Avatar: The Last Airbender’s similarity to anime is being addressed by Avatar creator Bryan Konietzko as the franchise gears up for expansion.

Avatar: The Last Airbender co-creator Bryan Konietzko is opening up about the influences that anime had on the show. Following the story of a little boy who discovers that he has the power to bend all four elements, Avatar: The Last Airbender picks up 100 years after the boy, Aang, runs away and traps himself in an iceberg. By the time Aang masters the four elements, he has to save the world from the genocidal Fire Nation and build better relations between nations.

The show’s similarity to anime has often been remarked upon, but Konietzko made it clear in an interview with the Avatar: The Last Airbender YouTube account that anime played a huge role.

While the backgrounds for Avatar: The Last Airbender were inspired by a Studio Ghibli rule, the overall direction of the show was taken from anime. After all, where Western animation relied on episodic styles, anime preferred the arcs that Avatar: The Last Airbender embraced. Check out Konietzko’s quote below, via ComicBook.com:

“We wanted to create a story that we hoped would have a shelf life. You’re not just being entertained and distracted for 22 minutes. Let’s not have that reset button. Let’s let the characters grow. Let’s have an arc…But when we’re talking about deep, long form storytelling, we didn’t create that. It was something we as Western viewers, we were just craving that. If you were watching anime, that was just normal. If you were only exposed to American animation at that time, yeah, that probably felt pretty fresh. That’s probably why we had a lot of adult viewers, and people who weren’t even usually into animation. I’ve always described Avatar as an homage, a love letter to Japanese anime. But we were always conscious that we weren’t trying to pass it off as a counterfeit. I didn’t want to just copy what we were seeing and what we thought was cool. How could we make something from the heart that was authentic, but was also wearing our inspiration on our sleeve?”

Related: Netflix’s Last Airbender Casting Other Avatars Fixes A Major Movie Mistake

How Avatar: The Last Airbender Is Continuing After Korra

An older Aang talking to Korra in Avatar: The Last Airbender

After the end of The Legend of Korra, the future of Avatar: The Last Airbender seemed confined to comic book continuity for years. Now, circumstances have changed as Avatar Studios begins to branch out into other mediums entirely. Avatar: The Last Airbender‘s future is now as bright as Azula’s flames with a new show, feature films, and a Netflix live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender adaptation on the way.

The Netflix adaptation is currently slated to follow the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, as the original members of Team Avatar work to bring Aang to the Northern Water Tribe, while Zuko chases them across the world. With a massive budget, a diverse cast, and returning actors, the show plans to keep closer to the show than M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender did. The release date is currently unknown, though a summer 2023 release is expected.

As for the new animated content, The Legend of Korra is receiving a sequel show, as Avatar Studios is developing an untitled animated series following Korra’s successor, an Earth-bender Avatar. Konietzko is also excited for the Avatar: The Last Airbender movies, one of which is expected to follow an adult version of Aang. With so much content on the horizon, Avatar: The Last Airbender is looking more alive than it has in years.

More: Netflix’s Last Airbender Can Improve A Beloved Avatar CharacterSource: Avatar: The Last Airbender (via ComicBook.com)

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