Airspeed’s Editorials – Where is the Korra Merch?
Airspeed Prime here once again with yet another editorial. Lets get straight into the topic.
Where is the Korra Merch?
I will admit, straight away, that I would be a lot more concerned about the amount of Korra merchandise a few months ago. We have gotten stuff like the DVD/Blu Ray, Korra Art Book and the junior novels over the past few weeks, but there could be so much more. There is so much potential, so much potential that I feel Nick is squandering badly.
I think I should first clarify what I am talking about here when it comes to merchandise. I mean products widely available in retail stores, I do not think it is fair to include the Shop Nick exclusive stuff as it is not available in stores or open to anyone outside of America.
So what mass release merchandise do we have so far? Here is a list
-Junior Novel 1 Revolution
-Junior Novel 2 Endgame
-Korra Book 1 Air DVD/Blu Ray
-Korra Book 1 Air Art Book
-Korra Book 1 Air Soundtrack
-Some t-shirts available in Hot Topic
All of this stuff is out right now, and we more or less can add a few things to the list.
-Junior Novels 3 onwards, more than likely ending with 8 if they continue to Book 4 with them
-Art Books for Book 2, 3 and 4
-DVD/Blu Ray for Book 2, 3 and 4
-Soundtrack for Book 2, 3 and 4
Now this is all great, the Art Books, soundtracks and DVDs are must have items for Korra fans, but the junior novels are clearly aimed at younger fans. The problem I have is that Korra should have so much more available, this fandom is a passionate one and one that will support the show when given the chance. The Korra soundtrack is a prime example, we made that happen with petitions and we then supported the release leading to great sales. You may now be wondering what sort of merchandise I am talking about. I will reference TMNT, another animated show on Nick which aired after Korra. It has an insane amount of merchandise; everything you can think of is available more or less. I am wondering why Korra, also a show with action, has: no toy-line, no video game and no trading card game. I could mention a lot more stuff, but these are the 3 things that I think Korra is really lacking.
I will now talk about each of the 3 things I mentioned. First up is Korra toys. Avatar has had toys before, ATLA had a toy-line for Book 1 and part of Book 2. The problem was that Mattel flat out refused to make any female characters and instead made multiple versions of each male character. Obviously this put a lot of people off even starting to collect the toys, which combined with the fact that the fandom was not as big back then as it is now led to not great sales. The figures themselves were actually pretty good. They looked like the show and were pretty poseable which is all you really need from a toy.
Now, on to Korra. I think the fandom is in a place right now where action figures based on Korra would sell incredibly well. Who would not like to have a display of their favourite characters?. Korra nearly more than ATLA has shown that female characters are just as strong and popular as the guys, so there is no excuse that female figures won’t sell. Korra, Mako, Bolin, Asami, Tenzin, Amon, Tarrlok, Lin and The Lieutenant would be the main 9 characters to be done. All of which would work well as action figures, and if they really went for the idea of a new toy line they could include a flashback character in each wave. Like ATLA era Aang, Zuko, Katara, Sokka, Toph etc. In terms of details, I would like 6 inch figures focusing on articulation and show accuracy with a few key accessories for each character. Korra as an example would come with her parka and some bending effect parts while The Lieutenant would include his Kali Sticks and removable goggles. In terms of business the characters have easy repaint/remould potential through Pro Bending gear, task force outfit and equalist outfits.
In terms of Trading Cards there a good few options. ATLA had the quickstrike card game which was a fairly detailed game. With Korra they could go down that route and have a more complex game with a lot of mechanics like Yu-Gi-Oh or Magic cards, possibly a Pro Bending focused game. The other option is less about a game and more about a collection of cards. This would be more of a top trumps style of game where the cards look great and have a very basic game to them. Along this line of thinking would be a sticker collection which would be fun too.
Last but not least would be a Korra video game. ATLA had a few video games. Each Book of the show got a game release which made for some very different games depending on if it was a console or a handheld game. A good example would be the Book 3 Fire games, called “Into The Inferno”. On consoles it was a fairly show accurate game while the Nintendo DS game used a Chibi art style and was more set in that universe. The problem was that for the most part the games did all fit into the general “Game based on something is not great” idea, so we have never really had a game that has shown the potential that Avatar has in a video game setting. In my opinion the main thing to get across in an Avatar/Korra video game is the scope of the world, this is something previous Avatar games have missed they have always been very linear, leaving little room for exploration.
Ever since I played Skyrim last year I thought to myself that I would love a game like this, but set in the Avatar world. The idea of being able to set off from say Omashu and literally just walk towards and arrive at Ba Sing Se sounds amazing, as does catching a ship to The Fire Nation or the water tribes. The concept of being able to go to anywhere you can see and not be limited by the story too much is very appealing.
The problem with most Avatar games in terms of making the fun has been how to do the bending well. Most of the time it was just button mashing in the ATLA games where it was basically a beat ‘em up game, the Chibi Book 3 game used the touch screen controls more for puzzle solving through using bending, but no game has really captured the epic bending fights of the show yet. Going back to my Skyrim idea, I think replacing its magic power bar with a chi energy bar would be a good idea and then by holding down a button you can activate your chi and then using other buttons, bend the elements. You could also have an RPG style unlock system on new moves that get more and more powerful. Also going off the RPG train of thought, the idea of being to create your own character would be amazing, choose what nation you are from and if you are a bender or not. Perhaps for a certain story path you could be the Avatar.
Basically I want a game that matches the quality of the shows. I should also mention some of the flash games available on the Nick website, for the most part they range from fun for an hour or so to not good at all, but “Welcome To Republic City” was a fantastic experience. Less of a game and more of an interactive experience, I thought it was the perfect way to preview Korra Book 1, introducing us to the characters and the world 70 years on. As fans we always yearn for more and more info on every character, this game told us so much about some of the minor characters. Gommu for example, we know everything we know about him thanks to that game same applies for the reason we know Zuko is still alive. I really hope they do something similar for Book 2 onwards.
There you have it, I have outlined what I think is missing in terms of Korra Merchandise, all of it makes sense and is not too unreasonable as most other popular cartoons get stuff like trading cards, video games and toys, so the question to ask is, “Why does Nick not seem to have that much confidence in Korra in terms of merchandise?”.
As I mentioned above I think Nick are still looking back at how stuff like the ATLA toys sold and are thinking the same could happen again with Korra if they do it. The problem with the ATLA toys was the baffling decision to not release any female figures, who made that decision? Who said “Toph won’t sell, she is a girl”? I mean come on the question to ask is who WOULDN’T buy a Toph action figure?
It was this decision that put off toy collectors who knew they would never have a full cast of main characters and I am sure most female fans were put off completely too. The other reason was that the fanbase was not as big back in 2006 when this stuff was coming out, right now anything release in stores would sell like hot cakes given how rabid Β the fandom is for new content. Korra Book 1 got the best ratings that Nick has gotten in years, it is by far one of the most intense and passionate fandoms out there, it is one of the best received shows in years from fans and critics alike, it has got better ratings and fan reactions than TMNT which has every piece of merchandise possible out right now and the hype surrounding Book 2 has been insane. All of this tells me that Nick is making a horrible business decision by not capitalising on the success of Korra.
I will admit things have gotten better in recent months with the long awaited soundtrack release and 1/4 Art books out now. I think the fandom wants and would buy more. Now don’t get me wrong, I do not want them just pumping out any random thing with Korra’s face on it, but I think a few quality, well thought out releases would do wonders for Nick in terms of giving the fans what they want and making Nick money.
I really want to know what you guys think about this. What type of merchandise do you want? Do you like my ideas or are you ok with what is coming out right now?
I will end with this. Do you not want my money Nick? Where is the Korra Merchandise?
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