Lovefool 05.20.13 | Love Bends All the Rules

Lovefool sincerely apologizes for her absence last week. It’s not her fault. Really. Blame it on all the tears brought on by a marathon of The Legend of Korra.

 

So hey. What’s up? I know, I know, I ditched you guys last week, for which I am sorry, but my life just gets so up in my face sometimes that things start slipping away and I have to make a concerted effort to stay at home and do at-home stuff. So after the madness that was Mother’s Day weekend, I’ve mostly chilled. I went to a meeting of JG,FE’s Society for Beautiful Nerds, also known as Ink & Drink Comics, so look for a feature on that sometime soon. I hung out with Mr. BFF yesterday and drank beer. Today, however, I have time blocked out to actually do productive things. Like write this column. Most of the week itself, however, was spent laying on the couch watching the Avatar: The Last Airbender sequel The Legend of Korra.
 
Of course, I am, as usual, the last person in the world to get into this. (Seriously, I know, okay?) This is totally relevant to our conversations, though, and timely because there’s an art book coming out in August via Dark Horse that we’re going to be reviewing. By “we”, though, I mean Elizabeth Schweitzer because I didn’t know what I was missing when the offer came across our desks, but that’s okay. Elizabeth is awesome and she’ll write really intelligent things about it, whereas I would just draw hearts and pictures of things I thought were stylized elements but would really just be scribbles and really badly rendered polar bear dogs in Paint and send it to JG,FE with a note to leave me alone, I’m busy. Then I would spend a month looking at the gorgeous art that’s going to be filling it from cover-to-cover because, seriously, the real Team Avatar—Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, those glorious nerds who make the show itself—are fantastically talented and it’s a beautiful show and will have an art book that I want to move into.
 
So, see? It’s really a good thing that Elizabeth got it and I’ll let you know when her review comes up. We, however, because omg the feelings, are going to talk about how I cried about a hundred times while I was watching the show and how delicately the show’s writers treated the concept of a seventeen-year-old Avatar. Because I cried, a lot, and they wrote a real teenager as the Avatar. I mean, yeah, Aang is impossible not to love but there was something so calm about him, so very…well, he was an Airbender and he’s in the Avatar State when he popped out of that iceberg and we met him, which testifies to years of spiritual training, so to speak. He was…he was something else. Korra knew that she was the Avatar at four years old and spent the years between then and when we meet her raising hell and bending.
 
And then she immediately runs away from the temple, where she’d been being trained to learn the last skill she needs, to Republic City, which is kind of like Manhattan as founded by Aang. She promptly convinces Aang’s son Tenzin she really does need to stay to learn airbending, destroys a priceless artifact, becomes a sports celebrity via pro-bending, Republic City’s version of…well, nothing we know of but maybe we could call it elemental dodgeball, and gets the wits scared out of her for the first time. She also falls in love and, from there, we’re dropped into The Legend of Korra‘s web of love triangles.
 
Look, since it’s been over a year since the episodes started airing, I really don’t feel like I should have to do this. But since I’m not a jerk, I will give this warning: I AM ABOUT TO SPOIL ALL THE THINGS.
 
Okay, are you gone, other three people who haven’t seen The Legend of Korra? Cool.
 
Dude. DUDE. The Legend of Korra has a gloriously messy set of connections. So Tenzin, Aang and Katara’s son and the patriarch of the last family of airbenders in the world, had a thing with Lin Beifong, Toph’s daughter and Republic City’s police chief. And then he met Pema, an air acolyte who had fallen in love with him, and they got married and had adorable airbending babies after she confessed said love. Lin tried to throw her in jail. Good girl.
 
Korra, once she arrives and discovers pro-bending, ends up meeting a dude named Bolin and his brother, Mako, who were two-thirds of a team. The third member of their team drops out, Korra joins up, Bolin decides he loves her, Korra decides she loves Mako, Mako meets Asami (a rich girl with some daddy issues) and decides he loves her. Korra decides, with a little help, that she needs to confess her love and is promptly rebuffed. Korra then goes out with Bolin, thinking she’s just having a night out with a friend while Bolin is making his best date moves. Mako gets jealous, tells Korra he has no idea what’s going on with his fizzy hormones because he can’t pick between the freaking Avatar and his minted girlfriend, and Korra kisses him. He kisses back and then Bolin…well, you know how that goes. Mako, freaking out, leaves Korra standing there while he chases after Bolin and he sticks with Asami, up until Korra is in serious danger and not just the playful type she’d been dealing with. Because there’s no better clarification than thinking someone’s probably dead, he promptly realizes those funny feelings were him actually falling in love with Korra. Still with me?
 
Yeah, there is kind of a lot going on in that paragraph. tl; dr: Mako and Korra end up together, eventually, and everyone lives happily ever after. Except for a really rich girl and Mako’s kid brother. It was kind of rough for them. But they seem okay? So, cool? Maybe they’ll hook up in the next series.
 
Either way, while it may sound a little silly, that’s all handled incredibly well. It’s played up for laughs sometimes, sometimes at Bolin’s expense, and it’s played deftly and in a surprisingly mature fashion in Asami’s scenes, where she’s the first to realize exactly what Mako is starting to feel for the Avatar and she is, obviously, not okay with that. I mean, she’s still rich as Midas but there’s the problems with her father, who turns out to be a big baddie, and then her boyfriend falls in love with the damn Avatar. Girl can’t catch a break. I predict a swift recovery, though, because while we’re allowed to see Asami’s unhappiness with the situation, we also see her being a total boss for the rest of the time. Seriously, I thought I’d hate her, but she’s rad. And Bolin? Well, he takes it on the chin and fairly early on, giving him lots of recovery time.
 
And, supporting characters be damned, the scene where Mako happens upon Korra when she’s reached Avatar state? Oh, man. Pass the Kleenex and ignore the sighing.
 
Speaking of recovery time, I’ve managed to dry my tears* and am now eagerly awaiting both a start date for the new series and Elizabeth’s late-summer review of the art book. I guess the good thing about being the last to do everything is that there’s zero wait time. Now that I know, though, I’m afraid it’ll be a long, hot summer indeed. I guess we’ll always have reruns and rampant fan speculation and wild cube conversations with the office otaku. | Erin Jameson
 
* Liiiiiiies. I just watched the second half of the last episode for this column and now I’m a mess all over again. I will always cry at that sort of thing, no matter how many times I see it. But that’s why we’re all here, right?

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