Just five minutes in gives me more beleaguered Tenzin, and there isn’t a lot I love more than beleaguered Tenzin–this is the mentor character for our protagonist, and he tries to be perpetually calm, but has to deal with a lot of crazy. He puts on a brave, if exasperated, face, and I love him. His eccentric older brother, who only made a cameo last season, looks like he’s going to be around to frustrate Tenzin even more. It’s fantastic.
That said, while Tenzin putting up with the shenanigans of other characters is vastly entertaining, sad Tenzin makes me sad too.
Korra is still a little impulsive and abrasive, but she isn’t just being difficult–she’s acting the way she is with the intent to fulfill her role as the Avatar. And she isn’t completely wrong, just like she isn’t completely right–and the same applies for the people she’s agreeing/disagreeing with. This is a really nice set up, since Korra has to choose between who she’s siding with and willing to learn from, but they’re all wrong in at least some aspect. There is no clear choice. I really love the ambiguity.
And to make it harder, there’s the personal element–some of the people she’s disagreeing with are important to her, even though she has a tendency to pick fights them.
Korra’s first instinct is still to apply force, but she’s also learning to try other methods quicker, when force fails. She also isn’t afraid to apologize when she realizes she was in the wrong, which goes a long way to earning my respect. I think I definitely like her more as a character this season than I did the first one–personal preference, since I tend to relate less to aggressive people, and Korra is certainly that.
She’s kinda like the opposite of Katara, in a way–Katara was mostly a caring person, with an aggressive side that would sometimes come out to play. Korra is a mostly aggressive person, whose caring side would sometimes come out.
Speaking of Katara, I neglected to talk about her and Aang in my Avatar post, since they’re harder to write about. So I’ll remedy that here.
So, Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Aang was kind of refreshing as a hero, in that he’s nonconfrontational. He can be confrontational in certain circumstances, but it’s not his instinct. He doesn’t shirk his responsibility, and he certainly feels the weight of it. But he does like to try to take his mind off of it–which makes sense, given how much of a wreak he becomes when he can’t take his mind off of it. He does like to evade his problems instead of dealing with them, and the series continually forces him to deal with them, no matter how much he tries to throw them off.
It’s really interesting to watch him try to do the things he isn’t a natural at, because being the Avatar demands that he learn radically different ways of thinking and acting. He can’t just go with where his talent and personality lies. And he is a strong person, in case I wasn’t giving that impression. He’s a kid who has way too much responsibility hanging over him, but he does what he has to do. He doesn’t hide from that. He just has to evolve as a person throughout the series, and find a way to be who he has to be without compromising himself. In a way, his journey is the series, and that’s part of why he’s harder for me to talk about.
Katara is pretty central to the series as well. She’s generally someone who really cares about people, and is willing to stand up to them. At the same time, she’s willing to give people a chance. But if you make her angry, much like I stated above, she will really explode. She isn’t someone you want to mess with when she’s mad.
Katara is the one who sees the importance of helping people along the way, even in the face of a larger goal. She’s the sort of person who isn’t going to allow the big picture to block out the smaller things. And this is important, because the big picture is made up of all the smaller things anyway.
The characters of this show do fail quite a bit, and the choices they have to make aren’t exactly easy.
And Legend of Korra, I’m happy to say, seems to be throwing hard decisions into its characters’ paths as well.