First of all I want to say this: I came into LoK with high hopes and high expectations that Korra for what it was being a short mini-series would live up to, maybe even surpassing it’s predecessor. I mean how can you NOT have high expectations for a continuing series when you were enamored and in love with the first series? A:tLA was practically the BEST show that I’ve seen on American television as far as cartoons and Nick goes in a long time.
Seeing as I hardly ever watch TV these days or I’m surfing the web and reading the latest manga or watching the latest anime fan-subs when the mood hits me.
I came into Korra expecting to really connect with the characters and watching them learn and grow together and have better understanding of their world. I was so ready to proclaim Korra as better than its predecessor.
The first three episodes are a testament to how much I was so willing and ready to defend this series, the writer’s and everything.
But what I got instead was disappointment after the finale.
-The main point of the story is unquestionably: Korra going through obstacles and conflicts to learn airbending and to become spiritual to become a fully realized Avatar. But of course along the way, there will be opposition met to make that journey, coming of age story not so easy.
And of course Korra will be going against the antagonists known as the Equalists and their main villain Amon. Pretty much a given.
This might still end of being pretty long but I’m going to try to sum this up with better clarity and less snarky remarks.
Except…I never got my coming of age story, I never get to see Korra learn and grow and EARN her rightful title as the Avatar.
Korra began her story as a spoiled rotten but sweet, impulsive, bull-headed, messiah complex, optimistic and naive sheltered girl who pretty much got everything handed to her. Basically does anything she wants and gets everything she wants whether you like it or not. She never had to struggle for anything.
And at the end of Korra’s story…Korra is still a impulsive, bull-headed, messiah complex, optimstic, just maybe slightly less naive and spoiled, girl who still gets everything handed to her and never struggled for anything…
Korra is the peter pan and Mako and Bolin are her lost boys…THEY NEVER LEARN AND GROW THE UP. I would have added Asami here, except out of these four…she would be the Wendy if Korra is the peter pan; i.e. she is the only one who actually gets a coming of age story to her character. I still feel she was still slighted and shafted, but she is the ONLY one that comes close to having that story told and for that I will give Bryan and Mike brownie points.
Before I continue to come back to this point, congrats on still reading my words.
I have a lot of beef with this series but there are TWO MAJOR ones that tie into each other as well as the other major issues I had with the storytelling.
And I believe it is this issue that derailed the whole entire story, derailed all the damn glorious potential that we never got that would have nicely given us an honest and true coming of age story for Korra, Mako, Bolin, and Asami. (As well as all the potential for other issues going on like the CONFLICTS between benders and non-benders and the equalists but i’ll get to that next).
That beef ladies and gents is the knee-jerk I don’t even know what to call it love triangle. Mako, Asami, Korra, and Bolin’s character development is so non-existent you can’t even touch it. That is because I feel this love triangle overwhelmed the overall plot and undermined all the characters involved. It took so much away from the real deal of the story and butchered it and the characters into a thousand tiny pieces that can never be mended unless season two does something to REALLY REDEEM THE CLUSTER of season 1.
I know Bryan and Mike have to know better than this, every writer has to know you don’t force a plot that does nothing to enhance your story but derail it. If romance was suppose to play a big significant role in Korra…you surely then goof’ed.
It doesn’t bring the four closer together as friends, Korra half the time in the season is either fighting on her own or with Tenzin and Lin. It’s not really into the last few episodes we see her working as a ‘team’ with the other three.
The ‘romance’ does nothing but make Korra dislike Asami because she got Mako first, it makes the girls come off as catty there is no true friendship or dialogue between Korra and Asami outside of Mako. Asami was just a plot device to add unnecessary drama and to make angry/gloomy faces at Mako and Korra, Mako comes off as a jerk of all jerks, we REALLY NEVER get to see Mako and Bolin bonding as brothers OUTSIDE of the Probending arena, we aren’t really shown a backstory to reinforces what we were told about their past and Bolin is just there to tell poorly timed wise cracks.
And yet I sit here and try to find one positive thing this love triangle has done for any of the characters or what it did for the story and I cannot come up with ONE THING! You can’t even say this was a story about ‘love conquers all bull’ because it wasn’t such a story! So my mind is boggled by the notion of why the hell would you have a subplot that does NOTHING for the whole theme of your story OVERSHADOW it to begin with?
It almost makes me want to start to believe those who were claiming that Mike and Bryan did this because of shippers and thinking all shippers care about is ‘who gets with who?’ or maybe they thought ‘all we care about is tween drama more than compelling back stories, PLOT, and ALL THE THINGS AtLA WAS AND STILL IS THAT KORRA UNFORTUNATELY WILL NEVER LIVE UP TO; UNLESS FOR THE GOOD GRACE OF WHATEVER YOU BELIEVE IN S2 REDEEMS THIS CLUSTER OF MADNESS!!
Because I really really REALLY would love to know wtf was going through their minds when they wrote that love triangle.
Now you can say Korra learned something and grew up…and I would have agreed had it not have been for the fact that every time it seems we get a little more edge on seeing Korra grow up and LEARN something from her mistakes…the next time we see Korra…its like a reset button was pushed and all the potential we got for her character is somehow so overwhelmingly undermined and swept under the rug and Korra ends up feeling like the SAME Korra we were introduced to from episodes 1 and 2.
It’s like they tried to show us her growing up and learning something but it’s never ever really taken to heart where we see her applying any of what she learned (unless it contributes to what LITTLE we get to see of her airbending training, her spiritual awaken was damn near non-existent).
So to me no, Korra doesn’t learn a goddamn thing. The Korra we started out with in episode one is the SAME Korra we get that ended the series. There was no growth, there was no leaving ‘Never never land’. We never get to really see Korra dealing with her fear, the greatest one being the loss of her bending. And when she does she doesn’t even have time to try to come to terms with it cause Big daddy Aang saw them tears, held her hand and gave her the biggest boo-boo kiss and band-aid to make it all better.
And I haven’t even touched on how the loss of bending and how its handled grates my nerves. But i’ll get to it soon.
Bolin…wasted potential just GFDI. If it were not for knowing there would be a season two and I’m not looking forward to that (and if they pull a J.K. Rowling time skip I will quit from that point on i swear to god I will) what we got is pretty much all we would get of Bolin’s character. I don’t have much to say about Bolin baby, except instead of the ‘charming ladies man flirt comic relief nice guy and hopeless romantic’ they said he was…we get ‘charming hopeless romantic nice guy with an inferiority complex about his older brother’.
Character stops being important after episode five and all traits of Bolin suddenly disappears and he’s thrown to the side as pretty background decor playing the role of a court jester only there to say a few lines LEST we forget him and as sad as it is to say this…you really DO almost forget the poor guy is even THERE until he says a one liner.
Wasted potential…of one of the better characters and brother
Mako…did come off as the Stoic almost broody hot jerk with a heart of gold. Possibly with a ‘troubled past’…Mako was slowly working his way up as one of my favorites I was already loving him cause I liked how he wasn’t going to make it easy for Korra to warm up to him. After four…he does a complete 180 and while episode five left me jarring…I still gave him benefit of doubt…and then from episode 7 he’s character DERAILED to the point I’m not even sure if I still like his character anymore. He’s character was so inconsistent…one minute he’s a jerk then the next he’s a ‘team player’…then there’s my beef again with the love triangle it shitted on Mako’s character. Where a lot of fans feel shafted about Bolin, I feel cheated out of character who I thought we were going to get more depths on.
The potential to show us how Mako’s real feelings on the death of his parents, seeing as he was literally there to witness it. The potential of him having a conflict on how he felt about being a bender and ironically being the same type of bender that killed his parents and even if he would see point to the equalists movement, his character was perfectly set up that he could have gone that route.
But no what we get instead is some random bishounen that was just written in for good looks and to make frowny sexy glances and you could pretty much replace Mako’s character with your fav stoic tsundere male bishounen who’s whole purpose is to be just that and the story wouldn’t change.
Not going to talk about how he treated both girls…not going to talk about how one part of the fandom wanted him AS HE IS to dump one girl and suddenly go for the other….not going to talk about how he doesn’t grow up and learn nothing of LOYALTY…not going to go there on how he’s break up with Asami really wasn’t a break up at all….not going to go there on how he’s not confused but a liar…
nope not going to do it…
Asami: The only character, more than Korra that deserves all the awards. As much as I love Korra….until she can earn her title until she has a REAL growing up coming of age story she will remain the in the shadows of Asami’s character. Because I stated before that Asami’s character got the most hated, the most shafted because she was innocently written to get in the way of the destined couple…and that romance don’t even amount to nothing so i hope those of you who like it are enjoying and making the most out of that cluster of nothing based on nothing.
Asami’s character gives up everything, she was rich, sheltered and given the world only to leave it all behind at the risk of severing her ties with her only family because of what she believes is right. She is humble and in spite of it all, how much she wants to break down and cry, she faces it all head on even down to her final confrontation with her father….Asami is the Wendy who was afraid of change and growing up but in the end she knew she couldn’t stay in Neverland with korra and the lost boys forever.
As for the other characters, Tenzin, Lin, and Pema…my only real major prob is I think it was a bit unnecessary again to put in some relationship drama from the past kind of deal to give a ‘background’ reason for all of Lin’s actions…I still feel mixed about the whole Tenzin/Lin/Pema and would have liked Lin without her whole character motivation being because she had a thing with Tenzin in the past even more so if they didn’t make her seem kind of bitter and holding a grudge over their break up for all those years. =_=”
I’ll touch on Amon(Noatok?? Noatak??) and Tarrlok when I get to MAIN BEEF number two!
But I have to say out of all the characters in this show that I really enjoyed seeing on screen aside from the badassery of General Iroh II, the three seconds with General Bumi II was Tenzin’s children.
THESE WERE THE ONLY CHARACTERS that were not shot to hell by ridiculous retcons and ridiculous hollow and baseless romance subplots. They acted just like you would expect children to act and it was awesome. I say no more on the Airbabies they were FLAWLESS!
Now for MAIN BEEF WITH KORRA NUMBER TWO!
…What the hell was the point of even adding in the whole goddamn conflict of ‘Benders vs Non-benders’ if you were just going to sweep it under the rug in the first place?
No…no no no no NO!! A thousand times HELL TO THE NAW!!
You mean you are just going to sit here and tell me that Non-benders really have no real grievances and are a bunch of sheeple who follow along with whatever someone tells them just to start stuff up?
That is really contradicting your WHOLE narrative if you are trying to TELL me that but you are SHOWING me a different story.
I feel like someone is trying to insult my intelligence here….
So the equalists really don’t have any valid points…but you are showing me they actually DO. So its not okay that someone can come along and take away bending…unless it’s the Avatar doing it.
So Benders and Non-benders can actually LIVE together equally…but they can ONLY do so by living in one of the crappiest areas ever in Republic City and by default being poor…yet none of them is trying to work together to out of the ghettos and yet I still feel like benders will still have an advantage over ordinary citizens…right.
As much as I have tried to suspend my disbelief I cannot cause this conflict should have not been introduced into the narrative in the first place. Because firstly, all I’ve ever gotten was a Bender’s pov, and the few times we could have had a Non-bender’s view on this conflict, it either automatically is swayed to agree with the ‘status quo’ Asami just agrees with the krew and seems to have no real conflicting opposition to how they think.
And then we have Hiroshi, whose whole story is based on vengeful hate against all benders because of the death of his wife and its taken to such an extreme to make him come off as a bad guy, to reinforce to the audience that this isn’t a person with any real pain and that what he’s a bad guy and must be stopped just like the rest of the equalists.
I’m not going to go into how basically Korra’s ‘people’ she had to protect weren’t both Benders and Non-benders…yea so you gave me that one point with the ordinary citizens were being accused of being Equalists…and then really nothing more was made of it again. So really Korra saw her interest in just protecting benders, and ‘equalists bad’ there was no showing her learning experience with dealing with diplomacy, there was no taking sides of both classes of people. Nope none of that shit went down. Cause you know being the Avatar is not all about fighting and all we got was Korra bullheading her way at times very tactless into handling situations…which is all fine and good…until doing so isn’t called for it.
Which totally brings me back to Korra didn’t learn anything and we got a story about nothing. Again where is the coming of age story? It isn’t there! Not for the main star of this show anyway.
I’m about to get to the last part of this closing up with Amon and Tarrlok cause whoa…
Case in point: if you are not going to follow through with a plot point that brings in dealing with real life issues and have your protagonists follow through with solving those issues…and leave it up in the air to dangle… DO NOT BOTHER ADDING IT IN because…I dunno, you think it’s ‘cool’ and makes your story ‘dark, morally gray and intriguing’ when in reality what you’ve done is make contradictions in the narrative that are so jarring, its senseless.There was no point to this.
If you wanted ‘Bender’s good, Equalists Bad’ don’t throw in your antagonists having valid sympathetic reasons and then try to turn around and tell me one thing but keep showing me another and then want me to root for your protagonists when they fall short of handling the situation.
More over don’t throw in such a plot point is your story amounts to your protagonists not learning anything of value. Don’t throw a plot in your story if it is not executed in having your protagonists grow up and come out of ‘Neverland’. And don’t try to take your story serious and then feel annoyed when part of the fandom doesn’t take it as serious as you probably intended it to be. Because I can’t take this story serious, it’s laughable at most, frustrating at worst. It’s pointless that is what it is.
And Korra’s story from what you gave me WOULD HAVE BEEN ALRIGHT, if you wanted her story just to be the run of the mill, super hero action pack…stay forever in Neverland type deal; it would have been alright as it is… IF Bryan and Mike DID NOT ADD IN core themes that burrow from REAL LIFE to make their story more darker and edgier and then fall flat on delivering.
And I think my 2nd beef with Korra would have been done excellent had it not been for beef number 1.
So here is my last thoughts getting into Amon and Tarrlok. And I’m going to try to make this part as short as possible because most of my rage quit over them has subsided but it doesn’t make how they were handled any less irritating.
It was so cliche and obvious to up Yakone, Amon, and Tarrlok as another version of Ozai, Azula, and Zuko.
And I was really thinking there is no way those two are going to revisit that plot again, as much as its interesting, I’m pretty sure they can come up with something more interesting in showing their writing skill then revisiting a plot they already did.
I guessed wrong. I have no prob with this storyline except I felt like it undermined Amon’s character and over shadowed Tarrlok’s story…
See yea I am not going to touch on this anymore. It was just so jarring and while I appreciate the little backstory I am to assume that regardless of Amon’s quest for equality I’m to believe Tarrlok’s statement of Amon really believing in what he was doing…yet I never get a few lines from amon himself that reinforces and backs up what Tarrlok said.
I suppose I was holding out hope for something that never will be…I could have taken the Yakone, Amon, Tarrlok story better if ‘the equalists were just some crime syndicate formed by Amon following right in his father’s footsteps that were beefing with the triple threats’ instead of some ‘extremist revoluntary…’ hmm…yea not going to gripe about this i have mixed feelings as it is so I’m going to end it there. ..
And then when you take into account the whole ‘bloodbending/energybending/wtfever’…*le sighs*…
Boggles the mind I tell you…
Think I pretty much covered everything else….cause i will not talk about the last five minutes of the crazy wrap up to end the season.
Now granted I will say this: I understand why it ended the way it did, it still doesn’t make it feel any less like a weak cop-out cause we ran out of ideas…and after working on just the script and story for almost three years this is what we produced when we know deep down we can do better than that. 12 episodes is not an excuse.
Season two would redeem the last few minutes for me if it did the one cop-out I wouldn’t really mind: Korra waking up from a wishful dream in which no, she still can’t bend the other three elements (and it’s not like she’s completely fucking handicapped cause she still has airbending *eye roll* ) no, big daddy Aang didn’t come to put a dues ex machina band aid to make it all better, and no she doesn’t get the jerkass. She spends the better part of the season doing what she barely did all this season; getting in tune with her INNER SELF and having a realization about herself and her duty as the Avatar an earning that stuff.
And speaking of coming of age and character development, Mako works out his issues cause that boy has some and Bolin comes out of his brother’s shadow and be awesome.
Just get ready for the Legend of Korra Book 2: Happy Times, because I don't know what else they can write about.