Date: 2011-09-06 03:10 am (UTC)
unjapanologist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] unjapanologist
The Gaang is so friggin' cute. Group hugs! Rejoicing over letters from family! Sincere entreaties to corrupt/ignorant politicians! Apologizing left and right for hitting people while they're invading the palace! I want to hug them and squeeze them.

And Zuko and Iroh, too. Poor Iroh, it's one thing after another with Zuko but he keeps on caring and trying. The way he looks after his sick nephew is touching, although his line about going through a metamorphosis and becoming a beautiful prince always makes me want to draw butterfly!Zuko.

Zuko's fever dream and hallucinations are wonderfully creepy and bizarre. It's very interesting that he actually imagines himself as Fire Lord. Although he mentions his throne a couple of times throughout the series, I always got the impression that he's far more preoccupied by his father's love and approval than by the idea that he'll inherit the crown if he manages to return to the Fire Nation.

Now that I'm typing this, it occurs to me that there's not a trace of Ozai in that dream at all. He doesn't show up, he's not Fire Lord even though he's young and can be expected to rule for many decades to come, he's not one of the voices that talks to Zuko, and even the scar he caused is gone. It's as if he's been completely erased from Zuko's mind, even if only for a night. Huh.

Date: 2011-09-06 09:25 pm (UTC)
yukinoomoni: (Default)
From: [personal profile] yukinoomoni
it occurs to me that there's not a trace of Ozai in that dream at all.

Ah, but Zuko himself looks a lot like Ozai - hairstyle and all.

Date: 2011-09-09 03:33 am (UTC)
unjapanologist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] unjapanologist
(emerges from long post-travel stupor)

Zuko and Ozai do resemble each other a fair bit, and I can definitely see how the scene can be interpreted like that. It wasn't what I took away from it because we didn't know what Ozai's face looked like at the end of S2, and the hairstyle seemed pretty standard Fire Lord stuff at the time (Azulon had the same hairstyle in 'Zuko Alone', and Sozin doesn't show up until later). And Zuko had long hair for seemingly his whole life until the start of S2, so seeing him with that hairdo doesn't scream 'Ozai' to me.

Date: 2011-09-06 09:25 pm (UTC)
yukinoomoni: (Dog and Pancake)
From: [personal profile] yukinoomoni
Zuko's dark dreams are really powerful, especially the one featured in this post. Seeing him at 16 without a scar is really powerful, since you imagine that he still longs for the days in which he was never mutilated by Ozai. It's sad but also very well done. And yeah, people laughed at the whole "beautiful prince" line, but I thought it was something Zuko needed to hear, especially since we see in his dreams that all he can see in the mirror is ugliness. Iroh is just wonderful in this episode, too. I adore his care and devotion.

The beginning battle is just amazing. The music is awesome, the animation is awesome, and the humour and interactions with the Earth King (concubines ho!) are just perfect to break the tension of not only Zuko's scene, but the previously sad episode as well. This is probably one of my favourite episodes altogether.

Also, seeing the Dangerous Ladies in their new outfits is pretty awesome.

Date: 2011-09-08 10:35 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] hearthesea
On the note of Zuko's nightmares/visions...I always thought it was interesting how he looks in the mirror and, for a moment, sees himself as Aang. It's quite creepy, but it also makes me wonder why this would spring up in his mind. I can understand the symbolism in the other elements of his dreams, such as his unscarred face, the fear of Azula, the advice of Iroh, etc. They seem quite clear and they make sense. Zuko seeing himself as Aang seems more jarring, though...

I suppose it's because his obsession with capturing the Avatar is the way he defines himself in his mind, even at that point in the story -- it's not just a target or a goal, it has become a facet of his very being, something forever intertwined with his own conception of self-worth. I tend to think of this series as Aang and Zuko's story at heart, and the concern with how they compare and contrast with one another has probably been in place since 'The Storm'. If I remember right, in that episode Iroh noted that the Avatar, in a twisted way, gave Zuko 'hope'. Maybe that's what was coming through in that part of his dream? The fact that he was having to give up that hope, to search for something different? I'm not sure, but it struck me as being one of the more interesting moments in the episode.

Date: 2011-09-09 03:39 am (UTC)
unjapanologist: (Default)
From: [personal profile] unjapanologist
Or maybe not everything in the dream came out of Zuko's own subconsciousness, and the Aang part was foreshadowing of the link with the Avatar/the Avatar's balance-creating role that Zuko turns out to have in the next season? The Avatar really is part of Zuko, but he doesn't know it yet.

The creators must have had fun scripting a dream sequence that everybody could analyze to pieces ;)

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The 2011 Avatar re-watch

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