Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Legend of Korra Season 1 Reflections Part 1

Following up any show that has established itself over numerous years, with well rounded and loved characters can be a difficult thing; just ask George Lucas. So when Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko announced that they were to reenter the Avatar universe anew, one would be forgiven for raised eyebrows and a little worry. But when April 14th, 2012 rolled around, long time fans were not disappointed. Below I’m going to focus on some of the main characters who populated this world, and how well I felt I got to know them.

This young avatar was unlike any other we had ever seen. Since a child she knew who she was, proudly bouncing around her home bending three of the four elements at the tender age of four with confidence and pride. She got in our face, and made sure that we knew she was a whole different ball game to what we had become comfortable with, and that was very refreshing. Even after leaving her home, there was a great level of confidence in herself, despite the fact that she was venturing into a world of unknown with little to no experience all alone. 

When Korra did meet road blocks, like Amon, and was taken down a peg or two, she had enough courage and strength to look within and face her fears. And when backed into a corner, she had enough fortitude that she was able to break through and come out on top. She followed her gut, rarely backed down, but wasn’t overly reckless. She was a smart thinker, quick witted, and willing to trust and depend on those around her. Sure she made mistakes, but she’s young, so that’s just par for the course. And lest I forget, yes, she was a sexy character, but that was not her defining trait. 

Yakone was dead at the beginning of this series, but his shadow loomed all over it. He was maniacal, manipulative, unrelenting, and an all out powerful bender. His desperation for control was so all consuming it not only cost him his power, but ended up costing his children their lives. He was a force truly evil.

Noatak along with his younger brother Tarrlok were sympathetic characters. Both were powerful benders, but never had the freedom to be anything other than Yakone’s pawns, and the choices they made took them on vastly different paths. Tarrlok’s charming and greasy exterior was built so that he could mask his tragic past. He looked to manipulate politics, grabbing power when he could, and followed a route of many fascist leaders. As he became more powerful and oppressive, he became more like his father, something he realized, and regretted, far too late.

Noatak created Amon as a means of stirring revolution by preying on the down trodden and weak to create an army. The genius of Amon was that for his people he was trustworthy, resolute, and seemed to genuinely care them. Both Noatak and Tarrlok’s downfall was inevitable, and it’s mainly due to the fact that the only reason they were on their paths was due to their father. This wasn’t a life they chose, but one that was thrust onto them. Their death was dealt with the level of seriousness that was required of two characters that had such a tormented youth. It’s a shame, but they would have always lived under Yakone’s oppressive shadow.

Bolin didn’t have much to do this season. He had many funny lines and observations, and the few times when he took charge, he came out on top showing a level of confidence in self one can only get when they have lived from day to day. His one big fall from grace (his girl kissed his brother) he dealt with by not letting it destroy his character. He didn’t whine and moan, but powered through it; quite an admirable trait. In the future, I would like to see more from him, because he was adorably charming. 

Mako was initially sold to us as a Bruce Wayne type character. Brooding, cold, almost condescending at times; he came off as a prick. However, he turned out to be such a flip flopper. Sure he had talent when it came to bending, but his character had no back bone. When Korra was captured, his true feelings for her came gushing out, but does that mean that if she wasn’t captured he would have been happy spending the rest of his life with Asasmi while leading Korra on? I didn’t really get his motives; he seemed to be like a leaf in the wind, just going with the flow. Maybe I missed something?

Part 2 to follow later

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