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- The puppeteer creates a unique mood for the Avatar series in 20 minutes
- Avatar’s Main Protagonists Are Deeply Affected By The Puppet Master
Avatar: The Last Airbender is a marvel of a children’s series, which redefined what child-centric storytelling meant and demonstrated that behind a “kids” anime can hide some very strong themes. It’s a brilliant series, with uniquely beautiful art and storylines, in which the characters grow in meaningful and strong ways in a world filled with magic and spirits.
These spirits are often behind the spookiest storylines, from Hei Bai to Koh the Facestealer. These are some of the most brilliantly executed horror scenes in children’s television, let alone children’s anime, but even these pale in comparison to a gruesome episode from the third season of ‘Avatar. Avatar fans would do well to revisit the true horror that was seeded in Season 3, Episode 8, “The Puppeteer.”
The puppeteer creates a unique mood for the Avatar series in 20 minutes
Avatar’s atmosphere is almost always light and cheerful, with high-stakes battles bringing darker conflict. There isn’t really a horror element to the show, which is one of the things that makes ‘The Puppeteer’ stand out.. When there are horror elements in the show, they’re short-lived and end without much thought about what happens to the characters, other than Aang communing with certain spirits and becoming an avatar. However, “The Puppeteer” does not leave fans alone. Rather than simply saying “Mind X is angry, Aang must do Y”, “The Puppet Master” continues to build on the episode’s central mystery by giving fans red flags until the tension is so high that even the antagonist’s gruesome revelations are a relief.
And what an antagonist the puppeteer is! Hama is a waterbender traumatized by the Fire Nation. She has invented her own waterbending technique, her ingenuity is brilliant, though she doesn’t care too much about the horrors her actions have caused, whether to flowers, rats, or people. The fact that she is a waterbending refugee makes Aang and company, as well as the viewer, trust her, despite the idiosyncratic tendencies she displays. In fact, the episode title seems to be explained right from the start when Hama’s puppet collection appears – one of many misdirections that distract from Hama not only in storytelling, but also in meta-narrative.
Avatar’s Main Protagonists Are Deeply Affected By The Puppet Master
“The Puppeteer” is a story of body horror. The waterbending movements shown by Hama are not Tai Chi inspired, but are jerky and unrefined, yet controlled and harsh. Although Aang and Sokka’s accidental fight at the film’s climax is played for laughs, they are forced to move and attack each other against their will. This is in addition to Hama’s well-established tendency to wipe out Fire Nation villagers on a full moon. The extent of bloodbending is never established, and it affects the viewer just as much as Team Avatar. It’s a mystery and potentially unlimited power over other beings, which makes it even more horrifying than the potentially healing effects of firebending.
However, the greatest horror is not that Hama exerts control, even briefly, over the Avatar. Rather, it’s the fact that the only way for Katara to save her friends is to give in to the same body-twisting method that Hama uses.. As with all people subjected to a bloodbath, Hama’s muscles twist in anguish as Katara controls her and imposes her actions on her. In the end, even if Team Avatar wins, Hama’s hold over Katara is confirmed: Katara is declared a master of blood. The episode ends on his horrified face, with Hama’s last words: “Congratulations Katara. You are a bloodbender. » In later episodes, Katara remembers a few snippets of Hama’s advice. Katara isn’t the same after learning bloodbending, and it’s unsettling to think how Hama has affected Katara but also Aang’s entire team.