I had seen Avatar show up occasionally on my Amazon recommendations list, but never seriously checked it out. I wasn’t sure what to think of it at first, especially since it wasn’t quite obvious whether it was Japanese or American. It looked like anime, yet something about it had the look of a show aimed at American kids.
Finally yesterday I checked it out on the iTunes Music Store, where it was recently (I think) added along with a bunch of other Nickelodeon stuff. Nickelodeon hasn’t interested me since I was a kid, but this was just unusual enough to merit a second look.
First of all, the reviews were very positive, even the ones that aren’t obviously written by children. I only found one with anything negative to say about the show, and even then there was no specific criticism, so it doesn’t count. Other negative “reviews” only complained about the price. It also currently ranks #1 in purchases of iTMS season passes.
Contrary to what some of those comments say, buying it on iTunes is less expensive than buying the DVDs, based on Amazon’s prices. For one thing, you can’t even buy the whole first season on DVD yet; the fourth of apparently five discs comes out about two weeks from now. At an average of $12 each, that’s considerably more than iTunes’ $30 for the season.
Checking out the samples, I noticed that while the animation definitely looks Japanese, it is also lip-synced for English. That’s unusual… plus the animation is pretty good.
I decided to buy an episode - the first of season 2, thinking mistakenly at the time that it was the first episode iTunes had. It’s pretty good stuff, and I felt like I had gotten my $2 worth even before it was over. The animation quality held up, and there was more depth of character and story than your average kid’s show. It has just enough light-hearted moments without ruining the respectably serious overall tone.
I had stretched the playback window to fill most of my 17″ screen, and the video quality was a little bit distracting, but most of the time the story was engaging enough to keep my mind off that. Given the price, and the battery savings of not having to play a DVD on my PowerBook, I’m tempted to buy the first season to watch on the plane this holiday weekend.
So that was my first experience buying a TV show from iTunes. Pretty good. I just wish I could find more worth downloading.