Monday, June 18, 2012

ATLA, The Promise & LoK

Ok. So I had to. I had to do this. I had to just...VENT.

But I hate Legend of Korra.

Now, don't start.
I like Korra. I mean, she's not Aang. She's not supposed to be. And I'm ok with Aang being dead simply because Korra and Aang are so connected. HOWEVER, (and some people are going to hate me over this but I don't give a hotsquat), I don't care about these people. At all. I love Tenzin because he is Aang's son. But I don't even like "Katara." I mean young Katara got on my nerves but I liked her. Old Katara is nothing like herself.

I know. I'm getting all gripey but give me a second to re-hash.

I loved the first series because it wasn't just a silly cartoon. It was a funny, charming cartoon that tackled an amazing array of ideologies and issues and made them into something that wasn't mere entertainment; it was art and it was heartfelt and it delved deep into those things that it explored. There were politics, relationships, friendships, characters that I loved and grew to love more as they developed. There were fantastic, imaginative inventions on the part of the creators (the bending, the world, etc), there was religion and philosophy and charm. One of my biggest disappointments is that Legend of Korra, while artistically exquitie and all, lacks that charm. Obviously, it's not supposed to be the same story. I get that. But too much has been lost. It's not the setting per se (although I hate that too), it's just....not enough of what made the original so special. You know what I'm talking about.

And you know what? Seventy years is too long. I know it's a new Avatar. And I'd be fine with that IF there wasn't so sudden a jump.While the writers completely deserve to write the story they want to tell, they owe something to all the fans that made them successful enough to do it. Without us--the fans--their story is told to no one. We do not deserve to be left hanging in such critical areas. Some things, sure. It won't make a difference that I don't know what Iroh was doing in the spirit world (although, I'd be quite interested to find out) but you people made me fall in love with these characters and then you just kill them off without even telling me?! Yah, I knew the time frame before I saw LoK but honestly, I would have rather seen Sokka (and everyone else) die--in the war or what have you--than simply hear Katara say "My brother and most of my friends are gone...." bla bla bla. I knew they were gone. But we love these characters and it's like the creators didn't even give them a proper funeral! I think that's what makes me the most upset. It's not that I don't like this crew (I mean....well, I'll get to that later), it has nothing to do with them. I don't care about them. I might if I had closure, but I don't. I don't even have an old Katara in a graveyard or at a shrine like Iroh did for his son. And we never even met his son!
I'll admit, I haven't watched all of the episodes of LoK that are out already (Season One is almost over) but I just don't think I can. After a couple, I was already upset but I pressed on solely in the hopes of a flashback or a spiritual visit or a grave site or SOMETHING. But you want to know what I got? A FREAKING JERSEY SHORE ACCENT!!!!

The spiritual element of ATLA is one of the things that made it beautiful. And I understand the conflict between the idea of spirituality as old tradition vs modern living.... but it's too much. Of course there would be technological advancement. I hate hate HATE how it has completely overrun the show (I mean, I know there was technology in ATLA but do we have to be so common as an automobile?! My Shakespearean's will understand exactly how I feel by using the word "common"...) but in a new era, I understand why it is there. I HATE IT! but I understand. I CAN THINK OF A THOUSAND WAYS TO AVOID IT AND CONTINUE ON WITHOUT IT AND I CAN AND WILL ARGUE TO THE DEATH THAT THE AVATAR WORLD AND THIS AMOUNT OF COMMON TECHNOLOGY DO NOT FIT (like how can Iroh's secret fire masters still exist in a world like the one portrayed in Republic City? I know it hasn't spread over the whole world yet, but at the rate they have it going, it has to and then EVERYTHING that connected Aang's World to Korra's--all the tradition and culture--is going to be gone. Things hardly changed at all from at least the last water tribe avatar to the time of Aang so why start now? Why can't the Avatar world stay...pure? Why must it be contaminated like ours? That's not creativity. It's depressing. I don't want to distract myself with TV or books just to end up in the same place that I was trying to escape from...) but i won't. Suffice it to say: I HATE IT. Now, back on subject: I understand why the technology would have spread and caused an industrial revolution but HOW DARE YOU THROW SNOOKI INTO THAT WORLD! JERSEY SHORE ACCENTS HAVE NO PLACE IN A HISTORICALLY INUIT AND JAPANESE CULTURE. I wanted to fire-bend my screen. I understand how "gang" violence would come into play. BUT A JERSEY ACCENT?! I will never, ever forgive the creators for that. Ever. I'm pretending that ATLA and LoK aren't even related. It's not working, but dammit I'm doing it anyway.

And this will also set many fans blazing, but you can go suck a frozen frog from the marsh. I love Zuko. From the very first episode of ATLA, Zuko was and continued to be, my very favorite character. I wasn't on the villian's side of course, but obviously, we all know that Zuko is an amazingly layered character with a past  that many of us can relate to ("Our parents aren't crazy firelords" you say. No, but domestic abuse is a very real thing. If Zuko is based off of an actual person the writers know, that person is my hero.) and an intriguing personality. He is what many writers and cartoonists strive for when creating the Bryonic Hero. He encapsulates all the pain and brooding, all the mystery and attraction, without being a sell-out, without being "typical", without being the center of attention, the boy the silly girls gawk over for his pretty face (although they do gawk). I think you can all sense where I'm going with this. Zuko and Katara belong.... ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! DID YOU REALLY THINK I WAS GOING THERE?! THEY MOST CERTAINLY DO NOT BELONG TOGETHER THAT IS GARBAGE. Where I was going was the SECOND most popular Zuko topic: his mother. I know there are those of you who don't care and that's fine but geez this guy deserves SOMETHING GOOD. He deserves to have his mother back and I want to know where the hell she is.
I know what some--most--of you are thinking and you're right. We knew from the beginning that this was a three season gig and when the story was done, it was done. We got that. They gave us what they said they would. But dammit, you people wasted our time with the Ember Island Players episode, would one or two more episodes with a short epilogue really kill you?! And even if it would, I don't really care, I mean you did KILL them. I'm not asking for a whole nother season. That's garbage. ATLA was beautiful and it shouldn't be marred by power rangers type milking but COME ON! I'm asking you for one or two hours here! And I'm not the only one asking! Like I said before, artists such as those responsible for ATLA deserve the right to tell the story they want to tell, but they owe their fans too.
Now you're all saying: Don't forget about the three part comic book "The Promise!"
That's one of those emoticon faces if you didn't know. It actually looks like Sokka's sand sculpture of Suki but whatever.
I read the first two. I'm waiting (from this day in June until freaking SEPTEMBER) for the third. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be disappointed. Why? Several reasons.
1. The first two are, while obviously official and all that jazz, only somewhat better than "We have to slap this all together so our fans don't abandon us" trash. The art is pretty true, buuuuuuuut.....
I don't give a hotsquat about the fact that Aang and Katara end up together. That's great. Whatever. (I'll be discussing the stupid Zuko/Katara thing later, as a pointless ranty side note.) But if I see either of them say "sweetie" and mean it AGAIN, I'm going to act like Azula after her agni kai with Zuko. I mean at first I was like "Oh haha! I can hear this funny, silly slightly sarcastic banter between the CHILDREN (because they are like what? 13 and 15 at MOST?)" but then they kept doing it. And they were serious. And then they kept doing it after Toph illustrated the idea of the oogies. So that's a done deal. The writing is be optimistic. That isn't my only issue but its the most irritating one with the writing style. I don't know who this Gene Luen Yang is, but I'm not impressed. I don't think he was supervised closely enough. Nor do I think that (at least so far) enough care was put into this by the original creators. I mean, it's like they're all hopped up on Korra and just want to get Aang and the crew out of the way so they can do their new thing. I happen to despise TV. I am a book person. But this is the exception. I can't deal with comics. I can't separate the image from the language well and everything I see on the page gets so busy looking that every time I try to read a comic, I get a horrible headache. Plus, like I said, an hour or two of screen time (the original medium) wouldn't kill them but whatever, I soldiered through and got my two headaches.
The characters obviously have to follow a certain course of events. But did they have to suddenly become so annoying? I mean, sure, Katara has always been kind of...well, pretty annoying. But Aang and Zuko are being....taken out of character. In case you forgot, Zuko had quite a transformation. It lasted the whole dang series. And I get the whole "he will always have to struggle thing" but seriously? Really? REALLY? And why is Aang suddenly the one with temperament issues? And so ready to kill off Zuko? How is that within his character? Sure, when Aang is pissed, he tends to lose control but Aang is not a guy of the short fuse. Not at all. He wouldn't even kill the fire-lord, the most horrible man alive, but the only thing he needed to let himself kill one of his friends is a small misunderstanding? Seriously? No.
Random thing that pisses me off: King Kuei. At the beginning of season three, Aang is told by Sokka that King stupid face and his pet bear, Bosco have left to travel the world. The KING of freaking BA SING SE ABANDONED THE FIGHT. HE IS A DESERTER WHO LEFT FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN TO HAVE A FIELD TRIP WITH HIS HOUSE PET! SELFISH, COWARDLY DESERTERS DON'T GET TO COME BACK AND BE KINGS! And that's on top of the fact that the man is an idiot! So what is he doing in The Promise? Being an idiot, a crap King and making everything worse when he shouldn't even be involved. I would have stuck that deserter with Azula, wherever the hell SHE is.... Bumi should be king.
2. Nothing worthwhile is happening. You mean I have to wait til September to find out if you're even going to TELL me about Zuko's mom and what am I supposed to do in the meantime? Be happy that Sneers has a girlfriend? Great. But you forgot that you killed off all the characters I cared about without proper burial; I'm not concerned about Sneers. Toph's school. Yah ok. I mean I LOVE Toph but you people are giving me three comic books to get the closure I want and you're wasting it by talking about a stupid fight between six random kids and some random jerk? I love Toph, but the story of her school didn't require this much when you can't give me what does require work.
3. We've established that I'm basically in love with a cartoon character. Zuko is an amazing character. Can't be said too much. But you spent three seasons inspiring me with his gradual victory over his father's abuse only to throw him back into the jail to be manipulated?! How could you do that? Zuko's victory over his family life was an amazing feat to me. It sounds silly but that was one of the wonderful things about this show: it truly affected the people who loved it. Zuko's journey affected me, inspired me, made me hopeful. And you people stuck him back under his father's foot. I know, in the end that Aang and Zuko will found Republic City so I am 99% sure that Zuko will gain victory over his past again but I am so pissed that that had to happen AGAIN. 3 seasons of child abuse and watching a son try to prove himself to his horrible father is enough. I don't want to see any more. Zuko's conversation with Iroh in the white lotus tent should have been the END of Ozai's power over him. Period.
4. With all this time wasting, who's to say they will tell us anything? They have one book left to give us the answers, the closure, the END OF ATLA. ONE SMALL COMIC BOOK. And we've gotten absolutely nowhere. Sure, from LoK, The Promise fills us in backwards, but we want ATLA! We want you to fill us in on THEM! If you wanted to give us more Korra, you should have aimed for more than two seasons. If you wanted less of Aang and Katara and Sokka and Zuko and Toph, you shouldn't have made us love them.

There are so many things that I don't like about LoK. But I can ignore them all. If I could seperate Aang's world from Korra's world, it would be an ok show. I wouldn't make a schedule around seeing it but if I saw it was on I would watch it. But I can't put them together in my head and it be ok. I feel betrayed by DiMartino and Konietzko. I don't hate Korra. She's awesome. She's kind of annoying and this whole focus on her little romantic escapade with whats his face (a Lok Zuko-type version of Katara [relationally to Aang]) drives me nuts. It couldn't be more out there and stupid American teenager if it was hit in the face with a ten pound sack of oogies. And he's such a sell-out. You people want to remake Zuko? Do it well. What's his name (Mako?) is too easy. Anyway, if the Jersey Shore talk hadn't pissed me off so much, I would have watched more. And I AM going to watch them because A) I still have hope that ATLA's creators haven't completely betrayed me B) I'm begging the Universe for a flashback, some story telling, ANYTHING. I will take some really lousy Sokka style art at this point if you people will just give me a glimpse of the characters you made us love and C) I was really excited about LoK. I hope that if I give it another chance, it won't let me down.

Random side note that I warned you about:
Zuko does not belong with Katara, Mai, Suki or that little earth kingdom refugee he lit up a fountain for. I respect Mai as her own character but she was introduced too late to be deeply thought out enough for Zuko. I like her, but if you put two people whose outlook on life is that dreary TOGETHER, you will have a double suicide on your hands. Katara is katara. She's a pain in the butt. I like her. But no. Dear Sokka haters: you all suck. If they put Sokka and Toph together (ew. age.....?!) and Suki and Zuko together, I will not retract this statement. Suki and Zuko=no and Suki does not=common trash that would betray someone she cared about. Suki and Sokka. Period. Sokka haters go swim to boiling rock. Finally, the little earth kingdom girl would have been completely fine with me if she hadn't seemed dumb. I like her personality (although I think putting him with someone THAT bubbly would be a stretch) but she was two marks shy of the prize. Sorry. Then there's June. But we're not even going to go there. Personally, I think it was just a very difficult task to find someone suitable for him so they just glazed over it mostly. I wish they had done a better job about that but at least he could find strength in Iroh.

Another random note: Iroh kicks butt. In every way.

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