TV Review: The Legend of Korra—”Welcome to Republic City/A Leaf in the Wind”

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Welcome to Republic City

As far as first episodes go, things could have been much worse for The Legend of Korra.  To put it bluntly, pilots usually suck.  Hell, even TLA’s pilot was pretty mediocre all things considered.  Shows typicaly need time to grow before they get really good, and very few shows start out excellent from the beginning (Lost and Breaking Bad are two exception to that rule, however).  Korra is no different and, even though it starts out better than most shows, it still has the typical pilot problems.  The dialogue is occasionally weak, and contains WAY too much exposition.  For a show like this, a lot of background needs to be established and, most of the time, it comes off as clunky and not natural in the slightest.

But aside from that, the pilot is pretty damn strong.  The characters are already likeable. and the voice acting is specifically wonderful.  Janet Varney as the headstrong but loveable Korra is pure perfection, as is Cliff Johnson J.K Simmons as Aangs serious and wise son, Tenzin.  The two have fantastic chemistry together, as evident in the next episode.  Another point of strength in “Welcome to Republic City” is the action, which is just as good as the original show’s (and maybe even better, thanks to the jaw dropping animation; The Last Airbender had fantastic animation, but this is something else…)  Supporting the superb action is the equally superb music, which mixes the traditional Asian-influenced music of the original series with 20’s America influenced Jazz pieces.  It sounds strange, but its perfect.  And that’s really what this show feels like it might become; the pilot is a little strange and overwritten, but the promise is there.  In time, this show might reach the perfection that The Last Airbender attained.  And I can’t freaking wait for that to happen.

Score: 7.5 out of 10

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A Leaf in the Wind

Well, that was fast.  Now don’t get me wrong; “A Leaf in the Wind” isn’t exactly a PERFECT episode…but it’s pretty damn good, and delivers on the promise set up by “Welcome to Republic City.”  The main crux of the episode is the relationship between Tenzin and Korra, which seems to be far more father/daughter than student/master at this point.  Tenzin wants to limit everything Korra does well Korra, like most teenage girls in a strange, new city, wants to go out and experiance new things.  This in turn leads her to the Pro-Bending League, which is a sport created after the formation of Republic City that pits benders against each other in organized competetion.  To put it bluntly, Pro-Bending is freakin awesome.  The concept is well explained in the show and, in addition to being really fun to watch, you can understand why a character like the violence loving Korra would enjoy it.  

Also introduced in this episode is what seems to be the new Team Avatar, a pair of brothers named Mako and Bolin.  Mako is a firebender and Bolin is an earthbender and, well I don’t understand how THAT happened, they certainly seem like worthwhile additions to the show.  It’s going to be hard to replace the core four members of the original group, but I think Korra is up to the task.  If anything, they have a fantastic protagonist in Korra.  Basically, she’s the exact opposite of Aang; she’s older, more headstrong, and more ignorant of the spiratual aspect of being the Avatar than Aang was.  As Tenzin points out, she’s a skilled fighter, but she has a long way to go in terms of attaining the spiritual side of herself.  I’m glad the creator’s took the time to flesh out a brand new character for the lead, rather than just creating a carbon copy of Aang.  As evident from this episode, Korra still has a lot to learn about being the Avatar.  But boy is it going to be a blast to see her do it.

Score: 8.5 out of 10

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Loose Ends:

-Man, I hope the homeless bush guy is a recurring character…he was hilarious.

-I so far find Tenzin’s kids to be annoying but, knowing this series, I’m sure I’ll eventually find them endearing.

-Well some fans had problems with it, I love the setting of the series; it’s basically The Last Airbender, but in the 20’s; gangsters, cars, radios, jazz, and all.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I think that’s really badass.

-The man baddies of the show, the equalists, are great so far.  I can’t wait to find out more about Amon, the leader of the group.  If Avatar’s good at anything, it’s creafting a good bad guy (as evident from Zuko and later Azula in the original series).

-Speaking of Zuko, here’s my first theory about Amon…he’s Zuko’s son.  Not only would this be a great way to bring Zuko’s lineage into the fold, but it would also be cool on a thematic level; Zuko’s son and Aang’s reincarnated soul (essentially his daughter) being enemies sounds pretty great in my books.  

-So if the hits support it, TMP will review this show on a weekly basis.  So do what you did for The Walking Dead and refresh this page like a hundred times.  Because, be honest; no more than two people were reading those Walking Dead reviews, right?

-In conclusion, polar bear dogs are badass.  That is all.