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The Blue & Gray Press | August 15, 2018

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'Korra' is a Win For Female Protagonists

'Korra' is a Win For Female Protagonists

By MADELINE MCDONALD

At long last, “The Legend of Korra,” the spinoff series to the much beloved “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, finally aired at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 14.

While the event was exciting, it was also bittersweet. “The Legend of Korra” takes place 70 years after the events in “Airbender,” meaning that some characters have passed on.

Just having a different voice narrating the opening titles really hit home that this was not the same series as before. However, the new characters in this series are just as interesting and fun.

Avatar Korra is especially exciting. Like other female characters in the previous series, Korra isn’t like the girls one finds on most other television shows.

She’s bold, brash, stubborn, confident and built like a fighter. With muscles like hers, she looks like she could take on anybody who comes her way looking for trouble.

Best of all, she’s the main character. It’s a wonderful breath of fresh air to have a female person of color take center stage. Korra is just one more female protagonist stepping into the spotlight this year. Katniss Everdeen already blew viewers’ minds in “The Hunger Games,” and later this summer people will have the pleasure of watching two films with strong female leads: “Brave” and “Snow White and the Huntsman.”

Hopefully, we can look forward to seeing more female leads kicking butt on screens big and small in the future.

Korra is also very different from Aang, the previous avatar, and this helps set the tone for the show. While Aang was peaceful, lighthearted and occasionally a childish goofball, Korra is much more aggressive and intense. She is also older than Aang was at the start of the previous series, which lends a slightly darker and more grown-up tone to the spinoff series.

The setting for the new series is also fascinating. Technology has taken root, and Republic City is a full-on steampunk world not unlike early New York City or San Francisco full of automobiles, motorcycles, and air ships.

It is also home to an uncomfortable political climate. The main conflict in “The Legend of Korra” is an anti-bending movement aimed at tearing down the “bending establishment”.

Amon, the masked leader of the Equalists, leads an army of angry followers trained in preventing benders from bending by blocking chi, the energy that enables benders to use their powers.

While upsetting to hear, this does bring up a good point. Benders do appear to have more privilege at this time as far as the first two episodes go. Only benders can participate in the very popular pro-bending sport broadcast on the radio every night by virtue of their powers, and it appears that only metal benders can become police officers in Republic City. Gangs made up of benders also prey upon non-benders, as witnessed by Korra in one scene in the first episode.

It will be interesting to see how the show treats this unbalance, as finding balance in the world is a major theme in the series.