Zuko News

Zuko is a anime/manga character in the Avatar franchise
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The avatar franchise has come quite a long way, from a little known cartoon on Nickelodeon to a terrible live action adaption and finally the sequel that will most likely bring its life on the screen, big and small to an end.

Season 4 of The Legend of Korra is just around the corner, and I for one cannot help but admit to being excited for what is the first time ever for another season. I don’t know if it is quite a shame that Season 4 will be last Season of Legend of Korra though.

The series hasn’t had the strongest run, at least not with its first two seasons.

+FOUR REASONS LEGEND OF KORRA SEASON 3 WORKED.

Objectively speaking, season 1 of Korra was decent stuff if approached as a typical cartoon/anime series; unfortunately that is exactly what Korra has never been.

As Successor to The Last Air Bender, Korra had large shoes to fill and it failed to do so spectacularly, season 1 lacking in the energy and excitement of the first season of Aang, while season 2 completely dropped the ball, weaving a messy tale with numerous unnecessary episodes, scenes and plots.

With that in mind, I initially doubted my positive opinion of Season 3; after all, once you hit the bottom in entertainment, you can only go up, and Korra wasn’t going to get any worse.

But analyzing it objectively, Korra season 3 was great stuff, even by Last Air Bender standards, and I impute its success to four primary reasons, namely:
+Korra.
Let’s get a couple of things straight about Korra

I didn’t approach this series expecting an Aang clone. I certainly didn’t expect a level headed, highly intelligent or even completely rational avatar from the new series, not from a 15 year old.

That being said, Korra’s age and place as a teenage girl in the avatar world doesn’t excuse the sheer stupidity her character was written to display over the first two seasons.

And this business of Avatar wisdom doesn’t make a lick of sense to me, specifically the common excuse that this is some next level intellectual ability that Aang possessed but which Korra lacked.

I am not asking for ancient wisdom complimented by vastly superhuman thought processes; I expected basic intelligence and common sense from Korra and for the first two seasons she was little more than an idiot with special powers that UNWITTINGLY AIDED her enemies rather than foiling them.

The rationale of a 12 year old boy with less than a year’s training showing greater wisdom that a 15 year old that has been trained as avatar since birth needs to be explained to me. There is no excuse for the first two seasons of Korra. She wasn’t just dumb. She was downright irritating to watch in some places.

And it almost feels like someone finally stepped up to reign her character in with this last season, producing a fairly level headed avatar that didn’t needlessly divert the plot from its primary  course through idiotic decisions and irrelevant side stories.

Not to say that Korra was anything special this season; she wasn’t exactly the star of the show; her display of growth was none the less commendable. A waste, that we didn’t start like this, because Korra would be a far more intriguing character to follow by now. She single handedly ruined season 2, then somehow saved season 3, at least in my eyes.
+The Antagonists.
The world of Avatar: The Last Air Bender thrived because of its rich cast of heroes, anti-heroes and villains. Legend of Korra particularly struggled in the villain arena, and more so in season 2, once more because of Korra.
It is difficult to respect villains whose master plans and schemes depended heavily upon Korra making decisions that weren’t just wrong but downright nonsensical. We’ve seen Aang go off the rails, but for most of Season 2 it felt like Korra wasn’t exactly doing much thinking.

In learning that the Order of the Red Lotus would lead the charge as key antagonists for season 3, I expected a villainous version of the White Lotus seen in Last Air Bender. These guys weren’t nearly as impressive as far as abilities were concerned.

None the less this has to be the series’ most impressive cast of antagonists so far, imposing an actual level of threat worth worrying over throughout the season. Let’s face it, powerful as her opponents might have been in earlier seasons, we have yet to see villains that are as intriguing in Korra as The Red Lotus even while endowed with the strength to actually stand up against Korra in a fair fight.

How i have longed for the old days of Avatar, when the mere appearance of Azula immediately raised the stakes, and the mission became more about escaping her crazy wrath than accomplishing any goals.
Korra simply hasn’t boasted that same level of threat in a very long while, and while the Red Lotus didn’t quite invoke the same sense of danger as say Firelord Ozai or the original combustion man, they turned this season into one hell of a ride.
+The Supporting cast.
Say what you will about the original team avatar, say that all the complaints surrounding team Korra amount to excess nostalgia (which might be true).

You cannot deny the fact that Korra hasn’t produced characters as interesting as Toph, Iroh, Zuko, Sokka and Katara. And these guys weren’t merely sources of great action either.
Last Air Bender made comprehensive use of each of Aang’s friends, injecting them organically into the series and effortlessly utilizing them to further the story.

Exactly what Legend of Korra has never done; for two seasons now, it has been the Korra show (what is her second name, anyway?) and that would have been fine had the series not bothered to insert Mako, Bolin and the rest into the story.

For two seasons these guys haven’t had a thing to do in the series; for all intent and purpose, you could have eliminated any one of them from the show and not only would Legend of Korra not have suffered for it, it would have made Seasons 1 and 2 so much better, allowing for a more compact story to unfold.
This failure to use them effectively has actually hurt the series as a whole so much more than Korra’s weird characterization.

I didn’t enter this series asking for a return of my favorite characters in new bodies; and i certainly didn’t expect the new cast to replace them. That is never going to happen.

I simply wanted interesting, entertaining characters to follow; the common comparison between Bolin and Sokka revolves around their comedic abilities, not taking into account the fact that even without bending abilities, Sokka was an integral part of the original story while Bolin might as well be a lamp for all this importance to the show.
So when season 3 rolls out and begins actively engaging most, if not all, of Korra’s friends into her tale and in a meaningful way, what else can I do but nod my head in approval? Finally, a story that can attempt to expand its talents and utilize all its tools effectively.
+The action.
Anyone remember the first season of Last Air Bender? All those duels between Zuko and Aang, so many intricate movements blurring by so fast that you had to take a moment, rewind and watch the whole thing again.
That is what first got me into Avatar, the sleek strikes, compact moves and destructive elements being unleashed in all sorts of unique forms. I can’t say that we didn’t get clean well animated action in Korra, but most of the first two seasons produced some rather dull fights.

Again, this comes back to the fact that Korra is a sequel; on its own, these would have been pretty impressive fight sequences; in comparison to Last Air Bender, let’s just say that I kept waiting for my jaw to drop but that didn’t happen.

Let me put it this way. I watched episodes of the Last Air Bender whose plots were somewhat uninteresting, but which none the less left me highly excited merely because of the awesome fight scenes.

And I don’t know what the hell changed with Korra this season. Maybe it was the addition of the Red Lotus and the new air benders. But Korra has never been this explosive a series in terms of the action.
I was surprised at how clean and increasingly complex the fights became, alongside the interesting use of bending. This is what I want from my Legend of Korra, not men and women throwing elements at each other aimlessly, but skilled individuals deploying powerful martial arts moves whose consequence happens to be the movement of the elements.
-Conclusion:
The Legend of Korra season 3 is the sequel The Last Air Bender has been waiting for. This is the sequel Aang deserves, and truth be told I am not exactly happy about that. 

We are already here, at the end of the Korra journey, which makes this last season feel almost like a waste. This should have been the first season of Korra. Had that been the case, had the series began with such momentum, can you imagine where The Legend of Korra would be right now?
Avatar fans would be whispering about it with the same level of reverence normally reserved for the third season of Last Air Bender. It might be more accurate to blame Nickelodean here. The 12 episode run probably didn’t allow for much space to maneuver.

With the fourth season just around the corner, the question becomes whether  The Legend of Korra can pull of a series finale on the level of Sozin’s Comet ( a finale that can contend with many of the best anime and manga finales).
Considering the quality of season 3, I actually have some hope in Korra.
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It wouldn’t be too much of an exaggeration to say that the quality of an anime or manga series is determined as much by the villain as it is by the hero; and truth be told some of the best series i have ever come across have had some of the best villains, which got me thinking. What is a good villain? Or rather what constitutes a great villain in any given manga or anime.

Well, truth be told i am not particularly sure, this being a topic i will give greater thought to at a later date. While pondering on the subject though one random and rather idle day at work last week, i started thinking about villains as they had been portrayed in anime and manga so far, and what elements best stood out in the best series that i had encountered, which had best endeared me to them. I came to a very simple conclusion, which i will highlight at the end. But first these are the villains that anime and manga has strived to present to us for as long as i have been watching anime and reading manga.

They can be divided into two primary categories, namely:

+Complex villains

+Evil villains

As described above, it is my belief that the assignment ‘villain’ doesn’t necessary make a given character evil or really that bad.

N:B: The images inserted below represent just some of my favorite villains; they aren’t actually representations of the complaints they are neighboring.

+Complex Villains-

I enjoy watching series with complicated plots, with winding twists and turns, stories that are as unpredictable as they are riveting. As such it might come as somewhat of a surprise that i would express abhorrence for complex villains in series. Okay maybe i do not abhor them but they have become somewhat of an irritation to me, and that’s because THEY ARE EVERYWHERE.

Here is the thing, i enjoy following the exploits of the odd complex villain once in a while but it feels like that is all there in anime and manga these days. I have heard the criticism, that anime and manga is filled with way too many straight forward characters, evil for the sake of being evil, with no particularly intriguing back story or objective. And while i would have joined in the chorus for anime dating back to the 90s, 80s and so on, such claims about anime today leave me chuckling and wondering; where exactly are these simplistic villains that they are speaking of? Because they aren’t in anything i have watched or read recently.

There is such a thing as too complicated; and today’s anime and manga stories have turned complex characterization into clichés. I have come across ridiculously silly and fluffy anime series that, halfway into the series, suddenly become so heavy, introducing dense and dark back stories to initially cheery characters, the result being somewhat discordant story, these new characterization simply failing to jell with the tone of the show.

+And the fact that so many of them do it pisses me off, three primary irritations arising:

-Distinctness- the over complication of villain characterization is turning what should have been intriguing villains into perfect copies of each other. I don’t know how but modern anime has managed to transform complexity into a trope, an irritating cliché making the rounds through some of my favorite series. Anytime a new villain rolls onto the scene, if you are anything like me you will roll your eyes at his supposed vileness, waiting for the moment we learn of his dark past, the parents that abandoned him, the uncle that sold him into slavery, a disingenuous description of how spending his childhood crawling through the mud turned him into a monster.

And they are almost always children, both as the victims and eventual monster than emerges. 99% of these complex characters are all exactly the same manifestation of the same sob story. I will use Bleach as the most common example of this, with all the villains almost always mirroring each other’s motives as well as the supposedly tragic pasts that molded them. I think i have groused enough about how almost every arrancar and Espada in the series needed a flash back of their sad lives before they perished.

-Insipid finales- Why do all these series with complex villains end the same way, with the villain on his knees, weeping as he reminisces on the tragic past that brought him to his current status. There is a consistent lack of unpredictability, because i can always see it coming, that ten minute lull in the action, when the hero finally closes the emotional gap with his foe, reaches out to the villain empathetically, the entire fiasco ending in a hug or something similarly mushy, all forgiven, or the hero forced to kill the villain but through a mist of tears, suddenly sympathetic to his plight. It irritates me to no end.

--Where i can sometimes ignore the lack of distinct yet complex villains and silly finales, nothing irritates me as much as the way these series seeming depend on a rather false sense of sadness to mask their lack of quality. A complex villain isn’t truly complex unless their back stories are not only fraught with difficulty but awe strikingly tragic. While that in itself doesn’t bother me, what does is the way these series attempt to force this dark atmosphere to emerge, like they are not simply trying to chronicle the tragic past of a character, but trying to beat you over the head with it, again and again until you really understand how sad it was.

Character A cannot simply find themselves homeless; they have to be literally dragged through the mud or find refuge in a pig sty before you can truly appreciate how bad A had it. It all starts to feel really…fake, sometimes bordering on silly. I get that adults can show considerable violence towards little kids. But in which world are 7 or 8 bulky males going to surround a fallen 7 year old before continuously stumping down upon and kicking them senseless like a pack of dogs? These series will go to silly levels to force you to feel a sadness that is more often than not absent.

I am one of those otaku that will get quickly irritated by overly weepy anime and manga stories and characters, mostly because they always fall into this category, feigning what seems to me to be a false sense of sadness, clearly trying to draw unearned emotional engagement from the audience. Again i go back to bleach, with so many (previously vile) villains going down confessing some dark secret, Ichigo mopping over them before having to put them out of their misery.

+Now i can appreciate what some of these creators are going for in trying to craft such overly complex characters (and sometimes it really can get too convoluted), yet most are dogged by the same problems:

-Believability-The idea of complex villains is to create a negative character that does terrible things but which the audience can none the less relate to on some level. The problem with most anime and manga i have across is it does a poor job of brining the message across. 90% of the series that attempt to convert me to the villain’s point of view leave me somewhat amused; many of you must have come across these sorts of shows, that leave you asking ,’ Really? You expect me to believe that someone would commit genocide because of that?”

Few other things irritate me as much as a series failing to successfully explain to me why a villain is who he is or does what he does.

And this is usually where they start beating you over the head with their message, clearly unable to justify how rough the villain had it, which seemingly forces them to portray his or her past in increasingly darker tones. This goes back to the point i made above, where a three second assault with an open hand transforms into three minutes of the villain receiving brutal abuse from seemingly possessed adults during his childhood.

I don’t like watching a series or reading a manga and walking away frustrated; that’s what these sorts of series with complex characters do for me.

-Morality- Now sometimes even when the series does such a great job of breaking the complex villain down, it fails to matter. The point of flash backs and back stories is to progress the story or morph it in one way or another; understanding that the reason Frieza destroyed entire galaxies worth of planets was because of some ill that was done to him, some cruel act meted out of his parents, doesn’t change the fact that he committed a heinous crime, and the story will progress towards his inevitable demise, no matter how pitiful his plight might be.

There has to be a purpose to complicating a villain, a payoff of sorts that will allow the story to progress in a different direction. Learning that Itachi in Naruto had committed genocide on the word of his superiors actually made all the difference to the story. Had they done the same for Frieza (strange we didn’t get a lengthy back story) he would have still ended up fighting Goku on an exploding planet.

+Don’t get me wrong i am not advocating against complex villains in anime and manga. I have come across anime and manga with complex villains and characters that have been done quite well, with well narrated back stories, with just enough intertwining plots to become riveting, making few attempts to shove their messages down your throat, but simply presenting the story and allowing you to interpret it as you might wish. Series like Full metal alchemist managed to pull complex villains like Father off (actually making him and Wrath quite pitiful) without seeming like they were flailing their hands through out the series in confusion.

My argument is that most series fail to execute complex characters appropriately, turning what was an interesting plot into an overused tool. This reminds me of the argument many made against the Man of Steel movie, most of these complaints actually aimed at Christopher Nolan, that everything super hero movie is taking an unnecessarily dark turn in the motif of the Dark Knight (which isn’t something i mind actually).

+Evil villains-

Now i call them evil villains because they are just that, evil; well, they bad or at least antagonists in the story. Maybe its just me but i feel like that has become a scarce element in many manga and anime series, villains that are actually…villainous. I call what has been happening in anime and manga in the last several yeas the Magneto complex.

Magneto is a character from the X-men universe, a mutant activist of sorts promoting mutant kind the best way he can. Again maybe its me but i have never really seen Magneto as a villain, maybe not an anti hero but a guy that is doing what he can for his race the best way he knows how to. And it feels like every villain i come across is nothing more than a whiny Magneto facsimile.

In fact i would say that there aren’t many actual villains left in anime. Because every villain these days has good intentions, every villain is a lost soul that needs to be saved; every demon or warlock has a good heart hidden beneath his fangs, every thug an innocuous intention gone wrong.

Basically all villains of this day and age are anti heroes taking things too far. What happened to villains that were actually…bad? I am talking about good old dark Vs. light stories that so many people are quick to disparage but which can manifest as much quality in story telling as the most complex of plots.

It is more than possible to craft a cast of villainous ‘evil and vile as they come’ characters within a great story and intriguing plot. I am not advocating for the sorts of aimless villains we used to see during the earlier days of anime, evil for the sake of it all, with not particular reasoning behind seeking the earth’s destruction.

I just want villains that are villains, that will not be talked down, that do not need some dark and tragic past to explain why they do what they do, that present the sort of threat that will not be eradicated through a little therapy. Most people have very negative impressions of basic good Vs. evil stories in anime and manga, never realizing how exhilarating they can be.

Just look at Last Air bender; most people zero in on the intricate plotting of morally conflicted characters and the decisions they have to make in trying to describe Avatar as a complex anime series with a deep story, not realizing that last air bender is as basic a Good Vs. Evil story as they can get; you have an evil fire lord reeking havoc on the land and a young avatar that must stop him. A story as straight forward as that, with a villain that was as evil as they can get proves that you can create riveting stories in anime and manga without resorting to creating convoluted back stories for an increasingly complicated villain.

+I don’t know if i got my point across but i will conclude as such; i am as big a fan of complicated stories with complex villains as any other otaku out there. But its become too much, with every anime and manga choosing to follow this same path instead of branching out into something different. As awesome as Johan (Monster) might be to appreciate, sometimes a little Vegeta goes a long way in making things a little more exciting.

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Hello everyone! I'm proud to announced that the sequel to Avatar: the Last Airbender - The Promise is being released today. Amazon and Barnes and Nobles are having it on April 2 while Right Stuf has it with a special discount, 33% off Dark Horse graphic novels until March 21.

For those who are new to these trilogy comic book series, I recommend reading the the Promise trilogy before reading the Search.

Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise
Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise

The Promise takes place after the war where Fire Lord Zuko and Avatar Aang have to deal with aftermath of the war, moving Fire Nation colonies that are in the Earth Kingdom.

This series of digests rejoins Aang and friends for exciting new adventures, beginning with a faceoff against the Fire Nation that threatens to throw the world into another war, testing all of Aang's powers and ingenuity!

Story by Gene Luen Yang and Art by Gurihiru.

The Search is about Fire Lord Zuko searching for his mother. Fans will finally find out what happened to her.

Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Search
Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Search

Crunchyroll has some preview shots. I arranged in order. Since it's not a manga, it's read from left to right just to inform you. I had the same confusion when I read the Promise Part 1 for the first time.

Thank you and please support the creators and enjoy the books!

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Welcome everyone to the Avatar the Last Airbender wiki project where we have a spectacular team working on it last month. After the Legend of Korra season 1 ended, some of the wiki editors join up to make the wiki pages for the first Avatar series better.

Wiki Team

Wiki EditorDescription
FoxxFireArt
FoxxFireArt
FoxxFireArt is the top wiki editor in Anime Vice, a mod at Anime Vice, and a freelance graphic artist. He is the author of the community spotlight pages where he promotes the wiki pages, blogs, and reviews of the community. Also, FoxxFireArt is known for his wiki work on One Piece, Code Geass, High School of the Dead, and others. In terms of wiki editing, his strengths are balanced between different wiki pages.

He's the supervisor of the Avatar series wiki project and creates many necessary pages.
Wales
Wales
Wales is a veteran wiki editor and a young teacher. In addition to wiki editing, Wales also reviews anime and manga in his spare time. He is known for his wiki work in Eureka Seven, Legend of Korra, Bakuman, and others. In terms of wiki editing, his strengths are also balanced, and he is more geared towards working on character wiki pages.

He's the Ace Captain of the project who does characters and the 2nd season of the series, Book: Earth.
Takashichea (AKA Taka)
Takashichea (AKA Taka)
I'm Taka, a wiki editor, an Admin at Sket Dance Wikia, and a college student. I'm proud of my wiki work in Fairy Tail, Sket Dance, Shaman King, and others, and I enjoyed writing weekly reports to promote my team's works, news, and other special blogs. In terms of wiki editing, I'm more of an episode specialist, but I can work on any other types of wiki pages.

I'm the First Mate of the project, and I'm in charge of Book: Water, the first season of the series.

We welcome anyone who is willing to follow the wiki style on the project. Feel free to ask us. We'll help teach any new wiki editors who want to help out.

Goals

  1. To complete every episode with a synopsis, full plot summary, characters, image, and every associations added.
  2. To format and complete every character page. For minor characters, story arcs and creation is only needed.

New Wiki Pages

I will publish another blog for the new wiki pages using Daniel Newton's format. I just list a few for now.

Thank you.

Note: I wanted to use Daniel Newton's formal wiki project, but it didn't have a strong team component.

New Wiki Tasks

  • Katara - Wiki Formatting - Taken by Taka
  • Aang - Story Arcs
  • Azula - Formatting and Making an Article

Past Wiki Tasks

FoxxFireArt created these wiki tasks. Please check them out.

Thank you everyone. We hope to make these wiki pages the best.

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