Cultural differences
junryou:


all together now!

After multiple viewings of Green Lantern: The Animated Series, I can say with confidence: I LOVE THESE CHARACTERS. Hal, the hero with endless determination. Kilowog, the powerhouse with a gentle heart. Aya, the A.I. with a soul. Razer, the knight with a conflicted disposition.
[You can check out the rough sketch here.]

Just when I was going to give up on animated shows being good, I marathon this in two days. Don’t be like me and ignore it solely because it’s cgi or a superhero show (the vibe is more Star Trek than anything). If you want a show with a cool world, interesting expanding plot, great themes and romance that improves the show instead of ruining it (unlikecoughKorracough), then this is the show for you.

It’s out on blu ray for a pretty good price: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00ISDJUYI/comingsoon
Yes, I’m foolishly hoping for a second season if it sells well.

junryou:

all together now!

After multiple viewings of Green Lantern: The Animated Series, I can say with confidence: I LOVE THESE CHARACTERS. Hal, the hero with endless determination. Kilowog, the powerhouse with a gentle heart. Aya, the A.I. with a soul. Razer, the knight with a conflicted disposition.

[You can check out the rough sketch here.]

Just when I was going to give up on animated shows being good, I marathon this in two days. Don’t be like me and ignore it solely because it’s cgi or a superhero show (the vibe is more Star Trek than anything). If you want a show with a cool world, interesting expanding plot, great themes and romance that improves the show instead of ruining it (unlikecoughKorracough), then this is the show for you.

It’s out on blu ray for a pretty good price: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00ISDJUYI/comingsoon

Yes, I’m foolishly hoping for a second season if it sells well.

So the new season of Korra is pretty much the first season all over again.

We have the two kinds of people who lived in harmony being turned against each other by some power hungry villain.

We have a businessman helping out but turning out to be evil and we have Korr…I mean Mako finding out about this and telling Mak…I mean Asami and her not believing him. Seriously, why doesn’t a single person trust anyone else? Even Beifong brushed Mako off when he brought evidence, without any reason to do so.

We have surprise kisses and the stupid hookups without the third wheel knowing (terrible, terrible romance) and we have Bolin continue to be useless and constantly humiliated.

birdbrainblue:

also god I don’t really want to rag on Book 2 stuff too much before I start watching it but um

WHAT IS THIS SHIT ABOUT AANG AND KATARA PLAYING FAVORITES WITH THEIR KIDS.

are you seriously honest-to-god telling me that there’s going to be a plotline all about Kya and Bumi not having spent as…

Wow, this is the kind of criticism that prevents character depth in cartoons, because people can’t deal with characters acting like real people instead of idealized Jesus clones. This is one of few ideas in the new season that are actually good and you’re complaining because it doesn’t fulfill your fantasy of Aang and Katara being absolutely perfect post-original series?

Aang lost his whole tribe. How could he not be excited about the possibility of one of his kids carrying on his tribe’s legacy and, in light of that, show favoritism? Yes, it might not the perfect thing to do, but guess what? Aang isn’t perfect. Katara isn’t perfect. People do stuff that’s not right without even knowing they’re doing it.

And by the way, showing favoritism does not mean you hate the rest of your kids.You are acting like Aang was some abusive drunkard who traumatized his kids. His behavior has nothing to do with anything Aang and Katara learned in ATLA because a) being a parent of 3 is pretty damn different from anything they dealt with then and b) he was a little kid and kids grow up and change.

There is not a single person in this world who is perfect. Take for example Hayao Miyazaki, his son said his father is great as a filmmaker, but terrible as a father. You’d expect a guy making happy movies with happy kids to know something about raising them. Look at plenty of great people in our history, learn about their life and you’ll find they were much less idealized in real life than they are in your head. That’s what I love about Aang not being the perfect parent. Because it shows that even after the original series and despite being a great person, he still made mistakes.

Not really a question, just wanted to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your essays on Korra. So many plotholes, some of which I have overlooked completely! You should be a co-writer for the show :)

Thank you very much! I actually though about deleting those because I thought folks were only interested in the art so I’m glad someone enjoyed them :)

It was a great learning experience writing all that, because it forced me to consider exactly what I expected from the show and why, as well as why it didn’t live up to its potential.

I actually can’t write to save my life haha! I’d like to but writing seems too hard for me. But if I could give some advice to the writers, I’d jump at the opportunity. Heck, I’d even write a fanfiction telling the story properly and filling in all the plot holes. That’d be awesome.

Just realized what bothered me about Korra…

Aside from the romance.

There was a huge lack of cohesion. A lot of important things in the show weren’t allowed to grow beyond their one episode. Sure, the plot was moving forward fast, but the characters and themes were constantly stagnating.

Example from the first episode, we see Korra learn that the big city isn’t that great and perfect. We see her talk with a hobo, deal with the triads and the police. We expect this to be a theme, a theme of class conflict, of the poorer side of the golden coin, but nothing was done with it. The scene was only used to introduce characters. Same with Amon’s revolution. We expected a gray moral conflict, especially since Amon was going after bad benders at first and Korra IS privileged. But this conflict is never acknowledged and the whole thing was just a way of introducing a villain.

Another example is Tenzin’s dislike of pro-bending, a small thing, but a great way to show Tenzin’s conservative side, which we expected to clash with Korra’s. And it did. For just that episode. There wasn’t really any tension between them after that. This is a very short series and its every scene is supposed to be relevant, but it’s not. There’s a ton of other examples like that, an issue is hinted at, but not expanded upon or connected to a previous one.

For example, the brothers’ past got mentioned once and that was it. Why couldn’t they have connected it to the equalist movement, drawing parallels and showing that both groups can both be hurt by evil people? They did that brilliantly in Avatar with Aang and Zuko. Or Korra’s fear, why couldn’t they connect that with some other fears and insecurities she feels? Yes, she’s afraid of Amon, but her fear comes from a different source and it shows how important bending is to her identity. But this is never explored and her fear seems like a fear any other person has of a threatening, unreachable individual.

So yeah, cohesion. Definitively hoping there’ll be more of it next season. I still love Korra and see a lot of potential in it.

I read your racism post, and I agree. And Aang was chinese white/yellow so Bumi COULD be "white" because his father was. and I agree with you. people get so pissed as soon as you put a person of color, even though almost all waterbenders are NOT white, and almost all the airbenders were oriental. people just WANT to complain. I'm glad you called them out.
Anonymous

It’s ridiculous how people can even think of racism in a show like Avatar. I think that says more about them than the show.

You can use all kinds of ethnicities and no-one will bat an eye-leash, but use a black person and suddenly “You betta be careful, you might be a racist!”. It’s where activism goes from improving society to just plain bitching and self-righteousness. Someone always has to pull the racism card, regardless of how race in the work is actually handled.

Racism

So apparently people are complaining about characters being “whitewashed”?

Jesus Christ, people…

First off, we’ve already seen Bumi in the show and he’s definitively not white. They probably made the skin lighter in the concept art so that the details would be more noticeable. Don’t get me wrong, I will be disappointed if Bumi turns out white, but that will be more out of continuity failure than “OMG racism how dare they!!”.

Second, are we forgetting the main freakin’ character is dark skinned? It seems like the second people see the slightest chance of screaming “Racism!” they completely forget anything else and lose their ability to draw logical conclusions. Gee guys, I’m sure the creators of the show with two dark-skinned main characters and another show with a dark-skinned protagonist are secretly racists. I mean, it’s not like they’d white-wash the main character if they couldn’t handle dark skin, right?

Which brings me to the third point; it’s really no wonder there’s a lack of black main characters in the media, since the moment you put them in you’re basically putting yourself under a giant magnifying glass, having to think of pleasing all the activists instead of just telling a good story. Black characters can’t be treated as normal characters, but always as tools for activism. Just look at Princess and the frog, people were desperately trying to see racism in it even before the movie came out. Disney has lots of characters of different races, but hey, they weren’t black so that doesn’t count.

Personally, I didn’t even notice there are characters of different races while watching Korra. My subconsciousness registered it, but me, nope, didn’t care. Not until I saw people drawing all the attention they can to it, forcibly trying to make all the creative decisions lead to racism.

YEEESSS!

Korra’s parents will have a major role in season 2! Woohoo!

I feel kinda dumb for caring so much about characters with maybe half a minute of screentime, but they were just adorable and I guess I’m happy to see a hero’s parents have a bigger role for once. I mean, most parents in fiction are either dead, divorced, missing, away or otherwise unavailable. Sometimes they turn out to be another superhero or a secret member of some organization or some other shocking reveal, but you rarely get parents who are normal people but also aware of and supportive of their child’s duty to the world.

I think the reason I’m interested in those two is because I find it fun to see how having the most powerful person in the world would reflect on the pair. Imagine Senna, a mere country girl who might have dreamed of adventures but later just accepted her simple, not-special life and suddenly she has to deal with raising the avatar. Or Tonraq trying to understand he had to let Korra go for the sake of greater good, despite his protective instincts (come on, a guy that well built has to be a little protective).

Which is probably why I’ll be a little disappointed when we don’t get any development with them, but that’s ok since this isn’t a story about them. I would read a fanfic though

Well, I think Bryke has shown us that while they’re not good at writing romance (at least in Korra, I liked it in Avatar with much less useless focus), they’re great at writing family relations. This is a rare show where I feel everyone has an equal chance to be a badass, regardless of whether they’re a kid or an old person. Actually, it’s a rare animated show which I feel doesn’t discriminate based on age. There are kids, there are young adults, babies, middle aged people and GASP there are actually romances between older people that aren’t treated with total disgust and older people who aren’t made fun of for being old. Not even once!

Also, Bumi looks like he’ll be tons of fun.

OMAGOSH you guys! Korra’s jacket has a secret ability! It can levitate! Look, no hook! It’s hanging on nothing!
It all makes sense now. Korra’s flying jacket represents her airbending. The watertribe jacket represented her original waterbender status, but now the jacket became an airbender. Her taking the jacket on her way out symbolizes her sad acceptance of her airbender-only status. She embraced airbending so the flying jacket embraced her.
IT’S SYMBOLISM!

OMAGOSH you guys! Korra’s jacket has a secret ability! It can levitate! Look, no hook! It’s hanging on nothing!

It all makes sense now. Korra’s flying jacket represents her airbending. The watertribe jacket represented her original waterbender status, but now the jacket became an airbender. Her taking the jacket on her way out symbolizes her sad acceptance of her airbender-only status. She embraced airbending so the flying jacket embraced her.

IT’S SYMBOLISM!

Why Korra needs her bending

If there’s anything I hate more than bad endings, it’s even worse fan ideas about what should’ve happened instead. Apparently, some people were hoping that Korra would not get her bending back and would either have to relearn the elements or accept that she’s not the avatar and learn humility. I don’t like the finale nor the bending refund, but this stupid development frustrates me even more.

First, I’ll focus on the idea that she should’ve learned the elements again, one that doesn’t fit at all into the story because Amon takes bending away forever, which was pretty much the reason the idea was terrifying to benders. He doesn’t restart your skills, he destroys any hope you’d have of learning them again. But I digress.

Why, pray tell, would she need to learn the elements AGAIN? She has spent all her life learning and being brilliant at bending. What would she gain by doing it all over again, except amusing the audience who can’t accept that the protagonist did cool stuff off screen?

That’s the biggest reason why the idea of her learning the elements again is utterly idiotic: she has nothing to gain by re-learning what she’s already learned and excels at. She has already earned her bending. Just because she didn’t earn it on screen doesn’t mean anything, the experience has obviously shaped her as a person and an avatar. She has to learn what she didn’t earn: the spiritual side of bending and complete herself as a person. From the start they established this as her goal, but I guess the audience can’t handle character growth that isn’t flashy and full of action. Her losing her bending would switch the focus from learning just the spiritual side to learning the physical side again, which she already KNOWS. This is like showing a painting, your life’s work, to someone who then shreds it to pieces because they didn’t watch you paint it. Would you be happy to go back to painting the same picture, especially if you still have to start painting another, even harder picture? Do you think Korra would? Do you think the season would end with an excited: “Alright! Let’s go learn the elements, ALL OVER AGAIN!”

But from a storytelling pov, here’s why the idea fails so hard: Establish the goal of learning the spiritual side of bending -> Conclude the plot with her losing bending. Does this look like a satisfying conclusion to you or a step back from where she was at the beginning?

Oh, also the fact that she did nothing to warrant losing bending. Losing something can be a great catalyst but this loss would not resolve any emotional struggle she’s been having, nor make her think differently. Sure, she would have to fight like an airbender from now on, but that’s not real character development, it’s a fictional mental set you’re expected to adapt with the element, rather than a way of learning through experience and consequences (which is what character development is about). Korra would have no choice but to start thinking like an airbender, rather than willingly make herself learn to adapt it to her existing personality. When Aang had to learn earthbending, he had to make himself stop running and stand his ground. His character development came from when he overcame this on his own, not from him learning earthbending (which is just part of the plot).

Get rid of your nostalgia and learn to see this series for what it is: A story about an already knowledgeable avatar with different issues to face, NOT a kid’s journey to learn the elements. We’ve already seen Aang learn the elements. Why do you want to focus so much on that again when we could focus on a new story, especially with only 14 episodes?

As for losing bending forever, what would she learn, what kind of character development would she have if she lost three elements she’s been learning to bend her whole life and which she loves bending and was left with one element that she doesn’t like at all? She knows airbending now and we’ve already seen her struggle with it. Why would we want to conclude this struggle by destroying all her skills and leaving her with only one that she finally got (meaning that it offers no further conflict or struggle to understand. Not that we need that, because the creators already addressed this)? I guess that would be a reward for finally unlocking airbending. It’d be too easy for her to be so powerful, let’s just take all the previous elements away so that the fights would be easier to write. Why would you even want this for a character who’s shown nothing but passion towards bending and respect towards non-benders?

As for people saying Korra is arrogant, no, she isn’t. She’s a little used to attention and she’s very confident, but it’s not like she doesn’t have a reason to be. It’s a normal, realistic dose of arrogance when you are the best (she’s the freakin’ avatar, a child prodigy). She gets frustrated when she’s not good at something, and who doesn’t, but she’s willing to learn. She studied probending and she studies airbending. Bad arrogance is when you make others feel bad by setting yourself above them or when you far overrate your abilities. Besides, „arrogance“ is only a small part of her personality and it’s never been shown as something problematic that had to be solved dramatically.

„But she would have to learn that she’s still worth something even without her bending!“ First of all, that would be really, REALLY cheesy. Second, avatar is a huge title and its strength comes from the unity of four elements, not to mention that it’s that unity which makes the avatar valuable across all four nations. Why would we ignore this huge important role so we could focus on her accepting herself as a nonbender/airbender, when that’s not what she is nor what her life is about. („lol see audience? You’re still special even if you don’t have superpowers! Don’t feel bad, we apologize for making characters more awesome than you!“) She IS the avatar! That’s part of her identity, it’s why we follow her rather than some random bender. We watch a movie about a boxer because that’s their life. We watch a movie about an intellectual because that’s their life. Why is it so bad to devote your life to something you love? Because the audience can’t relate to it? I don’t want to see Korra accept herself as a lesser person than she could be. I want her to strive to be the best at what she’s good at and use that for the good of society.

Maybe I should break your 9 fingers so you could learn to appreciate your pinky.