Korra s2 ep1-2

The much-anticipated season 2 for Legend of Korra is finally here. Since I’ve never done episode blogging (not that I’ve done much blogging to begin with) I thought I’d try to write down my impressions after each episode.

Probably relevant information is that I was not a fan of the first season (or Book, or whatever they’re called). There was far too much romance, the romace that was there was of the worst possible kind (love triangle or square or whatever), I have next to no interest in sports so pro-bending bored me to death, I have very little interest in watching teens be annoying regardless of how realistic it is, Korra started out interestingly flawed but never learned anything so in the end I kind of hated her, Mako I never liked to begin with, Bolin and Asami whom I rather liked were treated disturbingly bad, the Equalist plot was kind of brushed under a rug when Korra “won” because of dumb luck, and the ending was horrible. And probably a lot more complaints, but this shouldn’t be about Season 1. But because of the weight from Season 1 Korra has a lot of work to do to get me to like her or the show again.

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(Why am I watching this in the first place then if I already have a feeling I won’t like it? That is out of hope that I’ll get to see more of the old Team Avatar again, plus Lin and Tenzin. Bolin and Asami wouldn’t hurt either.)

That’s enough for the introduction, let’s start with Book Two : Spirits, Chapter One : Rebel Spirit and Chapter Two : The Southern Lights!

The first two episode introduce us to the subject of the story, which is, unsurprisingly, Spirits. Six months have passed since the Amon incident, and spirits have started attacking people. Korra is bored by training airbending, and when her uncle offers to train her to deal with Spirits she jumps at the opportunity, despite her airbending teacher saying she hasn’t mastered airbending yet. In the end Korra goes with the spirit training anyway, but the uncle seems to have ulterior motives about getting Korra side with her.

Plot-wise I’m not too interested yet. The Equalist movement felt like natural development, but this whole spirit business… It feels more like “Hey, we need something for the heroes to do for this season. How about spirits randomly start attacking, we haven’t used that yet?!” I found the Equalists who actually had a point far more interesting than random spirits going URAAA URAAA RARRRRRGH, but we’ll see where this goes in the next ten episodes (hopefully).

Korra was insufferable as hell. Am I really supposed to root for this character? All she did was whine and complain. Okay, I like characters who are selfish and stupid and not perfect little Mary Sues, but this case is different. I had to sit through 12 episodes of Korra being a whiny and selfish brat and in the end I was “rewarded” with the knowledge that she didn’t learn anything at all. So while I could be hopeful that I could be getting to see a great character arc I’m just angry that she’s even worse than she was in the first episode of the first season. Whining how boring Airbending is right in front of her teacher? Constantly bitching at her boyfriend no matter what he does? Using the Avatar State to win a race against children? That only highlighted how she did nothing to earn the Avatar State… And when her father tells her about what might be the darkest part of his life, the only thing she has to say is complain how he didn’t tell her before. Thanks for te compassion! Why should the father be compelled to tell about every detail of his life whenever Korra thinks he should be ready to tell it anyway? She even has the gall to gush how she supposedly beat Amon, to me it was just her being incredibly lucky that Amon was secretly a bender and that the writers decided to forget the whole Equalist plot after that.

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The scene where Korra admits that it’s new to her to have someone trust her instead of ordering her around could be touching, but it sure isn’t, because Korra hasn’t really given much reason to trust her. In the first season she whines until she finally gets to go to Republic City to study airbending, but when she gets there she’s all “bah, boring”. This season showed her attitude towards airbending pretty well too. From her behaviour I’m inclined to believe that if she got to travel the world in order to study she’d ditch her training as soon as she saw something cool in the new location, and in the end she’d start complaining how she wants to move to the next one regardless of how her training is going.

(Also, disappointed in her new wardrobe. It’s almost the same as the one she wore in the last season! Can we get something truly new?!)

Bizarrely, I didn’t hate Mako. Now that one was surprising! When the started and we got the comparison “Look, here’s Bolin, the stupid brother! And here’s Mako, the cool brother, who does badass stuff with his motorbike!” I was ready to get on the hate train, but in the end that was the only annoying thing he did. And I guess his pre-written cheatsheet for cheesy catchphrases was funny. This, however, has only got him from “Least favourite character in the whole franchise” to “I don’t care about this character”, but I guess it is an improvement.

Bolin on the other hand (still) got horrible treatment. I can’t remember a single scene where he was anything more than a complete joke. He was always saying the dumb thing, doing something embarrassing, or otherwise humiliated. And none of it was any fun. I think I’m starting to hate Bolin.

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Asami’s story was what interested me the most out of the new Team Avatar, and of course she disappeared after two short scenes. In the last season they were trying to force this “We’re the new Team Avatar!!!” down my throat, but now she just drops out of Korra’s ~important mission~ and we don’t even get any explanation on that?

No idea what to think of Korra’s cousins yet. I guess I’m slightly interested in them, but that may be just that my standards got lower because of my general apathy towards most of the series.

While I can say I’m remotely interested in Korra’s cousins I really couldn’t care less about her father or uncle’s backstory. The father’s past was just infodumped on us in the second episode before we got to know this character at all, and it didn’t do anything for me. Why should I care? And why does Korra’s father have to be from such an influential family anyway, did I understand right that if he hadn’t been banished Korra would be a princess? Wasn’t she already special enough with the whole Avatar business without suddenly making her blue blood? Like every other manga series I read has this “surprising” reveal that the main character’s father or mother was some super important guy and I always hate it, and it’s not any better this time either.

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The only characters I can say I liked were Tenzin and family. Man I felt sorry for the guy when Korra ditched him. I’m interested in seeing more of Bumi and Kya too, their relationship with Tenzin should be fun. So far the only plot point that actually interests me is Jinora and the Spirit world (and Asami’s ordeals too I guess).

Seeing how the Avatar world has evolved is always fun, and visually the series is as good as ever. The Aang booth at the festival was a bit off though, it’d make sense for real (our) world to have something like that since the kid Aang is a popular cartoon character, but in-world… eh. Would you make a festival booth around what a former president looked like when he was a kid? The Appa prize toy was cute, but it felt kind of manipulative and fan pandering.

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I didn’t think the jokes were that fun at all. The only ones that even remotely amused me were Mako’s one-liner sheet, some lines by Korra’s female cousin, and Bumi, but everything else… Many times I felt like how this was supposed to be a joke, but I didn’t find it fun at all. Such as, everything with the guy with whom Asami was trying to make a deal, or pretty much anything with Bolin.

Episode 2 ends with Northern Water Tribe ships invading (?) the Southern Water Tribe. Frankly, I don’t care what they or Korra’s uncle are up to. Can we please get back to Tenzin?

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3 Responses to “Korra s2 ep1-2”

  1. Gry Ranfelt Says:

    Wonderful review. I agree on everything. How could they just drop the equalists?! I mean, even in ATLA it was a problem (see Zuko Alone.)
    I can’t believe how badly they’re doing character development. This comes from the people who did Sokka/Yue in THREE EPISODES and Azula breakdown in four! It just doesn’t seem like the same people were behind this show at all! It’s so fan service’y, yuck. No plot.
    In my opinion they should have gone with Korra not having her powers for the second season, except air bending, and then her having to acquire the others back. It would also force her to understand air bending.

    • Hapuriainen Says:

      Very much agreed on Korra’s bending being restored; an Avatar who can’t bend all the elements would have had so much story potential, and even a quest to restore her powers would have been better than the insta-solution we got.

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