The ghost of Aang’s refusal to kill off Ozai in the original series has finally been laid to rest. The S3 finale for Legend of Korra saw three members of the Red Lotus (Ghazan, Ming-Hua, P’Li) killed in battle. Death and violence has traditionally been a sensitive topic for Nickelodeon cartoons, since it’s supposed to be a kid’s channel. I fully commend the writers for their bravery, and for Nick to allow it to happen… even though the final episodes had to be taken off syndicated television and aired online instead (can’t blame them there).
My prediction that Korra would have to fight and defeat all four members of the Red Lotus was a bit off. It turns out that Suyin, Mako, and Bolin would be the ones to triumph over them, although Ghazan’s resolution felt the most out of place: “Omg, I’m a seasoned lavabender but can’t take on two teenage brothers. I quit, I’m gonna kill myself!”
The animation for the DBZ showdown between Avatar-state Korra and Zaheer was beautiful, and it reminded me a little bit of Ryuko and Satsuki’s duels in Kill la Kill. If you put in the effort to craft a well-constructed battle sequence, the audience will take notice and enjoy it.
My only major disappointment, comes from Jinora’s interference (again!). Sure, the fight wasn’t fair to begin with — Korra had been poisoned. But as I have stated before, the entire series has been long overdue for a proper duel. A one-on-one showdown between two evenly matched combatants. A mortal battle with a proper resolution where one person figures out a way to defeat the other with NO interference from any third party.
You can argue that no practical enemy would ever give their opponents a fair fight, and will look for every possible way to cheat or score an easy victory. Now, I ask you to think of any action show that you have enjoyed in the past. It can be a cartoon or any show with live actors. Everything from Kill Bill (the Bride vs O-Ren) to Hard Boiled (Chow Yun-Fat vs Tony Leung) to Kara no Kyoukai (Ryougi vs Souren) to Kung Fu Hustle (Stephen Chow vs Bruce Leung). We remember these shows in our head, we love them fondly because of their signature battle moments. One-on-one, no interference.
Make it happen please, for season four before the series ends. I don’t care if Korra has to fight in a wheelchair.