Recently, as Avatar (of The Last Airbender variety) has been promoted on Netflix, there seem to have been a major influx of new Avatar fans. I really enjoy TLAB and TLOK and believe that they are great stories to learn from as a youth growing up, as well as just super entertaining. But remember, Avatar is a series that was heavily influenced by anime. Not just in narrative and plot, but as well as animation and characters. There are so many Avatar fans out there who are not anime watchers, so I thought that maybe I can help boost the exposure of the Avatar franchise, as well as get more people to watch more anime. By the way, this list may be a little repetitive as I tried to have series that had similar energy to Avatar, thus including things like: action adventure, a young prodigy, and fulfilling destiny. This list is also in no particular. Here we go.
Magi: The Kingdom of Magic (and the sequel The Labyrinth of Magic)
This is as close as I could get to a series that is similar to Avatar. Magi is centered around a young boy considered as one of the chosen ones as he travels around a magical world much like ours. This series is very much inspired by 1001 Arabian Nights, Aladdin, Ali Baba, and Sinbad the Sailor. It’s quite like Avatar in the sense that main character Aladdin is a young and immature child who is powerful beyond all measures. On his way to learn more about himself and the world he meets other strong willed individuals, foes (who later become friends), and takes on many life threatening challenges. The fight scenes from this series look amazing and paired with the soundtrack, make Magi a gripping action/adventure story. But at the end of the day it’s a story of personal growth and the fight of good against evil.
Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann
Again, throughout this article you will find series involving young men growing up and learning to fulfill their fate through the power of friendship. Gurren Lagann is a real story of starting from the bottom to get to the top. The immature humor, the action, and the cast of characters will make you fall in love with this mecha/science fiction series. With Gurren Lagann, you will travel the world in search of what makes a human and human, and the worth of a life. Also, great soundtrack and amazing fight scenes. Very much like Avatar, the story behind the story (the lore) is as interesting as the main story itself.
Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood
Regarded as one of the greatest series of all time, FMA Brotherhood is an epic journey filled with magic (considered alchemy in the series), a great cast, and tremendous world building. I really do believe that this series is one of the greatest stories ever told and should be loved by all – even those who are not anime fans. I consider this to be one of my few perfect 10’s in fiction. FMA Brotherhood is not just action/adventure, it’s also a great comedy, filled with government conspiracy and actually reminds me a lot of Game of Thrones. This is a much watch even if you aren’t a huge Avatar fan. And yes, an amazing soundtrack to boot as well.
Hunter X Hunter
This is of one of those series that every anime watcher has seen and has developed a lot of clout over the years. It’s probably the ultimate action/adventure story about young boys battling bad guys and the ultimate fight of good vs evil. I’ve written about Hunter X Hunter before and the main character Gon reminds me a lot of Aang. Nevertheless, the reason why this series is so popular is because it’s so good and that the world building is pretty fantastic as well. Give it a shot, you won’t regret it!
3-Gatsu no Lion
This is by far the farthest thing from Avatar but I thought it fit in terms of themes. A big theme that we see in Avatar is understanding. Zuko and the Fire Nation are not entirely bad and people from the Water Tribe aren’t entirely good. 3-Gatsu is based in the real world, as it follows Rei as prodigy of Shogi (it’s like Japanese chess) as he goes through the gauntlet of being a pro Shogi player. Everyone in the community insists that he’s the next big thing considering how young and talented he is, but does he even like the game that much? Very much like Aang or Korra doubting themselves as the Avatar, Rei doesn’t know if the game is really what he’s meant to do. Along the way you will meet bad guys who might not be so bad and learn that the world is more then them vs you, it’s everybody working hard in order to coexist.