Admit it, Internet, you guys like anime at least a little. I’m not saying you should watch all six thousand episodes of Naruto but, seriously, there’s some good stuff out there. One of the best being the recently released second season of The Legend of Korra, another installment in the mythology of Avatar: The Last Airbender. And I know it’s only two episodes in, but based on the previous season, and the three seasons of Airbender, it looks damn good. Better, even, than the first season of Korra.
For those of you who don’t know (or forget, the time between seasons is tremendous), both Nickelodeon shows center round a world of folks who are element ninjas called Benders. They can make rocks fly around, fire burst out of their hands, water turn to ice spears, and air into a scooter. The Avatar is the only being who can do all four, because everyone else is from one of the bending nations. And there’s a spirit world, which is a crazy phantasmagoria of giant animals and meditating orangutans. So, basically, it’s every child’s, and adult-who-remembers-Captain-Planet’s, dream show. At least it’s mine.
As well, it’s a real adventure with in-depth, fun, and brutally badass characters that captivate without even being real. Nowadays, it seems that the American television viewer wants killing and bad folks with guns and shocking sex acts. Korra is an animated program with none of these things, and manages well to reach a mature audience looking past the shock and in need of real imaginative narratives. The conflicts in Avatar and Korra are human, but oh man you guys also these people can fight with elements and spirit powers!
The current season returns, actually, to the whimsical nature of the first series. From what we know of the story, the spirit world that sits parallel to the material world is all out of whack, and the Avatar, the bridge between these two worlds, must get past her combative nature to balance out the two realms. The writers of the show are kinda ballsy in a way, presenting some rather heavy spiritual ideas to a Nickelodeon audience. And it’s to be respected. The questions of right and wrong are of course present, but also the idea of finding one’s center and balancing the dueling natures within. Achieving spiritual balance? For kids? Somehow the show makes it work, and gets away with some laughs in the process. Whimsical.
My advice is to watch this season with an open mind (remember being a kid when everything was awesome?). You won’t be disappointed. And catch up on the prior seasons; they’re also incredibly rad.