Just a few quick thoughts on the ending and the series as a whole. There’s going to be spoilers in this, so I’ll put my thoughts behind the cut.
First of all, I did really enjoy this show. However, while I expected I’d enjoy it for both its beatiful animation and its great, involving story, it was mostly the animation that really impressed me.
Why? Well, everything just… went too fast. I felt this right from the beginning, but it took a while to become really noticable. So much stuff needs to happen in so little time, and the result is that characterization falls by the wayside in a few cases. The ending just made it all the more clear that there was just way too much stuff in twelve short episodes.
So, here’s where I list what disappointed me most about the ending, starting off with the one that had already started annoying me in previous episodes:
- Mako is not a sympathetic character, and we as an audience have no real reason to want Korra and him to get together. We all saw it coming a mile away that they would, which just put his lack of good characterization into focus even more. They say they love each other in the end. Well, I see no reason why they should. We’ve never seen them have any kind of deep conversation or share a romantic moment that didn’t feel forced. Really, it’s sad.
- Asami was a sympathetic character, and I really felt for her, what with her problems with her father and her unfaithful dick of a boyfriend. But she just… sort of disappeared. She wasn’t even there at the very end. As if the writers thought Korra and Mako getting together would make us forget that Mako’s technically still in a relationship with Asami. We don’t get to see any kind of reaction, good or bad, from her. Instead, she’s just not there at all.
- The whole ‘bending taken away’ thing was resolved much too quickly and easily. Thing is, this happens a lot, in a lot of stories. But it always annoys me. If you’re going to write an awesome bad guy with a really scary, seemingly irreversible power, then commit to that. Keep him scary and dangerous and make his actions actually carry some lasting consequences. At the end he takes Korra’s bending away, and of course from that point on most people could’ve known it would have to be reversible. Because hey, the main character, the Avatar, can’t have her bending taken away. Well, if that’s the case, then I say just don’t do that. Let Korra beat him without him taking her bending, but leave every other ex-bender like they are. Because as it is now, all his actions can be pretty easily reversed, making nothing he did in the whole series actually matter all that much. Making him a lot less scary and evil.
These points were my major grievances with the ending. Thing is, I think all of them could’ve been resolved with a longer running time. Mako could’ve been made a lot more sympathetic if he’d just had a bit more time to actually develop as a character. Asami would’ve had time to deal with Mako’s rejection, as Bolin would have with Korra’s. And even my last grievance would’ve been a lot less annoying if there’d just been a bit more time to establish the fact that Korra’s really, really depressed about losing her bending. Give it two episodes. Heck, even one full episode would’ve been better. We as an audience would’ve felt the desperation and would’ve been much happier to accept how it was resolved. As it is now, it took about… ten minutes or less for her to go from desperation to resolving the issue? Too short. It just doesn’t work.
But hey, there were things I liked, too! Let me list them:
- Every action scene. Oh my, the action. The animation. The music. The awesome bending. The animation. Did I mention the animation?
- General Iroh. The dude was a badass in every way. I mean, he used his firebending to almost fly in a few cases, for god’s sake. And yeah, his voice irked me a little bit, because it sounded too young to me (and yes, I know it’s Zuko’s voice, but Zuko was younger). But then I realized the voice actor is actually in his thirties, so even though his voice sounds like a teenager’s, apparently people in their thirties can actually sound like that. Plus, the voice actor played fucking Rufio.
- Tarrlok and Amon/Noatok’s back story. While I think this too could’ve benefited from some more time, it was still pretty good and one of the more moving elements of the whole series. And the way this whole thing ended deserves its own paragraph, so here it comes:
- Tarrlok blowing himself and his brother up. Not only was this a pretty emotional scene, it was also something I really didn’t expect to see in what’s basically supposed to be a cartoon for children. I mean, a murder suicide in a kid’s show? That’s some dark shit, dude. I like it.
- Oh, and I liked Naga.
So yeah, that’s about it. Like I said, I really enjoyed this show. The character designs (as in the way they looked) were brilliant across the board. Especially Korra; Korra was really a character to root for, thanks to her wonderfully strong personality and equally strong character design. The animation was fucking genius. There was an interesting plot dealing with things like indoctrination, discrimination, corruption, oppression and war. I just feel some of the character interaction got a bit ignored in the process, because it was all just too much for twelve short episodes.
But hey, I still can’t wait for the next season! Also, I’ll probably make a few gifs of the season finale soon. It was just too pretty not to. Any suggestions as to what I should turn into a gif? Post suggestions in my ask box, if you have any.