Avatar: The Last Airbender: Nightmares and Daydreams   Rewatch 
September 14, 2015 11:49 AM - Season 3, Episode 9 - Subscribe

The gaang is four days ahead of schedule for the invasion, so they take some time for a little rest and relaxation on an uninhabited island. Everyone is happy to unwind for a few days, except Aang is haunted by nightmares and decides it's just best to forego sleep. Meanwhile, Zuko is still trying to find his place in life, even when he's treated as royalty, and even honored and trusted by his father.
posted by filthy light thief (10 comments total)
I hope I'm not stepping on anyone's toes by posting this.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:53 AM on September 14, 2015

Welp. I'm officially and mentally an episode behind!
posted by Atreides at 11:56 AM on September 14, 2015

You had me worried for a bit. I'll blame the gaang's casual approach to keeping to their schedule, which suddenly is resolved and they're even four days early. That threw me for a curve, too.

In this episode, I really enjoyed all the tributes and allusions to other anime (and other media, too). See more in the Avatar Wiki trivia section for this episode.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:59 AM on September 14, 2015 [1 favorite]

This episode marks the first time I have ever typed WHAT THE FUCK, SHEEP. So there's that.

There are so many best animals in this episode: koala sheep (especially when cheering), talking Momo, TALKING APPA (!!!). However, that fire-breathing pegasus hippo cow that Ozai is riding is the best best best.

Lots of references here - DBZ, Final Fantasy (at least I assume that's what Aang's locks-everywhere costume is about), The Waltons ...

I thought that Zuko was dreaming, too, at first.

I was glad to see that everything ended up back on schedule. (Though, yeah, via some strange magic, I guess.)

Baby, you're my forever girl.
posted by minsies at 12:02 PM on September 14, 2015

Final Fantasy (at least I assume that's what Aang's locks-everywhere costume is about)

The Avatar Wiki credits this look to Vash the Stampede (Trigun), but I don't think it's right. I'm trying to remember more characters who are similarly dressed, but drawing a blank.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:09 PM on September 14, 2015

I swear to god there's a Smurfs homage as well. The Wikia page keeps redirecting my phone browser to the App Store (a hated, loathed occurrence) so I can't read it to see if they mention it, but there's a moment with some cheering sheep that every time I see it, my brain goes, "Smurfs?"

I feel awful for the koalasheep at the end, they seem to be shivering in the wind thanks to having all their wool shaved off. Awwwww.
posted by angeline at 12:31 PM on September 14, 2015

He looks a little bit like Auron from Final Fantasy X there, mostly in how his face is concealed by the collar, but it wouldn't surprise me if it was just intended as a pastiche tribute to Tetsuya Nomura character designs from across all the Final Fantasy titles, and others like it that were popular in games and anime at the time.

This episode is fun (especially Aang's various dream permutations of Ozai, and I think "you're my forever girl" is one of those immortalized things), but it mostly serves to whet the appetite for Day of Black Sun coming up next, which is fantastic. All the emotional beats start paying off, plus a little bit of fun fan service with familiar faces.
posted by Kosh at 7:42 PM on September 14, 2015

As someone who watched Trigun they're essentially hanging their argument on him being Vash on the hair, and that's simply not good enough. NOT GOOD ENOUGH. There's a bit more similarity to Naruto's Kakashi or the other guys named above. Definitely not Vash.

I haven't had a chance to do long thoughts, but this is a good build up to "Day of the Black Sun," from both perspectives of Aang and Zuko. For Aang, he confronts his pending fight with Ozai much like a kid might, equating his anxiety with your typical anxiety driven nightmares, be it a surprise quiz, naked in school combat, and so on. It's also interesting on how this build up differs to one later on in the season, but that's for later. It's easy to see Aang the Avatar, who has mastered three of the four elements, the only elements which will be available to anyone for a brief period of time, as having no problem - but it's nice to see Aang the human crack some.

His fight against the macaroni Ozai he made in "The Headband," was great (and to a degree, mirrored later, too!) and also demonstrative of why his lack of sleep and nervousness were affecting his abilities (he never hit the macaroni face). Though, it's also interesting to see the difference between his lack of sleep here versus the lack of sleep in "The Chase," where the entire group were constantly on the run from Azula. There they could hardly function and got crabby, here Aang is virtually manic.

The Momo and Appa fight is just part of the incredible awesomeness of Season Three. In a heart beat we suddenly find ourselves slipped into some wandering samurai movie where the solemn samurai faces down a giant brute of an opponent.

Zuko and the military council. He was literally at his father's right hand and was the perfect prince that he was expected to be, but it wasn't him. It's Zuko's realization of what's been nagging him since he returned to the Fire Nation. What he thought he wants, he no longer does because the person who wanted as much no longer exists. He's a different Zuko now.

Mystery question: Where did Sokka hide all the supplies for Appa's armor that he magically begins working on? (We know where he got the money to buy it - "The Runaway.")
posted by Atreides at 9:28 AM on September 15, 2015

Yeah, I am a Trigun fan as well, and I did not read that outfit as Vash either.

Koala sheep! Pegasus fire breathing hippo cow thing!


So much pressure for someone who is really still just a kid. I don't blame him for the nightmares (and hallucinations).
posted by jillithd at 8:37 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

Isn't the point of the locks that Aang is secure in the knowledge that he's got his pants because they are chained and locked in place?
posted by straight at 4:05 PM on July 13, 2020

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