I recently was involved in an e-mail conversation with friends about whether or not they'd seen Nickelodeon's The Legend of Korra. Here's one of the responses:
"Is that like Cowboy Bebop? My college roommate was into that. He was also a chronic masturbator. I'm not saying there's a direct correlation but it's worth noting."
Explaining the treasures of Nickelodeon's latest hit for the uninitiated is virtually impossible, especially when there's live action over animation bias. That's especially true when you explain the general storyline: 70 years after society has recovered from an epic war, Korra must become an Avatar by manipulating elements, such as earth, air, water, and fire. But it's different than Captain Planet. There's kind of a spiritual component. Oh, and it's actually a spinoff of Avatar: The Last Bender. Yeah, like that movie... It's amazing that it's found the large audience that it has.
Aside from dabbling in anime when I was younger, much like my friend's roommate who had an affinity for chronic extracurricular activities, I've largely stayed away from the genre besides the required viewings. Korra has re-inspired me to take animation - coming from a network traditionally geared toward kids - more seriously. Then I got sick and decided to binge-watch the entire first season of Legend of Korra on Netflix.
You should do that, too. Even if you aren't sick. And a bonus for people unable to commit: You don't even have to watch Avatar: The Last Airbender to really know what's going on.
Season 2 of the show - entitled "Spirits" - is premiering in North America on September 13. The initial scope of the show tied the action to Republic City, a kind of cyberpunk-but-not-really fortress, that has a particular depth that lacks in a lot of modern animation that I've seen.
The progress that Korra makes with her powers over the course of the show's initial run will make the second season quite interesting. I feel like series creators and know what they're doing. Considering that she's reached an almost godlike peak, there are many ways that they can go: She'll either be stripped of her powers to deal with foes that would've have been easy with such unlimited skills or (more likely), she'll encounter more supernatural enemies in the Spirit World (Again, it's called "Spirits." Duh!) that are more dangerous than season 1's villain, Amon.
Just like my friend's e-mail, it's impossible to convince someone to watch this show. It's something that they're just going to be into or not. Typically when you hear words like "airbending," you're either in it or not. But for those who may be on the fence - or people who used to watch animation and stopped - you should give this show a chance and catch up before season 2 premieres.