Posted on 24 June 2012 with categories: Anime Reviews

Back when I was a teenager and not an anime fan yet, I used to watch way too much American cartoons. I pretty much suffered an overdose from it and all of the incredibly bad stuff I actually sat through back then. I wasn’t going to touch any of those shows anymore unless it had something really good to offer. Enter the Legend of Korra.

The premise of this series just sold me. Instead of going with the usual premises, it instead took things a step further: this series takes a look on what would happen after the world has been saved by an “Avatar”. What would the world look like after someone came along and united everyone? What would the new version of him look like and what would her part be? The result is that the creators stuffed a martial arts expert inexperienced into a big political battle with roots deep in racism and oppression by those who are stronger. It blurred the lines between good and bad by making both sides flawed, and Korra often ends up as a hypocrite due to her inexperience. Add in some terrific action scenes in which in particular the fight choreography stands out (which really was better than any of the other anime that aired this season) and you really have a series that could have become amazing.

There are two things that ended up holding this series back though. At first this series struggles with its romance. It’s inconsequential and annoying with a pointless love triangle that only serves to stall for time, rather than just spending time to flesh out the characters. The second flaw is that it’s got a really bad ending. I know that this is only the half-way point of the series, but the ending did try to wrap up everything that this season had brought forth, and failed miserably with a bunch of very blatant Deus ex Machina that render some of the build-up and most defining moments earlier on in the series rather meaningless.

Now, the Legend of Korra does have some very good individual moments and great concepts, they just don’t come together at the end and due to that ending I’m not sure whether I can really recommend it (endings for me are very important on fiction and often ended up changing my view on a work significantly) and my rating for this series would have been much higher without it. For those who don’t want to watch any of the other installments of the Avatar Franchise: don’t worry. This series is actually pretty standalone and an be watched on its own.

Storytelling: 7/10 – A bit of a wonky pacing with a bad ending mostly reduces the potential of this show.
Characters: 8/10 – It uses its characters very nicely and the age gap between the different characters along with their backgrounds combines very well. The romance doesn’t really work, though.
Production-Values: 9/10 – This season there really were a lot of series that stood out with visuals, all in their own ways. For Korra, this was the fight choreography that was un-matched.
Setting: 8.5/10 – Great ideas for politics.

Suggestions:
Last Exile
Mahou Shoujotai
Secret of the Cerulean Sand

58 Responses

  1. Joe says:

    Believe me, the ending makes a lot more sense if you’d seen the original series.

    • S-R says:

      Agreed.

      Doesn’t entirely save it, the rushed pace made it feel unearned – had any time at all actually been spent on exploring the spirit world in Korra’s time and the avatar state and its link to past Avatar lives, it would have gone a long way – but it does help a great deal in contextualising it.

      Hopefully S2 can correct the problems present.

      • Joe says:

        Yeah, I don’t think that it was nearly as bad as psgels thought, but I still wasn’t completely satisfied with it, or even 90% satisfied with it like I was with the first series’ ending. I wish they’d had 20 episodes for the season from the very beginning. Oh well, hopefully the next season will be better.

        • tktym says:

          I actualyl agree with psgels. The ending was a copout. BUT I understand why. the creators/writters of the show didn’t get the ok for a second season until they were already finished with the first season, because of the 12 episodes they were given, they basically didn’t have the time to build the show like they did in the previous Avatar. Only having 12 episodes because Nickolodeon were being douchbags, and didnt want to give them enough time to make a decent show, brings the result seen here. the creators are VERY good writters, and were pretty much using the setting as some kind of boxer rebellion thing which is why the overall plot is so good. But yes that ending is pretty terrible. I assumed that they were going to have Korra travel through the world like aang did to get her bending back. Which would have been really really amazing. I personally think they were planning on doing that, untill they got word that they only had one season.

          The romance… was just bad.

          • Chiarissimo says:

            The second “season”, which is the “second part” of the “first season” btw, was greenlighted from the very beginning.

            And the romance was just great.
            Go back watching japanese shit or something.

  2. Jeff says:

    I agree with Joe. The ending does not feel deus ex machina at all if you understand the lore and the ways of the avatar. In fact the ending all together was very emotional (for me, I cired mentears!) when the “you know what” was made it felt like the proper lore thing to do, even if it was ultimately predictable.

    And she finally bended that hard element! She was kicking ass with it, greatly fitting with her general fighting/bending style.

    Storypacing was akward at times, but they shouldn’t have cramped a season within 12 episodes to begin at ;B

    • Nayrael says:

      They had no choice: S2 was greenlighted when S1 was almost finished.

      • Chiarissimo says:

        Stop repeating this shit : they had 26 episodes to work with from the very beginning, this has not, I repeat, NOT, been written from episode 1 as a 12-episode series. The 26 episodes were just split in two, just like with Gundam 00, to pick an exemple which you japanfags would understand.

        • ameryln says:

          Hmm, not exactly. I remember announcements for this series coming up last fall, and production for the first series was pretty far then. They only released a 26 episode statement after they had finished the first series and began actual promotion. I don’t think they were contracted all 26 episodes at once.

          Though they still could have done more with the ending than what they did.

          If you really want to know I’m sure Bryan Konietzko can answer general questions on production scheduling if you ask him on his tumblr page – http://bryankonietzko.tumblr.com/

        • Hunter-Wolf says:

          First, before calling anime fans here japanfags you need to provide proof for your claim that they had all 26 episodes green-lit from the very start (which is bullshit until you provide proof) .. second .. what the *%^& are you doing commenting on an anime blog if you think anime fans are japanfags .. sorry but the only fag i see here is you.

  3. Kim says:

    I saw and loved the original series but didn’t like the ending of Korra muhc either.

    But once again Psgels watch the original series. It’s an excellent adventure series with great character development. It’s not perfect but it takes its time to tell a wonderful epic tale, something Korra was unfortunately too rushed to do. It’s definitely the best American television animation has to offer and stands up to the very best anime series.

    I mean you can argue there are some convenient plot devices in the original Avatar too, but the way the characters grow and change make up for that. It’s the lack of real growth that disappointed me the most about Korra.

  4. CJay says:

    I have to disagree saying that watching the first series explains the use of “avatar mode” to heal other people. I feel like it actually makes less sense. Remember how much trouble Aang had controlling the avatar mode and how one of the most interesting sub-plots was how Aang was scared of Avatar mode because he essentially went out of control. Yeah why can Korra magically control it perfectly now? She hasn’t maintained very much spiritual connection with the avatars at all save one moment. This makes it even more of an ass pull if you think about it.

    • Joe says:

      Some fans had a theory that throughout the series Korra was unlocking her chakras. One of the last ones was the air chakra, for love and blocked by guilt, which she overcame during the final battle with Amon when Mako was about to have his bending taken away. The last one, presumably, was the one blocked by attachment, which she overcame when she was considering committing suicide on the cliff so that a new Avatar who could bend all four elements could be born. It should have been explained better in the show, but it does make sense. I blame the short limit on the number of episodes and the time wasted on the romance.

      • CJay says:

        Hm, that is an interesting theory. But without the necessary build up even if that was the intention it was, like you said poorly demonstrated.

        And completely agree with the romance. Also the ending pretty much advocated cheating on your gf as long as you are “in love” which i also feel like is a random direction to go it.

        Asami on the other hand had good closure. I was worried the whole show that she was going to become some kind of villain after being dumped or something but luckily the show avoided that pitfall.

        • Ahmy says:

          In regards to that “cheating” thing, I felt it was rather obvious that they had broken up when things were coming to the climax…like something that wasn’t necessary to show on screen but was hinted at when they argued in the kitchen. I dunno.

          I do agree on Asami though, I was waiting for them to wreck all that lovely character development she got by turning her either into a villain or a bitchy green eyed monster. I’m glad she ended up the way she did.

    • Saff says:

      It’s an interesting point! I debated about this, too. But Aang was trying to contact her throughout the series, and a friend of mine pointed out that almost all of the episodes had a theme of one of the Chakra points being unlocked (if out of order), which, if true, could make everything that happened make a lot more sense.

      To quote her:

      Earth chakra: deals with survival/blocked by fear. See the episode where she faced Amon at the memorial statue

      Water chakra: deals with pleasure/blocked by guilt. See the shipping trainwreck at the finals

      Fire chakra: deals with willpower/blocked by shame. Same episode, I would argue, but instead look at her victory on her own, taking the team to the finals

      Sound chakra: deals with truth/blocked by lies. Hiroshi Sato being an Equalist, when no one would believe [Korra].

      Light chakra: deals with insight/blocked with illusion. Her meditation in the box probably opened this

      Then I talked about the Air chakra (which is opened by love and blocked by grief). (Last episode, I think.)

      Then the Thought chakra is cosmic energy vs. earthly attachments. If you view that scene at the cliff as… well, her having suicidal thoughts, that could fulfill letting go of earthly attachments. [/End quoting, paraphrasing]

      Again, though, it depends on how you view things!

  5. Saff says:

    The ending is still rushed no matter how hard you look at it and the pacing needed some work, and the ending does seem a bit deus rex machina-y even if you’ve seen the original series, but it makes sense if you have seen the original, which the majority have, I think. I suppose it’s also relevant to keep in mind it was originally a 12-episode series, and by the time it was greenlit for an additional 14, I believe all the work had pretty much been done, and it would have been ridiculously costly to changes much of anything at that point. So with that said, I think it was forced to wrap up and tie everything the way it did, though I would’ve found it more awesome to have her bending taken away except for air into (the majority at least) of season to, and have Korra grow and develop from that. But alas.

    I think Mike and Bryan do better work when they have more episodes to use. I don’t think they know how to condense as well as perhaps they should.

    • Hunter-Wolf says:

      Totally agree, it really felt they are cutting all ties with the ending of the first seasons (specially with Tarlok killing himself and his brother along with him, well .. he did it specifically to rid the world of his brothers OP blood bending) .. that means no going back to Aman or Equalists storyline anymore in 2nd season.

      So yeah the ending did indeed feel rushed, but it isn’t deus ex machina-y by any means, just rushed .. i too hoped -at the point Korra was crying her robbed powers and inability to become a proper Avatar- for the second season to -surprisingly- follow the exact same storyline you described, Korra going on a journey to strengthen her resolve and find a way to regain her ability to control the three locked elements again …. but now that i think about it .. it would be too similar to Ang’s journey .. so let’s wait and see what they come up with in the 2nd season .. maybe it will be some pleasant surprise and they won’t have to rush any part of the story this time XD

  6. Nic says:

    Gotta say, pgels, that here, you not having watched the first series of Avatar really makes your comments about the ending seriously flawed.

    I, too, think it was kinda rushed but Deus Ex machina ending? Way to show you have no grasp on the world the Avatar series lives in. The ‘Avatar Mode’ is the very reason why the Avatar is so respected… and feared by every foe.

    It brings a direct connection to the souls of the previous Avatars and makes the Avatar incredibly powerful and able to pull off what would otherwise be impossible feats. The downside? If the Avatar is killed during that mode, it dies permanently. No resurrection. So it comes with great risk.

    So, that is why her finally learning her final element allowed her to connect with the previous Avatars and bring out her true power. All this was established eons ago in the previous Avatar series so this shouldn’t even be a surprise to anyone who watched the first series.

    I’m gonna be a bit harsh here and say that even though I agree with the fact that the ending was kinda disappointing, you really shouldn’t start talking throwing words like ‘Deus Ex Machina’ without having seen the first series. I just can’t take you seriously when you speak about the ending until you do.

    • AidanAK47 says:

      Nope Nic, it’s a pure Deus ex machina in every sense of the word. I seen the original series. I know about avatar mode. So the way Korra just suddenly activated it and can control it perfectly was just an asspull. Korra didn’t go through half the crap it took for Aang to achieve it.

      • Hunter-Wolf says:

        No it isn’t a Deus Ex Machina, not every Avatar is identical to the others, each one of them had different personalities, circumstances, strengths and weaknesses and their stories aren’t all identical to Ang’s (very clear from what glimpses we saw of them in the previous series), besides .. it has been mentioned countless times that Ang’s soul was seeking Korra out over and over and trying to tell her something .. so this time the spirit world and her previous lives (specially Ang) were actively trying to contact her .. and she clearly manged to make some link with them and Ang when she experienced his memories with Tarlok’s father while she was locked in the metal cell.

        • AidanAK47 says:

          …You didn’t counter my point.
          How does anything you just wrote prove that this isn’t a Deus ex machina? In fact all of what you just said is baseless assumption.

          • Hunter-Wolf says:

            Ang’s spirit trying repeatedly to contact Korra throughout the whole freaking series is a baseless assumption .. what !!? .. you were asleep while watching the series i presume XD

          • AidanAK47 says:

            Like I said. Baseless assumption. You have no idea what Aang was trying to contact her for. You are just using this as cheap justification.

            Also according to my memory it was mentioned twice that Aang was trying to contact Korra.

    • wicked says:

      A series like this should at least try to stand on its own merit in term of plot. I dont mind minor plothole that need to be filled in by the previous series, but dont use something you never even mentioned by name and only shown once in the series as a way out, and not even bother to explain it afterwords.

      by the way, Aang had enetered Avatar state before he learned all the bendings and didnt master it right away even when he was able to bend all 4 elements.

  7. Ahmy says:

    I think something to keep in mind with the rushed ending and some of the pitfalls: This was originally going to be just this. No second season what-so-ever. So they played this out to make sure that it would be a stand alone series. All things throughout this one season were “closured” in a sense. Korra finally got air-bending, she resonated with the previous avatars, love triangle ho hah was solved, and the de-bending problem defeated along with the bad guy/s. They were really expecting such popularity that they got a second season out of it. I think that makes the rushed climax make a tiny bit more sense.

    Not that I don’t agree, there were some things that I felt were no necessary or needed more development i.e. General Iroh; he kicked ass, I wanted more of him. XD But when I look at this as the final, completed project, I feel it’s not so bad.

    (And Meelo= adorable. LOL)

  8. starry says:

    Please watch the original series, its pretty much better in every single way to Korra sans the animation.

    While the ending may not be a deus ex machina, as explained it did cheapen the loss of Korra’s bending powers. It could have been so much better if she learned how to be the Avatar without them.

    • detra says:

      I wouldn’t really say that it’s so much better.
      I only watched it some time ago and especially season 1 was very childish and too many episodes felt like filler.
      Second season was much better and the final one is up to par with what Korra delivered in terms of story and action.

      The ending of this season may not be perfect but seeing as a second season wasn’t planned at the start it’s satisfactory enough.

      • starry says:

        Eh, the first season may be childish and have fillery episodes early on, but it hits its stride and the characters come up more developed then Korra’s was by the S1 finale. Hell, Sokka was more developed then Bolin by the fourth episode for instance. Even the fillers helped the characters grow and showed off Aang practicing bending (something Korra pretty much dropped after episode 2)

        If they had twelve episodes to work with until very late in production, they should have paced and developed it for a twelve episode story, not a full season.

  9. CJ says:

    So, any plans to watch original Avatar now, psgels? Some of the ending definitely makes more sense with prior Avatar lore (but it’s still rushed). But then at this point, Avatar: The Last Airbender is still a way better show than the first season of Korra. The same dude choreographed the fight scenes for both series (and I recall TLA having more sword and weaponry combat that was just as epic). And if you wanted character development, I think TLA will satisfy you big time.
    So hopefully you will go on to Avatar: The Last Airbender now! I’d love to know your thoughts on both it and Korra’s ending with TLA knowledge.

  10. WatcherZero says:

    How about taking a look at the other amazing series at the moment, the remake of Thundercats? If you liked Korra you will like that too.

  11. wicked says:

    On fight choreography, western animation has really stepped it up lately, taking a page from movies studios. Warner Brother’s DC animations like Batman under the red hood and the currently airing Young Justice has some exceptional fighting choreographs.

  12. Anonymous Anime Addict says:

    If you enjoyed the Legend of Korra in any way, then I really recommend you watch Avatar: The Last Airbender. It is by far superior in every regard. I was impressed with it. It really stood out from other U.S. animated TV series.

  13. Tanz says:

    I knew the sloppy ending must have had a reason. With how epic they ended ALL the season finale in A:TLA, I knew something was wrong in Korra. Damn you, Nick. Give them more seasons!

  14. FlippyJ says:

    The Legend of Korra was so disappointing in how it presented so many themes and characters that had potential but were simply not developed for the sake of romance and action. As psgels pointed out, the political issues presented in this series were very interesting as the equalists have some valid reasons for their cause that make them morally grey rather than simply the bad guys. All the members of the council and the police are benders and many jobs can only be done with bending. Normal people would suffer both economically and socially as they have no protection or representation, prompting them to start a revolution. The only thing wrong with this is that I had to think up all of this in order to make the equalist issue more interesting than it actually is. We are never actually shown how non-benders suffer, thus making them only the “bad guys” rather than people fighting for their rights. If the writers had only shown us a poor non-bender family being oppressed by benders and thus being forced to turn to the equalists for help, the conflict would have been so much deeper and more meaningful.
    While I am a big fan of the original series and fully understand the avatar/energybending concept, the last few minutes of the finale still seemed terribly deus ex machina and nonsensical. By giving Korra the ability to return people’s bending, the writers effectively ruined what made Amon a truly intimidating villian and made the entire season have no consequence.

    • Hunter-Wolf says:

      Those are some interesting thoughts you have here regarding the idea of the Equalists and how it could have been expanded .. but let’s not forget Aman presented himself as that said victim of Bender tyranny (and we did see many people abuse their bending during the series like the three gangs of republic city and how they abused the shop owners by threatening them with their bending to collect protection money from them), also Tarlok is a prime example of a bender gone rotten (not to mention the irony that Aman himself is the kind of bender who would justify the existence of the equalists and show how arrogant and power-hungry some benders can be), not to mention Asami’s father who could really be considered the most crucial member of the equalists, he had valid reasons to had bending and benders.

      I really felt bad for the captain of the equalists forces when he found out about Aman’s lies, he seemed to be the most dedicated equalist and really believed in the cause, another point is that the equalist revolution (even with Aman’s involvement and lies) was almost a bloodless revolution, and no it isn’t because Avatar:Korra the show is aimed at younger audiences .. many character died in the vicious attacks of the Fire nation in the previous series including the mother of katara, but with the equalists there was almost no bloodshed at all (even off-screen), that boosted their image as a group fighting for a valid cause not a bunch of terrorists or murderers, they surely do a lot of wrong things like taking away the bending from people you didn’t abuse it or jailing them just for being benders .. but that still puts them in the gray spectrum not the typical bad guys black zone … IMO the series did a very good job handling the issues and i personally didn’t feel the equalists where typical bad guys at all.

      As for the ending, no it wasn’t Deus ex machina at all, just rushed (probably due to pressure by Nickelodeon), as for Aman being intimidating, well .. as soon as his mask fell and he was known to be a blood bender he wasn’t any more intimidating than Tarlok .. heck even less .. and we can’t even tell for sure what he did exactly with his blood bending .. being the liar he turned out to be (everything about his was a lie) .. maybe what he did was just locking the bending not taking it away for real and forever (which is something only the Avatar can do) so the avatar would simply be able to return it again (with some help from her previous lives) very easily because when it comes to bending the Avatar is real deal XD

      • FlippyJ says:

        While I understand what you are coming from, the three gangs and the shopkeeper does not make the equalists any more valid. Yes, the non-bender shopkeeper was being bullied by the gangs, but he was also saved by a bender(Korra) and the Metalbending police was literally five minutes away from reaching his store and helping him. The Equalists were not made to oppose these truly terrible gangs, but rather to oppose the benders that lead the city. The only problem is that the Avatar, as the world’s spiritual leader, and the police in this case are taking perfect care of a non-bending citizen. Why are the equalists opposing an Avatar who actually cares for non-benders and the Metalbender cops who seem to protect non-benders just as well? The only actual moment where the non-benders were being oppressed was when Tarlok did that non-bender curfew which was actually the moment that introduced the the political side of the series. The writers, however, did not present anything past this to develop the theme and it was clear that Tarlok didn’t enforce the curfew out of discrimination for non-benders but rather just to intimidate his enemy Amon into taking action.
        Furthermore, Hiroshi Stao renders the equalist movement mute as he is the complete opposite of the “oppressed non-bender”. In fact, he is quite the opposite as he shows that a poor non-bender can become the richest and most powerful man in the city. As a complete madman who is willing to kill his own daughter, he makes the Equalists look even more like ruthless, unfounded, terrorists rather than an actual movement for equality.
        Korra gaining energy bending is Deus ex machina in the sense that she did not change herself or delve into her spirituality that would warrant her to achieve the avatar state and the powers that come with it. Korra in the finale is just as brash and forceful as she was in the beginning of the series. This is evident in how she crashed the equalist rally to accuse Amon of being a bender. She came completely expecting that a simple accusation would completely turn all the equalists against Amon, and obviously had no back up plan when it failed and resorted to force once again. While Tenzin kept telling her to become more patient and reflect on her past actions, she still fails to think about her actions thoroughly. She treats every situation like she treated the airbending gates: If it doesn’t work out for her, throw fire at it!

  15. Chiarissimo says:

    qqqqqqqqqqqq
    psgels bitching on a sequel without having seen the original and writing a final review when it hasn’t even completely aired

    you surpassed yourself

    • Hogart says:

      Wow, the trolls are getting lazy these days.

      • AidanAK47 says:

        Hogart, you seem to be implying that trolling requires effort. But yeah…this is a pretty weak attempt. Come on Chiarissimo. If you are going to troll then at least try to be humorous.

      • Hunter-Wolf says:

        Trolls learned how to look at mirrors, wow .. i didn’t know they could do that, but they probably can’t identify themselves yet XD

        If anyone is trolling here it’s you Hogart, at least Chiarissimo does make some valid points, yeah the series despite any illusions that it is a standalone serious is a sequel to Avatar:The Last Airbender … so when Psgels calls the Avatar’s previous lives “a bunch of dead people show up from out of nowhere?” it shows clearly Psgels had no idea what he is talking about .. let alone going as far as calling it a Deus ex Machina without trying to check the previous series .. yeah it felt rushed but it isn’t a Deus ex Machina at all.

        • AidanAK47 says:

          “If anyone is trolling here it’s you Hogart, at least Chiarissimo does make some valid points”

          (Looks at Chiarissimo’s posts)

          “And the romance was just great.
          Go back watching japanese shit or something.”

          “The 26 episodes were just split in two, just like with Gundam 00, to pick an exemple which you japanfags would understand.”

          “qqqqqqqqqqqq
          psgels bitching on a sequel without having seen the original and writing a final review when it hasn’t even completely aired”

          …where are these points you speak of?
          And while my knowledge of Avatar is a little vague I do recall that Aang needed to mediate in order to talk with them. They didn’t just pop out of nowhere. They also didn’t just pass on technique with a single touch because that would render Aangs journey to find people to teach him other styles of bending completely pointless. All he would need to do is contact his previous selves and WALA…mastery of all elements.

          • Hunter-Wolf says:

            I know Chiarissimo does troll a lot (seeing i replied to one of his trolls above), but i was just saying he does have a valid point about needing to know about the previous series before criticizing the ending and calling it Deus Ex Machina while having ZERO knowledge the mythos of Avatar’s world.

            First there was no passing a technique with a single touch .. if you mean what Ang did .. Ang is dead and his souls is part of Korra’s souls now, what we saw in merely her pervious souls helping her unlock something she already has .. like she lost the key to a locker and Ang just gave her the key again .. simple as that.

            If you mean what Korra did to Lin .. she simply did the same thing .. she reawakened her earth bending again .. we didn’t see Lin fire bending or anything .. so where did you get the idea there was any form of ability passing happening here !!?

            As for meditating and using Avatar state, well Ang was a kid and pretty much an idiot and an air-head at the start of his journey and at least during its first half, Korra on the other hand while hot-headed is way more mature and experienced than Ang, heck she mastered all three elements except air with utmost ease, and don’t forget the spirit of And (which is part of her own spirit) was clearly and explicitly trying to establish contact with her since the start of the series .. it’s easy to understand how what happened in the end happened if you thought about the differences between Ang and Korra and Ang himself trying to establish contact from his side .. yeah it got rushed and there could have been other alternatives that explain thigns better and take their times but it still does make sense in the context of the world of Avatar as a whole.

          • AidanAK47 says:

            No. He touched her forehead and that was it. She could use elements and energy bending. She didn’t even use energy bending on herself to unlock. She just suddenly could use her elements again.
            Plus you have not countered my point again. You say he just unlocked something she already had. You could do that with fire bending, water bending…everything.

            It seems you greatly misunderstood me. I was talking about Aang passed on a technique to energy bend to Korra. In the previous avatar series Aang talked with the previous avatars then isn’t it also possible for them to pass on techniques like Aang just did to Korra. There wouldn’t be any need to find bending teachers then.

        • Hogart says:

          I didn’t have any point to make except that this particular trolling was lazy.

          But I certainly disagree with the notion that psgels needed to watch the first Avatar to be able to share his opinion on this series. A good stand-alone series shouldn’t require a PhD in the original material in order to understand its ending.

          I don’t know if we’ll see eye to eye on that, but your approach to explaining that was a far cry from Chiarissimo’s lame trolling.

          • Hunter-Wolf says:

            Knowing what an Avatar is and what they are capable of (including making contact with the previous avatars) was explicitly hinted at many times during this series (specially with Ang flash backs), even watching the first episode of the first series explained a lot, heck .. reading the Wikipedia page of the first season explains a lot too .. the writers just can’t waste their time trying to re-explain things they know very well that most of the viewers already know by hard .. that would be a waste of time and instead of seeing something new we will be seeing the old series all over again.

            And since Psgels isn’t just watching the series he is reviewing it, i think he needed to do his homework and check what the previous series was about, i mean to not be able to recognize the previous Avatars and calling them “some ghosts that came out of nowhere” is just sad, i didn’t say he had to watch the entire old series episode by episode .. at the very least he could have read a quick plot synopsis of the previous season before watching this one .. those are easy to find, sorry but he really came of as lazy here .. no show is 100% standalone when it’s events are strongly linked to a previous series, having ZERO idea about the previous season is no excuse to complain really, don’t go and watch Terminator 2 or 3 and then complain there are many plot points that don’t make sense.

            and sorry if i accused you of trolling XD

        • Hogart says:

          No problem about the trolling remark, I can see how it came across as one anyway.

          But this whole “research” thing is a really fine line. I personally think psgels did a good job pointing out what problems newcomers would have, which are things that could have been mitigated without the writers having to ruin it for the rest of us. It’s all down to taste, of course.

          Besides, the real problem was that many Avatar fans (even some here in the comments section) aren’t too thrilled with the ending. I think his not knowing about the Avatar’s ancestors is minor compared to the series’ problems. But that’s just me.

          Besides, I don’t remember watching Terminator 2 and wondering what was going on, even having not watched the first one beforehand.

  16. Hunter-Wolf says:

    I did like the show a lot and all the themes it handled (even if tehy didn’t fully explore them), the combat choreography was top-notch as expected by teh standard set by the previous series and the bending is masterfully linked with different combat styles that fit really well with each associated element.

    As for the characters, Korra, Tarlok, Lin and Tenzen (in that order) take the cake for me, they were all interesting and enjoyable to watch and had many interesting moments and developments, i specially loved how Tarlok brought an end to his brother’s cursed bloodline and took his own life with him (IMO one of the best moments in the show, i have to say i didn’t see it coming until he took the cap off the fuel tank, at worst i thought he was looking at the gloves that he was thinking about shocking his brother unconscious and capturing him to regain his honor in republic city).

    Overall this season does have some minor flaws IMO but they don’t detract much of its overall enjoyment.

    First the romance between Korra and Mako was developing nicely when it first started but then it went down hill and stalled throughout the whole season until it came to its predictable conclusion in the finale after long episodes plagued by Mako’s cringe worthy indecisiveness .. IMO it could have been handled a lot better .. heck (Bolin x Korra)relation would have been way more interesting if handled right.

    Sadly that brings us to the bending brothers, Mako and Bolin, Bolin was sadly reduced into a comic relief character half-way through the series, he is funny alright but he didn’t get a single meaningful character development since the pro-bending tournament finale episode, Mako on the other hand became a prop for the boring love triangle that didn’t go anywhere .. again .. since the kiss with Korra he didn’t get any meaningful development … during the Pro-bending arc they seemed like they have the potential to be interesting characters, but sadly it didn’t last beyond that story arc as they got shoved aside to make way for the main story events .. my only hope is that the brothers and all the other characters that got shoved aside will have some role in the 2nd season.

    As for Korra and her Avatar developments, well people shock me when they compare her with Ang .. WTF people, they are two completely different people, heck .. each and every Avatar probably went through a completely different experience until they mastered their powers, some might have awakened their Avatar mode with little effort, some might have spent their entire life trying to master it, some might have learned all the elements easily, some might have had some difficulty with a certain element .. etc etc … heck if after seeing the first episode where Korra clearly had full control over three of the main elements that Ang spent the whole series trying to control then expected Korra’s journey to be Ang’s journey all over again then you are -sorry- an idiot.

    what’s also different is that Ang’s soul was trying to contact Korra since the beginning of the events in Republic city .. something that didn’t happen with Ang .. that alone explains a lot about what happened in the ending, and since we are talking about the ending .. i agree that it felt rushed .. heck personally i excepted Korra to go on some journey to strengthen her spiritual connection with Ang and the previous avatars and regain her control over the other three elements (and that this will be the theme of the 2nd season), i was a little surprised that they went with that rushed conclusion, but it only means they were forced by Nickelodeon to close all open story threads (including that of Tarlok and his brother) as if they weren’t getting any second season to complete the story, it’s sad .. but it doesn’t make the ending a deus ex machina or nonsensical .. it just needed more time to flow naturally, and of course required that you have watched the previous series or at the very least have the slightest idea what it was about .. plot synopsis online pages do exist for a reason.

    Heck it would have been cooler if Korra’s Avatar mode kicked in the moment Aman tried to steal her bending and that would have also awakened her ability to control Air .. IMO that would have been a nice alternative, but like some people suggested .. if the writers if their research right about Asian charka points and its related philosophy the whole (chakra point) (X) gets blocked by (emotion) (Y) could also provide an explanation to what happened as well.

    Finally i have to say i’m pretty excited for a second season, not only because we literally have no idea what it will be about, but also because we will get a chance to see an Avatar doing their work as a full-fledged Avatar (something we didn’t get to see Ang or the other avatars do for too long, only quick glimpses), and also it gives a second chance for characters like Mako and Bolin and all other characters who didn’t get a chance to develop well in the first season (or didn’t get enough time like General Iroh) .. there is also the chance of seeing more about Ang’s story and adventures.

    • wicked says:

      What made Avatar interesting in the first place was the different spirituality that are connected to bending in the first place. How much “thinking” had to be done before getting it. It took Aang forever because he had to figure out the rules and find his teacher, while Korra had a fully prepared system behind her, but that doesnt really excuse how little emphasis they put into developing that side of her. She get flashes from Aang sure, but hardly a spiritual connection regards to nature of bending like Roku used to do with Aang. That’s what’s disappointing. Just look at the way she learn Air bending, the development is jerky. Korra tries to learn the steps, korra gets frustrated, korra finally learns to calm herself and go with the flow in the heat of the moment. All that were great, then it stalled for other plots, then as a last ditch effort she suddenly seems to be able to do it with any sort of real revelation other than desperation, something not consistent with the series past.

      It also would have made about 10x more sense if her avatar mode did activate when Amon was taking away her bending or the moment she realized airbending.

      It is a rushed ending meant to close all the plot point, but that’s why it felt like Deus ex Machina, they knew they had the avatar state in their back pocket the entire time(never brought up in the series except for one flashback toward the end), when the situation seems dire they used it to make a happy ending.

      What’s sad about it is that there were some many theme worth exploring deeply that are now basically dead and throw away because of the happy ending. It’s also going to be tough to have a villain top Amon, he was one hell of a menacing villain with a really good cause.

    • Zouachi says:

      I believe the love triangle between Korra Mako and Asami was really great.

      Lets look at it that way. Korra was training since she was a child, meaning she spent all her teenage years working out her bending in the North Pole. It also doesnt seem like there were any young boys of her age down there. Now she leaves her harsh but dull life to go to the city where she expects that everyone ”lives the big life”, so she wants to leave big too. And what does a 17 year old teen girl that never experienced romance want? A hot, badass, manly man. She doesnt have the idealized view of love as Aang may have had (since he was 12), teenagers mostly think about sex (obviously that cant be made explicit in the show, since it is for kids). That is why her falling for Mako was the most logical thing to happen. She doesnt want a nice, caring, fun guy like Bolin, but someone more badass like Mako, thats the normal nature of the feelings most teen girls living in the city have.

      Now lets look at Mako. He lived in the streets all his life, had to sell his bending abilities by working in a factory or ”whoring” himself in pro-bending to amuse the crowd (already theres a sociological point there), all he wishes for is to get into a higher social class, and what better way to do that than dating Asami, a hot rich high class girl. He gets everything he needs, a girl and money. What does Asami want? Since she was rich most of her life, she wants that feeling of adventure that only a manly pro-bender like Mako can give her, since most rich men end up businessmen, politicians, intellectuals, nothing exciting for a teen girl there.

      Now that it is established that the triangle is very consistent and logical, lets see how it all unfolds. First theres episode 5, Korra pretty much uses Bolin to make Mako jealous, then embraces him when she has the chance. What does Mako do? He does not yet feel the same way for Korra, so he decides to stick with Asami, which is pretty logical, since he doesnt know Korra that well yet and Asami is more consistent with his needs (as explained above) than Korra. Later on, when Korra get kidnapped, he starts to realize that he does have deep feelings for her, even though Asami is a better match for him. Until the last episode, we see him drifting more and more towards Korra and ignoring Asami, it does make him seem like a douchebag, but his character develops, he ignores his primal needs (sex + money) for the girl he really loves and cares about.

      You get a love triangle well concluded (Asami is foreveralone but hey, thats life), character development and even a sociological analysis on the side, all this wrapped up in an awesome show. This is how you handle romance perfectly and realisticly, compared with some shows like Sakamichi no Apollon, where no one has any balls.

  17. Tanwir says:

    I think the ending was a bit rushed but then I felt kinda excited. I, like many others, thought Korra was going on a Journey to restore her powers but the ending made me realise that there will be now a different plot. And maybe the first series was to show her development as an avatar. And remember what Aang said ‘when we are at are most lowest, we are most acceptable to change’. When aang was in a crisis about giving up his belief for the greater good, he then at his lowest point learnt to take people bending away. The avatar is there to bring balance to the world, therefore depending on the situation the avatar will change or gain ability to maintain the balance.

  18. Space Eater says:

    Reviews will be reviews: opinions. I personally liked the series, whether it had some flaws here and there, I enjoyed the show.

  19. animedude411 says:

    so im not sure how many people have explained this already, but the ending to korra makes sence if you have seen the original series.first of all korra using airbending to save Mako is a direct shoutout to how ang learned earthbending in the original series.he spends an entire episode trying in vain to master it (it is the one he has trouble with much like korra and airbending) but when his friends are in danger he just forces himself to get it right, cheesy perhaps, done before, yes, but completely out of place for either shows, no.

    second, the “dead people comming out of nowhere”. well in the avatar world, there is a spirit world where all of the deseaced avatars, as well as several actual spirits dwell. by connecting to it, and as an extension all the past avatars, you go into whats called the avatar state, as your body esentially beacomes a vessel for all the knowledge and power of every single past avatar, Ang learned how to take bending away from a lion turtle spirit at the end of the first series, its not too much of a streatch to assume that he figured out how to restore bending as well, so when korra goes into the avatar state (shown by the glowing eyes, and increadibly powerefull bending) she gains angs knoweldge of taking away and (presumebly) restoring somebodys bending.

    was it a tad rushed, perhaps, could they have figured a way to give you this information in this series, yeah, but it was defintly NOT a case of dues ex machina.

    personally i really enjoyed the entire series including the ending, but i also got more out of it having seen and loved the original series

  20. The Doctor says:

    Agreed I have seen and loved the original series in its entirety. I have seen all three of the original series in their unity and I love them. I watched the new one and admit that even with the ending I love it all the same even with the rushed ending because if you watched the original series it makes perfect sense.

    Still, as someone who is a fan of jap anime as well as Avatar I admit that I see where the others are coming from. Me myself I would have rather seen a series where Korra tried to regain her routes with the other three elements than just have all of the deceased avatars come out of her ass (still love Korra’s character by the way) and re-establish her connection with bending slowly and methodically rather than right away.

    That’s just me though, and with the calibre of the writers I am not going to give up on the next book, but I do admit that I would rather have that kind of outcome to that series. It’s not deux ex mechanica and I do have an interest in where they are going, but it still seemed kind of rushed.

  21. happy win says:

    My chip with this series is that it just seemed to lack the …. cultural richness if you will, as the first series. Earth nation fire nation, different groups different ethnic vibes, it just had republic city, just the one city. It was cool and I do like the idea but it just lost some of the depth and richness of the first series.

    Than there was the matter of the whole lightning bending, wasn’t that the purest form of fire bending. The one zuko couldn’t even do? Now its used by everyone for welding….. OK cool I guess
    Than blood bending, I used to like it but here it was like the chest code win
    Sorry I can’t loose I have blood bending.

    Romance also detracted from the whole show for me. Maybe because I’m not 13 maybe because I don’t like twilight, I font know but the romance just didn’t do it for me, the whole hugy lovey I lobe you ending just felt like…. I’m watching a cartoon for children.

    I was so excited to watch this being a huge fan of the original. Maybe that was my problem to high of expectations. It just dissipointed me enough where I’m not really interested in where they want to go from here. This is just my personal opinion, if you like this series or the romance or whatever thats awesome really. It just didn’t do it for me as we all have unique taste in anime, mine not as superior than anyone else.

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  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 12:29 PM)
    I just read the book. Never saw the films.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 11:18 AM)
    Lolita is one of my favourite films of all time.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 11:17 AM)
    It is easy to see however how people would wander to seeing lolita herself as a victim as people traditionally see the child as the victim in that situation.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 11:15 AM)
    @Aidan: My opinion of lolita matches yours. However I would like to ask of the film adaptations which one worked better for you, the one with James mason or the one with Jeremy Irons?
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 10:47 AM)
    I didn’t like how people tended to degrade the characters just to match their view and forcefully paint black and white over it. It ain’t that simple.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 10:47 AM)
    For example I read Lolita recently. In my opinion it was about two remarkable flawed indivuals. Horrible in there own ways. However when I looked at reviews of it I couldn’t help but notice that people tended to take sides. Either Humbert was the naive man taken in by a succubus or Lolita was the poor stupid girl abused by a monster.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 10:40 AM)
    One of the reason I feel we hear about world war 2 far more than world war 1 is that it can be so easily be portrayed as good vs evil. Hitler was a perfect supervillain. Maybe even birthed the supervillain in fiction. It wasn’t like world war 1 which was not just one countries fault and was mainly boring trench fights. Moral complexity isn’t really what the masses like. They have a tendency to paint things black and white.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 10:27 AM)
    @Friend, heard of it. No real interest in playing it.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 10:27 AM)
    @Mikey, I know apocalypse now was based on heart of darkness. It’s just that the man who made spec ops said it was based on Heart of darkness but he took way more from apocalypse now than he did from Heart of darkness.
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Apr 16. 2014 10:25 AM)
    @Ninjarealist, I had a peak at the congo free state. Damn. You gotta wonder how someone pulls shit like this off and look in the mirrior and not think “Man, I am such an asshole.” Surprising that you hear bitching about 9/11 all the time and yet barely anything about this.
    It’s surprising the kind of unbelievable stuff that went down in history. For one I never knew Columbus was such a monster.

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