There's a family tree a page or two back
^That's... kind of weird. I guess it's not impossible, and it's not a big deal or anything, but it seems unlikely that ALL their children would beSpoiler just to be safe...Spoiler:
The Airbenders are clearly inspired by Chinese and Tibetan Buddhist culture. Monk Gyatso is named after Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama, but the previous Airbender Avatar was Avatar Yangchen, which is a Chinese name. "Aang" is not a Chinese name, but it doesn't really sound Tibetan to my ear, either. If it's made up (and I've never seen anybody cite a real-world example to say it isn't), then there is no "right" way to pronounce that name, and the rationale that M. Night Shyamalan gave to pronounce it the way he did is as arbitrary as Mike and Bryan's rationale for pronouncing it the way it was done in the series. Mike and Bryan did get there first, though, so I say their pronunciation is more "correct" just because they made it all up in the first place.
The only other justification for one over the other comes from the times where Aang's name is written out in Chinese characters as a transliteration (using Chinese characters to phonetically sound out a foreign word). From that screenshot, Aang's name is the first two characters from the top-down (安昂) and is pronounced "An-Ang" (from what little Chinese language skill I have, I think that means "Aspiring to Peace" or something like that). However, I'd probably say that the second character of Aang's name in Chinese characters (昂, "Ang") sounds closer to the live-action movie pronunciation than the TV show. However, using this as a rationale for the movie pronunciation is shaky at best -- you'd be basing it on the transliterated pronunciation of a made-up word, which doesn't make a lot of sense. It'd be like insisting that the proper pronunciation of the word "ring" is "ringu" because that's the way the Japanese transliterated the word in the title of the movie. That justification also requires you to throw away the first character of the name for no reason (most Chinese given names are two characters; one-character names exist, but they are very much the exception and not the rule).
Either way, "Aang" is a made-up pseudo-Asian name, as are many of the names in Avatar (and now Korra). If they happen to map cleanly to a real Asian language, that's great, but also entirely coincidental. As another example, Toph's full name is "Toph Beifong," and the characters for her family name (北方) are really pronounced as "Beifong," but "Beifong" is not a proper Chinese family name (they're almost always one character, not two), "Toph" is unpronounceable in Mandarin Chinese as a one-syllable word (if I remember right, even her transliterated name is pronounced "tuo-fu," which is as close as you can get), and the name is backwards (Chinese names put family name first and given name afterwards -- they actually did get this right when she flashes her passport at the head of the Serpent's Pass). But it's all made up, so if they want to say that's her name and that's how it's pronounced, then that's her name and that's how it's pronounced.
Edward Liu | Disney Forum moderator | Toon Zone News Interviews Editor
"...ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
-- Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man
Rewatched the episodes and they are still exceptional. Korra herself is an incredibly fleshed out character and someone I immediately catered to. Forceful, confident, and ready to take on anything, she could have fallen into the traps of being a tough, strong woman who uses her strength to overcompensate and follow the terrible tread of "being as good/or better than the boys" in a misguided attempt at positive discrimination. Along with her rather aggressive personality, she could have been an unlikable jerk as well, but ooh, those crafty writers know better than that. She fits neither. Korra is talented, but has her limitations. Her impatience makes Airbending the perfect foil to her growing arc. She may be ready to take on the world, but she's well meaning. She's not rude or insulting; she's quick to solve problems she sees - even if it's through her fists - and eager to express her gratitude when the situation calls for it. She's compassionate, overeager, and though she may not fully understand just what her role as a guider of peace is, she's willing to take on its responsibilities. Everything about her is gold.
Both episodes are amazing. I was iffy on "Welcome to Republic City's" pacing at first, but overtime it grew on me and I think it works fine now. "Leaf in The Wind" is especially good at fixing differing matters from both ends. I'm really irked whenever someone makes a good point only to be dismissed because the hero's way is better for some reason, especially if the hero's solution is often pigheaded and idiotic. There's compromise here; Tenzin realizes Pro-Bending improves Korra's technique and she in turn only lasted the game because of his teachings. Neither side is specifically wrong, but both need to improvise and I like that they pull that here instead of cheaply assuming the hero's methods is always right.
Tenzin is amusing; a man who uploads Airbending philosophy, but possess an uptight personality. His kids are adorable little ragamuffins and I love their behavior. My personal favorite scene is the youngest calling his father a terrible teacher innocently, then thrashing the obstacle course without a care. It's so like a toddler to behave this way and it's believable. It remains me greatly of Mei and Satsuki in My Neighbor Totoro when they ran and opened and explored every aspect of their new home in sheer awe and exuberance. I don't have much to say on Bolin (except he and Korra exchange witty dialogues very well with one another. Also I bet he'll get all the good lines) and Mako (other than I suspect he'll be Korra's prime love interest) though. Lin Bei Fong is awesome (she is Toph's daughter) and I desperately want a Barbara Gordon/Terry McGinnis kind of relationship where the cop knows the heroine is trying to do good, but their interaction is vitriolic at best. I find Amon's mask to be interesting because he's essentially "faceless", much like how Ozai was. In the latter's case, it emphasized his looming presence and his representation of the Fire Nation. What is Amon's reason for masking himself? Knowing the creators, I wouldn't be surprised if the reveal is both straightforward and symbolic. Also, maybe I'm overthinking this, but did anyone get anxious when Katara said her good-byes to Korra? What if this will be the last time they ever see each other?
Animation is gorgeous. They must have spent quite the moolah on this; everything is amazing. The backgrounds especially breathes life and I can already see the culture behind it as well as the major changes seventy years has befallen since the original series. I love that the series makes time to pan out and really show off the land (anyone notice the trees indicate that it may be Autumn? I wonder if this show will pass time like the original did?) It's weird to see cars, electronic cords, and radios in the Avatarverse, but it emphasizes the huge generation leap and creates a new world and culture for Mike and Bryan to tinker with. Most importantly, I am super keen that it's heavily inspired by the 1920s; that's only like my favorite decade ever.
I don't normally pay attention to the background music. Not unless it's good and it is good. The earworm jazzy scores, the mystical Asian themes, and the haunting credit scores, it's a treat to listen to.
Avatar: The Last Airbender already hit every note right. Legend of Korra set that bar even higher. I look forward to more.
Another thing I wondered: how is there another sky bison? I thought Appa was the last one.
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