Because fans should be critical, too

Part 4.2 of the Korranalysis is Up!

Bending kind of went to way side like the lightsaber did. Not quite as badly, though.

For these videos, my plan is to upload one–or two, if I’m lucky–segment every Saturday until it’s finished. As I said before, there will be nine segments to Part Four. Part Five (the last part) will be on the finale and the summation of my feelings, with maybe a little opinion on Book Two (which, thanks to my tardiness, will likely be released before I’m even finished).

Watch and then let’s discuss.

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25 responses

  1. rosemon

    Another nice video, I’m interested to see more about how bending has been “neutered,” for the lack of a better term. I mean it feels like, without Sifu Kisu (I think they didn’t have him along for the ride here either), bending has become just punching fire, kicking fire, swishing water, and throwing rocks/disks all the time instead of a specific set of moves for each element.
    But if you’ve said earlier that there will be 9 vids, and you said that the project would been finished before book 2 aired, and it’s one video a week-but Book 2 will air before nine weeks have passed. It’s rumored that it will come Sept 7th/10th. But anyway, what is the current order of topics you intend to follow? Like first was the Strong Female Character, next was Bending…and what’s third? The romance? The women in general? White, grey, & black morals? Friendship? Teamwork? Humor?
    But all things considered, I think Bryke are horrible writers (others think that they are at least good “idea” guys, but I doubt that). I am certain that when Book 2 comes out, all the good episodes will be written by Tim Hendrick/Josh Hamilton, and all the bad stuff by Mike D. Rebel Spirit (by Bryke) and Republic City Hustle (written by Tim Hendrick) could not have made it any clearer to me. I mean Bryke couldn’t bother to give the brothers’ backstory in the actual first season, but Mr. Hendrick does it in an extra short, comparable to those unimportant Avatar Chibi shorts.
    P.S. Due to overwhelming fan request, Doug Walker will vlog Korra Book 1. Everyone on his facebook page claims Korra to be fantastic, and I die a little inside. I seriously hope that he sees Korra for the absolute Star Wars Prequel-esque piece of crap that it is, even if it pisses off the majority of his fan base.

    August 10, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    • Actually, Sifu Kisu was still the martial arts consultant on Korra. But as I’ve said before, I think he, Diko, and the rest of the cast and crew were coasting on the success of Avatar, and couldn’t see Korra for what it was actually turning out to be (and the overwhelmingly positive critical reaction has been no help at all).

      Here’s the official laundry list of subjects: 1) Strong Female Character; 2) Bending; 3) The Equalists (or, the Villain of the Week); 4) Republic City; 5) Romance; 6) Fanservice; 7) Production Values; 8) Action Sequences; and 9) DiMartino and Konietzko – A Personal Address. (And the last video goes to the finale.) These are what I consider the core areas of critique (although points 7 and 8 have some positive things to say). I’m going to attempt to buckle down and get two segments done each week. I probably won’t beat the Book Two premiere date, and that’s my fault.

      As for Doug Walker and Korra

      …I wish he didn’t watch Korra at all, but I’m probably being delusionally overprotective. That will certainly be something, though. I wonder if his initial reaction will be like mine: super enthusiastic into a crash-and-burn of disillusionment.

      August 11, 2013 at 8:51 pm

      • Dan

        I wonder if Doug’s final opinion on Korra will mirror that of his brother Rob, who had this to say about the show:

        “1) Didn’t mind all the twists. Thought it all came together rather nicely.

        2) Didn’t mind what they did to Amon. Still light years ahead of Bane, who was thoroughly declawed in Dark Knight Rises in a vain attempt to give him some humanity. In the end, Amon’s motivation was always clear, even if he hid his origin.

        3) Didn’t mind the murder-suicide. Dark? Yes. But this show seemed aimed at a more teen crowd. And it taps into my theory that evil has a habit of destroying itself. I don’t see it as an endorsement of suicide as some do. I think the creator’s interview is saying that the CHARACTERS feel they’re too damaged to live. Amon learns nothing, and Tarrlok succumbs to despair and egotistically exerts his power one last time. He takes control of the brother who robbed him by taking both themselves out.

        4) Loved Korra finding Aang in her despair. Very Fight Club Zen — “Only when we’ve lost everything are we free to do anything.”

        5) The ABILITY to regain powers through the former Avatars’ energy bending is not a Deus ex Machina. It makes perfect sense within the mythology they established.

        HOWEVER…

        6) To just throw those powers back in Korra’s hands in such a rushed manner was a rushed ending. While not a Deus ex Machina plot MECHANIC, it is an EMOTIONAL Deus ex Machina.

        What the creators did would be the equivalent of bringing Spock back at the end of Star Trek II instead of Star Trek III. They skipped the major step of having her face the journey of earning her powers back. There is no sense of sacrifice. No sense of adapting. It’s just Bippity Boppity BEND! Poof, all done.

        I get they were rushed (thanks a fucking load, Nickelodeon). But then go for a Terminator 2 ending. Maybe let Korra realize that she can still do good with just Air? Have her realize what it means to lose something, to be like those who can’t bend. Could Aang have note let that be his spiritual message to her? Hell, let Lin Beifong adapt as Toph did by embracing her disability — maybe become a brilliant tech mind instead? Couldn’t they then help bring balance by putting themselves in someone else’s shoes?

        The creators showed great characters who do great things when deprived of easy answers. So that’s what disappoints me there.

        It doesn’t kill the show. It’s still an okay ending. But it IS the easy, weaker ending, all things considered.”

        August 11, 2013 at 10:24 pm

      • *sigh* We shall see.

        And Rob is totally right about it being an emotional Deus ex Machina, which is the most biggest reason this ending failed. (Technically, it is a Deus ex Machina plot mechanic, too, since spirits can’t Bend.)

        August 16, 2013 at 9:13 am

      • Ian

        ^ I agree with most all that he said except for the ending. while I dont think it ruins the series. I am totally against it in general and while he may have a point that its their world and mythology they can do whatever they want(to some extent at least) it just is to out there.

        August 12, 2013 at 1:42 pm

  2. Charlie

    The lying thing doesn’t work 100% of the time, unless you believe that Azula is a 400-foot purple platypus bear with pink horns and silver wings.

    August 10, 2013 at 6:22 pm

    • Grindal

      Yes that is true but it still means you can try to ascertain whether someone is lying or not. It would be a simple step in weeding out the obvious criminals, and only those as calculated as Azula would be able to not be detected by it. Then a proper trial could go ahead.

      August 10, 2013 at 7:15 pm

      • Exactly!

        Also, it would totally make sense if Amon could evade being detected thanks to his psychic Bloodbending.

        August 11, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    • That’s true, but:

      1) most people are psychopaths like Azula (not even most criminals);

      2) that’s not even the real issue here. The fact that Diko never considered the possibility of incorporating a specific part of their own lore into this new story in a creative and logical way is the most troubling part. Wouldn’t it make sense that Metalbending police would adapt the lie-detecting aspects of Earthbending? The amount of missed opportunities and contradictions in Korra really make you wonder just how much actual thought was put into this script.

      August 11, 2013 at 9:53 pm

  3. Charlie

    Also Bloodbending is illegal because manipulating another person’s body is inherently unethical. Shooting lightning isn’t. And no, I’m pretty sure that MANIPULATING ANOTHER PERSON’S BLOOD FLOW cannot be a healthy thing. It definitely doesn’t SOUND healthy.

    August 10, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    • Grindal

      Blood clots??? Heart failure???

      August 10, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      • Charlie

        Cannot be fixed with manipulation of bloodflow.

        August 10, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    • JMR

      You’re taking the name of the ability too literally. The power is the ability to manipulate the water inside someone’s body. Every fluid, tissue, and organ inside the human body is at least partially composed of water, not just blood.

      August 10, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    • I said monitor blood flow, not manipulate it. If a Waterbender can sense the flow of water even if it’s underground (as Katara and Aang did in “Jet”), then a Bloodbender can sense the flow of bodily fluids, more importantly if the flow is proceeding healthily. If not, it can be detected and aid in pinpointing problem areas just like normal Waterbending can. But now that I think about it, I think normal Waterbending can do these things anyway (in addition to healing people), so my initial point is probably made obsolete…unless Bloodbending could heal things that normal Waterbending can’t. Wouldn’t that be interesting?

      Also, inherently unethical? Killing another person is inherently unethical, but sometimes people do it in self-defense. Hell, Tarrlok initially Bloodbent in self-defense because Korra was going to burn him alive. There are always exceptions. Not that Diko would ever be bold or clever enough to explore that distinction.

      August 11, 2013 at 9:08 pm

  4. Dman

    Yeah, the whole bloodbending being illegal thing while no other element was was fairly confusing. I think the only reason it was outlawed was that Katara was the wife to the co-founder of the city, and she thought it was wrong. Also, aren’t the other forms of bending just as dangerous (or even more so). Korra is arrested in the first episode for property damage- so are they telling me that in a city full of earthbenders, this was a rarity? Also, earthbenders can BURY PEOPLE ALIVE and firebenders can BURN PEOPLE ALIVE. So while bloodbending is horrifying, it should not be outlawed simply because it’s unethical (in the eyes of Katara). I starting to think the only reason it was banned was for Tarrlok’s story arc to actually occur

    P.S. And Tarrlok’s kidnapping of Korra made no sense. If he only kidnapped her so his identity of a bloodbender wouldn’t be discovered, he should not be held accountable for doing it, since it was in self defense (Korra was going to burn his face off)

    August 10, 2013 at 11:38 pm

    • Being married to the Avatar certainly has its perks, huh?

      You know, this actually affirms my belief that Bending of all kinds should be restricted to certain areas of city life. Lightning Bending to power generators; Metalbending to police work; Earthbending to people movers (they still have those, right?); and Waterbending to…whatever. (And you’re right about accountability when it comes to self-defense.) The Avatar has free reign, but only if he/she is certifiably trained master (and who’s to say about that? That’s a whole season worth of story right there).

      I don’t know, and clearly Diko don’t either. Then again, they don’t even remember the rules of their own fucking universe; why should we be surprised that their grasp on the realities of the justice system (even one as flawed as our own) is just as skewed?

      August 11, 2013 at 10:14 pm

  5. rosemon

    I don’t know, but some guy on a podcast once said that Tahno’s fighting style was different from that of the other pro-benders since it had dance moves or was more creative/less constricted or something like that. Maybe it’s because they cheated, so that doesn’t count. I get that Bryke created Avatar, but I wonder how much of the lore was really created by them. They don’t even understand their own universe? I mean, they couldn’t even explain why Amon could blood-bend until one year after the finale, and they gave a pretty poor excuse. I’d say the other writers could help them now, but I don’t have much hope that they will fix the gaping plot-holes or the series in general. I mean, it turns out Rebel Spirit was actually written by Tim Hendrick alone. How can the person who wrote the Puppetmaster devolve into something like the exposition-fest that was the first episode of LOK book 2?

    August 11, 2013 at 6:47 pm

  6. rosemon

    I still remember you saying that LOK’s sexism is not obvious-not that I think it’s feminist in the slightest aside from non-sexualized character design. Could you elaborate on that, or will that be coming up in another video?

    August 12, 2013 at 2:28 pm

  7. rosemon

    Ah, sorry, not the 7th or the 10th, but the book 2 release date is now september 8th, 2013.

    August 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    • Now it’s September 13th. Which is a Friday… Something tells me this premiere won’t go over so well with a majority of audiences…

      August 16, 2013 at 9:16 am

  8. rosemon

    Having followed this website for some time, I honestly think it’d be better if you had just written your remaining part four and part five arguments out in your typical blog entries instead of making a video a week. Whenever a piece of news/an episode comes up, you respond to it in the form of an essay pretty quickly. Making a video, on the other hand, might take up a lot more work. Besides, I think that your arguments tend to be more in depth in written word than your video (which has a time limit and can be light on analysis at time: in a video, you are often stating an argument and giving maybe one example). Making and editing a video and working out a software program might be too difficult/time-consuming.

    August 14, 2013 at 9:38 am

    • To a certain degree, I agree with you. Videos do take a lot more time for seemingly little reward, but they are not without their own pleasures and benefits, personal and otherwise. For one thing, I can potentially reach a lot more people with videos, which can in turn direct more people to this blog. Additionally, making videos helps me practice my craft as an amateur filmmaker and voice actor (to be quite honest, I’ve learned more about filmmaking from producing these videos than I have from any film class).

      You are right that the videos are broader than the essays, sort of in the same way Roger Ebert was more in-depth with his written reviews than on Siskel & Ebert. I think this is, at once, to be expected, and an indication that I’m not utilizing the strengths of the video format as fully as I could. I’ll have to continue working on that, because now I would like to explore other animated series in the video format.

      That said, even after I’m done with Korra and have moved on to music and animation in general, I will never abandon the written word. Both mediums have their strengths and weaknesses, but I can express so much more in prose than in video. Not to mention its the best and easiest way–short of direct physical communication–to discuss these things.

      August 16, 2013 at 10:11 am

  9. JMR

    Doug Walker has started his Korra VLogs.

    I have to say that he probably has a better chance of getting through it and enjoying it than I did, as he seems to have much looser expectations going in.

    He also mentioned a few things that I do have to give Korra kudos for, despite my not liking it all that much, namely the fact that it doesn’t dwell on the old characters too much and lets the new characters have their turn in the spotlight. There are some aberrations, such as General Fanservice, but on the whole it manages to give the new cast breathing room.

    August 15, 2013 at 8:23 am

    • Oh, boy…

      That said, you might be right. By the very nature of what Doug does, it’s impossible for him to be a fanatic over something (even if he did say Avatar was my favorite show), so he won’t be watching Korra through nostalgia-fogged glasses. His views may just become the most pure and unbiased on the Internet. (I haven’t watched the vlogs yet, so I’ll save my breath.)

      August 16, 2013 at 10:17 am

  10. rosemon

    Someone (presumably on Bryan K’s tumblr) just asked, “If the benders and nonbenders were getting along before legend of korra, what made them not get along now?”

    Bryan: “It’s a very large world out there, what made you think they were getting along in the first place? it was republic city, with benders as the ruling class, with the power, but they’re still the minority; it’s like china where there’s a minority in power [something else about China] the melting pot situation where you have people from all over the world, all kinds of benders and nonbenders, moving to the same place made people realize that it’s not about fire vs. water or earth vs. air… but some nonbenders felt that they were doing all the hard dirty work.”

    August 16, 2013 at 7:46 am

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