THE LEGEND OF KORRA REVIEW: The Revelation

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Hello, there. Here’s another Korra episode review. So the Fire Ferrets need money, Bolin hangs out with the wrong crowd, gets kidnapped, Amon leads what seems to be some World War II propaganda against benders, displays the only the thing that could possibly convince the audience that he’s a threat to an almost fully realized Avatar in removing the bender’s power, Korra saves the day with Mako, and the legend of Amon grows. There was a lot to talk about in this episode so I just placed the summary here.

What I like about this episode is that we see more of Mako and Bolin’s past. We can already infer that their parents had died with Mako’s seriousness and looking after his brother. He has to be mature way earlier than he was supposed to. We can probably see this in Bolin too. His childlike nature is probably a way to cope with the reality and there was a lack of a mature influence in his life. Anyway, this gets explored further when it’s revealed that the two had run with a gang called the Triple Threat Triads (which could explain Mako and Bolin’s talent in bending as inferred by the tournament and Mako’s shooting lightning at work). It makes sense and it unfortunately happens in real life. Kids get orphaned and they have no ways of income so they turn to crime to make ends meet, and no matter how far they may try to put this behind them if they make it somewhere else, they are always linked with the gang such as what happens to Bolin.

What I find striking is that it was a firebender who mugged and killed the two’s parents. Mako is one himself and surely at least one of his parents was Fire Nation. This must’ve been impactful to him. He too has the power of the killer, but maybe his family pride and necessity is what makes him keep using it. It seems that like Germany the Fire Nation would never live down the war they caused.

Finally, I like how the pacing is winding up to a brilliant season. Amon has the power that up until now we’ve expected only the Avatar to have. He could take bending away. We’ve never expected a seemingly normal person to be such a threat but if energybending is like everything else, it’s only a matter of time for someone to figure it out. We also get a good reason why he hides behind a mask, and his story is very similar to Mako and Zuko. Could he be not so different from them? It is as Tenzin said “No bender is safe.” Stakes raised. Nine out of ten.

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THE LEGEND OF KORRA REVIEW: Welcome to Republic City; A Leaf in the Wind Part 2

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Here’s another Korra review. In today’s episode, Korra learns about air bending philosophy. Tenzin teaches her in ways that would prove to be no problem if it was Aang doing them, but Korra is not Aang and she’s very forceful which is the exact opposite of how the philosophy is supposed to work.

See, this is why Korra’s character is hard for me to like. She’s way too pushy, and it’s pretty clear that what she’s doing isn’t working. I know that’s the point, but really it doesn’t take much from even a stubborn person to realize what’s working and what’s not. To be fair Tenzin wasn’t helping much. You know the saying “Do as you preach”. Well, he doesn’t do that, and it’s hard for a person to take the advice of someone who doesn’t follow it. What Tenzin did was get impatient with Korra and maybe his kids as well if his attitude toward Milo is any indication; he forbids Korra from viewing a sporting event which he regards as mocking the art of bending, showing his close mindedness; and is insistent in using his training method even though it’s shown not to work very well for Korra. I guess it’s true that the student takes after their master. Thankfully, this was actually addressed in the episode.

We now have the introduction of two new characters: Mako and Bolin, who are in the sport Korra wants to see. I really like Bolin. He’s a likeable guy who has a little crush on Korra. He’s has this lovable childish air about him that I like. His brother on the other hand…Where do I begin? Mako is basically a Zuko knockoff without the justifiable background, many redeemable qualities and humor, adorkable quirks, and the scar. So basically he’s all attitude and mysterious. Hello, love interest! Seriously, this show is about as subtle about romance as the engine in my car. Unfortunately, the two’s team, the Fire Ferrets (Hmm…I wonder which element Mako has?) is short a player and Korra fills in. I love that there’s this call back to the fact that having the Avatar play in the game is cheating. Aang couldn’t play his air bending friends’ new game because of being one, and that made him sad. Korra tries not to let it show, but it gets revealed that she is because of guess what frustration, but luckily, she gets to play as long as she sticks to water. She gets in trouble with Tenzin, but still helps out the team get to the finals using lessons that she learned from Tenzin. She doesn’t air bend but it’s a start. She became the leaf. I like how the episode builds up to this lesson. Korra could do it, but all she needs is an environment that brings it out. Some people like Aang needs a calm and steady environment. Competitive people like Korra needs a competitive environment to thrive. This leads to Korra and Tenzin resolving their differences and becoming a better mentor and student. Oh, and Korra still gets to play. Seven out of ten.

THE LEGEND OF KORRA REVIEW:Welcome to Republic City; A Leaf in the Wind Part 1

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Well, I finally found time away from work to do another one of these. It’s no One Piece and I will be returning to that soon, but here’s a review of the first episode of Korra.

So I put off watching this, because of the character and let’s just say my opinion of her hasn’t changed much. She’s too brash, boastful, and hot-headed for my liking, but I guess that’s the point, right? Make a character that’s completely the opposite of the predecessor. So instead of being patient and mature like Aang, Korra is rash and competitive. Definitely, not a  person who you want as this world’s equivalent of the Messiah. In a way, I find this cheap but just because it’s cheap doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. With Korra having these traits, there’s room for character development. So there’s that.

So I like the prologue for this show. It does the whole water, earth, fire, and air thing, but since the cycle is at water first it’s earth, fire, air, then water. And in each sequence, if you had been paying attention, represents the avatars before Korra, namely Kyoshi, Roku, Aang as an adult, and then Korra herself. That’s very crafty and gives a subtle hint of what this show’s about. This is the avatar’s show.

So this episode goes out of its way of showing how much of a prodigy Korra is (ugh, I’m having flashbacks about Azula, except we have a smug super instead a devious schemer). She was controlling three elements at I think age three. Aang and Roku didn’t even know that they could even do that at that age, and she had already mastered three at seventeen. Okay, granted Aang did all the elements at twelve, but you think someone with no need for rush, would master the elements much later as it’s not regarded as superpowers in this world. Plus, it takes a lot of discipline and whatnot. It’s good to see Katara again as she plays the role of Gran-Gran. Yes, she looks like her grandmother now. She also gives us the implications that the others had died and she’s the only one left. This makes the story all the more sombering. You’d never pictured the original team as growing old and dying. It’s hard not miss Sokka’s sense of humor, Zuko’s moodiness, and Toph’s big personality. The mood lightens again when we see Aang and Katara’s youngest child’s family. From them, we see Aang’s legacy live on. Oh, and maybe Sokka’s humor lives with them.

This shows leans very heavily on the trope reality ensues. For some reason that will probably be relevant later, Aang has ordered that Korra be kept under watch in the Water Tribe and that has seriously (oh, I see how her character was formed) stunted her sense and maturity. She heads for the city to get Tenzin to teach her air bending, and doesn’t understand the concept of money, so no food and when she tries to fish from the lake, she gets busted because it’s the city’s lake which means no fishing, and then finally she tries be a superhero only to cause a ridiculous amount of damage and gets chased by police and finally arrested. Woomp-woomp. Turns out Toph’s daughter runs the police. Hooray, but she’s still a cop, has very little of Toph’s personality except for maybe strictness, and does not give two figs about the relationship Aang had with her mother. The interaction she had with Tenzin also shows that there is some bad blood in their relationship. These reality ensues are well done. They’re all relatable scenarios that could actually happen without the need for idiocy. If you’re a country mouse in a city where the rules are a little loose, going to the city could prove to be a huge wake up call.

This episode also introduces a thick story theme that could prove to be important. Non-benders seemed to be treated as second class citizens, and are growing sick of it. Do I hear X-men? Imagine living in a world where you’re just human and surrounded by people would could fling the earth at you with just their fingertips. What’s not to fear? Plus, if Tenzin’s position at the council is any indication, it seems that benders control the whole country. Also, bonus points for this awesome looking villain:

eight point five out of ten.

ONE PIECE REVIEW: A Paradise in Hell! Impel Down Level 5.5!

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I could say I have no words for how I should put this episode, but then we would have no review. So let’s get on with it as I try to put the reactions into words about the episode.

First off, the summary is this: Bon Clay desperately searches for Ivankov and finds him/her in a place called level 5.5 or Ivankov puts it Newkama Land. Now what I like about this episode is Bon Clay’s bravery and strength, amidst the cold and wolf attacks and very little help from, no surprise, prisoners he persevered until he couldn’t go any further. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough. He gets overwhelmed by wolves, but fortunately Luffy gets up and…bites a wolf before tossing him like bad meat (like Luffy would do something like that). He then uses a burst of power to knock all of them flat. I guess to be King of the Pirates you have to start small and become king of the wolves. But that’s all he could do before passing out. Luckily, they were found by a man (?). I’ll explain the question mark later. Bon Clay wakes up in his version of paradise, a queer land (Their words, not mine) where there’s a celebration for being so where that same man, now a woman right there in the picture explains what happened to him.

You see this is how you add queer characters into a series. I happen to hear a lot about LGBT representation needing to be in shows today, and that’s fine and all, but it shouldn’t be a big deal, at least not big enough that the story doesn’t matter any more. People instead of focusing on the story would talk about “oh, there’s this gay, lesbian, or transgender here”, but not what the story is about, and writers now have to tip toe around how they should do this. Yes, the people here are probably criminals, but so is Luffy, his gang, and many others. I get a little annoyed whenever some character who doesn’t outright say they are straight or do straight things or even show interest in the opposite gender is automatically singled out as the person who should be made gay (seriously they could just be asexual or something), if it is implied by fandom is fine but only the author could say. This kind of feels like it’s painting a preconceived notion of what straight people are like. You should display your interest at all times or at least once in the opposite gender or you must be gay. It places a misleading label on heterosexuals or asexuals when they do not act in a certain way, does that make sense? You don’t want send out wrong messages. Anyway, how Oda did it was great. He kept which part of the community vague, meaning you can’t tell who is gay, lesbian, transgender, or whatever so that there’s no real focus and could include everyone on the sexuality spectrum. He also made the people, well normal by One Piece standards. You get the feel that they are normal people, good and bad qualities and all. They are neither bad nor good, only way to find is if you knew them, which he doesn’t let the reader do. This is brilliant in hindsight. By not showing much of their character, he doesn’t reveal any real bias that he might actually put in said characters, avoiding sweeping generalizations. He also I think subtly hints that if you really want to know a person, y’know, find out what they are like yourself. Don’t judge.

I also like Ivankov’s song. It’s actually pretty catchy. It’s also kind of in your face to those who would say gays are going to hell when he recites that if this was hell at least it’s a gay one. Ivankov seems like a colorful character and there’s so many questions this episode leaves up in the air, so I’ll tune in and I hope this review doesn’t start any flame wars. Eight out of ten.