An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

This can’t be a true review, since the series is still going, and has only truly gotten started.  However, this is what we think of the new series thus far, and what nickelodean has given us, which is actually quite something.

When people saw the previews for this new series, a lot of people were skeptical, and rightly so.  The original series, Avatar: The Last Airbender was a show with some great characters, great visuals, great themes and a very fitting climax.  The makers of Legend of Korra promised something completely different, and as you can imagine, a lot of people raised some eyebrows with this.  However, we were not disappointed.

Legend of Korra takes an 100% different approach than the previous series.  Unlike in Last Airbender, where Aang is going around the world learning all of his Bending skills, Korra (the protagonist) knows almost all of them.  She is going to learn the last, airbending.  It’s a nice change, especially since we all are curious to see how an Airbender is taught how to do their stuff.

Another big change is that Korra almost doesn’t travel anywhere.  The setting is in one place – Republic City.  Yeah, the name is kind of corny, but the setting is anything but.  Since 70 years have passed, a lot of things have changed for the world of the Benders.  Technology has grown greatly.  This city is definitely reminiscent of a 1920’s city.  There are radios, simple cars, giant floating airships, and the style of clothing in the city is very art deco, along with the buildings.  This goes well with the mystic nature of the Air Temple in the city.

There is a clear dual-nature to this show, mystic and modern.  These two things clash well, thematically, visually and even musically.  There are a lot of clever themes at play when looking at Bending in the future.  For one thing, technology is quickly catching up to Bending, even in a lot of ways making it obselete.  Why would you need a Firebender when you can make electricity and fire with a machine?  Benders do still have a lot of control over this city, but the times are a-changin’.

This show is decidedly more dark than the original show.  The people of Republic City are rebelling against the Benders, citing the corruption and the misuse of their powers to control people.  The Avatar, Korra, doesn’t seem to have a place to fit in here, which is another unique take.  In the orignal series, Aang knew exactly what he had to do, but here, the answers are nowhere near as cut and dry.

Korra is also very different from Aang.  Unlike Aang, she is head-strong, stubborn, and sometimes a little too cocky for her own good.  But you can also see that in a lot of ways, these traits are masking her own insecurities, desperately trying to seem tough, even when she is at her more scared.

This brings us to the villain of this series, which is also infinitely different than the previous show.  This villain is much more intimate, in terms of how much dread you get from him.  He is a man who is steeped in mystery, yet whose power and threat are very clear.  His name is Amon, and all you know about him thus far is that his family was murdered by Benders, and now he is on a mission to get rid of Bending, once and for all.  However, there is a darker purpose that is hinted at.  He possesses the ability th Chi-bend, being able to rob a person of their bending talents.  He said that a spirit gave him these powers, which adds even more to the mystery to this.

The biggest success of this show, by far, is that it leaves far more questions for the viewer right off the bat than the original show did.  Who is Amon?  Why would a spirit help him, even when the spirits are supposedly trying to be on good terms with man?  Why would the spirits want to be against the Avatar?  Where does the Avatar fit into all of this?

The intimacy of this show is another great success.  The villain isn’t some vague big evil.  He is human, driven, and wants to hurt real people in real ways, rather than just generic villainy.  Korra definitely feels the pain and problems going through the series.

It is too early to tell if they will be able to go strong with this series, but from early impression, they seem to have their mojo flowing in all the right ways.  I for one am intrigued to see what happens next.

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Comments on: "Lefty’s First Impression: The Legend of Korra" (1)

  1. Reblogged this on Lucien Maverick's Blog and commented:

    A good show, if you have the chance to check it out.

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