Between spirit bending and the combinaiton of the spirit and material worlds introduced in Legend of Korra, if the creators of this franchise are not careful you may end up with an early beta test of Dragon Ball.
Let me explain. How powerful do you think a person needs to be in order to use spirit bending? There was a popular fan theory that Amon was going to be a non-bender, which would make sense, but one quesiton. If you can give and take away a person’s bending, are you manipulating their very life force? Their souls? In other words, their ki?
What on earth is stopping the Avatar or just extremely powerful benders in general to use spirit bending offensively?
From what I know, it’s not like ki or spirit or even plasma bending if you wanna get scientific has an elemental opposite. This introduction of a fifth element will throw off the balance of the world unless it is relegated to limited use but a select few amount of people.
Even worse, because this is a lot harder to limit, are the spirits. You have a bunch of very powerful creatures with magical powers that people haven’t developed methods to counter. I think that the best example is with shapeshifters.
Avatar’s main conflicts are not necessarily about fights, but also about adventure, travel, and not getting in trouble with the government. Characters like Oolong or Puar are very limited by their shapeshifting, as their forms do not have greater strength or greater power than their base forms. Now imagine how easy it would make things if one of your friends, who just so happens to be a talking cat, can turn into a key that can fit into a lock with some trial and error. Or if you have a friend that can become a terrifying monster to scare away some troublesome bad guys hot on your trail.
Even making the spirits all villainous doesn’t fix this, as Avatar is known and beloved for its narrative nuance. And if there are spirits supporting the bad guys, they are playing on a much easier difficulty than our heroes, which could make conflicts unfair and drag out too long.
The last thing I want is for the Avatar franchise to become more like Dragon Ball, and I love Dragon Ball! But I know that a lot of people in the fanbase don’t have any warm and fuzzy feelings towards it.
I need to find more Avatar fans, quick!