Because fans should be critical, too

Archive for January, 2015

Announcement: I’m Not Dead (Yet), Just Busy

If I’ve devoted less time to this blog then usual, it’s both because the end of The Legend of Korra has left me relatively unmotivated, and because my work schedule just became more hectic than I could have previously imagined. The next four months I will be preoccupied with several different projects, most of which have superseded the blog in significance.

That’s not to say I haven’t been working on future writings, the pending animation blog, and the upcoming Avatar: the Last Airbender and Korra retrospective (which will start in February). I simply have to fit them into my overall schedule to make it work. If anything, this could improve my writing, since every word and second will count much more this time around.

So bear with me a little longer, guys. I’m still here, just insanely busy and doing the best I can.

– Marshall Turner


A Lovely Video on the Origins of “Avatar” and “Korra”

Disclaimer: This blog may become a link-a-thon for a while before the retrospective on Avatar: the Last Airbender begins. Please bear with me.

As I prepare myself and the blog for the big Avatar: the Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra retrospective (which won’t begin until February, for numerous reasons), I’ve been going through whatever videos and articles I can. This one, by Emergency Awesome, has pretty much done all that work for me. It’s a decent video, though I believe some points could have been greatly elaborated on, but probably weren’t in the interest of time. Emergency Awesome will apparently be doing a whole video retrospective of its own. I’ll see how that first video goes; as long as it’s not too fanatical, it could be interesting.

Speaking of fanatical videos, here’s another Emergency Awesome video of voice actors Janet Varney, David Faustino, and P.J. Byrne (Korra, Mako, and Bolin respectively) that’s simply priceless. At one point, they seem to be making fun of the deification of creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko by the more hardcore fans. Whether this was the intent, it’s still pretty funny (especially Byrne’s antics).

A Very Good Perspective on the Series Finale

This is the kind of article I wish I had the time and the wit to write. “‘The Legend of Korra’ Is Revolutionary, But at a Cost” by Sirisha Varigonda summarizes quite a few of my feelings on the series’ finale, especially in regards to its lack of any real catharsis or release. Here are a few highlights.

On Kuvira:

Kuvira herself is not actually the villain I envisioned for Korra to have her final battle against. Right before Kuvira and Korra enter the portal, Kuvira is shown with the spirit arm shooting the spirit lasers at everything and anything, having lost total common sense and control. There was no lead in to her demise, no significant downfall. Her phrase “The Great Uniter” went all to waste because her fight in Republic City lost all meaning. She had no purpose or real motive to fight in RC other than proving to herself how strong of a warrior and protector of the Earth Kingdom she was. If we parallel Kuvira to Azula, Azula had significant moments towards the end of Avatar’s Book 3 where the audience could plainly see her downfall, what her motives were, what her hamartia was, why she ultimately lost in the end. The writers didn’t even allow Kuvira to have this type of complexity in the end, which is a disservice to how cool she was from the concept art to the beginnings of Book 4. When she is in the spirit portal with Korra, it takes her the span of a 2-minute conversation for her to realize that she was wrong. Outside the portal, her army men simply accept the fact that their leader says “I’m done! Avatar won!” Kuvira ultimately just feels super underdeveloped.

On the lost friendship of Team Avatar:

And this is what really gets me. The writers totally pushed aside Team Avatar and their original friendship. Mako and Bolin cared so much about each other and about Korra and Asami, and we barely got a feel for that towards the end. There’s no acknowledgement of their past adventures and journeys. That Mako sacrificed himself in an act of selflessness that he learned from Korra so that he was able to protect them. That the two have comforted both Korra and Asami in the past when things started to go downhill. These friendships should undoubtedly remain true to the end. And if not in an explicit form (ie: group hug, going down to the portal together at the end), then at least more words shared. If I recall, Bolin and Korra barely spoke to each other at all during the extent of Book 4.

On Korra’s character development:

My wish for Korra was for her to become a well-rounded character (which has nothing to do with the fact that she’s a strong female character, rather that she should become a well-rounded character, regardless of gender and of the word strength, especially since strength can come in many different forms). Someone who yes, has changed as a result of her traumatic experience, but says nothing bad about who she was prior to her suffering (a person who “didn’t take shit from anyone”). Basically, those specific qualities of being bold and standing up for herself were qualities that shouldn’t need to change. Those qualities are/were Korra being Korra.

Happy New Year, Comrades!

The advent of a new year is a good enough excuse to prepare you all for what’s to be expected in this blog.

First of all, the Avatar: the Last Airbender (and possibly The Legend of Korra) re-re-re-evaluation will commence soon in light of Korra‘s completion. I’d like to make the discussions of Avatar as dialectic as it has been for this last season of Korra, which means less of me writing an isolated, thought-out review of an episode, and more discussion among myself and the residents (?) of this blog to reach a stronger conclusion. And to keep these discussions on track, I propose an overriding hypothesis: Avatar: the Last Airbender is the single most progressive American animated children’s show released to date. Whether this is true or not is what each episode review will review one by one, along with discussions of anything else relevant to the series/episode. (I’m not sure yet what the hypothesis of The Legend of Korra will be, but I can assure you it won’t be very positive. In fact, we can discuss how it isn’t a very progressive series.)

Additionally, I will finally seriously establish a separate blog completely dedicated to animation as a whole. I’m still not certain how it will be structured, so I’ll experiment with a few approaches and see what works best. One idea was to have each month dedicated to one particularly notable animated series, inviting anyone with extensive thoughts on that particular series (and even newcomers with no history with the series) to share their thoughts. (I’m not sure what the first show would be, but something tells me it will have something to do with ponies.)

Anyway, I’m still getting the logistics straight. I’ll let you all know when it’s in order and ready to go.

Before I close, though, I have a question for you all, just some food for thought: is it possible that the fandom itself ruined The Legend of Korra?