?So I watched those first two episodes of The Last Airbender sequel The Legend of Korra that streamed on Korranation.com this weekend (and are now gone). I really thought that I’d have a reasonable critical analysis of the show, of where the creators have taken the setting and the franchise, how Korra stacks up to the main characters of Airbender, or, really, anything useful or thoughtful. Instead, all I can tell you is how absolutely delighted I am an Avatar cartoon is back on the air.
Honestly, this is what all cartoons should be: Richly plotted, wonderfully voice-acted, brilliantly animated (especially the humor — these guys have animated comic timing, and reaction shots especially, that rival the classic Looney Tunes in my opinion), and a story that respects kids’ intelligence enough to not force-feed them plot information or character development. Furthermore, I was wondering if, since Korra is a sequel, that the show would be too indulgent in referring to the old series for fans — and there certainly were more than a few mentions of the original (the Zuko’s mom trolling was fantastic) — but it is without a doubt Korra’s show, and a show about world shaped by the characters and events of The Last Airbender, but no longer in their shadow.
The Legend of Korra doesn’t have the immediate narrative hook of Airbender, because the menace is more phantom, if you will, than a nation of fascist flamethrowers. But the indicated conflict brewing between benders and the vast majority non-benders adds a level of moral complexity to the original setting. I doubt we’re going to get a story as simple as “benders good = non-benders bad” — we’ve even already seen bending being used for inappropriate reasons in these first two episodes — and I love that.
Honestly, I love everything about the show. I may love the Avengers cartoon more, because that was my childhood favorite, but I won’t deny that The Legend of Korra is without a doubt the best children’s cartoon on the air today, and probably since The Last Airbender. I would highly recommend watching The Last Airbender first, as I have no doubt you’ll enjoy Korra more, but you can certainly start with Korra and be fully entertained. Just watch it, whatever you do.