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Arriving on the scene under a month ago, Legend of Korra – the follow up series to the critically and commercially acclaimed Avatar: The Last Airbender, has had a stiff legacy to uphold. However, with the writing involvement ofAvatar: The Last Airbender series creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the show has been off to a very good start.
Much like Bioshock, The Legend of Korra shows the pitfalls of founding a city based on an ideology. During the seventy year time gap between Legend of Korra and its predecessor, Aang created Republic City, a city which he hoped would follow the teachings of the Avatar. However, the city is far from a utopia, as has become clear with Korra’s increasing involvement in the temperate political situation of the city, where a group of anti-benders called The Equalists are rallying for the fall of the Benders. Given the extortion seen in previous episodes by the Bender mafia against the average citizens, it is no wonder that many citizens of Republic City feel this way about Benders. In fact, the audience is encouraged to question the inherent goodness of Bending, and whether or not society at large would be better off without Korra as the current Avatar.
The latest episode of The Legend of Korra is no exception – and while it breaks away from the overarching plot of Korra fighting against The Equalists, it does explore Korra’s relationship with the brothers Mako and Bolin, her teammates on the professional bending team, “The Fire Ferrets”. While Korra has developed clear feelings for cool-guy Mako, younger brother Bolin has equally as clear feelings for Korra. While this could have been played out as a full arc thorought the season, the writers smartly decide to deal with the developing teenage romances here and now, in a highly comic fashion. While there are plenty of tropes abound, the writers are not only afraid to own these tropes, and spin them for their own purposes. In particular, there are some fantastic scenes with Bolin, who is reminiscent of Avatar: The Last Airbender’s Sokka, and serves as the primary comic relief of the show.
As for Korra, ‘The Spirit of Competition’, heavily develops her feminine side in a very positive way. As her warrior demeanour would suggest, Korra is very straightforward-acting when it comes to her romantic feelings toward Mako – certainly in a way that we all wish that more girls of high school age would act. Previously, we have mostly seen Korra hone her adventurous spirit and her warrior instincts, but it’s great to see Korra be able to act like and really feel like a teenager. As a female protagonist – an unusual feat in itself in an action-adventure series, it feels as though the writer’s have hit the perfect blend between masculine and feminine. Korra is already developing as a complex character who is certainty a worthy successor to Aang both in terms of plot and character.
While Korra and Bolin have some fantastically comedic scenes in this episode, it is clearly set up that Korra and Mako will ultimately be paired off. While there are certainty many other elements to the Republic City narrative, this episode does a great job of slowing down the main plot and focusing on the relationship between the Fire Ferrets while still maintaining a sense of continuity. While ‘The Spirit of Competition” may not be the best Legend of Korra episode to date in terms of plot, it is by far the funniest, and serves as a great way to develop the romantic tensions between the three main characters.