Is Avatar: The Last Air Bender an Anime?

Avatar: The Last Airbender has created some of the most diverse fan bases all around the world. With such a unique theme and a bunch of very likeable characters, Avatar is no less than a masterpiece. This show is way better than almost every other animated show that Nickelodeon has to offer. Despite all the grace and popularity, fans need to know only one thing. Is Avatar: The Last Air Bender an anime or a cartoon?

Today, we’ll be ending this debate. So read on!

Avatar: The Last Air Bender Plot

It was a century ago when Avatar Aand was forced to flee from his home being afraid of his responsibilities. He had to face a fierce storm in the ocean and took shelter inside an iceberg near the South Pole. The Leader of the Fire Nation caused a world war in order to expand his empire and to kill the Avatar.

According to the Leader of the Fire Nation, the avatar is an Air Bender. So he decides to wipe all air benders from the face of the Earth. He did so by carrying a genocide against the Air nation.

Hundred years pass and we are introduced to Katara and Sokka, two teenagers. The two Water benders discover Aang, the avatar and end up reviving him.

The first season starts with Aang, Katara and Sokka traveling to the Northern Water Tribe for Aang to learn water bending in order to defeat the Fire Nation. Prince Zuko alongwith his uncle Iroh follow Aang in order to capture Aang, the avatar, and restore his honor. Aang is also being followed by Zhao, a member of the Fire NAtion. He ends up killing the moon spirit, Yue. Aang then drives off the enemy.

In the second season, Aang learns Earth bending from a 12-year-old blind prodigy, Toph Beifong. Zuko and Iroh are the runaway fugitives from the Fire Nation and seek shelter in the Earth Kingdom. Both Aang and his friends and Zuko are faced by the sister of Zuko, Azula. Aang wants the support of the King of Earth Kingdom to attack the Fire Nation during the solar eclipse when the fire nation will have no power. The fight starts and Azula wounds Aang badly. Luckily, Katara revives him in the end.

In the third season, the Fire Nation is invaded by Aang and others during the solar eclipse. Aang and his friends are forced to flee from the site. Zuko decides to join Aang to teach him firebending. Aang decides to fight Ozai and stris Ozai of his firebending powers. The coup d’état instigated by Azula is ended by Aang’s friends and they destroy the Ships of the Fire nation. Azula is captured and Zuko is crowned the new King of the Fire Nation. The long war Finally comes to an end.

Is Avatar an Anime?

We have to admit that we get a completely different vibe from Avatar as compared to all the other Western shows. However, it is completely evident that the creators took a major inspiration from Japanese anime and is not an anime itself. 

The confusion lies in how Avatar tries to portray the Asian Culture in it and the fans often confuse it with being an anime as all Japanese anime do the same. 

The main theme of the show is very much like a standard anime. The way the characters are fighting and even the music playing in the background, everything feels like you’re watching an anime. However, it is not the case.

The main reason why Avatar is not an anime is because it was not created by Japanese animators. You have to be a part of the Japanese anime industry in order to create an anime. It was created in the united States, outside of the Japanese anime industry. Also, having all the elements of a standard Japanese anime does not mean that it’s essentially an anime. 

Anime is an entire genre with a lot of themes under it. Avatar: The Last Air Bender does have all the elements of an anime but is definitely not one due to its production process. However, we can say that Avatar is inspired from Japanese anime culture and is one of the biggest achievements of the Western media.

Larthian & Syanka

Afar Anime is a co-managed site operated by a husband and wife anime-loving team. Since an early age, they have both shared a love for all things anime. Some of their favorite titles include Naruto, Sailor Moon, and Hunter X Hunter. Post are published weekly and old articles are updated accordingly. If you are interested in collaborations, feel free to reach out at

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