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Moon's Costume Blog

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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Last Airbender

The word “Avatar” means tall, blue people in Hollywood these days, but director M. Night Shyamalan knows the word “Avatar” should be followed by the words, "The Last Airbender".

He’s directing a new film based on the animated series that draws heavily on elements from traditional East Asian (especially Chinese and Japanese) culture, blending the styles of anime and US domestic cartoons. For that reason, the show is not considered by some to be anime. But I do. And it's definitely cosplay!

Shyamalan has responded to those who think his casting ought to have been more racially diverse by praising anime. He said that anime, such as the source material for "Airbender," is about blurring the race boundaries of the real world and embracing something more uplifting.

"The great thing about anime is that it's ambiguous. The features of the characters are an intentional mix of all features. It's intended to be ambiguous. That is completely its point. [Those] who watch it, they see themselves in it. And that's what's so beautiful about anime."

That’s exactly why people cosplay – because they see aspects of themselves in the characters. And it doesn’t matter what color their skin or hair may be, or even if their facial features resemble the character. It’s about bringing the animated to character to life.

Do people really think an Indian-born American with a nickname like “Night” would be racially insensitive? He answered all casting questions in an interview with io9 to our satisfaction.

Plus, he’s a fanboy too. Wikipedia says his film Unbreakable "is a study on the dimensions of comic books; it explores the analogies between the real world and the mythology of superheroes."

The Last Airbender movie trailers are available on YouTube, and the film is due for a summer release.
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