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Author Topic: Each Character's Best (and Worst) Season and Why  (Read 1795 times)
Raimundo
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« on: Mar 10, 2016 01:45 am »

I wholeheartedly believe the greatest strength (and weakness) of The Legend of Korra was its characters. But here’s my question: What season was a main character at their best? More importantly, when were they at their worst? Here’s my opinion:

Korra:

Best season: Book Three
- I’ve already mentioned in another thread that Korra is at her finest in Book 3. She’s sensitive, compassionate, and gentle; but never loses her edge. She gets frustrated here and there, but her anger is written in such a way that we stay on her side the entire time. She shows so much growth from her previous actions and it’s here that she becomes one of the greatest female characters of all time.

Worst season: Book Two-This is kind of an obvious choice. The writers go out of their way to make Korra as flawed as possible. It’s a shame because I get what they were going for; having Korra deal with a war that is directly tied to her home is a wonderful idea. The problem lies with the execution. Watching Korra angrily mistreat her boyfriend, abandon her mentor, shame her father, and instigate a civil war for five episodes without a proper reason or setup just isn’t compelling or fun to watch.

Mako:

Best season: Book One-
Okay, let me explain. Remember in the very first episodes of the series when Mako was a Class A jerk but still had a personality? That was great! He wasn’t exactly the most original character in animation, but at least there was something to work with. He was blunt, clever, hardworking, and cocky; but had an undying loyalty and love for his brother. That’s interesting!

Worst season: Book One-Then the love triangle happened and he’s never quite the same after that. It’s weird to say but Mako is a character that deserved a much better arc than what he was given. The writers wanted to make him a breakout character so badly that they gave him way more than his character needed. Then they just gave up on him and shifted him to the background for the rest of the series. Shame.

Bolin:

Best season: Book Four- I have gone on and on about how much I love Bolin, but this is him at his best. The writers FINALLY realize Bolin’s best quality is not his comedy, but his compassion. His love for his friends and family, his desire to help people in need, and his inability to turn on others when their down are the qualities that make him a truly great character. His relationship with Varrick is also the best one in the show aside from Tenzin and Korra’s. He really comes into his own here.

Worst season: Book Two-Ugh, why? Just, WHY WRITERS?! Yes, I get it. Bolin is not the sharpest crayon in the box. But why make him so mind-numbingly STUPID? Why have him be constantly abused by Eska? Why have him mistreat his brother and not care that he’s in jail? Why have him kiss a woman while she’s strapped down to a table? Why give him not one, but TWO meaningless romances that go absolutely nowhere? No. Just no. Although I still thought he was funny, this is Bolin at his worst: an immature, petty, cowardly, irrational, and selfish man-child. Ughhh why? Cry

Asami:


Best season: Book One- Obvious choice is obvious. Book One!Asami is awesome! She would have made a great character had she not been cast to the side or had been more consistent with her personality. Or if 90% of her character didn’t revolve around shipping.

Worst season: Book Two- She does nothing this season. Absolutely nothing. She gets her company stolen from her.......but Mako and Bolin are the ones who save it. She tries to start a thing with Mako, but that goes nowhere. That’s basically her arc in this season. She’s not even involved in the finale. What a waste of a pretty face Tongue.

Tenzin:


Best season: Book Two- Tenzin’s a great character in all seasons, but he’s also one of the main reasons I kept watching Book Two. His development in Book Two is probably the best arc in the show and he’s one of the only consistent characters in this season. I have nothing but good things to say about Tenzin. He’s serious, but not bland; vulnerable, but strong; patient; but assertive. He’s also the best dad in the ENTIRE franchise.

Worst season: Book Four- He wasn’t in the season enough, but it’s fine.

Lin Beifong:

Best Season: Book One-Lin Beifong is simply amazing. Enough said.

Worst Season: Book Two- Talk about character regression. Lin should have considered arresting herself for overdosing on stupid pills this season. Okay maybe that’s a little harsh; but really? Downplaying Lin’s competence just to make MAKO look smart in comparison? Avatar Writing Krew, I love you guys; but that’s so lazy! Lin’s been a cop for decades, you mean to tell me she can’t figure out this case on her own? Shouldn’t she be teaching Mako to be a detective? In fact, doesn’t he have to go to some police academy first? I don’t know how these things work…

Jinora:

Best season: Book Three-
Jinora should have been the fourth member of Team Avatar 2.0. Yeah, I said it. I think it would have been interesting to see Jinora interact with the Fire Ferrets. I mean, Korra’s practically her big sister; it wouldn’t have been too weird. Not to mention, she has much more definitive personality as well as more development than Mako and Asami combined. Her arc, while not perfect, is also essential to the development of the franchise. I will admit that she does get a little too much screentime though.

Worst season: Book Two- This is an interesting one. While there is no real regression in her character, Jinora’s arc still should have been a lot stronger than it was. Unlike Book Three, Jinora really needed more screentime in this season because of how important her character was to the plot. Instead, we get a really rushed and boring set of character arcs for all three Air babies. Why sit through boring plots watching Ikki and Meelo interact with animals when we could have seen Jinora interacting with spirits? That would have made so much more sense.
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AtoMaki
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« Reply #1 on: Mar 10, 2016 07:13 am »

Okay, let's see my take on this:

Korra

Best Season: Book One - I think this was easily the single best season that pictured Korra as an individual and not as a plot-tool. She was doing her own stuff in the way she saw it fit, and she actually contributed in a constructive manner to at least one plotline (the probending arc). I don't think that she could do this in any other Book (maybe Book 3 with the airbender arc comes close). Really, the only problem was the stupid Equalist arc, but it was the fault of the ill-fitting thematic choice of that conflict.
Worst Season: Book Four - The season where Korra turns into a full-fledged villain protagonist. Nuff said.

Mako
Best Season: Book Four - Mako is far the most well-rounded character in this season. Book One comes close, but Wuko works so much better than Makorra...
Worst Season: Book Two - Not really that bad, just the flattest.

Bolin
Best Season: Book One - The beginnings were the best for Bolin. He was, like, legitimately enjoyable here.
Worst Season: Book Four - As with Mako, this is not truly a bad season, only a very shallow one. Not to mention that Bopal only makes things really awkward.

Asami
Best Season: Book One - The season where Bryke actually knew what to do with Asami.
Worst Season: Book Four - Not only her character design gets much worse, but her character arc is all kinds of bizarre. The Korrasami ending is just icing on the cake.

Tenzin
Best Season: Book Three - This is the only season where Tenzin admits that he is wrong, and that is a big thing here. His usual shenanigans like his Aang fetishism and terrible decision making are also the most tolerable in this season.
Worst Season: Book One - The Tenzin shenanigans (see above) are the most intolerable here, though Book 2 is a close second.

Lin
Best Season: Book Three - Lin was in her element in this season and her family conflict was kinda cool all things considered.
Best Season: Book One - She was an absolutely awful police chief and the sole reason the Equalists could do whatever they eventually did.

Jinora
Best Season: Book Two - Definitely the highlight of the season. Deus Ex Jinora was kinda unasked for, but it was a thousand times better aligned with the established themes than Kaiu!Korra.
Worst Season: Book Three - Jinora was kinda all over the place in this season, and I think it was a typical case of "biting off more than the story could chew". Her conflict with Tenzin was also quite embarrassing.
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Stormy Daze
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« Reply #2 on: Mar 10, 2016 07:27 am »

Book 4 was the worst for Mako. He got sidelined hard, a weak babysitting subplot, and it gave birth to the worst ship ever...The finale partially made up for this though.

Book 3 was his best, he got a equal amount of screentime just like every other Team Avatar member, the Mako hater bandwagon started to die out, was the most useful member of the team, he was funny, and he killed Ming-Hua.
« Last Edit: Mar 11, 2016 09:08 pm by Stormy Daze » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: Mar 10, 2016 05:26 pm »

Korra

Best Season: Book 3. Basically, this was the season where we really got to see Korra shine as an Avatar. She called down from her more brash issues from the first two books and started having her own agency. She made the choice to rebuilt the Air Nation. She made the choice to sacrifice herself to save them. I like this Book for Korra because it's the climax of her development before she kinda went down hill in Book 4.

Worst Season: It's a toss up between Books 2 and 4. She was kinda bad in the first half of Book 2 but great in the second half. In Book 4, she never got as bad as she did in Book 2 but at the same time, I think Book 4 did more damage to her character then 2 ever did...so I guess Book 4 is her worst season. She was sidelined from the main plot the majority of the season (basically only took part in it during episodes 5, 6, and the finale), she regressed from her Book 3 development, and then of course...Korrasami.

Mako

Best Season: Book 3. Yeah, he didn't have his own major subplot here but this was the book were I feel Mako came into is own. He stopped being the generic, brooding, cool guy, and started having more interesting character traits...and that's coming from someone who never really had a problem with him. He was actually funny in this book and it was a huge turnaround for the character.

Worst season: Book 1. The love triangle. The End.

Bolin

Best Season: Book 4. It was the only book where Bolin felt like his own character and not a Sokka rip off. Yeah, he reverted back to his shenanigans once he got back to RC in Episode 9 but for 3/4ths of the season, he finally got to be his own, interesting character.

Worst season: Book 2. He was just plain unlikable here and his stupidity was taken to unbelievable levels. Really, his role in this season is just best to be forgotten.

Asami

Best season: Book 1. By default. It's the only season where she had any semblance of being a real character.

Worst season: Really any other season besides 1. She's pointless in all of them. Book 4 is probably the most insulting though. you know, with the random Hiroshi subplot and then Korrasami.

Tenzin

Best season: Honestly, it's hard to choose. For me it's either Books 2 or 3. Book 2 because he got some focus and some development, though that came with the awkward Aang stuff. Book 3 because, like Korra, Book 3 seemed to be Tenzin at his best personality wise. It could go either way.

Worst Season: Book 4. Not because he did anything bad but because he didn't have a big role. He was a side character here. So naturally, he didn't really get any highlights.

Lin

Best season: Book 1. Book 3 as a close second but in Book 1, I felt like Lin was treated very realistically. There is a lot to be said of her sacrificing herself to save Tenzin's family despite their history. In Book 1, Lin shined more then any other book.

Worst season: Book 2. Do I really need to explain?

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« Reply #4 on: Mar 11, 2016 07:14 pm »

Mako:

Best season: Book One-
Okay, let me explain. Remember in the very first episodes of the series when Mako was a Class A jerk but still had a personality? That was great! He wasn’t exactly the most original character in animation, but at least there was something to work with. He was blunt, clever, hardworking, and cocky; but had an undying loyalty and love for his brother. That’s interesting!

Worst season: Book One-Then the love triangle happened and he’s never quite the same after that. It’s weird to say but Mako is a character that deserved a much better arc than what he was given. The writers wanted to make him a breakout character so badly that they gave him way more than his character needed. Then they just gave up on him and shifted him to the background for the rest of the series. Shame.
Book 4 was the worst for Mako. He got sidelined hard, a weak babysitting subplot, and it gave birth to the worst ship ever...The finale partially made up for this though.

Book 3 was his best, he got a equal amount of screentime just like every other Team Avatar member, the Mako hater bandwagon started to die out, he was just the most useful member of team, he was funny, and he killed Ming-Hua.
Mako

Best Season: Book 3. Yeah, he didn't have his own major subplot here but this was the book were I feel Mako came into is own. He stopped being the generic, brooding, cool guy, and started having more interesting character traits...and that's coming from someone who never really had a problem with him. He was actually funny in this book and it was a huge turnaround for the character.

Worst season: Book 1. The love triangle. The End.

Interesting responses, but I don't think I agree about any of the "Bests" for Mako. I'll tell you why: Mako bores me. In Book Air, he was just your typical Anime Jerk who had been emotionally traumatized earlier in life and so pushed people away and tried to control things, which so tires me as a cliche that I will immediately stop reading any fanfic that tries to invoke this trope for characters who don't already have it. In Book Spirits, Mako has stuff to do, and was tolerable as the guy who really was making the best decisions out of the entire cast, but he was still boring in that being the best of the cast still didn't make him intelligent, and he had no actual story arc. At least I could hate Korra in Book Spirits, but Mako was just kind of scraping along.

Book Change is an interesting suggestion, and has two people agreeing with it here, but I just can't get on board with that. Mako was at his most tolerable here, and got some cool moments, but really, what was he even doing in this arc? He didn't belong there, he had no relevance to anything going on, he accomplished nothing that grew his character or changed it, and he didn't really affect anyone else. He started having a dynamic with Kai, but that didn't go anywhere when Kai really got involved in the Air Nation plotline. Mako never should have been in Book Change, and so I can't say it was his best season.

Thus, I have to agree with AtoMaki:

Best Season: Book Four - Mako is far the most well-rounded character in this season. Book One comes close, but Wuko works so much better than Makorra...

As utterly annoying as Wu is, Mako is the key to turning the Prince into a more-or-less functional adult who wants to help and take responsibility for things. It was kind of messy in that Wu doesn't immediately show any changes after Mako first gets through to him, but I think a good case can be made that their continuing friendship gave Wu enough confidence to help out in the finale and give up his crown in the denouement. Plus, the dynamic was kind of fun, with Mako developing a relationship with Wu not unlike Bolin, except Mako was able to help Wu, whereas any positive effect he had on Bolin's life is exclusively in the show's backstory. And even though it was in a bad clipshow episode, Mako showed here that he had conclusively grown and improved from the person he was in that awful love triangle while providing some laughs. That has to count for some points.

Sure, Book Balance returned Mako to being a snooze-fest for the finale, especially when he and Bolin were in the Megatron, but when I woke up again, he said nice things to Korra, so he wasn't left with his last moments in the series being boring.

All in all, I think Book Balance treated Mako the least worst.
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Kairok
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« Reply #5 on: Mar 11, 2016 08:58 pm »

In Book Air, he was just your typical Anime Jerk who had been emotionally traumatized earlier in life and so pushed people away and tried to control things

^ what do you mean by control? It always seemed to me that Mako's problem was a lack of control, over himself mostly.

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« Reply #6 on: Mar 11, 2016 09:32 pm »

Quote
Book Change is an interesting suggestion, and has two people agreeing with it here, but I just can't get on board with that. Mako was at his most tolerable here, and got some cool moments, but really, what was he even doing in this arc? He didn't belong there, he had no relevance to anything going on, he accomplished nothing that grew his character or changed it, and he didn't really affect anyone else. He started having a dynamic with Kai, but that didn't go anywhere when Kai really got involved in the Air Nation plotline. Mako never should have been in Book Change, and so I can't say it was his best season.
There are plenty of characters that you could say did not belong in this book. The cast would be very small without all of the supporting characters doing Korra's job for her.

Mako gave Korra the location of the airbenders, found out about the prisoner airbenders, Korra would've been kidnapped in episode 7 if not for Mako, he was the only person smart enough to figure out Aiwei was the traitor, found Aiwei, saved Asami while also giving Korra a chance to escape, delivered Zaheer's message, actually managed to defeat two of the main villians where as Korra could barely bring down Zaheer. Mako earned his place on the book's roster. The book wouldn't have been any different if one of these 3 we're absent; Lin, Asami, or Bolin. What did they really do?


« Last Edit: Mar 11, 2016 09:35 pm by Stormy Daze » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: Mar 12, 2016 01:43 am »

Quote
Interesting responses, but I don't think I agree about any of the "Bests" for Mako. I'll tell you why: Mako bores me. In Book Air, he was just your typical Anime Jerk who had been emotionally traumatized earlier in life and so pushed people away and tried to control things, which so tires me as a cliche that I will immediately stop reading any fanfic that tries to invoke this trope for characters who don't already have it. In Book Spirits, Mako has stuff to do, and was tolerable as the guy who really was making the best decisions out of the entire cast, but he was still boring in that being the best of the cast still didn't make him intelligent, and he had no actual story arc. At least I could hate Korra in Book Spirits, but Mako was just kind of scraping along.

Oh, I totally agree that Book One!Mako was completely cliche. No argument there. I'm just saying that after rewatching the first couple of episodes; I did see glimpses of a better character. Mako's relationship with Bolin was arguably the most authentic aspect of his personality and his romance with Korra could have worked if given the time to explore the dynamic. Not to mention, his backstory had a lot of potential for development. No I'm not talking about his cliche "my parents were killed right in front of me" Bruce Wayne story. I'm talking about something that the show forgot about: Mako's (and Bolin's) gang affiliation. This is an example of something that really could have been something to be expanded upon; especially considering he became a cop later on. It certainly would have helped his Book Two arc. All I'm saying is that Mako showed the most potential in Book One. He wasn't a bad character; but he could have been so much more.

Quote
As utterly annoying as Wu is, Mako is the key to turning the Prince into a more-or-less functional adult who wants to help and take responsibility for things. It was kind of messy in that Wu doesn't immediately show any changes after Mako first gets through to him, but I think a good case can be made that their continuing friendship gave Wu enough confidence to help out in the finale and give up his crown in the denouement. Plus, the dynamic was kind of fun, with Mako developing a relationship with Wu not unlike Bolin, except Mako was able to help Wu, whereas any positive effect he had on Bolin's life is exclusively in the show's backstory. And even though it was in a bad clipshow episode, Mako showed here that he had conclusively grown and improved from the person he was in that awful love triangle while providing some laughs. That has to count for some points.

Sure, Book Balance returned Mako to being a snooze-fest for the finale, especially when he and Bolin were in the Megatron, but when I woke up again, he said nice things to Korra, so he wasn't left with his last moments in the series being boring.

All in all, I think Book Balance treated Mako the least worst.

Though while I admit that I am fond of Book Four!Mako; I don't think I can agree that this season treated him the best. In all honesty, this was the season that shafted him the most. He didn't do anything besides babysit Wu all the way up until the finale. He didn't have any real development, nor did he have a real arc. The arc he was involved in belonged to Wu, not Mako.

Prince Wu was the one who changed from a spoiled, whiny, arrogant brat to a somewhat decent human being. Mako stayed the same throughout and the only thing that did change was his feelings towards Wu. However, I absolutely despise Prince Wu. He's an unfunny cringeworthy ripoff of Bolin, who's already a ripoff of another character. Mako may not have been the most interesting character, but he didn't deserve this. It honestly felt like the writers were punishing him for not being the character they wanted him to be. He was basically Prince Wu's Asami this season; except with a little more personality and actual usefulness.

Quote
Book Change is an interesting suggestion, and has two people agreeing with it here, but I just can't get on board with that. Mako was at his most tolerable here, and got some cool moments, but really, what was he even doing in this arc? He didn't belong there, he had no relevance to anything going on, he accomplished nothing that grew his character or changed it, and he didn't really affect anyone else. He started having a dynamic with Kai, but that didn't go anywhere when Kai really got involved in the Air Nation plotline. Mako never should have been in Book Change, and so I can't say it was his best season.
There are plenty of characters that you could say did not belong in this book. The cast would be very small without all of the supporting characters doing Korra's job for her.

Mako gave Korra the location of the airbenders, found out about the prisoner airbenders, Korra would've been kidnapped in episode 7 if not for Mako, he was the only person smart enough to figure out Aiwei was the traitor, found Aiwei, saved Asami while also giving Korra a chance to escape, delivered Zaheer's message, actually managed to defeat two of the main villians where as Korra could barely bring down Zaheer. Mako earned his place on the book's roster. The book wouldn't have been any different if one of these 3 we're absent; Lin, Asami, or Bolin. What did they really do?

I don't think anyone here is questioning Mako's usefulness in Book Three. I think what Loopy was referring to was the fact that he didn't really have a story. Mako did have his moments of awesome; but they ultimately fell flat because they didn't really add anything to his character. Mako just felt kind of shoved into the story. He traveled with the group because Korra and Bolin asked begged him to, even after he outright stated that he didn't want to be there. Even after that, he didn't really change or learn anything. He remained basically the same character for the rest of the series.

Say what you want about Lin and Bolin in Book Three, but at least they had arcs that explored their characters. They actually had moments where they were learning. They had actual goals that mattered. They actually interacted with the rest of the cast and actually became better people by the end. They gave us moments where they suffered and revealed their insecurities; as well as moments where we enjoyed and rooted for them. They added to the plot on a cinematic level so much to the point that they didn't really need to be as 'useful' as Mako. But for the record, they did have their moments too.

Asami, however, I agree. She did nothing. Besides be besties with Korra.
« Last Edit: Mar 12, 2016 01:46 am by Raimundo » Logged
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« Reply #8 on: Mar 12, 2016 09:01 pm »

Yeah, it's kind of sad that I think Mako's best book is because he was part of someone else's arc, but he was at least critical to Wu's development, and while I can absolutely see Wu being the writers' punishment for Mako, it kind of made me like Mako more. As I got increasingly mad at the writers for Book Balance, I was more on Mako's side, because anyone they don't like must be Cool. Cheesy

And I agree that a Mako with more of his old gang affiliations would have been very interesting. It's really amazing how little was done with it, especially given that Republic City Hustle was commissioned to show it in action. Can you imagine a Book Air that featured Triad Mako teaming up with Avatar Korra to oppose the mutual threat of the Equalists, and the ways they conflict from opposite sides of the law as they work against Amon? With bonus Lin and Lighnting Bolt Zolt conflict as each one's overseer? Oh, that would have been the best Makorra ever!
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« Reply #9 on: Mar 12, 2016 11:51 pm »

Nice AU.  I dig it.  Smiley
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« Reply #10 on: Mar 13, 2016 09:53 am »

And I agree that a Mako with more of his old gang affiliations would have been very interesting. It's really amazing how little was done with it, especially given that Republic City Hustle was commissioned to show it in action. Can you imagine a Book Air that featured Triad Mako teaming up with Avatar Korra to oppose the mutual threat of the Equalists, and the ways they conflict from opposite sides of the law as they work against Amon? With bonus Lin and Lighnting Bolt Zolt conflict as each one's overseer? Oh, that would have been the best Makorra ever!

Well at least now I have an idea of what my first fanfic will be about Grin!
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« Reply #11 on: Mar 13, 2016 10:59 am »

And I agree that a Mako with more of his old gang affiliations would have been very interesting. It's really amazing how little was done with it, especially given that Republic City Hustle was commissioned to show it in action. Can you imagine a Book Air that featured Triad Mako teaming up with Avatar Korra to oppose the mutual threat of the Equalists, and the ways they conflict from opposite sides of the law as they work against Amon? With bonus Lin and Lighnting Bolt Zolt conflict as each one's overseer? Oh, that would have been the best Makorra ever!

Well at least now I have an idea of what my first fanfic will be about Grin!
That's actually a part of a fic idea I had a while back - how I would re-write TLOK, in its entirety. Given I'm currently in a state of new job induced "meh" where I can't even really finish the behemoth I already started...I doubt it would ever happen.

Speaking of job induced meh, here's my ranking, with minimal explanation and thought, because meh:

Korra: Best - Book 3. The closest she came to at least semi-intelligent, relatable, but still different from Aang, and what I was trying to bring her towards in my own writing.
Worst - Book 2, because literal titanic b!tch. She's also at her most idiotic and gullible to boot. The first part, we had female dog Korra, even if she wasn't literally titanic sized yet. In the second half, as well as the continuation of "I'm an idiot", we got Kaiju Korra after a lot of "Aaah!" and "Euuh!" in fighting that made her seem weak.
Honorable mention to Book 4 for going backwards from Book 3 on her character, and... "The Thing" at the end.

Mako: Best - Book 4, mainly because of his dynamic with Wu, and the resolution with Korra, even if I have to mentally blot out that "carrying a torch for Korra" bullcrap comment Bryke made.
Worst - Book 1, mainly for the love triangle stuff, with a dash of "angsty spice". But not that the last part didn't make sense...
No "honorable mention" for him - just a comment:
Quote from: Loopy
I'll tell you why: Mako bores me. In Book Air, he was just your typical Anime Jerk who had been emotionally traumatized earlier in life and so pushed people away and tried to control things, which so tires me as a cliche that I will immediately stop reading any fanfic that tries to invoke this trope for characters who don't already have it.

What exactly is wrong with tropes? They say that stereotypes exist for a reason, after all, and I see tropes the same way. If you try to avoid every trope ever, or even major ones that are overdone because a lot of people are like that in real life, and it's thus realistic, you'll just needlessly convolute your writing, as well as making people "too clever". Even super smart people can be morons at times, especially socially, and there are certain patterns that come out of human behavior...
The problem comes when the trope is all the character has, and Mako gets something other than "emotionally traumatized guy who pushes people away" later - even if not as soon as Zuko did.

Bolin: Best - Book 4. He matured, and had much less stupid goofiness, the picnic basket scene with Opal being an exception rather than the basis for his character. Speaking of which...
Worst - Book 2. Between his constant stupidity, and Boleska, this was the season that was the most grating for me as far as Bolin goes.
Honorable mention goes to Book 1, simply because I came in expecting Sokka, and got someone with the goofiness turned up and added idiocy, Sokka's intelligence only partially transferred to the next character...

Asami: Best - Book 1. Because when the other three entrants are confusing white noise, one of which is even more confusing than the rest, the one where she's something wins by default.
Worst - a tie between Book 2 and 4. Book 2, because of the whole Future Industries subplot being fumbled, and Book 4, mainly because of "The Thing", that very Thing and its "execution"(if you can call it that) being what got me so riled up and baffled that I started writing in the first place.

Going back to tropes - I would have rather seen a trope inserted into Asami's character lock stock and barrel than get the nothing we got post Book 2. Even "Badass (Bendingless) Action Girl" with a pinch of snark thrown in.

Tenzin: Best - Book 1. I don't know exactly why - I think like with Asami, it's a process of elimination. Book 2, he's revealed to have been behind Korra's isolation, along with Tonraq, Book 3, he's a moron with the new airbending recruits initially, and Book 4, he doesn't show up much. Part of it might be his Book 1 dynamic with the next character.
Worst - tie between Book 2 and 3. Again, I can't exactly say why, aside from him looking completely out of touch in both Books with how they framed things, between thinking that his siblings had just as rosy a childhood as he had, and his initially inept attempts to talk people into joining the Air Nation. Does everyone need to be a hypocrite and out of touch...?

Lin: Best - Book 1. I guess? She sort of registers under the same category as Tenzin to me - decent to good in initial showing, and then much more not a player later. Dishonorable mention for her "You're a monster" line to Amon; really? That's the best Toph's bitter police chief daughter would have for him?
Worst - Book 2, for reasons outlined above in other posts. "Derp, I'm a police chief, and I've never heard of someone planting evidence, or framing someone before. Just so Mako can have his little 'I'm a good cop, I swear' arc."
Honorable mention goes to Book 3, where she thinks the best way to settle an old emotional grudge is to attack her sister - most likely to fulfill the episode's fight quota, and thus, appease The Great Sponge.

Jinora: Best - Book 1. By far. She seemed like a real person here. Next season, we got...
Worst - Book 2. To paraphrase someone else, "you know how it is: cows go 'moo,' dogs go 'woof,' A:TLA and TLOK fans go 'Jesus Jinora sucked in Book 2!'"
Honorable mention to Book 4, for her ridiculous line about non aggression while able to see female metal Hitler's army "just chillin" on Zaofu's doorstep, for totally non aggressive reasons.
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« Reply #12 on: Mar 13, 2016 12:12 pm »

Sign me up with Freedom 153's grades. Especially this:
Tenzin: Best - Book 1. I don't know exactly why - I think like with Asami, it's a process of elimination. Book 2, he's revealed to have been behind Korra's isolation, along with Tonraq, Book 3, he's a moron with the new airbending recruits initially, and Book 4, he doesn't show up much. Part of it might be his Book 1 dynamic with the next character.
Worst - tie between Book 2 and 3. Again, I can't exactly say why, aside from him looking completely out of touch in both Books with how they framed things, between thinking that his siblings had just as rosy a childhood as he had, and his initially inept attempts to talk people into joining the Air Nation. Does everyone need to be a hypocrite and out of touch...?

Yes! Finally!!

LOL but seriously. For me Book 2 takes the cake because Tenzin's exposure as a spiritual impostor is pretty much on par with with villainy-level irresponsibility and hypocrisy.

Book 2 was just a train-wreck for characters in general. Even Mako who started relatively well as the only one consistently making sense was ruined by the love triangle in the end. Speaking of Mako:

What exactly is wrong with tropes? They say that stereotypes exist for a reason, after all, and I see tropes the same way. If you try to avoid every trope ever, or even major ones that are overdone because a lot of people are like that in real life, and it's thus realistic, you'll just needlessly convolute your writing, as well as making people "too clever". Even super smart people can be morons at times, especially socially, and there are certain patterns that come out of human behavior...
The problem comes when the trope is all the character has, and Mako gets something other than "emotionally traumatized guy who pushes people away" later - even if not as soon as Zuko did.

What was that 'other thing' Mako had? Because it seems he didn't have a point once the probending plot folded. The only thing pushing his character after that was - again - that awful love triangle, which only further cemented his Anime Jerk status.

« Last Edit: Mar 13, 2016 12:15 pm by longman83 » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: Mar 13, 2016 12:20 pm »

Sign me up with Freedom 153's grades. Especially this:
Tenzin: Best - Book 1. I don't know exactly why - I think like with Asami, it's a process of elimination. Book 2, he's revealed to have been behind Korra's isolation, along with Tonraq, Book 3, he's a moron with the new airbending recruits initially, and Book 4, he doesn't show up much. Part of it might be his Book 1 dynamic with the next character.
Worst - tie between Book 2 and 3. Again, I can't exactly say why, aside from him looking completely out of touch in both Books with how they framed things, between thinking that his siblings had just as rosy a childhood as he had, and his initially inept attempts to talk people into joining the Air Nation. Does everyone need to be a hypocrite and out of touch...?

Yes! Finally!!

LOL but seriously. For me Book 2 takes the cake because Tenzin's exposure as a spiritual impostor is pretty much on par with with villainy-level irresponsibility and hypocrisy.

Book 2 was just a train-wreck for characters in general. Even Mako who started relatively well as the only one consistently making sense was ruined by the love triangle in the end. Speaking of Mako:

What exactly is wrong with tropes? They say that stereotypes exist for a reason, after all, and I see tropes the same way. If you try to avoid every trope ever, or even major ones that are overdone because a lot of people are like that in real life, and it's thus realistic, you'll just needlessly convolute your writing, as well as making people "too clever". Even super smart people can be morons at times, especially socially, and there are certain patterns that come out of human behavior...
The problem comes when the trope is all the character has, and Mako gets something other than "emotionally traumatized guy who pushes people away" later - even if not as soon as Zuko did.

What was that 'other thing' Mako had? Because it seems he didn't have a point once the probending plot folded. The only thing pushing his character after that was - again - that awful love triangle, which only further cemented his Anime Jerk status.


Oops, should have specified - I was talking about Mako across all the books, not just Book 1. Book 1, I agree with Loopy, mostly. Book 2 is better, he ends up in a good place in Book 3, and like I said, at his best in Book 4.
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« Reply #14 on: Mar 13, 2016 02:52 pm »

What exactly is wrong with tropes? They say that stereotypes exist for a reason, after all, and I see tropes the same way. If you try to avoid every trope ever, or even major ones that are overdone because a lot of people are like that in real life, and it's thus realistic, you'll just needlessly convolute your writing, as well as making people "too clever". Even super smart people can be morons at times, especially socially, and there are certain patterns that come out of human behavior...
The problem comes when the trope is all the character has, and Mako gets something other than "emotionally traumatized guy who pushes people away" later - even if not as soon as Zuko did.

Well, I don't think Mako did get much more than the standard trope until after Book Air. And while I don't think storytellers should avoid tropes, I want to see them remixed according to the author's voice and vision. I see tropes like music: a cover that's no different from any of the various other recordings isn't going to make anyone take notice, but jazzing it up uniquely could create a brand new hit.
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« Reply #15 on: Mar 13, 2016 05:58 pm »

What exactly is wrong with tropes? They say that stereotypes exist for a reason, after all, and I see tropes the same way. If you try to avoid every trope ever, or even major ones that are overdone because a lot of people are like that in real life, and it's thus realistic, you'll just needlessly convolute your writing, as well as making people "too clever". Even super smart people can be morons at times, especially socially, and there are certain patterns that come out of human behavior...
The problem comes when the trope is all the character has, and Mako gets something other than "emotionally traumatized guy who pushes people away" later - even if not as soon as Zuko did.

Well, I don't think Mako did get much more than the standard trope until after Book Air. And while I don't think storytellers should avoid tropes, I want to see them remixed according to the author's voice and vision. I see tropes like music: a cover that's no different from any of the various other recordings isn't going to make anyone take notice, but jazzing it up uniquely could create a brand new hit.
Oh. When you put it like that, it's a lot more reasonable. I guess it's more loose character archetypes then, and less tropes - a basic often used personality and background to build on, rather than find a simple template, and just use that often-repeated template without change as a whole character. If that makes any sense.

I forgot two characters that show up enough across all four seasons to warrant a rating - Meelo and Ikki.

Meelo:
Best - Book 4. Even if there were still fart jokes, one with a horribly bad timing, he seemed to have the most personality here. And while it was still gross, the berries seemed to fit A:TLA/TLOK's older style better than fart jokes. I wish bit characters had been planned out a little better; just like his sister Jinora's greatness at being great, his drawing skills came out of left field. But those didn't impact the plot and narrative negatively...
Worst - Book 1 or 2? Probably Book 1. I don't know exactly - he didn't show up enough to say exactly why, except the "Meelo, no, that is not a toilet!" gag and landing on Team Avatar's hands and farting (Oh God, almost forgot that one) in Book 1 feeling more at home in an episode of Spongebob Squarepants. And a bad episode at that.

Ikki:
Best - Book 2 or 4. I liked her moment with Tenzin and the airbison calves in Book 2, and being an example of a normal Tenzin daughter rather than J-Jinora from there on. I also really liked her smooth talking with the Earth Empire guards in Book 4, using some of her personal experiences in that - we could have done with more solutions that weren't punching or plot contrivances.
Worst - Book 1? She's just hyper in this, and while I did like her comments about Tarrlok, her role in the shipping ("Do you know Korra likes Mako?" and her love potions thing might be age appropriate, but they just made already awkward shipping worse) is a little annoying. Nothing too bad; just like Meelo, she didn't show up a ton, but enough to be in all four Books.
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« Reply #16 on: Mar 13, 2016 07:33 pm »

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Meelo:
Best - Book 4. Even if there were still fart jokes, one with a horribly bad timing, he seemed to have the most personality here. And while it was still gross, the berries seemed to fit A:TLA/TLOK's older style better than fart jokes. I wish bit characters had been planned out a little better; just like his sister Jinora's greatness at being great, his drawing skills came out of left field. But those didn't impact the plot and narrative negatively...
Worst - Book 1 or 2? Probably Book 1. I don't know exactly - he didn't show up enough to say exactly why, except the "Meelo, no, that is not a toilet!" gag and landing on Team Avatar's hands and farting (Oh God, almost forgot that one) in Book 1 feeling more at home in an episode of Spongebob Squarepants. And a bad episode at that.
You decided Meelo's best and worst books by the amount of small jokes you thought weren't funny? Meelo's farting has gained him too much dislike, I don't see a problem, just stupid comic relief. Meelo doesn't even change that much through out the series, book 4 made him more, hmm... aggressive? So you have to be assessing his character with his fart jokes.
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« Reply #17 on: Mar 13, 2016 08:22 pm »

Reminder that everyone is entitled to their own opinion and those opinions are to be respected even if you disagree. You can have a discussion without resorting to insults.

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« Reply #18 on: Mar 13, 2016 09:49 pm »

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Meelo:
Best - Book 4. Even if there were still fart jokes, one with a horribly bad timing, he seemed to have the most personality here. And while it was still gross, the berries seemed to fit A:TLA/TLOK's older style better than fart jokes. I wish bit characters had been planned out a little better; just like his sister Jinora's greatness at being great, his drawing skills came out of left field. But those didn't impact the plot and narrative negatively...
Worst - Book 1 or 2? Probably Book 1. I don't know exactly - he didn't show up enough to say exactly why, except the "Meelo, no, that is not a toilet!" gag and landing on Team Avatar's hands and farting (Oh God, almost forgot that one) in Book 1 feeling more at home in an episode of Spongebob Squarepants. And a bad episode at that.
You decided Meelo's best and worst books by the amount of small jokes you thought weren't funny? Meelo's farting has gained him too much dislike, I don't see a problem, just stupid comic relief. Meelo doesn't even change that much through out the series, book 4 made him more, hmm... aggressive? So you have to be assessing his character with his fart jokes.
Even though the fart jokes weren't a total gamebreaker for me with Meelo, I still included them in best/worst for a reason: it's something. I used those as part of my criteria for the same reason I didn't bother making anything for Pema, Senna, Tonraq, and other characters that didn't get much, despite being in all four seasons or having been introduced already(see no comments on Katara): there's not a whole ton to go off of.

Outside the Krew sans Asami(she suffers from the same thing the characters not mentioned by anyone else do), Jinora, Lin and Tenzin, there are so many different characters competing for space on top of trying to get noticed over plot and fight scenes it's hard to judge based on limited showing. Especially when we're seemingly restricting this to characters that showed in all 4 Books; nobody did an episode by episode best versus worst for Kuvira, after all. Or even Opal, Book 3 versus 4. The closest I can come to other characters to do best/worst for would be Bumi and Kya, since they showed up in Book 2, and some others as well(Tonraq, possibly Iroh II, possibly Katara - just to compare Book 1 to her cameo in Book 4). But I can't be bothered.

Oh, and Varrick, but every Book Varrick is best Varrick. And other multi-book characters like Zhu Li are only really a Thing(pun intended) in one Book (4 in her case, all others being fairly background).

Even assessing Meelo and Ikki is reaching; I could have just as easily tried to do Senna and Tonraq, and aside from Tonraq's medium role in Book 2 and smaller role in Book 3, I would have had to use unshown parenting "skills" or lack thereof to say best versus worst seasons for Korra's parents.

Also, I included Ikki's contribution to the shipping mess in Book 1 for the same reason I included the fart jokes - how much their characters inadvertently interfered with the show's flow and overall feel(Meelo's farting didn't fit with The Legend of Dark'n'Serious), or worsened already existing problems(shipping Ikki doing nothing to help anything ship related).
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« Reply #19 on: Mar 14, 2016 01:23 am »

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Oh, and Varrick, but every Book Varrick is best Varrick. And other multi-book characters like Zhu Li are only really a Thing(pun intended) in one Book (4 in her case, all others being fairly background).

It's weird to say, but I have very mixed feelings when it comes to Varrick. On one hand, he's probably my favorite character right after Bolin and Korra. He's just so much fun to watch and stands out as the funniest character in the entire franchise.

But on the other hand, I can't help but feel that he's somewhat (please don't hurt me).......overrated. Seriously, people LOVE this character and out of all the hatred I have seen for LOK's cast (and I've seen A LOT) most people will still say that Varrick is, without a doubt, the best character in the show.

But why? Varrick is just as underdeveloped as a lot of the other characters in the show. I mean sure, he's entertaining and funny; but literally everything he says is used for comedic effect. His character development in Book Four isn't bad; but its rushed and kind of comes out of nowhere. His backstory is okay, but it honestly wasn't necessary nor was it important to his character. His romance with Zhu Li is probably the best LOK romance by default; but it gets really uncomfortable upon further study.

As far as seasons go though:

Best Season: Book Two- Varrick would have made a GREAT villain. He may be awesome at comic relief; but this guy can be downright evil. This is the same guy who stole Asami's company to profit from a civil war, framed Mako and had him thrown in jail, manipulated Bolin (and Korra to an extent), attempted to kidnap President Raiko, and fooled the entire police force into doing what he wanted. His storyline literally made everyone involved look like an idiot. That's pretty awesome.

I honestly don't have a worst Book for him though. He wasn't really in Book Three that much and I was always happy when he showed up. And while I have legitimate criticisms for him in Book Four, there's one redeeming quality that outweighs all of that: his dynamic with Bolin.
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« Reply #20 on: Mar 14, 2016 06:22 pm »

I'll go ahead and say that Varrick's worst was Book Balance. As you said, he wasn't in Change so much, so I'm going to count that as a neutral. As much as I loved him in Balance, there was one major flaw in what was done with him: his newfound conscience came out of nowhere. Yes, it was played off as a fairly amusing gag, but considering how (humorously) ruthless he had been before, something more should have been made out of his finding a depth to which he would not sink.
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« Reply #21 on: Mar 14, 2016 07:41 pm »

I'll go ahead and say that Varrick's worst was Book Balance. As you said, he wasn't in Change so much, so I'm going to count that as a neutral. As much as I loved him in Balance, there was one major flaw in what was done with him: his newfound conscience came out of nowhere. Yes, it was played off as a fairly amusing gag, but considering how (humorously) ruthless he had been before, something more should have been made out of his finding a depth to which he would not sink.

1000%.  They flipped a switch with him.  Either play it out longer or give him a self-interested reason to help our heroes.
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« Reply #22 on: Mar 16, 2016 06:10 pm »

I'll weigh in on this.

Korra

Best:  Book 2.  Yes, she's very abrasive at the start of the season.  That's the point.  She gets out of control, and it negatively effects her most important relationships.  This is all necessary setup that makes her development in the second half of the season so cathartic.  Learning about the origin of the Avatar, how Wan went from an ordinary person to the Avatar.  Learning from Iroh the importance of how her actions affect others, how she can spread light from within even when all seems dark.   And then tying it all together in the end to pick herself back up after having Raava torn from her, connecting with her inner spirit to save the whole flippin' world.  Reuniting with Raava, making a bold decision to no longer keep the spirit and physical worlds so separate.  It was Korra at her best and it didn't shoot her development in the foot inches away from the finish line

Worst:  Book 3.  Not because it was necessarily bad for her, it just didn't do much for her.  The story wasn't about her as much as the other seasons were, and she didn't really have an arc.  And she ended up incapacitated somehow for just about every fight with the Red Lotus. She had a mix of cool and awesome moments, but it was kind of underwhelming as a season for Korra.

Mako

Best: Book 3.  Book 3 felt like where we got the most direct development for Mako, with his family.  He got to put his detective skills to use with the group, and he got some awesome fight sequences.

Worst:  Book 1.  He had some good moments, to be sure, but the love triangle did him no favors.

Bolin

Best: Book 3, for similar reasons as Mako.  His arc for discovering lavabending was pretty cool.

Worst: ...yeah, I'm gonna have to go with Book 2.

Asami

Best: Book 1, and yes, obvious choice is obvious.

Worst: Book 3.  Asami was just...there.

Tenzin

Book 3.  Great arc, very emotionally driven with him finding the new airbenders.  And a downright epic battle.  "Unfortunately, you don't have a choice" "Yes I do."

Worst: Book 4.  He became much more of a secondary character for Book 4.

Lin

Best: Book 1, for much the same reason as Tenzin with Book 3.  Good arc and development, epic action scenes, and a moving final stand.

Worst:  Book 2.  More of a secondary character here, and unfortunately looked a bit incompetent.
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« Reply #23 on: Mar 19, 2016 12:48 pm »

I'll just toss in my thoughts here.

Korra

Best: Book 1. It was a tossup between that and Change, but Air really did succeed in making me love Korra. She felt like a complete character and spent the season slowly realizing what being the Avatar meant. She goes from thinking she's only Superman to understanding she's also Clark Kent, as well as getting a better handle on how to be a better Avatar. Sure, the development at the end is rushed, but in the first season it really felt like the writers had a vision for her. I'm very fond of the character throughout the show, but I still think she was at her best in the beginning.

Worst: Book 4. I hate to admit it, but when I think back to which season I disliked Korra in most, it's Balance. Don't get me wrong, I don't love Korra in the beginning of Spirits, but Balance just mainly consists of Korra repeatedly failing until the end. She spends so much time apart from the other main characters as well, so there just wasn't as much character interaction as I'd have liked. I don't think it was a bad season for her (after all I like the idea of a character having to face rehabilitation after undergoing something traumatic), but at the same time I don't enjoy her journey in this book as much as the others. Probably not helping was that she had no real connection to Kuvira, unlike the previous villains (even Unalaq).

Mako

Best: Book 4. Balance was the book that ultimately got me to give up my hard feelings for Mako. Yeah, Change was good for his character but it was the final season where I realized that he wasn't such a bad character and had at least learned something from his experiences. I guess it also didn't hurt putting him next to a really annoying character, he looks much better in comparison.

Worst: Book 1. Air made me despise Mako. Well, that's harsh but honestly the love triangle stuff was terrible and his part in it was the worst. Korra at least had other things to do and Asami got the shaft from it, so Mako came out the worst and he almost didn't recover. He just didn't have anything after pro-bending was done to offset that, but was too prominent so that his faults couldn't be ignored.

Bolin

Best: Book 4. This season was the only one where he seemed to be his own character. Separating him from the Krew was the best thing that could have happened to him, and reuniting him with them returned things to their usual state. Still, while he was with Kuvira (and then escaping her) he came the closest to me liking him as a character.

Worst: Book 2. If I thought Bolin was pointless and annoying in Air, then Spirits decided to double up on that and show me that I knew nothing about the subject. I mean, what do I even have to explain about, we've all seen how pointless and annoying Bolin's arc was this season. It actually makes Asami seem lucky for being ignored as much as she was.

Asami

Best: Book 1. Others have said it here before. This was the only season where she had much character development and things to do. I love Asami, and all the moments she got in later seasons, but there weren't enough and she got shafted. Her father's involvement also gave her something to do and some kind of stake in the finale, unlike the middle seasons.

Worst: Book 2. You'd have to look hard, but if you squint and pause at just the right moments you might find traces of Asami's presence in this season.

Tenzin

Best: Book 1. Air was the only book that Tenzin really felt like Korra's mentor (he feels more like an advisor in the others), and it really gave him a lot to do. He had to train Korra, he has to deal with his children, he deals with his history with Lin, he's part of the city council and the only one of whom isn't corrupt or stupid, etc. Later seasons gave him far less and made him less likable in small ways. Like Korra (and Asami to a lesser extent), Air was the seaons where it felt like the writers knew exactly what they wanted to do with the character.

Worst: Book 4. Tenzin got some great moments in the middle two seasons but I'm actually hard pressed to remember anything significant he did in Balance. He just wasn't utilized in this season.

Lin

Best: Book 1. Although I was tempted to put Change, Air was, again, the one where it felt like the writers knew exactly who Lin was and what she was all about. She was abrasive and cold, but her sacrifice left a lasting impression on me that spoke volumes about who she was as a person.

Worst: Book 2. So Spirits followed up on it by making her look both mean and stupid. Great choices there. At least the next two seasons gave her a new direction for character development.

Jinora

...Honestly I don't really consider any of her appearances throughout the show to be much different from the others. I don't feel like she changed all that much from what we see of her and I honestly don't really care much about her one way or the other. She always sort of felt like a side character who somehow got more focus and importance in the plot than she should have.
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« Reply #24 on: Mar 19, 2016 01:47 pm »

Hmm... I'm not even sure if we can really classify a character as having a 'best book', since I like to view characters as a stream of continuous development, I feel even the good is spoiled a little too much by the bad like a half-rotten apple just a bad apple. It's almost like there is a pre-ruination for me and a post-ruination for me and it all feeds into one big mess. But, why not try?

Korra:
Best: Book 1, her best. It's strange because I never quite favoured her, but the tomboy characters never tend to capture my interest too much. Still, there was a sense the genuine with her that I could appreciate. She had a character arch, not the most impressive, but for me at least I could understand and connect to her. While the whole Aang giving her back her bending was cheapening, I felt she had progress... but, then it got worse... remember what I said about 'ruination'?

Worst Book ?: I can't decide. Her book 2 self was someone I loathed, I yelled at the screen due to her stupidity, reverse progress and volatile childishness, but at least I felt something for her. Book 3 and Book 4, all I felt for her was a varying degree of apathy, indifference, as she bored me! Her book 4 self was all over the place, and her book 3 self was passively boring for me.

Asami:
Best: Book 1. Perhaps a self-delusion, but it actually felt like her character had a sort of limited purpose but at least there was a purpose. She felt like she could improve, that now that the terrible love triange was over they'd focus on developing her and making her a more interesting character... nope.

Worst: Book 3 aka the-book-Blue-Warpath-got-tired-of-Asami. Perhaps, Book 2 was worse due to her idiocy, but everyone was an idiot in Book 2 beside the golden child(Oh-please-like-him-after-book-1-debacle!) Mako, so I had hope that they'd do something with her. My God, this forum site is practically an archive of me losing hope in Asami, but Book 3 sealed the deal and Book 4 was salt on the wound with how utterly ineffectual and unimportant she was - the most we got was a few half-hearted Asami-power moments in Long Live the Earth Queen!

Lin:
Best: Book 1. I liked her in Book 1, and she never re-attained the charisma or badass presence she had had in this book. Book 3 tried and failed for me and book 4 didn't even try really, so I mourn Book 1 Lin, since she died after the Book 1 finale and was replaced by her less-interesting, try-hard clone.

Worst, Book 2: To be fair, this is the easy option. She was a useless idiot who should have been fired for negligence and incompetence. It was a very unsatisfying conclusion to her story when she fired those two, useless idiot cops because I felt like the show was brushing under the rug how she had been just as stupid.  
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Keeper of Kuvira's owning, Asami's lacking development, and Azula's nails.
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