Saturday, April 14, 2012

{TV Show Review} THE LEGEND OF KORRA

Happy Avatar Day!!!

I know, I know, this is a book review blog, not a television show blog.  To make it up to you, I've also just posted a review of AVATAR THE LAST AIRBENDER: THE PROMISE, VOL. I.  It's a new comic book series bridging the gap between the original TV series AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER and THE LAST AIRBENDER: THE LEGEND OF KORRA. (And seriously, James Cameron?  How could you take the name AVATAR away from a TV series that existed before your blue people movie did?  Not right!!  And Korra obviously isn't the only airbender around now... This series is still "AVATAR" to me...)

I've been on the fence about whether or not to embrace KORRA ever since the series' existence was announced.  Initially, it took me a long time to get into the original series.  Having lived in Japan and traveled to both China and South Korea, I identified with the Asian influences and mentalities in so many ways. At first, I thought the show was an Asian production, but quickly learned that it was developed by Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. Despite the show's glossiness, I didn't truly fall in love until we got deeper into characterization.  In particular, I loved the way the character development for Prince Zuko was handled.  He's an exiled prince from the Fire Nation that starts out as a villain, but wavers on the brink, inherently good despite the fact that he wants nothing more than to appease his sadistic father.  He quickly became my favorite character.  Plus, I loved the romantic tension between him and Katara, so I was seriously bummed when the series never deviated in the direction it had been heading.  I get having your main character get the girl, but Avatar Aang was just so...young.  When I heard that THE LEGEND OF KORRA would feature the offspring of Aang and Katara, it gave me a sick, squelchy feeling inside.

Luckily, Korra is not the descendant of Aang and Katara, though her new Airbending Master is.  It was also lovely to see Katara as an elderly woman in the first episode of the new series, "Welcome to Republic City," though also sort of weird.  I was bummed when she said that most of her friends had passed on (the new series takes place 70 years after the end of the first one), but I'm eager to see cameos from everyone still around.  I also loved seeing the way beloved characters created improvements that brought about this new world, especially Toph's unique metal-bending!

In the first series, the Four Nations were on the brink of an Industrial Revolution.  The Fire Nation had amazing technology, but they used it to create weapons of war.  With the war now over and the nations coming together in harmony, an Industrial Revolution has taken place, and the newer technology is seen in KORRA, lending the series a steampunk flair.  Republic City has a lot of cool things to look at, including Pro-Bending Tournaments, which I hope will be a highlight of the series.  They remind me a bit of the niche sport Blitzball from the videogame FINAL FANTASY X, and a full summary of the sport can be found here.

Another early reason to love Pro-Bending?  Mako!!  It's awesome to see a potential love interest for Korra introduced so early on in the series.  Mako and Korra seem to be on the path for a love-hate relationship (Bringing it back to books, think Anne and Gilbert from ANNE OF GREEN GABLES).  Mako is a little stand-offish at the moment, but he has the ability to admit when he was wrong, so he's not as arrogant as he first appears.  I cannot wait for the storyline that cracks into his personality and shows us what makes him tick.  That being said, in an interview last year, show creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko stated, "The main characters are in their late teens, we’ve always loved those kind of teen love triangle type stories and there was plenty of that in the original series. We’re definitely getting into it in this series."  I'm not counting my chickens before they're hatched, because we're only two episodes into the series, so there's plenty of time for the real romance to come into play.

Personality-wise, Korra reminds me a lot of Sokka, especially when it comes to facial expressions.  She can be impulsive and bull-headed, too.  She has a bit of Zuko's personality in that sense, combined with not wanting to follow directions.  For all of these reasons, air-bending is hardest for her to master.  She has no patience and doesn't understand harmony just yet.  The show's second episode, "A Leaf in the Wind," showcases how hard it is for her to train and brings to mind Aang's first attempts to fire-bend in the original series.  Korra has so much room for growth, and I think we'll see her develop quite a bit over the course of the series.  I already love her big heart and strong sense of justice, which we see right away.  Korra is going to be such a strong female role-model, not at all dainty and sweet.  In this sense, I love her already!

I'm still on the fence, but I'm going to continue watching for now and see where the series takes me.  Hopefully, this journey will be a good one, but if it's not, it won't detract from the brilliance of the first series in any shape or form.

Miss the first two episodes of THE LAST AIRBENDER: THE LEGEND OF KORRA?  Check your TV for listings, as Nick will re-air the first two episodes multiple times.  They can also be found On Demand, as well as on Nick's official web site.  The third episode will premiere on April 21st. 

1 comment:

  1. My husband and I are rewatching the Last Airbender and I can't wait to start watching these as well. I loved it and I'm so excited for this new series.

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