One of the best cartoon franchises in the history of TV... EVER! (And it's currently on air)

Yes, I'm 30 years old, and I still watch cartoons. I'm not ashamed of it. I appreciate great fantasy action, magnificent storytelling, and the occasional humorous quips and allusions every now and then. It isn't really all too different from watching science fiction movies, sitcoms, dramas, or TV shows if you ask me. But I digress...

In my opinion, one of the best cartoons (or shows, in general) on TV right now, is on at 11:00 every Saturday mornings on Nickelodeon called "The Legend of Korra". This show is a sequel to the previous series "Avatar: The Last Airbender", which was regularly shown in Nickelodeon.

I didn't really get into the "Last Airbender" franchise until probably mid-late 2010 (maybe a little bit before I got into my blogging hiatus). The Nicktoons network was showing re-runs of the popular Nickelodeon series "Avatar: The Last Airbender" series after the newly premiered remake of "Dragon Ball Z (Kai)", which was the series I was really interested in (as I was a huge fan of the Dragon Ball franchise). I usually never turn a show off when the show I like is over, especially if there's nothing else on TV that's engaging. But, when I kept it on, I would see that each episode had some nice storytelling, so I couldn't helped be engaged.

But just to brief those who have yet to be familiar with this franchise, the setting is on a fictional depiction of Earth where certain human beings can control (or "bend") the one of the world's living elements; water, earth, fire, and air. And one of these "benders" can control each 4 of these elements, who is known as "The Avatar".

To make a long story short, the first series focused on an 11-year old protagonist named Aang, who was an "Airbender". Long before the events of the series, he ran away from his group of Airbenders because he was afraid of the responsibility of the power the Avatar was supposed to yield. He then got caught in a storm, and unknowingly used his "Avatar powers" to cryogenically freeze himself in a sphere of ice, for a hundred years.

Fast forward to the end of those hundred years, and the series begins. The fictional world has long been overpowered oppressed by the firebenders "aka the Fire Nation" and has been embroiled in a war and struggle of power against the other benders shortly after the hero first freezes himself. During this war, the firebenders have killed off Aang's Airbender race, leaving him as the "last airbender", and as the series begins, two main characters from the water tribe (a waterbender and her brother) finds the protagonist frozen in ice, and begins the adventures of the series, in which the hero has to master the other 3 elements he has to master, all the while, ending the 100 years war, to once again restore the world in balance. 

M. Night Shymalan actually directed and produced a live action movie based on this cartoon series not too long ago (which I DO NOT recommend that you check out, and pass judgement on the franchise based on that). The movie was outright terrible!

But without giving any spoilers, that series alone is probably as great (if not greater) than a lot of the classic cartoons from the late 80's-early mid 90's that I have grown up with. I will put this show up against greats such as Thundercats, Voltron, Batman the Animated Series, X-Men (from the Fox Kids block), and my anime favorites such as Dragon Ball and Ruroni Kenshin, and will expect it to hold it's own. So if you haven't checked out this series, I highly suggest you do so.

The current show on today "The Legend of Korra" is the show that's on now that's the sequel to this series. The setting takes place in a world 70 years after the events of the end of the previous series, in a slightly more modernized world from the last series (a crossbreed of circa 1920's China/New York). Aang, the hero of the previous series, has long since passed, and the new Avatar and protagonist, a waterbender named Korra, must accept the responsibilities of the Avatar, all the while, dealing with more modernized problems.

About only a half dozen episodes in, the series has been great. The series is darker than it's predecessor, and the action is as fierce, and slightly more fast-paced, and the storytelling remains great (as the same writers have also continued on to this series). The cast of voice actors also make the characters jump off the screen (who knew Bud Bundy was such a great voice actor). One voice I am notably impressed with (Steven Blum) voices the main antagonist of the show, who also voiced one of my all time favorite antagonists Makoto Shishio (from the Ruroni Kenshin anime). He does as great making his character in this series as badass as Shishio was.

In my opinion, this series may be on pace to surpass the high expectations it's predecessor brought upon it. The main reason why, is that the main writers are slated to write the whole series, where as they only wrote a good portion of the previous series. So far, it hasn't disappointed.

Unfortunately for me though, I never get to see each episode when it premieres (as I'm usually working on Saturday mornings). I usually catch it On-Demand a few days later (so no spoiler alerts here, please). Even if I have to wait, it's usually worth it.

But, if you're into great cartoons (or great television in general), I do highly recommend "Legend of Korra". And, if you haven't seen the preceding series, "Avatar: The Last Airbender", that should also be checked out. I promise you, if you are into great storytelling (like I am), you will be hooked. And as I recommended earlier, don't use M. Night Shymalan's movie as a gauging tool for this series.

Support Team Avatar. You won't regret it.


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