To the fans’ enthusiasm, season two of The Legend of Korra has arrived and rather than rest on its laurels and fan approval, it instead bursts out of the gateway with a bang, thrusting us full throttle into the adventure that will dominate much of the show’s sophomore season.
We meet up with our characters a few months after the events of the first season and while Republic City seems to have settled, there are troubles in other parts of the world where angry spirits are coming from their haven to attack the men of earth. Korra rather than depart with Tenzin and his family to continue to train in air bending is instead recruited by her Uncle Unalag to travel to the Southern Water Tribe to try and open the portal between the Spirit and Physical world.
Obviously, the audience can see there are ulterior motives, but what they are will remain a mystery for now.
The gangs all back as well. Bolin and Asami are still trailing along, following wherever Korra’s misadventures take her. I love both characters (favorite status goes to Lin and Tenzin) but some characterization beyond comic relief would do the Bolin character well. While his bits are genuinely funny–the scene with the Prince like mogul being a particular standout–what made Sokka such a great character in the original Avatar: The Last Airbender was that while he was given much of the comic moments, he was also layered a grew throughout the series to become more mature. Bolin has the makings to be similar, but it’s yet to be seen if the creators feel like testing his strength. Mako and Korra are still enjoying being in a relationship, but it’s nice to see that it hasn’t been all fun and easy love between the two of them with Korra quick to anger at any and all advice given by Mako. I can much more readily get behind this relationship so early in the series as long as there is tension.
However the greatest rift currently is between Korra and Tenzin. We watched the latter deal with Korra and her frustrating (yet fantastic) characteristics in the first season, watched him fight with her, fight for her and he has become in my mind one of the greatest assets the show has. He is the link between this show and Aang, the first Avatar we followed as fans. So as he bears farewell to Korra with restricted formality, it’s effective because we’ve learned so much about the character in such a short period of time.
Luckily his departure from training Korra won’t affect his screen time since it appears we’ll be following him and his family’s trip to the air temples despite it. They’re accompanied by Tenzin’s brother and sister Bumi and Kya and while there’s not much going on with them in terms of characterization yet, I can’t wait to learn more about the three’s upbringing. It also appears that the oldest daughter Jinora is going to be getting her own storyline as well.
Everything is pretty straightforward about the first two episodes but what has obviously seen an upgrade is the animation which is simply stunning. Whether it be the chase through Republic City that Mako leads or the carnival the gang attends or most importantly the battles with the spirits on the snowy mountain sides there is a lot of beauty to take in. I’m artistically stunted and watching these scenes make me wish I had the ability of creation that the artists of this show display. There is no “flat face” with the characters, the world is perceptive, full of depth and color, and it’s unimaginable for the regular audience member to think of how much work went into the finished product.
I don’t know about you, but I’m excited for the return of this show. After the complaints at the tail end of last season (the romance, the bending tournaments, the dismissal of the equalists storyline etc.), it seems that show runners Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko are doing what they can to rectify it. The kids gloves are off (literally if the death at the start of the episode is any indication) and despite the channel that it gets its airtime, the themes portrayed are very much adult–or did you all miss the duel suicide that took place in season one? These series have always succeeded because of their refusal to pander to an audience and instead respect them and chose to believe that children and adults alike can handle material that’s meant to thrill but also tell a story.
And I cannot wait for the rest of the story to unfold.