BS Bending in TLOK
Watching The Legend of Korra is so disappointing in a lot of different ways. So if you ignore the plot, you’d expect at least some good action scenes with the effort and consistency from the old show. Ehhhh. The bending in LOK is strikingly idiotic and a degradation of the gem from the old show. Maybe if I weren’t comparing it to The Last Airbender, I wouldn’t mind it. But the fact it is so blatantly off from its predecessor makes for another highlight of Korra that I can’t un-see. From how elements are manipulated to even more complex shit with specific kinds of ~special people bending~, Korra, if I can put this politely, fucks everything up.
Right from the start you can tell that Korra definitely dumbed down the movements of the characters. It’s odd because the martial arts expert from Avatar worked on Korra as well. However, he only worked on 22 episodes of Korra, compare that with his 61 episodes guided in The Last Airbender. It’s probably a mix of Kisu’s lack of involvement, and an overall decision from the writers that maybe it wasn’t as important? Which is sad, because it really disassociates the audience from the complex spirituality and intricacies of the world. Styles benders seem to have spent years mastering are lost, and replaced with a modern, boxing type “PUNCH PUNCH PUNCH!!!” Hollywood action situation. Here’s some pretty (MS PAINT) pictures to do the talking for me.
And a bonus:
If the simplification of normal bending hasn’t gotten to you, there’s still a lot more I have to sift through. There’s so much shit pointing to how bending’s complexity was reduced for coooool moments. I’m even going to make nice little subheaders.
So, in ATLA we see lavabending is a feat only the Avatars are capable of. Roku does it, Kyoshi does it. Avatar cool kids only. But then in Book Three, Bolin suddenly has the ability to lavabend at the tip of the hat. Which, by the way, is another thing stupidly prevalent throughout this series. Both Korra and Bolin in times of crisis suddenly have the ability to do things they couldn’t do, but really wished they could’ve. Hooow convenient.
So the discrepancy here is how Bolin can lavabend, and so can this random Earthbender guy, wouldn’t that mean all Earthbenders can? Metalbending makes sense, but lava is so hot it’s going to set stuff on fire. Technically, it counts as two elements, and has been confirmed as such by making it an Avatar-only thing in ATLA. But now these two random guys can just do this. Apparently it may even be easier than metalbending, which is also ridiculous. If lavabending is just bending the Earth to “go fast”, that’s a lot easier than metalbending because there’s more mass to bend. Just make it go zoom zoom and blamo everyone’s a lavabender.
Some people like to claim that because Bolin had an Earthbending dad and a Firebender mom, then that means he can control both elements to control lava. Which is dumb because then that would make him a fanfic-esque Dual Bender. And we really don’t need any of those. It’s never explained or justified, and is so different from the original show, it feels…sacrilegious. How dare you dishonor the lore. /s
BALD AIRBENDING MAN
What’s his name?
I don’t really care, because he’s dumb too. I feel like I don’t have to elaborate, though. It should be pretty obvious. ~Harmonic Converge~ (weird af plot device) gave him airbending, and because he studied it before and read a book by an Airbender Lady, he’s a master at it now. His powers are so innate, he worked so little to get to where he is. Hell, he didn’t work at all.
Unless you want me to believe that all his days in prison, he anticipated becoming an airbender and practiced all the moves beforehand. Granted, there are no official moves anymore. I’m sure he’s experienced in reckless punching. That’s all you need to bend, right?
If he can read a book and be great at airbending, why can’t Korra. Why didn’t Aang read THREE books to go defeat Ozai. Aang just should’ve read Earthbending for Dummies. Then he could bend the entire world off its axis. And This Bald Guy can jump off a cliff after quoting some “deep airbending lore” and he can FLY. Not even propelled by anything or even (AGAIN I REITERATE) moving his arms to BEND the currents around him. He’s not flying. He’s floating. And floating characters have always seemed like pretty bad animation, seriously. He looks like a late-stage yuri on ice character. Super out of place, and moving oddly across an undefined plane.
MAKO IN GENERAL
Mako does a couple things I’m not a big fan of. Ok, a lot of things. But in terms of bending, I have a few choice picks.
In Legend of Korra, lightning and its redirection has a lot less of an impact. Being electrocuted no longer hurts anyone unless the writers want us to feel bad for a character being hurt (usually Korra). But half of the time, it’s just there to look really COOL and not really do anything. This is proven by two things. Mako shoots lightning right on Amon at point blank, and Amon isn’t affected. The same is true for Mako. He HOLDS ON to the lightning and ISN’T AFFECTED AT ALL. Let me make another ATLA/LOK comparison.
Zuko: Tries to redirect lightning, gaurding his torso so hopefully it doesn’t hit him. In the end it does and he’s pretty much out of the fight.
Mako: Doesn’t even really care if he’s hit by the lightning at all. He holds on to it for a good few seconds, because it’s not like electrocution hurts or anything. Only after getting a REFRESHING SHOCK for a good bit does he decide to toss it back at the Robo Man.
Maybe this would make sense because Mako is supposed to be a cool, all-powerful Firebender. But then even that theory breaks down, because he can withstand the strongest forms of raw fuckin’ Bending Power from all elements, apparently.
He does another of these dumb moves when he’s being bloodbended by Amon. We see Amon being bloodbended, but he escapes the grip, and the audience assumes it’s because he’s a bloodbender. But then suddenly MAKO CAN DO IT TOO. What a great guy.
Also Amon’s fine from this shock as well. And this kind of encompasses everything I’ve touched on. There’s Amon bending without moving, Mako having unrealistic powers never touched on before, and powers that are nerfed to all hell just to add ~drama~ in replace of actual sense.
TL;DR: LOK’s bending is saturated action filler written in for wish fulfillment, sacrifices old techniques and inner consistency for cool looking moves and scenarios, and shows a disappointing lack of passion or misunderstanding of the source material