One thing I have learned over the years is that there’s no such thing as a perfect show. The Last Airbender was probably one of the best series’ of television I have ever seen, yet the show did have its fair share of flaws. The same thing can be said for The Legend of Korra.
One thing I noticed in Book 1 of The Legend of Korra was that Mike and Bryan really shied away from showing off Republic City. With the invention of the Satomobile and the constant use of Naga (who can walk through a city much easier than Appa would have been able to), we never really had the chance to see Republic City for the awesome city it supposedly is.
Instead, we saw the same parts of Republic City over and over again in different episodes. Personally, I never felt as attached to Republic City as I felt towards Ba Sing Se mostly because I have yet to see the city as a whole. I’ve seen Air Temple Island and the Pro Bending arena loads of times, but what about the shops and merchants on the sides of the streets? Or the towering sky scrapers that Mike and Bryan talked so much about?
We saw parts of Republic City that were meant to continue the story line, but there was very little exploration that was actually done.
We talk a lot about character development and how important it is, but the fact of the matter is that characters are not the only things that need to be developed in a story. The setting of a story can also be developed and explored. The thing about Republic City is that it’s the Avatar’s home. We should be able to feel some sort of connection with it, and if we can’t, something isn’t right.
That’s why in Book 2 of The Legend of Korra, Mike and Bryan will need to explore Republic City a bit more to make the setting a bit more attachable. The only issue with that, however, is that only about half of Book 2 will be in Republic City. The other half will be around the rest of the Avatar World.
Developing Republic City into a comfortable setting will be extremely challenging for Mike and Bryan, mostly because they’ll only have about 7 episodes to do it. But if Mike and Bryan decide to focus more on the plot outside of Republic City, then that’ll likely leave them some room for ‘filler’ in Republic City.
I genuinely hope that this is the case because I really do think that Republic City has some potential. The steam punked city that we heard so much about hardly fit the description mostly because we haven’t seen much of it. I’d love to see Korra and the Gang enter some shops or check out some of the buildings and really just explore the place. I want to feel like I’ve actually been to Republic City.
The thing about The Last Airbender is the Mike and Bryan made everything seem so real even though it was just a mere cartoon. The Avatar World just felt so alive that we as fans began to grow attached to it.
Just think about it: Why do so many of us miss the Northern Water Tribe or the Earth Kingdom? We miss it because Mike and Bryan made us feel so attached to the settings. It’ll be a challenging task, but I think the first step in improving The Legend of Korra will be to make the settings feel more real and attachable.
But as always, I have full faith in Mike and Bryan to pull out the seemingly impossible.