Sunday, March 25, 2012


dynamo [dahy-nuh-mo]
1. An electric generator.
2. An energetic, hardworking, forceful person.

EX. Korra is, in many ways, the polar opposite of Aang. Yes, they both have trouble taking things seriously, but if Aang is a feather that allows himself to go with the flow than Korra is a cannonball that, once it chooses its destination, it can't be stopped and someone is getting hurt. That is why the new Avatar is a dynamo. She lacks even the tiniest smidgen of discipline.

And while we're talking about The Legend of Korra, I'm going to stop being coy and get to the point of this article. To top off "The Last Airbender" week and celebrate March as my most successful blogging month, I am going to list off the Top Eleven Things I Love about the First Forty or So Minutes of The Legend of Korra.

If for some bizarre reason you haven't checked out the first two episodes of the series, you can watch it, legally, at the link below:


11. Naga the Polar Dog
Aladdin has his flying carpet and Atreyu has his luck dragon Falcor, so it is inevitable that the new Avatar must have her own fantastical steed in a mirror of Aang's flying bison Appa. So far, we've mostly seen the antics of having a giant dog, but it is also clear from the shows chase scenes that Naga is going to play an important role in Korra's misadventures.

10. Amon & The Equalists
So, if I had any criticism of the first two episodes of the series, is that they don't really establish much about the major conflict of this season (save Korra's airbending training) and only give us a little sneak peak at the obvious villain to come, Amon. In a world where benders would, logically, be in positions of power and nobility it also makes sense that the common man would have a probably with this inequality. This leads us to the Equalists, an anti-bender radical group led by an enigmatic leader, Amon. Does anyone think its a coincidence that the guy wears a white mask and his name is only a letter off from "ANON" aka "Anonymous".

9. Pro-Bending
Let me be straight with ya'll- I don't much care for extreme sports or the new brand of sports I call "idiot sports" (I'm looking at you Pro-Jousting). BUT, Pro-Bending gets by in my book as both being an amazing display of human ability, athleticism and teamwork. For a game where two teams of three benders hurl fire, water, and earth at each other to knock their opponents off a suspended platform, it is a surprisingly safe sport thanks to their safety gear and the pool of water underneath. I know how we love bloodsports, but this is more akin to a real sport. Cheers!

8. Cops & Gangsters
Did I already mention that the setting is like the first half of the 20th Century? Well, it is with the height of technology being cars, trains and radio and the setting is permeated with the pungent stench of a gangster society. In the first episode, Korra runs into some Triple Triad gangsters and, after making quick work of them, is arrested by the police as a vigilante! It'll be cool to see how organized crime and the steel-bending police force play into the story.

7. Animation: The Motion of the Commotion
The Legend of Korra takes everything that glorious about the animation of the original series's third season and tops it with a hilarious mix of subtly calculated and fast paced rubbery animation on beautiful stills that just makes everything look and feel gorgeous. the bending effects and action scenes are especially wowing, but I especially appreciate how the style has evolved from its crude pseudo-anime past into something that better blends the better parts of Western animation and anime.

6. Design: Republic City = Modern Tokyo+ 1920's Chinatown
The above pictures are from the same place, United Republic City. This appears to be the backdrop for, at the very least, the first season, and is a beautiful construction of contrasts. In the daylight and from afar, we see a shining metropolis akin to Tokyo, but go in closer and the city becomes a 1920's gangster paradise Chinatown, The design of the city is gorgeous and well-planned with signs of all the necessary infrastructure from the wires that metal bending cops to the train tracks set up all through the city. It is a fascinating environment and a great successor to the glorious Bah-Sing-Se from the first series. I can't wait to explore more of this Asian-influenced urban masterpiece.

5. Style: Steampunk Sans Unnecessary Crap
Don't get me wrong, I like steampunk. I love the goggles and the widgets and the whatsits. BUT, I am happy to see that, rather than cling to Victorian/Edwardian style and aesthetics, this series tackles steampunk-like technology in an original way that is styled as either futuristic, like in the zeppelin above, or with an Asian influence, like the green car above with it's terraced roof. I am excited to see how a series that has embraced the beginnings of an industrial age. Will we see what mechanisms allows these wondrous machines to exist? What is the cost of Republic City?

4. Music: That Asian Swing
One of the major things that stood out to me in the first viewing of the first episode was the score; using a tangy mix of Asian instrumentals and jazzy swing music helps to create an ambiance that is both timeless and versatile. Music lovers out there have gotta appreciate the sound of this newcomer to the animated scene.

3. Tenzen: Dad of the Year
None of the new characters are really frustrating...which is kind of awesome. The only character from the original series that makes a cameo is Katara and she does what Katara always does...GIVES TERRIBLE ADVICE THAT ONLY WORKS OUT IN THE END BECAUSE ONE OF HER FAMILY MEMBERS FIXES IT! Tenzen is an air-bending master and Aang's son. Just being the spawn of Kataang has got to be difficult, but Tenzen seems to be a core of sanity in his family. There is a bit of hot air in his demeanor, but with moments like when he gets mad about Korra using his mother in argument and his cheer for Korra at the pro-bending ring were great ways to show he really is a fun guy under a stuffy demeanor. That and he is a great Dad. Great Dads rock.

2. Korra: Deal With It
Maybe I was a tad worried about Korra being a Katara clone but, from the moment we meet her as a bending toddler, it became evident that she is a new kind of character to the show. She is older than just about any of the main cast of Team Avatar from the original show. Her age and her attitude befit a more modern world. Aang and his friends lived in a war and had to deal with it in their own unique way. Good was good and evil was evil. In Korra's world...things aren't going to be so interesting and solutions aren't going to be obvious. She is a strong female character and I can't wait to see where her story takes her. She's the Avatar, deal with it.

1. Tone: Urban Opera
The first series was a space opera minus space; an epic quest that was a combination of ideas that grabbed as far to the East as it could and screened it through a modern Campbell-Lucas infused filter to create some kind of magnificent Carbonated Green Tea with a Flaming Lichee Nut on the side- in short a unique beverage for the consumer of fantasy. As for my first impressions of The Legend of Korra, the tone they're setting beckons back to the first series, but seems to be in transition. Rather than resetting the series and starting anew with a naive tone like the first season of The Last Airbender, the series seems to pick up on the tone that the first series ended and seems to be evolving with a modern twists.

*strokes beard like a boss*

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