Because fans should be critical, too

Part 4.6 of the Korranalysis is Up!

Hey, guys! I finally got my act together! Now I’m finishing up the Korranalysis so I can review other shows!

Hello? Anyone still there?

I brought this on myself…

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15 responses

  1. Ian

    Huzzay! Your back! Don’t worry man, I’m still here. I literally check this site everyday, (don’t know if that will give you hope or guilt but either way just know I’m here reading). If I’m to be honest, after this you really shouldn’t think on talking about Korra again, not that I don’t like hearing your thoughts, but you clearly, do. not. care. Which is fine, but don’t feel pressured to talk about something you don’t like. Also, my idea still stands you should look at Cowboy Bebop(but do you what you want to review/talk about first) 🙂

    February 19, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    • You’re right to a degree, but I still care about Book One of Korra, at least. I was actually invigorated to finish this latest video after seeing Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. The similarities between that and Book One of Korra were frightening, not in the least because of how their potential was squandered thanks to careless (and yet they each have undeniable merits). I’ll write about that experience at some point because it was very eye-opening.

      In the mean time, I’m already hard at work on an analysis of the first season of Teen Titans, as well as a retrospective on my favorite (and least favorite) episodes of Avatar: the Last Airbender. So until then…

      February 19, 2014 at 7:08 pm

      • It’s kinda petty to say that the fan service squandered the shows potential. Imo. It was only a collection of small moments that never intruded the story, that made sense for the characters involved and were fun little moments for the older avatar fans. General iroh I agree about though. He was the only relative of the original group in the show that didn’t have much of a character and we didn’t really care about him like the others.

        February 19, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      • As I said in the video, these small, careless fanservice moments were a microcosm for how little actual thought was put into the overall project. The problem was that many of these moments didn’t work from a narrative standpoint. If you were watching Korra and you’d never seen Avatar: the Last Airbender, you’d likely be very confused and annoyed about the stupid joke about Zuko’s mom. And considering how much time and effort goes into animation, to waste precious seconds on an in-joke that does little to development the current story (of which you only have twelve episodes to tell) is just dumb and wasteful.

        February 21, 2014 at 10:03 pm

  2. Ian

    In response to the video itself. Great job as usual, great editing.
    As for the scenes you mentioned.

    Jinora scene: I actually found this quite funny, and I think your reaction and upset was just the type they were looking for (although probably not the quit the whole show part lol) I was never attached to the Ursa character so this scene didn’t bother me but game me a slight chuckle.

    General Iroh: Yeah I completely agree, it was stupid and I don’t see why people enjoy the idea. Iroh should be called General fan service.

    The fan boys and girl: Its a nice gesture but yeah it could have been done better. keep up the good work.

    Just a question Marshall, whats some way I could contact you? Skype for instance? I’m only in high school right now but I’m wanting to be an animated movie director and was wondering if I could run some of my ideas off you since you are so analytical about this stuff it would be great. Thanks for reading and keep up the good work.

    February 19, 2014 at 5:31 pm

    • I’m flattered that you’d want advice from me, but frankly, I’m the least qualified person to run ideas by. What if, instead, I recommended a few books that I think would give a boost to your learning process (books that helped me, at least)?

      February 19, 2014 at 7:13 pm

      • Ian

        I would really appreciate that, thanks!

        February 20, 2014 at 4:49 pm

      • 1) Starting Point (1979-1996), which is a collection of essays written by Hayao Miyazaki. His thoughts on the process and ideology of animation are endlessly fascinating. They’ll definitely have you double-checking (if not doubling) your passion for animation.

        2) Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation In Its Golden Age by Michael Barrier. This book chronicles the history and development of Hollywood cartoons up to the late 60s. Now Mr. Barrier has a very set idea of what qualifies the best animated acting, and I think it’s a standard worth looking into and aiming for. Don’t let his grumpy old man vibes put you off, for his criticisms only come from love of the medium.

        3) Understanding Comics by Scott McCloud. This is obviously not focused on animation, but the principles are definitely applicable. If the samurai maxim is “from one thing, know one thousand,” then you’ll learn two thousand from McCloud.

        4) Sick Little Monkeys: The Unauthorized Ren & Stimpy Story by Thad Komorowski. Komorowski considers The Ren & Stimpy Show the only animated television show worth reflecting on, and he makes some pretty strong arguments in his book. Not that it’s all sucking up to John Kricfalusi: in fact, he’s just as critical of the show as he is in love with it. That and the simply fact that the story of Ren & Stimpy’s production is just fascinating in itself makes this a must for all animators.

        So those are my book recommendations. I’d also suggest reading all you can from Michael Barrier’s website and John Kricfalusi’s blog. Interestingly enough, Barrier and John K. do not see eye-to-eye on animation.

        Hopefully this is enough.

        February 21, 2014 at 9:57 pm

      • How could I be so stupid?! I forget to link the most important one of all: Preston Blair’s Advanced Animation. This is a great starting point, even if the style of drawing in the book isn’t what you’re going for. Above all else, this book will demonstrate how to draw and construct a solid character.

        February 22, 2014 at 5:12 pm

  3. rosemon

    You know, it seems Bryke is just resting on their laurels when it comes to Korra. The unnecessary, pandering callbacks to ATLA lead back to one point you’ve made in the past: the only reason people watch this show is because it’s the sequel to a popular show, not because it actually is anything special. Anyway, when are the last couple of videos coming out? I guess your address to Mike and Bryan is going to change based on their recent interviews…

    February 19, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    • Here’s hoping within the next month.

      Oh, boy…you’ll have to link me to some of those interviews. And you’re right about my personal address to themselves. It’s evolved so much since I started this project, and it’s steadily become more negative.

      February 19, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    • I think that’s pretty obvious. People from the very start watched this show because it was a sequel to a show that they liked from two creators they thought the world of. If people watched this show at this point only because its a sequel to a popular show then why have people stopped watching? It’s simple, people that actually like what it’s doing like it, and the people that don’t like where it’s going and what it’s done have stopped altogether.

      February 19, 2014 at 10:25 pm

      • SB

        I think it’s also the fact that one of the only reasons people continue to watch Korra and insist on defending it is because of their past love for ATLA. If Korra had been unrelated to the original series I don’t think people would be as quick to defend it or just let the show’s many issues slide.

        (Also, yay Marshall’s back! I, too, check this site all the time. Loved the video as well)

        February 23, 2014 at 3:22 pm

  4. Nautilus11

    I’m kind of puzzled that, when people point towards the thing that ruined Legend of Korra for good, they always point towards the finale. Or, more specifically, the Aang Ex Machina that has Korra magically get her bending back.

    What about the complete ruining of Amon’s character via a shitty back-story that not only made no sense (so, Amon presumably started an Anti-Bending Revolution to gain power and avenge his father – the same father whom he bloodbended and basically told to go fuck himself earlier), but resulted in one of my most hated villain tropes ever – “he did it because shitty childhood”. Bryke barely pulled it off with Azula in A:TLA, and completely failed with it in LoK, because they were substituting a complex, mysterious, interesting back-story and motivation for an infuriating sob story background that had to be the biggest asspull I’ve ever seen – Tarrlok goes from self-serving asshole to deeply regretful villain off-screen with absolutely no explanation; Noatak, after being unmasked and outed, goes to free his brother, presumably too stupid to account for the possibility that his brother may attack him in revenge for removing his bending, or turn him in; luckily for him, Tarrlok’s character seems to have undergone a lobotomy and starts spouting some bullshit about “how our father led us down this path”.

    Really, the whole “emotional” climax of Tarrlok blowing up the boat dies as soon as you realize how utterly retarded and contrived the entire Tarrlok-Noatak back-story was, and how it completely ruined a potentially awesome story foundation.

    I was so holding out hope that Tarrlok’s sob-story would turn out to be a complete fabrication fed to him after his brainwashing by Amon for the purposes of having Korra embarrass herself for the umpteenth time, and finally learn to plan ahead and think after realizing that by blindly trusting Tarrlok she has put herself and her friends in danger yet again. Then end with a cliffhanger, with Korra and Co. fleeing Republic City as the Equalists celebrate their triumph, and Amon declares something along the lines of “Today, Republic City; tomorrow, the world!”.

    Or how Hiroshi Sato just turned into a flat cardboard villain who automatically gets stripped of any inner conflict concerning his daughter (and said daughter gets stripped of any inner conflict concerning her father), thus ensuring that the resulting “fight” is completely meaningless and emotionally empty.

    Or how the Lieutenant just got turned into a complete joke? Seriously, he wasn’t even a Zhao-level villain. At least have him be a threat, not have him get punked by Asami, then the air-bending kids, and then by Korra’s freaking pet. To waste someone like Lance Hendriksen on a miserable role like that is the height of injustice.

    Or the completely retarded romances that made Korra and Mako look like absolutely uncaring assholes?

    Or the lack of proper characterization for Mako, Bolin and Asami?

    Or (my favorite), how Tenzin and Co. discover the Equalist hide-out beneath Republic City in the space of five minutes, and then do absolutely NOTHING with this knowledge afterwards. How about a full-on police assault to flush out the Equalists. Sure, Amon would probably have foreseen this and outsmarted them somehow, but it would have done wonders for making the show just a teeny-bit more realistic.

    Or how General Iroh is apparently the worst general in history? And his fleet doesn’t have single non-bender on board (so much for making it seem like the Equalists are in the wrong here)?

    Or how Amon for some reason DIDN’T block Korra’s airbending? Presumably he works by blocking chi-paths that allow a person to bend, but unless there are specific chi-paths for every single type of bending (and they really should have made this more clear), then how does this not stop Korra from airbending as well? And why doesn’t Katara use her bloodbending knowledge to poke around a bit and see what Amon did to Korra? Wait for a full moon and do it. Might not succeed, but it makes sense.

    Or how the Equalists turn from badass chi-blocking masters that can kick Korra and Mako’s asses like there’s no tomorrow, and into completely generic mooks that get their asses flattened by any half-way competent bender (excluding Mako and Bolin, of course, since they are apparently the only two benders who didn’t get an ass-kicking upgrade in this show, and still get their butts handed to them by almost anyone. Well, Mako seemed kind of competent in the finale, but whatever).

    Oh, and yeah, the entire bender vs. non-bender conflict and the mystery behind the Equalists and Amon gets completely screwed over in twelve episodes. The one story that, above all, deserved at least three full (20-episode) seasons to resolve all the major conflicts and develop the characters and the locations, and it gets an absolutely insulting resolution and infuriating resolution.

    Really, whole “Amon was given the power by spirits, and there’s a deeper conflict concerning the balance of spiritual presence versus industrial conflict afoot” was so much more promising.

    Oh, well. At least A:TLA turned out more or less alright.

    March 19, 2014 at 7:35 am

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