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Old November 22nd, 2015, 12:02 PM
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Avatars aang & korra

As a long time fan of both Avatar series, I'm going through a new cycle of viewing. I just got the fairly new boxed complete set of Last Airbender, and in viewing my way through it, I was surprised to enjoy about 5 of the 60 episodes that it turns out I'd never seen, when forced to try and catch it on TV back in the old days. There are my favorite episodes I've seen often, and those I've only managed to catch once, and these were also great to see, watch commentaries and extras on, go back and rewatch key moments, and so forth. I look forward to a similar complete set of Legend of Korra coming out. And no, I don't have any kids. But I know I'd get them eventually. Because they're not only entertainment; they are art.

At Barnes & Noble the other day, I managed to resist picking up all three of the complete graphic novels series of Last Airbender; (The Promise, The Search, and The Rift by Dark Horse) they were expensive in their hard cover collections. The next day, having virtuously denied myself, I got three additional 20% off coupons, two in the mail and one by internet. So I went back to B&N and got all three for 40% off (combining with my membership 20% off)! I'm going to finish off my very first viewing of the entire first series, and then have more to read. A fourth series is now starting up as well. And there is one for Korra out there too.

To me, this is about the best of American(/Korean) animations. I collect many animated works, including a large helping of Japanese anime, some of which are entire series of some very long run shows. The Avatar series were originally shown on Nickelodeon, the first on TV and the second streaming from the Nicktoons site. What I like about it these two is not only the visuals, which look great on my 55" TV screen, but the characters and plot which are really masterfully rendered. The efforts of many creative staff bear delicious fruit here, from architecture and music to calligraphy and steampunk tech.

As the first show is built around 12 year olds, and the second around the 18-21 set, fans of the two creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, are hoping they will continue to work with more mature subjects, as many serious themes are included in their completed series, at the level of the audiences they have aimed to entertain. Hopefully they now have the clout to do what they want, having worked themselves up from assisting on other people's projects.

Most of the main characters are voiced by talented young unknowns (well, they're not unknown any more). Being now able to freeze frame the credits, I can see many general celebrities and well known voice actors contributing to the smaller parts: Mako, George Takai, Clancy Brown, James Hong, Mark Hamil, Tress MacNeil, Scott Menville, Tara Strong, Lex Lang, and many more.

The setting in a Chinese fantasy world is especially bracing for me, and being very interested in Asian culture I enjoy the presentation and reflection of various religious, philosophical, political and even martial arts aspects of Asian history and myth. I'm proud, for example to note that I caught that the Earth kingdom network of agents Dai Lee was named after Chiang Kai Shek's secret police before it was noted on an episode commentary. I know this from an autobiography of a US Naval person who served in WWII Mainland China with the "Sino'American Cooperative Association," which cooperated in efforts like gathering Japanese shipping movements along the coast and training Chinese guerrilla fighters! He noted that whenever language limitations or other obstacles got in his path, he had only to show the insignia pin of that organization to anyone, and he got instant cooperation from them too for his own personal circumstances trying to aid China!

I also enjoy that the four styles of bending are based on actual Chinese martial arts:
Air: Ba Gua Kung Fu
Water: Tai Chi
Earth: Southern Shao Lin Kung Fu
Fire: Northern Shao Lin Kung Fu

Many moons ago I took a year of Jow Ga Kung Fu, and did Tai Chi for a few months also, so there you go--my own favorites are out there on the screen!

I'm interested in anything you have to say about these series, and any updates you have for me, as I'm low tech, on new developments.

Last edited by chas; November 22nd, 2015 at 11:54 PM.
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Old November 22nd, 2015, 12:28 PM
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Re: Avatars aang & korra

I love Avatar. I've only really seen the first series. Time and other real life concerns have kept me from Korra. There is so much awesomeness in there. I think my favorite single moment of the show was when Zuko and Azula have their final confrontation. It is hauntingly beautiful in the art, action, and emotional impact.
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Old November 22nd, 2015, 01:19 PM
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Re: Avatars aang & korra

AM,

I agree; that last episode was one of the first I watched, too impatient to wait for my later complete viewing! I was surprised to see that psycho Azula is in the later comics I bought; I wonder how the others will relate to her now. Dark Horse is my favorite Independent comic company, and reviews seem to feel author Gene Luen Yang and artist Gurihiru properly continue the story. The second series deals with what happened to Zukko's mom (no spoilers, please).

Korra delves deeper into the mysticism of the Avatar Universe, including how the first Avatar came into being, and how the spirit and mundane worlds can be better brought into balance with each other! While First Airbender remains my favorite, Korra does deal with more advanced and mature themes for sure, and is in my opinion a very close second, dealing with adult trauma, personal renewal, family schisms, and other issues. Set 90 years in the future from the first series, there are even a couple of characters from The Last Avatar still alive as "guest stars!"
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Old November 22nd, 2015, 03:41 PM
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Bending Like Beckham

Both series are some of my all time favorites. I prefer Korra as a character to Aang and I think I slightly prefer Korra the series but Last Airbender is a tighter, cleaner, and better show. (I blame Nickelodeon for why Korra was terrible) Korra also has my favorite villain from the show, the main villain from Korra Season 3. I eagerly await to see what Bryan and Michael do next.

~Dysole, slowly going through and making Scape (C3Gish) customs for the Avatar universe

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Old November 23rd, 2015, 02:30 AM
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Re: Avatars aang & korra

THE ETERNALLY RECURRING STORY

Its the middle of the night. Being retired allows me to binge watch as much as I want, ignoring the usual time and space constraints. I'm almost all the way through The Last Airbender, having watched all of the episodes except the final two, which I'll do tomorrow, plus going back and rewatching all of the parts that have commentaries after each of their individual regular episode viewings, to get the creators' views on the process.

I'm struck by how much they know about world literature and myth, an interest of mine as well. Not only did they base much of what they did on the classic story telling of old, but a number of times they found that they were unconsciously writing synergisticaly with what had gone before. A couple of examples were when they created Topf as the "Blind Bandit," only to find from their martial arts consultant that the actual martial style she embodied had a legend of a blind woman warrior who had helped originate that style! Are there coincidences, or only the eternally recurring story of the world? Do we own ideas, or do they own us?

years ago I took a class in story telling at the New York City Open Center, a 'new age' type of world cultural locus here. My teacher, a professional storyteller, told us about the week long story telling festival that takes place in the Middle East, where the stories go on continually for days. People sometimes listen to parts of them, go to sleep, and then return to hear the next section they can hear which is still going on (and on and on) in old fashioned verbal telling. I remember that the philosopher Gurdjieff, a mysterious thinker from the early 20th Century whose work I have studied, had a father who was a professional Armenian tale spinner. And its interesting that some of the traditions of world story telling we still have written down in books are only available to us today because someone decided to write them down just as the last of the old story tellers were dying off. Because of that, we can still read the legends of traditions like the Irish Norse, and Finnish myths, and others as well.

In the commentary to the third to last episode of The Last Airbender, which I just watched for the first time, one of the co-creators mentions how Aang's final spiritual journey to ask four of his former avatars for advice, mirrors the tale of the Indian classic Bhagavad-Gita, about a warrior asking why it is his fate to fight a war against members of his own family. He did not pick up on the ancient tale until after he had worked with his own story, and was surprised at the resonance of his own work with a major world literature.

You are in the middle of your own story right now. But it is not unrelated to stories that have gone before...
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Old November 23rd, 2015, 04:38 AM
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Re: Avatars aang & korra

I never managed to finish Korra (something about it just wasn't the same for me), but Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of the greatest TV shows ever made, and I'm disappointed with myself for never watching it any sooner than I did.

I must say that, if you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor and hop to it. I don't care what your personal preferences are, I guarantee it's a 10/10 no matter what kind of TV you like. There really is no good excuse for not watching it.

~TAF

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Old November 23rd, 2015, 08:06 AM
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Resume?

Where did you stop TAF? I would argue that Korra season 2 is easily the worst avatar season ever.

~Dysole, noting that it got really good after that

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Old November 23rd, 2015, 08:54 AM
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Re: Avatars aang & korra

Dysole,

Thanks for your comments. I'll look out for Season Two when I finally watch all of Korra, after a complete box set comes out. Do you know/think that Nickelodeon messed it up, and if so how? Suits have been known to interfere with the creative talent before, although that seems to happen less on cable and other more independent outlets these days.

I notice that where Last Airbender is in three parts, Legend comes in four shorter parts (which I'd assume make up about the same total number of 22 minute episodes).

Note To Others

Dysole currently has 21 excellent Last Airbender Scape character cards posted in the C3V customs section. I missed them because while I often check out the "Marvelscape" customs threads, I haven't kept up with the "Classic" customs threads. They show a deep knowledge of and appreciation for the series in their writing and graphic design, and they include just the folks you'd like to play the most.

My printer is going to be busy now, and my NYCG4 pals are in for interesting times the next time we play either Classic/Customs Scape or Supers! Nice work, buddy. Oh boy!

Last edited by chas; November 23rd, 2015 at 09:49 AM.
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Old November 23rd, 2015, 11:39 AM
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Nick sins

Here's the executive meddling that hurt Korra.

1. Giving them only one season from the start.
2. Giving them more seasons but not telling them how many until they were partway through season 2 making them have to change plans mid course. (Although honestly the big problem with season 2 is that it was kind of a bit of a reboot since Korra has to relearn lessons she already did and the vision for that season I found to be one of the last interesting to date. The best part of the season is finding out the history of the planet and it's some of avatar's best.That said, the worst season of avatar is miles ahead of most show's best seasons)
3. Rushing the crap out of the airing of season three & four (I believe due to leak concerns)
4. Throwing season 3 into the timeslot of doom.
5. Switching partway through season 3 to online only.
6. Slashing the budget partway through season 4 so the team was forced to either release a clip episode or fire people.

~Dysole, who might have forgotten some but when you realize how much crap the product has to go through it's amazing it was as good as it was (also legend of Korra is next on my custom docket and might require some changes to the last Airbender cards)

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Old November 23rd, 2015, 12:50 PM
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Re: Resume?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dysole View Post
Where did you stop TAF? I would argue that Korra season 2 is easily the worst avatar season ever.

~Dysole, noting that it got really good after that
Yeah I think it was Season 2 where I stopped. I guess my reasoning is that Avatar is so perfect that watching a version of it that isn't just doesn't do it for me.

~TAF, picky as ever

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Old November 23rd, 2015, 12:56 PM
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Just So You Know

3 & 4 feel more like last Airbender than 1 & 2. I highly recommend giving it another go.

~Dysole, leaving it at that

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Old November 23rd, 2015, 01:11 PM
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Also

Quick note to chas. I have done like zero playtesting with those cards (so point totals could be off, just my best guesses) and actually a quick run through showed me there's a couple tweaks I want to make to some cards. There's also a decent chance I add a mechanic to cut down the text but I wanted to let you know the cards might get updated before you printed off a whole ton.

~Dysole, who admittedly has a few minor characters to add for last Airbender and then on to Korra

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