Played With. When Hiroshi is looking out the window of his mecha he sees Lin stabbing away at another, which then appears to explode. Cut to a different POV and its revealed to really have been Korra blowing fire on his window.
In "Endgame," one biplane blows up for no other reason than that its propellers get stopped by a bola.
Made of Indestructium: Aang's statue. It's survived having a plane run into it, which only served to knock off the giant Equalist mask covering it, and being ripped from its pedestal by a Kaiju-esque spirit. In the latter case, while it was ripped off, it came off completely intact.
Magic A Is Magic A: Bending follows specific rules. Certain characters seeming to violate the rules are major plot points: Amon and Tarrlok can bloodbend when there is not a full moon, and using that with chi blocking, Amon is able to block others bending indefinitely.
The Magic Comes Back/Nothing Is the Same Anymore: In the Book 2 finale, Korra decides to keep the spirit portals open so humans and spirits can interact again. This also has the effect of giving air bending abilities to non-benders all over the world in Book 3.
Magic Versus Science: The primary theme of Book 1. Continued in Book 2, especially where Vaatu and Wan Shi Tong scoff at human 'stuff' (the act of having evolved and technology, respectively.)
Magitek: While a lot of the technology is what you'd expect to find from the 1920s, things are supplemented by bending. Lightningbending generates electricity, metalbending and firebending aid the working of metal and the making of buildings, etc.
The Magocracy: The modern United Republic Council is made up of five benders representing each Elemental Nation (Earth, Fire, Air and North & South Water), so Republic City lacks non-bender representation within its government. Nominally, this trope is not in play—a previous iteration of the council is shown to have at least two non-benders, Sokka and an Air Acolyte.
Republic City averts this from Book Two onward as the city is now led by a democratically elected president.
Man in the Iron Mask: Tarrlok, who is imprisoned in Air Temple Island because he is Amon's brother. This ultimately proves to be Amon's undoing as Tarrlok's knowledge of Amon's true past is used to turn the Equalists against him.
Market-Based Title: Due to the legal issues surrounding the name "Avatar," the show is referred to as just The Legend Of Korra in the United States, and Avatar: The Legend Of Korra for international audiences.
Meaningful Background Event: Bolin is first seen in the background in "A Leaf on the Wind" as he walks past Korra arguing with the gym manager of the Pro-bending Arena. He does a Double Take when he sees her, slicks back his hair and walks over. In "The Spirit of Competition," he explains to Korra that he liked her from the very moment he saw her.
Meaningful Echo: The scene where Amon demonstrates the ability to remove people's bending is extremely similar to the scene where Aang did the same thing to Ozai. Right down to the dialogue.
Zolt: What... what did you do to me?
At the end of Book 2, Korra announces that the fallout from Harmonic Convergence has ushered in a new age. In the season premiere of Book 3, we have Zaheer announce this:
"It's the dawning of a new age. The end of the White Lotus, and the end of the Avatar."
Meaningful Name: Amon is the name of an Egyptian god. This comes from the root amen, meaning "what is hidden." Amon always wears a mask. It could also refer to Marquis Amon, the 7th listed demon in Ars Goetia.
It's also the name of the demon who personifies the Deadly Sin of Wrath.
It's also the name of the chakra located at the base of the skull.
In Book 3, there's a nerdy-looking Airbender named Otaku.
Medieval Stasis: Averted. The technology present in Aang's time has advanced and spread, with Republic City boasting radios, electricity, cars, skyscrapers, cameras, microphones, and trains. A post-war development boom erased the Fire Nation's previous technological advantage. However, the Air Temples use less technology, save for radios and lamps, and the Earth Queen has been slowing down change in the Earth Kingdom, especially in Ba Sing Se.
Meet the New Boss: Prince Wu, who is being groomed to take over the Earth Kingdom after the assassination of the Earth Queen, is shown to be just as spoiled and vain as she is. At least in this case, Republic City is something of a moderating influence.
Men Are the Expendable Gender: Averted. Whether they are Equalists, Red Lotus or random bandits, the mooks who are getting their asses kicked by Team Avatar almost always include women. Justified in-universe in that bending ability is not limited to any gender, although this is probably not the reason for the Equalists' equal-opportunity recruitment.
Mega Corp.: Future Industries is a large business empire that provides products to Republic City and beyond on nearly every scale, from automobiles to airships for the police, and war equipment. However, its villainy becomes obvious when it's revealed that Hiroshi Sato has been bankrolling the Anti Bender movement, not unlike Worthington industries, and creating mecha tanks and other weapons to use against benders. After the Equalists are defeated, Hiroshi's business empire all fell apart, and thanks to his reputation, no one was willing to business with the corporation under the reins of another Sato.
Melting Pot Nomenclature: As a melting pot, Republic City plays host to names from multiple ethicities: Korra is a variant of the Greek name Cora, Mako's is Japanese while his brother Bolin's is Chinese. Hiroshi and Asami Sato have Japanese names, as does Shiro Shinobi. Narook the noodle-shop owner's is Inuit. Tenzin and Pema's are Tibetan. Jinora's is Sanskrit. Ikki is Uzbek for "two." Butakha is Indonesian for "bald." Lin Beifong is Chinese, Saikhan is Mongol, Hasook is Korean, and Tarrlok is Irish made to look Inuit.
The Mentor: Deconstructed in Book 2 as both Unalaq and Tenzin try to assert themselves as the Avatar's spiritual mentor. The conflict arises because while both have considerable intellectual knowledge of the spirits, Unalaq seems more concerned with manipulating Korra for his own ends and is in cahoots with the spirit of chaos and season's Big Bad, Vaatu. While Tenzin is so bound by his duties in the physical world that he's never entered the Spirit World and his efforts to help Korra do so are useless.
Finally reconstructed at the end of The Guide, when it turns out Jinora is destined to be Korra's spiritual guide, and with the help of her new mentor, Korra successfully enters the Spirit World for the first time in her life.
Militaries Are Useless: Played with. On one hand, the United Republic Forces have been routinely trashed by the current Big Bad if engaged. However, this is usually just because they're way over their paygrade. Against a conventional, even if unknown, threat like Equalist Biplanes, they lose but still do some damage and hold their own. Against Vaatu or Kuvira's super mech w/spirit cannon, they just don't have the firepower to do anything. Note that they are never treated as incompetent - Bumi and Iroh II were both veterans of its service and Korra even outright describes them as more than capable of taking out Kuvira's military save for her superweapon.
Mini-Mecha: The mecha-tanks. They were built by Hiroshi Sato, for the Equalists.
Lizard-crows scavenge in Republic City's urban sprawl.
Spider-Rats are mentioned at one point, as are Dolphin-Piranhas; but never shown.
Notably averted with wolves, who are shown to be as normal as in Real Life, and one of the first victims of Amon's blood-bending.
Mixed Ancestry: A big difference from the original series, many main characters are explicitly of mixed race, and numerous secondary characters are implicitly this as well. As such, it's no longer possible to instantly know what bending a character may have on sight.
"The Voice in the Night" ends with Korra sobbing into Tenzin's chest as she admits that, for the first time her life, she is terrified and has no idea what to do. "The Spirit of Competition" begins with upbeat big band music and turns into a shipping plot.
"And the Winner Is..." starts with the continuation of the Pro-bending Championship now with more serious opponents and ends with a terrorist attack led by Amon.
"Civil Wars: Part 1" shows the familial issues with Tenzin and his siblings fighting, the Water Tribes issues escalating, and Korra's still troubled life with her family. Then there is a tearful healing moment for Korra's family as her father and mother tell her they just wanted her to live a normal a life as she could before they were no longer needed in her life and she says she will always need them. And then Unalaq arrives to arrest both Senna and Tonraq for being party to the assassination attempt on his life.
In Book 2, "Beginnings: Part 2". At the end, he gains the avatar state, triumphing against the spirit of chaos and sealing it away. There is a triumphant artshift image of him bending all four elements around himself, stopping warring human nations from attacking each other, while he declares and promises that he WILL stop the conflict created by the evil beings influence and bring peace to the world. Then it suddenly switches to the scene of a horrific battle that recently ended. With a very old, exhausted Wan in battle armor on the ground despairing that he couldn't keep his promise to bring peace and there "just wasnt enough time" as his old body finally gives out from a life time of constantly trying to end war, thus starting the cycle of reincarnation to maintain balance and end conflict.
Prince Wu responding to Kuvira abolishing the Earth Kingdom monarchy by going shopping and petulantly yelling at Kuvira supporters is amusing. Him shoving children out of his way and breaking down sobbing while sitting on a replica of the throne, not as much.
Mook Lieutenant: Unalaq issues orders to a northern commander with a white beard, he can be seen taking away the rebels, and later advising Unalaq on their hideout. Even he seems unnerved by Desna and Eska.
Councilman Tarrlok uses the logic that "the terrorist Equalists are angry non-benders, therefore all these non-benders are Equalists". The crowd he refers to is made up of angry non-benders, but clearly aren't terrorists and non-violently protest Tarrlok's false accusation as unfair. Tarrlok uses their protests to reinforce this trope on them.
Unalaq accuses his brother Tonraq of conspiring to assassinate him. The judge states that there was a meeting where plans of a civil war was discussed, the meeting took place at Tonraq's home, and Tonraq is chief, and therefore he must be guilty. However, Korra knows her father is innocent because she was a direct witness to the event and Tonraq was not only absent from the assassination attempt, but had confessed sincerely to Korra that he had no intention of murdering his brother. Unalaq knew all along that Tonraq was innocent and exploited this trope to have his brother found guilty and taken out of his way.
Northern Water Tribe members are suspected for bombing the Southern Water Tribe cultural center during a peaceful protest made by Southerners. Mako knows better, witnessing that the perpetrator was a firebender and identifying who he is as well as his affiliation with a bending triad. Other cops on the police force tell Mako to quit because it was clear that the Northerners did it. This poor judgement is portrayed as laziness on their part.
Muggle Born of Mages: Aang and Katara's first child, Bumi, is the non-bender of their three children. Opal Beifong is the only Beifong Spin-Offspring established to definitively not be an earthbender. Both end up subverting it when they're granted airbending by Harmonic Convergence.
Played Straight with Bataar Jr., who we can reasonably assume is a nonbender.
Muggle Power: The entire Equalist movement is based around establishing nonbenders in positions of power and eliminating the need for bending entirely, in response to the oppression of nonbenders by benders. Despite the Equalist movement being defeated at the end of Book One, in Book Two, the council is disbanded in favour of open elections, leading to the election of a President who happens to be a non-bender.
Muggles Do It Better: The technology of the Equalists allows them to counteract all known bending disciplines, as well as giving them abilities which exceed bending.
See Fandom Nod above. As Katara begins her story, dramatic music starts in the background, only for it to abruptly stop when Ikki interrupts.
At the beginning of "A Voice in the Night," while Korra practices airbending forms after dinner, she has the radio on to some cheerful music. Halfway through, it is interrupted by a broadcast from Amon.
As Tenzin begins to explain to Korra the choices in life which lead to him choosing Pema over Lin a serene, peaceful music wells up, only to break off with him sputtering "Why am I even telling you this?!"
When Tenzin fails to recruit any new airbenders with his sales pitches, Korra tries to forcibly conscript an airbender out of his mother's basement. It doesn't work.
The Earth Kingdom had the real deal going, press-ganging all airbenders in Ba Sing Se into the army using the Dai Li.
Mutually Exclusive Magic: As in the original series, only the Avatar can bend all four elements, on account of being fused with the light spirit Raava. Everyone else can only bend one. In the case of children of mixed heritage, they may inherit either one, or none at all, but never both.
Based on his facial expression, Zaheer gets a subtle one in "Beyond the Wilds" when he hears he is indirectly responsible for the rise of the worst dictator the Earth Kingdom has ever seen. He starts to make amends by helping Korra to overcome her spiritual block.
Bataar Jr. experiences this after Kuvira intentionally nearly kills him in an attempt to kill Korra. He expresses his guilt and confusion to Su and worries that his family will never forgive him.
My Parents Are Dead: In "The Revelation", Mako snaps at Korra when she comments she has people to take care of her, and his brother Bolin explains to Korra that they have been orphaned for quite some time. Later, Mako elaborates further, revealing to Korra that at age eight, he witnessed his parents' murder during a mugging by a firebender.
Mythology Gag: In "A Breath of Fresh Air", Meelo forces Bumi to airbend at the dinner table by hurling a plate at him. This is very similar to how the original Bumi caused Aang (Meelo's grandfather) to expose himself as an Airbender in "The King of Omashu" in Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Neutrality Backlash: Unalaq convinces Korra that remaining neutral in the conflict between the Northern and Southern Water Tribes is the proper role of the Avatar. When she tries to mitigate a stand-off between between some Northern troops and Southern civilians, the Southern children the whole thing started over label her "the worst Avatar ever."
Never Going Back To Prison: All of the four main Red Lotus characters feel this way. When it looks like Ghazan will be defeated by Mako and Bolin, he kills himself rather than be captured and return to jail.
Eska and Desna say the words expired and perish, but this is only because they like talking in Spock Speak.
Book 3 has the rather grisly on-screen asphyxiation of the Earth Queen, but conspicuously uses euphemisms like "took out" or "brought down" to refer to the event afterward. Oddly enough, immediately afterwards, Bumi and Kya observe that they are going to die when The Red Lotus attacks the Northern Air Temple. Two episodes later, it's averted again as Korra says to Zaheer, "You killed my father!"
In the Book 4 finale Kuvira asks Korra "Are we ... dead?" after being transported to the spirit world, which is answered with "No, we're ok."
"The Spirit of Competition" looked as if it would focus completely on the pro-bending tournament, but was really an episode about the Love Dodecahedron.
The trailer for the Book 1 finale had a blatant lie. The trailer showed a clip with Amon saying that he would rid the world of bending forever that night. It's actually an edited clip of him promising to rid the world of airbending, which would have betrayed the plot twist.
The first clip released of Book 4 is set not long after the end of Book 3, making it seem as if the series would pick up right where the the last season left off. The official trailer, released not long after, then revealed that Book 4 actually has a three year timeskip, putting that clip into context as a flashback.
N.G.O. Superpower: The Equalists have an truly incredible amount of resources for a revolutionary organization. By the end of the first season, they've built an army large enough to take over Republic City in one day and easily fight off the United Forces' counterattack. They can field airships, motorcycles, armored cars, Mini-Mecha, and an Air Force, while also having huge hidden factories and airfields to manufacture, store and maintain them all. Justified because they're bankrolled by Future Industries, which has those kinds of resources at its disposal.
Lin Beifong voluntarily resigns from the police force due to her failures to curb the Equalist threat. However, that allows Tarrlok to manipulate the new chief of police.
In the start of season 2, Korra's quickness to trust and help her uncle ends up giving him just what he needs to launch an invasion.
In Beginnings, Wan uses his firebending to stop Raava and Vaatu from fighting, freeing the spirit of darkness to wreak havoc on the world.
"Long Live The Queen" has Korra and Asami attempt to commandeer an airship. During the fight with the captain and co-pilot, Korra slams them into the dashboard so hard that she smashes the steering wheel and the radio, causing the ship to crash in the desert.
Suyin killing P'Li in "Enter the Void" turned out to be this since Zaheer's love for P'Li was his last earthly tether. With her dead, he is able to become the first airbender in thousands of years to achieve the power of flight, which allows him to escape with Korra.
Season two's third episode subverts this. Bolin explains that Eska will freeze him in a block of ice and feed him to dolphin-piranhas if he tries to break up with her.
No Endor Holocaust: Both averted and enforced in the final episodes. Averted in that the destruction caused by Kuvira's giant robot laser canon and the attempts to stop it is shown completely in all its horrifying glory. Enforced, though, in that the protagonists spend several episodes evacuating Republic City, so you know for certain that no people are getting killed in the fight.
Flashbacks in "Out of the Past" show that, in the Avatar State, bloodbending has little effect at all upon Aang.
Amon has the ability to simply shrug off bloodbending with little more than a few jittery steps, and it is later revaled that he is a better bloodbender.
Not Bad: In "A Leaf in the Wind" stoic Mako sincerely offers this compliment when Korra successfully follows Bolin's pro-bending advice. It backfires, as she assumes she has been Damned by Faint Praise, to Mako's confusion.
In Book One, Tarrlok kidnaps Korra and frames the Equalists for it, leading the heroes to attack an Equalist base. The Equalists end up going after Tarrlok and trying to kidnap Korra for real.
In Book Two, Future Industries shipments bound for the Southern Water Tribe are intercepted by waterbenders assumed to be working for Unalaq. They're actually working for Varrick, who is trying to bankrupt Future Industries so he can buy a controlling interest.
Book 3 has Korra and Asami be captured by an earthbender while running away from Ghazan. Turns out said earthbender was working for the Earth Queen.
In chapter eight, Tarrlok compares Korra to himself this way, saying they both use force to get what they want. It is promptly turned on him when Korra states that his actions towards non-benders makes him no better than Amon, making his eye twitch in fury.
When Korra freefalls from hundreds of feet in the air, Chief Beifong does not catch her. She extends a metallic cable, allowing Korra to swing down and slow her descent more gradually and safely.
Whenever Korra jumps into the water, she creates a water spout to slow her descent.
In a more humorous example, when Bumi falls off a cliff and catches himself just short of impact with his new-found airbending, he notes that falling three feet onto the hard ground and landing on your face still hurts quite a lot.
Noodle Incident: God only knows what happened when Tenzin and Lin broke up, but given the look on her face it must have been epic.
Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The second season ends with some pretty major shake-ups to the status quo. Unalaq opens the portals between the spirit and mortal world, and they stay open. Spirits and humans can intermingle freely again, and will have to learn to get along. The previous Avatar Cycle has been destroyed, so Korra can no longer get help from her past lives. Finally, Korra and Mako permanently break up on amicable terms.
Korra does a bad job describing her conversation with Zaheer, leading to this exchange:
Korra: You have to let me out! The Earth Queen is in danger from a group of terrorists calling themselves the Red Lotus. I talked to one of them in the Spirit World yesterday. He's insane! Captain: Screaming about terrorists in the Spirit World? You're the one that sounds insane.
Obfuscating Stupidity: Varrick pretends to be a Cloud Cuckoolander, but he's very clever. He exploits the civil war between the Southern and Northern Water Tribes to increase tensions and make it more favorable to war profiteering, at the same time covertly sabotaging Asami's struggling company so he can buy it out. Either that, or he really is a Cloud Cuckoolander who simply has no scruples whatsoever when it comes to making money and knows how to use his eccentricities to distract people from the fact that he's manipulating them.
During a flashback, Toph is drawn with six fingers. They forgot to correct this when the same scene came up again, even though the scene isn't just a reused clip.
In several scenes during "When Extremes Meet" Asami changes between her regular outfit and racing outfit, the difference is that the former outfit has a skirt.
It was this reason (among others) that Studio Pierrot did only six episodes of season two. Most noticeably, the characters never blink.
Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In "The Spirit of Competition", all we hear of the Wolf-Bats fight is some noise of the hits and the buzzer going off every few seconds. When we look back at them, they won their match in the first round and their opponents are being carried out on stretchers, indicating how brutal the Wolf-Bats' methods are.
Offscreen Teleportation: Special points to Tenzin in "A Leaf in the Wind" for somehow making it from Air Temple Island to the Pro Bending Ring in the 30 seconds between the match resuming and Korra getting knocked into the pool below. Airbenders travel fast.
In "A Leaf in the Wind" the White Lotus guards Spit Take when they are listening to the radio and learn that Korra is playing in the pro-bending playoff.
Tahno gets a moment when the Equalists subdue him and Amon approaches him. We get a close up of his face just before Amon takes his bending.
The new Chief of Police Saikhan gets one when he sees Councilman Tenzin coming into his station after Tarrlok ordered him to arrest Korra's friends and many innocent non-benders.
Korra when she realizes that Tarrlok is a bloodbender and can do it without the full moon.
Tarrlok in chapter nine when Amon demonstrates that he can resist bloodbending.
Amon gets a subtle one in the finale when Korra calls him Noatak and he realizes she knows his true identity. Being Crazy-Prepared, though, he deflects her accusations rather quickly. Later, when he is seen waterbending by everyone, he gets a much better one.
The Earth Queen, as she watches Zaheer bending the air out of her lungs.
The outpost guards in "Kuvira's Gambit" can only stare in fear and confusion at Kuvira's Humongous Mecha emerging from the fog. They are Deer in the Headlights as Kuvira fires her spirit weapon and completely destroys the outpost.
Many similar moments occur as Kuvira makes her way to republic city.
Bolin: "I know what happens next! We gotta get out of here, now! Now!"
Ominous Latin Chanting: The Wolfbat's over the top entrance in "And the Winner Is..." comes complete with a choir chanting ominously in the background.
One Name Only: In-universe, surnames are the exception instead of the rule, and tend to indicate wealth, as with Lin Beifong, and Hiroshi and Asami Sato, though Combat Commentator Shiro Shinobi also has a surname.
The Oner: There is a very epic 21 second single shot in Venom of the Red Lotus tracking Zaheer flying at top speed while Korra chases and attacks him with earth and firebending; in the middle of the shot he stops, the camera passes him and turns around to watch him attack Korra. It's one of the most visually incredible moments of the show.
On The Rebound: Mako gets back together with Asami in less than a week after breaking up with Korra, something Bolin calls him out on.
OOC Is Serious Business: When Korra uncharacteristically refuses an offer to join an Equalist-hunting taskforce in favor of finishing her training, Tenzin correctly deduces that she's doing so out of fear rather than any sense of obligation.
Opening Narration: In the same style of the original. The demonstrative benders are the Avatars Kyoshi, Roku, Aang, and Korra. Tenzin inherits the speaking role from his mother. The "Previously On" segments use a sepia tone and a dramatic announcer, indicative of the era because of their great similarities to 1920's film.
The pilot differs slightly from the rest of the chapters, using a longer recap:
"Earth. Fire. Air. Water. When I was a boy, my father, Avatar Aang, told me the story of how he and his friends heroically ended the Hundred Year War. Avatar Aang and Firelord Zuko transformed the Fire Nation colonies into the United Republic of Nations: a society where benders and non-benders from all over the world could live and thrive in peace and harmony. They named the capital of this great land Republic City. Avatar Aang accomplished many remarkable things in his life, but sadly his time in this world came to an end, and, like the cycle of the seasons, the cycle of the Avatar began anew."
Later chapters use a shorter narration and the demonstrative bending is sped up:
"Only the Avatar can master all four elements and bring balance to the world."
In chapter seven, Tarrlok replaces the announcer in the Previously On segment, which is also changed to a press conference recap instead of the film style of the previous chapters (though the sepia tone is kept).
During the fight in "The Stakeout," Mako's fire bending and Ghazan's lava bending contrast with the cool blue nighttime pallet of the background and Ming Hua's water bending, creating a stunning visual effect.
Orbital Shot: Used in "The Revelation" when Korra and Mako are fighting some chi-blockers.
Order Versus Chaos: This is a battle that Vaatu (Chaos) and Raava (Order) must fight every 10000 years.
More subtly, Zaheer is an anarchist and Kuvira is a dictator. Zaheer is fighting order (in the form of formal governments) while Kuvira is fighting the chaos that erupted after the Earth Queen's assassination. Both of them briefly help Korra take down the other.
Organic Technology: The Earth Empire devises a Fantastic Nuke by harnessing the power of spirit vines. The Colossus itself is powered by an enormous clump of spirit vines that are even arranged to resemble a brain.
Orgy of Evidence: In "The Terror Within", Aiwei sets this up on a random guard when investigating how the villains infiltrated the ironclad-security city of Zaofu and almost succeeded in abducting Korra. It sets off Mako's suspicion first, since it's his job as a police detective back at Republic City.
Origins Episode: The "Beginnings" two-parter, which explains the early history of the world and the origin of the very first Avatar.
Republic City has a massive, Statue Of Liberty-esque monument to Aang, one of the city's co-founders, in Yue Bay. His face is also printed on the Yuan.
Toph, inventor of metalbending and establisher of the force, has a gold statue at Police Headquarters.
In Zaofu, she has two statues, one of which has her in Metal Clan garb and holding up the city's symbol.
Zuko has his own statue at Central City Station, with him holding up an eternal flame.
The Cabbage Merchant has a statue in front of Cabbage Corp's main building, proudly holding a cabbage above his head.
Sokka had a statue in front of the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center. Before it exploded.
Our Souls Are Different: Darkness Falls. Despite having become ONE and existing as such for ten thousand years, Vaatu managed to rip Raava out of Wan (or at least his current incarnation, Korra). How he did it? The world will never know.
Parental Abandonment: Mako and Bolin, whose parents were murdered when Mako was eight. The brothers had to take care of themselves at a young age while living on the streets. Mako, in particular, took on the parenting role.
Parental Favoritism: Apparently Aang spent much more time with Tenzin than with his non-airbender children, to the point of taking him on vacations conveniently without the rest of their family.
Lin alleges that Toph letting Suyin off the hook for scarring her and breaking the law is this.
Bloodbending, like in the previous series. Yakone, Tarrlok, and Amon have the added benefit of not needing a full moon to do it.
While bloodbending was only used at most on a couple people simultaneously in the previous series, Yakone, Amon and Tarrlok are shown to be capable of manipulating several benders/nonbenders all at once.
Yakone takes the cake by far. He could bloodbend a courtroom full of people, simultaneously, on broad daylight and using only his face. It's no wonder that Aang decided to permanently take his bending away. In a very real way he was more powerful than Ozai during the comet!
Perpetual Storm: There was a blizzard at the South Pole that lasted decades, known as the Everstorm.
Person as Verb: An angry Varrick coined two in the same sentence: "Zhu Li'd" for an act of betrayal, and "Varricked" for suicide by Fantastic Nuke.
Pet the Dog: After finding Naga and Pabu in visible distress, Lin gets annoyed, as always, when they get too affectionate towards her. Then she hands them a piece of seal jerky which does a great job of cheering them up.
Plot Parallel: Ikki's relationship with her brother and sister parallels Tenzin's relationship with his siblings. When Tenzin finds Ikki, they both praise the merits of the other's siblings in a way to put things in perspective.
Plot-Relevant Age-Up: Korra's lack of experience in spiritual matters means she regresses to childhood within a few minutes of entering the Spirit World. After she learns some useful life lessons and rescues a baby dragon-bird, she returns to her current age.
Police Are Useless: Zig-zagged: in general the police are quickly taken down in their first fight against the Equalists, but they were ambushed by mooks wielding weapons specifically developed to be used against them, and tend to improve after experience. As for individuals, they range from utter incompetentslike Luand Gang, to utter badasses like Lin, who is herself sometimes blinded by short temper and stubbornness.
The Spirit World portals can be used for near-instantaneous travel between the poles, as well as between the physical and spirit worlds. Unalaq's ultimate goal is initially assumed to be to use them to unite the Water Tribes.
Korra creates a new spirit portal in the middle of Republic City in the series finale, after bending the out-of-control energy of Kuvira's spirit vine cannon.
Potty Emergency: In season 4, Korra is in a unisex bathroom healing some injuries when a man interrupts really needing it. Korra stops and lets him in.
Powers as Programs: Bending worked this way in the era before the Avatar. Lion turtles would give people bending powers to protect themselves and then took them back when they were no longer needed. Before he became the Avatar, Wan could only use one bending art at a time and had to have Raava switch them out for him.
The Triple Threat Triad grunts deliberately Invoke this with their team of three, an Earth, Fire and Waterbender. In this case, "power" is a relative term: Korra kicks their butts with ease, using their respective elements against them.
Purity Personified: applies, obviously, to Raava, the spirit of light and peace, but also to Jinora, whose innocence and intimacy with the spirits lead to her fusing with the Korra-Kaiju to help her defeat Vaatu.
Korra saved the world from Unalaq and Vaatu, preventing darkness from engulfing and destroying the world as they know it, but also broke the previous Avatar cycle in the battle. This winds up costing her ten thousand years worth of skills and knowledge built up in the lives of previous avatars, as well as apparently permanently destroying the spirits of those previous Avatars, including Aang.
Book 3 finale takes this further, ending with Korra depressed, confined to a wheelchair owing to poisoning and with signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. Goes for the Red Lotus as well, they managed to dismantle the Earth Kingdom's government, the anarchy is slowly spreading, and they managed to break the Avatar even though she wasn't killed. However, they lost four of their most powerful members.
Race Against the Clock: The plot of the third chapter is to rescue Bolin before the Equalists take away his bending. They come right down to the nail.
Tenzin's airbender trainees can be considered this in "Original Airbenders", when they go to take on the air bison poachers.
Zaheer and his crew consist of an airbender who favours chaos and is not above violence, a waterbender with no arms, an earthbender who bends lava, and a combustion-bender who is built like a WNBA player.
The Dai Li and Grand Secretariat Gun wear Manchu queues. This is actually regulation length of their uniform.
P'li combines a long braid with an undercut.
Reality Ensues: The dysfunctional family back stories that plague the modern day characters almost feel like deconstructions of the presumed happy endings of the protagonists of the first series. Childhood sweethearts Aang and Katara got married when they grew up and had three kids - Bumi, Kya and Tenzin - but they proved to be poor parents due to Aang's apparent favoritism of Tenzin, which ultimately ended up damaging his youngest son's relationships with his older siblings who grew up resenting him and vice versa, to say nothing of the enormous pressure this placed on Tenzin. Toph Bei Fong was just as bad a parent if not worse by neglecting her daughters Lin and Suyin with her "hands off" parenting that was meant to give them the space and freedom she never had, which left both girls feeling alienated and unloved and, in Lin's case, seriously damaged her ability to form healthy relationships with others and ultimately caused Lin to become estranged from both her mother and sister when Toph hypocritically chose to protect Suyin from the legal ramifications of breaking the law (and scarring Lin's face). Turns out that if you're an insensitive and neglectful parent at least one of your kids is going to end up resenting you.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: In "And the Winner Is..." Amon delivers one to pro-bending fans about celebrating and praising the flagrantly cheating Wolfbats, (incidentally giving due credit to the above-board Fire Ferrets) drawing a parallel to societal worship of domineering, abusive benders.
"Beyond the Wilds" has Korra give a long overdue one to Zaheer, for killing the Earth Queen and allowing Kuvira to rise to power. He's visibly taken aback by this, and it's enough to make him compliant. The same episode features Opal giving one to Bolin for siding with Kuvira.
Rebel Leader: Varrick and Tonraq separately dance around this trope for the Southern Water Tribe, though there's also the one voiced rebel that seems to represent the the group and is cast listed as the trope name. Tonraq steps up as the leader at the end of "Civil Wars Part 2".
The SDCC '11 Trailer uses the same score that the trailers for Season 3 of ATLA used. The music is particularly moody and energetic at different times. Special award for the Editor who synched all the action so meticulously.
The music heard in the opening is an orchestral version of ATLA's theme.
The main theme is remixed and repeated often in every chapter.
Korra's theme usually pops up once per episode, and varies in tone depending on the mood of the scene.
Appearance of a spirit is often accompanied by a four-note motif.
Redemption Equals Death: During part 1 of the Grand Finale, Lin frees Hiroshi Sato from prison to assist Asami and Varrick with completing the Hummingbirds. While the Hummingbirds are trying to cut the Colossus' armor, Korra freezes it in place with a river, but Kuvira manages to free one of the arms. The cutting isn't finished, so Hiroshi whispers "I love you" to Asami before firing her ejector seat just as the giant metal hand comes crashing down on him. The plan works, and the armor is cut.
The Earth Queen's attempts to create an airbending regiment in the Earth Kingdom army greatly hinders efforts to rebuild the Air Nation. Twinned with some hostile remarks from the Earth Queen towards the United Republic, and it seems like the Queen is planning a large invasion. Then Zaheer kills the Earth Queen...
Bolin's arc in season 3. He wants to learn metalbending, but for some reason he can't do it. In the penultimate episode, he learns lavabending. What's more, he first lavabends in a Die or Fly scenario, and later fights Ghazan using it, either of which could have been the scenario in which he metalbent for the first time.
In Book 2, Korra's the red oni to Unalaq's blue oni. The climatic battle inverts the colour scheme.
Mako is the Blue to Korra's Red; in keeping with his position as The Spock of Team Avatar, he often has to restrain Korra from doing something rash, like blowing their cover to "go knock some heads", while he himself is rather cold in Book 1 and in Book 2 is often non-committal, problems he himself acknowledges.
Also in Book 2 is Desna and Eska. As the story begins to unravel, Eska defines herself as the Red oni becoming a vicious ex-girlfriend to Bolin. While the outcasted Desna takes over as the Blue oni, being both submissive to his father and sister but open to understanding things, less dramatically than his twin.
The Metalbending Police appear to fill this role considering how the Equalists use electric gauntlets and Mini Mechas made of platinum that the former are no match for.
The White Lotus mooks guarding Zaheer's happy little bunch. Zaheer and co. cut through them like a hot knife through butter. This is somewhat justified though, as none of them were prepared for the idea of Zaheer gaining Airbending abilities.
Averted with the Metal Clan, who are able to hold their own against Zaheer of all people, in a world where even the most skilled fighters are usually no match for airbenders.
The Republic: The United Republic of Nations is the first one in the Avatar-verse, headed by a representative council made up of ambassadors from each nation. In Book Two, this council is replaced by a popularly elected president.
In the finale, Prince Wu declares his plan to reform the Earth Kingdom into a republic or multiple independent democratic nation-states.
By the end of the Season 1 finale, Korra gets her bending back and can now restore powers to Amon's previous victims using energybending.
Harmonic Convergence is described as being this for the universe. The spirits of light and dark meet to fight a battle to define the next 10,000 years, and whatever the outcome, the world enters a new spiritual age. In Korra's case, she loses all connection with the past Avatars, but her decision to reopen the spirit portals after her victory causes the Air Nation's rebirth, and a renewed connection between the physical world and the spirit world.
A remarkable variation: Uncle Iroh, former Dragon of the West, treats his death more or less like retirement, spending his days in the Spirit World with the other spirits, enjoying tea, cake and games of Pai Sho.
Zuko, having abdicated, has spent the last three years roaming the earth astride his magnificent dragon, and aids Team Avatar in the fight against the Red Lotus.
Toph left the force after covering up Su's criminal activity and now travels the world pursuing enlightenment. With the exception of her daughters, everyone speaks of her with reverence.
The Equalists are ruthless, organized, well-equipped, and determined to wipe out any benders. What makes them scarier is that until Amon's unmasking as a bender they seem to enjoy at least some popular support.
The rebels in the Southern Water Tribe. While Unalaq's actions are very questionable, they're the ones who escalate things first by trying to kidnap him. Their leader Varrick also seems to be more interested in improving his company's profits than getting the Southerners fair treatment. The rebels make a Heel-Face Turn after Tonraq takes over.
The Red Lotus bitterly oppose civilisation and wish to dismantle all forms of government. This begins with them assassinating the Earth Queen, freeing all of Ba Sing Se's criminals, tearing down the city's inner walls, and starting a citywide riot.
In "Civil Wars: Part 1" Varrick switches between rhetorical and serious questions when complaining about Unalaq's restrictions so quickly Zhu Li and others cannot keep up.
Ridiculously Cute Critter: Abound. Aside from Naga and Pabu, the mascots of Team Avatar, there are an unlimited amount of adorable animals (like a reindeer-dog at the Misty Palms Oasis) and spirits in the Avatar World. In Korra Alone, one of these spirits (a little yellow blob with leafy ears and a childlike voice) dedicates himself to helping Korra recover spiritually. When she rebuffs his initial offer, he disguises himself as another critter, a tiny, pure-white dog, scares off her Dark Avatar self and then leads her to Toph.
Ring Out: An important mechanic of pro-bending. Forcing a player off the back (and only the back) of the arena and into the surrounding pool removes them from the game for the remainder of the round. Forcing all three players out in a single round is an Instant-Win Condition, which is why, in a best of three rounds format, the third round is always played. It's the only way left to win for a team down two rounds.
Roaring Twenties: The technology, speech mannerisms and culture are evocative of the real-life 1920's, and Wordof God says this is the current time period in Korra's day.
Royal Mess: The Fire Nation's ruler, a position roughly analogous to China's Emperor, is termed "Fire Lord," and as of Korra's era, the title is held by a woman. Justified - in-universe, the title is not a gendered one as it is in English: Ozai stated that he intended to crown Azula Fire Lord.
Rushmore Refacement: After Amon conquers Republic City, he has a large copy of his own mask placed over Aang's statue, and covers the Air Symbol on his staff with the Equalist banner.