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  1. #1
    Antiyonder is offline Amalgam Universe Overlord
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    Does Korra really need a Team Avatar? (Old spoilers)

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    I've discussed this on other forums, as well as tumblrs and blog posts, and I think this subject plays a big part in the show's quality issue.

    Now there are many factors discussed as to why the show isn't a great as it could be. Problems include trying to insist that a relationship that lacks depth being presented as true love, having a tribute character serving as a regular cast member (which is problematic because the reason writers usually avoid that is due to the temptation at pampering the character) and it's questionable job at exploring the gray zone as potentially complex issues end with a simple good vs evil.

    Then there's one relating to what's going to be the thread topic. Mainly that it seems like Bryan and Mike can't decide what they want for their series. For one thing, Unalaq feels more like someone who's suppose to be a more simplistic villain, yet things like his claims of making a better world, and his kids finding his behavior out of character suggests that they tried to add depth to him.

    Or for that matter, the abundance of protagonists who are morally challenged suggests that the show might be intended to be morally ambiguous, but among other reasons like the antagonists being clear cut villains it's hard to be sure on it being a grayer show or simply a black & white one with a hint of gray.


    But here's where I really find the indecisiveness to really come into play. Whether it's Bolin being a dumbed down version of Sokka, or Unalaq being H2Ozai, it seems like Bryke can't fully commit themselves to making TLoK it's own show and sometimes tries to approach it as ATLA 2.0 (despite telling the fans that it needs to be viewed in a different light).

    And the biggest example of that is giving Korra a Team Avatar or specifically trying to present her peers as being as important as Katara, Sokka, Toph and Zuko.

    But really, for the bulk of Season 2, even when Mako, Bolin or Asami do anything plot important it doesn't really justify the amount of time spent with them onscreen.

    Now the Probending arc is generally considered useless as it never is used beyond "A Leaf in the Wing" to really further Korra's Airbending training or giving the two brothers development, but at least they served a purpose in the arc.

    And as the team's financial advisor in the Probending arc, as well as having a personal connection to one of the enemies in The Equalist arc, Asami's inclusion in Book 1 works.

    In contrast with their overall appearances in Book 2 where it feels like Bryke had to really muster up a way to fit them in, the brother's appearance during Probending (now after that, they should have been demoted to supporting character who only appear when there's an actual reason), and Asami's inclusion overall felt natural. Like it made sense to include them in the respective times.

    In further contrast, even with any possible misstep, it seems like Tenzin and his family's spotlight was done out of interest rather than just for the heck of it, whereas Asami, Mako and Bolin are just included because "you can't have a Season without a frequent appearance by Team Avatar".

    Case in point. Beginnings, Part 1-2 and A New Spiritual Age come off as more solid stories compared to preceeding and succeeding episodes. And evidentaly the lack of "Team Avatar" not only didn't hurt the episodes, but arguably helped as there was more time to focus on the story and relevant characters.

    Not to mention, why does Korra even need a Team Avatar?

    Now of course she needs people her own age if only for better social development, but frankly they could never really be as important to Korra as The Gaang is to Aang.

    As Bryke likes to remind us, Korra isn't Aang, and thus we shouldn't expect the same things to happen to her. So why did Aang need Team Avatar? Well:

    1. After having been unfrozen, Aang has yet to train in the use of the other elements. With the already dominant Fire Nation having a chance for a power boost from Sozin's Comet, he needs to really brush up on learning how to use Water, Earth and Fire.

    And since he has a lot of traveling to do, he needs Bending teachers that can also afford to travel. Hence the majority of The Gaang are his teachers. Had Korra's debending lasted longer, Asami could help in a similar regard by helping her in training in Nonbending styles of fighting.

    2. Korra is not the last Waterbender from The Water Tribe South or North. She isn't some stranger from another time or another world who is alone. She has Naga, she still has her parents and even more so, she has Katara & her entire family as support.

    Aang was an orphan to a high degree. All he had left from his Pre-Iceburg life was Appa and Bumi. And even then only one of them was a constant present in his life. The Gaang serve the purpose of providing him with a family. Especially Katara & Sokka who were responsible for him being freed in that time.


    Plus, as I and some others have felt, it seems like The Kataang family has more of a Team Avatar vibe than anything. For one thing members of that family had more business being involved with Korra's world saving duty like Tenzin and Bumi who's jobs relate to making the world a better place or Jinora and again Tenzin who can actually help Korra in bettering her own skill (something The Krew just can't do).

    Most importantly, the show feels it necessary to tell us that The Krew's a tight group of friends without interactions that justify the claim. In contrast, Bumi, Kya, Tenzin, Pema and the children have never really stated that Korra is a part of their family, yet their interactions show it to be a given fact.


    So really, she doesn't need a constant team, but when she does, it's Tenzin and his family who seem to matter more in the long run that the group of her peers.


    Opinions?

    Edit: My added comments are in bold.
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  2. #2
    Light Lucario's Avatar
    Light Lucario is offline Moderator
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    I completely agree. Korra and her friends don't really come off as particularly close, even though I think that they've tried to claim so with Bolin being sad at their separation and then excited for Team Avatar's return. They don't even feel like good friends, let alone family. I think that a large part of this is due to the fact that they've spent more time focusing on the romantic relationships within the groups rather than emphasizing their friendships. This feels especially true with Mako and Korra and Mako and Asami due to the annoyingly stupid and in terms of season two, down right pointless love triangle. I can tell that they're friends, but not nearly as close as the show tries to claim or compared to Aang and his friends.

    Korra doesn't really need Team Avatar. They help her with the plot and some of the major fights, but that's about it. Aang needed his friends because he disappeared for a hundred years, lost nearly everything he cared about, and he needed more guidance in regards to exploring the world in order to find bending teachers. They were a source of major support and comfort to him and while they were clearly pulling for a relationship between him and Katara, they didn't make it the only major focus of their interactions. They still came off as good close friends and they still didn't make Katara's role in the group simply as the love interest. Korra's friends aren't nearly as important to her and this wouldn't necessarily be an issue if they were more fleshed out and/or likable. Tenzin seems to be better able to provide comfort and support for Korra in her times of need than her friends do and they do have a better connection to help her out due to Tenzin's teachings. I also agree that his family seems to treat her like a member of the family. The way Tenzin's kids react to her appearing always gave me the impression that she's like a big sister to them and being the reincarnation of their grandfather probably helps with how they treat her as well.

  3. #3
    Dudley's Avatar
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    Ya know, I'm starting to speculate on how cool it would've been if Korra's only friend, her best friend, was Asami. Asami doesn't have much going on for personality, but that could've been changed if they only had to focus on her. She's a great fit for Korra, a nice yin and yang. Korra's from the country and has the power of the elements. Asami's a rich girl from the city that relies on tech to fight in battles.
    This whole thread makes me wonder if we really needed Mako and Bolin in this series at all. The love triangle was a mess, Bolin's a lousy comedy relief character, and the pro-bending battles weren't nearly as cool as hoped. Heck, with a few tweaks here and there, this show could work without Mako or Bolin, or their roles could've been downsized to secondary characters that Korra just kept running in to.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Darissa Townes View Post
    I think if pro-bending lasted a little bit longer and Mako and Bolin slowly got involved with in Korra's life on top of
    I'm sorry I hit send too soon. I was saying that Mako and Bolin should've slowly gotten involved so pro-bending wouldn't have seen like a ploy to get Korra to meet them. A whole secondary character into a main character thing. Even in real life, teams slowly meet get to know each other. These two just kind of dropped everything and started to revolve around Korra when they should've taken things slower.



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  5. #5
    Light Lucario's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudley View Post
    Ya know, I'm starting to speculate on how cool it would've been if Korra's only friend, her best friend, was Asami. Asami doesn't have much going on for personality, but that could've been changed if they only had to focus on her. She's a great fit for Korra, a nice yin and yang. Korra's from the country and has the power of the elements. Asami's a rich girl from the city that relies on tech to fight in battles.
    This whole thread makes me wonder if we really needed Mako and Bolin in this series at all. The love triangle was a mess, Bolin's a lousy comedy relief character, and the pro-bending battles weren't nearly as cool as hoped. Heck, with a few tweaks here and there, this show could work without Mako or Bolin, or their roles could've been downsized to secondary characters that Korra just kept running in to.
    Working more of a friendship between Korra and Asami and emphasizing their differences could have been interesting and it would have given Asami some much needed screentime and focus. Downgrading Mako and Bolin to secondary characters would have been fine for me. Mako is incredibly unlikable and beyond redemption at this point in my opinion. Bolin was at least likable, but all he has going for is being the comedy relief and his storyline in season two just made him look like a jerk, as well as emphasized that they don't know what to do besides make him the comedy relief, so I don't think we'd lose anything of significant value by dropping both of the characters from the show completely or downgrading them to secondary characters.

  6. #6
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    Yeah Korra and Asami being real friends and focuses on that, great prodental that they never really used, don't they remember Katara and Toph which was nicely developped even though it wasn't the focus.

    To answer the question, no Korra doesn't need a Team Avatar, she is not Aang, she wasn't frozen in ice 100 years. And not all heros need teams, some of them work best alone.

  7. #7
    Bit Cloud's Avatar
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    Would be nice if Korra and Asami became closer friends, they've known each other for 6-8 months and yet their friendship still seems so superficial. Kagome and Sango in Inuyasha had a stronger bond in half that time.

  8. #8
    Dudley's Avatar
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    I'm glad you guys like the idea.
    I'm disappointed that Asami wasn't fleshed out more. I mean sure she has a backstory, and is connected to numerous characters, but due to lack of development, she comes off more as a plot device due to who she she was related to (her father, who sided with Amon), what she had (a struggling company, planes), and for being "the other female" (for the love triangle).
    I mean, all the major female characters in Avatar had a personality. Asami does not.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudley View Post
    I'm glad you guys like the idea. I'm disappointed that Asami wasn't fleshed out more. I mean sure she has a backstory, and is connected to numerous characters, but due to lack of development, she comes off more as a plot device due to who she she was related to (her father, who sided with Amon), what she had (a struggling company, planes), and for being "the other female" (for the love triangle). I mean, all the major female characters in Avatar had a personality. Asami does not.
    I agree, Asami was a great character. She already proved that by not pulling the Jealousy Card and siding with her father to get revenge on Korra. I really wished they introduced better because I'm sure many hardcore Makorra shippers started to attack her when she and Mako became a thing. I'm glad they made her the mechanical mind of the 'group', which might be a 'modern' upgrade of Sokka's tactical skills.
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  10. #10
    Light Lucario's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dudley View Post
    I'm glad you guys like the idea.
    I'm disappointed that Asami wasn't fleshed out more. I mean sure she has a backstory, and is connected to numerous characters, but due to lack of development, she comes off more as a plot device due to who she she was related to (her father, who sided with Amon), what she had (a struggling company, planes), and for being "the other female" (for the love triangle).
    I mean, all the major female characters in Avatar had a personality. Asami does not.
    I think that she does have a personality, or at least she did in the first season. The second season hasn't really helped her in that regard due to the way they use her character, especially for the love triangle, and how she's somehow even more underused than when the season first started. She has a lot of potential and easily the most interesting out of Korra's friends. I think that's one reason why I like Asami. She's the only one of Korra's group of friends who don't primarily revolve around her. Mako and Bolin were doing things that didn't directly involve Korra for most of this season, but most of it in the long run felt pointless/unnecessary and they did revert back to being centered on Korra, especially Mako. Asami has her own problems with her family in both seasons. At first, it was dealing with her father and then later trying to maintain the only part of her family she had left. She has so much potential for a good subplot that doesn't involve being the other girl or being in a relationship with anyone for that matter and they're wasting it. It's really such a shame because she could be such a more fleshed out character with better writing. I could say that for most of, if not all of, the main cast actually, but it feels more of a waste for Asami due to how underused she is already.

  11. #11
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    So really, she doesn't need a constant team, but when she does, it's Tenzin and his family who seem to matter more in the long run that the group of her peers.
    Total agreement. Plus unlike with the Teen cast of Team Avatar, it's actually a more unique set of characters and their relationships. With Korra having to interact more with an actual already established faimly unit spanning two generations. Really honestly makes me wish they actually spend the first couple of episodes of season one in the south pole with Korra training a bit with Tenzin and having her problem with airbending established there and THEN we focused the plot on Republic City and the trials Korra dealt with there. And yeah if Korra had to actually spend time and grow more as a character with someone more her age, why not have it be Asami? You know actually first start making friends before starting relationships because really having a team avatar and romantic lead in there is way too reminiscent of the original series and honestly with how similar the characters are there feels more distracting then it should. I mean Kya and Bumi acting like Katara and Sokka makes more sense since they're related but having Mako and Bolin share Zuko and Sokka traits does feel fairly odd.

    Actually though I should point out something because this thread does ask "Does Korra really need a team Avatar" because the answer is honestly yes. I don't mean that from a narrative point of view or storytelling point of view, but I mean from a marketting point of view. It was already hard to pitch the idea of Korra as a show to Nick who wasn't at first sold on the idea of a female action protaganinist until they saw the finished product of episode one. Probably would of been a lot harder/impossible also telling them the series wouldn't have any male main characters around Korra's age she'd spend a lot of time interacting with. Especially since I have a feeling they had to also have some level of romance in the show even if it wasn't needed and well just generally distracting. Heh, if only Nick was able/allowed to be quite progressive and just go with a Korra/Asami relationship and build on that. Would be a lot more interesting then the "oh there's this hot jerky guy with a soft side I dislike at first but quickly grow fondness for."
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  12. #12
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    Korra and Asami's "relationship" is the perfect example of wasted potential in this series. There is so much they could be doing to build upon the obvious parallel (two young women who inherited positions of tremendous socio-political power) and contrast (femininity and masculinity, technology and spirituality) that exists between them and, consequently, give much-needed depth to both characters and flesh out the fictional world which they're leaving such a large footprint upon.

    It's not as if they have to like each other (at least not 100% of the time) for the dynamic to work. Just give their interactions some context (goals, conflict, etc.) that is actually interesting to watch instead of anchoring all their scenes together around passive-aggressive love triangles.
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