Let's watch Avatar: The Legend of Korra
I loved your Last Airbender LB, plus the Elfen Lied one that was sadly abandoned (well, the manga's better anyway). I'm saving myself for the actual airing so I didn't read beyond the introduction, but I'll definitely be following this.
It really lost me as soon as he criticized The Southern Air Temple for the A and B plots not being related. Ever think maybe they don't have to be related to be good, and you should try expanding your horizons of what a cartoon's narrative structure can be?
@Eegah: That sounds like a question you should be asking him, on his liveblog, and not rhetorically on mine. :P For the record, I think they're thematically related.
But, to address the broader opinion here, the reason you acknowledge Korval's liveblog as 'godawful' and 'poor' is because it challenged a lot of things that you enjoyed about an entertaining work of fiction. In terms of objective analysis, the other liveblog was very clear and forthright about its intention to dissect and criticize its topic. Any of you were free to stop reading an opinion you disagreed with.
The real reason it's stuck with you, and the real reason you still remember it so well instead of just letting it drop away, is because it makes you uncomfortable; and the reason it makes you uncomfortable is because, buried under whatever things you might disagree with, there were some honest, valid points that don't share your same sense of suspension of disbelief or forgiveness for the smaller failings of any work of fiction.
Korval's writing is intelligent, direct, and ruthless, and while certainly it contains some points of subjective fact that any of us are free to agree and disagree with, this doesn't change the fact that he articulated his criticisms in a way that you cannot simply dismiss out of hand. Or, alternatively, the fact that someone as apparently intelligent as Korval is can find fault in a show you like makes you feel insecure and defensive about your tastes.
As fans of Avatar, this bothers you. Notice how two of you have taken the thinnest opportunity to disparage his work on a largely unrelated liveblog - and no, this liveblog simply being a related work isn't enough of an excuse. One comment in particular - "[...] you should try expanding your horizons [...]" - reeks of ad hominem.
If you want to argue with him, his liveblog is here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/lb_i.php?lb_id=13083663820B12460100
and I'm sure there are other ways of contacting him. You're free to answer me on this point, but I'd like to ask that my liveblog not be a vehicle for bashing Korval's opinion. He's entitled to it.
btw, i didn't like the critical review either. too much bitchy nitpicking about shit that doesn't matter
Just saw episode 1, and loved it. I actually got tears in my eyes at Katara letting Korra go just like Gran-Gran let her go, and I think she even has the same actress now. I'm also really on edge regarding whether Toph and Zuko are alive.
(edited by: Ghilz)
She's not the opposite, she's just has the same type a personality applied to different circumstances, she's just as stubborn about the Law as Toph was about doing what she wanted.
One thing that impressed me: Korra could lift Tenzin + his three kids at once. Girl's got borderline superhuman strength!
Why is this in Anime?
^ Not to mention, Korval had way too much character bashing in his liveblog, particularly towards Katara and Toph.
And the website actually has the complete Pro Bending rules, as written by Mike and Bryan.
I think the score board is arranged as such 3 lights for who takes a round and the fourth for who takes the match.
The thing about Korra's match where the other team tires out was sort of established with Mako's hat-trick earlier, a fairly straight forward rope a dope, in the third round the opposing team used a lot of energy pinning the Bros to the side and tried to knock out Korra, her dodging made it so that the Fire Ferrets could do the same thing.
Speaking of which, this "running out of energy" seems kinda new. We've seen benders do ALOT of bending in the previous series without ever really showing that kind of rapid exhaustion.
(edited by: CobraPrime)
Concerning Korra's failure at dodging vis a vis the previous episode, perhaps it is due to her being flustered due to the effort at making sure she doesn't break the rules and get another foul?
For those not wanting to sit through a 20 minutes video, here are the basics of Pro-Bending.
The ring is an elongated hexagon. The long sides of the ring are roped like a boxing ring, but the short ends of the ring are left open, and the ring is surrounded by water. The ring is divided into six parallel sections, with the two in the center being the largest, the two at the ends the smallest, and the two in-between being medium sized. Two teams of one fire, earth, and water bender each start the match in the two large center sections and try to push each other back with their bending.
Players pushed back into another zone are stuck there, and players cannot advance into a zone until all members of the opposing team have been pushed out of it. There are three rounds to the game, each lasting 3 minutes, at the end of which whichever team has gained the most ground wins the round. If both teams control and equal amount of ground, the team with the most players in the front zone wins. However, there is an instant-win condition for the entire match if a team can successfully push the entire opposing team out of the ring in the same round, which is why a third round is played even if one team has won both the first and second rounds. Players cannot reenter the ring if knocked out until the next round begins, and can only be knocked out of the back of the ring, not over the sides.
As for bending materials, the lines dividing the zones are actually metal grates covering a water supply, and there are dispensers for heavy clay disks set into the floor (fire benders, of course, don't need materials provided). Players are only allowed to use the materials in their own zone, so no attacking the other team with the water or disks from behind them, and bending the water in the pool surrounding the ring is illegal.
All in all, it's actually quite reminiscent of a war. Both armies start out at their shared border and try to gain as much of the other side's territory as possible before the end of each battle, and cannot conquer or reclaim territory until the opposition has been completely driven out. The winner is determined by who has gained the most territory throughout the three battles, but total victory can be achieved instantly regardless of the results of any previous battles if you completely wipe out the opposing army in one battle.
^^Yet ironically the "Old Style" probending that they used would get you diidle sqwaut in teh rings, as seen by Korra wghen practing.
The Lieutenant is voiced by Lance Henrikson, who we really haven't heard much of in a while. Great to see he's still getting work.
^ Nah, I when he mentioned a mugging when he was 8th, I immediately thought of Batman.
Another thing to keep in mind is the conditions both shows were made under. The Last Airbender was a show the likes of which had never been seen before in America, and Mike and Bryan had to compromise their vision a bit to get it made, especially in its first season before they had a solid fanbase. So you'd get stories that were mostly episodic, meaning Aang had to win so the show wouldn't be a complete downer. Here, they've already proven that the fans will stay with them, so right from the start they have free rein to make a tighter story arc, building up to Korra's ultimate victory.
@Gallowglass, Emperordaein: Yeah, but we're talking as if Aang's own upbringing wasn't also incredibly sheltered; he grew up in a monastery, isolated away with a bunch of other Airbenders, and his main mentor figure liked to play pranks. Granted, it might have been a bit less
controlled than Korra's upbringing, but I still think they're comparable.
@Emperordaein, Grand Prince Paul II
: See, the Airbending thing is something I can buy as a factor. I will acknowledge that yeah, people weren't very well prepared for it, and that it ended up being useful for the hordes of mooks that Aang ended up fighting. It also made him very, very good at dodging things. That said, the show never focused in on that aspect; Zuko never out-and-out said, "I need to learn how to deal with Airbending so I can capture the Avatar."
@Eegah: That's a really good point, and I don't think anyone is going to argue that the first season was the best the show had to offer. That it was made under those constraints makes a lot of sense, both in terms of the writing and the structure. Even so, I feel like the show could be a bit nicer to Korra.
@Grand Prince Paul II
, Gallowglass: I apply the Bechdel Test
on an episodic basis, not on a show-wide one. The fact that it was passed once in episode 1 (Korra and Lin's conversation included a mention of Aang, if we're going to be really
pedantic) doesn't give the rest of the show a free pass, especially given how Avatar, from season two onward, did an excellent job with this.
: Stop shoving words in my mouth and have a seat.
I like Korra. There's nothing wrong with Korra. Korra is fine. I like that she has actual flaws. It makes her interesting. I like that the show makes us question her and I like her naivete. This is a good thing. She is not a Replacement Scrappy
. Mostly, I am thankful that they did not try to make her into Aang.
Listen, buddy. I don't want her to be a Boring Invincible Hero
. I just feel like we're four episodes in and the show has been taking great pains to make her look comparatively weak. We've been shown that she can be badass, but right now she's misapplying it. I understand what the show is going for here. I realize that her initial failure is going to contrast her eventual victory over Amon.
Right now, though, we've been handed the premise that she's been trained for combat since she was four. That she can effortlessly beat several benders at once. Yet, she keeps losing to chi-blockers. Are we meant to understand that chi-blocking is far superior to bending? Or that all chi-blockers have been relentlessly trained from a young age? Because if they can deal with the Avatar this easily, why haven't they seized power yet?
It's one thing to say that Korra hasn't been trained to deal with them - fuck you, White Lotus - but it's another thing to say that all other benders have an equal amount of trouble.
As for this love triangle, how is that not
going to factor in heavily? Asami is the whole reason the Fire Ferrets can compete. Korra's jealousy is obvious. Korra and Asami, like you said, were not allowed to interact before now; once they do, that rivalry and jealousy is going to be between them.
We aren't allowed to see how they bounce off each other as individuals, as with Katara and Toph, or Azula, Mai, and Ty Lee - they're going to be romantic rivals, unless the show throws us for a loop. I'm open to that - if it happens, I will gladly eat crow. But right now, everything that happens between Korra and Asami will be informed by that mutual liking for Mako.
I'm not saying she shouldn't pursue Mako. I'm not saying Asami shouldn't pursue Mako either. If that's what you're getting out of what I just said, then you're missing the point. I'm just taking issue with the fact that our two central male characters - Mako and Bolin - were allowed to have an existing relationship without fighting over a woman. In the original series, we had multiple groups of women who got along just fine without needing to fight over boys. Seeing it here feels like a step backward.
are not only subjective, but utterly unintentional
. It's not as if I'm saying Mike and Bryan are racist or sexist. If they were, I highly doubt they would have made a character like Korra their protagonist - a badass, passionate girl who likes to fight and win? Hell, sign me
up. It's just that the issues I've described above do create some unintentional impressions, which I've observed, and which have been pointed out to me by other people I know.
It's just that when you're discussing Korra, a show which has chosen to place classism and discrimination at its core, you need to watch how it deals with other stuff, too. I'm not calling it a bad show. Quite the contrary, I think it has the right idea entirely. These are just two minor quibbles that I have as things stand now
, with minimal speculation on what's going to happen next.
Okay? Lighten up. This is just one liveblog. I didn't piss in your cereal, man.
But Korra beat the shit out of that camp grounds. I think the resaon why you are finding Korra weaker in comparison to Aang was because ATLA had worse writing.
For its first season, definitely; and both Eegah and I acknowledged this as an issue.
Huh, my two biggest issues with the episode didn't come up at all yet: the immediate resolution of the "we're broke" plot point from last episode, and the lack of Bolin.
I'm not actually unhappy with how
the money issue was resolved, even if the team didn't actually have to do anything to earn it. It introduces two new characters and establishes a couple potential future conflicts. What bugs me is just that the point was resolved so soon: it was introduced at the start of episode 3, and now it's resolved. That might have been okay if episode 3 had focused on the money problem, but it was only a setup for the finding Bolin plot.
I think this would have been a stronger episode if they had held off on the introduction of Asami and Mr. Sato until next episode, and had Mako's B plot focus on him and Bolin trying to scrape together the dough on their own. Going back and forth between Korra's struggles with her fear and Mako living it up and up somewhat estranges the two from each other, and leaves Bolin totally out of the loop. It's been three episodes now since his introduction, and aside from the first, he's barely had any screen time. Bolin's not my favorite character by any means, but I'd hate to see him get totally sidelined. It's probably too soon to be really concerned about this, but seeing as the previous episode was all about him being missing and character development for Korra and Mako, it would have been nice to see him reassert his presence in this episode.
On the same note, I think it's too early to worry much about Korra and Asami's relationship being entirely dictated by their mutual attraction to Mako. After all, we've only seen them in one scene together. I see where you're coming from, but I think it's premature at this point.
As for the deal with Korra being less successful so far than Aang... well, I'm just letting that slide without even a thought because it's a much better story. I really didn't like Aang in the first season, and one reason for that was that he always won effortlessly (the other being that he was rather obnoxious). He didn't really start growing on me until later, and even then, he was never my favorite (that distinction going to Sokka followed by Zuko). It's just better storytelling this way, regardless of the possible discontinuity or logic problems. Is Rule of Character Development a trope?
On a final note, I love
the clothing designs at that party.
@Wryte: Now that you bring it up, that was
a bit clumsily handled; I think the main reason they've rushed Asami and Soto in is because they don't have as many episodes to stretch things out in. We've got twelve episodes, each only half an hour long. With just six hours, some amount of cramming is going to happen. We can't afford to space things out; it's the opposite problem from the first series, where there were lots of one-shot episodes and filler bits.
This kind of time constraint is a double-edged sword, since while it does give us a tauter, more interesting story, we don't have as much time for the kind of worldbuilding that the original series gave us. It also means that non-vital conflicts need to be resolved fairly quickly, lest they overtake the main plot.
That said? I actually like Bolin a lot and I am sad that we aren't getting more of him! I like how he plays the field while still respecting women, and I like how he isn't misogynistic in the least. His appetite and his silliness are both incredibly endearing.
If Rule of Character Development isn't a trope, it should be, because I think it applies here. I'm willing to leave comparisons to the original show out of the equation if the show tells a good enough story, which, let's face it - it is so far.
The clothing was pretty good too. And the party gave us more Lin, so I am not
complaining about that scene in the least. She's an awesome woman. I want more of her, too.
@Robbie Rotten: Serious or not, the important thing is that you can afford to be flippant about it!
we have to stop using Korv to be the catch all for every bad things aid about the show. 9jesus the guy's like a celebrity0 I was refeerring to the "mmokism" in the last show that let barley trained kids take down effin soldeirs on a weekly basis. by having highly trained older benders deal with rebels who actually WIN FIGHTS it makes teh threat a lot more intersting, ergo, the writing is better.
^ 1. I was using Korval as a joke. And 2. I can barely understand what you've just typed.
I have to say that I find this thread of conversation absolutely fascinating, especially looking back on the now-finished first season (and the fact that I frequently come up in conversation about any analysis of ATLA on this site ;) ).
It's interesting to look at the two major points of criticism here in hindsight. I'll start with the simplest, the unfortunate implications.
Yes, the implications are unquestionably there. But they are only there because the Gaang in ATLA were frequently allowed to enter Godmode whenever the plot needed them to. If Manwiththe Plan
dislikes it being called "bad writing", he can feel free to substitute "issues", "problems", or whatever other less-harsh language he wants.
The fact is, the writers let the Gaang get away with a lot of stuff. Aang was almost untouchable in first season. He made both Zhao and Zuko repeatedly look like fools. In order to find a worthy for for him in second season, they had to invent the super badass Azula, as well as give her two highly-competent side-kicks. The Gaang got to take on an entire Earthkingdom army. And win. With barely a scratch on them.
Indeed, the bending level overall in LOK is much more subdued and less-powerful than ATLA. You never see the feats of awesome that the Gaang got up to. Nobody earthbends a flight of stairs or waterbends the ocean or whatever. And that is for the good.
Because if you put the Gaang up against Amon and his goons, the fight would be over. There wouldn't be a story, and that would be tragic.
Tension only works if the audience thinks the badguys can win. In order for the writers (who now understand this precept) to be able to inject tension into this story, they needed the heroes to be people who could actually lose a fight. The badguys needed to be able to fight back, and this needed to be established early on.
There's a reason why I spent so much of my review of first season harping on how ineffective Zuko and Zhao were as villains.
If that means that there have to be implications that the darkskinned girl is weaker than her lightskinned male counterpart... I'm willing to accept that. I got a good story out of it, so I can live with it.
Oh, and the reason Korra's bad at Pro-Bending is the same reason why a Kung Fu master would be terrible at boxing: the rules. The vast
majority of the stuff Korra knows how to do is illegal in the ring. And they show this in her very first match, where she's constantly breaking the rules. She's in an environment that she's not equipped to handle easily.
As for the issue with Asami and Korra...
First, the Bechdel Test
is an absolutely atrocious
way of assigning a "feminism quotient" to any work. You want proof of that?
Metroid: Other M passes the Bechdel Test
. Samus, Melissa and Madeline have a conversation that doesn't involve men (well, until interrupted by some, but they finished their conversation first). This has no effect on the horrible misogyny present in this work.
Next, consider just the first four episodes. How much time has been spent with Korra and Mako? About... 15-20 minutes, tops. It's not exactly convincing to accuse the show of having "a clear, immediate focus" on their relationship at this point. Yes, the very next episode is a tedious shipping episode. But from just the first four episodes, there hasn't been much focus on that.
This episode spends most of its 22 minutes on Korra's fear
and behavior. Indeed, her "rivalry" with Asami exists for about 30 seconds of screen time, and the only thing it does is add one more thing for Korra to be upset about, on top of the 3-4 others that are happening simultaneously. Again, there's no "clear, immediate focus" on it, merely one more link in a completely unrelated chain.
So I would say that it is unfair to characterize it as such at this point in the series.
Next, let's look at how Asami and Korra actually work out. Did Korra and Asami end up becoming rivals? Um, kinda. For an episode. When the two actually spent time together, Korra found that she'd misjudged Asami, and the two worked out well together. And arguably, Asami became the best drawn character outside of Korra in the show, due to her stand against her father.
So both Korra and Asami had plenty of character elements other than their "rivalry" over Mako. Indeed, both Korra and Asami have better characters
than Mako. Also, given all of ATLA, there was no reason to expect these writers to fall into into that kind of character trap. They're better than that.
Oh, the writers fell into other traps
. Just not that