I was introduced to this series by a fellow Avatar Wikian who's name currently escapes me. Whoever you are, thank you.
What is Wakfu?
If I must describe it. Think of a bizarre Mash-up of Dragonball, Final Fantasy VII, World Of Warcraft, ATLA, and Shrek.
What could have been just a cheap cash in on a popular MMO is actually a really engaging really enjoyable kids adventure TV show. While still very childish and humorous in tone, it also has a lot of things in it that adults can also appreciate. While the majority of the main cast is pretty two-dimensional, they play off each other so well, and the viewer is so enthralled and engaged by the humor and their interactions you don't really care all that much.
Another similarity it bears with ATLA is making it's main villain compelling and sympathetic, while never condoning his actions. Nox is as much tragic as he is scummy. One second you want to give him a hug, the next you want to punch him in the face.
Parental warning however: Y'know how I mentioned, Shrek? How some of the humor in those movies can sometimes be a bit inappropriate for younger viewers? Double Entendres and in-jokes only adults would get are present throughout the entire TV show. Considering it was produced by a European animation company its not entirely suprising.
While it never got an english dub, there is a kickstarter to give it one. The entire series is free to watch on Crunchyroll.
Believe it or not, there was a time Hideaki Anno directed something other than Evangelion. Even more suprising, that it was a childrens Television show based on 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea. Brian and Mike cite it as a big inspiration on the tone of ATLA, and I can see why.
Most of what you liked about ATLA and LOK can be found here. It has high adventure and suspense, Steampunk Machines, intrigue and mystery, lots of comedic relief, a strong female lead, interesting characters who develop as the story progresses, its a really good series.
Yeah, just a parental warning. Despite it being mostly kid friendly. It also takes place in the late 1800's-early 1900's, and as such, some of the plot points do address social issues present in that era. Particularly the issue of racism, colonialism, and religious extremism. So be prepared.
One of my personal favorites. It's from the same studio who produced Ghost In The Shell. I was personally attracted to this show because its fantasy world is so similar to ATLA. It's based upon Medieval Japan, China, Vietnam, Has a spirit world filled with monsters and gods, and a very charming mother/son relationship between the two leads. If the characters used bending instead of spears and swords, this could've very well been an ATLA spinoff series.
It was based upon a trilogy of Japanese childrens novels. So it is mostly kid-friendly.
But like Nadia, it does have some plot points that may fly over a younger viewers head (culture specific discussions) and some questionable content (some plot points feature both polygamy and human trafficking), but nothing is condoned or portrayed inappropriately. The action scenes are also well animated and usually bloodless (with one or two significant exceptions). But in this series the majority of the pain and violence is felt, not seen. Characters deal with the loss of loved ones, there is a lot of political intrigue, espionage, and spiritual themes. Characters risk their lives and reputations for the sake of either telling the truth or maintaining a deception. It's a really interesting fantasy series, that I really wish it was more popular than it is.
Much like LOK this is a steampunk techno-fantasy world. It blends European and Asian aesthetics together to give us a unique retelling of the greatest Samurai Film ever made.
However unlike ATLA and my previous examples, this isn't necessarily meant to have the viewer think about his place in the universe, teach a moral, or be a commentary on anything. It's pure PG-13 escapism, and thats completely okay. Not every fantasy Tv Show has to be deep, or have characters with dark tragic backstories. Sometimes just having a group of good guys fighting a group of cartoonishly evil bad guys is entertainment enough. If its done well, and Seven Samurai does its job admirably.
Not so much a Remake as a reimagining of Fritz Lang's classic Silent Sci-Fi Film. Think the First season of Legend Of Korra, but in a Sci-Fi setting instead of a Techno-Fantasy setting. Instead of Benders and Non-Benders we have Robots and Humans fighting each other over economic displacement.
The animation in this movie is disney-level good, the story has a lot going for it, and the world they build has a very interesting design. Think Snow White meets Blade Runner. The only downside is the characters aren't that fleshed out, some plotpoints are brought up but never really fleshed out, and it raises a lot of questions but doesn't give many answers.
From that name you'd expect this film to be a Miyazaki-like childrens film right? Wrong. The name for this film is irony incarnate.
It's about a colony of survivors in a post apocalyptic Korea, and the social strain between a priviliged elite and their oppressed underclass. It's also a love story, about two childhood friends finding themselves on the opposite side of a great divide, spiritual, political, social and emotional.
In this situation the remaining goverment wants humanity to survive an Earth turned into a living hell no matter the cost, even if a few have to suffer a loss of personal freedom and autonomy to do so. The resistance movement, however doesn't believe humankind deserves to survive if it means sacrificing personal freedom, so they resort to Anarchist methods in an attempt to bring down the Government. Think Last Of Us, only with Global Warming instead of Fungus-zombies.
It also has a ridiculous chase scene between a hang glider and a fighter jet that is equal parts, Epic, and unintentionally hilarious.
Those are my reccomendations what are yours? Comment Below let know.
It's one of those shows that you really need to invest yourself in if you want to experience it completely.
It's like a great Novel, you can breeze through it in one sitting but if you really want to get it and love it, you need to take the time to invest in the characters, get in their heads, listen to the dialogue. It's not for everyone, but those who like Moribito tend to love it.
I just couldn't get into Moribito (went about half-way) and I've seen quite alot of different series. I don't even know if it would target the core demographic. The core demographic is a tough one in this time and age.
Moribito was quite interesting, although it lacked the action I expected from such a series. however it had quite an interesting story and I also recommend for all those who enjoy ancient [read awesomeness] settings, a good plot and cultural references [focus on Japan, on this specific case].
Speaking of such themes, here I am, Emperor Qin, bringing forth...
Kingdom [キングダム] !!!!!!!!!!
Adapted from a manga series bearing the same name, animated by studio Pierrot (you all might otherwise know the studio as the one which animates Naruto).
Two seasons of fast paces action and sheer awesomeness, it really represented what ATLA could have been if the focus was on more large scale, sheer, epic chinese warfare and less Zuko "I don't wanna fight, I want my honor" drama queen moments. (opinions subjective, but the point here is: great action) tied in a very accurate storyline set in the late Warring States era China, around the time of the Imperial Qin unification.
A young boy called Xin [Shin, in japanese] and his brother Piao [Hyo, in japanese], orphaned by the long, protracted warfare, are currently living as slaves in a small, rural property in their village... They have a dream, and ambition... to become the best general under the Heavens! what follows next is plain greatness...
I recommend to all who enjoy such themes: history, asian culture, swordfighting, badassery, fast paced action, a enthralling storyline... and there's more! XD
Alright, let's do this thing. I've decided that my limitations will be:
1. Is not widely viewed right now. I don't mean that it has to be obscure, after all Avatar itself is not, but there's really no sense in me recommending something that people haven't shut up about for a decade like it's new. If you don't know that FMA is kind of like Korra, or that Bleach & Naruto involve elemental superpowers, you don't need recommendations, you need to branch out more.
2. It has to somehow majorly feature something similar to a thing that draws people to Avatar or Korra.
3. I actually like the thing. Sometimes I recommend things that I think other people will like, even if I hate them, but I don't want to do that this time around. Much as with Point 1, I'm relying on you, the audience, to have some basic background knowledge.
4. I'm not REALLY worried about content advisory. If you're old enough to be on the Wiki, then you're old enough to handle most things. That said, I'm not going to give anything X-rated, & if a series involves a lot of violence or swearing, or something, I will toss in a courtesy warning.
So, without further ado:
Anime: The Big O
It Is: Batman with giant robots. The plot focuses around a negotiator as he unwittingly becomes a detective for his clients, & for the overarching issue of why everyone's memories disappeared 40 years ago.
You Would Like If You Like: Republic City, & the stories that take place therein. It's a very noir-type story. That said, Paradigm City leans more to 50's & modern aesthetics. If you like the Mecha Tanks, then this is REALLY up your alley. If you don't, I'm not even a fan of the giant robot genre, & I still highly recommend it.
Don't Bother if you Want: A lot of humor. A lot of female characters. A simple plot, or one wrapped up in a nice little blow. It was supposed to be mind-screwy, & was cancelled abruptly. The ending is not anticlimactic, but it's really confusing & open-ended.
It Is: The plot that SAO tried its best to rip off. Tsukasa is trapped in an online game & can't log out. Shenanigans ensue.
You Would Like If You Like: 2 things. This is basically Backgrounds & Character Development: The Anime. It depicts a LOT of detailed natural settings. Despite being a decade old, it still looks gorgeous. If you're not looking at a panned out image of a background, then you'll probably be watching a lot of characters talking about what they believe, whom they're fighting with, & so on. It takes "gray antagonist" even further, with none of the characters being truly villainous.
Don't Bother if You Want: Similar to Big O, EXCEPT that the cast is very gender-equal, & there's a bit more humor. Not only is the plot notoriously confusing, the ending is a set up to a series of games, & .hack is now a big bloody franchise that has re-invented itself a bunch of times. I myself stopped bothering with the franchise after the timeskip. The quality & tone of each installment varies. Also, fight scenes. They're pretty good when they happen, but they almost never happen.
Anime: Durarara. You MAY also like Baccano, I've heard it's a similar series set in the 1920's by the same writer, but I've never seen it, so I can't comment on it.
It Is: An under-appreciated anime that was taken off of [adult swim] after only 2 or 3 runs. It's about gangs, love, adventure, & an Irish fairy with a detachable head who just wants to find the stupid thing.
You Would Like If You Like: This one is also for character study. Every character has secrets, & you're trying to figure out what they are. Liking cities also helps, as it takes place in modern Tokyo, specifically a district called--gods help me--Ikebukuro.
Don't Bother if You Want: Nothing I can really say here. I blew it off because the headless fairy thing sounded idiotic, but that turned out to be a strong point when I gave it a 2nd chance. You just have to give it a try & see if you like it. I don't think there are a ton of fight scenes that aren't comic relief, though.
Name: Samurai Champloo.
It Is: Uh...good question. Imagine you took a samurai anime, gave it a completely inappropriate beatboxing soundtrack, & only cared enough about historical accuracy to make it look good. Done by the same people who gave you "Cowboy Bebop."
You Would Like If You Like: It's a "road trip" story, much like Avatar was. Only, instead of a bunch of mature kids saving the world, it's a bunch of immature adults trying to find some guy. Oh, & unlike the last 2 examples, there's a lot of really well choreographed fight scenes, though I personally think that most are kind of forgettable.
Don't Bother if You Want: A capable female protagonist. Something serious. I was really trying to pick something which was different from the other things I suggested. There's just ridiculous jokes about everything from graffiti to Europeans to sexuality all throughout it. It CAN be serious, but it USUALLY won't be. And there's an episode where they challenge the Americans to a baseball game, which the show claims was invented in Japan just to see if you'll fall for it.
Content Warning: Fair amount of violence, lot of sexual innuendo.
Anime: Yu Yu Hakusho
It Is: The transitional fossil between "Dragonball Z" & "Bleach." "Spirit Detective" Yusuke Urameshi fights "demons," which would actually probably better be translated as fay, or something.
You Would Like If You Like: Fightin'! This one's all about the fightin'! And adventure, I guess, BUT MOSTLY FIGHTIN'! Punching, exotic superpowers, fate of the world, the works. It's mostly pretty light-hearted, but gets really crazy grimdark in the last couple of arcs.
Don't Bother If You Want: Anything. Else. Looks? It's not hideous, but it's very old & cut corners at times back when it was new. Characters? They're likeable, but not super-complex. Plot? It's so all over the place. For the first like 5 episodes, it's a comedy without any fightin', then it's a couple short arcs of individual villains & quests, then it finally finds a main villain but uses him for a TOURNAMENT ARC, then it gets really grimdark, & the last arc ends really abruptly.
Content Warning: Humorously enough, there are 2 dubs. One completely eliminates the swearing & innuendo, which there wasn't THAT much of to begin with. The other makes a bit more sense, & like I said, it isn't THAT extreme. I'm pretty sure it's the same voice actors, either way.
Attack on Titan is great, but I don't suggest it for kids unless they're immune to blood and the creepy, naked, ugly trolls constantly throwing people in their mouths or even trying to chew them... e.e
Never mind, if people are as sensitive to something like language, then forget that. XD
I know that Batman The Animated Series is similar, that's why I called it "Batman with Giant Robots." If we're going that in-depth, people might also want to consider Disney's "Gargoyles."
Anyway, considering that the first season (of Big O) ends on a giant cliff hanger & most of what you need to even vaguely decipher the plot is in the 2nd, I would obviously disagree on only watching half of the show.
Outlaw Star IF you can get the tv version. There's too many mature things in the uncut versions for the target audience of Legend of Korra. I liked the show (even uncut): it had a great universe, some fun characters, and enough good episodes to carry the show to the end.
Steamboy was awesome, Swampbender.
I also liked Gargoyles, Inuyasha, Full Metal Alchemist. Metropolis...I have no words. Naruto, I got pretty emotional when Jiraiya died.
Never got into Gargoyles, though I always hear great stuff about it. Did you ever see the crossover script reading they had with Spectacular Spider-man? Spectacular Spider-man was another good show IMO.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was hands down much better than the original show. I liked He-man and the Masters of the Universe. The show started to get good just as it was ending, though it's not for everyone.
Samurai Seven was a pretty decent adaption of the original film, though I prefer the original. I will say it gave more characterization to the main cast than the film and game did.
We'll commisserate together. The Pervy Sage was, as they say, all that. He was my favorite Naruto Character. I always thought he and Tsunade would finally be a couple. Guess not. I don't ship often, but that one was my secret wish.
I bawled like a baby. Seriously I was a wreck especially with Chiyo's sacrifice.
Can you explain to me though how being passed over for an inheritance leads every single descendant into insanity though, and how if the Sharingan only evolves when the user suffers mental instability why is Itachi still sane.
On Naruto wiki it says Itachi was taught by his cousin Shisui the leaf philosophy of Will of Fire and itachi, Shisui, and Shisui's father, managed to overcome the curse of hatred because of that.
Though when Itachi is resurrected he has eyes. So did Obito (as Madara) really give Sasuke Itachi's eyes, or another clan members? Oh that's creepy. I mean there was an entire wall of cases that held Sharigan eyes.
"Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood was hands down much better than the original show"
To elaborate, it is undeniable that the original had some strengths that Brotherhood lacked. The show had a much more varied (though not necessarily better) soundtrack, more development with the Homunculi, crisper art, & more realistic lighting. As an example, here are Envy's true forms in all 3 versions of the story--spoilers, obviously:
First, let's compare the designs that are obviously supposed to be the same thing. In Brotherhood, Envy is pretty much just a solid mass of green. His scales & the faces on his tongue are pretty obviously drawn on. In the manga, his body parts have different textures & compositions, & the body has many more regions where the level of shadow differs. It's hard to see with just a picture, but another difference is that the faces only move & speak at certain scenes in Brotherhood, where in the manga, they NEVER STOP. Also, despite his weight, he doesn't make any indent in the snow.
Now, the 2003 anime obviously had a much simpler design overall, but even then, you can see it has more texture. There are obvious differences in his stomach, back, & fins. Also, each individual FOLD of his ear is shaded. And this probably isn't even the best image, because this is a still shot of a scene that is supposed to involve a lot of motion. Since it is night in this image, it isn't the best example of the lighting, but I'd rather not ramble on any further.
This is not to say that Brotherhood was bad, but rather that Brotherhood had strengths & weaknesses that were different from the 2003 anime.
As for Naruto, I ragequit when the zombie army showed up, but that was really the straw that broke the camel's back. I was frustrated at many things, including how Sakura & Orochimaru kept being shafted, the mounting number of plot holes, the fact that the Sharingan kept pulling powers as the plot demands, & so on. I would endorse Bleach, though.
I'm still surprised that someone didn't know Jaraiya died. That was almost four years ago.
Sorry but I just can't see how the original was better outside of the animation. To me the original wasted time on side characters and oneshot episodes. Brotherhood delved deeper into characters that the original show didn't like Yoki (personal favorite) and Greed, who got much larger roles. Also the ending to the original left so many questions unanswered and the movie didn't help at all with that in my opinion.
Raiden: I make my preference known, but admit that it is fairly arbitrary. The gulf between the animes closes as the stories move on. A lot of the "bad stuff" in Brotherhood is in the first few episodes.
I really like Conqueror of Shamballa, but sometimes I do wish that its plotline was more firmly connected to the anime's story. Dante & Pride were offed rather abruptly to make way for it, but the Hommunculi who DID make it into the movie had some pretty impressive scenes.
Still, it is its own kind of adventure story, & I feel that the fantastical elements are often overlooked. Like how Envy is taken down by a series of steam-launched spear heads forged from the Lance of Longinus. How cool is that?
Swampbender: It isn't a matter of "better" or "worse." I prefer the 2003 anime, but there are some things in Brotherhood that were just better. It has a better villain, for instance--though it is important to note that Father's backstory had not yet been revealed when Dante was written, so she didn't have much competition to live up to.
Looking at the episode list, the only episode that isn't important to the overall plot & doesn't come from the manga is the one with Psiren, & I would have loved to see more of her. The manga has its fair share of plot devices that don't come back, too. Also, I reiterate that, while Brotherhood delved deeper into some characters, the 2003 anime did more with others, like Lust. Some characters it just outright replaced, but there wasn't a whole lot to manga Sloth to begin with.
If we're getting into personal complaints, the manga's storyline drags out a few too many standard shonen cliches, if you ask me. Pride's shadow powers make no sense & Father's big blasts of energy that everyone inexplicably survives were incredibly out of place. The 2003 anime also went way more in depth with how Philosophers Stones are created, which I thought was smart.
Don't see what was really left unanswered by the 2003 anime. Maybe some things like "why can't the Hommunculi use alchemy?" & "what really happens when you die?" but FMAB didn't answer those, either.
The reason I think Shamballa is better, is because Brotherhood and the original series had the one thing I find to be a big issue with most anime. Almost as much as unecessary fanservice and nosebleeds.
Out of the Freakin blue Chibi transformations. . . in something like Ouran High School Host Club or Tenchi Muyo, it makes sense, thats the way the art style works with the comedy.
but in a SERIOUS work like fullmetal its just a little jarring. for me at least
Did Avatar ever have ridiclous over the top Chibi transformations that clashed with the tone? Not really, they were pretty good at balancing it out although there were some exceptions.
Yeah, that's one of the things I didn't like about Brotherhood. To a lesser extent the manga, but in the manga, the chibi stuff was always either in the background or it had its own panel. Characters didn't...awkwardly transform...in the middle of a conversation....
I don't recall there being too much chibi stuff in the 2003 anime.
After Season 2, I've been comparing LoK to Batman & Gargoyles a lot. Plus there were the Spider-Man comparisons from all the way back in Book 1. Avatar I kind of compare to Bleach, but not really any other American show that I can think of.
As I realized in the weird thread about Ty Lee being a looker, I could also draw another parallel between Samurai Champloo & Avatar: Both tend to transplant modern aesthetics into premodern times & dress them up so that they don't look out of place. The prime difference here is that Avatar is a lot more concerned with accuracy.
At this point, I imagine you're all asking, "Hey, crazy bird-man, what on EARTH are you talking about?" Well, since what I know about Asia can fill a thimble halfway, I'll let Raiden speak to this:
there is also the standard of Beauty in ancient China, which would often find someone like mai more attractive than Ty-Lee.
"Well, he doesn't look so unusual," you might say, "He's a samurai, or something, right?" Well, kind of, insofar as he's a katana-wielding swordsman, but that's pretty much where that ends. The sword is of a style that was never historically used, his fighting style is partly based on break dancing, & his hakama--ye olde Japanese pants, basically--are cut to form shorts in a way that wouldn't have been done. You wouldn't see this kind of person in the Edo Period in which the show is supposedly based--he simply borrows from too many subcultures that didn't exist in that time or place--but the show interprets what he might have looked like, if he could have existed.
I'm sure if someone looked hard enough, they can find common themes/stylizations/etc. between the shows and movies listed and ATLA and/or LoK.
I'd add Excel Saga or FLCL but those might be a bit much for the target audiance for this show. Yojimbo (and it's sequel, Sanjuro) are excellent movies, but they might be a stretch as well. Yojimbo is easier to go through for a western audiance because it's basically a samurai Western. Plus, Mifune is always amazing on screen although I think I always remember him from Shogun, the tv mini-series. Even Gimli was in that.
Thanks for the insight Raiden, since not everyone knows about all these great cultural details and important facts. (^_^)
As a personal note... it's precisely why I like Mai and dislike Ty Lee.
Samurai champloo is more like an amalgamation of several anachronistic cultural references, usually done for jokes and humor content. it's a rather interesting show, albeit its definetly not "similar to ATLA/LOK". actually it is, since I understand the LOK era westernization/culture change just as a huge blatant, right in the face sort of joke so it's ok. (ok, I actually do prefer samurai champloo. period) (^_^)
As for similar styled animation... I recommend "Twelve Kingdoms". It's an story about someone from present-day era that somehow [in universe explanation, no spoiler shall be given] gets transported to a parallel universe where society and everything is basically working the same as warring-states/Zhou era China. However it is a completely different place, and basically story revolves around the reasons why she was transported there, and all the great plot that follows afterwards.
The sort of setting Qin definetly gives a 11/10 as a rating, and the sort of world and setting that I would only swap for something like ATLA Ba Sing Se, you know? epic.
You know, there was an older 90s? anime series that felt very similar to LoK in both the style (Chinese themed world) and a dark skinned main female character. I'd have to find it again. I didn't exactly care for it, but I can see some of the viewers liking it. I think it might have been Twelve Kingdoms.
Edit: You know what? It was Twelve Kingdoms. I just couldn't remember the name.
Emperor Qin wrote:
It an excellent anime, and its one of the most remarkable animations I've even seen. The theme is excelent, setting and scenery, worldbuilding and so on... if only it had even more episodes...
And the setting as said above... well, LOK should shape up to the Twelve Kingdoms and the perpetually-ancient Chinese world of "Hourai". (^_^)
Emperor Qin wrote: It an excellent anime, and its one of the most remarkable animations I've even seen. The theme is excelent, setting and scenery, worldbuilding and so on... if only it had even more episodes...
And the setting as said above... well, LOK should shape up to the Twelve Kingdoms and the perpetually-ancient Chinese world of "Hourai". (^_^)
@Neo: It would rather fall in the whole "pre-industrial China" sort of genre [which is obviously, guess what? sacred stuff to me], which can go as the "silk and steel" thing, as a different classification than sword and sorcery (usually medieval european based) and when martial-arts based like ATLA was before the URN ilk it's called the 江湖 jianghu = lakes and rivers world, which is another name for the chinese geography and the typical action based martial arts shows, movies, etc.
@Kubernes: Yes! I'm rather looking forward them getting outside that place. Although I'm really wary and fearful of what Bryke decided to change (IF they did that), since it can probably be the last strike on beauty and everything which drew me to the Avatar franchise itself... a double edged sword indeed.
About shows similar to ATLA, I think a great recommendation is the movie Sword of the Stranger], which Raiden Radio showed to me. I really enjoyed that movie, very fast paced, action oriented and overall excellent. It's rather bloody sometimes so it's good to put that here as a disclaimer/warning.
At times, the storyline can gets quite ATLA-like, with chinese warriors against the main character, with a "greater plan" in mind, and a hero having to deal with these powerful forces surrounding him. There's more to it, and to know... watch it!
I'd add Red Cliff with a disclaimer and if you go for the two part version. There's also a number of older live action movies that deal with ["historical"] China/Japan. It's been quite awhile since I've looked into them so I'll have to get back with some names.
^ Why there's a disclaimer noted above. There's already been a number of things that may or may not be appropriate for the target market. There are some older movies that can subsituted. Kurosawa's mostly comes to mind and mostly features violence, but has a general lack of blood and excess.
Another recommendation for those missing ATLA and LOK. is YONA OF THE DAWN.
Like ATLA, it takes place in a fantasy universe inspired heavily by China, features mysticism although supernatural aspects take a backseat to Game Of Thrones Style political drama and war scenes and the development of the characters.
Yona herself goes from spoiled brat to revolutionary anti hero as the story progresses. She's definitely the star of the show.
It's a bit violent in places though. Like ATLA it's not shy about discussing things like slavery, war, violence etc. UNLIKE ATLA it's a lot more explicit. Not GOT level but theres plenty of blood.
The art design seems like a teen romance manga, but do not let that fool you. This is NOT for kids!
I'm back after a long period of abscence to say that the new Voltron Netflix series is probably the closest we're ever going to get to another ATLA Series (No Suprise considering quite a few of the original creators, writers, and animators from ATLA and LOK returned to make this project happen).
It's got pretty much everything ATLA had in droves, great comedy and characters, and loads of action.
The whole first season is available on Netflix right now. Check it out.