Please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com for information on guest blogs and interviews. Interviews for January include: (1/5) Jennifer J. Chow, (1/12) Amy Pershing, (1/19) Heather Weidner, (1/26) Marilyn Levinson.

Friday, November 26, 2021

The Legend of Korra by Bryan Konietzo and Michael Dante Di Mortino: A Review by Warren Bull

 

The Legend of Korra by Bryan Konietzo and Michael Dante Di Mortino: A Review by Warren Bull

 

This Nickelodeon cartoon series is a follow up to The Last Airbender by the same authors as well as Aaron Ehasz

 

 

17-year-old Korra is the reincarnation of the Avatar, Aang, who died seventy years earlier. She is the only person who has the capacity to control all the four elements — earth, wind, fire and water.  Her role in the world is to keep things “in balance.” She has mastered “bending” of earth, fire, and water. However, she is frustrated in her efforts to learn the most difficult,  air bending. Rebellious and brave she runs away from home to study with Aang’s son, Tenzin in Republic City, but finds the city threatened by physical and spiritual evil forces.

 

Apparently, the authors expect watchers to know the entire saga of the last Avatar because they offer little explanation of the current situation and the relationships between the characters.

 

Adolescent humor crops up constantly. Adults are well-meaning dolts who have some redeeming qualities, but they lack the insight of children. Okay, I have no trouble with that. Farting is assumed to be hilarious.

 

I was struck by the authors’ concept of “harmony” in the work. There are two classes of people. Some are benders who have the power to control not only the four elements but also lightning, metal and blood. There is a dangerous rebellion brewing among ordinary people who are exploited by benders and sometimes killed by them. Many benders are criminals who extort their victims. Other benders are police officials who imprison people on whims, destroy others’ property, and show no concern for those who lack the power of bending. They city is governed by a council of five who, apparently ,decide every question. Nobody reviews what the council  decides.

 

The rebels call themselves “Equalists.” They endorse what is described as the radical, dangerous idea that all people should be treated as equals. Although Korra recognizes the abuse going on and has some sympathy for the common people she works to defeat the rebels and to return to “peace and harmony” by supporting the absolute tyranny of the ruling benders.

 

Still, for a cartoon, there was an unusual depth in terms of exploring family relationships. The artwork was truly exceptional. It held my interest.  The series won numerous animation awards. I believe people who do not ordinarily watch animation would find the first season of interest.  By the way actress Eva Marie Saint voiced one of the characters.

 


 This Nickelodeon cartoon series is a follow up to The Last Airbender by the same authors as well as Aaron Ehasz

 

Season Two: Spirits

 

While I enjoyed season one, I found the second season more engrossing. The art work, a definite strength in the first season, was even more impressive in the follow up. The back story did a great deal to clarify the history of bending. It explored balance, i.e., the conflict between light and darkness (yin and yang) with a surprising level of sophistication.

 

There was more obvious ethical ambiguity. The characters were age appropriate with boyfriend/girlfriend ups and downs. The idea of personal development applied to the adult characters as well as the adolescents.

 

The governance was less well defined, which made it appear less dictatorial. Keeping the audience and the type of humor in mind, I can still easily recommend watching this season.




1 comment:

KM Rockwood said...

Thanks for pointing this out, Warren. I would never have thought of checking it out, but maybe now I will.