“Legend of Korra” has been getting a lot of attention in some circles as the next big anime, but can it really live up to the hype? I would submit to you, dear reader, that in the first place, nothing produced by Nickelodeon can ever be considered anime. At least not at present, and let us now acknowledge the one jillion kajiliion pound gorilla in the room, and the reason why ”Legend of Korra” has any notoriety at all: A little thing called “Attack on Titan.”
How is this for a strong female character? Mikasa does not even have magic powers, she just kills giants with katanas and 3D maneuvering gear.
Something that has always irked me about anime dubbed in English (I do not know enough Japanese to watch anime without translation; but I watch subbed versions) is that most voice actors that partake in them are terrible at emoting through tone. This is even more accentuated in the case of this particular cartoon, “Legend of Korra” (that is truly the only way to describe this abomination), since the voice actors are probably mostly amateurs. There are few that actually stand out, such as David Faustino voicing Mako; but that is not enough to salvage this train wreck. In the case of dubbed anime, you can at least fault the actors for not watching a sub first; but here, the cracks in the foundation go much deeper.
In Japan, anime voice actors come into that line of work either by studying specifically for that purpose, or by first becoming live-action actors and/or singers, instead of just getting picked out for sounding like a casting director thinks they should. This is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to American anime wannabes.
Just now, the last few “Attack on Titan” episodes produced so far are trickling down very slowly for the American audience because they have to be translated, so it is natural that big anime fans would look for something else to take the place of “Attack on Titan” in the meantime, especially since the second season of “Legend of Korra” just started; but that does not make it the next big thing. The absence of excellence does not elevate the presence of mediocrity.
There are marked differences between both franchises, with “Legend of Korra” being decidedly a kids’ show, and “Attack on Titan” being a much more mature series, even though the protagonists of “Titan” were still children when they had everything taken from them, and were forced to become refugees at the outset of their journey, and eventually soldiers fighting against impossible odds.
The reckless, irresponsible, and downright criminal behavior of Korra herself is in deep contrast to the stoic, self-sacrificing nature of Mikasa, Eren, and Armin, among other soldiers in “Titan,” whose very salute means that they offer their hearts in the service of mankind, even at the cost of their lives.
I have watched the first two episodes of “Korra” before reviewing the show; but I cannot watch more. My inanity threshold has been surpassed by this dross. Just one episode seemed to last forever, while each episode of “Titan” seemed to go too fast ( I have watched 23 episodes so far, and I cannot wait for the next one).
“Legend of Korra” is not the next big thing in anime. It is not even anime. It is a mediocre cartoon. It does not even hold a candle to anime geared towards children.
By Milton Ruiz