I’m an avid fan of the Nickelodeon show “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, but the episode that sealed it for me as one of the coolest damn things I’ve seen in a kids show…is the episode where Katara (voiced by Mae Whitman) learns “blood bending”. Katara is a water bender, the last of her tribe, and throughout the series she grows and develops her abilities to manipulate and bend water to use it as a weapon. In the big episode, Katara meets an old woman (voiced by the great Tress MacNeille), a water bender who teaches her different ways of controlling her power by manipulating water to bend out of thin air. The old woman then teaches her the dark side of her power…blood bending…the ability to control and manipulate people and animals through their blood. It’s one of the darkest, coolest things I’ve seen in an American animated series, and to temp Katara to go to the dark side was a great bold move on the part of the creators of the show.
Its always great to me to see in a show the shades of grey that come with developing a character. It makes them powerful, engaging, and gripping to watch as we witness the threat of them falling into darkness. In a later episode when Katara uses blood bending to enact revenge…well, it officially made her my favorite character in the series. Every once in awhile I’ll highlight scenes I love in films that go into dark territory. Whether it’s done by heroes or villains, it makes for absolute great storytelling. For those who haven’t seen it, Avatar is a series worth your time. It’s one of the coolest animated series I’ve seen in a long time.