Posted by: markfender | June 27, 2012

More Korra

Yeah, kinda obsessed with Korra recently.

So the season finale was last weekend. And it was awesome. You should watch it.

Overall, it was quite good. There were a few moments I wanted to pull out and talk about. Specifically, I want to talk about the relative maturity of the show – not as a defense as to why a grown-ass man would watch a cartoon (because I will defend the Animaniacs to my dying day), but more to show the very clever ways that the creators work in mature storytelling into a kid’s cartoon.

Who knew that Mako and Asami’s mutual “I care for you”s was the sound of them breaking up? That’s only a moment you’ll catch on a rewatch, though. I mean, that’s like the most mature break-up I’ve ever seen. Real people don’t handle it with that much maturity. So that’s a thing.

While the big battle scene featured lots of G.I. Joe style parachuting out of planes, the later moment between Tarlock and Amon was straight-up death. Yeah, nothing was shown. But context, even to a kid, would all be there. Not sure how they walked that one past Nickelodeon, as it;s the most blatant death in the entire series. But one that was both poignant and dramatically appropriate. I’m left questioning the meaning of Amon’s single tear at the end. Did he know what his brother was about to do? Did that make him happy? Or sad?

Finally, the last scene with Korra after learning that she can’t get her bending back. She abandons her support network and goes alone to the cliff top. Looking down, she sheds a single tear. The animators specifically show that single tear falling all the way into the ocean below, which means that Korra was leaning way the hell out there. That says to me that she was definitely contemplating suicide, which is kind of a weighty subject for an American cartoon.

From earlier episodes where overeating=drunk, you can see that the writers of the show are very good at stretching the limits of Nickelodeon’s standards and practices into getting across more adult themes. In some ways, that subtlety cheapens the show (the aforementioned overeating=drunk), but in these last two episodes, we can see where that subtlety actually enhances the experience. If you didn’t watch Korra, you missed out on some of the better storytelling you’re going to see this year.

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