Well, there used to be a lot more people on Tumblr who were calling the show’s writing into question. But, perhaps more logically than me, they dropped out. I’m too stubborn and thick-headed myself to leave, I suppose (again, Katara, Toph & Korra are my fav characters in the series and I share a sense of stubbornness with all three of them). I also just care too much about Avatar as a franchise to not be part of the discussion, though if things keep going down the road they have been, I will eventually have to dip out.
Seeing some of the childish reactions to criticism as I have, I’ve come to realize that while ATLA had a wide age range of audience, LoK’s audience in the fandom has dwindled to basically teenagers/college students. ie not adults. And I…am an adult, so that makes it somewhat odd because I get to see a look at what I probably was like when I was a teenager, trying to defend something like Naruto and being blind to its silliness because, well, I was a teenager. Part of being adolescent is being short-sighted of the future because it’s the time of your life where you’re overcome by hormones and trying to figure your own self out. Sometimes, it’s easier to do that by casting away everyone else.
You are very correct. It’s not just Tumblr, or DeviantArt, but all across the Internet, Legend of Korra has received criticism, even from websites that review media professionally. That’s because it’s writing isn’t as good. I know that’s very subjective, but art does have a sort of ambiguous quality to it. The same way one show’s animation or art style can resonate with more people than another show, or one song will appeal to more people than another, so, too, can one works’ writing connect with more people.
And LoK’s writing just hasn’t been doing it the way ATLA did. That’s not due to the artificial, aesthetic silliness that Bryan/Michael and the show’s fandom defenders often cite. It’s not because it’s not about the Gaang, or because Mako and Korra were a couple. Those aren’t the problems. Both of those things can still be awesome and written well, but…they just haven’t been, for the most part. That’s a really simple concept IMO but a lot of people just don’t seem to get it. I can’t tell if Bryan and Michael literally cannot tell that the writing isn’t as good (which wouldn’t surprise me because they are visual artists first and foremost, from an art background rather than a writing background); or if Nickelodeon has had negative influence that they’re just going along with; or what.
But the folks you often see jumping on those same defenses, like equalistmako and sherbies, they’re also the sorts of people who I’ve seen kick up a hissy fit at the mere sight of LoK criticism because they bizarrely take it as some personal attack against them for liking the show. Which I haven’t actually seen much of. I don’t have issues with people who enjoy LoK as it is. I have issues with LoK itself, in terms of its writing. But when you’re an adolescent, you can take things personally because, again, at that point in life, everything is about you in your own mind. I’ve been there, I remember, and I see it express not only in the fandom but also in LoK’s characters and writing.
To be positive, as I was in this post, I love Korra as a character concept. I love lots of ideas in LoK, especially the Equalist movement and Amon (up until the Book 1 finale). I love the art style, the backgrounds, the Studio Mir animation, the soundtrack, it’s fantastic. And even the writing does have its moments of brilliance, like the first couple episodes of Book 1, ‘When Extremes Meet,’ ‘A New Spiritual Age,’ and Avatar Wan’s side story (aside from the inaccurate representation of Yin and Yang).
I love the Avatar world, I want to love the new characters and new plots, but they’re just not being written as well as I know they could be. And a lot of times it comes across as emotional manipulation and cheap tactics that lesser shows rely on, which I thought Avatar was above. Seeing the defenders try and cite that Korra’s story is “so great” because she did the same fucking cliche stereotypical bullshit in Book 2 that I’ve seen in a ton of animes and mangas and video games over the years, that…is weird and silly.
Aang’s story wasn’t great because he defeated Ozai. That was the boring cliche part. Aang’s story was great because of his personal journey, how he changed over time, but still held onto the core aspects of himself through it all, and his friend group and how they grew together.
Korra’s story has been…about her beating dudes up, and the narrative trying to convince us of how special and great she is because…of…typical anime nonsense? Sorry, not really my thing. Been there, done that. In the 90’s. Many times over. Avatar can do better than that, and for Korra’s sake, I hope it does in Books 3 and 4, as it by and large did in Book 1.
I became an Avatar fan after it aired, after the movie happened, after I had graduated from college. I was already an adult and was able to fall in love with it. It doesn’t have to do with nostalgia, the issues people have with LoK. I know folks who grew up with it or who got into it in adulthood, and all of them who are functioning as adults now? They’ve all lost interest in LoK at this point. We’re talking even some once-active fanartists who were drawing stuff for LoK all of the time. And with Book 2, the show’s ratings were at an all time low for the franchise throughout the entire season, as far as I’m aware. I’m sure part of that is the weirdtiming slot issues and lack of awareness, but either way you slice it, it seems like less people are watching it, and less adults are engaged in the fandom, many splitting LoK off from ATLA in their own minds.
ATLA was by no means perfect, and much of Book 1 in particular is definitely more kid-oriented. But yea, ATLA was in many ways more mature than LoK has been despite featuring younger characters.
I’m too big of an Avatar fan to not see where things go from here, but as of right now, it’s feeling much like a “Star Wars: Original Trilogy versus The Prequels” situation. You could even make up a list of comparisons between the prequels and LoK, which feels gross and makes me a bit depressed.
Either way, it’s unfortunate that the fandom has gotten so split and there’s so much miscommunication and lack of understanding going on, but that’s what can happen when the actual source material becomes splintered and lacks focus or consistency.
Haha, thanks! -^_^-;