Ongoing Investigations: Case #176

I was lucky that I only recently finished up the original Avatar: The Last Airbender, it had me very excited for the new series Legend of Korra. The entire season was impressive because it was strong on story and character from the first episode onwards. I was completely invested and it just kept getting better and better. Overall I was really happy with the season.

The best part of the show was the amazing, strong and central female characters. Korra is very unlike Aang in her headstrong and aggressive behavior so watching her struggle for an understanding of airbending as well as the spiritual journey was rewarding. She doesn’t fully graps what it is be the Avatar and what it means to people yet. Korra runs into smart and powerful Lin soon after arriving in Republic City. Lin’s transition into ally is excellently earned. Then there’s Asami who, in a complete surprise to me, became my favorite character. From her driving skills to her martial arts to using the equalists weapons against them, Asami is so cool! Asami’s relationship with her father as well as her friendship with Korra and romance with Mako give her great complexity in trying to balance it all. To top it all off, none of leading women are white.

The season finale blew my mind, then blew it again, and then when I thought I knew what the next season would be about it blew it again!

Though there is something I found most weird about the ending to this first season, it didn’t leave me with any questions. Everything was wrapped up so tightly that I’m not really left wondering or wanting. It is an odd place to leave an audience knowing there is going to be another season. Still I’m looking forward to it, I just thought they could have left us with a few mysteries. Or at least the start of another plot thread as a teaser.

The Legend of Korra has some pretty big shoes to fill. Avatar: The Last Airbender was a series that generally received universal praise. Avatar had its crazy shippers, overly enthusiastic fan base, and some controversial plot points but was generally well-regarded as a solid piece of kid’s entertainment. In many ways The Legend of Korra continues the legacy for better or for worse. Also like Avatar the ending distinctly got people talking.

My major criticism of the ending is that you could almost feel the hand brake being thrown. I don’t want to go into spoilers but certain things seem to get resolved at the end both in the romantic department and with the narrative near the end that seem like they would have best been served being solved in the second season. I know that Korra was originally only planned to be one season but it seemed like they wrote a plot line that was supposed to continue into the second season and they decided that was a bad idea at the last second. It does make the first season a very complete package but you are left wondering if that was for the best.

I also liked my theories on what was up with Amon but I almost always like my theories more. Overall Amon’s identity was fairly good and was thematically interesting. Of all the things people have been complaining about Amon’s identity is probably the weakest point of attack. A reveal like that is never going to make everyone happy. It comes down to the fact that too many people equate “not what I though it was going to be” with “not a good choice.”

When all is said in done I have a good time with this season of Korra. While I wish they had kept more threads dangling for the next season I’m not going to let that damage my enjoyment of this season. I think it is some of the smartest kid television today and I look forward to the next season. I look forward to seeing how they build on what they created.

Want to hear us talk more about Korra? It’ll be in the next Speakeasy Podcast!

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The Show Must Go On

Your reaction to the ending of a series can be as varied as stars in the sky. By the end some  shows will make you laugh, cry, scream, scratch your head, or even wonder what feeling you have at all. At times you will fondly find catharsis in a series that comes to a satisfying conclusion while others will make you glad you never have to watch another episode of such a train wreck. But since anime can be nothing more than very elaborate commercial for a manga series you will sometimes get a show that just abruptly ends and assumes that you will run down to your local book store and get the conclusion there. Other times production decisions will cutting off a story before it can reach its scheduled resolution. This week we will be looking at five anime that for one reason or another ended at a place that left us both wanting more. We will also each pick one series the other has not seen as bonus as well.

In my earlier days, I remember watching shows and not knowing if there was more, or often assuming there was more because how could you end the story there! Of course I have since come to realize this happens a lot, you get just a taste, wish for more, and never do get it. So this is a celebration of titles that we want more of being aware that it might or more than likely might not happen. This is just the beginning of a list that certainly has many more titles to come.

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What do the characters we like say about us?

Apparently I am easier to read than a picture book. It seems that people are rather easily able to tell which characters I like from series that I watch. This revelation led Narutaki and I to have a long conversation not only about what types of characters we liked but what did it say about us as people. Do your favorite characters give you and others insight into who you are? Do they reflect any pattern in the types of friends you make or people you date? Do they say anything about how you view yourself or others? Narutaki and I are going to share three different charters that exemplify types of characters we enjoy and one oddball character that does not fit our standard categories. We then have a little challenge for all of our readers.

A good deal of us put a lot of love into the characters that we like and there is no denying that sometimes it can go over the top. But that is neither here nor there in this case. There are grand ideas abound! Specifically, I am constantly wondering just how much the characters people like actually say about them. And I move in wide circles from thinking it is the window to someone’s soul to convincing myself it means absolutely nothing, and then back again. It would be egregious not to mention that I am thinking about the personalities of characters rather than looks. Frankly, looks tell me nothing about anyone, sure I may be able to pick out another character they enjoy on the surface but it doesn’t delve very deep.¬† Now who a character is, there there might just be something to be learned about someone. To further matters along in a fun way, we will be giving you a glimpse at some of the characters that are near and dear to us. Happy analyzing!

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