oyceter: (bleach sting like a bee)
[personal profile] oyceter
EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! I don't know how iTunes works internationally, but FYI, the first two episodes of Korra are available on HD for free there.

According to Wikipedia, The Legend of Korra is a two-season miniseries of about 20+ episodes that takes place roughly two generations after the events of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Korra, the new Avatar, goes to Republic City to complete her bending training and plot happens that relates to the growing anti-bending movement in the world.

First, the production values are amazing. It looks like anime-movie-quality animation! The backgrounds are gorgeous, the music is fun and funky, and oh people, the art! I think I could just sit and watch the background scenes and take pleasure in the world-building details. I have been very fannishly out of it, so my Korra excitement was fairly low key, but now it has hit the "OMG WHY IS THERE NOT MORE STUFF LIKE THIS" button that JoSelle Vanderhooft's lesbian steampunk anthologies have. Entire worlds! Populated by POC! With non-Western backdrops! It feels like there is a hole in my heart that is slowly being patched up, when I hadn't even realized it was an empty space.

Second, I love that this is clearly aimed at an older demographic than AtLA. Korra is a teenager who has already been training for a while, and just in these first two episodes, the moral issues are more complicated and nuanced. And although the scope of the plot is smaller, since this so far is not a Heroic Quest narrative, the entire world feels so much larger because we're getting much more time to explore the setting. Korra feels like there is a lot going on off screen in a way that AtLA didn't always, and I love the sense of depth and immersion.

Third, I am SO EXCITED to have a heroine on screen who looks like Korra. She's a fighter, and she looks it. I love how the artists emphasize her arms and her shoulder blades, I love that they are not pandering to the male gaze at all, I love the focus on how her body works, not how it looks. This is particularly nice as a contrast to the Black Widow/Hawkeye Avengers poster I keep seeing on buses, in which Hawkeye is aiming at something off-screen and Black Widow is standing there, looking down demurely.

I just.... *FLAIL*

I am so excited! I love love love love love Republic City already, I love the skyline and the city-ness of it, how it looks so much like Shanghai, the way there are homeless people and police and small shopkeepers and people on soapboxes and gangs and street food vendors! I love how much they've already thought out the rules for pro-bending. It feels like the city has been there for a long time, that there are all these nooks and crannies to explore. It has a sense of place, and it doesn't feel like it magically sprung into being the minute Korra stepped foot there.

Also, I am so amused by the giant statue of Aang, especially since Aang himself probably made fun of it endlessly.

Also! Old Katara! OMG LIN BEIFONG! I cannot wait to get more of her. OMG. The "I'm watching you" signal to Korra! Her completely underwhelmed face! KICKASS MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN! I think she had about five minutes of screentime, and she is already my favorite.

Police wire bending!

And I really hope the little shout out to Zuko and Azula's mother will be fleshed out later, because I really want to find out what happened. And! How it's so clear that Tenzin gets Katara's personality! I am a bit sad he is Korra's mentor because there is such a dearth of female mentor/mentee relationships, but his many faces of "Why me?" and *facepalm* have won me over, as have his kids. I also hope we get to see more of his wife.

I also love that people in the city aren't completely bowled over by the Avatar! I love Korra getting arrested for property damage and chased for fishing where she shouldn't be, I love Lin Beifong being completely unimpressed by the Avatar, I love how it isn't the Heroic Narrative and Korra isn't the hero simply due to a fluke of birth.

I was sad that the Equalists have been set up as the main villain, because I think they have a good point. And I hate it when groups for social justice are set up as corrupt and evil and whatnot. Also, the preview for the series has them against what looks like the Japanese WWII flag, with some vaguely Nazi-like uniforms, which was very disturbing and not cool. That said, I will wait and see how they develop it, since it feels like the writers were also trying to cultivate sympathy for non-benders as well.

And awwww, they named a character for Mako! I am so amused that Mako reads as Zuko II, down to brooding in a window!

And Appa wasn't the last flying bison!

I do wish that there were more women Korra's age around; she feels a bit like the isolated girl surrounded by men. So far, I think the series has some really kickass women, including Korra herself, but I would love to see more groups of women with complex interaction. AtLA wasn't great at this until later, and even then, Toph and Katara never interacted as much as I wanted. I am sure there will be awesome Korra+Katara and Korra+Lin interaction, but I reallly really really want something like a group of friends.

Still OMG so much squee for the setting! 1920s Shanghai! The way the harbor looks so much like the Bund! The architecture! The AIRSHIPS! The changes in fashion that kind of echo the Westernization of clothing in our world, but also not—the police uniforms look very similar to Azula's armor, etc.

I've vaguely seen people talking about the technological development, but I actually don't have that difficult of a time buying it. AtLA felt very much like late Qing Dynasty to me (largely due to Ba Sing Se), maybe 1880s to early 1900s, and Korra feels very 1920s or 1930s, which is much less than the seventy years or so that have supposedly passed. And given that there were already giant Fire Nation ships before Aang reawakens, I find the leap in technology fairly plausible. I mean, with the usual steampunk handwaving, of course.

I was also watching with [personal profile] troisroyaumes, who kept commenting, "Korra is such a jock!" and she is! I love it. I really like that she feels very distinct from the Gaang, and I like the blend of physicality and good humor and impatience.

Other minor note is that I wish there were more Asian voice actors in the cast.

But to finally conclude: REPUBLIC CITY! OMG I HEART IT SO! I mean, I love the characters and Naga the dog-bear and Tenzin's long-suffering faces and quiet Jinora and chatterbox Ikki and Mako's ridiculous angstiness and LIN BEIFONG OMG and how it's funny and epic all at once, but oh, I heart the setting SO MUCH. I just want worlds and worlds and worlds of stories there, and I love so much how the city itself already feels like such a major character in the show.

In conclusion: some minor quibbles and qualms, but overall, I am really excited about the potential this shows. The writing is excellent, the worldbuilding is so wonderfully expansive, and it looks like it is addressing so many things from AtLA that I wanted to see more of. I... do not think I have been this excited about a show from the start for a really long time (SCC took a few eps to warm up to).


(And since I am late watching this, any and all links to commentary and/or squee highly appreciated!)
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