Avatar: The Last Airbender - acceptable for Catholics?

Started by Gardener, October 08, 2022, 03:23:31 PM

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Gardener

I know we have some anime/Japanese/Korean show watchers on here, so I'm hoping to get your input.

I caught some of the series Avatar: The Last Airbender at work one day a few months ago. It seemed entertaining for multiple ages and possibly something I could watch with my kids.

My concern is whether or not the fantasy aspects get too melded with Eastern philosophies in a manner which would be spiritually destructive for my kids.

So, for you folks who are familiar with Anime, is the series something appropriate for family entertainment or would it be problematic?

Thank you for your replies.
"Lord save us from the sufficient grace of the Thomists!"

Heinrich

I would say no. Anyhing coming from Hollywood is a near occasion of sin. My classes have watched  a few cartoon movies, e.g. Ferdinand. The jews subtlety put sexual inuendo even in seemingly innocuous productions. Clone Wars(Guerras Clónicos) cartoons has it. Burn it all with fire and protect innocence.
Schaff Recht mir Gott und führe meine Sache gegen ein unheiliges Volk . . .   .                          
Lex Orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi.
"Die Welt sucht nach Ehre, Ansehen, Reichtum, Vergnügen; die Heiligen aber suchen Demütigung, Verachtung, Armut, Abtötung und Buße." --Ausschnitt von der Geschichte des Lebens St. Bennos.

Padraig

I watched the Avatar series. It does become explicit in its Eastern Spirituality. The main character has an arc where he meets a guru to open up his chakras.

I don't think it's in the "generally recommended" category, although it's extremely entertaining and quite innocent of any sexuality. (I think there's one kiss between the main leads in the last episode.)

Kephapaulos

I have seen the series as well as its sequel series The Legend of Korra. It has a coherent plot and storyline as well as illustrates repentance from past faults and conversion in the characters of Zuko and his uncle, who emerges as a figure of wisdom. The main character Aang, the avatar, displays sacrifice and commitment in spite of fear and reluctance. Regardless of all this though, it does it in a context of an ethos of East Asian spirituality and paganism, as mentioned by Padraig. It has some immodesty I would say and does not otherwise necessarily intend to express things to actually point to Christian or natural virtue perse. Forgiveness and detachment are expressed in the series as well, but again, that is in the context of East Asian spirituality and paganism. A concept of worship is not expressed simply either in the series. From what I just read tonight, the creators of the show based it on Buddhism.

In the sequel series about the next avatar, Korra, the wokery nonsense gets expressed and the plot and storyline is lacking in substance compared to the first series. In the early part of the second series, Aang's son appears to be saying a prayer at the table when he and his family are about to eat, but a friend of mine told me a few years ago it was really something else he was doing. I forget the word he used for it, but I would say it was simply an acknowledgement of appreciation for the food at the table but not an actual prayer of thanksgiving for the meal.

I would say then that I do not recommend seeing the series.

BlueInGreen

#4
I'll add a different perspective. Given the nature of the show where there's no explicitly mature themes being depicted, let alone gratuitous violence, and how it's relatively approachable as a form of mid-adolescent entertainment, the show can be used to as a learning tool about the differences between Catholicism and Buddhism. But keep in mind that the Buddhism depicted in this animated series isn't entirely accurate, so using it as a gateway to discuss other religious worldviews would be okay to that degree.

I am also not of the mindset that watching or reading things like Harry Potter or Pokemon are innately damaging to ones soul, so take that as you will.

On the other hand, for whatever reason you choose not to allow your kid to watch it, they'll be fine even if they may not feel like they're "in the know" if their social group talks about Last Airbender. Anecdotally, I didn't watch many animated series growing up simply because my household didn't have cable. There was The Simpsons that was broadcasted, but since I never grew up with it as a kid the appeal never caught on with me. My parents later got cable early during my teenage years where I knew shows such as South Park were available on Comedy Central but, like The Simpsons, just never had enough intrigue to dedicate myself to it.

A little OT -

The thing about tv/film is that despite it being then most modern and ever present form of entertainment/art, if COVID proved anything, it is arguable the most unessential form of it. Without the invention of the tv and cameras, the art form is essentially dead. I think the time spent in front of the tv or at the cinemas is better time spent either going to museums, exposing oneself to the live performing arts (i.e. live music, dance, ballet, opera, orchestras, musicals, plays), spending it reading or playing board/card games/chess. Those activities are innately more enriching than tv/film unless what's being watched is somewhat educational (i.e. Ken Burns documentaries) or, say, Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ or even Life Is Beautiful. These two films can lend to a historical discussion and religious discussion about morals and ethics.

I know a religious family (not Catholic) who dedicates one day of the weekend to "family movie night." The movies that are watched are almost always G rated; maybe a PG-13 movie once in a blue moon. That's the only time the entire family watches a movie. I don't believe they even watch tv for any tv series as well.
Cradle Catholic traversing modernism while rediscovering my heritage - in faith and ethnically.

Gardener

Thank you everyone for your input. I'll be skipping this as an option.
"Lord save us from the sufficient grace of the Thomists!"

Tennessean

I haven't seen anything out of japan in the last 15 years worth recommending. Not anime, at least.

Paul_D

Quote from: Tennessean on December 03, 2022, 09:17:06 AM
I haven't seen anything out of japan in the last 15 years worth recommending. Not anime, at least.

I thought there were quite a few anime worth recommending, like Sweetness and Lightning, Steins;Gate, Angel Beats!, Fruits Basket!, and my personal favorite Clannad (2007)/Clannad After-Story(2008) (having some caveats). There was also The Wind Rises, A Silent Voice, and some other films I have forgotten.

Tennessean

Some shows of the last 15 years, like Psycho-Pass, were good, just not essential I guess. Nothing really approaching Ghost in the Shell, Akira, Outlaw Star, Ergo Proxy, Dragonball, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Escaflowne, Mushishi, Princess Mononoke, Vampire Hunter D, Darker Than Black, Technolyze, Neon Genesis Evangelion. I wouldn't recommend most of those for kids, anyway.

Paul_D

Quote from: Tennessean on December 08, 2022, 12:12:08 AM
Some shows of the last 15 years, like Psycho-Pass, were good, just not essential I guess. Nothing really approaching Ghost in the Shell, Akira, Outlaw Star, Ergo Proxy, Dragonball, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Escaflowne, Mushishi, Princess Mononoke, Vampire Hunter D, Darker Than Black, Technolyze, Neon Genesis Evangelion. I wouldn't recommend most of those for kids, anyway.

I agree with those series, but I would still really recommend Clannad both seasons, as long as some things would be explained as a bit problematic, such as the practices of paganism and some other indications of decay in society. Still, it pushes very themes that do resonate in Catholicism despite the flaws.

Padraig

Quote from: Tennessean on December 08, 2022, 12:12:08 AM
Some shows of the last 15 years, like Psycho-Pass, were good, just not essential I guess. Nothing really approaching Ghost in the Shell, Akira, Outlaw Star, Ergo Proxy, Dragonball, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Escaflowne, Mushishi, Princess Mononoke, Vampire Hunter D, Darker Than Black, Technolyze, Neon Genesis Evangelion. I wouldn't recommend most of those for kids, anyway.

If you haven't watched Vinland Saga, it's superb.

I don't really keep up on series, so I can't say I've seen too many to recommend, but besides Vinland Saga, Bakuman was really good. Pretty sure that was <15 years ago.

Have you watched any of Makoto Shinkai? Voices of a Distant Star, 5cm per Second, Your Name. Probably the best artwork of any anime ever made.

Tennessean


Tennessean