One of my favorite characters so far in The Legend of Korra has to be Bolin. He’s funny, entertaining and he’s fairly a talented Earth Bender. Unfortunately for him, that’s all he really has going for him so far, which makes him the very definition of a one-sided character.
Like Sokka, Bolin is responsible for a good chunk of the humor in the series. But if you recall the character development Sokka underwent in The Last Airbender, he was much more than the “funny guy” by the end of the series. He became dynamic: he was funny, intelligent, skilled with a blade and a natural born leader.
Bolin currently lacks the traits that would make him a dynamic character mostly because his character lacks character development. But like I have constantly reiterated, this should be expected as we’ve technically only scene him in 11 episodes. Nonetheless, I still expect Mike and Bryan to develop Bolin’s character significantly by the end of Book 2.
How Mike and Bryan decide to develop Bolin is really up in the air. Will they make him a leader like Sokka? Or will he take on the laid back role and let Korra, Mako or Asami lead Team Avatar? Will he become a Master Earth bender and utilize the arts of Metal Bending? Or will he utilize Earth Bending in the arts of Pro Bending?
Bolin is a special character in that he can take on any paths in terms of his development. He can be anything Mike and Bryan want him to be, and it’ll ultimately make sense in the end.
But when it’s all said and done, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done on Bolin’s character. Maybe showing the death of his parents could provide that jump start in character development that we’re looking for? But I am fairly confident that by the end of the series, Bolin will be much more than the “funny guy”. His character has so much more to offer that I’d be surprised if Mike and Bryan waste such a precious opportunity to introduce a character with so many dynamics.
So is Bolin severely lacking character development? I wouldn’t go as far to say that he’s lacking development ‘severely’, but he is lacking development in ways that can make his character a bit flat and predictable at times. But of course, we shouldn’t be complaining about that for very long.