Avatar: The Legend of Korra Season 1

I know it’s not anime but whatever, I wanna talk about this piece of awesomeness.

Honestly, western cartoons have a knack of totally not catering to my preferences. Of course I watch cartoons ever since I was a kid but the stuff that I’ve always wanted to watch appeared in anime. Stuff liked actual characterization, a plot and those things. . . I actually want that to come out of cartoons. Not that I don’t appreciate the ones that don’t. I love very intellectual, smart, funny, sitcom cartoons likes The Simpsons and Family Guy as much as other people. Heck even Disney Channel, Cartoon Network and Niceklodeon have this with “Adventure Time”, “Phineas and Ferb”, “Spongebob” etc etc. But I guess in a sense, I wanted to see a cartoon, with a proper story, plot, characters and shit. This is when Avatar steps in.

Avatar: The Legend of Aang answered is the gap that what was lacking in my western cartoon life. It had everything I wanted from a story. A great plot structure build upon many different episodics, compelling characters that you get attached to more and more as the episode count rises, and an actual use of visuals with an amazing input in animation. This is what I wanted from western cartoons and The Legend of Aang gave this to me and more. So imagine the look of my face when they announced The Legend of Korra, the technically sequel to the original Avatar. It promised a more darker tone in plot, a more steampunk world in setting and a more mature set of characters. It had a lot of hype with it. But the big question would be, did it deliver in it’s promise? Well I loved it but not to the extent that I thought I would.

The Legend of Korra has an amazing plot that really doesn’t leave time for a breathing space. In each episode, the plot gets thicker and thicker as the problems of Republic city becomes bigger and stakes become higher. While Aang’s story had a lot better structure in it, Korra makes up for it through . . . well the awesomeness of the story itself. I honestly liked all the plot revelations even with the wonky pacing. It really delivered in this sense.

What Korra unfortunately suffers from is a lack of character depth. Korra is definitely a good character, I’ll give you that. She’s whiny and annoying but the way her character is built up is really really good. Her strengths and weaknesses are very much highlighted in the course of the series and you could actually see a change in her towards the season finale. The other characters though, I don’t like as much, MAINLY KORRA’S FRIENDS. My god these people are so One-dimensional. They never break their archetypes and actually become characters. I don’t hate them but I don’t particularly care about them. This really hurts the series because The Legend of Aang had an amazing cast, and when I say amazing, I mean AMAZING. Korra, because of the lack of time and with the really huge plot and all, didn’t have much time for this. Don’t even get me started with the romantic yadda yadda which was cute at first but became incredibly dull. In the end, a lot of the characters in Korra felt like they were made by fan fiction writers or something.

On a more positive note, Korra had amazing animation. And when I say Amazing, again I really mean AMAZING. It was like The Legend of Aang Season 2 times 100. The fighting choreography is really awesome and detailed (even anime can hardly top this) and the CGI for the steampunk setting actually fitted really well (very reminiscent to ufotable’s works). And like The Legend of Aang, Korra has a fantastic setting. Republic City is fleshed out amazingly because of this.

While the ending was a bit too happy for me, remember we are only HALFWAY through the story. There still a lot more to come and in addition to that, a lot more plot points that have not been revealed (Iroh’s character in general since he is related to Zuko I assume) and I’m really pumped up for the second season whenever that comes.

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WHALE SHARKS

//not an anime post

///me trying to go all traveler on revenge without the revenge

A few days ago, me and my family went on a trip to find Whale Sharks in Sorsogon, Philippines. Apparently these cute, large, spotted beings are so common there, you can actually snorkel off from the beach and find one (not recommended and not promoted by anyone). To our excitement, we arrived in Dosol early and did some reckon first before doing any “swimming with the big fishes”.

To our unpleasant surprise, the locals haven’t found one in days. Apparently the current is too strong and the whale sharks are having a hard time catching plankton. We stood by at the tourism office (where people rent boats to find the whale sharks) asking people “Did you see one? Did you see one?”. They were all like “Nope.” With sad faces. There was even one guy with a really expensive looking long-ass camera; poor guy he also didn’t see one.

That night, our tricycle driver/boatman/tourist guide requested that we go and try looking for fireflies in the river. The town was pretty dark at night but we weren’t scared. Because it was so dark, we could totally see the stars on the sky. In Manila, the only light you see in the sky is a helicopter so this was a real treat. As we were gushing about seeing stars, the boatman/tourist guide pointed out where the fireflies are. IT WAS LIKE A FUCKING CHRISTMAS TREE. You know that scene in the recent episode of Fate/Zero wherein Saber raises her sword to perform Excalibur? You remember the part where yellow sparkles started lifting off the river sides? This looked exactly like that except it was all in one tree. AMAZING was all that I could say. The boatman/tour guide then proceeded to give us leaves from the tree which the fireflies circled around. He said it was good luck. We all hoped it was.

The next day, we suited up (with our swimsuits-NO swimming with whale sharks does not require you to dive so no special gear was needed) and went off to the Tourism Office immediately. The people there showed us a video on rules and regulations and after that one of the managers spoke to us. He said that none of the people who went out in the morning saw one so don’t expect too much. We(my family)  held hands, prayed (because we’re Catholics) then proceeded to shout “Butanding HERE WE COME!” (whale shark in Filipino is Butanding).

We didn’t see anything for 3 hours. The hour hand turned one, it was sweltering hot, the lucky leaves dried up and we were all losing hope. Our BIO (Butanding Interaction Officer) suggested that we go see corals for now just so our money will be worth it. The corals aren’t much (if you’ve seen a lot already) but hey at least we did something.

We were ready to go back defeated when suddenly the BIOs started going wild. “BUTANDING BUTANDING DOON!”.  Then suddenly a big blob of shadow suddenly crosses on the other side of our boat. OH FUCK THE WHALE SHARKS ARE HERE. The BIO instructed us to jump on the boat and look down while following him.

I started hearing shouts from other people. I was like “what is it there?”. I pull my head down and guess what I see? From head to tail I SAW IT. I FUCKING SAW IT. It was huge (about the size of a bus) and it was grey and spotted. It had gills on the side and its head is soooo horizontal. “Osore!” played in my mind the whole time. I sprang my head up from the water then started shouting for success.

Going back to the Tourism Office, people were surprised we saw one since the others who went at the same time as us didn’t get to see it. Oh well, “WE FUCKING SAW ONE SUCKS TO BE YOU!”. Just kidding since I do hope the current recedes and the whale sharks come back. Donsol is a far better place to see these beasts rather at that other place.

/// those pictures aren’t mine. We didn’t have underwater cameras to begin with.