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As a fan of the reasonably-popular "Death Battle" series now owned by RoosterTeeth, I must say I was quite excited to be reviewing this fanon. Not only because of the link to a few real-world series that do a similar thing, but also because Avatar Colosseum as far as I'm aware is one of its only kind on the Avatar Wiki.
I had to make some changes to the categories since some don't apply to this fanon. Also, my own views on who should have won a battle did not affect scores, but rather, whether a victory/defeat had been justified adequately is what some of the scores were based on.
This review is only for Season 1 and the Bonus chapter, as the next Season has quite a different format and multiple authors.
Anyways, without further ado, let's dive in!
There weren't too many typos in this story, which was nice. There were a couple times where figures were used for numbers when fully-written numbers should have been used, and some incorrect word choices. The main problem here was with tense confusion. Most of the chapters were written in past tense, but there was one which was written in present tense, and a couple chapters like Korra vs Aang, Ty Lee vs Lieutenant, Katara vs Toph, and Aang vs Danny Phantom, where the tense changed in the middle of the chapter. Since the majority of the chapters are written in the past tense, I'd recommend sticking to this tense for consistency. On the whole though there weren't too many spelling/grammar mistakes that were distracting.
General Writing: 7.6
Overall, the style of writing worked really well for this fanon; each chapter started with a more 'formal' or proper tone for the character analysis, before moving into the battle itself, and then the conclusion. There were some unclear or clunky phrases that were hard to understand, including the description of weapons used by the Kyoshi Warriors and Equalists, and the use of 'snap, crackle, pop,' to describe one of Ty Lee's movements. There were also times where sentences felt a bit repetitive.
There was also a shift in some chapters feeling far more graphic than others. I mean, it is a death battle of course, but there were some particularly detailed and violent descriptions of how characters died. Given that it only happened in some chapters, the change felt a bit out-of-place.
Understandably, this fanon doesn't have a lot of 'flowery' descriptions of the settings where characters battle, but most of the time there was good description of the battle locations. Aside from a few moments in the Ty Lee vs Lieutenant chapter, it was always pretty clear where the combatants were fighting and what their surroundings were like.
The main issue for this category was with context. The fanon itself is set out almost like a canon/fanon hybrid, with a detailed analysis of each combatant in their history, weapons, abilities, strengths, and weaknesses, before moving into the battle itself. It was in the character analysis where there were a number of incorrect statements. Things like stating that Kuvira was a teenager when leading the Earth Empire when she wasn't, or that the Lieutenant had to charge his electrified kali sticks in between attacks which we never saw in the show, are both examples of this. While these details may seem minor, when they occur fairly often it can hinder reading experience. Good news is that this is an easily fixable issue, given that this is the Avatar Wiki and character details are readily available.
The characterisation can be split into two main parts; the character analysis, and the battle itself.
Generally the analysis characterised the combatants well, and felt like a proper canon article. There were times though where details were mentioned that weren't quite accurate, and there were also some details that could have been added to better characterise the combatants, like mentioning that one of Aang's weapons is his staff. Aang frequently used his staff to augment his airbending, though this wasn't mentioned in the Aang vs Korra chapter.
The weaknesses and strengths sections weren't always accurate either, and probably the main issue with the character analysis sections. There were some points made that didn't quite seem correct or relevant, for example, the Dai Li's strength isn't that they need the element of surprise (though of course that would help anyone), but rather that they act as a cohesive unit. While there were some good points made in chapters (particularly Mako's character analysis), some of the other weaknesses and strengths could be revised.
The other side to characterisation in this fanon are the battles. Now of course, it is an action fanon which requires the combatants to fight to the death, and so allowances have to be made. However, there were times where characters didn't feel like themselves. For example, Katara violently bloodbended her opponents in one battle, even though in the show she vowed to never use bloodbending. Even if she was forced to use this ability, the fact that her attack was particularly gruesome and she smirked afterwards was rather out-of-character. Despite the bloodbending example, the later chapters had more dialogue between the combatants, which made the characters feel more alive and engaging.
The fights scenes were often well-paced and exciting. There were moments of back-and-forth between the combatants which kept things form feeling one-sided. Occasionally there were unclear movements or phrases which made things hard to picture, but generally the battles were easy to follow and engaging.
Some of the sentences were a bit repetitive though, especially in the earlier chapters. It might be worth changing up the sentence beginnings and endings to vary things a little more. Also having the characters' inner thoughts or narration raises the stakes in a battle scene and creates tension, rather than feel like two emotionless robots fighting. A fight that includes dialogue, inner thoughts, or how the characters are feeling can be far more immersive for a reader.
This definitely improved in the later chapters, especially Katara vs Toph and Aang vs Danny which felt a lot more engaging than some of the earlier chapters.
Overall Score: 7.54
Avatar Colosseum is definitely a unique and interesting fanon here on the wiki. I think it offers something to all readers – even those not normally interested in fanon – because a lot of it involves in-depth character analysis and predicting who would beat the other in a battle. The battles themselves are often engaging and well-paced, and the second season even offers a system for readers to vote on who they think should have won. All in all, I think Avatar Colosseum feels very much a part of the wiki with its canon/fanon blend, and I'd recommend to anyone who enjoys character analysis with a slice of action.