Sunday, 15 July 2012

Legend of Korra

So I marathoned Legend of Korra with a few friends. To be honest, I thought the show was pretty good. A hell lot better than a lot of other shows during the same season. Yes, I'm looking at you, writers of Thundercats -_-

So what can I praise in Legend of Korra? I guess the number one thing would be the characters. I like the fact that they've actually made a decent main character, one that's strong and independent. In fact, I like it that the show has a lot of very strong female characters. So strong in fact that they start overshadowing the other characters. Asami Sato; despite showing up 4 episodes later than the male characters also ends up being a much more developed character than 2 main male characters. The side characters are funny too. It's like they tried to give everyone their own personality. Tenzin is hilarious, especially in the way that everyone in the show seems to show him little to no respect. The announcer dude for the probending fights had us cracking up, especially during the finals and when he got cornered by the Equalist terrorist in his own booth and KEPT ON commentating.

Btw, meelo? Tenzin's only son? There is something so SERIOUSLY wrong with that kid. I commented to my friends that he was probably going to grow up to be some serial killer or something. And after several episodes, they agreed with me -_-. Seriously, little kid goes and ask for Asamis' hair cause "she's pretty". Creepy.....

So the characters are great. What about the action? I liked the action of Korra. A lot of people have mentioned that it seemed like benders got weaker in this sequel as they aren't shown doing any of the crazy shit Team Aang used to pull in the first series. Well, there's probably several reasons for that. 1) Non-benders are the primary threat in the series. To make actions scenes engaging, they probably had to scale down the threat level of benders otherwise a lot of benders would be able to wtfcurbstomp non-benders. Then non-benders would have to learn how to build sniper rifles to snipe the crap out of benders before they could even react. 2) It's been 70 years since series 1. And that's 70 years of peace. In series 1, the benders were so damn good because they had been fighting a war for the past 100 years. During peace time, it's a totally different thing when you don't need to learn how to fight for your survival. As an idea of how long it's been, Aang who was 12ish in series 1 is dead. Along with most of his team who were roughly the same age. And Katara has grandchildren now. That's at least 2 generations since then.

So the action is good as well. Now onto the romance. Because any Avatar show ends up involving a lot of shipping. Unlike in the previous Avatar, there's a bit of a love triangle in this sequel. I say a bit because it's quite obvious from the start who ends up with who. But nonetheless, I sorta-like the way they handled it. It would have been so easy for Asami to turn out to be evil like her dad. Instead, she didn't and props to the writer for not taking the easy way out. And yet because of this, both characters ended up being so strong that anyone would feel bad if EITHER side of the triangle got rejected. Which would have to happen eventually anyway... And as a result, who got most of the backlash? The male side of the triangle, who wasn't as well developed as the 2 females. I'd be interested to see what they do with this romance, since Korra has always been very very firmly interested in Mako (too bad other shippers, it's NEVER going to happen -_-) and Mako just reaffirmed her interest in the finale. Btw, Bolin x Iroh OTP.

I also like the way the show was based on 1920s china/shanghai and managed to replicate the imagery and musical setting quite well. Quite a few times I thought I heard erhu music playing as a BGM, which was awesome. 

So what didn't I like about the series? Well, bloodbending seemed a bit overpowered if you ask me. It just seemed like the 'insta-win' button unless you happened to be the Avatar. Plus it wasn't explained how bloodbending could take away people's bending powers. 

As for all the benders going emo after losing their bending. That was the one thing I didn't really get because they never really went into what it meant for a bender to lose their bending. Is it like losing your arm? Or your sense of touch? The way they portrayed it in the series, it seemed like it was the equivalent of being stilled in Wheel of Time where the person who lost their ability basically become suicidally depressed and stopped being able to enjoy life. Also at the end, when Korra is super upset over losing her OTHER bending abilities other than Air, I just didn't get it. I mean, EVERYONE else can only bend ONE element at most. Now you're just like the rest. What's bad about that?

Also, the part where the Equalists kept pulling new tech out of nowhere to suddenly trump the authorities was a bit wtf too. My friend commented that based on this show, every rebellion should find some evil Japanese industrialist to design weapons for them because apparently 1 dude can come up with everything that a rebellion needs to win. 

By the way, what IS with the treatment of firebenders in the show? We were lolling over how everyone's parents seemed to be killed by firebenders. Mako, Amon (later proven false) and Asamis. Is there some secret firebending cult that likes to go around killing peoples parents? Do police scanners in the Avatr world go "Suspect is a firebender, armed and dangerous-"

Finally, I wasn't really too happy with how the main villain of the show was defeated. It was tragic yes, but I felt that basically it would have been better if the Avatar dealt the final blow. Instead, it feels anticlimatic that the villain managed to escape instead and then he gets BLOWN up in a lovers suicide with his brother -_- Uh...kay....

Which brings me to my final point. With all the plot points seemingly wrapped; romance, villain, loss of bending, probending competition, WTF are they going to do for the next 36 episodes? This actually felt like a pretty good standalone series by itself and I have no idea how they'll extend the tension for another 36 episodes. 

TL;DR, good show. Watch it.