Because fans should be critical, too

Part Two of the “Korra” Video Reviews Is Up

A few things you should know before watching Part Two:

  • It is long, long, long. I apologize, for I should have been more diligent in the writing process.
  • This is merely a summary of Book One, so it is not very analytic as other parts will be.
  • The video will likely be blocked in a month for copyright infringement. Considering that the claim isn’t true (for one thing, I don’t intend to make any money from this) and they chose the most arbitrary spots to call dibs on, I’m disputing it. I probably won’t win (so it goes), so enjoy it while it lasts. (Please let me know immediately if there is no video behind.)

20 responses

  1. tuppaware

    Interesting, I’m dying to hear you blow up about the characters and the romance in particular! Do you have a rough idea of when the third part will come?

    March 26, 2013 at 10:05 am

    • My ultimate aim is for next weekend, but I can never be sure how my schedule will pan out. But that’s the goal.

      March 26, 2013 at 4:50 pm

  2. cowboy dan

    The editing and line reading has improved a lot, definitely. I didn’t care for the noting of plot holes though, particularly toward the beginning of the series. While there are issues with story logic throughout the whole series, the creators (and I include Dos Santos and Ryu in this) have such a strong grasp on drama and filmmaking that you can usually ignore the minor bits.

    For instance, the first episode is especially designed for the sake of establishing things, so much that it is pretty damn breathless as is. Explaining the boat, or taking more time to explain how Korra gets to Republic City (against the wishes of the White Lotus members) would overstuff an already stuffed episode.

    Moreover, the convenience of Korra’s getting onto the Fire Ferrets is easily explained by the characters. Korra wants to learn more about the sport, goes exploring the building, Bolin sees a pretty girl and wants to get laid, the crappy guy of the team leaves due to strife, and what luck, they have the Avatar right there. It works for me because the Fire Ferrets aren’t a big team at all, because it just allows Korra a chance to participate. It does require convenience (for Korra to meet Bolin, for the other guy to drop out) but Bryke (DiKo?) wanted to explore pro-bending, and their method for doing so is sound.

    I’d say true convenience is Asami and Mako’s meeting. Had she come to him as a fan, it would have worked at least slightly better than running into him. If it MUST happen that a wealthy non-bending heiress has to become involved with Korra, some better method than “runs into Mako, falls for him days later” should have been used.

    Was pro-bending necessary? Probably not, as it has very little to do with the Equalist story and (after episode 2) Korra’s story of personal development and learning airbending. It’s pretty much there because the creators wanted romance. And they even write a somewhat realistic take on teen romance in “The Spirit of Competition” (which is actually a favorite episode of mine tbqh), with the people involved making poor decisions informed by narcissism and myopia. It actually rang true for me in parts because it avoided shipping or pandering to shippers. Why I liked the episode though was because it was light-hearted and somewhat low-stakes, just giving the audience a chance to hang out with the characters. And it was a filler episode.

    I like filler episodes when they’re paced well, and fit in with the season’s story (usually toward the first half). I don’t know why people are so hung up on absolute continuity, ignoring moments that build character and world while not being totally consumed with plot. Korra could have used more of this because so much of the show is just relentless and because the characters aren’t always properly established (you can only get so much nuance out of 22 minutes). Of course, I haven’t watched the show since it aired so it’s possible that, on rewatch, knowing that they bungle up everything involving romance and that they should have spent more time on ensuring the plot made sense, it won’t work as well.

    It’s funny that, though I watched them earlier, every episode that occurs prior to the cabin flashback one is more memorable than the actual finale arc. I think a lot of this has to do with the boring action you mention. When it’s just people you don’t care about (General Iroh) fighting things you don’t care about, the end result is just apathy. And after Lin’s sacrifice, the emotional peak of the show, so much of what happens is just dull action.

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention what I thought the best part of the finale was though (beyond the HOLY SHIT MURDER SUICIDE). Asami’s confrontation with her father (backed by Bolin) was emotional action that served purposes of plot, character, and theme.

    The issue is, as I think you’ve mentioned before, that the creators are really good at sucking in, getting the audience invested, and making the audience ask “what happens next?” But then they don’t even know. There is no emotional grounding to Lin’s sacrifice now because Korra just brings her bending back and the airbenders were caught anyway. The shock of Tarlok’s original bloodbending is dulled by the overuse of it that defines the plot resolution.*

    Anyway, this is longer than I thought it’d be, so I’ll stop here. I understand you wanted some discussion, so here’s what I’ve got.

    *The bloodbending usage got so frequent that it reminded me a bit of the South Park where Cartman pretends to be a psychic so that he can get free food. There’s a joke where he meets other psychics, and they have a battle of the minds. People holding their arms out and trying to mentally attack someone else is not visually interesting.

    March 26, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    • Sorry about this late-ass response!

      While there are issues with story logic throughout the whole series, the creators (and I include Dos Santos and Ryu in this) have such a strong grasp on drama and filmmaking that you can usually ignore the minor bits.

      That’s a fantastic point, and one of the reasons I watched the series to the very end (where the bottom ultimately fell out). Between the four of them is indeed a wonderfully cinematic sensibility, but that can only get you so far on its own. It’s the combination of content and style that produces a great viewing experience, and the content turned out to be very lacking (or least inconsistent and self-defeating) in the case of Korra. And like I said, I can forgive a plot hole if it doesn’t affect the experience too much (the most famous example is in Citizen Kane, where no one actually heard him say “Rosebud” on his death bed). But in Korra, not only do the holes add up, but their implications (that everything will just happen to work out for Korra) make for an unsatisfying tale.

      I’d say true convenience is Asami and Mako’s meeting.

      That’s very true, actually. Then again, life only got worse for Asami after that, so “convenient” is the last adjective I’d use in her situation.

      …they even write a somewhat realistic take on teen romance in “The Spirit of Competition”…

      It’s funny: if you read my earlier reviews of Korra, I gave this episode a very positive review. I liked it much for the same reasons you do. Unfortunately, considering how the episode affects the rest of the series, I can hardly stand to watch it anymore. If Diko had just halted the romantic stuff after this episode (or better yet, after “The Aftermath”), I’d probably still like it. But it was not to be.

      I’m surprised you didn’t mention what I thought the best part of the finale was though…Asami’s confrontation with her father…

      I’m examining that in the next video.

      …this is longer than I thought it’d be, so I’ll stop here.

      Hey, man, I’m the one who made a forty-minute video review, so your post can be however long it needs to be.

      April 1, 2013 at 6:06 pm

  3. Grindal

    Korra after four re-watches remains a very entertaining show to watch, despite what people think. I believe strongly believe the first seven episodes are of a very high order (equivalent to that of the second half of Book 2 in ATLA) and the other five are great whenever Mako isn’t being a dick or romance is involved in any way whatsoever. Don’t get me wrong, there are serious problems with how the writers decided to end Book 1, and I do think they missed a few opportunities they had given themselves, but I don’t think that takes away from the core story and characters. For example, I actually feel for Korra. Although she does get stuff handed to her, that’s not really her fault, and besides that she actually does suffer. Yes, Mako is unforgivable, Bolin just a sideshow by the end of the series, but I think Asami, Lin and Tenzin are some of my favourite characters of the whole Avatar universe (impressive considering the twelve show limit). Finally, the many unanswered questions or fallout from this failed revolution don’t have to be answered right now. There are supposed to be another three seasons right now, and people will go a long way to forgive the finale if Book 2 answers or resolves these issues. The legacy of Korra is down to what happens in Book 2.

    March 26, 2013 at 11:41 pm

    • cowboy dan

      But Book 2 was already well into production by the time Book 1 was airing, so they would have never gotten fan input by the time it had started. Even so, they seem to be willfully ignorant of the fan input anyway.

      March 27, 2013 at 8:54 am

      • Grindal

        That point is fair enough. In truth, I highly doubt much of Book 1 will carry on to Book 2. It’s just a small hope of salvation I’ll hold on to until it’s gone.

        March 27, 2013 at 6:53 pm

  4. TexasHammer

    Pleasantly surprised by this one. Given your warning about the length of the video (and what it would be) I was skeptical that this would accomplish anything more than just rehashing the plot of a show I’ve already watched (twice). But I felt that in the course of describing the plot, you managed to put forth a number of problems with the show, albeit these concerns were mostly superficial and not ALL that significant to the quality of the show. I also found the video to be shockingly funny, for reasons I’m not entirely aware of. The gimmick with the college tuition on vinyl records was pretty good, but other jokes were also good. Whatever it is you’re doing, keep it up.

    Approaching it chronologically was a good place to start in analysis, and providing a simultaneous recap of the show was a good strategy. It was fairly long, maybe a bit heavy on nitpicks, (which dragged out the runtime), but again, worked overall.

    Hope you manage to get #3 up soon, and good luck doing so!

    March 27, 2013 at 9:25 pm

  5. amonymous

    Do you have a tumblr blog? it’d be much easier for me (and others) to keep track of your posts, not to mention you could reach a bigger audience.

    April 1, 2013 at 5:33 am

    • To be honest, I don’t really like tumblr, especially not as a mothership for discussion. That said, if I created a tumblr blog just for these videos, would that suffice?

      April 1, 2013 at 6:09 pm

      • amonymous

        Actually I find that tumblr is quite a useful platform for discussion (if you format your blog the right way), or at the very least a place where people can see what you’ve written (as long as you use tags). They may even be enticed to visit this site. Its just that this blog is really good and I want a larger audience to see it. A larger audience generally does mean more discussion.

        April 1, 2013 at 7:06 pm

  6. tuppaware

    Do you think the next video will come either April 6th or 7th?

    April 1, 2013 at 7:25 am

  7. OldGregg

    I was pleasantly surprised by this video. You made a huge improvement from the first one. The line-reading was smoother, the jokes and humor were significantly improved and the editing was better. You are definitely starting to get a handle on doing videos, much to my enjoyment. I really enjoyed this and I can’t wait to see your actual analysis of Korra. I love your written reviews which show that you definitely have skill in analyzing and criticizing. Anyway, I hope you post the third part soon since I will be eagerly awaiting.

    April 5, 2013 at 8:19 pm

  8. fawndeer

    What’s the date for the next vid?

    April 7, 2013 at 6:38 pm

  9. yakkityYAK

    So…just curious, what’s taking so long?

    April 10, 2013 at 4:17 pm

  10. Ian

    I just wanted to say great Job on the review bro! Youve really shown improvement in line delivery and jokes. major flaws in the review: Some of your points I couldnt tell if they were supposed to be jokes or if they were to be taken seriously. Like Korras boobs changing size or somthing like that. Really? but other than that good job.
    Im just wanna ask though. Even though you dont like the book I am very happy to see you enjoyed amons backstory. To me, Amon is an amazing villain. 1) hes a water bender as a main villain. 2 hes shrouded in mystery and even when hes revealed hes still threatening. 3 hes voiced by steven blum, and 4 he has a just cause.
    so my question is 1) do you think Amon is better villain than Ozai? 2) is he consistently written in your opinion. 3) do you consider him to be a very memorable part of the season? and 4 what would you like the next season villain to do where amon failed for you? over all great review and while I still dont agree with your stance on the season as a whole. Im accepting of your opinion. Cant wait for the next vid 🙂 and please reply

    P.S. I would like to point out that amon had never faught a airbender up to that point and theres really nothing you can do to block air. also I thought the moment was awesome because its the first time someone curved stomped amon which gave tenzin for me 10 bonus points. just a different point of view for it I guess. Thoughts?

    April 10, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    • Ian

      Ill be honest, I didn’t pay to much attention to the video the first time because I just kinda skimmed it and looked for the Amon parts. But having fully re watched it, let me just say. THIS WAS AMAZING. Your line delivery is spot on, your jokes (aside from the breast joke) were perfect( I especially loved you geeking out over and the winner is and how you used the words moving) and the music you play is perfect for all the scenes and really set the mood for what your talking about. I dont know why but you comparing korra to music albums and such just works. again the only problem like I mentioned in the above post is that the breast joke was completely unnecessary, I almost turned off the video, glad I didn’t. but next time just watch that. Overall a great review and I’m STOKED for your next part. just one thing though I wanted to point out. throughout the whole review I never felt like you hated the show like you claim in your written stuff. You seemed to me like a very analytically FAN. so I dont know if things have changed in your opinion or not but I guess well see in the coming videos.

      Please reply

      April 15, 2013 at 7:19 pm

  11. fawndeer

    It’s been two weeks now, what’s the hold-up? No word on the delay?

    April 15, 2013 at 4:42 pm

  12. Kyle

    I don’t really understand your criticism of Aang as an adult. Most children change both physically and emotionally when they start to grow up. You talking about his looks? He is 40 years old.

    April 30, 2013 at 4:17 pm

    • It was more of an observation than a criticism. That said, I HATE Aang’s forty-year-old voice. Toph and Sokka sounded fine, but Aang just sounded…tired, beat down, dead. Maybe that was the point. It must suck being the Avatar.

      May 1, 2013 at 6:22 pm

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