Point and counterpoint: “Legend of Korra”


I bet my honor that it’ll be an amazing season

John Mendiola

“The Legend of Korra” is now five (six counting the one releasing today) episodes into its second season. This may be a surprise to those who take a while to pick up on things (on a related note, Maddie Smith is the person writing the counterpoint), but the show revolves around Korra, the current Avatar. The world revolves around people with special abilities. The benders, as they are called, can control one of the four main elements in the world: earth, air, fire and water. The Avatar, a singular person, can control all four elements and is destined to save the world from whatever trouble appears.

“Avatar: The Last Airbender” was the series that came before Korra’s story. When the show first came out, there were many people who argued about whether it was categorized as an anime or cartoon, since it clearly looks like an anime but it was made in the West. I argue that those people who are arguing such semantics need to find more hobbies. What many could not argue with”” unless they completely tune out cartoons or animes”” was the quality and depth of the show.

“The Legend of Korra” was only supposed to be a mini-series consisting of 12 episodes, but a return to the beloved franchise was apparent, and Nickelodeon ordered three more seasons. This is to blame for one of the main complaints from this second season. Since the first season was planned as a one-off series, it was self-contained with a complete story arc and character development. Thus, the writers had to create more stories for a setting they thought they were done with. For there to be some sort of emotional growth of the characters in this second season, especially for Korra, the writers have had to retroactively  make ensure that the growth she underwent in the first season was minimal at best. Korra is a temperamental and spoiled brat. After the first three episodes, she is showing some signs of maturity; she has forgiven her father, seen her manipulative uncle for who he really is and began to whine less about how hard it is to be the Avatar”” you know, the most powerful being in the world.

Characters not named Korra and the plot are what make the show enjoyable to watch. Korra’s three friends Mako, Asami and Bolin are back and they are a lot less grating. Tenzin and his family, including his sister and brother, are  adorable. The subplot for this season seems to revolve around them, especially the airbender children. There are hints of some mysterious magic happening with the children, but  the character interactions between the children and the adult siblings adds a lot of depth on their own. As an aside, Aang, the previous Avatar, prove to be a terrible father.

The forward momentum-plot reveals, character development, mysterious questions that has appeared in the last two episodes has really helped make the show interesting again.

I cannot guarantee 100 percent that season 2 of “The Legend of Korra” will live up to the first season or the three seasons of “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” but I am willing to bet my honor that it will end up being another amazing season.

I will not stand for injustice like this show

Maddie Smith

To start off, I’d like to say that “Avatar: The Last Airbender” has been a huge part of my life since I was thirteen years old.  I used to draw arrows on my forehead, recite the opening sequence, light stuff on fire, blah blah blah… just like the characters do on the show.  Therefore, when I found out that the creators were making a sequel, “Legend of Korra,” I stood first in line at the excitement factory.  I was convinced that this little show was going to fill the gaping void in my heart, just like Zuko was convinced  that finding the Avatar would make his father love him again.  Both my and Zuko’s attempts were tragic, for my heart was as unfulfilled as Zuko’s when Azula beat him down.  I’m sure a lot of people are satisfied with mediocrity (by the way, I heard John Mendiola is writing the counterpoint), but I have to put my foot down when something I love as much as “Avatar” is destroyed.

Okay, what was the greatest part of “Avatar?” The answer is, obviously, character development.  All the characters are on their own personal journeys to discover themselves, thereby saving the world. Zuko’s gradual change throughout the show is beautifully written and masterfully executed.  He learns to do what is right, not what is ordered, something that took him EPISODES to discover.  His transformation is epic, and I’m crying just thinking about it right now.  So, how did Korra’s character develop?  Well, she sucked at the beginning of season one, sucked at the end of season one, and has sucked all of season two. She’s whiny, doesn’t seem to be learning any lessons and doesn’t really change.  I thought the whole point of reaching the Avatar state was achieving some form of mental equilibrium, but obviously I was totally wrong.

Also, I’d like to point out the glaring fact that Korra and the “Fire Ferrets” cannot fight.  Every time they battle, they end up getting their asses kicked or just barely survive.  In fact, the only way Korra can fight is if she goes in the Avatar state, which defeats the whole purpose of learning all these skills on her own.  And why did it take her so long to learn how to airbend?  Aang couldn’t earthbend, but he sucked it up and figured it out after, like, one episode! Why? Because Aang actually cared about learning and wasn’t a temperamental jerk like Korra.

Okay, this is going to sound like a weird point, but where did all the sexual tension go? Now it’s just fighting and distraction!  I loved Katara and Aang’s little romance because it enriched their characters.  They loved each other, so they were brave for each other.  Mako and Korra had a little bit of weirdness in the first season, but now all they do is suck face and yell at each other.  I’m not watching a goddamn soap opera, I’m watching “Legend of Korra!”

All in all, I understand that some people may disagree with me.  That’s fine. We need people like that, just like the Avatar universe needs nonbenders.  I, however, am not a nonbender, and I will not stand for injustice like this disgraceful show.