I’ve watched the sequel to “Avatar: the Last Airbender” in my first year of university when my mental turmoil began and really related to the messages in the series. Recently, I’ve introduced my boyfriend to “Avatar: The Legend of Korra” so he is watching for the first time, while I watch it for the second time. Watching it again allows me to analyze it instead of bawling my eyes out like I did when I first watched it. Hey, it gets pretty emotional okay? Unpopular opinion but, I like “The Legend of Korra” more than “The Last Avatar”. I feel as if the 17-19 year old Korra is more relatable than a 10-year old fun-loving kid. Sure I watched “The Last Airbender” when I was around Aang’s age, but I didn’t understand the complex plot, and focused on the funny stuff. After re-watching Aang’s story, I found that it lacked depth and was more about the shits and giggles. It was kid-audience oriented. I enjoy watching Korra more as it is relatable.
Korra is a sheltered young adult nearing her twenties and has somewhat literally the weight of the world on her shoulders. Her parents sheltered her and provided from her, and she has no idea what the real world is like and is trying to learn about society while gaining independence. I feel that the children who outgrew Aang and now come back to the series with Korra, a protagonist the same age as them, can relate to her. As a more adult oriented series, the series has become darker and contains hidden messages while maintaining the family oriented exterior.
I’d like to share some relatable quotes that stuck with me and may or may not have made me cry the first time I watched it. That being said from here on it is SPOILER ALERT FOR SEASON 1.
“You’re the smartest, funniest, toughest, buffest, talentedest, incrediblest girl in the world!” – Bolin
I was like: YES!!! When this was said. Bolin, a young male friend of Korra’s, was trying to win her over romantically. But instead of calling her beautiful and reducing her to appearance (which often happens in reality when a guy tries to win over a woman by using her appearance or falling in love based on appearance) he pointed out her other amazing traits. This wonderful make role model gave so many flattering compliments… none about appearance!!! It is so important for a TV show that has a child and family orientated audience to include that to demonstrate the need to look beyond appearance!!!
“Admitting your fears is the first and most difficult step in overcoming them.” – Tenzin
I cried when first seeing this scene. Korra was keeping her fears to herself all bottled up and struggling by herself. Until, at this scene, she finally broke down and spilled the truth to her mentor. She admitted her fears (which occurred through several episodes as we watched her suffer) and truely cried for the first time shown to the audience. Keep in mind she prided herself in being fearless and believed she was invincible because she is the Avatar, but at that moment she realized that being physically strong and appearing tough isn’t the way to go. She realizes mental fears must be discussed with others because bottling it up inside and fighting fears all alone will eventually weaken the physical state too as we can only bottle up so much.
I really related to that scene. And yes I cried the first time watching it. Because Korra had the same coping strategies as I did, and I knew how it felt to finally spillover and breakdown after pretending I was tough for so long. The scene felt so realistic and I couldn’t believe it is a family oriented show with amazing life messages. Korra finally opened up about her fears and got support and guidance. This is important. Opening up, admitting your issues and talking to people is the first step in recovery. For my mental issues too, talking to friends, writing about them, ect. helps me understand myself and receive help when needed. And yes, it is the most difficult step, as Tenzin said. Because I had to get over my pride and get rid of my self-image, and admit the shameful feeling of being weak. After admitting it (never again denying it or running away), one accepts the fact, and can work to get over it.
“When we hit our lowest point, we are open to the greatest change.” – Avatar Aang
Korra, stripped of her bending, is implied to be contemplating suicide (of course it wasn’t too obvious due to the family orientation, but it was hidden). She runs away from her loved ones and stood at the edge of a high clif as her teardrop falls over the edge. Then sits and cries. If she jumped and died, then the avatar cycle would allow the next avatar to be reincarnated with their full powers back. She feels worthless because her identity was removed. An avatar that can’t bend is no avatar. Then Aang appears (in spiritual form), says the above quote, and restored her powers.
When watching this scene for the second time yesterday, I was reminded of myself last year. I felt like shit during my lowest depression episode and didn’t want myself to do anything drastic (like hurt myself of contemplate the same as Korra) after a close call a few weeks ago. You could say I was at my lowest. I was desperate and reached out to a friend and admitted to them that I needed help. I just didn’t care anymore and was desperate to not feel like shit. An hour later I was safe in the Emergency and got connections to the help I needed and the medications I’m currently taking. Rewatching Korra at that scene really made me remember and relate to that quote that I was, in fact, most open to change when I was at my lowest.
“The morning is evil” – Korra
Need I say more? Let’s end on a happy, humorous quote.