Long ago, a fantastic blend of western and eastern animation styles lived together in harmony. Then everything changed when internet fandoms grew as the series aged. Now a new Avatar series appears, with an older cast, an older audience, and more creative freedom than most series should be allowed to have.
Originally, I was really afraid this series wouldn’t live up to the name of the first. A lot of what made The Last Airbender stand out was how they dealt with what they were given. Considering it was an animated show on Nickelodeon, there were a lot of restrictions for the creators to deal with. Somehow, the writers managed to find ways to bring a war-torn world to life, bringing up subplots about relationships, sexuality, racism, and cultural acceptance, without ever really forcing it. It managed to do it while still being light-hearted and a great kid’s show full of adventure and light-hearted comedy.
Then along comes Legend of Korra, with a higher budget, a more mature focus, and way fewer restrictions after the success of the first show. As much as it’s a sequel to the original show, it’s very clear from the start that they had no intention of making just more of the same. The original cast doesn’t make a return, instead we find the next in line of the Avatar Cycle, Korra, as she faces the problems of the Republic City in the aftermath of the Fire Nation wars.
It took a while for me to really like this one. The first few episodes were a bit slow, and it was hard to really get a good feel for the atmosphere in it in just a few 20 minute segments. I remember that it took the first show a few episodes to find its bearings too, so it’s hard to hold this against the new series.
It was also strange to see the world having grown so much in such a short time. After taking the advances in bending that were made in The Last Airbender though, especially metal and electricity bending in particular, it makes a lot of sense for civilization to have grown so much.
The characters, as always, are really great. There’s not too much to say at the moment, as I’ll want to wait until we see some more reasonable character growth happen, and it’s simply just too early to judge that. I do like the female protagonist, and how they didn’t make her all girly. The supporting cast is all fantastically fleshed out, and well-balanced.
I’m also glad that, as cool as it was, Pro-bending isn’t a thing for the entire duration of the show. For a moment, I was afraid that Legend of Korra was going the Harry Potter route, where the main character not only solves the crime of the evil overlord, but also wins the sports tournament at the last possible moment. without spoiling anything, let’s just say that the Pro-bending tournament is already over, and we’re not even at the halfway point of the show.
That said, I would love for a company to come in and make a Pro-Bending videogame tie-in. Or maybe even just a game playing into the basic idea of Pro-bending. Low-contact Kungfu-magic sports? Count me in on that. I’m sure I wouldn’t be the only one to want to see this either.
Amon seems to be a much more sympathetic villain than the Fire Lord Ozai was. Where Ozai largely just felt as an unforgivably evil ruler on the basis of just being cruel in every way possible, Amon’s movement seems to have much more reason behind it. It does make sense that in a world where people with bending powers exist, all the wars would be fought by them. And with the law enforcement being run by benders too, it’s not too strange for non-bending people to feel oppressed. Not saying that his movement is in the right, but his arguments seem sympathetic enough to get behind as a non-magical power using civilian in a world with magic everywhere.
overall, it just feels that Legend of Korra is just that bit more mature, packs that bit more of a punch than The Last Airbender. These are just early thoughts halfway through the first season, and my opinion might still take a dive later on during this series, but so far I’m loving every second of it.