Avatar: The Last Airbender is undoubtedly one of the most beloved animated shows in the 2010s. It is also notable for being compared to the popular anime shows in that era. So did the showrunners intend for the Nickelodeon series to have anime similarities? Co-creator Brian Konietzko addressed the similarities, explaining how anime influenced Team Aang's story.
Brian Konietzko recently took part in an interview for the Avatar YouTube channel and he confirmed that The Last Airbender was strongly influenced. by anime.
"We wanted to create a story that we hoped would have a shelf life," he said. "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," Konietzko continued. "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."
He then added that Avatar: The Last Airbender is a tribute to anime.
"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," Konietzko said. "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?"
It's certainly a great way to explain Avatar: The Last Airbender and we're glad that the influences of Japanese animation helped the show become one of the greatest animated shows in TV history.
Related: Avatar: The Last Airbender Co-Creator Says Working on Korra Left Them 'Burnt Out'