Watching Avatar the Last Airbender... in Japanese

Is ATLA an anime?? I guess it doesn’t matter because Netflix localised it and now it has Japanese dubs and captions (the captions don’t totally match the dub lines). Anyway I guess we can pretend it’s an anime now.

I’ve been watching episodes out of order and thought it would be fun to make posts about some of the sentences in different episodes for “accountability” (actually I’m just quite bored learning by myself and would like some company). Stay tuned~~~

Note: For whatever reason the JP dub isn’t available on my cousin’s tv but I can get it fine if I log into the desktop app. Make of that what you will.


I’ve noticed that before - the Netflix TV app has a much smaller selection of subtitles but if you start watching the show on the computer with the right subtitle language, it usually keeps the selected subtitles on the TV.


Do you mean the Japanese subtitles don’t match the Japanese dub lines? That’s normal, they’re not meant to be captions. Dubbing should fit the movement of the lips, while subtitles are free to be more detailed, etc.


woah I made it back! I also tried taking some screenshots but I’m not sure how to get around netflix’s screenshot-blocker drm magic.

I watched S1 Ep 6, which is where Haru gets introduced and Katara leads a prison rebellion against the warden of a fire nation penal colony.

In the first few minutes of the episode there’s a running gag about 木飲実 (kinomi, nuts) which is accessible and then there’s a backstory about Haru’s dad. Katara uses せっかく to emphasize Haru’s natural earthbending talent in the dub



Kinda hard to capture the emotion in a forum post but it’s cool that there are multiple generations of characters with varied responses on expressing/supressing tradition for survival/assimilation already in this story. I also like that Haru’s earthbending is clearly pretty weak compared to what we see later in the show ie. when Toph gets introduced and the larger earth kingdom cities.

I’ll be back with an episode featuring Azula (or whoever) in a couple of days.

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I wish Netflix also offered the JP CC track as a sub option cause it’d be easier to match up that way as a second-language speaker. Some of the JP titles have JP CC available, but that’s presumably because the CC track is supposed to be for deaf audiences while the sub tracks are for foreign audiences. I think often CC and sub tracks don’t match up more because different teams did them at different times and less cause of artistic reasons, but I’m pulling this out of my butt.

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Hey I got screenshots to work! This was S2 Ep 5, Avatar Day

This is the one where Aang gets accused of murder in a past life. Kiyoshi bails him out by making an appearance but the village is run by a despot so they sentence him to death by boiling water.

That’s why they call it justice. Because it’s JUST US! Haha (in the EN dub)
我々だけが正義なのだ → that’s our village’s form of justice (JP)

missed opportunity for a delightfully evil pun from the village chief.

Writing a summary in JP: このエピソドにアンが告白する。この村アンが大嫌い。なぜなら、きよしの人生に村の大軍者きよしに殺された。きよしはただしけれど村の人きっとみえないじゃない。

The goal is to make this summary without using the dictionary (I cheated. Next time).

Google TL translates this back to: Anne confesses in this episode. I hate this village Ann. Because during Kiyoshi’s life, he was killed by Kiyoshi, a large military man in the village. Kiyoshi is fine, but I’m sure the people in the village can’t see it.

Obviously this is not what I intended but Google’s not really the best translator of JP either so :face_with_monocle:

Next time: Suki gets a nod in this ep but no appearance. It’d be nice to see her (I have a feeling we’ll end up watching Yue instead). Back in a few days.

I would say it’s more like “We are the only justice” / “We alone are just” Which is more like the meaning of the original. What pun did you have in mind.

If you mean literally doing something like putting the English pun in, I’ve seen shows try to do that, but it usually comes off as a bit ham-fisted and difficult to parse in the moment.

I gave it a shot, but I think it’s clunky. Though perhaps a native translator trying the same thing could do better.



What region are you using to find the subtitles? I can’t get a JP subbed version anywhere