Welcome to this week’s article of The Good, Bad, and What The?, where we took a good, long look at characters in movies, video games, anime, and books and put them on the judgement table to see if they are worthy to be in their respective stories. I strongly believe that well developed characters are more important than anything else in a good story, so I always judge them hard. At the end of every character’s evaluation I will give them one of four ratings: Good for those characters that are developed and deserve their place in the story, Bad for those characters that have no place being made or interacting with anyone else in the story, What The for the characters I just can’t figure out, and then the characters who are dull as dishwasher will get the rating of Sack of Potatoes. Today on the judgement table: Korra, the main character of “Avatar: The Legendof Korra.”
In the honor of season three starting and Platinum Games announcing their game for “The Legend of Korra”, I thought taking a look at the spunky teenage avatar would be a good idea. The story of “The Legend of Korra” takes place 70 years after the events of “The Last Airbender.” Aang has died, passing on the great Avatar powers to the next person in the line. This next Avatar is Korra of the northern water tribe, who right from the start could bend earth, fire, and of course, water. The only one she couldn’t do was airbending. To learn airbending, Korra travels to Republic City, the biggest city in the world created by Zuko and Aang, to learn from one of Aang’s three children, Tenzin. Republic City, however, is under the threat of the Equalists, who want everyone in the world to be non-benders.
As many Avatar fans know, the different incarnations of the Avatars are all very different. Aang was nothing like Roku, and Korra is definitely nothing like Aang. Aang was a soft hearted kid who very nice and gentle. Toph always called him twinkle toes because he was not aggressive or tough about anything. His personality was like a bird: quick and lighthearted, but could use his talons when needed. Korra is more like a raging rhino on steroids and Monster energy drinks. Korra is aggressive, hard headed, quick to action, and pumped with energy all the time. Korra couldn’t easily learn airbending because it requires you to be calm and focused. Korra is about as calm and focused as a howler monkey. She is the kind of person who solves problems by breaking things and then making more problems. Korra is often keep in line by her friends Mako and Bolin. They are both benders who compete in the pro bending tournaments, which Korra was a huge fans of. Korra joined their team because she is a fan of the sport and believes she should learn these new techniques. The pro benders fight very different from the old styles of traditional bending from 70 years ago. Korra thinks these new styles are the way to go, but Tenzin doesn’t agree. Tenzin learned his airbending from Aang and as such, teaches and fights very much in the old monk style of the airbenders. This split in ideologies makes for a lot of arguing between Korra and Tenzin. Korra’s hot headed attitude cause Tenzin to get mad a lot, but through the fighting Korra eventually begins to understand Tenzin’s teachings. Many of Korra’s interactions with other people are like this. She has an issue or argument with the person, but after she cools down she begins to like the person and realize she was being extreme. This is a very defining feature to Korra. She slams her head against the brick wall a few times before she stops to think of a solution. People might consider this a problem with her, but I think it is a strength because it shows a will to learn and the ability to adapt. Korra does learn a lot from her time in Republic City and goes through a lot fighting the Equalists, but she is still Korra.
The thing I like the most about Korra is how everything she does she does in her style. Korra does, of course, eventually learn airbending, but she doesn’t do regular airbending. She does Korra style bending. The circular motions and smooth movements of Aang’s airbending aren’t there with Korra. She executes a lot more jabs and throws her fist to do her bending. This more forceful style of bending is tailored to her character. Even when she does water bending, which is her first and most natural bending style, you can she her forcefulness. She strikes like she is pushing the bending out, rather than letting it flow through her. Later in the show, Korra begins meeting and fighting spirits, and she has a very hard time sending them back at first because she has to slam her head into the brick wall first. After that, she calms herself and sends the spirit back into their peaceful state. She is not a girl to mess with. She is much tougher than Aang was.
For a while, Korra helps Mako on the police force and in one particular scene, she earth bends, causing a bunch of damage to the buildings and road to catch a guy getting away in his car. This scene made a real point about her: you don’t mess with the new Avatar. When dealing with a deadly gang in Republic City, Korra, rather than getting the police, just knocks them all senseless and gives no care to whatever damage she causes. Of course, breaking things all the time gets her in trouble with a good amount of people, and she has to fix things, but she always gets stuff done. Korra doesn’t give up or take time to feel disappointed, she keeps going till she gets success. No pain no game is her life motto. In the end, everything she does is with good intention she wants only to protect everyone who can’t protect themselves.
The best part to Korra though is that she learns and grows. At the start of the show, she was a overly hyped teenage girl who thought she knew everything and took no qualms from anybody. As the shows goes on, you watch her grow and mature. She realizes she isn’t invincible and her friends really do have something to teach her. She makes some pretty big mistakes, but in the end, she always fixes them herself and does it with that Korra touch.
So my verdict on the spunky Avatar Korra? Korra gets Good. For me, she’s personally one of my favorite characters in the Avatar world. Korra takes no nonsense, gets things done, and never passes up on some action. She is nothing like Aang, who would always try to start with peace before violence. She wants things done quick and her way. When it matters, though, Korra’s hot headed nature stops and she listens to the people around her. She grows and learns with everyone else, knows she can be beat and understands she can use any help she gets. In the end, when push comes to shove and she is done with all that thinking, Korra can always just start taking people down. I highly recommend “The Legend of Korra” to anyone who liked “The Last Airbender“. It is an amazing show.