Sunday, March 4, 2012

Alphabeasts: U is for Unagi

This week's Alphabeast comes from the animated Avatar: the Last Airbender. Specifically, it comes from the fourth episode, "The Warriors of Kyoshi."

You see, U is for unagi.

I've only watched the first season of Avatar. It's pretty fun, and there's a lot of "worldbuilding" inventiveness in the background creatures. No one in the show ever really comments on them, but most of that world's animals seem to be hybridizations of our real-world creatures, so there are goldfish-whales called "elephant koi;" there are "otter-penguins" and "badgerfrogs" and "armadillo wolves. And so forth.

Like I said, it's a fun show. I'll probably watch the whole thing with my little son when he gets old enough to enjoy it.

Really, there are so many interesting creatures on the show that I shouldn't have had to semi-cheat the way I'm doing with this week's entry. What I mean is that "unagi" is probably the name for the species of sea serpent / eel that we see in Episode 4, but it might also be the name of the specific eel—"Unagi," rather than an "unagi." I know Andrew Neal isn't going to boot this submission because it might be a name instead of a species. (I mean, look.) But I still feel like I'm bending my own rules, especially since I could have drawn a canyon crawler or whatever from Avatar instead, if I'd juggled the alphabet a little differently.

On the other hand, I love unagi (the real-world eel, sliced up on a blob of rice—I could eat it every day). And I love lake monsters. Why not bring them together?

Just for fun, and to put another image into this post, here's a scan of my original ink-work for the drawing above, including a spot where I messed up the lines on the unagi's body and drew an alternative set of lines.

Next week: this is my spring break, so I'm thinking about doing a double for the letter V: a creature probably designed by Alex Toth, on the one hand, and a Roald Dahl monster on the other.


Sarah said...

What a great Unagi!! I love Avatar; it's such a gorgeous series. I cried like a baby at the end of it.

Somewhere in season 2, they do make a cute little joke about the animal-hybrids thing. It took me a while to find the quote:

Katara: The king is throwing a party at the palace tonight for his pet bear.
Aang: Don't you mean platypus-bear?
Katara: No, it just says "bear."
Sokka: Certainly you mean his pet skunk-bear?
Toph: Or his armadillo-bear?
Aang: Gopher-bear?
Katara: Just... "bear."
Toph: This place is weird.


Curious Art said...

A very fine looking beast! But now you have made me crazy hungry for sushi & I don't have time to go get any so I hate you. >:C

Isaac said...

I think there's plenty of unagi to go around, Leah...

But I just noticed that, when I hooked up his above-water parts to make an underwater loop, I created a problem: the back spines in his second "bit" are facing the wrong way. Please, nobody pay attention to that!

Loops O'Fury said...

I like the shadowy underwater bits. I have never seen that show. Maybe I'll watch it with AZ over the summer.

And dammit, I already wanted sushi before I saw this, so now the wasabi-craving is uncontrollable.

Isaac said...

I bet AZ would like the show, Lupi. It's got more soul than Pokemon, that's for sure.