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The Legend of Korra S02E01 & S02E02: "Rebel Spirit" & "The Southern Lights"

People! People! IT'S FINALLY HERE!!! Book 2 of The Legend of Korra has begun! 

SQUEE!!!

Ahem. 

I was fully prepared just to copy and paste "SQUEE!!!" a few hundred times, but Jen told me I wouldn't get paid if I did that, so I guess I have to come up with some actual thoughts about the premiere beyond expressing my fannish glee now that one of television's best programs is back on the air.

Book 2 hit the ground running, and that's a very good thing. The quick snippets that filled in the six-month gap between Book 1 and Book 2—the Republic City council was disbanded and a president was elected, Bumi retired from the United Republic Forces to hang out with Tenzin, and Mako and Korra are still an item—provided just enough context for the second round of context-providing scenes: Mako's a cop, Bolin is struggling with a new Fire Ferrets team, Asami is trying to keep Future Industries afloat, and Korra's still on Air Temple Island. It was all quickly established, entertainingly so, and then we were whisked off to the Southern Water Tribe for what will constitute a considerable portion of Book 2's narrative.

Do I wish that we had maybe spent some time seeing and working through the fallout of the Equalist movement? Yes, absolutely, as I can't imagine that getting rid of the council and electing a president solved all the strife Amon managed to stir up, but since I'm guessing we'll circle back to Republic City a bit later in the season—Mako has to go back to work at some point, right?—I'm okay with it.


I'm also okay with it because both of these first two episodes—but particularly "Rebel Spirit"—had a lot of place-setting to do, and including more extensive epilogue-y scenes for Book 1 would've made the premiere feel unnecessarily crowded. Both episodes did a very fine job of introducing so many new characters and setting up both the central struggles within the Spirit World and Unalaq's aims on the Southern Water Tribe, all while still allowing room for Korra and Mako to be young people in love and Desna and Eska to get into Bolin-related silliness. In all, I'd rather have moments like Korra water-bending a squirt-gun carnival game, Varrick's little boat party, and Bolin in an inflatable parka balancing out Unalaq's very ominous speeches than just having Unalaq's very ominous speeches.

Speaking of Unalaq, two very nice extensions from Book 1 are already playing out in Book 2 and are worth thinking about, especially given that Unalaq's Northern Water Tribe forces arrived to bring spirituality to the heathens of the South at the end of "Southern Lights." On just a surface level, I like that Korra has again found herself caught in a struggle between two brothers. Whereas in Book 1 no one was aware of the cross purposes that Tarrlok and Amon/Noatak were working at until the end of that narrative, here, the struggles between Unalaq and Tonraq were made apparent from the get-go, from Unalaq being chief of the Northern Water Tribe when it should have been Tonraq to the spiritual conflict between the two men. The family aspect ups the personal stakes considerably, and that should hopefully create some meaty dramatic tension.


The other extension is that Book 2 will continue to complicate our ideas of this world, and our assumptions about it based on Avatar: The Last Airbender. Korra Book 1 played with our perceptions about the power dynamics between benders and non-benders, both literally and politically. Book 2 seems to be priming itself to expand our sense of the Spiritual World, and how it relates to the Physical World. We know from A:TLA that the Spiritual World is both a realm of danger—hello there, Koh the Face Stealer!—and a realm of enlightenment, and that nothing happens in the Spiritual World without it having an impact on the Physical World, and vice versa. 

Already, we're getting a different sense of how spirits manifest in the Physical World than we did in A:TLA. The spirits here move differently and with more of a purpose, and they aren't taking on the forms of related spiritual creatures, but they're still able to cause both property damage and mischief in the Physical World. They're a different sort of manifestation than what Aang and Team Avatar I dealt with. 

But the most intriguing element of this is the tension between spiritualism and secularism. While Aang's absence allowed the Fire Nation to wage a century-long war, it also threw the balance between the two worlds out of whack. His return, and subsequent profile as a world leader, probably helped to rejuvenate an interest in the Spiritual World. However, in the same way that Book 1 used the Equalists and technology to call into question the value of the Avatar and its place in the world, rapid modernization and secularism have raised questions about the value of the Spiritual World to the Physical World's residents.


So the show has inverted our supposed comfort zones again. In Book 1, we were aligned with Korra as seeing bending, and by extension the Avatar, as a positive for the world; it seemed that Amon's Equalist rhetoric would bring harm. The show gradually forced us to reconsider those notions, between an all-bender ruling council and a police force seemingly comprised entirely of metal benders. With Book 2, we have the privileged position of knowing that the Spiritual World is a vital component of this narrative universe, but we, as both viewers and people who are living in a fast-paced, technologically connected, planned-obsolesce society, can both thrive on and fall prey to the very secularization that's causing trouble for the Southern Water Tribe on the show.

What do we value? How do we balance it in our lives? Yes, it was a very funny moment when Varrick introduced Whacky Woshu's Dancing Otter Penguins—goodness knows I love me some otter penguins—but Korra made a very pointed commentary by having those instances follow one another: A serious speech about spirituality, one that generated whispers among the gala attendees, was immediately undercut by some goofy entertainment. What's important, and how are we making that determination? Are we getting distracted by cute animals when we should be focused on our spiritual selves?


If there's one other place we see this struggle playing out, it's in, appropriately enough, Korra herself. Korra's never been one for communing with the spirits, or even her past selves. Aang had to reach out to her in dreams and times of crisis to guide her, and it wasn't until she was at her lowest point that Aang was able to actually manifest in front of her. For all her talk about being the Avatar and the bridge between the worlds, especially in these two episodes, Korra hasn't made much progress in her ability to connect with the Spiritual World.

Consider, as just one example, her use of the Avatar State in "Rebel Spirits." Sure, she employed it to win an air scooter race, but she also entered the Avatar State shortly after confronting an angry spirit. Where Aang, once he gained control of the Avatar State, used it both as a last-last resort (with violence already being Aang's last resort) and as a spiritual bridge, Korra treated it like she was activating the Super Sayian transformation in Dragon Ball Z. She didn't enter the Avatar State to talk to the spirit, as Tenzin attempted to do in his non-Avatar way and as Aang likely would have done, but instead in an effort to blast it to smithereens. It was a physical response to a literal spiritual problem

Of course, her bending as always been more physical than spiritual. From her very first appearance in the series as "I'M THE AVATAR AND YOU GOTTA DEAL WITH IT!" to her expression of mastering air-bending as "Punch punch punch," Korra simply isn't in tune with that aspect of being the Avatar. This entire situation, the Spiritual World's crisis and Unalaq's spirituality-by-force, could be prove more daunting that Amon and his anti-bending ever were.



LEAVES ON THE WIND

– Tenzin's map is just the best thing.

– Oh, Mako, and your cop one-liners. "Looks like you guys should put more 'try' in 'Triad'." YEEEEAAAH!

– "From now on, it's 24/7 BUMI TIME!"

– "I'm not scared of you. Anymore."

– Allow me to express how much the film nerd in me loved the Muybridge reference in Varrick's moving pictures demonstration with the ostrich horse. Even the idea of Ginger striking poses is in keeping with film history, as it wasn't uncommon to film women—often in various stages of undress—striking poses, exercising, or doing mundane tasks. Such films were shown under the guise of "medical" films, but we all know better.


– "You amuse me. I will make you mine." "You mean like a boyfriend? ...Or like a slave?" "Yes. Win me prizes."

– You may or may not be aware of this, but between books, Korra changed animation studios. Book 1 was animated by Studio Mir, and Book 2 will be animated by Studio Pierrot with Mir in a supervising capacity. If you watch anime, chances are you've seen at least one Pierrot series at some point, with Bleach and Naruto being their two recent big huge  ginormous profile productions. I only bring this up because I think there's been a slight shift in the Korra's style, and it looks a bit more like Pierrot's style, particularly Bleach

That's neither a positive nor a negative in my book as the show still looks good, and the characters are all on-model based on last season's designs—it isn't like Batman: The Animated Series, where you could see a stark difference between Sunrise and TMS episodes—but I feel like there are some subtle differences, especially in the face and eyes. And I could just be making it all up. This seems just as likely.

– I know it's early and there are lots of new people and situations to introduce, but, folks, I already miss Lin

– I didn't touch on a ton of stuff, from the glut of new characters and voice additions like Lisa Edelstein (Kya), John Michael Higgins (Varrick), and Aubrey Plaza (Eska) to the show's apparent move to give Jinora an expanded role (I am fully on board with it). But that's what the comments are for! What'd you think or the premiere? Who are your favorite new characters? What are you most excited about? LET'S COMMENT BEND!

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 12/19/2014

Season 3 : Episode 13

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Seriously Mako is a fucking cheater... well first he was the rich girls bitch but still they had a relationship and Avatar is a show primarily for kids and he is just getting away with it. Korra is conceited, annoying and looking at past avatars the worst in centuries, the only character I keep watching this show for is Bolinn he is like Sokka^2
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Rebel Spirit

K, so we start off the episode with two random fishermen, and their ship getting destroyed by a Spirit-Like-Octopus? Fine, I don’t care. But the Equilists get off Scott Free after segregating an entire city, and probably committed murder more than once, and tried to kill the Avatar?! What, NBD now?! W/E Republic City!

K so Mako’s a cop? Sure, why not. Bolin is still doing the Fire Ferrets alone? I kinda don’t buy it. I feel like he’d follow in his brother’s footsteps… Oh, & Asami is off running her dads company. That I DO buy. She’s smart, independence and self sufficient. I will not be worried about her this season. (She took be breakup by her cool-but-also-crappy-boyfriend very gracefully) I DO NOT buy that on one wants to work with Future Industries!! Umm, the whole city was pretty chill with that was happening 6 months ago, now they’re like “Umm…No. U R Bad ppl!”
If Steve Job’s committed murder, would you stop buying Apple products?
Don’t lie, the answer is no.

OK, NO! Korra & Mako are a gross couple now, that do annoying couple things in front of friends, and that is the worst! They both loose 5 points for that cotton candy stunt…+ I hate that the twins are so similar. I’m sick of the stereotype that all twins are exactly the same, or the exact opposite. Don’t get me wrong, the girl is hilarious, but they guy needs a different personality than his sister.

..Oh, and Korra is off training. I was wonder if she knows that if she dies while in the avatar state that all avatars will die too... Also I don’t like Bumi. Why is Aangs oldest child not a bender such a a lil MoFo?

Korra gets attacked by a ghost looking Pokémon, and her dad rushes in the save her!! So cute! Dads R the best! I understand Korra’s dad & her uncle’s positions. I don’t think her uncle is evil like ppl are speculating. He has a valid point. So does her dad. But I think in the end she does make the right choice to go and fix the Spirit World. She HAD to. Her dad was wrong to try and stop her. Plus I understand her annoyance for being locked up in a small village her WHOLE life! Come on guys, we all saw Disney’s Aladdin, we understood how Jasmine felt then, and if you try, you can understand how Korra feels now. She found out she was locked inside a village, when she didn’t have to be. Now her uncle’s here, and she get to make her own choices. She gets to decide between Airbending, or learning about the Spirits. Airbending has already been really hard for her, so why not give up on it now, do something else, & come back later & try again?

But I do not agree with how she was all “..KK, by Tenzin! TTYN” She could have worded it like I just did. Oh well.


The Southern Lights

Ok, Just b/c I agree that Korra’s uncle is only doing what needs to be done. Doesn't mean I don’t think he’s a huge jerk! He doen’st want his brother to come, AKA Korra’s dad, but he’s ok with bringing her b/f, his brother, & his own two children? None of THEM had any business being on that trip. At least her dad knows about the Spirits, & is related to the two most important people going. Her uncle then did an even dick-Ier move by forcing his brother to talk about his hidden shame, and tell his own daughter!!! (+ her friends) That was a jerk move! Now Korra’s mad that her dad isn’t this hero/awesome guy she grew up thinking he always was.

What was going on in the Statue Romm @ the Air Temple? Is Tenzins daughter going to encounter a spirit? Aang’s Spirit?????

Why didn’t Aang fix the Spirit World after the 100 year war? Guys, this should have already been taken care of! Like 50 years ago…W/E THEN Korra kicks her dad out of their lil group?!!? There R 4 other people that R much more useless than him still on that expedition!

But blah, blah. She fixed stuff, now the Southern Lights are back!! But it looks like her dad was right about his warnings. B/C now the Water Tribe will bring peace to Korras Tribe. With Force

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So that's what it was. I was watching and kept thinking something wasn't quite right with their faces. I even looked up season 1 pics to compare. Nice to know I wasn't seeing things. I know the change is subtle, but I hate change. Lol.
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These episodes seem to suffer a rather frequent second season/movie sickness, where the episodes feel kind of slow because they are introducing a lot of new stuff that we don't care about yet.
At least I hope it is just that. Korra is constantly annoying right now. That was fine in season one, but by now she should at least have some kind of respect for Tensin. She might have a point with her "let me be free" attitude, but being so mean about it doesn't seem like her nor like a protagonist I could sympathize with.
Also she generally made stupid decisions. If her growing up is going to be a theme of the show, at least give us some prospect of it getting better. She doesn't listen to Tensin, the other grown-ups are on vacation and she is stuck with the watertribe brothers. And we know which one she will listen to. Oh yeah and her boyfriend isn't enough of a man to call her on her crap. So are we gonna be stuck with stupid Korra for the whole season?
Plus, spirit bending seems like a drag. Before that season started I trusted that it will be cool even if I can't imagine how(because everything was cool in tlab so far), but now I am not so sure anymore.
Of course it is to early to say anything yet, but in season 2 of Aang we got Azula and Tai-lee, Ba Sing Se, a crazy good Zuko-arc...
I just hope this will suprise me in a good way. We need more good characters...(although I have really high hopes for the twins) and improve Korra!

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I agree for the most part.

LoK is so so, mediocre, has problems with the story, jokes, developing personalities,.. and doesn't make us happy and excited like TLA did..

There is a huge difference..But some people want to like it and don't want to see it's weak points just because it's the continuation of the Avatar. Why do they want to believe LoK is perfect, because TLA was perfect..

You can see this as an example on IMDB. TLA got 95/100 score. And LoK Season-1 has 90/100 score. LoK didn't deserve that score in fact, people liked TLA so much so they wanted to give LoK high scores. This is a psychological reaction.
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Creepy twins are creeeeeepy... and I wonder if there will be a game of thrones thing going on there...
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To those bothered by Korra's behavior.

It probably has to do with the fact that the series was initially intended to be just that single season-- Book 1: Air. Now that they've been given the "go ahead" to do 3 more seasons, they might feel the need for some character regression to actually show more PROgression over theses next three seasons.

Korra still is the main character, and to have her fully realized and perfect would not make for good character development (esp being the main character). Just as Aang had to deal with finding "inner peace" and dealing with loss while "coming of age," Korra must also have internal/external conflict to resolve as well.

It's been stated that shes brash, fearless, and headstrong. That being said, it's not really too far fetched to believe she still has some growing up to do. It really showcases her human element of imperfection, and builds upon her already established character flaws. So, you could look at it that way.

Also 17 years of age isn't exactly known for being the epitome of maturity. Avatar or not, people tend to repeat mistakes. It's what makes us human. You can argue that Aang was much younger, yet still had a bearable level of maturity and self awareness, but he had much larger, catastrophic ordeals facing him right from the get-go. Whereas Korra has been protected/sheltered her whole life. I might be over thinking it, but when i think of it this way, it not only makes sense, but eases some tension while watching her "do her thing."
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I'm excited to see where take this new idea. It seems they are using the spirits as sort of a religious reference, and the Northern Chief wants to force his views on everyone else. However, I'm gonna reserve my judement of how good/bad this season is until I see where they are going with this plot. It's still waaay to early to tell anything!
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The Legend of Korra: Book 1 was a huge letdown for me especially in comparison to Avatar: The Last Airbender. That was mostly because the creators/writers took a huge shortcut to explain who Amon was and why he became who he was. There is nothing I hate more than a bad guy explaining his motive as a way to tie things up in the end. That's what Taarlock did to explain his and Amon's childhood. That kind of shortcut seriously harms character development. Also, since the Avatar can't kill the bad guy, the writers decided to end the Amon storyline with a murder-suicide. In the end, I didn't care about the characters of Amon or Tarrlock. Whereas in A:TLA, we got to know about the Firelord through flashbacks of his cruelty towards Zuko and his mom, and other actions that routinely reminded the viewers about how evil the Firelord was. In the end, we "cared" about the villain in the sense that we really wanted Aang to defeat him badly. That was not how I felt at the end of Korra: Book 1. (I've been skeptical about having different storyline or plot each season for Korra. I think that made Book 1 less interesting as well.)

So now, we have Book 2 and a completely new plot. I liked the premise of Book 1 and I like the premise of Book 2 as well. The spiritual side of being an Avatar is very interesting and something that I'm keen to learn about, especially about how the first Avatar came about. However, I seriously hope the writers do not take shortcuts here with undeveloped characters that you won't care about in the end. This is very possible since the list of characters has grown so much now. The first casualty is already Lin Beifong. I hate to say it but M.Night Shyamalan committed these same mistakes in The Last Airbender movie and I can't believe that Book 1 made those mistakes as well. Nonetheless, I am still hoping that the writing will be better this season.
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Book 1 of avatar 1 wasn't too interesting either. I honestly prefer this over books 1 and 2 because the show didnt really pick up till about halfway through. It seems to me people are just pissed because it's not about aang anymore, or katara or sokka there's new characters and everyone is salty because of that. I like korra. She's fucking awesome and so is everyone else I loved season 1 cause it felt validated. I hated TLA books 1 and 2 cause it just followed this goofy kid scared of doing whats needed, and as a result I was subjected to a whole host events that didnt matter to the story but just happened to be interesting enough for me sit through for 30 minutes a day. That whole thing with Appa missing was the biggest waste of time ever but made for some interesting filler
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They had half the episodes to work with...
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That makes the decisions to do one storyline each season/book even more confounding. However, not having enough time to tell a story is not a sufficient excuse. Amon turned out to be such a lame villain in the end. If they were not going to fully explore the bending vs non-bending premise, then they should have gone for some other premise. But that's my opinion. I was disappointed with how Book 1 ended.
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I can respect that. Personally, I liked Amon.. Though, I wish the season had a few more episodes to flesh out the storyline too, but it is what it is. I think this season will be a little longer.
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Same here. I did care when Amon and Tarrlock died. I felt Amon was a superior villain to Ozai and had more depth than he did, but suffered from only being in one book. I get it was originally a mini-series, so they had to speed it up, but the plot like that I wished it could have gotten 20 episodes to resolve as oppose to 12.
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i love it, my kids love it! the timeline is prefect for my family, previously aang was a child, so mostly its from a kid perspectives, suitable when they were younger back then. While now my kids are also older and they can understand Korra's older perspectives and her still childish manners.
Animation is more otaku genre now
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others have said that Korra has a nose now. it's not just you.

I like Aubrey Plaza but i wasn't impressed with her VO here. I just didn't like it. Like the voice didn't match the character or something. But whatever I like the girl I'll give her a chance to grow on me.
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i can't wait for it to be shown here in the Philippines....
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I enjoyed this episode. Should be interesting to see what happens between the water tribes. But I did find the exchanges between her and her dad frustrating. The spirit world is well known and established. So for her dad to act like he did didn't make much sense.
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I didn't like the episodes. I'm frustrated. I hoped the new episodes would be better than season 1 but i strongly felt that it was even worse.

Avatar Korra is so brat, Bolin became more stupid, Mako doesn't know what he should do, the jokes are worse and more simple,..

And how Korra knows how to go into the avatar state already? Isn't
that ridiculous? Aang went to the eastern air temple to learn from the
Guru to go into the avatar state. But Korra already knows it!

Also, in season 1 and in the very beginning, child Korra knew how to
water, fire and earth bend! That's ridiculous too.. You know Aang and
the previous Avatars always practised hard to learn the other elements.
They started from zero. But Korra could DO these without any teaching..

Another weird thing: Korra could be able to calm one spirit for a while in one battle with some snow and ice:) How does she do that? She hasn't learned anything controlling spirits yet but WOW she DOES it again..

There were lots of "carelessly done" scenes in Korra Season 1 episodes
IN OPPOSITION TO "The Last Airbender episodes". And these new episodes
(Season 2) are no better than season 1..

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I do think it is a bit much she mastered the Avatar State, especially since to me it seemed like Aang just gave it to her and mastered it for her so she could get her bending back. I got over it by now. They wrote themselves into a corner by having Korra master the State in the finale because it was intended series finale before Nick ordered more episodes. They wanted to end it with Korra being a fully realized Avatar.

In fairness Aang had to work at mastering the State, but he opened those chakra pretty damn easily. The only one he had trouble unlocking was the final one and he refused to do it because he didn't want to let go of his love for Katara, but in the end he was about master the State in book 2 finale before Azula shot him in the back. I've seen theories that Korra's trials in book 1 were tied into chakras with her unlocking the final one because she was at her lowest point she was detached from the world giving her mastery. I'm not sure I agree with this theory, but I can see why some think it.
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I hear ya, but you have a somewhat selective memory. Now, don't get me wrong, TLA was better. IT was amazing, and nothing can compare. But this is a new series. It's set in a new time period on purpose. Back to my original point though, Katara and Toph were brats at times too. Sokka was an idiot (the funniest idiot ever, but still)...The humor is one thing that is very much the same. It's the new animation that worries me, if anything at all....
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I agree with you on some of these things, however I will make note that a lot of TV series do this. I mean they skip over things that weere difficult for one character to master however a couple of seasons later it is easy pickings for another character. The main reason is that they don't want to rehash old ideas - they want to explore new ones. (It's not right - it's just why they do it).

Now in saying that, I think Korra's innate ability can be justified somewhat. I think Korra's physicality is her strongest quality. (And as we have learned in the latest ep, it may stem from her father). The avatar state - while linked to the spirits - is all about power. Clearly Korra has a lot of power, so it's easy for her to fall back on that when she wants to. As Noel has said, Aang used the avatar state as a last-last resort. Violence doesn't come easy to him (the complete opposite of Korra), so tapping into that much power was difficult for him, whereas it is literally Korra's go-to move. Hopefully we will see the consequences of accessing the avatar state too often and Korra may become a bit more grounded. I also think all of these things are reasons why she doesn't get along with Tenzin very well.
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It looks good. I wonder what Unalaq's big plan is. Jinora - I'm excited to go deeper into her story line.
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Yes
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I think that everybody is to hard for Korra...hey she is the Avatar and the whole world depends on her. Every Avatar had his own ways, this is hers...she is stubborn....and doesn't have respect, but when it comes to it..she is there and she fights...give her some time...Aang, did also not everything right...in the beginning...she will get the hang of it...
beside that, i loved the opening...it was worth waiting for...!! Love the action scenes...and let's see how it go's...
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After watching the original series, between the gap, I understand why some people are dissapointed. Korra whining for everything is becoming annoying, her quest is easier than Aangs, but she is bitching 24/7. There is no strong villain like Zuko, for now, Bolin is just stupid, while Soka was sarcastic and there is lots of soap opera. Still its early to say how things are goint to turn out, but most ot this things have to be fixed.
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Well, Aang had 1 main goal for 3 seasons: defeat the Firelord. Of course, to accomplish this, he had to master bending all 4 elements. Furthermore, TLA was like a movie trilogy in its structure. Season 2 was like it's Empire Strikes Back (ended on a major down note)...
But you are all comparing apples and oranges imo. If you judge Korra on its own merit, its pretty good. Not TLA good, but good. If you compare it to the focused storytelling of TLA, it will not hold up every time.
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Exacttlllyyy
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I missed Lin too. I mean so glad to get a taste of bumi and kya and how they might have some issues by not being regarded as important because their not air benders? Looking forward to some aang kids sibling rivalry... Which in this world means fighting each other and fighting together. Not going to lie, really want to see bumi fight. You know who I kinda missed too? Iroh 2... Why didnt they show what happened to him? Hmmm


Aside from those things that I wish to see... Dagnabit if this wasnt a heck of an opener. Creepy but awesome twins skating, naga's spidey senses and korra really struggling to be better and still being kind of a brat... Looking forward to it.


and as creepy as he was... Looking forward to seeing koh the face stealer again too.
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With all the shows I've been watching lately, this is by far one of the most satisfying returns I've seen this year. I basically looked at the episodes as nothing but a bunch of setup for the rest of the season, and I'm hoping its all going to come together in each episode. The messy character relations, political issues and all.

As much as I hate to say it, Korra's character is very much the generic "troubled and naive student". Definitely borderline Anakin Skywalker if you know what I mean. She lacks respect for her elders and refuses to do things because they make no sense to her. She doesn't see that the people teaching her are wise and got to where they are by doing what they are teaching her. She's definitely not seeking to attain wisdom anytime soon. Of course, she has her share of other traits to flesh her out. She is by no means a bad character. I'm just hoping she matures throughout this season.
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Yeah, she's abrasive. She's kinda the opposite of Aang, and that's what they're going for. But I agree, sometimes, I wanna just smack her!
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I think the concept is generic, but the show expanded on it that it is not that generic. Korra was confined to the compound most of her life and so she values freedom more then anything. After six months of training and Tenzin still says nope not there yet frustrating her to the point she feels it's impossible for her to met his standards and thus still has someone else in control of her life. Her dad well he was not exact someone who was in the right. I feel Korra's dad decision were pretty crappy at best and Korra was right to question him, especially since unlike Tenzin (who had legit point) he came off as she's my daughter I know what's best for her type of guy. She respected her uncle because he gave her personal freedom and guidance without the whole "I know what's best for you," angle her dad had.
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Pedestrian: "OMG, you're the Avatar! Hey, if you're heading that direction, can I give you some advice?"
Korra: "HOW DARE YOU! You don't trust my judgment??"
*catapults pedestrian with a loud stomp*

Vendor: "Fresh fish on sale!"
Korra: "You've got some nerve, implying I'm so destitute that I'd buy cheap fish!"
*waterbends vendor into the sky*

Korra comes to the corner and sees a sign flashing.
Sign: "DON'T WALK"
"Who are you to tell me where to walk, you stupid box??"
*hurls earth at sign and it explodes*

Tenzin: "How are you today, Korra?"
"AAGH! I CAN'T BREATHE! YOU NARROW-MINDED RIGID PIECE OF PLATYPUS-TURNIP-COW MANURE! I'M TIRED OF YOU RESTRICTING ME! ENOUGH OF THIS! I'M GOING TO CLOWN COLLEGE!!"
*Korra flies off to clown college*
Pemma: "...I don't think any of us expected that."
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"but I feel like there are some subtle differences, especially in the face and eyes. And I could just be making it all up."

It wasn't your imagination. It was most noticeable on Asami.
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Finally sat down to watch the episodes. I enjoyed it for the most part, especially the animation. I think Korra's angst against her dad, Tenzin and Mako was a bit overkill though.
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They need to start her at this point, so she can grow into into something else. It's tough to watch her make the wrong decisions, but it's the only way she'll learn from her mistakes..
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Great review Noel, looking forward to the new season as well as your reviews. It seems to me that airbending is seen as the most spiritual of the bending arts with aang naturally being in tune with the spirits and with tenzin correlating Korra's airbending mastery to her being in tune with the spiritual world. I personally think that's interesting. However I have one grip about this season thus and that's Korra's attitude toward her father and Tenzin. It's beyond annoying because there is no basis for it besides her being a hothead. I feel the writers should give us a reason to support her rebellion.
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There was always a little tension between tenzin and korra. And hell I'd be pissed at her dad too hiding shit all the time
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Keep in mind there 6 months in between the book 1 finale and book 2 premiere. Tension between Korra and Tenzin was unfortunately off-screen. The thing here is that Korra just tired of people telling her what to do. Unlike Aang who got to see the world and a lot of personal freedom Korra was locked on compound since she was a kid and not allowed to leave it without the White Lotus's permission. Korra was acting bratty, but the truth is people have a hard time seeing their faults. From her point of view she's been training for 6 months mastered air bending (according to her) yet Tenzin keeps saying no you haven't and you still got a long way to go and need to be a better Avatar. He's pointing out faults with her and scheduling her life when she has had so little freedom for most of it that's she just sick of it.

Judging from her conversation with Mako she feels he keeps finding fault with her and not acknowledging what she does right. Is she being bratty about, yes. Does she have a point, that's up to fans to decide. They both have points honestly. Korra has such little freedom for most of her life she just kind of sick of other people deciding everything for her. Tenzin has a point in that Korra has gotten arrogant since she defeated Amon and got the Avatar State and that she still needs to work and train to be a better Avatar. Unfortunately Korra is taking it out Mako a neutral party who can see both sides and trying to tell her she gets upset for him not taking her side. The last straw was just finding out both her father figures lied to her about Aang's wishes to keep her locked up on the compound for most of her life. To Korra Tenzin's training is just another attempt to control her life and make her do what they want without so much as talking to her. She dismissed Tenzin to do what she wants to do.

It is drama and it probably would have helped to have Korra and Tenzin split later in the season like episode 5 or something to give us a better sense of why Korra is so upset with him.
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It's true, Aang and Korra are like polar(bear dog) opposites in many ways!
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Yes, the writers did a good job making the total opposite for Aang as a protagonist. I like they are so different. Should make some interesting conversations for when Korra contacts Aang's spirit in the future.
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Truthfully she does have a reason. They've kept her locked up her whole life. It wasn't until last season that she finally left the South Pole and even then she had to run away before they finally gave her some breathing room. The problem is that Korra's behavior is SOO bratty, even towards Mako, that her reasons seem meaningless. She's around 16 years old and still whines like a child.
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She's a real hothead. It annoyed me in season 1, but now I'm used to it. I think/hope/believe by end of this season, she'll be less brat and more likeable.
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Looks like the story telling problems are still persisting with this new avatar.

http://chirart.tumblr.com/post/25991175534/how-you-can-have-a-bunch-of-great-ideas-but-still-fuck



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Did anyone else feel like Katara might die soon? Something about the scene with her convincing her kids to go to Southern Air Temple together and how they will cherish their time together when they are her age, just felt like foreshadowing she would pass away soon.

I hope I'm wrong, but can't shake the feeling. I know its stupid, but I was really hoping she did die after seeing her great grandchildren like Aunt Woe's "prediction" foretold.
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i didnt know the animation teams had changed, but i did notice that some of the faces seemed odd, I noticed it most ehen you first see Asami and she makes that sad face.
I really like that we get to see more of the spiritual world, I loved when Aang would go to the spirit world.
I am really interested to see what they are doing with Jinora, I like it!
I love Korra and Mako together and Bolin hanging around with the creepy twins (they are twins right?)
Varrick is my new fav he was so nuts!!!! I loved it!!!
As soon as I saw Unalaq I thought, he has a serious agenda. I just dont whether he wants to simply invade and take over the Southern Tribe to run it his way or something to do with the spiritual portal that Korra opened?
I am beyond excited this is back, cant wait til next week!!!!
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Twin water bender chick too funny and I just love Bolin. Now lets see what happens next shall we but please please don't overdue the Avatar state.
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actually the other is a guy. lols........ personally i find them terrifying as they are hilarious. if it were in the same situation as mai then i would not be scared (though these two make mai look like ty lee if she was doped out of her mind), but their father...... something seems wrong that these two were born from the ame man who sent an entire army to his brother's village and shows neither guilt or sadism over it.
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the twins are just a re-hash of May's character in the original series... nothing new... but i do agree, they are fun to watch
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Yea, Noel, I noticed the change in animation but it wasn't as jarring as the episode-to-episode change in Tiny Toons. That still bothers me.

But yea, loved it, but I prefer LoK to Avatar.
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Oh, goodness, the Tiny Toons animation. Worse than the Batman: TAS shifts sometimes.
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This is just my personal theory, but I think the show is gearing up towards Korra being the last avatar. If you think about, Book 1 was all about the political side of the avatar and how they should interact with the public both benders and nonbenders. The end result was that the avatar ended up having no more political importance now that Republic City changed to a president leadership. Now I think Book 2 will be about the Avatars importance in the spirit world. Unlike Aang and his air of hopefulness, Korra is much more a realist. It's already clear that she isn't the best to deal with spirits, unlike Jinora who seems like based off the trailer will be much more adept at it. Now this brings up the whole separation of church and state ideas. Anyways, my prediction is that by the end of this book, Korra will have little importance to the spirit world and leaving the question of the duties of the avatar.
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Does Korra ever stop whining and victimizing herself. Worst protagonist ever.
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I feel like a lot of female protagonists fall under this umbrella...honestly though it's more annoying because Korra actually has everything she could ever want. Her parents are alive and well, she has the boyfriend that she wanted, she has her second family (Tenzin), and she has plenty of teachers. Watching her fret over everything is annoying because she's so impatient and unhappy even though she should be the opposite.
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does anyone else think the dialogue in this show is a little awkward? i'm thinking of the dynamic between katara, sokka, aang, which was far more natural-sounding than how korra, bolin, and mako interact with each other. korra and mako's fight felt forced and weird, i can't help but feel that it has that "manufactured drama" tone to it, the kind that you see in soap operas and bad fanfiction. sometimes it felt like there should have been a more natural segue or turn of phrase where there wasn't one, conversational partners are excluded/dismissed when they should have been responded to, etc. maybe i'm alone in this, but it's a little distracting.
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That whole cotton candy bit was gross. I guess it was meant to be, but it didn't seem like the kind of behavior they would actually engage in. They weren't acting all cutesy and touchy feely when they were alone so why would they do it in front of Bolin? It was just odd.
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Yes, I find both the dialogue and character dynamics awkward and a bit off-putting. I think the pseudo-drama has to do with it being "teenage drama" as that's whom this series seems primarily targeted at. And for anyone not a teen yet/anymore, it's very non-compelling and often aggravating to watch. AtLA's relationships were quite organic and enjoyable. LoK's relationships seem forced and done "because it would be cool".
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To start, I loved the Last Airbender series, and I liked the first season of Avatar Korra.

Having said that. I'm disappointed thus far in the start of the season.
So far it's nothing but drama, and Korra has grown as a character. She has no desire to be the best at Air bending, having mastered the other 3 elements fully. She just unlocks it and now blowing air is mastery?

As she fully lost her bending with the exception of airbending in the last season, I would think she'd have a greater respect for her teachers and for the Avatar state. After everything she went through to finally gain it.

Her relationship with Mako is so far extremely awkward, and seriously from their behavior can't understand why they are together as a couple...Personally I felt that Mako fit Asami better, personality wise. And the previous Bolin was more of a fit with Korra, considering her personality.

Bolin is very annoying in this first episode to start, he gets better when Asami gets involved, but I feel like the character overall are OVER done. Bolin is also being portrayed more as a player, then a goofy fun loving character. Which is kinda saddening, I really liked his character previously.

Asami is the only one that hasn't changed personality or behavior wise.

Makos a little cheesier, but he hasn't changed to much which is good.

Tenzin is just behaving like a child now, and his daughters suddenly fight?

Overall, I'm still hoping it'll get better. But I'm not holding my breath or having any higher expectations this time. :(
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Yes..
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To be fair Bolin was originally presented as a player. Mako's comment on him bringing fan girls to the arena in the second episode. The way he was around Korra in the first couple episodes was similar to how is acting around Korra's cousin. As he feelings for her grew strong he toned down those qualities. I think without Korra being his main focus those qualities are finally re-surfaced. I agree Bolin is being exaggerated in this series still. I hope he improves down the line.

Tenzin's behavior isn't unnatural. I've seen some people devolve or return to older ways when surrounded by their siblings. From experience I change or revert to some more childish behavior around certain cousins. Bumi and Kya love annoy their baby brother who has a short fuse. After re-watching book one before seeing the premiere I can honestly say Tenzin was in character and childish outburst weren't different from when Korra would annoy or infuriate him. Overall he felt he evolved as a character to me. He was on Korra mastering air bending properly and not to play with the Avatar State, but he felt more understanding of Korra, but simply telling her she needs to realize she needs to work at being Avatar. He's accepting Korra will take her uncle as a mentor whether than yelling at her as he would have in the first 2 episodes of book 1 show he has evolved as a character.

I'm not sure why you have a problem with his daughter fighting. Sibling can be best friends on day and fight the next day over the minor of offenses. I think here just because they didn't fight in book 1 is no reason to believe it's out of character for them to fight. At that age it is really no out of place for them to get annoyed with each other and be in each other's faces.

Korra I argue is perfectly in character. She's grown some, but at the same time defeating Amon, learning energy bending, and the Avatar State has fed her ego. She feels she knows it all now and feels Tenzin is being too controlling and not acknowledging her growth or accomplishments, which is why she was acting up against him. I feel her being short tempered with Tenzin and Mako made sense because she feels she is not being given respect she feels she deserves. A lot of ways the finale didn't have the impact you were expecting because well Korra didn't face the consequences long enough. She was at her lowest point for like a minute before Aang came in to fix everything for her. He gave her energy bending and mastery of the Avatar State easily that she never learned to appreciate the art of bending, or her value without bending, or spirituality because it was sort fixed so fast, which I loved. If your mess is fixed soon the lesson you learn from it don't resonate as powerfully if you have to lived with the consequences long enough.
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"You amuse me. I will make you mine." "You mean like a boyfriend? ...Or like a slave?" "Yes. Win me prizes."
The Best Line I've ever listened to in my entire life
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"I will protect you my feeble turtle duck"
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What I really like here is the already established theme about strife between families. You have Unalaq vs. Tonraq vs. Korra, Tenzin vs. Bumi vs. Kaya, and, in my opinion, hints that Bolin might become a source of contention between Desna and Eska. Perhaps it's because a character voiced by Aubrey Plaza seems much more likely to become a good guy then the one with Aaron Himelstein's creepy voice acting. Anyway it'll be interesting to see who's family ties carry them through, though if I had to guess I'd say Unalaq and Desna are going to be a problem.

Also not sure where they're going with the Mako/Korra dynamic since their relationship only seems to work when Korra's just accomplished something. It'll be interesting to see if their relationship can carry through or if their declaring their love for each other last season was just them being young and believing strong feelings and attraction is what love is.
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Korra/Mako are just a mess. They were a mess last season (did he and Asami actually break up, or this sort of like a "You know, it was really unclear" moment?), and they're still pretty half-baked now.
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Saw the first two episodes. Seems like all the previous problems are still on board. Focus on characters are spread really thin. The start to the story is really interesting. But so was first half of Legend of Korra. I just don't see the same sense of life as A:TLA. How should I put this .... Hmmm .... Take parts separately like the Story, Characters (all of them), Animation, Music and all the other bits and everything is top notch. But put them together and I feel that they don't add up to as much as they are worth.
Here is my theory. I think the show is carrying too much baggage from A:TLA. Yes, I love seeing characters that have reference to the old series. But they are taking up too much time and focus from the new ones.
I think Legend of Korra has currently introduced more major characters than the three seasons of A:TLA put together.
Still, I enjoy the show and will probably watch the rest of the series.
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totally agree, on paper the series plays well but when you watch it something is wrong. i think the issue is that it tries too much to relate to A;TLA instead of finding its own identity.

Also Aang had a mission defeat the fire lord and end the war, Korra has no mission, she is just sitting there barely doing anything. the season 1 Equalist issue could have sorted itself without Korra.

Season 2 is starting a bit better with the spirits and stuff. Let's see how this plays out...

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I agree, she doesn't have a mission (or at least she didn't in the beginning) which is why her quick temper and impatience feel so necessary. She's rushing with no destination in mind. Aang had to hurry up and learn the other three elements and try to master the Avatar state in order to prevent the Fire Lord from taking over the world. Korra has to hurry up and master Air bending and the Avatar state because....she feels like it? For a girl who is not an orphan, is dating the boy of her dreams, and defeated her arch nemesis a few months ago, she seems pretty unhappy.
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I want Amon back! He was such a great villain and they wasted his story too quickly... He could of easily lasted at least 2 or 3 seasons.
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Agreed. He could have slipped away after the big reveal about him being a blood bender and being Tarrlok's brother.
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I loved it. Bolin still my favourite character. I like it more,when they are not in the city. People get distracted by all those "shiny lights",cars,bazookas,etc. This is Avatar. You got elemental bending. Korra thinks she knows it all,but will soon learn that she doesn't...same old,same old...
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The pacing definite felt a bit off and now that you mention it, I do see the Studio Pierrot (woo, Yu Yu Hakusho). It's putting the series in an interesting place - one it hasn't had the chance to explore yet - and I think that's important in preventing the series from stagnating. Good writing overall, even if it needs a little touch-up here and there.
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SQUEEEEE!!!!!!
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as much as I like this show, I feel like it has nothing to do with avatar when I watch it. don't get me wrong korra is still one of the best shows on right now. but the animation is so completely different than avatar and the amount of technology in it has ruined the Asian-influenced world of avatar it just doesn't feel the same. and don't me started on those things they call "spirits". I want spirits like that giant owl from book 2 or the face stealing spirit
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Yes, yes, yes..
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It makes me so happy to know that this show has an adult fan base. I absolutely love this show (TLA included)
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I'm very excited about this season! I'm not a huge fan of fighting and violence.

Something that I really appreciated A:TLA was that it was balanced. Never too much fighting, it had interesting spiritual elements, and they had GREAT character development.

This season (though, I don't think I'll get to know any of the characters more than I really already have) I think that it will tone down all that fighting we saw in the first season! (although I wanna see those awesome metalbenders again!)

I love the spiritual aspect of this show! I makes me really happy that they are including that again. All of my favorite episodes of A;TLA were ones that included the spirit realm. I really hope they pull from that in this season.
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SQUEE! SQUEE!! SQUEE!!!

We're back, Noel! Yeehaw!

After over a year long break The Legend of Korra returns with fantastic first two episodes. Finally!

1. I think "Rebel Spirit" is Korra herself. Looks like she's in the middle of teenage rebellion. Poor Tonraq :(

2. When I saw Unalaq for the first time I immediately thought "he's bad news". It looks like I was right. Something tells there will be a religion / spiritual war in the South soon.

3. I miss Lin too :(

4. Eska and Desna creep me out.

5. We need more Bumi.

6. Fortunately, the background music is as lovely as it was in Book 1.

I can't wait to see what happens next.
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1. Niiice.

2. A friend of mine called it "The Northern War of Spiritual Passive Aggression." Which I love.

3. So. Much. I'n hoping if/when the show cycles back to Republic City, she's back in the mix.

4. They don't creep me out, though I think Aubrey Plaza (and John Michael Higgins as Varrick) do sort of stand out, vocally. I'm not sure either completely..."fit" sometimes.

5. But it's 24/7 BUMI TIME for Tenzin!

6. Jeremy Zuckerman is just too good. Have you picked up the Book 1 album? I listen to it all the time.
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3. Fingers crossed!

5. Tenzin should share him with us.

6. Yeah, I've got it on my smartphone :)
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Also, re: 5. --> I want more Kya. But this could be due to my undying crush on Lisa Edelstein.
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I agree - more Kya please. It was wonderful to hear Lisa Edelstein again :)

As for Eska and Desna - they remind me of japanese horror girls - like the girl from the "Ring". That's why they creep me out so much.
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THIS IS NOT SEASON 2! Thank you.
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We're using the S02E01 number to help differentiate between the books, not the production code numbers, which, yes, still consider this Season 1, even on Nickelodeon's screeners.

This happens in animation and how budgets tend to be allocated. Half of the last season of Bob's Burgers was actually produced for Season 2. Would you like everyone to reorder their episode counts...?
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I'm surprisingly intrigued in the what's happening at the air temple..
The rest of the story is excellent too. So happy book 2 is finally here!
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OMG i'm too what the hell did she see in the Air Temple please ANSWERS !!!!
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If you're talking about Tenzin's daughter seeing the statue, I could be wrong, but from what I can gather from previews I've seen its the first avatar.
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I didn't touch on that too much since it was even more set-uppy than the Water Tribe stuff, but, yeah, I'm excited about it as well.
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Loved the episodes & so happy that Korra is back

I do think its time for Korra to step up & take a more hands-on approach to her training & not allow her elders (Tenzin etc) to make all her decisions for her. She found out in this episode that it wasn't on Aang's orders that Tenzin & the White Lotus have kept her sequestered all these years. That had to hurt.

In comparison to Aang who made all his own decisions, drawing on his past Avatar experiences and being much younger than Korra. Korra appears to have led a very sheltered life & seems to have missed out on much.

I hope Korra starts to make her own decisions & starts to see more of the world so she can begin to become the Avatar she was meant to be.
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I liked the set up of the story. Korra wants more respect and her father figures (dad and Tenzin) to give her more freedom. At the same time her ego has been fed a bit after beating Amon and getting the Avatar State. Like trailers have told us Korra always wanted to be the Avatar, but these episode made me think if Korra knows what being the Avatar really means. She hasn't bothered trying to advance her spiritual training at all and feels she has mastered air bending. Tenzin is trying to make her realize she still has a long way to go in her Avatar journey than simply kicking ass.

Her uncle well meaning is feeding her ego and playing off that. The second part where he leaves it up to Korra to open the gate instead of advising her in any way. She was like finally someone who trusts me. Korra journey this season has potential as she discovers there is more to being Avatar then just a fighter.
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The animation really bothered me in these two episodes. After rewatching some of season one's episode, I was reminded that I enjoyed/loved watching legend of korra was because of the animation. Studio Mir absolutely did an amazing job, taking care of every single detail, in every single scene ( Facial expressions, movement, action sequence, etc.) After watching the two episodes, I couldn't help but nitpick Studio Pierrot's animation. The action sequences were fine, but in some scenes, the character's seemed robotic, with no special attention to facial expressions.
I wish that as the story progresses I would be able to brush off the issues I have with the animation..But honestly, give the reins of making the animation back to Studio Mir in the future episodes/seasons, I personally think they're a lot better than Studio Pierrot...
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Studio Mir even overanimated a lot. You can pause random fight scenes and see little gems of animation you've never noticed. But I guess they were trying to reduce costs... so they can afford the new voice actors.
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When folks are talking, yeah, there's very little movement beyond the lips. It stands out, but I've largely resigned myself to this being a cost- and time-saving measure for a lot of shows that want to spend those resources elsewhere (i.e., action sequences, background art).
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pretty sure they have already done that. i think, if i rmr correctly, they called in studio mir to help out halfway through making this season.
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I miss Lin!
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Unalaq is going to be interesting, he seems to have good intentions, but his actions are clearly misguided.
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I think Unalaq (Korras Uncle) is either trying to take over, while be a puppet of "The Dark Spirit" or he is trying to invade the spirit realm, which is why he needed that portal open so his troops could come in.

Eska and Bolin best ship thus far.

Vacation Tenzin sounds awesome. :)

I miss Lin Bei-Batman too.
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Totally agree with Eska and Bolin getting together. They kind of remind me of April and Andy from Parks and Rec. Wait a second, if you plot it out further, Pabu is Champ, and Desna is Orin!
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You know who's doing Eska's voice, right?
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He reminds me of the water guy(forget the name) of last season...
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