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The Legend of Korra

I can probably count on my fingers the amount of animated programs that “get it”, that tells you a story and you want to continue to be invested in this story until the end.

When I saw Avatar: The Last Airbender for the first time, I wanted to continue watching it and I loved it from beginning to end.  I loved the world that this was set in, the set design, the animation, the voice acting, the humour, the bending techniques and the research into actual martial arts choreography that makes this the selling point of the show, but it has a lot to do with how much investment you put into the main character and his friends.

Unfortunately, this spin-off/sequel to the series doesn’t work.

Within the first ten minutes of watching Korra, I really didn’t like her.  This is supposed to be the main character and she has traits you’d normally see in a supporting character.  She’s too cocky, shows off too much and is overall a teenaged brat that’s even less mature than the kids from the first series and we’re supposed to invest ourselves into the fact she’s the next avatar.  And from what is explained in the first series, the avatar must journey across the world and learn the elements from gifted masters of the bending arts, but with Korra, she’s already doing everything but airbending and I don’t get it, I don’t get why they made this avatar in such a way.

Then there’s the problem of this city, Republic City.  It’s too “modern” for this kind of world and I can’t imagine why Aang and Zuko would ever do such a thing given what we’ve known about them previously.  I see too much of real-world familiarity that the beauty and “magic” of the world of the Avatar gets lost.

The other major problem with this is that Korra is a very predictable character.  We know what kind of attitude she has, and we know what changes she’ll go through that the mystery is no longer there.  She’ll go from irresponsible show-off to a noble, respectable warrior and characters like these have been done before.  She’s Luke Skywalker in a sense.

I also felt that the acting was a tad on the bland side, that the words are said, but there’s no substance in them.  Same with this whole world.  We’re shown this world, but I feel we don’t get much of the substance behind it.

There’s also the fact (I’ve seen and heard bits here and there) that all these new bending discoveries now seem more common-place in this world than it was in the previous, yet there doesn’t seem to be much of an explanation as to why they do it and who they learned it from.

What disappoints me the most is that this sequel is clearly more intended for a younger audience, probably because the adult-themed elements in the first series was too “dark” or too “serious” for a kids audience?  They have toilet humour for crying out loud, they never had toilet humour in the first series.  That and they play up the asian instruments way too much in the soundtrack of the series, you never got it that often in the first series.

It’s like they wanted to capture the magic of the first but didn’t really know what to do with it and rather place it in a modern-like setting, which plain and simply doesn’t work.

I would have rather the same creators of the first Avatar series make a prequel instead.  I would have loved it if they instead told the story of the first Avatar and how he/she was able to bring balance to the four nations of the world.  This person could have been a wandering traveler who’s a quick study and as he/she travels they pick up on the different bending techniques and progresses throughout the story until this first Avatar was able to unite the four warring nations and preserve it throughout each generation when a new Avatar would be born.  Something to that effect, you know?

I can’t get into this show, it doesn’t work for me and I can’t see it get any better than what I’ve seen.

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