Why ‘The Legend of Korra’ is (Still) a Feminist’s Headache

The Legend of Korra Book 2 promotional poster.

Written by Erin Tatum.

Let me start by saying that I love Avatar: The Last Airbender. I’ve watched it since its original run in 2005 and I continue to re-watch it. The themes are relatable and they always will be. Yes, it’s a kids’ show, but it has genuine appeal across all ages, and not in the same tongue-in-cheek way as Adventure Time or My Little Pony. Set in a world where people can “bend” (control and/or manipulate) the elements–water, earth, fire, and air–the series borrows heavily from martial arts and eastern spirituality. We follow the long lost Avatar, Aang, as he and his friends attempt to restore peace after a hundred-year world war. The animation is gorgeous and the action scenes are impeccably well choreographed. Most of all, the narrative and characterization are emotionally balanced and unexpectedly poignant given its target demographic.
Avatar: The Last Airbender.

 

Critics noted that A:TLA was unique for the children’s genre in its incorporation of serious romantic themes. Most of the characters have long-term love interests and complex moral or emotional turmoil relating to their relationships, rendering them much more nuanced. This was a radical departure from the usual crush fluff, probably due in part to the fact that the characters were in a perpetual war zone. The writers did a phenomenal job of devoting proper attention to the military conflict while providing the audience just enough fodder to keep us invested in the characters’ personal dynamics. Ultimately, the war always superseded romantic angst in importance.
Korra on her way to steal yo man.

 

In theory, The Legend of Korra initially seemed full of potential. A strong female protagonist! A woman of color! A woman who could easily be reinterpreted as queerly coded! Unfortunately, the execution is less than stellar. Korra and her friends are 17-20, as opposed to the 12-17 age range of the A:TLA cast. The writers took advantage of the age jump to make the sequel series the Y7 equivalent of Hotter and Sexier, which apparently means piling on the hormones. Whereas in A:TLA, relationship tensions had a slight influence on the action, the conflict in The Legend of Korra serves as mere white noise to the Love Drama of the Week. I almost feel like I shouldn’t bother explaining the alleged overarching premise because it frankly doesn’t matter. A civil war is brewing between benders and non-benders and Korra (the reincarnation of Aang) must again fight to restore balance. While this could have been a fantastic commentary on class struggle, what’s really important is who Korra dates! Accordingly, the plot is consistently suffocated by a love square so forced and melodramatic that I was honestly embarrassed that this was considered quality enough to inherit the legacy of the franchise.
The Legend of Pheromones: Mako and Asami (front) with Korra and Bolin (back).

 

Long story short, Korra finds herself torn between the affections of two brothers, geeky Bolin and brooding Mako. That sound you hear is me slamming my head against my desk. Korra pines after Mako, who represents a botched attempt to recapture the popularity of Zuko, resident bad boy and puberty catalyst of the A:TLA universe. Mako gets a girlfriend, Asami, who is actually really nice and arguably more sympathetic than Korra, but we are supposed to irrationally hate her because she’s blocking the Official Couple. Sexism ensues. Mako is a douchebag who cheats on Asami by kissing Korra and never taking accountability for it or apologizing to Asami and Bolin. Korra saves the city via a last-minute deus ex machina and Mako tells her he loves her. Essentially, we spend 10 episodes watching the beautiful love story of two emotionally unavailable teenagers with anger issues passive aggressively refusing to date each other until they do. Cool.

Bolin accurately captures my reaction to Mako and Korra’s brief PDA.

 

With this in mind, I was reticent to say the least about giving the second season a try. Apologists insisted that the choppy quality was attributable to the fact that The Legend of Korra was originally planned to be a standalone miniseries, so I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. It’s not that Friday’s premiere was necessarily worse, it’s just that the characters continue to be bogged down by needing overt romantic storylines to validate any narrative movement. Six months have passed and more trouble is on the horizon. Korra needs to decide whether or not to go to the South Pole to advance her Avatar training. Korra and Mako have a lot of arguments about whether or not he is being supportive enough because she’s confused and he won’t make a decision for her. Ninety percent of their interaction is arguing. If there’s anything young fans want, it’s to excitedly pair up with your crush and then immediately skip to the part where you’re jaded and irritated with each other.
Luckily for Korra, she has plenty of other men eager to tell her what to do. Her mentor, her dad, and her uncle fight about what’s best for her the entire episode while Korra huffs and pouts. This is supposed to make her more sympathetic by again painting her as an average (gifted) girl who has her precociously cunning intuitions stifled by myopic adults who unfairly underestimate her. I am less inclined to believe this since she never seems to do anything other than either begrudgingly following orders or deliberately doing the opposite and claiming it’s her idea because she’s pathologically incapable of admitting she can’t take anyone’s advice. She has had virtually zero character growth since the pilot, which is a real travesty in light of the extensive personal evolution in A:TLA. I guess Mako came along and made her Distracted by the Sexy.
Korra uses firebending to stop a Spirit from attacking the town.

 

Korra has a new enemy in the form of angry spirits. The combat scenes are, as usual, visually stunning. I’m in this for the Scenery Porn. True to form, Korra punches her way through everything, choosing to bypass more meticulous styles of bending in favor of brute strength. The problem with LOK is that Korra’s stubbornness and aggression are marketed as female empowerment in that they seem to be the self-aware antithesis to traditional femininity. Korra even pigeonholed Asami early on as prim and proper because she was a girly girl. Why is femininity still considered the enemy or an embarrassing relic to move past? Masculinized traits on their own don’t automatically equal a liberated female protagonist. Reversing the stereotype doesn’t necessarily make the resulting portrayal a positive one. Having a strong point of view is all well and good, but you should have a vague grasp of your identity. We still have no idea who Korra is and it’s the second season. She’s actually quite a disappointing cliché if you think about it. She can only understand herself and her potential for progression through her relationship with Mako. The various conflicts and the bending are simply bells and whistles to distract from the fact that she still feels the need to define herself through a man.
Asami faces down an intimidating businessman.

 

Asami is kicking ass and taking names as the new head of her father’s company. She and Bolin close a business deal together and it’s awesome. I want to be excited, I really do. Alas, I’m sure she’ll only reappear to tease romantic subtext between her and Bolin. The scene came off as a bit forced and I think the writers wanted to throw Asami in briefly to respond to the criticism that she wouldn’t have a shelf life after the love triangle. I hope she stays a regular. Also, Mako is now a motorcycle cop, despite the series being very clearly set in the Jazz age. Just in case you needed more confirmation that he’s the golden boy. Mako’s irresistible charisma allows him to transcend the pace of human innovation! Maybe he should use his charm to inspire someone to cure cancer 40 years sooner.
Eska sizes up Bolin.
After getting his heart stomped all over by Korra, Bolin had to be given a new love interest fast or risk losing all relevance to the LOK universe. Seeing that he was relegated to one-dimensional comic relief to eliminate him as a threat to precious Mako for Korra, it’s fitting that Bolin’s girlfriend is… one-dimensional comic relief. Korra’s nearly identical twin cousins, Desna and Eska (boy and girl respectively), come to town and Bolin is instantly taken by the beauty of both twins, although he quickly changes his tune when he realizes that Desna is a guy. Eska’s deadpan, monotone delivery reminded me of Aubrey Plaza and then I saw that Plaza actually does voice Eska, so that’s badass. Eska instantly takes a shining to Bolin’s flirting and suddenly they’re “dating” within a few lines of dialogue. Genuine development is reserved for main characters, which Bolin has apparently been demoted from indefinitely.
Eska breaks up the hug between Bolin and Korra (source).

 

Many viewers have already raised concerns that Bolin and Eska’s relationship is abusive and claim that fangirls are overlooking Eska’s problematic behavior. In particular, they cite the moment towards the end of the episode where Eska uses waterbending to forcibly separate Bolin and Korra when he tries to hug her and then demands an explanation. Eska’s oddly formal way of speaking and morose goth girl personality, once literally coupled with Bolin’s hapless Idiot Hero shtick, indicates that their dynamic exists almost solely to be played for laughs. I’m not sure if it’s actually funny yet because it screams try hard. Either way, Eska has risen to fandom darling overnight. Funny how traits that would’ve been red flags for assholes where men are concerned translate into quirky and adorable qualities for girls to have. It might be too early in Bolin and Eska’s supposed relationship to determine concrete abusive tendencies, but possessiveness is never cute or attractive, regardless of your gender. You know that if it had been Mako blocking Korra from hugging Bolin, fandom would be in an uproar. The Manic Pixie Dream Girl really is catnap to young audiences, especially if you put her in sheep’s (or rather, goth’s) clothing.
Jinora gazes at a statue of Aang.

 

I’m the most intrigued by the plot given the least attention. This episode foreshadowed Aang’s granddaughter, Jinora, having special connections to the Spirit World. She is too young to be given a boyfriend yet, so I have faith that she might be one female character to grow and develop as an individual, but only by virtue of prepubescence. Sigh.
It’s extremely frustrating because anyone who has seen A:TLA knows what Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko (the creators of A:TLA and LOK) are capable of. Sure, the romance in A:TLA was enjoyable, but LOK pushes it to soap opera extremes. They seem to be hooked on the thrill of ship wars to the point where it perputually eclipses everything else in LOK. There are already rumblings of a Bolin-centered love triangle with Asami and Eska. Just stop using nonsensical romantic angst to fill narrative space. Not only is reliance on triangles a very amateur writing move, but it signals that you are so uninspired by your own characters that the most compelling thing you could come up with for them to do is fight over each other. That’s stale and frankly depressing.
Lastly, stop leaving Korra in the lurch. One of the last exchanges in the episode gave us this little steaming turd of a gem:
Korra: It’s hard being the Avatar.
Mako: It’s harder being the Avatar’s boyfriend.

(cue forced chuckling and hug)
A dramatic reenactment of my response to the above dialogue.

 

Is there such a thing as sexism bending? Because it should be certified as a fundamental element of the LOK universe.
The Legend of Korra should be about Korra’s journey. It’s not The Legend of Mako and Associates. Mako and the others can help Korra, but they don’t need to compulsively define her every step of the way. Let her find herself and stumble a bit on her own. I guarantee that she won’t scrape her knees too badly if Mako isn’t there to hold her hand. Korra is strong, so give her a little backbone. The Avatar deserves more than just being somebody’s girlfriend.

29 Comments

  • Posted September 19, 2013 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    I agree with your critique immensely. Though many argue that LOK shouldn’t be constantly compared to A:TLA, it’s undeniable that the latter knew how to balance gripping conflict with believable character interaction (and romance), whilst the former is constantly and at times bitteringly falling short on that front

    I (very VERY tentatively) have hope for characters Asami and Eska. Asami was my favourite character in S1 in spite of the disservices done to her in writing, seeing her personality and background as one of the most complex and enjoyable ones depicted (I’m still holding out on her becoming Wolfbatwoman, Dark Knight of Republic City…)
    Her interactions with Bolin and Varrick (the shipping owner and historical nod to Howard Hughes) were the highlight of the S2 premier to me and with any luck will be the focuses of a much needed sublplot outside of the Korra Circle.

    As for Eska…she is less than one-dimensional, no denying it. But I’d be lying if I said she didn’t elicit several chortles from me. I see her the same way I still see Bolin: heirs of the Sokka Dynamic. What is one-note comic-relief today could be a well of development WITH humour by a season’s turn. The Identical Twin trait alone holds potential merely by virtue of what could happen if its formula were to be broken.

    The Avatar successor series’ track record perhaps gives us little cause to be hopeful, but I like you am happy to crack on and sit through LOK S2 if only for the glorious animation sequences.

    –C., Capt.
    (p.s: “myopic” is a fantastic word! I need to remember it…)

  • Posted September 20, 2013 at 1:03 am | Permalink

    Great analysis! I find Korra to be a bit of a let-down after The Last Airbender. It just seems to alternate between action and romance without developing the characters in any meaningful way. I imagine if I had seen Korra first, I would have been pumped for a female protagonist and found the show perfectly acceptable, but Airbender is just a really tough act to follow.

  • RoboticSpaceShark
    Posted October 7, 2013 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    This is a little old by now, but thanks for writing it. You put to words exactly what was feeling so wrong about Book 2.

    • Erin Tatum
      Posted October 8, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      No problem, I’m glad you enjoyed the article! Unfortunately, the rest of Book 2 thus far remains less than impressive in my opinion.

      • jk
        Posted June 24, 2015 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        Book two was amazing, my favourite of the tetralogy. The story of avatar wan, and the fight between Vaatu and Raava, which can represent the internal fight of light and darkness within us all.

  • Jaclyn Sieloff
    Posted November 8, 2013 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Agreed. This is a piece of writing that needed to exist. I can’t believe how terrible LOK’s writing is compared to A:TLA. It’s like.. a caricature of the stereotypical teenage girl as opposed to her actually being a complex person. The same goes for just about everyone and everything else going on in this series. It is very flat and simplistic. And it’s not like they don’t even have any elements to work with, I mean there’s a war going on and spiritual craziness happening and modernization. But they just keep diverting to this stupid forced love story. Also, it doesn’t matter how much or how little they expected to write, four seasons or one mini series, I’ve seen much better, much more MOVING things accomplished in fewer episodes. It’s a mess.

  • Space-Medafighter-X
    Posted November 18, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Have you even heard of Toph?
    Her mother, Lin Bei Fong?
    The Airbending girls (you got Jinora, but Ikki is more likely to develop as a character)?

    You talked about the flaws of Korra, but that’s what she is basically. She’s flawed. One month ago to now, Korra has developed A LOT. She’s no longer bitchy.

    Try analyzing the impact of Legend of Korra. Kids watching this were asked whether it bothered them that this Avatar is a girl. They said that they didn’t care, and that Korra was ‘awesome’. This is the positive thinking you feminists need, not some blog rants that alienise men or that isolate women with feminine qualities.

    Great article, just I think you cherrypicked a lot of your arguments.

    • Danielle K
      Posted December 10, 2014 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

      I agree. Toph was blind and still kicked ass. Sokka couldn’t even bend. Tenzin couldn’t even meditate into the spirit world, but his little daughter could.

  • rory
    Posted December 22, 2013 at 4:47 am | Permalink

    Don’t get so emotional

  • super kanji
    Posted January 16, 2014 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    I feel like the creators read this and addressed the things you mentioned point-blank but didn’t do anything to change the story on a deeper level. Korra separates from Mako… only to be constantly “led” and “guided” by Tenzin, her father, her uncle… The series’ problem is that they tried too hard to make her appeal to male viewers with her strong fighting ability, and consciously tempering this with her weak spiritual connection (contrasting with Aang who had no problem with the spiritual side of things); when we meet her, she’s already a master of three of the elements and the last, air, is a quick fourth (whereas Aang struggles for so long mastering earth; Korra is simply written away as “physical,” “stubborn”, and she conquers air bending by a chance circumstance not determined by her). Maybe they made Book 2 about the spirit world to stress her lack of development in this area, to give her a chance to grow – but instead all the major turn of events in the plot are supplied by dei ex machina.
    Becoming “no longer bitchy” is not character development in my book. I hate that throughout the series things constantly happen TO Korra, and not the other way around.

  • Fleb Flebbers
    Posted May 20, 2014 at 7:53 pm | Permalink

    What exactly is a ‘woman of color’, and why are you so fond of it? Is it any woman who isn’t ‘white’? You seem to love dividing and alienating people by virtue of arbitrary social classifications (Ie. race, gender) -and this is what I hate about neo-feminism. Equality will *never* exist, so long as there are organizations and popular ideologies that encourage division, promote bigotry, and cater to the interests of only one demographic, like modern Feminism does. A global monoculture based around humanist collectivism and the denial of race (and to a lesser extent, beyond the basic physical functions, sex) is the ONLY route to true peaceful existence and equality.

    • Bri
      Posted November 21, 2014 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

      Okay, ALL of what you said is so wrong I don’t know if I’ll even be able to address everything in one comment. But I’ll give it a go just in case.

      1) YES. A woman of color is a woman who is not white. The reason why this is so important? Because more often than not, leading power roles are held by men AND women who are white, as if this is somehow a default setting for a character. It’s not. It ignores fair representation. If you can show me a female lead who is a woman of color of a popular mainstream media show or movie, I’d be truly happy. And I mean in the next five seconds, not whenever you get around to researching it.

      2) “Dividing” and “alienating” people is not what is being called for in this particular article. Identifying someone as belonging to a culture that exists in real life (whether it be gender or racially related) is acknowledging certain truths that are applicable for that character.

      3.) Not everyone has the same background. Not everyone has the same life experiences. Calling to erase that under the pretense of so-called “equality” is not equality, it’s actually dehumanizing and horrible and don’t do it. You’re doing that bullshit thing people do when they’re faced with the uncomfortable realization that things aren’t perfect yet, and blaming anyone who isn’t happy with the current status-quo for having too high expectations. It’s not denying that race and sex exist — it’s recognizing the differences are equally valid and worth representing.

      • Fleb Flebbers
        Posted November 21, 2014 at 11:48 pm | Permalink

        “) YES. A woman of color is a woman who is not white. The reason why this
        is so important? Because more often than not, leading power roles are
        held by men AND women who are white, as if this is somehow a default
        setting for a character. It’s not. It ignores fair representation. If
        you can show me a female lead who is a woman of color of a popular
        mainstream media show or movie, I’d be truly happy. And I mean in the
        next five seconds, not whenever you get around to researching it.”

        No, racist scum, a ‘woman of color’ is someone who whites declare is not white. The term ‘colored people’ is a relic from America’s slavery days, and is woefully inaccurate. I’m Han Chinese and am ‘whiter’ than pretty much any of my white friends.

        “leading power roles are
        held by men AND women who are white,”

        Lol? Did you just time travel here from the 50’s? Please stop regurgitating the lies that your professor shoved down your throat, sheep, its extremely pathetic. Whites are the majority group in the US, and in any democracy where everyone votes in their interests the majority group will receive better representation. This is an unavoidable fact, and your social justice keyboard crusades can’t do anything about it.

        In other countries, beyond your sheltered Western view, whites are a minority and are treated even worse than whites treat minorities in the West. Your white = oppressor narrative just doesn’t hold up when you pan outward from the little nook that you live in.

        “2) “Dividing” and “alienating” people is not what is being called for in
        this particular article. Identifying someone as belonging to a culture
        that exists in real life (whether it be gender or racially related) is
        acknowledging certain truths that are applicable for that character.”

        Implying that anyone from the avatar universe “belongs to a culture that exists in real life” is extremely disingenuous. Basing any argument off of that assumption is absurd.

        “Not everyone has the same background. Not everyone has the same life
        experiences. Calling to erase that under the pretense of so-called
        “equality” is not equality, it’s actually dehumanizing and horrible and
        don’t do it. You’re doing that bullshit thing people do when they’re
        faced with the uncomfortable realization that things aren’t perfect yet,
        and blaming anyone who isn’t happy with the current status-quo for
        having too high expectations. It’s not denying that race and sex exist
        — it’s recognizing the differences are equally valid and worth
        representing.”

        Race has very little scientific validity. It is a very recent construct, and if it were dismantled it would remove a motive for hatred and oppression, but I can see why a feminst anti-racist wouldn’t want oppression to cease to exist. Too much money to be made off of it. You really are sick.

        • Bri
          Posted November 22, 2014 at 2:50 am | Permalink

          Just from your reply, it’s obvious you assume much about me, my background, and are projecting your own narrow view on the world onto me. Not to mention that by claiming that you’re “whiter” than your friends despite being of Chinese descent, you also seem to be conflating the definitions of “race” and “ethnicity,” which is not only unfortunate but also renders this whole interaction pointless.

          In any case, I will say that, with all of your nonsensical ranting, you ignored my challenge of finding a lead role in a film/series held by a woman of color (and that’s actually an acceptable phrase and is completely different than “colored people”, which I agree is archaic and offensive).

          But yes. The whole point of me being unsatisfied with the Legend of Korra arch is to gain money and to be racist. And also a feminist. It’s the perfect plan and makes the most sense. Guess the gig is up.

          • Fleb Flebbers
            Posted November 22, 2014 at 5:53 am | Permalink

            “Not to mention that by claiming that you’re “whiter” than your friends
            despite being of Chinese descent, you also seem to be conflating the
            definitions of “race” and “ethnicity,””

            Since race doesn’t exist, I’m not conflating anything with it. The term ‘people of color’ implies both that those who you define as whites are colorless, and that those defined as non-whites are colorful. I pointed out that I am noticeably paler and less ‘colorful’ than all of my white friends, to highlight the ridiculousness of that terminology.

            “I will say that, with all of your nonsensical ranting, you ignored my
            challenge of finding a lead role in a film/series held by a woman of
            color”

            Why would I do that? It has no bearing on the argument at hand, so why should I humor your kettle logic?

            I’ll reassert what I contested before: In any democratic society where every group is presumed to vote in their own interests, the interests of the majority group will necessarily receive better representation. No amount of social justice whining will change this, unless SJWs manage to remove democracy itself.

            Majority privilege exists, but labeling it ‘white privilege’ or ‘male privilege’ is disingenuous and hints at racist/sexist motivations.

            Not seeing yourself on TV every day doesn’t constitute oppression.

            “It’s the perfect plan and makes the most sense. Guess the gig is up.”

            Not you. People like you are the unwitting sheep that blindly walk into the ditch that feminism is digging for itself. The feminist leaders, the ones that preach male inferiority and sell millions of copies of their books, are the ones profiting off of feminism.

          • Danielle K
            Posted December 10, 2014 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

            Agreed.

          • jk
            Posted June 24, 2015 at 10:33 am | Permalink

            “Since race doesn’t exist,”

            Have you heard of DNA studies? People of Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid, Australoid, are genetically distinct, withe discrete and subtle differences in certain pheno-
            genetic characteristics, manifested due to certain environmental conditions as to maximise survival.
            Religion on the other hand, like language, and culture, are social constructs.

  • nixelpixel
    Posted June 14, 2014 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    This is amazing, I agree completely and can’t thank you enough for taking your time to write this.

    • Robbie Walker
      Posted November 28, 2015 at 2:01 am | Permalink

      Not only that, but having soap opera levels of romance writing is why I hate Adventure Time and Viacom’s TMNT, because they pander to the lowest demographic without even thinking straight.

  • Bri
    Posted November 21, 2014 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    The only thing I can think to say is that I just got through power-watching all of the current episodes of LoK and I really, really, want to be enjoying it and really, really, want to think that it’s a good show. But I can’t convince myself that it is, so I started googling series reviews and character analyses just to find words for my thoughts, and reading this has helped me put my finger on a lot of the problems I had with the first two seasons. I, too, gave the series a chance after the shit storm that was the first season because of the rationality that maybe they felt pressured to wrap everything up nicely since it was only given the one arc.

    But no. I can’t imagine that you’ve enjoyed the third or fourth anymore than I did, as a couple comments you made about future wrong-doings (like Jinora getting a bf omg lol yay) actually happened. I’m so disappointed, I don’t really know what to think.

  • Danielle K
    Posted December 10, 2014 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    I thought it was pretty sexist — the way that Mako switched between girls and how they were alright with that, and the same way Tenzin was with his wife and Lin Bei Fong. Why is it always the men getting fought for instead of the women? I wanted to see what others thought about it and if there were any other sexist things in this show.

    Though, reading your article I see a lot of BIG (didn’t want to say fanatical) feminist jumps and I can’t agree with everything. I know we all have our own opinions though, but fair logic always wins. We shouldn’t point at every detail and say that it’s because it’s sexist.

  • Posted December 23, 2014 at 12:20 am | Permalink

    The thing that really brings this article down is all the TVTropes. Please, we beg you, bring your own ideas and creative phrasing to the table.

  • Posted December 29, 2014 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    > Mako is a douchebag who cheats on Asami by kissing Korra

    Korra kissed Mako without permission. If anything by fem standards she just raped him. At least get your facts right. That suggests you see the world through “the man is always to blame” glasses :(

    • Rick
      Posted January 5, 2015 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      This comment will probably be ignored, but yes, you are right.

      The “feminist” lens is strong in this article. It doesn’t care about the quality of the show or the story. It takes small points and blows them up and even bends them even though it accuses the show of “sexism bending.”

      The amount of unoriginal thought and TVtropes crap is also disturbing.

  • at the soup store
    Posted January 1, 2015 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

    I know I’m really late to the party (and considering Korra’s ending alooot has changed) but all of this is sO YES for the first two seasons. Asami was actually a really great character and I felt like they tried to make us feel like we were supposed to dislike her essentially because she was “in the way”. It really pissed me off so much that I stopped watching Korra after season 1 ended until just two days ago actually.

  • Jim
    Posted January 2, 2015 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Even its ending was full of “SHIPPING!!!” graffiti. Completely disappointed.

  • Whitney
    Posted May 7, 2015 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    This article isn’t “wrong,” but you’re missing 2 more seasons for these teenagers to grow. Yes the love triangle is silly and over focused on, but this is the story of Korra, she is 17ish… When you’re 17 your love life is the main focus in your life. If you watch the other 2 seasons you see that she completely grows away from this. I think lok is ground breaking for a children’s cartoon show. It shows not only how hard it is to be special/talented but just how hard it is to navigate teenage emotions. Korra wouldn’t be a real 17 year old without those “hormones” influencing her decisions. I thought Korra was super annoying in the 1st couple of seasons but she struggled and into a balanced powerful women. She shows everyone that you can be a strong women and still be scared and confused.
    Now the other issue you said is that she only follows her mentors (tenzin and her dad). If you watch the last 2 seasons you get even stronger, more relatable female mentors… Toph, Asami, Lin Bei-Fong, Zhu Bei-Fong, Katara and even Pema… Tenzin’s wife who is a non-bender) All these women help Korra develop into a women and no longer a bratty, know-it-all teenager.

    There was a study done and they asked kids if they cared that Korra was a girl… They did not care, she was awesome

  • adio
    Posted July 12, 2015 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry that you wanted something more, and believe me, A:TLA delivered. There were excellent story-lines: familial bonds between an uncle and his nephew, a boy coming of age (all the while trying to save the world), a sister and brother trying to understand how to care for each other in the face near genocide. . . heavy stuff. But in all honestly, the relations that Korra deals with seem, to me, very nature for someone her age. I’m sorry that it was too “soap opera” for you, but put yourself in terms of a pre-teen or a teenager watching the series. There is no doubt that the affection you have, for someone by your side when the world seems like it’s going to shit, wouldn’t transform into something greater–a bit more special. Im re-watching the series series now, and I’m twenty, but a lot of the “romantic angst” and “narrative space” filling that you seem to be above about does impact other people in different ways. Given the outcome of the show, I don’t believe that “sexism bending” is a proper way to describe the series.

  • celso
    Posted December 31, 2015 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

    The thing is that you don’t get the core of the stories! While Last Air Bender was about a child becoming a teenager, Legend of Korra is about adolescents becoming adults! It’s about adult guidance and how we fell insecure to make our own decisions so soon! I now this becomes more clear in season 3 and 4, but it was already pretty clear before
    Stop complaining and analise the art for real, you were to superficial in this analysis.

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