10 Reasons The Legend of Korra Sucked More Than I Want to Admit

Avatar: The Last Airbender is my number-one favorite television show of all time, and not just in animation. It had incredible writing, beautiful animation, and characters that stuck with us when we saw those tragic words “The End.” So when I heard about The Legend of Korra, I was nervous. Spinoffs are more likely to fail than not, and it had a major name to live up to. But of course, I watched it. Sadly, my fears were justified.

Don’t get me wrong, Korra had some really good points and I’ll address them throughout this list. But I can’t deny that the bad far outweighs the good, and I think it’s time we fanboys admitted the truth: The Legend of Korra had a laundry list of problems.

10. It Could Be Surprisingly Dull

All images from Nickelodeon's "The Legend of Korra"
All images from Nickelodeon’s “The Legend of Korra”

This is low on the list because it’s only half true. Korra had some pretty awesome fight scenes and some intense moments, especially in the last two seasons. However, even then, it could get boring. Ironically, the non-action sequences rarely got dull. I like learning about the characters, the world, etc. Believe it or not, it’s the fight scenes that could be the most boring in a given episode.

Part of this is lack of creativity. In so many fight scenes, it’s punch, kick, repeat. Throw rock, punch fire, smack with water, all direct physical attacks. It got very repetative. The worst example was the end of season 2. A giant spirit Korra fighting a giant dark avatar in a massive showdown. And it was so DULL! How’d that happen? Because it was all punches and lasers. Rinse and repeat.

I think it’s also because the story got so familiar that you could predict the outcome without even trying. Let’s see, episode 3? Good guys get their butts kicked. Episode 5? Minor victory. Episode 10? Major defeat. Final episode? Good guys win. The circumstances didn’t have to change. The same fight would have different results depending on how far along in the season it was.

9. Worst. Avatar. Ever. 

Korra 9

I liked Korra from the get-go. “I’m the avatar! You guys deal with it!” That’s her motto and her first line. It instantly told us who she was and how she differed from Aang.

And then she stayed that way for four seasons. The show kept trying to tell me Korra was growing, but I didn’t see that at all. She always punched first and asked questions later, even by the time she really should have learned a thing or two. Watching her shrug off the advice of he elders and fall for pathetic traps really got old after a while. At some point, she stops being quirky and starts being an idiot.

A brash, immature character can be a good starting point, but they have to grow in some way. Or, you have to go all the way with it, like Toph. Korra wanted to have its cake and eat it, too.

And why, why, WHY didn’t she use her Avatar State more often?!

8. The Avatar Itself Got Kinda Lame

Korra 8

In season 2, we learned just what the Avatar is. But as often happens, explaining the magic kills the magic.

Right off the bat, it made the Avatar look more vulnerable. It’s not his power, but a spirit’s. It can be taken out and destroyed. Hmm, let me guess what the bad guys are going to do in this season…

And you know what? Outside of that season, explaining Rava didn’t really have any ramifications. Everything stayed the same except that she couldn’t contact her past lives. Of course if you go that route, you’re kind of destroying the avatar, which is whole reason the show exists, isn’t it?

All in all, going deeper into the mythos of the avatar proved to be a bad idea. It gave an explanation, but killed the wonder. Darn you, science!

7. Team Avatar SUCKS!

Korra 7
Despite four seasons together, it’s hard to find them all in the same picture. Tight group my butt.

Remember how Bolin disappeared for most of Season 2? That tells you how important he is. And while he’s a funny guy, the writers didn’t have anything else for him. Because of this, no matter what happened, he tried way too hard to be funny and after a while, I was actually screaming at the TV, “STOP BEING FUNNY!” which I’ve never said before. Sokka was funny, but he was also a human being.

Asami was better. I liked her chemistry with Korra (didn’t see that series finale coming, though) and I liked how she was smart and could defend herself. Yet despite all this, Asami was really good at sitting around and doing nothing. I kept asking why she didn’t fight more. When she did, she was awesome. What happened?

Mako…Mako. Mako is the most useless character on the show. He had no character at all. Remember when he told his background about losing his parents and growing up on the street? Take away that background. Does it change his character at all? No, it doesn’t. He’s the same bland, blank slate. He did okay with the detective schtick, but that dried up. Nothing about him stands out and his relationship with Korra was so forced I almost cried.

And the worst part was how all these characters got their butts handed to them regularly. Neither Bolin or Mako were especially good fighters and if the show had taken an underdog approach, I might have gone with it. But no, they just suck…unless the plot says otherwise. When that happens, suddenly all of these guys whip out their inner badass and take charge. That’s bad writing.

6. Poorly-Written Villains

Heaven help me he was scary, though.
Heaven help me he was scary, though.

Name this villain: a stoic madman who gained power and a personal army which they used to hurt and destroy while claiming altruistic goals. He/she could easily defeat the Avatar in a fight, but only until the plot said otherwise. Korra finally defeated this person, but learned something from them and changed the world anyway.

You can’t figure it out, can you? That’s because it was ALL OF THEM! Every villain could be boiled down to the same basic makeup. The only difference between any of them is one had boobies. A good series has a variety of villains. Avatar had a power-mad overlord, a repentant prince, a cold and powerful warrior princess, non-bending henchmen, an admiral more interested in personal glory than his nation, and traitorous Earth Nation leaders. That’s variety.

Even the side villains were lamer. Combustion Man had no character, no dialogue, and only one trick. And he was awesome. Combustion Lady had a love interest, a voice actress, and emotional depth. And she was boring. How do you do that? Simple…

5. It was too Fanfic-y

Korra 5

But it wasn’t a fanfic of Avatar, it was a fanfic of itself. I call that the Doctor Who effect.

Stuff just happens. There’s often little buildup, little reason, and little reward. This show wanted to have awesome moments without really earning them. You want an example? *deep breath*

Amon has a brother? Awesome, now we can force some sympathy for him! How did Korra air bend after Amon took her bending? If spirits are running wild, why haven’t we seen them til now? Korra lost her memory? Seriously? Vaatu can take Rava out of Korra? How did he know that? Why couldn’t she do it? If Rava and Vaatu cannot truly be killed, how did Korra do it? Spirits and humans are going to coexist? What effects will this have? *crickets* Airbending is back? How? How did Zahir know so much about air bender culture if he wasn’t one before? Was he just studying it all in hopes of gaining bending someday? How and why did Mako get saddled with Prince Wu? How’d Koriva make that giant mech without anybody noticing?

But most of my qualms have to do with Korra. She learned that air bender evasiveness on a dime. When Amon took her powers, it was an identity crisis for Korra, but one instantly resolved by Aang. Who she never talks to again for whatever reason, even when she can. After Rava is defeated, Tenzin tells Korra to sit in a spirit tree to learn more about herself, not as an avatar, but as Korra. She instead learns about absolutely nothing, but still gets to grow into a giant. And all her season-three PTSD is resolved with metal bending and a single conversation with Zahir.

Stuff just happens. That’s bad writing. And speaking of being fanfic-y…

4. The Cameos Suck

THIS show I might have watched.
THIS show I might have watched.

Look! Katara is in this show! And boy is she bland! Seriously, she grew up to become a wallflower. But look! Iroh is here! Even…though…he’s dead. And not voiced by Mako anymore. Ooh! Ooh! Zukko! He’s still alive! And doing absolutely nothing to the progression of the plot. My. I’m so glad we included these guys.

I’ll admit that Toph was perfect. And the flashbacks of Aang were good, especially that photo of and older and being just as goofy as his younger self. Even that one scene with Sokka showed he was still himself (one time, me and my boomerang…).

Still, half of the cameos were just that: cameos. They were there for fanservice, not because they had anything to do. Now that’s fine, except that the story tried to actually use them in some way and proved the writers didn’t know how. Cameos are fun, but either keep it simple or use them well.

3. The Show Killed Bending

Korra 3

Bending was dying out long before Amon came in. In Avatar, bending made the world go round. It pushed trains, flew balloons, opened doors, built fortresses, and so much more. How does the world go round in Korra? Technology. You no longer have to bend to do anything. Just grab a car, flip a switch, or whatever.

Can I just say, “LAAAAAAAMMMMMEEE!” Bending was awesome! The creativity the writers displayed was unparalleled. It defined the whole world. There were four cultures built around bending. And you replaced that with America? You suck!

When I saw Zaofu, the metal city, I rejoiced because once again, bending made the world. Other than that, benders have nothing to do but fight. Pro Bending actually seems like an insult to benders everywhere. “Here, we don’t need you anymore, but we can exploit your efforts to make millions in entertainment.” Cars, dynamite, electricity, what happened to the rich and colorful world we used to love?

2. Deus…Ex…Machina. 

If anybody can adequately explain to me what happened in this scene, I'll give you a cyber-hug.
If anybody can adequately explain to me what happened in this scene, I’ll give you a cyber-hug.

Oh, no! Amon took Korra’s bending away! Oh, but she can air bend now. Was it because she learned the principles of air? No, she just punched like anything else. If only she’d tried that before…wait…

Oh, no! The evil Vaatu has escaped! And he killed the Avatar spirit! But it’s okay, Tenzin just happens to know that this tree Vaatu was in is super-spiritual and can help Korra become a giant spirit with the power to fly at light speed to find and fight Vaatu. Neat!

Oh, no! The dark Avatar is about to eliminate Korra! But look! Jinora is here! And she’s…doing…some kind of spirit thing. I don’t know what she’s doing. And she isn’t explaining herself. Okay, the episode’s over now and there was no explanation. But the dark Avatar is dead and the light spirit is back…so…who needs explanation, right? Wait, I thought the light spirit said neither of them could be destroyed…

Oh, no! Air nomad culture is down to four people. But wait! Spiritual mumbo-jumbo means air bending is back! No generations of effort required! Whew!

Oh, no! The good guys are surrounded by Kovira’s goons! That’s okay, Toph is here! When in doubt, send in the old show!

Avatar may have been sprinkled with deus ex machinas, but Korra got baptized in them.

1. The Wasted Potential

Korra 1

Korra had the same creators as Avatar. They had a great new avatar who stood out big time and captured my heart. Team Avatar seemed natural. We got to see air nomads doing their thing. There were some really good fight scenes. It was often quite funny. There were some genuine threats not only to the cast, but to the world of Avatar. They even pulled it together for a satisfying series finale.

But they still botched it. This show had incredible potential, especially for a spinoff, but for all the reasons listed above, it fell apart. To me, that’s sadder than a show that just sucks through and through. Seeing what a show could be and then seeing it fall short is like seeing the oasis just before you die of thirst in the desert.

Yeah, the show did have good parts, a lot of them, actually, but it had way, way, way too many bad ones for me to say that it was a good show throughout. I own Avatar and want watch it at least once a year. I have no plans to watch The Legend of Korra ever again.

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189 thoughts on “10 Reasons The Legend of Korra Sucked More Than I Want to Admit

    1. I completely agree. It annoys me so much because Korra started out with so much potential with the main protagonist, antogonist, music and art direction. But all that goes by the wayside by the end of the 1st season till the end of show. I was so bored of the show that I didn’t bother watching the last 2 episodes. I watch ATLA at least once a year but with LOK and the avatar movie I completely forget its existence and don’t consider it as part of the avatar universe. LOK is the star wars of the prequels for avatar universe. It leaves such a bad taste that they end the universe (in animated form) with this show.

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    2. After binge watching TLA again. I decided to get LOK a chance, after refusing to watch it when it debuted because of the dreadfully boring first episode. I also agree with everything you said. But let’s not forget that we NEVER found out if Zuku found his mother. I watched all these horrible seasons just to find out if they say anything and they do in the first episode or two before being cut off. Where’s my answers?? So many loose ends it’s mind boggling. And speaking of endings WTF is up with the whole sudden relationship between korra and asami. No problem with them with each other, but there was literally nothing that showed how and when they so called “fell in love”. Very disappointed in this series.

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      1. read the graphic novels, they explain everything about Ursa. Also they’re short and to the point so its not a hassle to read them (like watching Korra is). As for the Korra/Asami thing, looking back it makes sense, but at the time the ending seems idk, forced. The fact that Korra only wrote to Asami? that is a bit of a give away

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    3. I agree.The legend of Korra is too modern for me…And Avatar:The last airbender had more adventures than this piece of shit.Plus story is boring ,nothing special.

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    4. LOK Is a piece of disappointing shit and a disgrace to the Avatar series…I feel soo ashamed to even call korra an avatar…lol,Bolin was much like a boxer

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    5. LOK Is a piece of disappointing shit and a disgrace to the Avatar series…I feel soo ashamed to even call korra an avatar…lol,Bolin was much like a boxer..a disgrace to earthbending

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  1. SO TRUE! Another reason is siimple: the lack of The last airbender writers, designers and directors, Dimartino and konietsko produce the show but suck writing

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  2. Wow thank you for saying this. It feels like every part of Korra’s structure is lacking and not developed well. Which results in a rushed, confusing, bland and shallow show that it ultimately became.

    Korra simply needed way more writers like the original.

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  3. I agree. Terrible show. The Last Airbender is also my favorite show all time. I’m own it all and will watch it for years to come with my children. But the Korra fiasco, I think I’ll let the kids discover that on their own; can’t endorse crap…after season 3 A:TLA, I’ll say “Wow! And that’s the end…no more. :P”

    I disagree with one part of your post though. The finale was NOT satisfying. Far from it. They did the whole really-big-villain shit they did in season 2… Season 2 took them off the air; maybe they did the same thing with the finale as a middle finger to the fans around the world. And don’t get me started on Kasami…

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  4. I think this just showed everyone how tremendous Aaron Ehasz was and his writing team for the Avatar Universe. Korra flopped around like a fish out of water and I disagree with the finale being satisfying. The ending felt more like a season finale rather than a series finale.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment. I thought the ending was exciting and actually used everybody well instead of just sitting on the sidelines. But yeah, it still had problems. Oh, Kovira’s sympathetic now? Sure…

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  5. The show is so bad that I wish it had no connection with the ATLA world, like it was in another universe.

    The Wan story is a background story, but honestly I’d rather not know the information of how the Avatar came to be because it was lame with the light and dark spirit squid thingies. They threw many miracles in the story and say it’s spirit magic without explaining how they happened.

    We got to see our old and beloved characters again, but they got lame. Again, I rather they just leave it out or something because it ruined the images of the character. I mean, Aang got a goatee; Katara got fat; Toph became a nasty-looking, old bag that dresses the same way she did as when she was in her teen years; Zuko reduced to an unimportant old man with a scar. To be fair, the characters in LoK were all lame.

    The setting with the technology ruined the spirit of Avatar where people lived with nature by using bendings to help them. It became a modern day America and that wasn’t what I wanted to see. It has lost that Asian feel to it, with people living with modesty, honor, and respect. I mean, the world of Avatar was that way for countless lifetimes of the Avatar, and then after Aang’s story it became a completely different world. I guess the best way to describe how I feel is WTF when I watch LoK. For example, that pro-bending sport was lame and the way Mako firebended like he was boxing was also lame.

    I give ATLA a 5/5, while LoK gets a 2/5. It’s that bad. I only watched it because I loved the original one so much.

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  6. And I forgot to mention the ending with Korra and the other girl holding hands walking into the light. LOL, that is so modern dayish. They tried so hard to copy real life. I have nothing against same-sex couples, but damn, I don’t want to see that in Avatar, a show that revolved around honor and stuff.

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    1. Even LGBT fans don’t like the ending. The shit came out of nowhere. I shipped makorra in the beginning (with room for Borra). Makorra was so cliche but they had the time and potential to t do something and at least make it seem less cliche (so many scenarios that could’ve played out after the break up). The same could be said for Korrasami and Borra.

      ATLA had all the factors and they executed them perfectly. You could feel the drama experienced every episode. Characters were believable and developed throughout the series. Romance (while expected) was well written and lovely. The action that took place was all consuming. The explanations of the spirit world made sense.

      LoK was had a terrible plot. Nothing was connected. It was choppy. There was no struggle. ATLA had a struggle that went through the entire series.

      The legend of Korra was terrible. Korea is the worst Avatar and hopefully if the writers make another installment they will redeem themselves and implement the elements that made The Last Airbender so great

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  7. I feel like the Season 2 finale really nailed the coffin. I liked the first season because they kept to the familiar old formulas but still tried new stuff. (A bit of both usually equals perfection, hence) the end of Season 2 with Vaatu technically she destroyed the world because the balance was broken she opened the spirit world tipping the scale to them. It looks like a ‘how you look-at it’ at first but logically leaving it closed makes more sense. For me the completely screwing the formula and lore of the old show and replacing it with politics that have no business being in a child’s show killed it for me.

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  8. Greg Baldwin replaced Mako as Uncle Iroh long before Korra even started. In fact he did most of season 3 in the original show. Greg Baldwin has always done a fantastic job so that one point was a very weak and lame argument. Having said that, Korra has been a very weak, pointless and boring show since it began. Season one was good, but season two was very disappointing. I’m on season 3 now and I’m not feeling inclined to finish it. I enjoyed the rest of your post so thanks.

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  9. Two words: Aaron Ehasz. That’s who Legend of Korra was missing. Legend of Korra was on par with the Star Wars prequels because of how bad it was.

    > original writer(s) working on the show/movies alone without any help
    > forgetting what made the original series/trilogy so great
    > butchering all of your past characters
    > all your new characters are lame, too
    > destroying your own lore because you wanted a more “scientific” explanation. (Midichlorians/Vaatu and Raava)
    > Plot armour/deus ex machina all the way through

    I still had hope at the beginning of Season 4. And then the characters basically just started preaching towards the audience that if your enemy is threatening you with a nuclear bomb, then you should make no attempt to stop it because that’s an attack on THEM.

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    1. Ooh, comparing it to the Star Wars Prequels? Ouch! But you make some seriously good points. Korra seemed like it was trying to send messages (lots of messages) without working them into the story well. Avatar gave messages because they were PART of the narrative (i.e. can Aang kill the Firelord?).

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      1. Yeah to me it’s summed up as boring and ineffective council meetings consisting of boring people. As soon as I saw the first council meeting that had Tenzin (who is still pretty boring despite being one of the better characters) I got icky star wars prequel flashbacks.

        And when I think about it, it defines any type of discussion that takes place in the whole series that moves the plot forward in meaningful way. All of it is really boring.

        You have a good point also ink. The original series never felt like it was ever trying to preach to you because it was so well woven together.

        Since this is the only discussion that I actually see real criticism being discussed about Korra, I’ve been stalking this place. I just wish more of this level of analysis was done on fan sites without the fanboys. It’s a shame really.

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  10. I honestly think that “shipping” (it pains me to use that word) ruined the LOK story. That’s all anyone even cared about right to the end. The whole sudden relationship between Korra and Asami just put the icing on the cake. Also, the resolution of problems in the show were completely lazy and poorly executed. Between Tarrlok going last second good guy, Jinora doing the weird spirit glow thing in season 2( still have no clue at all how the hell she did it), su “miraculous” metalbending of Korra’s poison, or Kuvira’s sudden surrender, I honestly can’t believe I stuck around to the end. There’s about 3 or 4 years of my life I’m not getting back.

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    1. See, I got lucky and watched it all in retrospect, so I could knock out several at once and only waste weeks instead of years. 😀 But yeah, the biggest thing of LOK I see on the internet is probably shipping, whether Korra x Asami or Korra x Mako or whatever. LOK almost seemed like a fanfic of itself (I think I said that in the main post, but in case I didn’t, there it is).

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  11. FUCKING THANK YOU, ALL my nutty friends think this was the greatest show on Earth, and i kept thinking if I was the only one that absolutly hated the crap out of the show. THANK you for writing this, and i will definitely share this

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  12. I do have to admit, the only time i was at the edge of my seat with Korra was when they were explaining the Origins of the Avatar. It was the only time the show has ever captured my attention. And Combustion Man is on my top 5 favorite characters 🙂

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  13. Also you forget something… every A:TLA episode was an entirerly new thing by itself. A whole new reality. Not literally, but metaphorically.

    Every episode was the most dramatically magnificent golden INNOVATIVE masterpiece of new existence of creativity and episodes in the first two Season don’t connect too much at all and they don’t have to because they are remarkably brilliant that way.

    We have Sokka and Katara passing Water Tribe tests along with Aang to become according to their traditions, adults, and then we have at the next one the Siege of the North for example with soldiers preparing for war and Sokka accurately pointing out that the Fire Nation soldier uniforms the Northern Water Tribe has are pretty obelete. I am saying this as an example, not as fact. If you want it as a example and a fact then watch the “Southern Raiders” and then “Ember Island Players”. That’s DAMN godly. The transition. Everything.

    I am not saying Korra isn’t a good show, but it doesn’t do justice to our all-godly top-notch masterpiece at all. LoK is a sterilized, corrupted and stiff version of A:TLA with full contradictions. The Spirit World concept was completely destroye and it was made like Wonderland which is ridiculous.

    I can go on.

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  14. This is the perfect synopsis of the entire show. I’m not going to lie when this show was originally announced I was excited but after watching all four seasons of this so called spinoff I was done.i had nothing against a female avatar I thought this would be a good thing for all viewers but I didn’t like how korra didn’t learn a thing stubborn and reckless always fist first she had no growth what’s so ever and what really pissed me off was each main villain literally physically and emotionally BROKE HER she was basically on the verge of death each time. This show had to many references to hitler. Mako and bolin useless characters who both had no character development just dull and bland. Korrsami thing came out of nowhere which I have nothing against but it made no sense to throw that in at the end. I liked the idea of raava and vaatu but the made it so easy to kill one another like so the avatar spirit can be ripped out. Korra never asked Aang for guidance but rather allowed herself to get caught and have the avatar cycle be completely broken.the bottom line is that this show had so much potential but that potential was thrown into the garbage this show is basically a fanfic on tumblr no wonder nick to this off the air

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    1. Plus the Raava & Vaatu fight lasted ONLY 5 DAMN MINUTES. LIKE ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?!?!? THE EMBODIMENT OF EVIL AND THE EMBODIMENT OF GOOD FIGHT OFF FOR 5 DAMN MINUTES. The Fire Lord fight lasted 6 WHOLE EPISODES in TLAB, it was such a damn disappointment and again more wasted potential. The creators literally half assed EVERYTHING and just put in what they got in fan mail. Each Episode of TLAB DID have meaning and beauty, EVEN THE MINISODES where they showed a different point of view of each character’s day and what they did in their day when they were all in the Earth Kingdom. They Made Momo’s Story (The damn flying Monkey’s) Story the most EPIC of all when he free’d the alley cats from being on the chopping block and we later find the FIRST EVIDENCE of Appa when he was missing with his Giant footprint.

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  15. I agree completely. The whole premise didn’t sit well me because it had to kill of aang, and the whole show seemed to make me want to hate it. At least no Aaron Ehasz means I can write it off as non-continuous as result of change in writing entity. The retcons were absurd. Korra remembers teapot but can’t remember raava. Ok. Avatar state is nerfed and forgotten to create plot. Please. Then origins goes and basically turns the Avatar into a host body. With the original spirit of the planet human incarnate thing the avatar was actually an avatar, but as the host body for raava the avatar is now a host body. In short: Host Body: Legend of Korra was a wierd fan fiction written by the creators.

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    1. Haha, love that last bit. Yeah, it bugged me, too. And I may have actually watched a slightly grown-up Gaang, but honestly it needed to be left alone. Let good things die an honorable death.

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      1. I would’ve liked to have a seen a non-serious continuation that just shows the peaceful and goofy lives of the Gaang as they try to adapt to their new roles. I would’ve liked to have seen Sokka’s reaction to Aang and Katara getting together for instance or Toph trying to find a boyfriend. It’s vibe I imagine would be like Tales of Ba Sing Se. And written by the original team of course otherwise we all know it would suck.

        Bryke would probably throw in some stupid foreshadowing their shitty tech dominated world that’s right around the corner and make Toph a lesbian out of nowhere. Not that there is anything wrong with her being one of course but that’s simply not Toph. She always had the hots for guys.

        And I agree with the OP of this comment too. I hated how Bryke just threw out Aang and the amazing world that he lived in like it was just some contemporary thing like an older version of some corporate product like an IPHONE. God I hate Korra the more I think about it and it makes me sad too.

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  16. Brilliantly written, and I agree 100%. I think one of my main gripes with the sequel is just how poorly connected everything is. The plot, the characters, the story, the setting… I usually say this to anyone who is familiar with Bioware games: ATLA is Dragon Age: origins. LoK is Dragon age 2: one has an adventure that spans and shows us an entire world, full of culture, people, characters and mystery that doesn’t need to be explained to enhance the setting. The other is literally stuck in a city, with the occasional skirmish outside, tries to compensate the shit story with flashy action, retcons previous things and just overall blows.

    But the biggest offender that so many have already touched upon, is Raava and Vaatu. Instead of the avatar being the embodiment of the world trying to balance its people (which was the sole mission of the avatar: keep the peace between the Four Kingdoms), the avatar is now merely a host for a light spirit that is, by nature, good: it takes away balance. It takes away choice. It turns the Avatar into a mere tool (and don’t get me started on how raava tells Wan how they’re bound for eternity, only to be ripped out of korra faster than a cabbage from the cabbage man’s cart) and it her choices aren’t done because they, the choices, are right for the balance, but because it’s in the spirit’s nature. I can’t really formulate this better but… for ATLA, with its heavy Asian themes and spirituality, it’s the balance that matters. In LoK, with it’s American, “fresh new tech world” themes, it’s being right, but not balance.

    Also Aaron’s and his wife, Elizabeth’s, absence from the show was so goddamn glaring it hurt my eyes. She wrote Azula, and you can tell that no character in LoK has even a thimble of her depth.

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    1. Phenomenal analysis on the whole Raava/Vaatu conflict. I was disappointed that they did that simply because it took away the wonder, but you added a viable new level to it. “Ripped out faster than a cabbage from the cabbage man’s cart.” Priceless.
      If you’re interested, I’ll soon be doing discussion blogs on themes and inspirations from Disney movies, so analytical input would be most welcome. Thanks for the comment.

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      1. Hey, if you want, you can check out my “Comment” page (at the top of the website) to see my gmail and twitter accounts. I also do Facebook, but couldn’t work the link on that page, but I do give it out.

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  17. Omg thank you! I binge-watched A:TLA and had to force-watch LOK. Even the intro to the elements felt like they were using break dancing moves instead of actual martial arts. And the whole commentator bit was awful. In A:TLA they beautifully stitched together past scenes from previous episodes (not just the last one) and let the scenes themselves tell the story. Then they cut to Korra standing in front of an Aang statue as if to say she’s an Avatar of his caliber—not even close! And what a tease it was to include him (or his statue, rather) in that way and to barely get a glimpse of him in the series. If she’s not going to be connected to the previous Avatars, then don’t start the show with this imagery. They’re pandering to the fans, only as much as a repetitive intro will allow, without having to actually build a plot around Aang.

    The whole series screamed of laziness. It felt immobile. Most of the plot was contained & didn’t allow us to explore the new bending world, beyond the uses of industry and technology as some brand new shiny overlay. A:TLA had subplots, along with its main story arc. Each episode revealed a new town or village in the bending world, so that when we looked at the map that Kataara explained in the intro, we felt more connected to understanding it. And with each exploration of that world, brought new creative problems for our heroes to solve. Each challenge faced, whether brought on by teamwork or pitting them against each other, always developed character growth & would later be used in resulting shows. The challenges had a purpose, the lessons weren’t forgotten or thrown out as soon as they came. A:TLA took its time to develop its characters and slowly added on new characters to Team Avatar or to the Villain side. In the beginning of LOK, we’re introduced to every character the series intends to create (aside from minor villains) and even these characters are flat or not used very often. They’re merely cardboard cut-outs pulled out like hat tricks anytime they needed a device to move along the plot.

    The relationships sucked the most! They’d break up as quickly as they got together, there was no tension built up enough to wanna care abut who ended up with who. And for a strong character like Asami to just roll over & play dead, anytime Mako changed his mind about who he wanted to be with, irked me so much! It was so easy for Bolin to have a major crush on Korra and then forgive both of them for going behind his back? Why? B/c the fate of a game depended on them moving on? Really? There’s no underlying resentment or petty jokes made at their expense? They totally could’ve milked that plot some more, but really the whole Bolin-crush was just a device used to force Mako to pay attention to Korra. She’s not worth the trouble on her own merits, just when she becomes a competitive catch. I’m still on Season 3, but I’m not sure I can force myself to continue watching. Korra is immature and useless, I could expect her bullheadedness more if she was a Fire Tribe. But she’s not, you’d think she’d be more go-with-the-flow like Sokka. Heck, even Kataara acted more responsible and was more thoughtful in most situations. Kataara was kick-ass even with just being a water bender. Sokka was awesome with just a boomerang and a sword. But Korra is a poor excuse for an Avatar. She would’ve never been able to duke it out with the likes of Azula, so I’m having a hard time rooting for her. The political and spirit-uniting plots are dull. All the creative magic is gone. Any use of spiritual magic feels forced. Other than Beginnings, the act of bending or interacting with spirits came too easy.

    There’s more that I have to complain about, but this is becoming more of a book than a rant, so I’ll quit while I’m ahead. Thanks for reading if you got this far, and kudos for watching the whole series. You have more tolerance than I do.

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    1. Wow, thanks for the impassioned reply! If you’re only on season 3, you’ve got a ways to go. Aaaaand, sadly it doesn’t get much better. Interesting idea for the bad guys, but…not so interesting bad guys, however that works. How did Zahir learn so much about air bending before he was an air bender? HOWEVER! Hope is one the way! The metalbending city feels like a return to Avatar form, building a world out of bending. Sadly, Season Four’s villain is hilariously familiar. When you slowly zoom in on a militant character staring intently at a war board, you’re pretty much putting up a flashing neon sign saying, “THIS IS THE BAD GUY!!!”

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    2. I don’t know how this comment somehow slipped past me but I have to say that this is another really well thought out view. I have to agree with everything and couldn’t have said it better myself.

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    3. My main problem with Korra and Bolin was that it ended with complete inconclusiveness (also because I relate to Bolin on some significant level). There was no final talk, no explanation, no “hey Bolin here’s why I think it won’t work” – it just ends with no conclusion and everyone moves on as if nothing happened, as if he wasn’t so heartbroken that he basically got drunk and was up all night at the restaurant, all for the cliche choice. I noticed many, many silly plot devices meant to move the story along quickly, but after Book 1, I simply couldn’t suspend my disbelief anymore.

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      1. That episode where Bolin saw Korra kissing Mako was rife with potential but dropped the ball into Mr. Cliche’s garden. “Oh, I don’t like you. I just want to protect someone. Which is code for I totally love you.” Haven’t seen that before. Why not just have it be a one-way relationship in which Mako actually is looking out for his brother’s feelings? It fit with what was happening, it showed him being a brother (i.e. a character), it hit Korra in her overeager ego, and still would make Bolin jealous and sad. Without hitting all the usual buttons. Freaking show.

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      2. Alright, I just watched Episode 5 again, and unfortunately, I was wrong. There IS a conclusion, at 22:27, THAT’s how it ended. I wish I was wrong, because now it’s even more heart-wrenching.

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  18. Wow, I didn’t read any of the other comments and I realize that this was posted a long time ago but I have to say this. The above 10 reasons Korra was garbage are PURE GOLD. You sir nailed it on the head. Every negative thought I EVER had about the show was put in that list. Every…last…one. I don’t even know where to begin because you said it all already. I feel like the only thing I can bring attention to is Zuko. Zuko was in the FIRST EPISODE as a hot headed teen, who had no respect for his uncle and no desire to relax in his hunt for the avatar. Zuko’s journey was truly epic. It changed him, and the writers allowed the audience to change right there with him. Although Zuko is one character in a vast series, I feel like his story shows the true flaws in ‘The Legend of Korra’. I FELT NOTHING FOR ANYONE OR ANYTHING. I know it’s harsh but it’s the truth. So many people want to call us stubborn fans who can’t accept new ideas. I have no problem with new ideas. I DO have a problem with ideas that AMOUNT TO NOTHING! All the cool stuff about the spirit world and bending and the Avatar was so….. so underplayed and under explained. And thus, nothing in the show felt real or meaningful to me. Every cool thing that happened was just another random godsend that saved the heroes from total failure. If it weren’t for these godsends, no one would have succeeded at all. I’m still not explaining myself well but maybe whomever is reading this understands anyway. The Last Airbender had a pretty easy to understand plot to begin with. But the writers used that time to build strong character-character connections as well as strong character-audience connections. I was SO MAD at Zuko when he betrayed Katara in the Earth Kingdom because they worked to build up Zuko as a changed man since his arrival with his uncle. Then, after the writers had genuinely fooled us, BOOM! They hit us with a very well done curve ball. I never saw anything like that in The Legend of Korra at all. This is only one flaw in the show but it relates to the whole problem. A great show moves the audience emotionally. It changes the way you feel and makes you invested in the outcome of the series. I watched Korra out of respect for the first series. But I knew how everything was gonna go before it happened. Every character transformation was so rushed and obvious that by the time it happened I was pissed that it took so long. Zuko took THREE EFFING BOOKS to change his ways. Bolin was a doofus who magically summoned his lava bending (WTF IS THAT ANYWAY? LAVA? come ON dude. I’ve only ever seen Roku do that stuff because it’s closer to FIRE than anything. Mako should have done lava bending) and Bolin stayed that way the whole series. Mako was a heartbreaking cool kid THE WHOLE SERIES. I thought for sure that Asami would turn evil due to Korra and Mako but NOPE, she stayed the way she was THE WHOLE SERIES. I could go on about painfully static plot and characters (and bending fights) all day. I think the only development that moved me EVEN SLIGHTLY was between Ju-Lee and Veric. Anyone else? Even though I saw this coming a mile away just like all the other developments, it hit me harder because Ju-Lee had always been some comical assistant in the background and I NEVER expected the final episode to involve her wedding to Veric. THAT’S THE KIND OF TWIST WE NEED IN A SHOW! I got the same feeling when the white lotus turned out to a all the awesome masters that helped Team Avatar and Zuko’s Uncle the Dragon of the West! No one turned out special in my eyes at all in the Legend of Korra. no one…..

    Everything in that show was half baked. I, too, watch The last Air Bender every year at least. I have to watch it right now so I can wash away the Korra taste. I would rather watch a show with half the characters and problems and awesome development, than a show exploding with content but for no reason.

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    1. Thanks for the awesome feedback! I agree that Zuko’s betrayal in Book 2 was a total shock and stirred me something fierce. I wanted those same moments with the Korra cast, but it was hard to feel anything. I will say that the lavabending made sense to me because lava is technically molten rock, not fire itself. Like vapor is water and not air. I liked that, but the lavabender himself? Funny, but literally nothing else to him. And yeah, White Lotus? Oh, they can suck now because the plot says so. Thanks again for the feedback.

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      1. Sorry guy but I can see every fault in your arguments but I’m so tired and this is the night so just saying I love Avatar and Korra and this is a perfet continuation and also your opinions is very subjective. And contrary as you say, KORRA LEARN!!! So goodnight

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  19. Sorry guys But the legend of Korra is Worthing to aside with Avatar, Steven Universe, Gravity falls and other. It’s an excellent animation show and whatever you say you can change it. I can make a speech for what your wrong but I’m tired and it’s night right now so GOODBYE.

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  20. I dont think I’ve ever gotten tired of Avatar the Last Airbender, but i felt sick to my stomach after force feeding LoK down m throat…

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  21. What I mean Marzipan its I’m not good for long speech but I see other advice in this show and theirs agreed with my feeling. And also contrary for ALL of you I am not exagerrated attempts for Korra. She is not inferior, not superior to Avatar. She’s his equal with his own values, characters and storytelling. This is the last time I’m come here. Goodbye and Happy Christmas.

    PS: You know James treated a show a pure garbage is VERY subjective. It’s your choice to not like Korra fine but me I see character development in Korra, Mako, Bolin, Varrick, Zhu Li, ETC… and the show very surprise me( like the giant mecha or Zaofu)

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  22. All right now I know that I’m pretty dang late compared to you guys, but there are some points that I also want to add. The entire series as a whole doesn’t deserve a 4/10, season two specially just felt waaay out of anything.. and aside from the hoopla doopla giant dark unalaq and blue Korra and their flying kites.. there are many things that lack deepness and explaination.. WHY did you have to rip Raava -Which shouldn’t have even existed- out of Korra and destroy her, to convince you that Korra’s now “all alone”? Bitch it’s not like she tried to talk with anyone of them avatars except that time when she lost her bending, which brings me to my second point.. you sir are correct for saying Korra had no sign of character progression, but you should also blame her poor surroundings and the super unecessary simplifying of the plot, all what Aang did is just tell her one sentence and press on her forehead and BOOM her powers are back… back in A:TLA this shit had to be learned.

    May I also add on how bad was she as a character and a fighter? In 85% of the fights another person had to do all the work, that is if she didn’t get her butt kicked, she’s bossy, selfish, immature, blames everyone, and disrespectful..

    I feel like they WANTED you to hate her or something.

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  23. Yeah but dont forget one of the biggest mistakes was making it modern why is it so boring?Maybe because we are living in it cars blimps factories are all here thats why the medieval stuff is so epic the imagination takes over

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  24. Love your post man. I really hate LoK, not because it is that bad of a show on its own. I hate it, mainly because it spat on the legacy of its own franchise

    Let us look at AtLA from a different angle. I really appreciated the show because, aside from an amazing show, it managed to teach audiences a lot about eastern philosophy, spirituality, and culture in general.
    1. The balance in the world, the two sides of the coin, the meaning of the elements, how to embrace and master them, spirits, oh it was beautiful.
    2. Bending, also, was so deeply developed, intertwined with the characters and the mythos. I believe the sign of a truly well written mythology is when you let it sound like a fairytale, but you can see how it might have actually, kinda, been that way. All four elements were teached to the humans by ancient beasts, like the dragons teached firebending, or how the Moon teached the people to waterbend. Was it actually tought, or did the humans simply learn by observing? What kind of a role did spirits (like the moon) have in all of this? By not telling us, the origibs of bending is shrouded in mystery and legends, and this is exactly how it should be! We should never have got an answer for all of that. Wonders is a part of the world, speculating about the answer is half the fun. That is a very important thing for children, yound and old, to experience.
    3. And let us not forget how Aang dealt with his final mission, to stop Ozai. The way his love for Kataara fought against the principals of spirituality, how his duty towards the world fought with his believes of peace and pacifism. We were torn apart right with him. And at the end, at the pinnacle of his power, Aang basically rewrote the rules, reaching within Ozai’s soul itself, to literally castrate his spirit from the power of bending. It was phenomenal, it was simply perfect. That is the true power of the Avatar.

    LoK completely destroyed all of that!
    1. By making a “good” squid and a “bad” squid, the entire purpose of balance was destroyed. The struggle between light and darkness is the very nature of existence in the world of Avatar, this fight is never over, and never one sided. You simply cannot have embodiments of good and evil in a world like this, because it goes against the spiritual belueves of eastern cultures. This is clearly a washed down interpretation of someone with western believes, whith terms like God and devil, of an eastern concept. I am not bashing christian believes, far from it, they do not fit the show, that’s all! Also, by having the human and spirit world combined, even linked in the past, the whole mystery of this place is erased.
    2. Oh my God the turtles, how much I hate these things. Who thought giving these giant monsters the ability to “grant” bending was a good idea? Flying bysons, the giant earth diggers, the dragons, they are completely pointless now. Also, people living on these things… No, just no. This could work in other shows, but not here. It contradicts older, better written lore. Not to mention that the specialist bending powers was extremely rare, appearing after intense training and immersion into ones element. No, “it looks cool” is not reason enough to equip everyone with broken powers. Toph had felt the earth her entire life, seen through it, and in her darkest hour she realised that earth lives in metal as well. Metalbending used to send chills down our spine, cheer at the TV. Now there is an entire police force of Metalbenders? And they all look almost indentically? You downgraded the pinnacle of Earth bending to top tier fodder level. Wow, just… Wow.
    3. This is the point that made me lose my sh$&t when watching this show. I know people can argue for hours, how blood bending could technically, possibly, do some stuff to your chi flow or whatever. It doesn’t matter. The fact that you could argue in favor of a point, does not chanhe the fact that it is acinibe. Aang accomplished the power to extract bending at the end of his journey, his greatest fight, in his strongest form, at the top of his wisdom and power. This show desecrated all of that, just to try and make a villain menacing. No, this was not menacing. This was not interesting. Bending should stay affected by the spirit of a being, not his freakin bloodflow. It was a pathetic powerup, for a pathetic villain, in a pathetic city, fighting a pathetic cast of characters. His goons though, they were nicely designed!

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    1. Wow. this show really ticks people off. I’ve seen others talk about the eastern mysticism vs the black-and-white simplicity before and I agree. Moral grays are fun and explaining the wonder takes it away. Thanks for commenting.

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    2. The original benders gaining their powers from the Lion Turtles doesn’t make badgermoles, the moon and ocean spirits, dragons, and flying bison meaningless. They gained their bending from the Lion Turtles, but then learned to control and refine it by learning from these sources. For example, after Wan gained firebending and was banished to the Spirit Wilds, he learned the movements of a dragon to create the Dancing Dragon form that we saw in the original series.

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      1. It is via a retcon. To make up for the lion turtle that basically served as a way for them to try and get around killing Ozai, they decided to update the lore to better fit it. Doesn’t make make it any less out of nowhere than it is.

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      2. The lion turtle in LoA stated that “in the era before the avatar, we did NOT bend the elements, but the energy within ourselves”. Not to mention that bending in LoK is freely given to humans, without struggle of learning it or having a genetic inclination towards it. LoK destroys the entire bending system while making it a wizard power that can be given and works immediately. All they have to do now is punch the air and voila, fire. If humans could earn bending so easily, there is no reason to learn it. And Wang dancing for 3 secs with a dragon is a pitiful arttempt to maintain the fassade that this is not total horse sht retcon. Bending used to be a technique that required genetics, skill and practise, even state of mind in order to function. LoK invalidates all that.

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    3. I agree with most of what you’re saying, but I don’t think that the idea of the metalbending police or amon taking bending was necessarily bad. The idea of the more modern world was that bending has evolved and things like metalbending and lightning bending are much better understood and can be taught (although I still dislike that Korra became a metalbender, and so easily as well. It maybe makes a bit of sense with her natural ability for bending but it was still kind of just a random subplot to make her seem cooler).
      As for Amon, I like to view his ability to take bending as more of a “trick” than equivalent to Aang’s method. Aang’s is truly irreversible, it’s the power of the spirits, but Amon’s could potentially be undone with time or maybe even slowly decays until bending returns (bit of headcanon, but potential for what they could have done).

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      1. Some good thoughts, though it’s sad when fans do more headcanoning than the writers.
        I didn’t mind Amon or his bending-removal. I dislike the minutia of how the writers tried to scramble their way out of a plot hole because of it (Korra’s air bending).
        Thanks for contributing!

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  25. Wow. This was the best critique of the show I have seen. I liked LoK when I watched it, maybe because I was really excited and really wanted to at the time, but after repay hung ATLA, I realize how many flaws LoK had and you do a phenomenal job of explaining exactly what they are. There were some elements of LoK that I really enjoyed, but overall… I won’t be buying the DVD set and reward thing it like I do with the old Gaang. Thanks for writing this. Sorry I’m just now finding your site and commenting over a year later! 🙂

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    1. Thanks, and don’t worry about the timing. I’m STILL getting comments for this blog post to this day from other people, too. I must be one of the first people to hate this show publicly or something.

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      1. Maybe… I still see stuff on the Internet about how great it was, but I think after stepping away for a while and comparing the two, the first series by far outshines the second in SO MANY ways. Everything – character development, plots, everything. I think many of us really WANTED to like it because it was associated with ATLA – “Oh, it’s the Avatar! It’s Bryke! It HAS to be good! I’m loving it… this is good, right?” only now that some time has passed, we can really look at it with a critical eye. I really hope the creators see this article and those like it and can learn from it. And I understand there were a ton of production issues that influenced how the series turned out, but… I feel like some of it could have been overcome. I don’t know. It’s hard to say.

        I have something to say about the relationships aspect of the series too. I tried to buy into any relationship that was created, but I felt like all of it, every pairing or possible combination, seemed so forced, even the friendships, Team Avatar as a whole, like you said. Maybe it’s due to the lack of character development. I could go on, but since you didn’t touch on it much, I won’t go into it at this point. But I was really frustrated by all of it.

        I sort of wish the creators could say something like “Oops! Forget that series ever existed” and wipe our memories somehow and just do something totally different. It pains me to say it because I really wanted to love it.

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  26. I know I am late, but thank you for posting this. I thought I was one of the only ones who did not like this series. Also one thing that ticks me off about this series is that it had so much to work woith, but did nothing. Also this series was a perfect series to talk about westernization, but no we will be as lazy as possible.

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  27. You know how horrible of a person you are to go out of your way, your miserable, lonely way, and try to make a public effort to destroy the magic other people have in their lives? Everyone experiences everything differently. Let me ask, do you go down the street day to day… spitting in random strangers faces as well, just because they are smiling? Simply because you do not understand their inner joy? You talk about eastern cultures but from your rhetoric, and the rhetoric of those you agree with… says you have a lot of spiritual development ahead of you still to seek. I regret finding this article and I desire to express the fact that I don’t like you at all.

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    1. let me tell you something. The way you felt the need to express your disdain for the writer of this article, is the same emotion that led all of us here. The fact that someone put effort into writing this article shows that he/she cares deeply about his disappointment from this series.
      I will give you my example, Aang is one of my fav shows of all time, I love it. I could write articles about how good it is. Korra on the other hand I hate. A lot in fact. And almost everywhere I turn, I find people liking this show, and it just feels so strange to me. I can not believe that something this obviously and fundamentally flawed can have that much support. This is my opinion ofc, but I am able to defend this opinion with logical reasoning, so I think it has weight. I a GLAD that this article was made, or else I would feel alone and frustrated in my opinion.
      You are right to say that it is not nice to belittle other people’s work and enjoyment of a show. But you forgot two things: One, we are supposed to be adults, so “being nice” is completely insignificant here, this article is a critique, it is supposed to spit on Korra. If anyone gets really sad about us bashing Korra for its flaws, they should run home crying, or, here is an idea, write an article themselves about why this one is wrong. And Two, this article literally states that it is going to criticise Korra, everyone coming here has been warned. We are sitting here in or merry corner as the minority, and share our collective distaste for this stinking piece of shit that is Korra.
      You are claiming that it is not nice of us to bash this show, but this article is not showing itself into your face, you came here on your own terms. And now you want to invade our merry world and not give any constructive criticism about why we might be wrong, but just belittle us for expressing our opinion? That is hypocrisy one on one there.
      Look, you do not have to do anything constructive. It is your right to come here and bash us, as it is our right to bash a fictional work of art. It is not nice to do that, no. But it is our right, yours, and ours. So don’t try to take it from us, while you yourself are acting upon it.

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      1. I don’t get the positive reviews for the show from review outlets. The creators think LOK gets a lot of hate because of the fanbase for ATLA but imo I think LOK got so many favourable reviews because it was a sequel to avatar. As well being a unique western animated show. For all of it faults ( and there were many) it was a unique show at the time because there wasn’t many shows or animated shows like this, at least in the west. But that doesn’t stop it from being bad.

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  28. Thanks. Glad to see that I wasn’t the only one to critically analyze the show for everything that was wrong with it. It isn’t a bad show per se, only, that it receives too MUCH praise for its own good. The lesbian ending was just a spitball in my opinion, because none of it made sense and gave the very unfortunate implication that friendship between same sex people ultimately results in romance. That’s not how it works in real life, and continues the very exhausting trend of romantic relationships being poorly depicted in fiction. Plus, the characters were very lazily written and static, with little development, and if there was any, it was arguably poorly executed. I have no idea of Bryke was trying to make a social statement or not, but the hype was what killed it. Combining with the poor budget and poor writing staff, it was a disaster that had very little foreshadowing. After a while, I’m pretty sure people are going to look back on Korra and see it for what it really is; fanservice the series. I also have no reservation to bash the series as a whole as being somewhat condescending and patronizing to the lgbt community. Yeah, sure, whatever tumblr, just so you know, I’m not gonna date my best friend, and we’re both guys. I’m bi curious, if you’re wondering.

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  29. What really gets me is that it simple and completely changes the core idea of what made the original so good.

    No one gives a care about technology. And it didn’t really make any sense when thinking about it.

    If people were that in tune with nature and able to literally bend their environment to their will there’s no way that society would’ve wanted technology that bad. Tech made sense in the original because it was always motivated and fueled by war. Something that went against its whole theme of living within Nature and all of the elements. And even then that tech always to support bending, not take it away.

    It seemed like Bryke kinda knew that they could never make something as interesting as the original by themselves so they had to change it for the sake of it and added in a shallow projection of what our society became all the while literally forgetting about the world that they help create in the first place.

    What korra proves is that even the creators of something who get an amazing thing like Avatar up and running can only be a small part of why the show ends up being the way it is.

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    1. It’s sad, but true, even the best can drop a bomb. That’s why when everybody was clamoring for an 8th Harry Potter book, I was like “NO! It’s perfect as it is! Leave it alone!”

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      1. JK Rowling made an 8th story, but it’s actually a play. It’s about Harry’s son years later trying to cope with being the child of someone so famous. They released the screenplay in book format, and it’s called “The Cursed Child.” Look it up on Amazon. I haven’t read it and I’m afraid to.

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  30. Well written critique! For me LoK was one of the most conflicting series in terms of takeaway that I have ever experienced. I have been wanting to do my own review of the series yet everytime I get ready to, I think of something else to be irritated by. I had high hopes after ATLA and hoped that they would address that massive cliffhanger (zuko’s mom) and give us a stand alone animated series . But years go by and nothing, they opted to go the comic route. Then we get LOK and I am excited and two years later I am still like WTF?!? After giving things time to settle and hearing how Nick did absolutely nothing to help put out the dumpster fire, whether it was not going with producing The Search and opting for Korra instead, Vagueness on the number of episodes for the stand alone first season of LOK, to the typical corporate dick move of we want 3 more seasons by Friday and it is Wednesday afternoon they are asking for this, the show was destined to be sheep ish in shallow water. Korra was made to be an idiot, constantly was taking L’s to opps that should not be smashing the Avatar, especially when she is portrayed as a brawler. Bolin was and is a buffoon and a Sokka Terry the Tiger frosted flakes knock off. Sokka made jokes but knew when it was time to be serious. Mako I was hoping Asami would slap him with that Sato glove on, he was annoying. Asami, the first time I watched the show, I felt that they spent more time developing her than they did Korra which was confounding. I was also irked that it is well known Korra was lacking in the spiritual department yet only once does she tap into her past lives, which not only would have helped her develop as the Avatar but this was a key component to the story that is conveniently omitted by Korra getting the breaks beat off her yet again and Rava being destroyed (this event alone made me want to stop watching). The 3rd season tries to recoup but the steam is lost in season 4. I haven’t listed nearly all of my grievances and we get this ending that is underdeveloped and led me to believe this was the reason or rather the out Nick was looking for to mishandle this series. All in all it was the perfect storm to leave the fans and viewers feeling cheated. Now we are deprived of what could have been a continuation of a truly great universe and there is no excuse for it. Nick has TeenNick that they could have moved this program to, as well as making sure the original staff was there enmass to ensure we got the experience us devoted fans deserved. I along with others feel like we got the Moonenite extended middle finger as hard as he possibly can do it (ATHF reference)…

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    1. Right? I think that Brykehad good intentions and probably had other alternatives in the content, but instead, they settled for what pretty much made the franchise take a nosedive. Oh sure, a lot of naïve people like it, but trust me, a lot of them are going to eventually wake up and see all of the flaws that made LoK bomb. Just because a bunch of trolls say that it’s good doesn’t mean that it is on hindsight. The series as a whole had way too many flaws. Most of the characters were annoying because they were trying too hard to make them goofy, wacky and comedic. AtLA had a terrific balance of characters, right down to their personalities. The story was perfect (except for a few glaring flaws like The Great Divide, Ember Island Players, the lion turtle, etc.), and LoK couldn’t top that balance or continue it because everyone was just a big mess.

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      1. Exactly! It was just one big WTF? after another. A few of the things that bothered some people i.e. the pro bending story, didn’t bother me as much, they tried a new idea, which could have worked minus the relationship stuff that was thrown in. However mixing in too many plots in a 20 minute show with a cap on the number of episodes can lead to the story being stunted. Again I have to factor in corporate meddling and indecision to what made what should have been a great continuation of a legend into a quagmire. When that happens you miss important details that could and should be fleshed out, for instance…the entire police force is metal benders with suits adorned with metal armor, yet there are lightning benders all around town? Hell one of the Capos of the Triads name is lightning bolt zolt! Anyone else see a slight problem here? Metal being a conductor of electricity? ATLA fleshed out issues such as this, or at least the gaang used common sense and discussed where issues like this would arise. LOK had too much story being fit into too little time and space. The characters fell short when they had the potential to be so much more. This is why personally I wish they would have continued the ATLA story and then devote the proper time to LOK down the line. Since the decision was made to do otherwise, we the fans get cheated and one of the best series ever on TV is ended. Wasted potential through and through. With all that being said I would still watch LOK over 90% of the shows on TV which makes this LOK debacle that much worse…

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      2. “a bunch of trolls say that it’s good…” Isn’t that the ironic sentence of the day? Trolls lashing out to defend something rather than attack it. Same premise, though.

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    2. Remember when the Lieutenant electrocuted the box that Korra was being held in by Tarrlok. It was a Faraday box. Yeah, science!

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      1. Yup, and somehow a simple decorative arm sheath saves her. My all time favorite “really” moment is season 4, we are presented with this conundrum of Korra not using her Avatar state or relying on it to get her out of situations. However at the beginning of season 3 she goes into the Avatar state to win a damn air ball hover race with the airbender kids. Now let me get this straight, friends and their family being held captive by a dictator, who by the way beats the warm cat piss out of you, now is the time you want to have a internal moral conflict? But during a silly game don’t even think twice about using it? I don’t want to hear about story telling or growth as a character, that’s just having Korra be an idiot for no good reason.

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  31. It’s just a common trolling tactic; you express your dislike of something and they tell you that they like it out of spite. But I’m serious when I say, The Legend of Korra was just a subtle disaster that mocked everything the original writers cooked up, which was amazing because they made everything so balanced. Sure the executive meddling kind of killed some parts, but AtLA still had that balance and its own flaws didn’t overshadow what made the series work. I could have a field day of putting out more of what’s wrong with Korra, because it had JUST THAT MANY flaws, and that was what killed it.

    There is also the problem with shipping, which was also a huge part of the problem and contributed to its downfall. Word of advice, if you’re going to make a story, don’t take EVERYTHING the fans say at face value because they MIGHT not be on the level and are too immature and poor impulse control. The biggest mistake that Bryke made, was that they tried TOO hard at pleasing their fans, ignoring the core of what got them mainstream in the first place.

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  32. I agree with everything, I just hated Korra as a character. I actually wanted to see her fail. She was just incompetent the entire time. Meelo and the cameos of Toph and Zuko were the only entertaining part of this series.

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  33. I will never view LoK as a sequel to the AtLA. LoK was a straight up disappointment after season one, I’d like to think LoK never occurred and it was part of another universe.

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  34. Excellent article. I Liked LOK quite a bit, but it simply doesn’t compare To ATLA.

    Agreed with all your points, but I’d also add that were a lot of unlickable characters such as Kai and Suyin and WRT bending, LOK destroyed the uniqueness of each element. Earth was supposed to strong and patient, but now it’s quick little metal cable jabs. Lightning was supposed to be a very powerful and elite ability, now your average street boy can lightning bend and redirect as well. They made water bending WAY ( I mean WAY) too OP. And airbending was supposed to be a spiritual and evasive element, and the Harmonic Convergence ruined that. And LOK just simply didn’t have that epic Avatar feel like the original

    And one thing that ATLA doesn’t get enough credit is the voice actors. Literally every major voice actor in ATLA nailed their role to perfection.

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  35. Excellent Article. I liked LOK quite a bit, but it simply doesn’t compare to ATLA. Agreed with all your points, but I’d also add that were a lot of unlickable characters such as Kai and Suyin and WRT bending, LOK destroyed the uniqueness of each element. Earth was supposed to strong and patient, but now it’s quick little metal cable jabs. Lightning was supposed to be a very powerful and elite ability, now your average street boy can lightning bend and redirect as well. They made water bending WAY ( I mean WAY) too OP. And airbending was supposed to be a spiritual and evasive element, and the Harmonic Convergence ruined that. And LOK just simply didn’t have that epic Avatar feel like the original

    An underrated part about ATLA is their voice actors. Literally every VA of a major character nailed their role to perfection

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  36. thank you for this post writer..LOK sucks…like the whole time i was watching the show i was actually getting angry..i thought maybe i liked Aang too much to like Korra but man she SUCKS..like wtf..in the original series Avatar Kyushi simple tore away her city from the mainland and turned it into an island to avoid conflict with that Earth Nation King/General (he dies cuz of his pride but still it showed how powerful the avatar can be and should be)..but Korra.. she cant even stop a stupid robot..so u can kill the eternal spirit of Evil but not a giant metal bot?..grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

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    1. Cosigning the inconsistent Korra fighting. That amongst other things irritated me quite a bit. We get presented with her as being a badass brawler but stayed taking L’s. You don’t have to apologize either for liking Aang or ATLA. Hell most of us would have never bothered watching LOK if it wasn’t for that show. People who thought LOK did or could not do any wrongdoing use that as a sort of retort to discredit those of us who saw LOK for what it was. Its a inconsistent series that from top to bottom had issues, from major corporate nonsense, to bad writing and animation issues, to terrible characters, etc. I don’t think people realize how big of a disappointment this show was, that’s why almost 2 years later, while doing laundry or making dinner, just randomly out loud, a WTF was that? escapes

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  37. So netflix put LOK on their line up and I just finished watching season 2…. Even though I never grew attached to Korra, when I finished “Light in the dark”, I couldn’t be in a darker ditch. The entire fight between Korra/Raava v. Unalaq/Vaatu was just wrong. It was a ripoff of the Titan’s ultimate evil incarnate Cronus or Trigon. The character is from friggin greek mythology.
    Blinded by this wrongness, I had to look up this article. I literally typed into a search engine: “legend of korra bad writing”. Korra is incredibly ill-conceived. She is the antithesis of an avatar. Her legend is: the first self-involved avatar uninterested in the inherent good and mythical spiritual development in an avatar’s journey. She’s so crippled by her combative, brutal, and frustrated nature. With the exact same powers that Aang had, she was always just cowering in fear, which of course she’d insistently tried to punch through. It’s as if I watched an avatar turn into a rebellious one-noted teenager/avenger.

    I get what you mean by fanfic, as I sit here trying to say how little story there was in LOK and the characters. It’s just doesn’t have the same kind of writ in A:TLA. If anyone’s wondering why they left out Avatar in the title for LOK, its because they left that out of the story too.

    They being nickelodeon. Pretty see-through, bulk of overhead wasn’t used for creativity and writing. Rather obvious now in hindsight this was manufactured for a well-executed viewers-grab.

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    1. So true. I just wish the PC party and tumblr maggots would stop shoving it down our throats at how good and progressive it was. It wasn’t. Poorly written.

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  38. I googled ” Korra worst show ever” and ended here. I was curious to see how many people were disgusted with the soulless political garbage that was this stinky pile of Korra. Beautiful outline and thank you for doing this.

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  39. So I know im super duper late, but couldnt resist commenting after being totally heartbroken at the ending of LoK series. Big fan of Avatar Last Air Bender and after I rewatched the series I decided “hell maybe I should watch the Korra one.” So me, a HUGE Zuko fan, i HATED the ending with him in Avatar when he goes into his dads prison cell has the stoic moment and is like “where is my mother” gahhh it killed me we didnt find out!! So first episode of Korra we see Katara yay and Tenzins daughter asks Katara “oh iv been dying to know what happened to Zukos mother,” and then Katara leads the question as if she knows before getting interrupted! That right there got me hooked on the series to the bitter end cause I thought for sure we’d find out see a flashback whatever and then when I saw Zuko was still alive I was for SURE for SURE we would find out so I watched episode after episode waiting and waiting I even came up with my own theory on what happened to her (i thought she got put and then found in the fog of lost souls and Aang was that one that found her after all those years) but nope. After the shitty series finale of LoK i literally laid in bed and was numb due to watching that hole series and not seeing Zuko get reunited with his mother lmao i never thought id get that emotionally attached to a animated cartoon series and its charcters haha the writers baited us! Lamr! But seriously it was a crappy series the only exciting parts was seeing the old chacrters even though they wernt scripted into the series that good…i got my 5 mins of Zuko so I guess it was worth it haha thanks for the read

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    1. You’re never too late to join in the fun. And if you want to know what happened to Zuko’s mom, it’s explained in the comic book “The Search,” and it’s a pretty good read. Some surprising stuff and you finally find out why she left in the first place and they tied it in well with the established canon. I rented it from the library, so maybe yours has it, too. Otherwise, find it on Amazon or a bookstore. Thanks for chiming in!

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    2. Yes, The Search was a good read :). But apparently they’re not comics, they’re “graphic novels.” And they’re mostly all good; all about the Gaang. There may be some Korra crap too, but I haven’t looked and am definitely not interested. I’d definitely recommend the Aang timeline graphic novels though. Google is a friend.

      And if you get hooked on good Avatar universe storytelling, look up Rufftoon’s Water Tribe. It’s about what happened to Commander Zhao after he was taken by the Ocean Spirit. That’s located at:

      http://noselfcontrol.deviantart.com/art/Water-Tribe-001-69837313

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      1. The Search was actually looked down on by most fans after its release, because it’s kind of…shall we say, divisive.

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  40. ATLAB is my favourite show of all time. No ifs or buts about it. Even now as i type im rewatching it for maybe the thousandth time. So i was really excited about LoK hoping maybe to get some more insight into some unanswered questions but i was so very disappointed but because of love for the original show i watch every painfully awful season one after the other. Now that im rewatching ATLAB i feel like LoK killed ATLAB. Like i feel like they shouldnt have made it if it was going to destroy the Avatar world and the beauty and magnificence we’ve come to see in ATLAB. It was okay in my opinion but it just didnt live up to expectation. And i feel disappointed that its even connected with ATLAB. I wanted ATLAB to stay as it was, immortalized in my mind in all its splendor and LoK just stomped all over it.

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  41. I actually think that the Origins two parter is one of the only worthwhile things Legend of Korra has done, and two of the best and most enjoyable episodes of the series as a whole. It gave meaning to the Avatar: The Last Airbender finale, explained why the Avatar is the bridge between the human and spirit worlds, and explained how humans gained elemental powers. And it doesn’t contradict Avatar in anyway, because the power of the elements and bending are totally different things. People are born with the power of the element, but they have to learn bending. Humans getting their elemental powers from the turtles doesn’t negate that they learned bending from the dragon/badger/sky bison/moon, it explains why not everyone has those powers. I just love the Origins two parter so much. They were rare gems among a globally lackluster series.

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    1. The origins was a sort of retroactive continuity. Instead of being the spirit of the earth itself, it’s actually a light spirit that was fused with a human, instead of having taken a mortal form. It would have had more promise than that cliché sort of light and dark conflict.

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  42. If korra was in aang shoes….The Fire Nation would have won the war without a doubt…..Korra would of been defeated in the first season of The Last Airbender the first episode…..Azula, TyLee, and Mae would have Korra killed instantly she’s pathetic…WORST AVATAR EVER

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      1. Considering the training she acquired prior to her journey, she would have done okay, at best. It’s her ineptitude and lack of foresight, far worse than Aang’s, that would have done her in eventually. Zhao would have had a field day.

        Liked by 1 person

  43. Completely agree! Even till this day, thinking about LoK angers me! It was such a poorly written series! What really pissed me off about it was at some point (I would say starting at around season 2), the writers started relying too heavily on fanfiction and ill-conceived internet fandom ideas to write the plot to each season after the first. The series just boiled down to pandering and fanservice! I know they weren’t sure if they were going to be given the green light after season one ended, but I would have just left it there. Season 1 wasn’t perfect, by any means, but it was engaging enough and added something interesting to the Avatar universe narrative. Thank you for writing this!

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    1. Thinking back even further, AtLA had flaws, too. But it wasn’t as nearly to the degree as this shoddy attempt at a sequel series. As a long time writer can attest to, pandering is an all time no-no. Never pander or suck up to fans. It will only end messily.

      Liked by 1 person

  44. It’s 2016 and I still cannot get over at how mishandled and poorly developed Legend of Korra was. Fight scenes were good, but does not redeem the show for what it actually was; a mediocre and underwhelming attempt at recapturing the idiosyncratic glory of its predecessor. It was a spinoff that tried too hard to detach itself from the original, or in your words ” a fanfic of itself.” I agree that it did have great potential, and I actually went into watching the entire series excited and without the expectation of the same formula as The Last Airbender. I knew that it was going to be different, maybe even great, but I was blindsided by how utterly mild it was. I watched the show with an open mind and ready to accept the new Avatar that will save the beautiful and colorful world that Aang once saved, but for all the 10 reasons listed above I neither connected nor enjoyed the world that was built around Korra. If The Wizard of Oz was ATLA then everything the LoK was would be on par with the reveal that the great and powerful wizard was merely a man behind the curtain. Korra’s character along with the Wan-Vaatu-Raava backstory completely negates the significance and need of the Avatar. Not even ATLA cameos can save the show from what it ultimately became: a boring, not-quite-a-spinoff shadow of the original. In other words, yeah, it sucked.

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  45. I gotta be honest, most great and awesome shows like the original Avatar is why the new one looks bad. Yeah its pretty weak compared to the original, but its still a great show, at least to other ones

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    1. It was a great show, at first. But critiquing it for its flaws has brought out everything that was wrong with it as the series went downhill with all the blatant pandering (even though most people won’t openly admit it out of “respect” for us), which never would have happened if Mike and Bryan hadn’t screwed things up by making everything into a sappy, stereotypical teen drama. They practically made Mako, who they had created to honor the late Mako Iwamatsu, into a complete tool and joke. They were trying too hard to make due with their pitiful budget, and eventually decided that to save it, they practically gave what many immature fans had been begging for – Korrasami. As a bisexual male, that is just weak writing.

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  46. Just a minor point I wanted to add:

    TLOK ruined lightening generation/bending. It was one of the coolest parts of ATLAB and TLOK ruined it completely. How did it go from something that only that fire nation royalty could do, provided that they had control over their emotions, to something that any regular firebender could do?(And get factory worker wages to do?)

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    1. Considering the tremendous amount of emotional and physical control needed to actually succeed in just generating lightning alone, making it a generic technique that almost anyone can do doesn’t really make that much sense. Cheapens the fuck out of it. It would have been more impressive if they just had generators the old fashioned way, but no, nobody in that setting’s smart enough to do that yet. Mako. I just can’t see the guy being able to do lightning considering the supposed trauma he experienced as a child. Hell, Zuko couldn’t do it at about his age, and he was emotionally unsung himself.

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  47. Oh my gosh, yes. I was talking about Avatar with a friend the other day and got to thinking about how garbage this show was. So disappointing. I fall into the camp that really, really wanted to like it a lot, so at first I kind of waved away the poor writing, even though it left me unsatisfied deep down. The animation was still gorgeous, and there were some good points to it (I seem to be one of the few that really enjoyed the political slant to it, and aside from the fact that the Wan segment broke from the established lore, it was very good). But the more I think about it, the more I feel so disappointed – “wasted potential” should’ve been like, the subtitle for the series.

    I feel like part of the problem is that they took everything too far. Wanna make Korra different from Aang? Make her a muscle-bound meathead with little thought beyond herself and nearly zero spirituality! Wanna change the setting to reflect the changes that time brings? Sure, Asian Steampunk is a cool aesthetic, and there’s precedence for it in ATLA (Azula’s train, the giant drill, the war balloons) but instead of upping it a little bit, make the entire world explode with technology in like one generation! Wanna get into the origins of the Avatar and explore what happens when that’s tested or lost? Throw in mystical squid and end it with a battle of giant squid-ified people and deus-ex-Jinora. If they had done any of these things in a more toned-down, organic way, it probably would’ve passed. They lost sight of important things like story & world coherence & development of characters & relationships and focused instead on slick gimmicks (I know it’s a touchy subject for some, but I think the gimmickry includes the LGBTQ ending. It came across as scoring points for being “ground-breaking”).

    Also, I get that they wanted to explore the spiritual side of things more, and what it means to be (or not be) an Avatar, but it’s like they used spirits like a magic wand to do whatever they want.

    To me the series would’ve been great with a few things changed (besides weak and/or unlikable characters & relationships, that is): blend seasons 1-3 together, basically. They could’ve done it where like, Amon was the “dark avatar” – some freak of nature that was born with the ability to energy-bend (but not the other elements – like an inversion) and used it for evil purposes, trying to create “balance” by taking bending away & thereby eliminating perceived imbalance between benders and non-benders. When Amon takes Korra’s bending, maybe she can contact her past selves but no longer bend, and so she goes around learning bending from scratch, the original way (mirroring Wan’s path) and learning about herself and her spirituality as she goes, which would culminate in her learning air bending. She could at the end go back to defeat Amon, and *maybe* restore bending to those who lost it (not being able to do that would be an interesting twist, though).

    And that take would’ve allowed for many of the things missing in the series. They could’ve developed Amon better (I’d maybe make him a bit more Zahir-like, Zahir’s philosophical nature was pretty compelling to me). There could’ve been some interesting developments as Tarlok learns his brother is Amon and realizes his dreams are tainted by their father’s actions, and tries to deal with it (preferably in some way more fleshed-out than a sudden murder-suicide). There’d be more time to develop the main characters and their relationships. And for Korra, as someone who defines her whole identity as being The Avatar, what does she do now that she’s not? There’s a strong theme of this in the show, but it’s never developed cos they deux ex out of it before it can go anywhere (on multiple occasions), and it’d be a great platform to take her from arrogant and belligerent to being a more balanced, well-rounded person. It’d be good for exploring the light and dark sides of spirituality & philosophy, which would be a cool “message” without being preachy. And it’d provide for lots of side-adventures in both the material and spirit worlds.

    And now I feel like I wrote a better plotline in 5 minutes than they did in a few years.

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    1. You have some darn good suggestions for the series and I agree big time with a lot of your ideas. I like the thought of Amon balancing and being a non-literal dark avatar. It could explore the themes of balance that surround the avatar and the points the old series left open, thus it would have been a logical flow. Good analysis!

      Liked by 1 person

  48. Thank you for writing this, just finished the series and was the only person i knew that kinda hated it (loved Bolin, and announcer intro, not sure why think it was just positive happy energy that got me exited before the show could disappoint me).

    Don’t feel that i can add much to the discussion for after reading all the posts i feel you all have been very thorough, however in ATLAB spirit i want to fix the problem instead of just throwing hate(even if well deserved) at it. We need a 3rd installment where things can be explained and it can flourish brighter because of how bad LOK was.

    These are my ideas i haven’t gone to any other website yet, if they are similar to others that just means we want to fix it the same way.
    What is lost can never be regained but something new can be created.(i don’t want to turn back time and make it ATLAB again just want to resurrect the spirit and feel of the show).

    1st. Korra is the Anti-Avatar, she doesn’t know it.
    The spirit of chaos Vaatu(not evil spirit) lives within her not trapped in the “tree of time” like with past avatars. She lost connection with past avatars so she is more easily corruptible.

    2nd. The topography they use to show the connection between spirit portals from north and south poles looks just like the yin yang with the tree of time in the center, the 3rd portal leads to a place with what looks like a field with multiple trees similar to the tree of time. Kora believes it’s a new portal to the same spirit world, however she has been wrong before.

    3rd. The world can turn very dark very fast when you have 3 ways for spirits to get in and 1 i’m not even sure goes to the spirit world or somewhere else. Plus spirits don’t need to be evil to make technology malfunction. Only a small aberrant portion of humans worked well with the spirits (there is a lot to sacrifice to become balanced).

    4th Everybody loves an underdog. Now we can have our next bender (earth) and have them fix all that Korra broke.(and new things we could not foresee coming)

    5th Full of ideas to make the show closer to what it was but it would take time and a team of others that loved the show to make my dream a reality.(and network sponsorship)

    My sincere apologies if anything sounds disjointed ESL.
    Also i apologize if this was the wrong place to post this.

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      1. Probably meant korra the ahow, but if not, she lucked her way out of every major fight, disregarded the spiritual principles, and botched her spiritual connection to past lives. Makes the avatar look useless or worse.

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      2. For me the world was broken and many people were suffering in ATLAB and in the end things looked like they could only get better(the leaders of the world and Aang’s allies felt like an unstable force of good). Now in LOK she seems to make a mess and expects the world to fix it(maybe that’s a coment of our current society), last thing we see is the world devastated by a ruthless war, the avatar finds a new fling and leaves to go be selfish again like all throughout the show. (btw really wanted to like Korra).

        and so i’m not vague.
        1. Open not 1 but multiple portals to the spirit world (last one might not even be the normal spirit world)

        2. Vaatu can’t be destroyed so what was her answer to that,

        3. Spirits don’t seem to have the same morals than we do who will police them(even the Avatar can’t be everywhere)?

        4. The Earth Kingdom is in shambles lots of resources used in the war, what about remuneration for the destruction it caused.(anyone remembers what happened to Germany after WW1)

        Just to name a few.

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  49. This article has really been an eye opener for me. I honestly liked LOK (though not to the same extent as ATLA), but I did find some things unsatisfying that this article really elaborates on. The biggest of which are the deus ex machinas as many things in the series are never explained in detail, and Jinora’ s moment in particular. In the show it is never explained how she developed her spiritual projection ability, and she is given little character development. She is clearly a Mary Sue, yet for some reason a lot of the fandom views her as one of the best characters on the show.

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    1. It’s called the Kansas City Shuffle. Mike and Bryan, despite their subpar writing skills (spurned by the fandom), were able to slip her through the Mary Sue radar because of the hype. Of course, her limited screen time might have something to do with it.

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  50. I agree with this article, though I liked the series it was not nearly as good as TLAB. Here is My Top 5 complaints about the series

    1. The only memorable pet was the Red Panda, and even that was not memorable. And Korra’s animal guide was just phoned in, had nothing or little to do with the plot, and no memorable moments with either of them.
    2. It should have focused on a major plot with a bunch of smaller ones, TLAB had the 100 year war and the comet, with Aang needing to find teachers so he could master the elements, with different story lines. TLOK had four different major plots, with nothing linking, each season felt disconnected and the series finale felt like a season finale.
    3. The First Avatar story felt like a complete retcon to the origins of bending, and how the Avatar State works. In TLAB, the origins of bending were that the people of different nations discovered bending by learning it from Sky Bison, Dragons, Badger Moles, and the Moon, from TLOK it was from Lion Turtles energy bending. The Avatar state from TLAB was that the Avatar was a defense mechanism that allows the Avatar to use the skills and knowledge of his past lives, TLOK it was a spirit giving the Avatar an energy boost. Though it may just be me.
    4. Korra disconnected her past lives, including Aang, likely permanently.
    5. Bending became weaker. Like really weaker, like even the basic fire soldier was more powerful than the Avatar in TLOK

    Here is my idea of what it should have been like:

    It should have been one major plot, how about the Order of Black Lotus who act as a form of assassin order/Illuminati, who want a world without the Avatar, blaming him/her for the hundred year war, and many other atrocities. They managed to have killed Aang in his old age, but have to search for the new avatar Korra. The Order of the White Lotus manages to find Korra before and put her into hiding from the Black Lotus to train in the ways of the elements. But before she could even start on air bending the Black Lotus have made secret attacks on Republic City through the use of anti-bending activists, which forces Tenzin to leave. Without an Air Bending Master she secretly leaves the South Pole in an attempt to find Tenzin. And when she arrives she manages to bump into Mako and Bolin, brothers who are being mobbed by anti-benders. She helps them flee from the benders and into a secluded ghetto like place, while at the same time hiding her identity due to the Black Lotus, so she only uses water bending. There she learns that Republic City was not the perfect place of peace she heard from as a child. She decides to stay there for the night so she can be rested for the next day’s search for the Republic’s Air Temple.

    The next day Korra, Bolin and Mako head to the food court in the ghetto, where they discuss the location of the Avatar, unaware that she is right next to them. They wonder why that he hasn’t come to help the city from the anti-benders whom forced them to stay in the ghettos. Korra though still not revealing her identity, tries to reassure them that the Avatar will do whatever he/she can to fix the situation. While they are slightly comforted by this they do not exactly buy into it. Then when they finish their food, and Korra is about to leave, a criminal gang enters the scene. The gang orders the people in the ghetto to hand over their valuables, Mako, Bolin, Korra and several other benders stand up to stop them. Meanwhile Tenzin is eating with his family receives a message from the south pole that Korra left to find him, annoyed and frightened for her he gets several members of the White Lotus to go look for her in secret. Tenzin then goes to President of the Republic to tell him of the Avatar’s early arrival.

    Korra, Mako and Bolin are the only ones left fighting the gang, the rest of the bender have either helped escape with some of the ghetto dwellers or are down. As they fight the gang 2 to one, Korra has an urge to use her other bendings but before she does she stops whitch gets her knocked down by a rock. Mako fighting an earth bender and fire bender gets trapped with some earth, and the Fire bender lightning bends at Bolin who is busy throwing rocks at a two water benders. Seeing this Korra gets in the way of the lightning to deflect it away from Bolin, which Mako sees confused. Knowing that her cover is blown she uses the stunned faces of the gang with the rest of her bending to quickly dispatch the other benders. She frees Mako, and tell him who she is. Bolin makes a quirky remark, and they decide to tract down the gang leader. Using the scent of the bag, Korra uses her animal guide Nagga the Polar Dog-Bear, to tract down the villains. But before she is able to do that the Lin Beifong and the Metalbending Police force manages to capture them using metal bending, mistaking them for the gang.

    Tenzin meet with the President who is discussing the recent attacks on republic city, crime rates going up, criminal gangs roaming the streets, and anti-bending group causing riot and beatings all over the city. The President tell Tenzin that he need the Avatar to cool things down, which Tenzin replies telling that he has men looking for the Avatar. President “what do you mean looking?” Tenzin “she has arrived earlier than expected for both of us”. Tenzin tell him that White Lotus members are looking for her, but the President to Tenzin’s disapproval he has some of his own police force look for her.

    Korra tries to convince Lin that she is not a criminal saying she is the Avatar. Bolin says, “Yeah look at her she from the Water tribe and was able to redirect lightning” Lin stubborn in what they where saying, Korra does a quick demonstration of her abilities. Lin then has them released. Korra tell them that they plan to follow the bag’s scent to the gang’s hideout. Lin agrees with the plan and allows them to go along with the plan with the police to back them up as Lin has tried to get the leader Jin for 3 years. Korra, Mako and Bolin go on Nagga’s back to find Jin’s hideout. (The police were unable to find the hideout due to unable to get a scent for their animals and the gang always got away before they caught them)

    Korra, Mako and Bolin manage to find the hideout in a butcher shop, which they enter and with Naga scaring off customers. After quickly interrogating the guy at the front counter, they are shown to a secret room in the back. When they enter Jin orders them to attack saying that he would never join their movement (confusing them with the anti-bending movement). They defeat Jin with the back up of Lin and the Police. After Jin is sent away, Bolin finds a Black Lotus tile on the floor, noting that Jin is missing a set and shows it to Korra, who knows what it means but again doesn’t say anything.

    For the time being Mako and Bolin separate from Korra whom is taken by Lin to the Air Temple. Tenzin who had received word that Korra had tracted down and defeated a gang boss, waits for her at the temple. Annoyed at her for leaving the South Pole, Tenzin allowed her stay for her training though despite the risks she faced due to the fact she had managed to help the lives whom where affected by Jin’s gang. Korra thanking him shows him the Lotus tile saying that Jin initially thought that she was apart of a group he didn’t want to be a part of. Tenzin says to leave it for know and tells her to go to her quarters of the temple.

    This would be the first episode, it sets up both the major and minor plot sort of like the first episode of TLAB where it set up the war of the fire nation and Aang needing to go to the north pole, while this introduces the Black Lotus as the major plot and the minor plot of anti-bending. While at the same time introducing most of the main cast, while telling a fun episode. I doubt this is perfect, as it will need a lot of refinement but it does bring in moments that can work in an episode.

    Like

  51. After reading this, I know that the decision I made of not seeing that series was a good one. No explanations have to be given, you just did it. The only thing, however, that I would like to say is that I really hated how they replaced the original Avatar world for an animated version of the United States. It can be can argued that that’s an example of ethnocentrism. The original series were so much better.

    Like

  52. Probably the best synopsis of the insipid filth that is LoK that I have read online. I loved ATLA dearly and decided to watch Season 3 a few weeks ago and afterwards needed more Avatar fix. So I decided to re-watch LoK…what was I thinking?! I wrote a review about it on IMDB.com after the show completed and had not watched it since…OMG…what a colossal waste of time. I had rated it 4 out of 10 back then…and watching it again made me like the series even less. That annoying announcer (shut up already!), bland characters, weak heroes who get their butts kicked over and over and too many silly over the top stupid characters (Bolin, Varrick, Bumi, Wu)…so…damn…lame.

    LoK had such potential but missed the mark on so many levels. I agree with all of your points except one…I though old lady Toph was a little too mean and grumpy, but then again, with having two PITA teenage girls, it still made sense. No word on our beloved characters like Sokka or Suki and poor Zuko just talks and falls on his ass in the snow…such an incredible waste. King Bumi would’ve Earth bended them right in the arse and called them lazy whippersnappers! That was another thing I loved about ATLA…elderly characters were not all frail old people…some of them kicked ass. I am a martial artist IRL and I met an 87 year old Chinese man once (with 60+ years of training) who knocked me (250 lb beefy guy in his mid 30s at the time) around like a rag doll. Could’ve killed me without breaking a sweat and he was still full of piss and vinegar. But in LoK…nope…the old folks just stand around, talk softly and take some laxatives…with the one exception of Toph who still complains and gets lazy.

    For me everything started and ended with ATLA. LoK doesn’t exist for me…and I know there are comics (which I’ve read) but they are a poor substitute for an animated show. And the movie…ugh…no comment…quite possibly one of the worst ever made.

    Thank you for sharing and letting us know that we are not alone in our disgust for this ripe nasty turd of a show. 🙂

    Like

      1. Not a lot of people openly speak out about their distaste of the show because of the fact that they’d be lynched online by the SJW types. This, in spite of the fact that TV tropes mentioned that we’re supposedly a “vocal minority”, and that may be partly true, but it isn’t without reason.

        Like

    1. The comics read more like some fanfic on Tumblr. An absolute waste of time and money, and the fact that it’s riddled with just as many problems as LoK.

      Like

      1. That’s definitely interesting. It doesn’t surprise me because it was yet another “solo” effort on the part of bryke besides teaming up with a guy who wasn’t part of the original team.

        Bryke are good creators like George Lucas but when they try to do everything themselves what they create is shallow in comparison to the their real team effort.

        The original series will get better with time because I doubt there will be anything like it again at least for awhile. While korra will end like up that mediocre sequel (ghostbusters 2, Robocop 2, etc) that everyone forgets – and seemingly wants to forget about – as the franchise ages.

        Liked by 1 person

  53. I agree most of it, but I have to point out that Korra can air bending after Amon took her bending is actucally a brilliant idea. You see, bending is establish a link to elements, and took someone’s bending is to cut off that link. When Amon took Korra’s bending, he didn’t cut off the air’s link, because she haven’t got it by then.
    Korra spend this entire season trying learn air bending, and at last, she finally successed because she wanted to save Mako. And this also became the only opportunity to defeat Amon, because he didn’t see it comming.
    Anyway, I actually like season 1, and I really wish I didn’t watch the rest seasons XD

    Sorry for the bad English.

    Like

  54. I agree most of it, but I have to point out that Korra can air bending after Amon took her bending is actucally a brilliant idea. You see, bending is establish a link to elements, and took someone’s bending is to cut off that link. When Amon took Korra’s bending, he didn’t cut off the air’s link, because she haven’t got it by then.
    Korra spend this entire season trying learn air bending, and at last, she finally successed because she wanted to save Mako. And this also became the only opportunity to defeat Amon, because he didn’t see it comming.
    Anyway, I actually like season 1, and I really wish I didn’t watch the rest seasons XD

    Sorry for the bad English.

    Like

  55. About the Jinora’s scene, she was using the spirit butterfly (which we have seen ealier) to…light up(point out) the Rava’s location in Vaatu’s body. (The butterfly has some kind guide function, which Jinora have mentioned ealier)
    Well, this was her goal, but there is no explanation about how she can do that or why she know these stuff. I agree that this episode was terrible. It would be better if Korra just lock Vaatu back in the tree in the previous episode, the blue giant part just making zero sense.

    Like

  56. *sigh* I was hoping to find one well-written article that didn’t devolve into sarcastic drivel to make their point, but I was sadly mistaken. Is it so hard to ask for one levelheaded article that doesn’t resort to sarcasm to make a damn point about LoK sucking? Geez.

    You had great points (I think I agreed with all of them with the exception of the ending which I believe was rushed and the farthest thing from being satisfying), and years later, the show still leaves a sour taste in my mouth as well for the very reasons you mentioned. And like many here, I also thought the romantic aspects of the show were a sloppy mess. But your good points get lost in your increasing (and admittedly annoying and not funny) sarcastic writing and tone. It gets just as bad as what I’ve seen in several other “LoK sucks” posts and I found it disconcerting and distracting. I agree with your points, but the sarcasm became such an annoyance that I actually started to subconsciously seek rebuttals in order to “knock you down a peg” so to speak even though I hate LoK with a passion.

    That being said, good points and the writing was good up until you decided to be incessantly snarky (which made it hard to take this seriously too), but your unnecessary sarcasm ruined the strength of your arguments.

    Like

    1. Oh, and by the way, injecting a little sarcastic wit into derision actually makes an argument better to swallow. But I guess some people just can’t be helped but triggered.

      Like

    2. No offense but I have to agree with kid3t3rnity that if you truly thought korra was a disappointment you wouldn’t cherry pick a very well thought out and written post like this. Authors who write Critical posts of otherwise unanimously praised things get into the snarky territory to get their point across.

      Also it’s extremely hard to find “other LoK sucks” posts in general, especially ones that are well thought out like this one or have the unmitigated level of constructive follow up seen in this comment section so that again tells me you just trying to negate this post. This post and its comments are a rarity on the internet for Korra but it may not seem like that for fanatical fans who don’t’ want to hear it.

      Liked by 1 person

  57. LMAO. I loved TOL and watched one episode of its politically motivated soulless sequel. Korra is the embodiment of everything that is wrong being shoved down our throats and this comment section shows the truth of how we feel. TLA had Mystic truth consequence that resonated with everyone. Korra has a spoiled brat that appeals to a certain ( large) group. We are not part of that group. Kudos all. Im glad your awake,

    Like

  58. I think you made many very good points in this article, especially the Deus Ex Machina bit.

    In regards to what happened in Season 1 with Amon taking away Korra’s bending but her miraculously learning and being able to air bend I have some theories about how this could have worked.

    It is well know that Amon is a blood bender and he uses this in order to take away bending. This is something that is vastly different form how Aang did it with his energybending. I think what Amon did was that he would use the person’s blood to either block or alter the flow of blood in a certain areas of a persons brain. By doing this he didn’t take away a person’s ability to bend but rather made them unable to access it until Korra was able to repair the damage with her energybending.

    With how Korra was able to still airbend I think it had more to do with Amon than it did with Korra.

    At the beginning of season 1 their were only 4 airbenders in the world but a lot of water, earth and firebenders. Amon had at one point or another taken away the bending of each type of bender but he had never gotten the chance to take away an airbenders before. It is possible that for each type of bender he had to alter or block the blood flow in their brains a different way. So since he never got to practice or try with an airbender before he did’t know exactly how so he could’t block Korra’s yet.

    So in regard to Korra’s air bending not being blocked I have 2 theories about how she would have been able to keep that ability to bend.

    1. Amon didn’t bother, he knew she could earth, water and firebend and that she couldn’t airbend so he didn’t bother to try to block it.

    2. Amon tried to block all of her bending but since their was so much to block and he didn’t know how to specifically block air bending he just guessed and was wrong.

    I think in regard to #2 If it had been someone who could only airbend Amon would have been able to figure it out but like I said with Korra their being many more spots to block/alter he could’t specifically find all the areas in order to block airbending.

    Finally on how she was able to learn airbending I have a theory on how she was able to.

    For Korra’s entire life she felt powerful being able to bend three elements her entire life. So she never felt weak, powerless or passive so was unable to comprehend the mindset required for an airbender.

    When she lost her bending for the first time in her life she was truly powerless, so it allowed her a perspective she never had before. This change in perspective was so sudden and drastic that she was able to unlock the ability to airbend. Like with aang earthbending all it took was a single moment of perspective change or understanding to unlock the ability.

    Despite my theory I still think it was a rather cheap way for her to suddenly be able to airbend.

    In regard to what Jinora did in Season two with giant spirit Korra, I have No Goddam Idea.

    So I guess no cyber-hug for me.

    Like

  59. Honestly, I thought Avatar sounded terrible at first, it’s basic premise gimmicky and better suited to a video game. If the first episodes hadn’t been compelling (though rough), I wouldn’t have kept watching. What got me was that literally the first episode introduces five very different and very interesting characters, none of whom could exist in a different universe. Having lived in and studied eastern societies I was impressed that a creative team of Americans could pull off a believable fantasy world that was neither dumbed down and (overly) stereotypical, nor pedantic or (overly) exoticizing. It showed that at least somebody knew what they were talking about, yet also had the story-telling ability to make it perfectly natural and relatable to a mostly Western audience. By the end I found its continuing rough patches as endearing as the characters themselves, and the ending left me wanting more. When I heard the sequel Korra was good from numerous people, I was much more willing to give it a chance than I had been with the original series.

    I literally didn’t even finish the first episode. First, what is up with “Republic City?” That totally comes from nowhere, and there was nothing whatsoever in the original series to suggest a philosophical or social development of that kind at all, much less that Aang personally would come up with it. Likewise with all the non-bending technology. The whole thing felt very, unwelcomingly, American. Second, right off the bat Katara showed how uninspired the show’s treatment of old characters would be, while Tenzin and his children showed how gratuitous would be its use of them. There was nothing new of any interest whatsoever. It was obvious pandering, which never bodes well for storytelling.

    That was a couple years ago, and I just rewatched Avatar, which really is one of the best televisions shows ever made. Since the refrain I kept hearing since my first attempt at Korra was “it gets better,” I decided to give it another shot. As soon as I got past where I had quit before, I found simply more pandering and more Americanization. “You’re Toph’s daughter!” i.e. “See, you ARE still watching Avatar!” Inexplicable appearances by an air bison and flying lemur (more cameos? or do they reproduce asexually?). And whereas Avatar was in a fantasy world clearly inspired by the East, but ingeniously not anchored to any particular culture or time period, the world of Korra seems more and more, not just like America, but 1920s-30s America, right down to the cartoony fast-talking radio announcer. The equalist “plot,” barely mentioned, was just a rip-off of X-Men. Most importantly, by the end of the episode, not a single interesting character had appeared.

    I reluctantly watched the second episode, only to find that the whole thing was now going to be about sports?? And two completely bland sports brothers who no doubt will form the backbone of Korea’s new team. Forget it. I decided to just read spoilers, which confirmed my impression that it wasn’t going to get better, without having to go through the experience of ruining the taste of Avatar. As a last gesture I gave the season one finale a chance, and really they did nothing in 12 episodes. Just endless, pointless plot twists, and overbearing world building details. It’s defended with the excuse that they didn’t know how many episodes they’d have. This is just an excuse for the fact that it was hard and they couldn’t handle it. During the production of Avatar, Mako, the voice actor for probably the best character in the show died, between seasons 2 and 3, and though the strain of working around it shows whenever Iroh appears, the writers had built up so much to work with that season 3 allowed half a dozen other characters to shine. True creativity thrives on challenge and limitation.

    It seems clear to me that this series is nothing but a pandering to fans, which perhaps also accounts for the cultural whitewashing of the world. Beloved characters are brought back just to convince you that they weren’t ever that great in the first place. The basic elements of eastern philosophy that made up the principles of Aang’s world got torn apart for the sake of making it more compatible with tired American cartoon tropes. Korra ending up with a woman was just another pointless plot twist to win brownie points with uncritical PC trolls, without even having the courage to do it from the beginning, making her not even an LGBT role model until it’s too late, the show’s over.

    And its irredeemable flaws were all glaringly visible in the very first episode. They made it this way because it was cheap and it was easy, and they knew you’d watch it no matter what. It strikes me how many of the commenters mention having “forced” themselves to watch Korra all the way through because of how much they loved Last Airbender, even at the expense of ruining their image of the original series. I hope you learned your lesson and realize that is exactly why so many shitty sequels, remakes, reboots, etc, get made, because you watch them. In those very rare occasions something great and original comes around, the corporate goons and their hack writers know they will have you hooked no matter what half-assed follow up they cobble together.

    Like

  60. Honestly, I thought Avatar sounded terrible at first, it’s basic premise gimmicky and better suited to a video game. If the first episodes hadn’t been compelling (though rough), I wouldn’t have kept watching. What got me was that literally the first episode introduces five very different and very interesting characters, none of whom could exist in a different universe. Having lived in and studied eastern societies I was impressed that a creative team of Americans could pull off a believable fantasy world that was neither dumbed down and (overly) stereotypical, nor pedantic or (overly) exoticizing. It showed that at least somebody knew what they were talking about, yet also had the story-telling ability to make it perfectly natural and relatable to a mostly Western audience. By the end I found its continuing rough patches as endearing as the characters themselves, and the ending left me wanting more. When I heard the sequel Korra was good from numerous people, I was much more willing to give it a chance than I had been with the original series.

    I literally didn’t even finish the first episode. First, what is up with “Republic City?” That totally comes from nowhere, and there was nothing whatsoever in the original series to suggest a philosophical or social development of that kind at all, much less that Aang personally would come up with it. Likewise with all the non-bending technology. The whole thing felt very, unwelcomingly, American. Second, right off the bat Katara showed how uninspired the show’s treatment of old characters would be, while Tenzin and his children showed how gratuitous would be its use of them. There was nothing new of any interest whatsoever. It was obvious pandering, which never bodes well for storytelling.

    That was a couple years ago, and I just rewatched Avatar, which really is one of the best televisions shows ever made. Since the refrain I kept hearing since my first attempt at Korra was “it gets better,” I decided to give it another shot. As soon as I got past where I had quit before, I found simply more pandering and more Americanization. “You’re Toph’s daughter!” i.e. “See, you ARE still watching Avatar!” Inexplicable appearances by an air bison and flying lemur (more cameos? or do they reproduce asexually?). And whereas Avatar was in a fantasy world clearly inspired by the East, but ingeniously not anchored to any particular culture or time period, the world of Korra seems more and more, not just like America, but 1920s-30s America, right down to the cartoony fast-talking radio announcer. The equalist “plot,” barely mentioned, was just a rip-off of X-Men. Most importantly, by the end of the episode, not a single interesting character had appeared.

    I reluctantly watched the second episode, only to find that the whole thing was now going to be about sports?? And two completely bland sports brothers who no doubt will form the backbone of Korea’s new team. Forget it. I decided to just read spoilers, which confirmed my impression that it wasn’t going to get better, without having to go through the experience of ruining the taste of Avatar. As a last gesture I gave the season one finale a chance, and really they did nothing in 12 episodes. Just endless, pointless plot twists, and overbearing world building details. It’s defended with the excuse that they didn’t know how many episodes they’d have. This is just an excuse for the fact that it was hard and they couldn’t handle it. During the production of Avatar, Mako, the voice actor for probably the best character in the show died, between seasons 2 and 3, and though the strain of working around it shows whenever Iroh appears, the writers had built up so much to work with that season 3 allowed half a dozen other characters to shine. True creativity thrives on challenge and limitation.

    It seems clear to me that this series is nothing but a pandering to fans, which perhaps also accounts for the cultural whitewashing of the world. Beloved characters are brought back just to convince you that they weren’t ever that great in the first place. The basic elements of eastern philosophy that made up the principles of Aang’s world got torn apart for the sake of making it more compatible with tired American cartoon tropes. Korra ending up with a woman was just another pointless plot twist to win brownie points with uncritical PC trolls, without even having the courage to do it from the beginning, making her not even an LGBT role model until it’s too late, the show’s over.

    And its irredeemable flaws were all glaringly visible in the very first episode. They made it this way because it was cheap and it was easy, and they knew you’d watch it no matter what. It strikes me how many of the commenters mention having “forced” themselves to watch Korra all the way through because of how much they loved Last Airbender, even at the expense of ruining their image of the original series. I hope you learned your lesson and realize that is exactly why so many shitty sequels, remakes, reboots, etc, get made, because you watch them. In those very rare occasions something great and original comes around, the corporate goons and their hack writers know they will have you hooked no matter what half-assed follow up they cobble together.

    Like

    1. Sometimes, I think it’s a curse that we can’t stop ourselves from watching a shitty sequel from the start even though we already feel it in our guts that it’s gonna flop. Big time. Remember Ben 10?

      Like

    2. I remember watching the first episode when it originally came out when I was much younger. I am sure, back then, I was too immature to fully grasp what made ATLA so great, and I was ready and excited to dive into the sequel with open arms. However, I distinctly remember being bored with the episode and feeling very uncomfortable with something that I couldn’t quite pinpoint. I reluctantly shut it off before the end, and felt kind of guilty betraying the series I loved so much—I assumed that there must be something wrong with ME, that I was just too immature to grasp the BRILLIANT writing.

      Mind you, I was fourteen then. I wasn’t cynical, and I wasn’t looking for or anticipating faults to the degree that I would today. Even my little sister didn’t care for it, and she liked the darn movie!

      The whole Americanization part probably baffled me the most by far, and bothers me the most to this day. Really, it doesn’t make any sense that an interpretation of 1920’s America should even be suggested in a serious discussion about Avatar! I try to imagine the creators sitting in a boardroom and coming up with this idea:

      “Okay, folks, we need to come up with an idea for a sequel series to beloved cartoon, Avatar: the Last Airbender! Now remember, the sources of inspiration we have to draw from include the cultures of dozens of countries from the largest continent on Earth, over the span of thousands of years, all of which encompass deep, rich, and colorful folklore describing mystical creatures and heroic deeds, and all possessing longstanding traditions and complex philosophical views—truly, an unending font of possibility. So, does anyone have any ideas?”

      “Uh, how ’bout the Roaring 20’s?”

      “Goddammit, Johnson…you’re a genius!”

      Mr. FencingWithInk was spot on when he said the series was like a fanfiction, but he was a bit more specific. I don’t feel like he needed to be, though, because seeing Avatar characters next to cars reminds me a lot of the type of writing where you can see Bilbo and Gandalf going to McDonald’s or something.

      Liked by 2 people

  61. Well then this was a fabulous read.

    I strolled into ATLA on a marathon day and watched the first season binge style. Loved it. I still love it for many of the reasons others have posted. The character development, the plot, the pacing, the funny moments, the deep heart wrenching ones. The culture, the lore, the setting. Just, everything I could ever ask for and more.

    So when a new series was mentioned I was instantly skeptical. Mostly because in order for it to exist the Gaang would be dead or near it. Not cool! Not cool at all! But I went on ahead and gave it a chance. The creators were coming back and it looked neat. The idea of a fiery Avatar was legit. But the technology.. why, why?! Who thought that was a good idea?!

    But goodness… I was done a few episodes in. Korra wasn’t fiery, she was a brat, an obnoxious one. And her supporting cast did nothing to combat or dilute her personality. She quire literally did what she wanted, when she wanted. And any chance I had of sticking around for more was successfully murdered by the obvious shipping. I’m already not a huge fan of romance centric things. But it’s way worse when you do it before you even know the characters. I knew next to nothing and already they were getting dramatic on me.

    I knew right then that the show was a huge flop. No reason to even bother investing my time. Amon seemed kind of neat but they wasted him. I didn’t even finish the whole series and I hate Korra. I hate everything it stands for. I am not sorry I missed it.I seen this drivel for what it was early on and didn’t look back. It may not be the ATLA live action movie but in my eyes it’s close enough.

    Like

  62. I loved the fact that the last air bender had a larger hero’s journey plot with many sub-plots that could be reminisced about in the future as stories and legends. And on top of all this greatness, well written characters with depth were added to the story providing a well balanced set of protagonists and antagonists. The spiritual depth of the show over all was very mature and incredible that the writers were able to incorporate such wisdom into a children’s tale. Finally, the attention-to-detail aspect of ATLA was unrivaled, exemplified by the different forms in which the bending of the four elements was based on.

    All of these aspects are what made ATLA so enjoyable to viewers and what made it an all-time favorite among thousands.

    But it seems that the writers completely ignored their success from ATLA as they ignored the basic forms that were associated with the four elements as everything in Korra was ‘punching’. Korra also failed to consider the highly-successful spiritual aspect of the show that portrayed protagonists such as Zuko and Aang on a physical as well as spiritual journey throughout the entire show.

    I remember that one of the most beautiful things about ATLA was seeing Aang transform from a young and immature boy into a fully-realized, wise avatar. This change was finalized in the finale of season 3 of ATLA and gave me goosebumps. There was no evidence at all of this in Korra as she refuses to grow.

    Liked by 1 person

  63. I think she really grow up. In season 4 we can see all the process she goes through, and, as a person that has gone through the process I can say it changes you more ways that you wanted, at the end, like Korra, for good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, but rather than making things better, it made things a little worse for her at first. Her character development was done recklessly by the creators partly as an effort to make the series more mature, but considering that Zaheer didn’t even use the word die or death when he essentially murdered the Earth Queen, it just came out as pretentious. Rather than figuring out that she mustn’t use needless violence to solve problems, in marches Kuvira, who, at that point, was sending people to “reeducation camps”.

      Like

  64. Thank you for writing this blog. Even though I am late to the party by a few years, I just recently started watching ATLA again, which made me think about trying Korra out again too (I admit I only watched the first two seasons) but I wanted to investigate and see if the last two seasons were worth my time. And because of this blog, I believe I’ll just watch ATLA and be happy with that. So again, thanks for your thoughts and analysis. And before I leave I would also like to give my two cents because it’s fun 🙂

    Like I said, I completely agree with your thoughts that Korra was a sad let down. And I could talk about a ton of different things but my main problem was the rushed and choppy development of characters, story, and arcs throughout the show (which almost sounds like I didn’t like anything about the series… which isn’t true. The animal sidekick game is strong in LoK)

    Anyway, after watching season 2 and seeing how my beloved Avatar universe quickly had all of its magic and fun sucked out, I felt no real desire to continue watching the show, so I didn’t care to look up when the next season would air. And my life went on perfectly fine afterwards and I didn’t really think about LoK at all… until a few months ago a friend of mine informed me of the finale, and what happen with Korra and Asami at the end of the series. THAT was a shocker, simply because it felt like something totally out of left field (again I only watched two seasons, but I have to say… I did not see any type of romantic feelings between those two characters so either the next two seasons tackled that or, from what I gather between you the rest of the commenters, it really was something that generally did not develop well… which could be the reoccurring theme throughout all of LoK, no?)

    And that’s the crux of it. That nothing ever REALLY got developed or hashed out. From love-connections, to character abilities. From villains’ roles to background story. From beginning to end, Korra felt like a rushed term paper that is minutes from being due and you only started writing it six hours ago because hello, procrastination is a thing, and you can’t even read it through properly before you turn it in, let alone edit it to make it better, but dang if you’re not gonna get it in on time because in the end “‘C’s get degrees!”

    ATLA is an “A.” The best grade you can achieve and something you can be proud to say you did for years to come.
    LoK is a “C”. Passable. Not great, not even all that good, but at least you don’t have to retake the class again.

    I could go on but I think I said my peace. I’m just so glad that ATLA is something that I can watch over and over again! And I am excited to pass it on to future generations too! Its one of those series that in twenty years, people will be discussing about in film and tv classes

    Also its always a perk to find like minded people on the web! (Which doesn’t seem to happen a whole lot because: internet = trolls)

    Anyway, thanks again for your thoughts and I’ll keep an eye out for other blog posts in the future!

    Okay… just ONE more thing about Korra+Asami, but it has to do more with “What would a person really be thinking in this situation.” And by person I mean Mako.

    So please… just think about it.

    You date two girls. Two girls who you are friends with and who are also friends with each other. You date the first one, awesome! You’ve got a girlfriend! But then you actually really have a thing for the second one, so you kinda start liking and being around her… however… you still datin’ the first one. Eventually you figure out who those fuzzy feelings you gettin’ are for and you break up with the first one so you can be the second one who is the inducer of said fuzzies. Then it’s you and second girl, LOVIN & fightin’ & LOVIN… well… mostly fighting. But hey! All couples fight! And you, person who broke up your first relationship to be with said second relationship, can get past those fights, right? Right!! Until… ah… nope- you can’t. So you break up with the second one for… reasons (gestures hands in a confused way)
    But then you like, “Nah… I can still be friends with these girls. They’re awesome!” *Thumbs Up* And now y’all are just one big happy “friends-who-have-been-friends-with-benefits-before-but-not-now” group (insert entire How I Met Your Mother and “Friends” plot lines here) and its awesome! Lets be friends! Oh… unless those ladies, both of your exes, decide “Hey! Who needs him! We’ve got each other!” and then your exes end up dating, thus completely cutting you (and the entire reason for your character’s existence) out of the picture.

    Now let that situation sink in…

    … pretty ridiculous in my book.

    I’m not saying that dating Mako made these ladies interests swing in a different direction (though… it may have crossed my mind), but the way the writers set up this romance… well if I were Mako I’d be lying awake at night thinking, “Seriously… what the heck happend?!?” (Not that Mako’s character was at all developed to really display anything beyond “hot-yet-cold-hunk-who-actually-can’t-do-much-but-still-he’s-hot”) … seriously tho’… his past love life is a comedy sketch.
    The amount of care that the writers had about creating believable and relatable love plot points (really any plot points) is hilarious in its lacking.

    Liked by 1 person

  65. I complelety agree with all of this, also in the series finale Korra just abandoned her post. I was like wth, so what the hell will people do if the avatar is needed huh, call them on their portable radios. Oh wait, they most likely didn’t bring that on their vacation to the spirit world and most likely radio signals don’t pierce the spirit world.

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  66. Love this post- it’s lifted a huge weight off of me. It’s nice to see ten valid reasons for why TLoK doesn’t deserve the acclaim it’s been given, then being able to scroll down and see users give extra insights.

    The link below holds some of my issues with the very first episode, in the form of a Cinema Sins parody (I lack sufficient patience to make a full on video, which likely says volumes about my level of laziness, but there you go). Shameless self-promotion, sure, but hopefully it’s less harmful than typical spam…

    https://www.wattpad.com/380145140-everything-wrong-with-the-legend-of-korra-eww-the

    Either way, I have this page saved on my e-mail so that I can access it whenever fanboys/girls start to get on my nerves. Thanks!

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  67. I know this article is old but thanks for posting it. I just recently re watched A:TLA and fell in love all over again. I hadn’t seen the last two season of LOK but had pretty much given up on it based on what I felt while watching it.

    I cried throughout A:TLA. In a good way. It was touching and beautiful and it even made you ache for some the villains. Truly. Uncle Iroh is the man I want to never disappiont in my life. It’s just that intense of a series.

    It of course had its flaws, now show is perfect. For the most part, for me, those flaws were trivial and easy to overlook. (I didn’t much care for Appa’s episode because it was a little boring, for instance)

    If Korra had ended on season one, I wouldn’t have hated it so much. As many commenters pointed out, the characters were mostly useless all around. It was a huge waste of potential!

    Korra was everything in the first season that I hoped for at first. I thought she seemed tough, cool, a little awkward and had plenty of room to grow. She was an awesome character to start a show with. However, the fact that this awesome badass with some stubbornness issues cried and broke down in both seasons I saw. Korra cut off all previous Avatars? Why? What for? So that they didn’t have to take those past lives into account? How lazy?!

    Aang turned into at least two of his past lives that I can recall. Both Roku and Kyoshi came forth to say what needed to be said or do what needed to be done and it made the story even more amazing! I would have rather we learned more about the past lives than see them make such a mess with LOK.

    In A:TLA, we learned lessons because they were relevant to the story. Zuko often learned the hardest ones in the most miserable of ways. The show taught us to be better people, the show encouraged us to love and learn more about our enemies because we just might find we aren’t so different and they weaved that message into the show effortlessly. They taught us about perspective. About how people do in fact think differently and…yeah.

    I’m rambling and I apologize but After reading your article I got myself all fired up. Thanks for the article, it was great! I agree with you completely!

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  68. Oh, I completely agree. I really loved AtLA and I was so disappointed by this crap they call a sequel. I tried watching it and I really wanted to like it, but I couldn’t even make it through the first season. From what I’ve read online, I’m glad I never watched further. I feel like it really destroyed the mystique and beauty of the world and characters. Feels like they made it for money instead of to create an interesting story.

    Also, can I just say I’m absolutely sick of this “strong female character” crap? Strong female characters are characters who are brave and compassionate and learn from their mistakes. All these Mary Sues who know how to fight and frankly, act like lots of elementary-aged boys, aren’t strong or interesting. It’s disgusting that people are allowing people’s opinions and politics to control what they’re creating.

    Anyway, thanks for the article. It’s comforting to know that there are other people out there who share my opinion.

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  69. I found this post and I just have to comment: Korra stopped being good when it became a faux progresist show, somewhere in the middle of Season 2. Tey wanted to show a strong female lead but they depended on old clichés to do it. They wanted to show a LGBT couple but they just put glue between the two and forced a last second romance.

    Korra could have been a “progresist” show, they had the means to show whatever they wanted and make it have some sense, the problem is that as you mention, it became a fanfic… I remember an interview with DiMartino in which he said the desition of making Korrasami a thing on the last episode was in big part thanks to the Tumblr fans. Seriously. When you start heading your show into “the fans decide” territory you’re not showing you’re original, you’re showing your writers don’t care about original content.

    And it only shows the show was made for the sake of creating some noise and merchandizing, living on by forcibly creating a legend for all the wrong reasons, because nowadays, having a female lead character or LGBT moment on a show can let you get away from every criticism. People just doesn’t knows how to write strong females, they think strong = a complete Mary Sue, see Black Widow from MCU for example, they can get away from punching and never peing punched back enough, failing, but not enough, and mostly, having the reason all the time.

    And don’t make me get started on the new awful Korra comic sequel coming out, makes you see where the mind of the writers is: nowhere to be found.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. If they’d brought up the Korrasami thing earlier, it might have been something. But having them hold hands at the very last second of the last season screams cowardice. They wanted to get hits from LGBT fans without dealing with any consequences that might hurt their show. If you want to stand for something, stand for it. Don’t hit the button and run away.

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    2. It is so obvious that they are trying to make a statement that will only be remotely relevant for a short time in history. I foresee that in 10-20 years, the LGBT community will (hopefully) be so much more accepted, or so normal that no one bats an eye. They were so shy about the lesbian thing that I can’t see people of the future holding up LoK as a major game changer. I am also optimistic that the “strong” female character trope will be seen as a quaint folly of the past. TLoK’s messages will likely not remain poignant in two decades.

      On the other hand, A:TLA’s depiction of war and conflict, friendship and spirituality will be relevant until all humans perish or are no longer human.

      Liked by 2 people

  70. Well yeah, from season 1 i found myself yawning, and pausing, and not amused at all… i wonder why the plots were so damn lame!!! I dunno if korra realized it but let me tell you she’s being a total rock bottom avatar, lack of character developments(if only aang didnt show up in the end of seasons 1 i was about to pass the following seasons.. and yeah the one thing i totally anticipate is the team avatar aang and old characters to show up more eventho thats not happening in major plot and more like a purposed fanservice i dont mind at all, its just the korra and her team is not a good pair adding the lame love stories among charaters ugh come on…too clichè to watch. Most of my points are well mentioned in your article(thanks so much)

    Rating: 4/10 (read: meh)

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  71. I feel like they have ruined a great show! This avatar is a loser compared to Aang and she can barely beat normal enemies, the whole Chicago feeling is dreadful and the cars planes and modern era was too much. The last air bender was so good because of the traveling and the much simpler times. And I feel they have made it so stupid by going into this modern era that basically it makes the avatar useless not to mention Aang left the world in such a good place and you jump right into fighting again with gangs ? I wish I never started watching this show in the first place

    Liked by 1 person

  72. Perfect . You just put on words exactly how I feel about Legends of Korra.

    I would add that Korra acctually never won any battles. And after loosing her bendings and bending air by force, on the sequence she takes the credit for everything, no humility (or truth).

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  73. The only one I don’t agree with here were the villains: they were extremely well written and the ideas they represented were rarely altruistic. Amon stood for equality between benders and non-benders in society, The Red Lotus wanted absolute Liberty for the world, and Kuvira wanted to help his nation be the best. This was pointed out by Toph, so calling them altruistic or badly written was hardly appropriate.

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  74. I just watched season two and found this article by trying to google like minded opinions. Jesus was a lazily written show. Thanks for spelling out all the issues I had with this show in a coherent article. What an utter disappointment that was.

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