Wednesday, May 20, 2020

The Netflix Debut of ‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ Sends Fans Flocking to 'Leaves From The Vine'

General Iroh sings the song in an emotional moment of the show’s second season.


Nickelodeon’s beloved animated series, Avatar: the Last Airbender, arrived on Netflix over the weekend 15 years after its television debut. So far, it’s elicited an enthusiastic reception from fans - becoming the number-one property on the streaming platform within days. That interest has even translated on Genius, where pageviews for the song “Leaves From The Vine (Little Soldier Boy)” from the show’s second season have spiked.

The song averaged 475 pageviews per day over the past month, but saw daily totals climb rapidly starting last Friday, May 15, when Avatar made its Netflix debut. By Sunday, May 17, it earned nearly 1,500 pageviews. Tuesday, May 19 saw its highest total yet, with 2,750 in one day. It looks poised to do even more in the coming days as more fans work their way through the series.

“Leaves From The Vine” appears in “The Tales of Ba Sing Se,” the 15th episode in Avatar’s second season. General Iroh sings it while memorializing his son, Lu Ten. Iroh’s son died in an attempt to siege the Earth Kingdom city of Ba Sing Se, leading a demoralized Iroh to withdraw his troops from battle. The decision ultimately cost him the throne of the Fire Nation.

The lyrics, which are meant to be a children’s nursery rhyme in the Fire Nation, speak to family and loss:

Leaves from the vine
Falling so slow
Like fragile tiny shells
Drifting in the foam
Little soldier boy
Come marching home
Brave soldier boy
Comes marching home

While far from the only song in the Avatar universe, it holds a special significance for fans. Mako Iwamatsu, the voice actor who played Iroh, passed away from esophageal cancer before completing his work on the show, and “Leaves From the Vine” doubles as a tribute to him.

Greg Baldwin, the voice actor who took over the role of Iroh from Mako, explained back in March that out of respect, he will never perform the song:


Although the song is sung by Mako, Baldwin did have to re-record one line for the episode:


Relive Iroh singing “Leaves From The Vine (Little Soldier Boy)” below, and make sure to watch Avatar: the Last Airbender on Netflix.


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