“In other words, Korra should have been her own damn crackerjack box prize. Instead people rush in to save her - excuse me. MEN rush in to save her. Mako tries to save her all ‘But my sperm love you!’ and then Aang shows up all ‘Well girl, you messed this up, but my manly spirit vibes are gonna free you - kapang. Feel the touch of a true master.’ (Which is so anti original Aang, I can’t even). Bryke can fanwank/handwavium after the fact all the f they want. It’s not what they showed. They set Korra up as a little lost girl, forever being pushed around, defined, mansplained to, defeated. manipulated by various men. It’s Deux Ex Manima all the damn time for her. I remind myself that despite Sokka’s arc of coming to treat the women around him well, the writers set the universe up to make Katara be Aang’s ‘prize’ for saving the world. His PRIZE. Not his friend. Not a relationship he cherished. Not a relationship that in a time might grow into more. SHE was his PRIZE. With that mentality, with that inability to SEE/COMPREHEND the institutional patriarchal tropes they were employing? it is not exactly a surprise that there’s so much effing up when you have to make Korra -‘the prize’ - the center. Their solution was to NOT make her the true center. But rather to tell tales AROUND her. Which explains why she couldn’t make/find her own resolution, and others had to give it to her. Cause Korra was nothing more than a tool to tell the story of the men in her life - straight up. And I know that fact hurts; and I know many won’t admit that because they want to believe. But when you hide from the truth and don’t demand better?” -Seekingwillow on tumblr
KC: Not much more to say here.
Showing posts tagged the legend of korra
Critiquing shit you love is as important as critiquing shit you hate
With Book 2’s premiere approaching (presumably) soon, there’s been a strange surgence, on my dashboard of LoK essays criticizing people for basically not loving Book 1 enough. Some of these defenses, to be frank, are pretty silly:
- People shouldn’t talk about shipping because the show isn’t about shipping.
- You say that as if no one has ever had any beef with any other aspect of the show *cough*bloodbending*cough*
- Has it occurred to you that discussing romance, which turned out to be a surprisingly prominent subplot for whatever reason, isn’t always Super OTP Fighter: HD collection, but just character and pacing analysis?
- People who criticize Book 1 are dummies. It’s in the past now. And it’s just a cartoon!
- This seems to be a popular defense from big fans of ATLA and/or LOK. If you seriously believed it’s “just a cartoon,” then why get so defensive about it in the first place?
- LOK isn’t totally in the past. It’s not finished, so of course we’re going to analyze and speculate. Everything about Book 1, from the plot threads to the character development to the writing, have set a precedent and are going to affect Book 2 and the seasons to come in one way or another.
- Of course people are going to discuss cartoons. It’s the internet.
- The characters have flaws! Glorious flaws! You’re argument is invalid.
- Flaws are awesome when the show acknowledges them as flaws. What’s the point of writing flaws if they don’t have any substantial consequences? (ie. Korra’s approach to conflict is too offensive; unlocks airbending on the offense)
- You can’t complain about Mako. He’s just an innocent, troubled teen. And he’s isn’t even a villain!
- What? I’m not allowed to be annoyed by some characters’ behavior in a show I like? Okay. I guess I’ll start worshiping Meelo now.
- Doesn’t know the difference between a good person and a good character
I had no idea that when four year-old Korra broke her parent’s house, made a flashy but childish display, asserted herself as the Avatar, and screeched: “YOU GOTTA DEAL WITH IT” she was actually setting the tone for the entire series, the romance, and the creator’s input on the fan reaction. Huh.
In response to people who don’t understand the dislike for LoK, despite all the long, lovely fan-essays:
I don’t get why people are so attached to Legend of Korra in general and to Makorra in particular that they get so angry and defensive over well thought-out, well-reasoned critique and discussion over the show’s many flaws. Even if people outright hated it for superficial and nonoffensive reasons (didn’t like the designs, thought the humor was crap, decided the characters were dishwater,) I don’t get how a show as short as LoK can generate a following so rabid. Is it leftover fannishness from ATLA spilling over? Is it slavish dedication to the cult of Bryke? Is it the last desperate flailings of people clutching on to the sinking ship of hope and good feelings we all had when this show started to come out? I mean, this was one season. Just one season. Why all the severe defensiveness?
A good deal of it is probably leftover A:TLA fannishness. But, well…I’ve heard it’s actually worse this time around. (For example, people have implied or outright stated that the amount of open casual bigotry has increased.)
I also think it’s leftover mania for A:TLA. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some Bryke cult going on too. Some fans do border on worshiping them but that probably has more to do with our culture that encourages people to fawn over celebrities than anything Bryke did personally.
But yes, it’s definitely a combination of Bryke cult, leftover A:TLA fannishness, and high expectations for LOK, fueled by all the promises that Bryke made in interviews ans the fact that the first four episodes of LOK seemed to be living up to those promises. Then episode 5 happened.
I’ve said it before, but I think that the worst rabid Makorra shippers are like a combination of the worse aspects of the Kataang fandom and the worse aspects of the Zutara fandom.
You know, I actually kind of just made a post about this yesterday, but I’ve noticed that people are becoming rather defensive about LOK lately, not only on tumblr, but other sites as well. It’s not a militant defense in every case, but more of a tired “C’mon guuuys. Stooooop~” This is because of anticipation for book 2 maybe?
Even before the hiatus, fans have over-analyzed everything like they’ve never over-analyzed before, thanks to the expansion of social networking. From back stories, to specific frames, fans read so deeply into everything now, fueling their anticipation for more LOK, that they pretty much see their characters as human. Now I’m not saying that I don’t care or even obsess about fictional characters (who doesn’t?), but I never forget that these characters are supposed to serve a role in the narrative; I’m not sure some people make that distinction.
Can I talk for a second about how I didn’t actually like that they made Katara ‘the best healer there is’ in LoK? It’s not that I don’t think she was a good healer, but I always felt like she poured more of her efforts into the more combat-centric elements of waterbending than healing. She wasn’t even interested in healing at first. Yes, she liked that she could do it when she healed the burns on her hands, but her expression when she looked around the healing hut was one of dejection. She said: “I want to fight!” She was a defender, a protector, a warrior. We see her looking for scrolls with waterbending forms on them or searching for ways to be a more effective bender, but she never showed the same excitement about healing bending that she did with fighting/competitive bending.
Healing is part of waterbending and therefore part of Katara’s role and her bending style, but ffs she was much more of a fighter than a healer. I felt like that would have been a perfect place to fit in Kya, who was unrepresented and would have been a nice tie-in when they were introducing the second generation batch to the audience. It’s not like Katara has to be the best of every aspect of waterbending ever. (For example, Zuko. I liked that he was an average bender with above average willpower and drive, thus allowing him to eventually triumph over talent.)
#WOW THIS SO MUCH #NO OFFENSE BUT SOMETIMES I FEEL LIKE BRYKE ONLY VAGUELY KNEW THEIR OWN SERIES #AND INTRODUCING KYA PERFECCTTT #AND THEN THEY COULD’VE HAD KATARA DO COOL FIGHTING SOMETIME #ATLA #LOK WHINING
Part of what ticks me off so much about LoK…is that I wonder if Bryke watched AtLA. Just…I really don’t understand how they can go from AtLA to LoK, the complete opposite of AtLA’s greatness. Just..how. You’d think making AtLA, they would really learn a couple of vital things….
With the way LOK turned out I wonder if Bryke payed any attention to ATLA and what it did correctly as well. It is sad and interesting to see how different ATLA and LOK are quality wise and when it comes to their treatment of female characters.
This rant was actually inspired by a graphic made by Tumblr user agentsokka. I wanted to publish my commentary with the reblog, but I noticed that this got way too long, so I will publish this separately. Sorry for the lack of a hyperlink; I don’t know how to navigate on Tumblr since its disastrous update.
AtLA was anti-war and this quote definitely represents what the series was trying to project. It showed that there were always varying sides to every war, even when one side was always trying to discredit the other. It was the Fire Nation against the world and vice versa. Aang, the only surviving airbender in a world dominated by the Fire Nation, could have easily been sucked into the cycle of hate and frustration that comes with every war.
However, Aang does the very opposite and forgives his supposed enemies by showing them mercy and bringing forth a new era that is characterized by balance and peace. The show also lends a hand in conveying the humanity of all those involved in the war; even the Fire Nation, the colonists who started this war and was guilty of several war crimes, was given a chance to prove to the audience that not all of their people were power-hungry and merciless.
And that is what made AtLA good. It wasn’t just about conquering the enemy; it was a story about love and understanding overcoming the atrocities of war and that is what truly made it something to behold.
LoK seemed to have lacked this. Certainly, it showed different sides of a story (perhaps too many for only 12 episodes) and characters previously seen as “homicidal maniacs” were given the chance to tell their tale and shed light on the influences of their paths…but it didn’t do it quite as well as AtLA.
The struggle in LoK was between benders and non-benders. That is the bare bones of it, whether you believe that the Equalists actually “qualified” as non-benders or not. Instead of the Fire Nation claiming colonies and burning villages to the ground, it was benders monopolizing jobs and recreational activities in Republic City. Not as horrendous, but oppressive all the same. The Equalists, implicitly born from the narcissistic pursuit for control by Amon and cultivated by the frustrations of what appears to be working class non-benders, arose in an attempt to resist the structural powers that pinned them to corporal subservience.
But that is not how the Equalists are portrayed. They are seen as vicious, faceless enemies with a vague past full of bitterness and hardships unknown.
The only established antagonists who were given a face and a voice were Tarrlok and Amon—both of whom were benders and neither of whom were non-bender friendly. Tarrlok headed raids against non-benders in an old-fashioned, explicit display of oppression against the weak while Amon swayed a non-bender audience with lies and deceit borne from nothing but a complex issue of dominance concerning his father. Many of those who actually were non-benders and supported the Equalist cause were rendered mysterious and terrifying. They were without a face and without a past; those who were given a voice were ungracefully cast aside by the end of the final episode.
I will talk about Hiroshi Sato for just a moment as he is perhaps the only non-bending Equalist who was given a chance to reveal his past; however, his past is shady. All the audience knows about him is that he grew up poor and made it rich with a wife and children only for a branch of the Agni Kais to slay his wife in cold blood in the comfort of his home, leaving him scarred and devastated.
To add insult to injury is that his story is depicted in a way that only grants sympathy to his child, not him. A man who has lost his wife and perhaps his emotional stability is depicted as a man starved for the blood of his enemies as he allows his hate for benders to cloud his judgment so much that he lashes out at his daughter whom the audience was convinced he loved more than anything else. And perhaps he did; he just hated benders more than he loved her.
This is a problem for two reasons: 1) Hiroshi Sato, said to be a loving father, ends up going mad with revenge and is turned into a complete monster that virtually no one can relate to or even recognise and 2) he is the model of revolutionary non-benders. As the only non-bender with a backstory and an affiliation with the Equalists, he is the representation of all Equalists; he is the personification of their cause as he is violent, madly patriotic, and wild with hate.
Hiroshi Sato is not sympathetic. The lieutenant who “dedicated [his] life to [Amon]” is not sympathetic. The Equalist protestor in the park who “always wanted to be the center of attention” is not sympathetic. The hundreds of faces in the crowd at Equalist gatherings are not sympathetic. They are machines, programmed by their purpose and fuelled by their malignance. They are the “homicidal maniacs” who have forced the hands of benders to defend themselves. The fault lies with the Equalist who cannot “harmoniously co-exist” with their bending counterparts, not the benders who have subtly established their control in the job market.
To clear things up, I would like to point out that this is not an Equalist apologist essay. I am more than aware that the Equalists have done horrible, traumatic things to innocent benders. I don’t support violent paramilitaries nor do I side with Mao concerning the Cultural Revolution (yes, an argument hinting at this has been made before). However, I have noticed that non-benders are getting the short end of the stick in terms of getting jobs and being represented in politics. I have noticed that sports only cater to benders and that working class non-benders are constantly being exploited by Bender Triads who very well may be in a similar socioeconomic status. Chi-blocking, the only fair technique non-benders can possess in a fight against benders, is taboo and, apparently, warrants political interference. Moreover, there is not one non-bending advocacy group that denounces violence yet resists against the oppressive forces; none that are shown in the show, anyway.
In LoK, it appears they have lost their way in terms of telling the story from the perspectives of both sides of a conflict. AtLA debunked the myth of “good vs. evil” and broke down the dichotomy of “Self” and “Other”. Now, it has become a tale of retaining a status quo defined by social inequalities and misconstrued as “peace and balance”.