Legend of Korra, season 1

So on the recommendation of a friend, I went ahead and caught up on the first season of the sequel to Avatar. I haven’t seen Avatar in a while, so I’m not going to be comparing the show to its predecessor, probably unlike many of my internet peers. This show’s going to stand on it’s own, for the purposes of my review, with the caveat that I’m not completely new to the world building.

For those who don’t know, Avatar: The Last Airbender is a very well regarded American fantasy cartoon, that was inspired a bit by anime. Legend of Korra happens something like two generations down the line. Korra is an Avatar, the only one alive who can master four forms of bending (which is the power that exists in this world, ala air bending, water bending, fire bending, etc.). She was found young, and raised fairly sheltered while she learned three of her four bending talents. In the first episode, she ends up moving to a city, which is a very new environment for her, and gets embroiled in the politics there.

This is an enjoyable show. I have criticisms, but they aren’t more severe than my criticisms for Once Upon a Time, and I still love that show. Great fantasy world, though I was thrown off by the cars for a moment.

One of the things I really liked about this was how it uses characters of all ages in the story. Children are often written as a little irritating when they aren’t the focus, but in this show, they’re absolutely hilarious. I can’t explain it, it has to be experienced. Seriously, I think they’re rivaled only by Bolin, who’s the most engaging of the main cast, due to his propensity to say literally anything.

Speaking of Bolin, that leads us into the teenage portion of the cast, Korra’s group of friends. Korra and Mako are more standard but solid. The fourth main member Asami, was introduced in a way that I hated, but she grew on me with every episode. She has an interesting arc, and deals with her problems with a surprising amount of maturity. She’s also the only non-bender in the group, but in no way less capable than her super powered friends–and this is actually a theme of the season, that powers don’t necessarily trump skill.

The adults actually get to do quite a bit, considering that the main character’s a teenage girl (averting the Adults are Useless trope), and get to show off their personalities while they’re at it. It’s especially fun to see Tenzin’s very tranquil disposition play against the boisterousness of the other characters, especially his children–he seems so beleaguered. The other main adult, Lin, is abrasive but dedicated. I just liked most of the characters in this.

Also the polar bear dog and the ferret. So adorable.

As for criticisms, the romantic subplot came out of nowhere, and could have used more development to be believable. And I couldn’t believe the incompetence of some of the political decisions made by the councilors. No Tenzin, acquiescing to the demands of the guy who’s trying to start a revolution against you is not a good idea.

Still, it was a lot of fun to watch this, especially with the lack of good genre shows on TV right now. The second half of the first season should be coming out sometime this year, and there’s a second season to come.

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