One of my best friends sent me this message this morning. She’s tried watching Book 3 a couple times now but just can’t get into it. I relate with this, so maybe for some of you trying to get what the deal is, maybe this will help explain how it feels.
Ok so I’ve thought of the perfect way to…
Book three is shaping up to be better than both proceeding books so I don’t get it. Season two definitely isn’t as bad as people like to exaggerate. When comparing it to other series and cartoons it’s a masterpiece really. It’s only competition is itself.
I completely disagree. Many other animated shows these days have really stepped up to the plate with writing. They just don’t do the “epic anime” style so folks write them off, in the same way that LoK emulating the “epic anime” style has a lot of folks digging it.
Even when in competition with itself, LoK is a sequel. And it’s a horribly inconsistent sequel that is, at this point, kind of pissing all over its once beautifully realized and laid out world and lore.
Even within its own seasons, LoK has also been terribly inconsistent.
"People like to exaggerate" on both sides of this argument, because Avatar as a franchise has a very deep and wide-reaching emotional impact on people.
I completely disagree that Book 3 is better than Book 1. Even if its ending comes together well, the first half of it has been built on corny, repetitious plot devices that are built on the basis of nonsense that was Harmonic Convergence. Equalists were a natural, organic, sensible, yet rewarding and engaging conflict that would’ve worked just as well in ATLA, but in the revised setting made even more sense. Harmonic Convergence took a piss over so much that had been established, all to create artificially inflated importance for the lead character while simultaneously erasing the canonical rules of the world just so the creators could make shit up as they went without needing to worry about explaining anything (which they’ve confessed on commentary that they can’t really do in the first place).
The damage has already been done, they’re just doing the best they can to clean up the mess. Which is admirable, and is making for some very entertaining animated programming (when it’s not trying too hard). Book 3 has been written better than Book 2 was, AND it even has the consistent animation of Studio Mir the whole way. It’s good, yea, as a piece of animated media.
A “masterpiece” is a HUGE stretch in my opinion. Legend of Korra is too much of a narrative mess at this point to be a masterpiece, no matter HOW it ends. But as a piece of animated media? A production? That, for sure, it’s excelling in. The presentation, the visual/audio aesthetic, that stuff it’s got in spades.
Too bad it’s trying so hard to be a Shonen Jump anime and shaking off its source material that it’s losing sight of what made Avatar special in he first place.
Because it sure as fuck wasn’t “Dark Avatars” or “Harmonic Conbullshit” or “10,000 Years of Darkness” or “Random-Ass-People-Becoming-Benders-For-No-Sensible-Reason” or “Everyone Who’s Not a Bender is Useless” or “Katara is exactly the thing she fought as a youth to avoid being stuck as.”
Now, that being said? I am very happy for you to not be feeling the pain we are. Be thankful you’re enjoying it! Not everyone is able to, to such an extent.
There’s a lot to like in Book 3 even for more cynical, hurt fans like myself. But the damage was already done. “Old Wounds” don’t ever fully heal, I guess, and this wound is certainly not even old enough to forget just yet.
Very well produced? Yes. For sure, totally, 100%.
Very well written? Nope.
Masterpiece? Not at all.
Being a masterpiece of TV programming kind of requires sharp writing that is focused and does exactly what it sets out to do. Legend of Korra doesn’t do that.
There are reasons why the fandom is split on Legend of Korra. And it’s not because suddenly a bunch of people decided to want to hate irrationally on a “new thing.” It’s because Legend of Korra isn’t the same spirit of show that ATLA despite carrying the same world and some of its characters. And it is self-aware of this.
"Avatar wisdom’s a thing of the past."
~does a literal circus act to demonstrate airbending~
That’s the show.