.
Did they ever manage to get Azula into a prison?
Not to mention, I found it oh so convenient that Azula would go off the deep end just in time for the finale *sigh* She really didn't need to turn into Bellatrix. Or at least the development could have been executed better (and over time).
[Warning, bit of a rant on Toph's treatment]
In these last few eps, a lot of the time Toph felt like a fifth wheel to the main group - we had Aang, Zuko, Katara and Sokka and then we had Toph and Suki standing around. Now, we had quite a bit of Suki in Boiling Rock already and before that she was mainly just a recurring character.
However, Toph has been part of the Gaang since season 2 - a main character - and to see her shunted off to the side kinda pissed me off. I'm not talking so much about the action scenes but mainly the dialogue bits. There were points where I expected Toph to say something more than a one liner (e.g. when Zuko revealed the plot to burn the Earth kingdom down for instance) - and then we have the point where she tries to get some quality Zuko!time and gets shunted to the side...I mean, come on. After barely any Toph character development in the past few eps, we get *that*? Sure, wrong timing, but *pokes development team* couldn't they have worked something out for an earlier episode? Something that wasn't annoying and actually worked?
When it comes to the Gaang growing and changing, Toph has had some of the least development. Sure, we can all just say she's awesome just the way she is, but seriously, I expected there to be more at some point this season than what we got.
Toph is a bender!prodigy, she's a brat, she's probably upper class but she's also a rebel. She has all this *potential* and I wish there had been more in these last four eps.
Maybe it's too much to hope. She is 12 and isn't even a teen. So maybe they didn't want to focus on her romantically yet. And Aang might be the same age, but as the avatar (with all those other peeps in his head when he needs them) he's a more...unique case.
I probably wouldn't be this disappointed with Toph's treatment if the majority of fandom weren't focussed on Kataang and Zutara ship wars *sigh* Such a waste. It's the opposite of HP where I knew that whatever JKR did to Draco, fandom could and would make it all better. In the ATLA fandom, Toph just gets overshadowed.
[Rant mainly over XD]
Okay, moving on...the fight scenes were lovely, but I felt the same way with the fights in Soul Eater and several other anime...and the mecha battles in Macross Frontier are stunning so the airship battles in Avatar didn't really compare.
It was Aang who had the picture perfect ending, which doesn't always happen for the heroes. Giving him a happy resolution probably went a long way in making fans satisfied with the finale.
In regards to his future though...well, I can't help thinking about it. I have a feeling he'll always love Katara but considering that Katara is only 14, I'm not sure if they're going to be in 'love' forever. Aang - yeah, he could. Katara...is young. I can definitely see her changing with the right - or wrong - influences.
And then we have Zuko, who is OMG, FIRELORD. He isn't going on adventures anytime soon, so as time goes by, he might actually look back at his adventures while in exile/on the run as the good old days. He's happy to have Mai with him but I'm not sure if Mai wants to be stuck with court duties for the rest of her life. Sure, she'd take care of her responsibilities but she might not be...satisfied as such. It might take a decade, but I do see her moving on.
And going back to Zuko - he reminds me of Cagalli Athha in Gundam Seed in some ways because it feels like while he is a very gifted individual, he's not quite equipped to deal with the responsibilities of running a nation. Yes, he can probably give the right orders, but dealing with politics and councils - he'll definitely need Mai to help.
I wouldn't be surprised if there is a political coupe at some point where Zuko nearly gets assassinated and he joins up with Aang et all to defeat his opponents - except, its not that easy, what with corrupt officials and never knowing whose on their side.
Toph I can see travelling and looking for excitement. GUYZ, HOW CAN SHE NOT? SHE'S THE MELON LORD XD I do wish they'd done a fast forward simply so I had an idea of what she would look like as an adult.
When I saw Sokka, Suki and Ty Lee at the end, my first thought was, "THREESOME!" *headdesk* Perhaps Sokka and Suki are in the honeymoon stage of their relationship, maybe they'll always be like they were in the finale. But I wouldn't mind seeing Sokka in a polyamorous relationship 'cause that would just make for more loling.
I really want to flash forward to when Toph is 27 and Zuko is 31 and what their lives are like at that point. Toph could very well be the eternal vagabond - at least until she finds a family to call her own.
With time, I do see the gaang breaking up and moving on to different things. Toph will crash Zuko's formal parties and do random (and badly timed) visits to Aang's and Katara's place later in life.
I kinda see her feeling like a fifth wheel later- she'll always have Iroh (until he passes on - but will NOT think about that!) but as someone who is very well adjusted, the one thing she really needs is companionship and I wonder when she'll find someone from her own generation who can give her that attention and care.
It wasn't until I looked up their ages on wikipedia that I realised how YOUNG the guys are. And when we get the live action movie, I'm not sure I'll be able to fully accept kids who haven't even hit their teens in some cases, blowing shit up, scheming and kissing. Maybe I'm just old school, but I'm really not interested in seeing 12 yr olds french their love interests- who knows, they might tame it down a bit.
Though this isn't even taking into account whether the actors cast are decent, look the part and have any sort of chemistry. I'm hoping it goes more the way of Narnia and less the way of HP in that regard >_> The core cast had better be good.