The Legend of Korranote Avatar: The Legend Of Korra outside of the US is an Animated Series from Nickelodeon and a Sequel Series to Avatar: The Last Airbender and part of the overall Avatar franchise. It premiered on April 14, 2012.Set seventy years after the events of its predecessor, the series follows the adventures of a boisterous teenage girl named Korra, a member of the Southern Water Tribe and Aang's successor as Avatar. Having easily mastered all the elements but Air, she follows her Airbending teacher to Republic City, a metropolis based off of the Roaring Twenties where crime is rampant and an anti-Bending movement led by a faction called the "Equalists" is growing in strength. Under the guidance of Tenzin, the son of Aang and Katara, Korra struggles to master Airbending while balancing her status and responsibilities as the famed Avatar of legend. Thematically, there are some differences between it and the parent show: while Avatar the Last Airbender is arguably High Fantasy with East Asian elements mixed in, the Legend of Korra is Urban Fantasy in an East Asian setting, complete with mass media and politics.While it was originally announced as a twelve-episode Mini Series, Nickelodeon picked up an additional fourteen episodes during production, intending them to premiere in 2013. After the success of the first twelve episodes, another 26 episode season was announced with an unknown air date. It was later announced that the series would be divided into two 26-episode seasons of two "books" each (twelve and fourteen episodes for books 1 and 2, and thirteen each for books 3 and 4).Book 2 began September 13, 2013. Book 1's theme followed the Book themes from Avatar: The Last Airbender by naming it after the element the Avatar was primarily studying (in this case, Air), and Book 2 (labelled Spirits) focuses on the Spirit World we have seen in both shows.Book 3 is expected to air next year, labelled "Change." It primarily deals with the aftermath of the decisions made in the Book 2 finale.Recaps of the show can be found here. Also has a page for memes.Not to be confused with The Legend of Korah, or the Kohr-Ah.
This series provides examples of:
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Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Republic City has a massive underground tunnel network, home to both the Equalists and the city's homeless population.
Affably Evil: After it's revealed that Varrick is a villain, it's shown that his friendly and eccentric personality isn't a facade. This makes it rather unnerving when he starts threatening Mako.
Arc Number: The number ten thousand is heavily featured in the "Beginnings" two parters. Wan means ten thousand, and he lived about ten thousand years before Korra. The Harmonic Convergence, a battle between Raava and Vaatu, occurs every ten thousand years. Vaatu boasts that he lived ten thousand lifetimes before humans "crawled out of the mud".
This has some context. If you're familiar with Taoist philosophy, you'll know that the number ten thousand is used as a shorthand for anything that is too great or numerous to count. In particular, "the ten thousand things" is used to refer to everything that emerged from the duality of Yin and Yang, which is... well, everything.
Arc Words: "Light in the dark" in Book 2. The phrase, originally dropped casually by Unalaq in a seemingly metaphorical context, turns out to have quite a literal meaning of Raava being reborn out of Vaatu.
In "Turning the Tides," Tenzin sees the Equalists attacking Air Temple Island, where his pregnant wife and three kids are, and he's too far away to help.
In "A New Spiritual Age", Tenzin recaps about how he was hesitant to let Jinora go into the Spirit World alone with Korra. Jinora doesn't return from the Spirit World after a skirmish with Unalaq and the Dark Spirits.
Advice Backfire: After Bolin realizes that a continued relationship with Eska is undesirable, he goes to Mako for advice. Mako suggests just breaking it off immediately. Eska threatens to feed him to piranhas. Then he turns to Asami, who suggests he tell her the truth. Eska decides to solve the problem by forcing Bolin to marry her. Finally, he takes Varrick's advice, which is to run like hell. Eska's having none of that.
Age Cut: In "Welcome to Republic City," four-year-old Korra affects an intense expression as she firebends directly into the camera, obscuring the scene with a burst of flame, which seventeen-year-old Korra disperses while wearing a matching expression.
By the end of the first season finale, even though both Tarrlok and Amon/Noatak did many horrible things, the revelations of their history and their tragic deaths ultimately made both of them feel like this even in spite of it.
Alice Allusion/Spot of Tea: When Korra enters the Spirit World, she encounters Iroh who takes her to a cottage where she has tea and cake with him and a group of daffy spirits.
Subtly subverted in the same scene, as Korra is informed that the cake won't make her gain or lose weight (or grow and shrink, as the case may be).
Appeal to Force: Korra threatens to kill a judge twice, first in an attempt to get him to reduce a sentence from the death penalty, then to force him to annul the conviction entirely (ironically, after she'd asked Unalaq to give the accused rebels a fair trial). The judge was on the take anyway, but it's still a sign of her brute-force approach to solving problems.
Are We There Yet?: In "Welcome to Republic City", the introduction of Tenzin and his family features his daughter Ikki asking this over, and over, and over...
Tenzin: [While son Meelo gums his head] Yes, Ikki. As I've been telling you for the last fifteen minutes, we are — finally — here.
Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: In "The Spirit of Competition," Bolin asks Mako what he thinks of the idea of asking Korra out. Mako responds that he likes her, but he's already in a relationship, prompting Bolin to clarify:
Bolin: I was talking about a girlfriend for me! Leave some ladies for the rest of us!
In "Welcome to Republic City", Korra's readiness to fight gets her pegged as a Destructive Savior by the metalbender cops.
In chapter eight, "When Extremes Meet", Asami is arrested for trying to stop oppressive measures against non-benders. Tarrlok claims that her father's connection to the Equalists is the reason, and when Mako and Bolin try to come to her defense they are put in the slammer, too. Ultimately, Tarrlok admits directly to Korra that he is simply doing this to manipulate her and force her cooperation.
Art Evolution: Art director Bryan Konietzko has discussed his evolution towards more realistic proportions and less oversized heads. This is particularly noticeable when redrawn original series characters appear as stills during the Opening Narration. Far greater detail and more CGI is used, leading to a far cleaner and more realistic look than the original series. Book Two also includes minor detail improvements on most of the characters.
Art Shift: The story of the first avatar is animated to look like traditional Chinese guó huŕ art.
Badass Army: It takes more than a mere Avatar to impress Republic City's metalbending police force. The Equalist chi-blockers are also formidable foes, skilled in martial arts, ambush tactics, and motorbike-riding.
Vaatu: [casually swats Wan away] I lived ten thousand lifetimes before the first of your kind crawled out of the mud. It was I who broke through the divide that separated the plane of spirits from the material world! To hate me is to give me breath. To fight me is to give me strength. Now prepare to face oblivion!
Badass Normal: The non-bender Asami is at least as effective a fighter as Bolin, Mako and Korra.
Plenty of villainous examples: the chi-blockers, Amon's mustached lieutenant, and Amon himself until we find out he's actually a bloodbender who lied about his backstory.
Bumi - an old war vet - clearly takes after his uncle Sokka, and manages to keep up with his bending brother and sister.
Baddie Flattery: In the finale "Endgame", Amon compliments Mako striking him down briefly with lightning bending stating that it's the first time anyone has ever gotten the better of him. He says it's almost a shame to remove the bending of someone so talented. Almost.
Balloon Belly: In "The Spirit of Competition" Pabu gets one after joining Bolin for a night of binging on noodles.
Batman-Gambit: In "The Voice in the Night", Tarrlok arranges for a group of reporters to accost Korra at a party he is throwing in order to force her to join his anti-Equalist task force. When they accuse her of cowardice and abandoning her duty to the city, she responds by immediately joining the task force.
Be Careful What You Wish For: A meta-example. The Mako/Korra romance largely originated from fans wishing Katara and Zuko were a couple. As it turns out, the relationship doesn't work.
Beam-O-War: Happens between Dark Avatar!Unalaq and Korra's Spirit Projection in the last chapter of book 2
In "Welcome to Republic City," Korra uses an Effortless Amazonian Lift to pick up Tenzin and his children to give them a group hug.
In "The Spirit of Competition" Mako unceremoniously grants his brother one in cheer when Korra pulls off an incredible "hat trick" single-handedly (much the same way he did in his introduction), and wins the match that gets them to the finals.
Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted. In Korra's fight with Tarrlok, his icicle-rain move results in several visible cuts, and she spends the next chapter covered in the same cuts and multiple bruises.
Beleaguered Assistant: Zhu Li, Varrick's assistant. So much so that she hides in the stuffed platypus-bear with Varrick.
Belligerent Sexual Tension: Korra and Mako butt heads when they meet in "A Leaf in the Wind" and while infiltrating "The Revelation", but recognize that they have feelings for each other, and overtly act upon them once in "The Spirit of Competition".
Big Bad: Each Book so far has an overarching villain, with maybe one or two others competing for the title.
In Book 1, Amon was seen as this, then Tarrlok entered the picture as well, as both were carrying out revenge against the Avatar as set by their father but ultimately, Tarrlok couldn't match Amon in villainous threat.
In Book 2, there is Big Bad Ensemble of the Dark Spirits and Unalaq. Then Varrick turns out to be driving up tensions to profit off the conflict. Later, it's revealed Unalaq was only The Dragon to Vaatu, the biggest Bad of them all.
Big Damn Heroes: In "Turning the Tides", this happens multiple times as the battle rages in multiple locations throughout the city.
The Fire Ferrets come to Tenzin's rescue as he is attacked by Equalists looking to kidnap him, along with the rest of the council.
Tenzin's three airbender children storm to rescue Lin during the attack on Air Temple Island.
The dragon-bird returns to stop Unalaq from destroying Korra's soul in "A New Spiritual Age".
Jinora fuses with Korra-Kaiju during her fight with Unavaatu.
In Book 1, there's Yakone, an evil mob boss defeated by Aang decades prior to the story. The plot is set in motion by his desire for revenge, but he's long dead by the start of the series and even if he wasn't, he probably wouldn't have a direct say in what happened. The main villains (Amon and Tarrlok) are his abused sons who rebelled against him and tried to be good people in spite of him. It didn't work out.
In Book 2, we have Vaatu, the spirit of darkness and chaos, making him the Bigger Bad for the entire series.
Black and White Morality: In Season 2, while it started out as Grey and Gray Morality, with both Tonraq and Unalaq having flaws, but neither being totally wrong, it quickly turned into this, as Unalaq is revealed to be completely evil and that he took control of the South so that he could capture the Southern Spirit Portal, which he would use to free Vaatu (essentially this universe's version of Satan) and Take Over the World. Tonraq's flaws were skated over because really when your opponent is Hitler, you're gonna be Jesus H Christ by comparison no matter what kind of person you are.
When Tarrlok, Noatak, and Yakone bloodbend, their victims end up getting twisted into painful shapes.
Spirit possession in general - the experience is described as both this and Mind Rape, and leaves the victim as a Baleful Polymorph at best, and dead at worst.
Unalaq fusing with Vaatu. He turns into a Kaiju and starts sprouting tentacles.
Boobs of Steel: Korra is one of the bustiest girls in the show (if not the avatarverse), including the ones who are pregnant. She is also, needless to say, exceedingly powerful physically and bending-wise.
The first season begins and ends at the South Pole.
Tahno's first and last scenes involve him deliberately mispronouncing the word "Avatar".
Korra's first and final encounters with Amon are pretty similar. Both times, she and Mako infiltrate a massive Equalist rally where Amon attempts to debend several people execution-style. They also both end with Korra saving Mako's life and Korra revealing something about Amon to Republic City.
"A New Spiritual Age" begins in the night with Tenzin fretting to Bumi and Kya about Jinora's safety in the Spirit World, before his siblings go to sleep and he takes guard duty. Bumi tells Tenzin to wake them up if something bad happens. At the end, it's daytime and Korra wakes up with a gasp, waking the trio (Tenzin fell asleep during guard duty) and then Tenzin notices that Jinora's not waking up...
Bound and Gagged: Bolin and a few Triple Threat Triad members in Chapter 3. Then again with Korra after Tarrlok defeats her with bloodbending in Chapter 8. Tarrlok forgot the "gagged" part, though, and nearly got his face burned off by a livid fire-breathing Korra for it.
Boxing Battler: Pro benders' fighting styles tend to be closer to simpler, more direct moves like a boxer's. This is most apparent in the 1-v-1 sudden death matches at close range, that has handwork based heavily on boxing.
Brand X: The Pro Bending tournament is sponsored in part by Flamey-O's Instant Noodles
Bratty Teenage Daughter: Discussed in "A Leaf in the Wind" when Tenzin expresses frustration with Korra, now his live-in student. After his daughters witness a particularly bad bout where Korra insults Tenzin's teaching skills, Tenzin tries to avoid the inevitable.
Breather Episode: After two pretty dark and brutal episodes, "The Spirit of Competition" is a fairly lighthearted story involving the pro-bending tournament and the show's Love Triangle, and comes right before a slew of Wham Chapters.
Breaking the Fellowship: Of a sort. While Team Avatar seems to be going strong by Book Two, the Fire Ferrets are not. Korra and Mako have left the team for unknown reasons, leaving Bolin as the sole original member.
Break the Haughty: Korra was so used to being a natural prodigy at the physical side of being the Avatar that she assumed that connecting with the spiritual side was another game to win. This only changed when she admitted that the loss of her bending broke her heart.
Bridal Carry: After Naga arrives in Republic City with an injured Korra Mako shoos everyone away and carries her like this to Oogi. All the while he tells her how worried he was and assuring her that she's safe now. The implications of this are not lost on Asami.
After the Wolf-Bats' semifinal match, which the Wolf-Bats win the match in record time, the opposing team is carried away on stretchers, and one of them has a hole through his helmet.
In "The Aftermath", while fighting Mecha-Tanks made out of metal-bending-proof platinum, Chief Beifong resorts to the strategy of bending her metal bracer into a Blade Below the Shoulder, leaping up to the shoulders of one of the Mecha-Tanks, and driving the claw straight through the more vulnerable cockpit canopy. The chi-blocker piloting it is shown desperately dodging. After a few cuts, we see the Mecha-Tank as immobile, Beifong having bashed though most of the canopy segments.
Very frequent whenever Varrick is in a room, uttered either by him or someone connected to him - from his own Catch Phrase ("Zhu Li, do the thing!") to the Show Within a Show he directs. ("He's the biggest, baddest, bendingest man I know!")
Bullying a Dragon: Being the Avatar hasn't stopped people from being overtly confrontational with Korra. Tahno does this intentionally, because Korra attacking him would disqualify the Fire Ferrets from competing against his team. Tarrlok also mocks Korra as a "half-baked Avatar in training" since she hasn't mastered airbending, despite the fact that she has mastered the other three. His bloodbending did allow him to best her in a battle, but it was a trump card he only played in desperation. He got a solid ass-kicking when he tried to beat her in a straight fight.
Burping Contest: In "The Spirit of Competition" Korra and Bolin get into one on their date, much to the horror of the other patrons in the restaurant. Korra seems to come out on top.
Young bender secretly tries runs away from her sheltered home and is sent off by her elderly mentor... are we talking about Katara or Korra?
In "The Revelation," when Amon takes away Lightning Bolt Zolt's bending, Zolt says the same thing that Ozai said when Aang took his bending away in the series' finale. The flashback in "Out of the Past," where Aang takes away Yakone's bending, similarly refers to the same scene.
In "The Aftermath", the owner of Cabbage Corp shouts "No, not my Cabbage Corp!" as he is arrested, similar to how the Cabbage Merchant did in the original series. Comes complete with an establishing shot featuring a statue of the original Cabbage Merchant holding a head of cabbage triumphantly towards the sky.
In "Endgame", the Amon mask floats to the surface of the water in a similar way as Zuko's discarded Blue Spirit mask.
In "The Spirit of Competition, " Flamey-O Instant Noodles sponsored the tournament. "Flamey-O" was a term that Aang insisted was Fire Nation slang when he was going to a Fire Nation school in season three's "The Headband." The term is later used by Chief Lin Beifong as a replacement swear word.
Lin: What the flamey-o happened here?
In Wan's origin story, he dies in the middle of a large battlefiend where there are giant Earthbended disks and arrows lodged in the ground. Zuko later visits the area (or one similar to it) in the original series, overgrown and aged.
In "A New Spiritual Age", Wan's teapot returns - Iroh found it in the Spirit World and kept it as a prized possession.
The Cameo: One of the Fire Sages in "Beginnings, Part 1" (not the elderly Shaman) is voiced by tennis player Serena Williams. Previously, Williams had a role in the original Avatar: The Last Airbender playing a prison guard in the episode "The Day of Black Sun, Part 1: The Invasion".
Can't Argue with Elves: The spirits in Beginnings are quick to sit in judgement of humans for their thoughtlessness, regardless of whether the human they see has actually done anything wrong or not.
In "The Voice in the Night". When Korra challenges Amon to a duel, he has his men restrain her and explains that while he could take her bending away, he will not because that would make her a martyr. Instead, he details a plan to take care of her last.
In Endgame, Amon ditches that plan and de-bends her anyway, before the revolution has spread beyond Republic City, when she saves the last airbenders and attempts to expose him as a bloodbender.
In "Peacekeepers," Unalaq reveals that he lied in the previous episode when he told Korra he didn't need her to open the Northern Spirit Portal. Ergo, he has to clarify to an overeager Eska, commanded to capture Korra, that he needs the Avatar alive.
Car Fu: Asami crashes her car into an Equalist mecha in "Turning the Tides."
Casual Danger Dialogue: Chapter 6, "And the Winner Is" - The Pro Bending commentator Shiro Shinobi. He retains the same energetic and fast-paced reporting tone when the match concludes and the Equalists start emerging from the audience and using electric gloves to attack the event. He does not even change tone when they attack him, adding that he is peeing his pants without the tiniest vocal quiver.
Catapult Nightmare: Korra gets one in "The Voice in the Night", as a result of being truly afraid for the first time in her life.
Central Theme: Attaining balance, whether it be in an individual, a city, or the world. Recognizing one's own strengths and weaknesses, and by doing so, adapting to your personal environment and situation.
Cerebus Syndrome: While the series is not lacking in the characteristic humor/wacky characters that TLA possessed, the overall tone is much more melancholic than the earlier episodes of TLA and is more on par with its darker episodes.
Chair Reveal: In "The Sting" Mako rushes to Asami's office to tell her he knows who set them up and stole all her merchandise. The chair in front of her desk swivels to reveal Varrick, whom Mako thinks is behind it, smirking evilly, while Asami is overjoyed that he just "saved" Future Industries by buying a controlling interest in it.
Changing of the Guard: Korra and her compatriots take up the mission of their fore-bearers: to preserve peace and balance in the world.
At the end of the very first chapter, a blueprint of a Mini Mecha can be seen on the wall of the Equalist base. Cut to chapter seven where they are wreaking havoc on the Metalbender Corps.
Asami grew up at her father's factory, not only learning to drive cars but other vehichles. Knowing how to work the forklifts allows her to drive the Mini Mecha her dad built.
Wan's teapot returns in the Spirit World...
Chekhov's Gunman: ... to help Iroh to teach Korra an important lesson about spirituality and the nature of light and dark.
Chekhov's News: In "A Leaf in the Wind", Korra hears of up-and-coming pro-bending team the Fire Ferrets, and their star player Mako, via a live radio broadcast. Combined with Chekhov's Gunman in "A Leaf in the Wind," when Korra is reading the newspaper, and a picture of Tahno can be seen on the back of the paper. He shows up three episodes later as her rival.
Chekhov's Gunman: Gommu, the homeless guy from the first chapter who was really jazzed about that bush. Cut to the Book One finale and we find out why: the bush hides a secret passage to an underground city of homeless people (which just so happens to be composed of benders and non-benders who live happily side-by-side) where Korra & Co. hide during the Equalist occupation.
Chekhov's Skill: In "A Leaf in the Wind", the spiral dodging movements and footwork Jinora demonstrates and Korra struggles to master later help Korra win her first pro-bending match.
At the racetrack in "The Aftermath" Asami mentioned she had taken self defense classes which later prove useful in subduing a chi blocker and her father
During Wan's training, Raava mentions that even if she or Vaatu were physically destroyed, they'd simply be reborn from within the other. After Unalaq, fused with Vaatu, destroys Raava, Korra rips Raava out from Vaatu and re-fuses with her.
Unlike the original series, where with few exceptions anyone's Elemental Nation citizenship or Elemental Powers could be determined at a glance, the people of Republic City either use a wide range of colors in their fashion, or Downplay their traditional colors, as with multi-ethnic bender crime gangs the Triple Threat Triads. People that live in their countries of origin, and people who are deeply involved in their culture (like Tenzin and his followers, the Air Acolytes) still play this straight.
Mako and Bolin typically wear dark brown in the fashion of Republic City, but they always have colored trim appropriate for their bending elements. Mako's sentimental scarf is conveniently red.
Pro-bending teams identify which element each team member bends by their color-coded belts and helmets.
Lampshaded by Varrick, who imported a red carpet from the Fire Nation because "they make the best red things!"
Combat Commentator: Introduced in "A Leaf in the Wind," Shiro Shinobi, the announcer at pro-bending matches, narrates the action for spectators and radio listeners. He also narrates the Previously On segments, complete with footage edited to look grainy and sepia-toned.
He gets another moment in Book Two's "Night of a Thousand Stars", where, despite being in the audience at the time, he starts commenting on the fight between Varrick's Water Tribe mooks and Bolin. Granted, the fight was taking place in the pro-bending ring...
Combat Tentacles: The Metalbender Cops' weapons of choice are wrist-mounted retractable cables that can be manipulated through bending. They are used to tie up criminals and move around the city.
Vaatu uses these in battle with Avatar Wan and later Korra. And after Unalaq fuses with Vaatu to become the Dark Avatar, he uses these in his attack on Republic City and his final battle with Korra.
Conflict Killer: The first three episodes, and the pre-premiere commercials which contained footage from only the first two episodes, emphasized the criminal element of Republic City as the largest issue facing society and Korra's primary enemy. However, in "The Revelation" the Equalists, who had received only infrequent mentions and a single appearance of their leader, Amon, shifted the focus of the story to the bender/non-bender conflict after interrupting a planned gang war and eliminating the Triple Threat Triads in a single night.
In "The Revelation", Korra recalls the anti-bending protestor from "Welcome to Republic City" who gave her a hard time, and tracks him down so she and Mako can pump him for information on the chi-blockers.
When Korra explains to Tenzin that Amon can take away a bender's bending permanently, Tenzin mentions that previously only the Avatar had that power: This power was developed and used in the series finale of the original show.
In the flashbacks in "Out of the Past" we see Sokka speaking of both Combustion Man, and beating him with his boomerang, and Toph developing metalbending. The same chapter shows that even at aged 40, Toph still calls Aang Twinkle Toes.
During Wan's death scene in "Beginnings: Part 2," we see a burning battlefield with several Earthbender discs sticking up out of the ground. A similar battlefield can be seen along a road in "Zuko Alone."
Conspicuous CG: CGInote mostly provided by Moving Picture Company's parent firm Technicolor S.A. is used for many things, including Satomobiles, Aang's statue in Republic City, Yue Bay, the police zeppelins, the airbending training gates, the boat Korra travels on, and for a brief shot in chapter 7, Korra and Asami.
Conveniently Timed Attack From Behind: In "The Revelation" as bola-wielding chi-blockers advance toward a sprawled Mako and Korra, Naga frees herself. She and Pabu lunge bellowing (and squeaking) at them, at which they throw their smoke screen and flee.
Cool Bike: The Equalists' motorcycles and Asami's moped.
Cool Boat: Varrick has a whole fleet of cool ships and speedboats. He even has the first Battleship, named The Zhu-Li. gl
Cosplay: In the final match between The Wolf Bats and the Fire Ferrets, cosplayers of the respective teams can be seen in the stands.
The Corruption: In "A New Spiritual Age" it is revealed that spirits are affected by human emotion, and the darkness in human hearts can infect and distort the Spirit World and turn spirits into Dark Spirits, while positive emotions have positive effects. This is far more pronounced with the Avatar, since the Avatar represents Light.
Crazy-Prepared: The Satoplanes, despite being the first (and only) heavier than air flying machines in the world, have rear-firing bolas just in case they get into a dogfight.
Varric built the prison with a special cell for himself because he had a feeling he'd end up there one day. He was right. On that note, Varric, aside from having a hollow Platypus-Bear in his office aboard his boat (in case someone comes looking for him), prepares for crazy outcomes, like pet radio becoming a big thing
Creepy Twins: In season 2, Desna and Eska, the children of Chief Unalaq.
Crippling Overspecialization: The Equalist's mecha fighters were especially developed to counter Republic City's metalbending police, which they did very well...but a smart waterbender, like, oh, Korra, can get at the inner workings, and Bolin and Mako figure out effective fire and earthbending tricks to use against them too.
Cross-Popping Veins: In Chapter 7, when Bolin and Mako are swimming in Asami's pool, Bolin orders her servant to dry him off, only for Bolin to immediately hop back in the pool. The servant understandably pops these.
In "Welcome to Republic City," Korra's battle with the three Triple Threat Triad members is laughably one-sided, despite her numerical disadvantage.
In "The Revelation," Amon has absolutely no trouble dodging the captured bending criminals' attacks and closing the distance so that he can take away their bending.
In "The Revelation," Amon's lieutenant wipes the floor with Bolin and Mako, brutally so.
In "The Voice in the Night", Korra gets ambushed, restrained and broken by Amon in no time flat.
The Wolf-Bats score a first-round victory in "The Spirit of Competition", which was brutal enough to put the other team on stretchers. The very next chapter, the Wolf-Bats fall to a Curb-Stomp Battle against the Equalists and pay for it.
When Amon's Lieutenant attacks Asami after she has made clear what side she was on, she proceeds to knock his first rod out of his hand, and then uses his other rod to knock him out.
In "Out of the Past", Tarrlok is on the receiving end of this from Amon, who resists Tarrlok's bloodbending and de-bends him.
Amon's battle with his Lieutenant in "Endgame." The Lieutenant makes a dramatic speech and attacks Amon, who calmly bloodbends him into a wall before the Lieutenant even gets close enough to actually hit him.
At the start of Book 2, the Fire Ferrets are defeated faster than any other pro-bending team in history.
Cycle of Revenge: Aang debended Yakone, causing him to plot revenge by raising his children as Tykebombs. This, in turn, caused Amon to lash out at benders in general, and Tarrlok to become a corrupt councilman to succeed were his father failed. Tarrlok realizes this in the end and finally ends the cycle, and Yakone's legacy, by killing himself and Amon.
Also applies to Asami's family: Asami's mother was killed by the Agni Kai Triad, causing her father, Hiroshi Sato, to bankroll the Equalists and fulfill his revenge against all benders. Later on, Asami sees what a monster her father had become, which led her to retaliate and attempt to put her father down once and for all.
Damn You, Muscle Memory: In "A Leaf in the Wind", Korra accidentally earthbends when she becomes frustrated during her first pro-bending match, despite assuring Bolin just prior that she would only waterbend to stay within the rules.
Darker and Edgier: Korra is far darker than the original, which already had plenty of dark moments for a kids' show. According to the creators, they were surprised they could even get away with some parts of the show.
In "A Leaf in the Wind", when Korra is trying to airbend, we zoom out to see that her target is actually a picture of Chief Beifong in the newspaper, which she then incinerates in frustration.
At the beginning of "And The Winner Is..." the Fire Ferrets are using photos of Tahno, the captain of the Wolf-Bats, as target practice.
Decapitated Army: After their leadership is beaten and Amon is exposed as a bloodbender, the Equalists lose their public support, crumple, and are nowhere to be seen by the second season. Word Of God is that there is a holdout, but they aren't a significant threat and won't appear in the show.
In "The Revelation" we learn that Bolin and Mako's parents were killed when Mako was eight by a firebender who was mugging them. Later in the same chapter, Amon claims that his family was killed, and his face scarred, by a firebender who extorted money from his non-bender family. Amon was in fact making up the entire story as part of his anti-bender propaganda. He was the son of former Republic City crime-lord Yakone.
In "Aftermath," we learn that Asami's mother was killed by a firebending triad member. This fact was used by Hiroshi Sato in order to tempt Asami to join the Equalists with him.
In "The Voice in the Night", Pema gives Tenzin quite a glare after he reluctantly allows Tarrlok to join them for dinner. He only acquiesces because according to Air Nomad philosophy, you cannot turn away a hungry guest. Ikki then trumps her mother when she really glares at Tarrlok after declaring him "weird;" her glare continues for twenty seconds, even after the camera pans away from her to cover his conversation with Korra.
In "Endgame", Bolin is on the receiving end of two glares after trying to reassure Korra by telling her that at least she is still able to airbend after losing the other three. He wisely shuts up immediately.
Death World: The world before the Avatar was infested by spirits hostile to humans, who were forced to take shelter on top of lion turtles for protection. Being banished into the Spirit Wilds is the equivalent to a death sentence.
Despair Event Horizon: When Tarrlok realizes that Amon is his brother, and that they have both become tools of their father's vengeance despite their best efforts, he abandons any hope to ruling Republic City and no longer even cares that he has had his bending removed. When Amon invites him to run away together, he instead kills them both.
Korra faces this herself after Unalaq and Vaatu "kill" Raava, breaking the avatar cycle and destroying Korra's connection to her past lives
Destructive Savior: In "Welcome to Republic City" Korra ends up destroying more property than the gang members she caught when she first arrived in Republic City, which is quickly pointed out by the Metalbending Police when they try to arrest her. Chief Beifong is adamant that, Avatar or not, acts of vigilante destruction will not be tolerated.
At the first season finale Amon is defeated, at the cost of Korra losing her bending and she is stuck in the worst crisis imaginable; the Avatar is no more. With Amon having blocked her connections to the three bendings (other than her newly-unlocked airbending), the Avatar is, for the first time in ten thousand years, non-existent. When Korra travels and sits by an ice cliff to reflect and cry over her loss of identity, she is visited by the spirit of Avatar Aang. One flash of Aang's energybending later, and not only does Korra have all three bendings back, but she also gives us a taste of her Avatar State.
Season 2 finale: Deux-ex-Jinora. Vaatu fuses with Unalaq and destroys Raava. Korra uses the Tree of Time to pull some super spirit mojo and goes after Unavaatu. So far so good. But it turns out she's not up to the task, and just as Unavaatu begins to use Unalaq's spirit-waterbending technique to corrupt her, Jinora's spirit suddenly appears from spirit aurora over Republic City with an orb of light and showers it on cosmic Korra and Unavaatu, which has the resulting effect of dispelling Unavaatu's spirit-waterbending corruption technique and then jumpstarting/revealing Raava's regrowth inside Vaatu, thus allowing Korra to free Raava and purify Unavaatu.
Die or Fly: In "A Leaf in the Wind", when Korra is on the verge of losing the pro-bending match for the Ferrets, she suddenly gets how to move like a leaf in the wind.
At the end of the second season Tenzin, while looking for Jinora, is lost in a fog that drives a person mad with their greatest failures (Kai and Bumi have already gone mad and wandered off). He finally comes to terms with the fact that he is not Aang, and should not compare himself to his father and is able to overcome the effects of the fog.
Diesel Punk: Despite the inspiration of Steam Punk, and use of aesthetics associated with it, the series fits squarely into this category; the internal combustion engine is in wide-spread use and the setting matches the 1920's, with all the cultural trappings.
Bolin: I'm sorry, no, no! I didn't mean to assume! It's that, I was just figuring... with your Water Tribe getup... that you are... a Water Tribe... gal.
Mako had been making increasingly snide and flippant remarks about Korra moments before and quickly realises how dumb a move this was.
Disappeared Dad: Aang was the "present physically, but absent emotionally" sort, enough that it is still a point of contention for Bumi and Kya decades later with regard to Tenzin remembering their childhood as idyllic and happy, while they do not. Part of it was Aang's sense of duty as the Avatar, but the rest was that Tenzin was an airbender, making Aang no longer the last that resulted in his playing favorites so dramatically.
Unalaq is also the "present physically, absent emotionally" sort. It was originally Played for Laughs that Desna and Eska are Creepy Twins who dress and talk alike and who finish each other's sentences. But Unalaq's hunger for power overshadows even his children. He orders them around like lackeys and ignores them when they come to harm.
Distress Ball: In "Turning The Tides," Lin is defeated by the Lieutenant after attempting to grapple him with her metal cables. The three Airbender children come to her rescue and save the day.
Donut Mess with a Cop: Lu and Gang are particularly fond of Varrick-cakes, a kind of snack cake with frosting and a jelly-filled centre.
Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: Played With in Bolin and Eska's relationship. On one hand, Eska's treatment of Bolin is emotionally abusive, involves threats, and is played for laughs at least initially. On the other, Bolin is clearly supposed to be the sympathetic one, and Eska is portrayed as dangerous because of her obsession and the lengths she'll go.
The 1920's environment and the Equalists' rhetoric about overthrowing the ruling class mirrors the revolutionist organizations that sprang up in industrializing countries during the late-nineteenth/early-twentieth centuries.
In "The Revelation" the staging of Amon's removing the bending of the leader and members of the Triple Threat Triads is set up like a public execution, a scene which is inevitably repeated when he does it in later episodes - when the Equalists start debending people in bulk it is presented in the manner of methodical mass executions.
Part of the backstory of Tonraq and Unalaq, Korra's dad and uncle, is disturbingly similar to Iroh and Ozai's backstory: a younger and more ambitious little brother eventually "replaces" his older brother - a more calm and kind person, a retired soldier and legitimate heir- as leader of their people. And like Ozai, Unalaq orchestrated a plan to remove his older brother from his birthright to the throne.
The Book Two episode "Peacekeepers" revolves around the debate of whether or not "the United Republic" has a right to invade another country just because a "cultural center" was violently attacked by attackers who may or in fact may not actually be from that other country to begin with. The War on Terror parallels are there.
Saikhan was briefly this to Tarrlok, until Tarrlok bloodbends him.
Unalaq is this to Vaatu.
Dreaming of Times Gone By: Given Korra's spiritual shortcomings, the best Aang can manage (until the Book One finale, anyway) is to show her relevant flashbacks from his own life in an attempt to warn her about bloodbending and Yakone's legacy as opposed to simply talking to her like Roku did with him.
There is a massive factory hidden beneath the Sato estate.
Chapter nine shows that there is an entire underground infrastructure that the Equalists have built across the city, with transports, storage facilities, factories, training areas and even a private prison.
Eldritch Location: The darker parts of the Spirit World, especially the Fog of Lost Souls, a spirit manifesting as a fog that drives anyone within the fog to utter insanity.
Electric Slide: In "Welcome to Republic City," the metal-bending police use this to easily chase criminals on the run.
While largely continuing its predecessor's formula of tying a person's eye color to their home nation and bending element, there are some aversions in multicultural Republic City. The firebender on the pro-bending team the Rabbiroos has green eyes and one of the metalbender cops has amber eyes, for example. Tenzin's three kids are airbenders, but the girls have brown eyes.
The three main characters — Korra, Mako, and Bolin — play this trope straight. Korra has aqua blue eyes and is the waterbender of the team, Bolin has leaf green eyes and is the earthbender, while Mako has amber eyes and is the firebender.
Mako and Bolin are a fire and earth bender of the same parents, so while they play the individual eye colours straight, they are also an example of the multicultural nature of Republic City.
While not a bender, Asami is definitely of Fire Nation descent given her name and hair color (her father looks straight out of the Fire Nation) yet she has green eyes, a mark of the intermarrying of ethnically Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom citizens in the Fire Nation colonies.
Elemental Powers: Republic City is full to bursting with fire-, earth-, and waterbenders, and is home to every airbender or potential airbender in the world (all six of them). Particular cases below:
Blow You Away: Tenzin and his first three kids are all Airbenders, and Korra is learning to become one from Tenzin.
Dishing Out Dirt: Korra and Bolin are both Earthbenders. As are the Metalbending police force by definition.
Extra Ore Dinary: There's an entire police unit made of Metalbenders. Their chief, Lin Beifong, is the daughter of the one who created both the discipline and the city's police force: Toph Beifong.
Making a Splash: The native element of Korra and of her people, the Northern and Southern Water Tribes and some benders descended from the tribes that live in Republic City.
The Triple Threat Triads are an actively multi-ethnic bender organized crime gang. In "Welcome to Republic City" Korra meets and beats a Power Trio of protection racket enforcers consisting of a waterbender, earthbender and firebender respectively. Other Triad groups, such as the Agni Kais and Red Monsoons, avert this by being element-specific.
The Equalists are gender and nationality neutral, so long as you're a non-bender.
Eskimo Land: The Southern Water Tribe city at the South Pole, home of Avatar Korra, her parents, and her Waterbendering sifu, Master Katara.
The Equalists plan to end the era of bending and eliminate the bending arts entirely.
Tarrlok's was to use the revolution as a means to take over Republic City and be seen as a hero.
Unalaq's plan is to merge with Vaatu and become the Dark Avatar
Evil Versus Evil: In Book One, Amon deliberately goes after every antagonist who isn't working for him (the Triads, Tahno, and Tarrlok). This is part of a plan to get public support by casting himself as a hero for punishing the wicked.
Exact Words: In "A Leaf in the Wind", Tenzin tells Korra she cannot watch a pro-bending match. When he catches her enjoying one on the radio, she points out that he never said she cannot listen to one. Tenzin, of course, points out that it's a violation of the spirit of the order, if not the letter.
Hiroshi Sato is an expy of Henry Ford, a famous industrialist best known for mass-production of cars.
Varrick is this universe's Howard Hughes - an eccentric businessman involved in aviation and film with a love of cookies.
President Raiko is similar in appearance to Sun Yat-Sen, China's first president.
Eye Am Watching You: In "Welcome to Republic City", Chief Beifong gives this to Korra, index and pinky pointed to her eyes, then Korra. Korra gives one heck of a stink face before throwing the gesture right back.
Face De-Bending with Dignity: All of Amon's victims reacted with struggling and screaming as he prepared to remove their bending until Lin, who after defying his demand that she sell out Korra in return for keeping her bending, simply closes her eyes and calmly accepts what is about to happen.
Blurring often transitions from the foreground to the background or vice versa, as if someone is adjusting the focus on a camera.
The demonstrations of earth- and airbending in the intro make the "camera" shake slightly.
Korra and Mako's fight against the chi blockers in "The Revelation" features a moment where the "camera" swivels around Korra and her opponent in a panoramic sweep.
False Flag Operation: In chapter 8 Tarrlok, after putting into effect a curfew for non-benders, cuts the power in the Dragon Flats district which would cause the non-bending residents to protest. Tarrlok even branded it as an Equalist rally, and had them all arrested, possibly as a way to bait Amon.
Jinora Gran-Gran, I've been reading all about your old adventures; I've been dying to ask you; what happened to Zuko's mom? Katara: Well, Jinora, it's an incredible tale— Ikki:[interrupting] Gran Gran, you look old. How old ARE you? Why is it so cold in the South Pole? Can we sit around a fire and play games and tell scary stories and make snowmen? And then could you make the snowman move with waterbending and chase us? Wouldn't that be fuuuun? [Jinora hangs her head in disappointment]
Fangirl: Apparently, Bolin has a ton of them. During the first pro-bending match's opening in "A Leaf in the Wind", one of them can be heard screaming very loudly "I love you, Bolin!", and Mako's initial attitude towards Korra implies that Bolin brings fangirls to their prep room often.
Whether intentionally or unintentionally, Korra's hair being let down in the finale had the fandom swooning!
Fantastic Racism: The Equalist movement claims that benders are oppressing the non-benders of the city. The thing is, they have some legitimate points; there are multiple bending crime gangs which prey on non-benders, the police and army appear to be mostly if not entirely benders, and Republic City is ruled by a council of five benders, one from each nation (Fire, Earth, North & South Water, and Air). On the flip side, Amon talks about "cleansing [benders] of their impurity" and other Equalists have voiced loathing at the thought of benders and non-benders mixing romantically.
Very subtly done throughout Book 2, as certain characters tend to think of members of certain nations in terms of stereotypes:
The fact that Amon falsely claims his parents are killed by firebenders, as well as Hiroshi Sato calling Mako a "firebending street rat" bespeaks a belief that all firebenders are criminals.
Ginger calls Bolin "dumb as the rocks [he bends]". Twice. The second time while claiming to be his girlfriend.
Unalaq and his children seem to consider the Southerners to be uncultured rubes. While Tonraq views the Northerners as pretentious snobs who lock to order others around.
Air Nomads seem to have a reputation for cowardice - despite Tenzin's bravery, he still gets people, including his own brother, claiming he has a cut-and-run response to confrontation, because it's a "typical airbender move".
Most Spirits seem to have an unbelievable amount of belligerence to humans upon first meeting them, even in ages long ago, when Spirits roamed free over most of the world and humans were confined to a few isolated cities.
Fartillery: Meelo first airbends his fart to break his fall in an early chapter, later he weaponizes his fartbending against Equalist mooks.
Father, I Don't Want To Fight: Occurs in Tarrlok'sbackstory. His father is obsessed with teaching him how to bloodbend but Tarrlok hates it and feels it's wrong to do to the animals they are training on. He finally refuses when asked to bloodbend his brother. In the present day he refuses to use these skills his father taught him until forced to. In a way the same events lead the brother to also refuses to 'fight'. The brother uses the powers his father taught them to stop *all* bending, not just bloodbending, as Amon to prevent anyone from behaving as his father use to.
The Federation: The United Republic of Nations, a collection of former Fire Nation colonies created as a fifth nation.
Fictional Sport: Pro-bending, where teams composed of one waterbender, one firebender and one earthbender compete against each other, trying to gain the most territory or knock out as many opponents as possible before time runs out.
For the Mako/Korra/Asami Triangle: Played Straight. Despite dating Asami for several episodes, Book One ends with Mako declaring his love for Korra, whom he met first in the second chapter.
For the Korra/Bolin/Mako Triangle: Averted. Despite meeting Bolin first, and even going on one date with him, Korra was never romantically interested in him and explained that she liked Mako from the first time she saw him.
Actually, this can be considered played straight since before Korra met Bolin, she was listening to Mako's match on the radio.But then in season two Mako broke up with Korra and got back together with Asami. After defeating the Big Bads Korra and Mako broke up for good.
Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Bolin and Mako. Mako is a tightly controlled young man focused on winning the pro-bending prize money to keep himself and his little brother from going back on the streets, while Bolin is more of an easygoing type with a sense of humor and a way with the ladies and an impulsive streak that leads him into trouble.
Forceful Kiss/"Shut Up" Kiss: In "The Spirit of Competition", Korra kisses Mako after he explains that he likes her, but he still likes Asami. He kisses her back.
Foreshadowing: One notable example is one of Tarrlok's lines in "Out of the Past." [to Amon] "You fool, you've never faced bending like mine!" Turns out, he not only has, but he's specifically faced his before, and it makes the ensuing Curb-Stomp Battle make more sense since Amon knew exactly what to expect.
In Book 2, Bolin asks Mako for advice on how to break up with Eska. At the end of the conversation, he says "Thanks Mako! I'm lucky you're so good at breaking girls hearts. Huh, Korra better watch out." Come episode five, Mako actually does break up with Korra.
In "Rebel Spirit", he momentarily loses the goofy tone to his voice when Bolin points out he wasn't levitating, and becomes genuinely intimidating. He uses the same tone of voice to greet Mako after he finds out his involvement in the plot.
"Civil Wars" has him leading the revolution against Unalaq, attempting to bribe a judge, and escaping his trial by hiding in a platypus-bear, and he explicitly states his motivation is preserving his wealth. Also his statement that "Honesty is for fools, kid... lie big and run fast!"
"Peacekeepers" has him suggest to Asami that she profit from the war by selling her mecha-tanks:
Varrick: If you can't make money during a war, you just flat-out cannot make money!
While in the beginning of "The Sting," he sabotages an interrogation when Mako appears to be getting too close to the truth.
Vaatu only ever refers to Korra as Raava, showing that he never considers that Korra, a human, has any power beyond what Raava gives her. Which means he also never considers that Korra on her own could stand up to him without Raava.
The Metalbending Corps and Lin are, by definition, master earthbenders, but rely almost exclusively on their metalbending cables rather than their earthbending, even when it would be exceedingly useful.
In "Turning the Tides", Asami tells Mako he could have heated the water himself, being a firebender, instead of needing to ask for more.
Fourth Wall Psych: Tenzin looks directly at the camera when he says "You must promise me that your teenage years won't be like this!" (He's actually talking to his kids.)
Frameup: Varrick has Mako blamed for the robbery of Future Industries.
At the very beginning of "A Leaf in the Wind", there is a picture of Tahno, introduced in "The Spirit of Competition", on the back page of the newspaper Korra is reading.
At the end of "Welcome to Republic City", there are blueprints on the wall to Amon's left, apparently detailing Mini Mecha. The mecha themselves appear in "The Aftermath".
The battle moves fast enough that it's hard to notice, but screenshots of "The Revelation"note Look at picture 1008 for a clear side-view of the Equalist indicate that the Equalist who chi-blocks Korra has a feminine figure. Guess they really do strive for equality...
A man in a yellow suit and a hat with a red feathery puff on top has been featured in numerous crowd shots. Fans have made a game out of finding him.
In "Endgame", when Aang walks up to a depowered and depressed Korra, you can see his face clearly see part of his face for a half a second or so before Korra addresses him (as Tenzin) and he reveals who he is to her (and the audience).
From the Mouths of Babes: Ikki pulls this on Korra in "When Extremes Meet". She reveals Korra's crush on Mako to Asami, who was unaware of the crush beforehand. Ikki also likes to comment on stuff that isn't appropriate.
The Equalists proclaim they seek to overthrow the oppressive benders, but in doing so prove at least as oppressive themselves.
Amon lambasts the audience at the pro-bending championship match for celebrating benders bullying people. Come the finale, the arena is now full of Equalists supporters, and they cheer on Amon as he bullies the three airbender children tied to stakes for the crowd's entertainment.
After declaring him "weird," Ikki stares at Tarrlok for twenty seconds. The stare continues even after the camera pans to the left to focus on Tarrlok's conversation with Korra, where Ikki can be seen at the right of the shot, still staring at Tarrlok.
Easy to miss, given the gravity of this scene: in "A New Spiritual Age", Tenzin and his siblings agreed to take turns keeping watch over Korra and Jinora in the night at the start of the episode, with Tenzin taking the first shift. At the end of the episode, we see he fell asleep in a sitting position without waking up the next person due to take the watch.
Gainaxing: Surprisingly yes: For real. However, it stands out because it's a more realistic example, and if you don't pay attention, you'll miss it.
Generational Saga: In Korra, the previous series' protagonists, their children and grandchildren are alternately featured, depicted in flashback or discussed, particularly Avatar Aang's multigenerational family, with his reincarnation Korra narratively treated as a de facto member.
Genericist Government: We know the United Republic of Nations is some sort of a republic, that there's a council overseeing Republic City at the very least, but beyond that Season 1 leaves a lot of details blank.
Gentle Giant: Doubly subverted: Iroh is still on the short side, as he was in the original series, but towers over Korra by dint of her having regressed into childhood.
Gilded Cage: At the start of the series, Korra lived in a lavish mansion, with her only real challenge in life being to learn bending from masters... in the middle of an inaccessible and heavily fortified compound, miles from any other inhabitants of the South Pole—including her own parents. She was not allowed to leave the compound without permission, and had guards watching her at all times, even while taking Naga on a walk.
Girly Run: In "The Spirit of Competition," Bolin does this with bonus Inelegant Blubbering while fleeing the deeply hurtful sight of his friend Korra (who he'd taken on a date the night before) kissing his brother Mako.
Gone Horribly Right: At the beginning of Book Two, Bolin attempts to flirt with Eska. Surprisingly enough, Eska almost immediately engages in a relationship with him. Unfortunately for him, though, Eska has all the warmth and charm of a glacier, her definition of "boyfriend" appears to be "slave", and she has some scaryYandere tendencies beneath her emotionless mask.
Good Parents: Korra's parents, along with Tenzin and his wife.
Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Enforced, as it is both a family show and Justified as it's set in the equivalent of the 1920s. A frustrated Tenzin, for instance, mutters "criminy" at one point.
One between Korra and Mako in "A Leaf in the Wind" after they win the pro-bending match.
Bolin and a minor unnamed bender share one of these when the bender is led away to have his abilities removed by Amon in "The Revelation".
Heroic Sacrifice: In "The Turning of the Tides, " Lin buys the airbenders time to escape. When captured she refuses to tell Amon where Korra is hiding, and has her bending removed.
Hero Insurance: Subverted in the premiere. Though she assumes she has leeway, Korra learns the hard way that being the Avatar is not a license to dish out vigilante justice and smash property. Double Subverted later on.
Hijacked by Ganon: In universe example; in the first episodes of Book 2, it seems like Chief Unalaq is the Big Bad. However, it's eventually revealed he actually is working for Vaatu, a Predecessor Villain who was introduced later on, but whose first appearance chronologically happened before the original series, and who had only been seen in flashback at this point.
Bolin:[to Korra] In a real match, you'd be a sitting turtleduck. Bolin: [Pabu] is not a one-trick poodle-pony. Korra: What is that weasel-snake Tarrlok up to?
Holding Your Shoulder Means Injury: Bolin performs this in "The Spirit of Competition," after getting smacked by a stray earth disk. Unusually, it actually is his shoulder that's injured, complete with ugly bruise.
General Iroh does the same thing in Endgame, even though his injury is lower, against his bicep.
Hope Springs Eternal: The world was far from being in balance when Wan died. However, somewhere among those who would be the Air Nation eventually, a child would be born who would continue what Wan started. The world may be out of balance but the hope for restoration continues to thrive.
Hostage for MacGuffin: In "A New Spiritual Age" Korra must decide between opening the spirit portal for Unalaq or watching Unalaq corrupt and destroy Jinora's soul. Furious, she picks the former.
Huddle Shot: Used "Spirit of Competition", when Mako tries to build up confidence for the upcoming tournament.
Hufflepuff House: The other three members of the city council. The only two actual voices in the council are Tarrlok and Tenzin, and the rest of the council always sides with Tarrlok. Even when he changes his mind.
Tenzin is as serious and staid as Aang was carefree. Despite this, he still feels enormous pressure to live up to him - his main lesson in season 2 is "Be Yourself".
Lin shares Toph's toughness, she's very strict about enforcing the law and has no patience for the Avatar's vigilante justice.
Asami refuses to join the Equalists with Hiroshi.
Tarrlok decided to take over Republic City through legal means, rather than from the criminal underground.
I Can't Believe I'm Saying This: When Amon tried to intimidate Republic City into not holding the pro-bending tournament finals, Korra wanted the finals to be held despite Amon's threats. Chief Lin Bei Fong, despite how she usually feels about Korra, agreed with her.
Played for laughs in Book 2. When the caretakers of the Southern Air Temple praise the next generation of airbenders, Pema looks to her currently bickering kids and less-than-enthusiastically repeats the sentiment.
One of the themes of Book 2, actually. Tenzin and Korra in particular are forced to come to terms with the fact that they are their own person and not simply the roles that are placed upon them (progenitor of a new generation of airbenders and the Avatar).
Ironic Echo: During the infiltration of Sato Manor, one metalbender cop was assigned to watch over Asami, Mako, and Bolin. When he tells them to stay put until Chief Beifong returns, Mako and Bolin incapacitate him, and Bolin delivers this spiteful reprise:
It Only Works Once: When Korra first fights Equalist chi-blockers, they use smoke bombs to disorient her and cover their escape. The second time she faces chi-blockers she encases the smoke bombs in water and freezes them to contain the smoke.
In Touch with His Feminine Side: Bolin, who despite his bulky physique and athletic profession, is extremely emotional and sensitive, and loves make-overs.
Tarrlok is using his task force to score political points, but the Equalists are a militant revolutionary group openly advocating the violent overthrow of their country's government and the extermination of bending. Some sort of official response is necessary to that existential threat and Tarrlok is the only council member offering a plan.
Similarly, while the Equalists are depicted as being far too extreme, they wouldn't have been able to raise an army if benders weren't abusing their powers on the scale we saw.
While Korra acts rather rude about it in the start of Book 2, she does have a very valid point when she calls out Tenzin and her father for constantly bossing her around and treating her like a child.
While the humans from Wan's home village are destructive towards nature and attack spirits on sight, the spirit wilds are shown to be actively hostile to human life and the spirits have no problem attacking humans even though, by all indications, even a human with elemental powers doesn't have a chance of killing a spirit. The spirits aren't natives, either, having migrated from the spirit world, and its their presence that forced the humans to retreat to the lion turtles in the first place.
Just Friends: In "The Spirit of Competition," the Sibling Triangle of Bolin, Mako and Korra articulate their feelings towards each other in various ways. After resulting interpersonal tensions nearly cost them their place in the finals, the three settle back into a mutually friendly dynamic, with the larger underlying Love Dodecahedron unresolved.
Kaiju: Some of the larger Dark Spirits fall into this category, especially The one that swallows Korra.
the Dark Avatar Unalaq turns into one, who is then defeated by a Korra-Kaiju in the bay of Republic City.
Kangaroo Court: The trial in the third episode of the second season. Korra's father is found guilty of treason (a capital crime) simply because the meeting that led to the rebellion was at Korra's father's home. No defense was allowed, and the prosecutor/judge asked nothing but leading questions. And it's quickly revealed that the judge was ordered to make his decision by Unaloq in order to manipulate Korra and still get the rebels out of the way.
Karma Houdini: Varrick starts and escalates a war for profit, steals from a business rival, and tries to kidnap the President ... and only stays in prison - a cushy prison he designed ''for himself'' - before almost immediately breaking out.
Ki Attacks: Like in its predecessor series, bending has a basis in the eastern theme of Chi, so all bending is technically ki attacks of an elementally aligned nature.
In "Welcome to Republic City" Korra is not that good with the verbal wit.
Protestor: Benders like this girl only use their power to oppress us! Korra: What? I'm not oppressing anyone! You're—You're oppressing yourselves! Protestor: That didn't even make sense!
In "The Spirit of Competition", Bolin gets one, but he has the excuse of being "drunk":
Mako: I told you that dating a teammate was a bad idea. Bolin:You're a bad idea!
Land of One City: In the time of Avatar Wan, humans lived in isolated cities far from each other. So far and with such dangerous terrain between them the idea of other humans living outside the city is considered a legend and not possible. And these cities are on top of lion-turtles.
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.
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.
Bending 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 in Book Two 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?
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.
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.
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.
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, 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.
Monumental Damage: In the Book 2 finale, the Dark Avatar tears down the statue of Aang in Republic City.
"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.
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.
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?!"
Mutually Exclusive Magic: As in the original series, all but the Avatar are only capable of bending one element. Children of mixed heritage will learn the element of one of their parents or the other, and perhaps no element at all, but never both.
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.
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."
"The Spirit of Competition" looked as if it would focus completely on the probending tournament, but was really an entire episode about the Love Dodecahedron.
The trailer for the finale had a blatant lie. The trailer showed a clip with Amon saying that would rid the world of bending forever that night. The actual clip revealed that the trailer left out the word "air", preceding "bending", changing the whole meaning of the line.
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 entire Air Force, while also having huge hidden factories and airfields to manufacture, store and maintain them all.
The Equalists are able to do this because they're secretly funded by Sato Industries, which means that's an N.G.O. Superpower by extension.
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.
Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: In "Out of the Past," Korra is solidly trapped in a metal cage, unable to break herself out, and is only freed when the Equalist try and fail to subdue her and capture her themselves.
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.
Not So Different: 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.
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.
In "Welcome to Republic City" Korra is not that good with the verbal wit when engaging a member of the local Muggle Power movement.
Protestor:Benders like this girl only use their power to oppress us! Korra: What? I'm not oppressing anyone! You—You're oppressing yourselves! Protestor: That didn't even make sense!
In "The Spirit of Competition", an unhappy Bolin gets one, but he has the excuse of being "drunk" on his Comfort Food:
Mako: I told you that dating a teammate was a bad idea. Bolin:You're a bad idea!
A more serious variant comes when Unalaq, of all people, questions Tenzin's parenting skills - see Insult Backfire.
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.
Obvious Rule Patch: Pro-bending didn't take into account what would happen if the Avatar became a player. The referees allowed Korra to continue, but only as long as she bent a single element.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
Le Parkour: The urban cityscape setting allows for heavy use of the style in outdoor fight choreography, and an expert is employed as a consultant.
People Puppets: 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 dozens of benders/nonbenders all at once.
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.
Portal Network: The Spirit World portals can be used for instantaneous travel between the poles. Unalaq's ultimate goal is to use them to unite the Water Tribes.
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.
During the bender battle where Bolin vomits over the side, narrator Shiro decides to mention their sponsor Flamey-O noodles.
Discussed during the filming of the propaganda movie to draw attention to the Southern Water Tribe invasion. Scarlet uses a hair-styling spray in the movie, and it'll sell rapidly after it airs.
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.
Pyrrhic Victory: 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.
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.
"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.
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.
Red Eyes, Take Warning: After Unalaq fuses with Vaatu, he develops these whenever he goes into Dark Avatar State.
Red Oni, Blue Oni: In Book 2, Unaloq was blue to Korra's red. The climatic battle inverts the colour scheme.
Redshirt Army: 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 Republic: The United Republic of Nations is the first one in the Avatar-verse. In Book Two: Spirits, the representative council made up by ambassadors from each nation was disbanded and they now have a President the citizens of the United Republic voted on.
Reset Button: By the end of the finale, Korra gets her bending back and can now restore powers to Amon's previous victims using energybending.
Retired Badass: 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.
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.
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 Word of God says this is the current time period in Korra's day.
Royal Mess: The Fire Nation's ruler, a position roughly analogous to Japan'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.
Scare Chord: Whenever Dark Spirits make an appearance, especially Vaatu, a violin starts shrieking.
Schizo Tech: Despite the generally Early-Twentieth Century level of technology present in the show, the Equalists seem to have mastered high-energy, low-mass power generators or batteries, giving their mooks electrified Kali-sticks and Power Palms.
Scooby Stack: In "The Guide", we get a rare two-sided one, as Kya, Bumi, Pema, Jinora, Meelo and Ikki all peep in around the edges of a doorway on Tenzin admitting that he has never been able to make it to the spirit world.
Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: The Wolf-Bats pay off the referee in the pro-bending Championship so they can cheat without being called on it; by their third round with the Fire Ferrets, it is so blatant that the announcer calls them on it. It's implied by Amon that this is hardly unusual for them.
This is also true of Varrick, who is using his money to nefarious purpose, but is still a respected figure.
Senseless Sacrifice: In "Turning the Tides," Lin stays behind to hold off the Equalists and gets her bending removed. In "Endgame," we learn that the Equalists managed to capture Tenzin and his family anyway and are planning to remove their bending at a mass rally.
Sex Sells: After essentially inventing silent films (or reinventing them into talkies), what is the first thing Varrick decides to do with it? Get the hot chick to pose for the camera.
Shame If Something Happened: Varrick does this to Mako, stating it would be a shame if something happened to Asami or Bolin. When Mako refuses, he frames Mako for the robbery of Future Industries.
Shoo Out the Clowns: Averted with Naga. Bolin tries to protect Naga and Pabu by telling them to stay put away from the fight in the two chapter finale; turns out Naga and Pabu save Asami and him when they get captured and that Naga is quite the fighter.
"The Aftermath" also features a brief racing segment, set to music that's similar to the Speed Racer theme.
Varrick's motion picture from "Rebel Spirit" is a Avatar-verse version of "Sallie Gardner at a Gallop".
Varrick later creates the Avatar-verse version of Nanook of the North, "Nuktuk, the Hero of the South", with Bolin in the lead role. It's remiscent of 30s sci-fi serials like Flash Gordon while doubling as pro-South propaganda. Further, its title puns on Nanook of the North, a classic "documentary" on the Inuit (of whom the Water Tribe are a partial Fantasy Counterpart Culture).
A number in the Beginnings episodes out to Hayao Miyazaki films. Spirits have a procession towards a hot spring and the disguised human is found out by smell. Wan rides a deer-like creature while trying to stop humans and spirits from killing each other. Remind you of anything?
Continues in "A New Spiritual Age", where Korra has her age changed and finds that her emotions, especially strong ones, can influence her surroundings in the Spirit World, similar to Sophie in Howl's Moving Castle. She also rides a dragon she rescued, like Chihiro in Spirited Away.
A few of them also look like Pokémon and "mushi"; the green No-Face expy's flat face is similar to a character from Rice Boy.
Sealed Evil in a tree, thanks/no thanks to the hero: Vaatu, evil spirit of chaos, freed from his fight with Raava, good spirit of peace by future first Avatar Wan who then re-sealed him in a dead tree in a desert in the spirit world —> Aku, evil spirit(?) of greed, sealed in a dead tree in a swamp, unsealed by Jack's dad —> Hexxus, evil spirit of pollution, sealed in a dead tree in a wasteland, accidentally unsealed by woodcutter Zak.
The kaiju-style battle between Korra's spirit and "Vaatuunalaq" is like a cross between Evangelion Vaatu/Unalaq looking really angel/Eva-y vs. a giant blue woman and Paprika the heroine's dream-self becomes huge to battle her mentor-turned-evil before he can throw the world into chaos.
Wan is introduced like Aladdin: a thin young man, having just stolen a loaf of bread, is running through the city streets chased by well-armed fat men.
When Bolin faces off against Northern terrorists (actually Varrick's hired gangsters), he is accompanied with a triumphant Eagleland-esque fanfare, as he tears off his sleeves - good thing Bolin eats his spinach!
Immediately following this scene we have Mako being released from prison, greeted by a crowd of admirers, and told by his boss that he has been promoted to detective, while Lu and Gang have been fired. The dialogue in this scene is very similar to the ending of Mulan.
According to Katara, Tenzin had this relationship with his siblings Kya and Bumi when they were children. Tenzin was very serious while his siblings were rather rambunctious. In the present we've seen that Tenzin is serious (usually), bald, and monk-like while Bumi is "a wild man" in the armed forces of the United Republic with a head full of anime hair; meanwhile Kya is unmarried and traveled all over the world to "find herself" (which Tenzin saw as abandoning her family) while Tenzin settled down and had a large family.
Tenzin - married father of four who lived in one place most of his life VS Kya and Bumi - single, childless (as far as we know) world travelers. Tenzin and Kya are benders with a spiritual/healing, um, bent VS Bumi, Bad Ass Normal military man/walking disaster area.
Seems to be averted with Unalaq and his older brother, Korra's dad — they don't seem extremely different aside from the whole tricking Korra's dad out of ruling the Northern Water Tribe and wanting to take over the world thing.
Sickeningly Sweethearts: Mako and Asami are too much for Korra to handle, although her own feelings for Mako probably contribute.
Sliding Scale of Villain Effectiveness: High. The Equalists present a formidable threat to the Avatar and Republic City. Neither Korra nor the city's official police have been able to stop Amon or his agenda until their ultimate defeat in the season finale.
Same for the spirits of season 2: they can shrug of all but the most powerful bending and it takes special bending altogether to purify and/or turn them. Their leader is even tougher and they come very close to winning forever.
Slobs Versus Snobs: The relationship between the more materially-focused Southern and the more spiritually-focused Northern Watertribes seems to be like this.
Upon learning that Korra was the Avatar, the Order of the White Lotus set up a large compound in the Southern Water Tribe for her to live in, to fulfill the promise they made to Aang to protect his reincarnation. There, Korra underwent her Avatar training, under constant watch from the Order. She was allowed to leave, but only with supervision and as long as she did not go outside the South Pole. When Tenzin tried to delay her Airbending training, and thus ultimately her freedom from the compound, Korra ended up running away in order to follow him to Republic City.
For Korra's airbending training, Tenzin attempted to set up something similar on Air Temple Island. This fell apart remarkably fast.
The first humans that lived in the lion-turtle cities knew nothing about the others and only ventured out into the world for food. This changes after the spirits leave for their own world and the humans are free to spread out.
Small Steps Hero: Korra decides to risk unleashing 10,000 years of darkness on the world just to save the life of one girl.
Snowlems: Ikki suggests that Katara use waterbending to make snowmen chase the children for fun.
The pro-bending ring is far enough above the water below that you'd expect injuries, at least from the non-Waterbenders, but this trope is in full effect.
Waterbenders in pro-bending are the only ones allowed to hit their opponents in the head due to this trope.
In a nod to the previous series, when Korra jumps into the ocean from a great height, she bends the water up to herself to soften her landing.
So Last Season: In Book 2, the Dark Spirits are pretty much immune to normal bending, even Korra's Avatar State-enhanced bending. Only Unalaq's spiritual waterbending has proven consistently effective when performed properly, and it doesn't actually stop them, just calm them down and get them to leave. They're non-corporeal energy beings corrupted by darkness, instead of regular flesh and blood.
Sorting Algorithm of Evil: The Equalists of Book One are group of non-bending revolutionaries led by the terrifying Amon. While they're quite dangerous, their influence only extends to Republic City. Chief Unalaq of Book Two isn't as scary or as powerful as Amon, but he commands far greater resources and his plans threaten the entire world. However, Unalaq is serving a far greater evil: Vaatu.
Toph's daughter Lin Beifong is the captain of the police metalbenders in Republic City.
Aang and Katara's son Tenzin, who is teaching Korra to airbend just as Roku's descendant Zuko taught Aang to firebend. Tenzin also has two other siblings, Kya and Bumi, named for characters in the first series. Tenzin himself brings his wife Pema, and four children, Jinora, Ikki, Meelo, and his new born son Rohan .
Zuko's grandson, General Iroh of the United Republic military forces, appears in the final arc to assist in the fight against Amon. Iroh, unlike other examples, actually has the exact same voice as his Grandfather.
Spit Take: In "A Leaf in the Wind", a White Lotus guard does this right into the face of another when the pro-bending announcer on the radio reveals that Korra is playing in a match.
Staged Populist Uprising: Amon, who claims he was gifted by the spirits to cleanse the world of all benders, is himself a Waterbender.
Standing Between The Enemies: Avatar Wan tried doing this between his old human friends who left the lion-turtle city and now were living in the wilds but not in harmony with nature, and his spirit friends who were furious at the humans for burning parts of the forest. Unfortunately, their minds were clouded by hate and when Vaatu arrived and empowered the spirits hatred, not even Wan bonding with Raava for a short time could quell their anger. He passed out and woke up, learning all humans were killed in the battle.
Stereotype Reaction Gag: In "A Leaf in the Wind" Korra Downplays and Invokes this when she asks Bolin to teach her some pro-bending moves. He agrees but isn't sure how his earthbending will translate to her waterbending. She responds that she can earthbend, and Bolin freezes up before Digging Himself Deeper, stumbling through an apology about making assumptions based on her Water Tribe clothes. After letting him squirm a little, she allows that he was right, she is a waterbender, and a firebender, too. Bolin's brother, who saw her as just a common fangirl up to that point, does the math:
Mako: You're the Avatar, and I'm an idiot.
Stylistic Suck: The Nuktuk, Hero of the South film presented in Night of a Thousand Stars is this trope... for the first half, at least.
Sudden Name Change: The "penguins" seen way back in the first episode of ATLA had their name changed to "penguin-otters".
Super Empowering: Lion turtles used to do this with humans via energybending, granting them the various bending disciplines.
Supernatural Martial Arts: Just as technology has advanced, so have the bending arts, with many hybridized styles shown even in just the first chapter in addition to the more classic bending styles. Mako and Bolin's styles show shades of modern boxing and kickboxing, despite wielding separate elements.
Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Unaloq to Tarrloq. Both are charismatic politicians who are also powerful waterbenders whom Korra allies herself with early on. They both also have a Secret Art that we've never seen in action before. They also both then seem to turn out to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist who is trying to use the Avatar to his own means.
Aang's children are a male Airbender who feels the weight of the world on him, a female Waterbender who tries to play peacemaker, and a male nonbender who has a lot to prove compared to the others. Where have we seen that dynamic before?
And then Tenzin's own children are also a stubborn boy, a mostly-sweet girl, and the one caught in the middle, so the pattern's shaping up to extend to a third generation, more or less.
Take Our Word for It: No one ever explains just what Vaatu's "ten thousand years of darkness" actually entails.
Tall Poppy Syndrome: Benders believe that they are tall poppies that envious Equalists want to cut down.
Teens Are Short: Averted. Korra is as tall as most other adult women, Mako is very tall indeed, Bolin is still within a reasonable adult height even though he's shorter than his brother, and Asami is slightly taller than Bolin. It's part of the Art Evolution from the original series, which played this trope straight.
Jinora and Korra's varying execution of airbender footwork highlights their temperments. The more showy Korra navigates airbending training gates with lots of energetic spinning. In comparison, Jinora's approach to the course is fairly clinical: she turns on a dime but keeps her upper body rigid.
The same goes for spirit healing: Unalaq's technique has a lot more rapid, circular motions to the point where it looks flamboyant, whereas Korra's is more controlled and firm, perhaps inspired by her airbending training.
In-universe, Tarrlok identifies Amon as his brother Noatak, despite Amon's appearance being totally concealed, by the distinctive feel of his bloodbending.
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.
There Was a Door: Korra's Establishing Character Moment has her Earthbend the wall of her room to make an entrance. Her parents probably did not have that in mind when they wanted her to come meet the White Lotus members sent to verify her Avatar status.
Title Drop: The first three chapter names are mentioned by a character.
"Welcome to Republic City" is Gommu's cheery dialogue on realizing Korra is a Naďve Newcomer.
Tenzin tells Korra the key of the airbending device is to be like "A Leaf in the Wind".
People are lured to Amon's rally to learn about "The Revelation".
To Hell and Back: In a way. Tenzin enters the spirit world to find his daughter, and enters the Fog of Lost Souls, which inflicts insanity on anyone caught in it, overcomes its effects and takes is daughter and his siblings out.
In "The Voice in the Night" while at Tarrlok's gala, Tenzin has to chase after his son Meelo, who has apparently decided that something offscreen is a toilet.
In "When Extremes Meet," Team Avatar joins hands and vows to stand by one another through whatever comes...and Meelo floats down onto their joined hands by using a fart to air bend.
In "Turning The Tides", Meelo is given to Lin to look after, who promptly tells her he needs to poo... and starts grunting. Lin understandably holds him with her metal cables at arm's length. Meelo also likes to airbend his farts as part of his combat style against the Equalists.
Basically, Meelo is very good at this trope.
Varrick dropping money out of a stuffed Platypus Bear's anus twice in "Civil Wars Part 2". Bonus points for one random guy shouting "That platypus bear is pooping money!" and the farting sound effects to top off the joke.
Tonight Someone Kisses: In perfect Avatar tradition, it was used as a teaser for "Spirit of Competition." The clincher? This happened the day before April Fool's.
The menu screen on the DVDs has clips that give away key plot points.
The Triads and the Tongs: The Triple Threat Triad, a pan-elemental bender organization that collects protection money from shopkeepers, and its referenced competitors, the Red Monsoons and the Agni Kais.
The waterbender from the Triple Threat Triad after Korra taunts him.
Korra when Tenzin cuts off the radio seconds before the pro-bending match being played is finished.
Tenzin displays this on hearing that Korra is participating in a pro-bending match.
Tahno gets one after Korra beats him in the tiebreaker.
Undercover as Lovers: In "The Revelation" Korra grabs Mako's arm and leans in to provide a more convincing cover when they approach the bouncer at an Equalist rally.
Underdogs Never Lose: The Fire Ferrets were considered the underdogs going into the tournament. Subverted as the Wolf Bats win through illegal moves. Then gets double-subverted as the Wolf Bats did not get away with their victory, and they paid the price
Understatement: In the finale, Desna describes his father as a "deplorable man." He usurped the throne of the Northern Water Tribe by getting his brother exiled, invaded the South, created dark spirits, intentionally fused with an Eldritch Abomination, and tried to destroy the world, starting with Republic City. "Deplorable" might not be a strong enough word.
Unflinching Faith In The Brakes: In the finale, Bolin is being attacked by mecha-tanks, which Naga unexpectedly stops by grabbing their grappling hooks and tugging. The mechas tumble over and stop just shy of Bolin, who never moves. Then he says "Whoa!"
Unflinching Walk: While pursuing Amon onto an Equalist zeppelin, Korra uses firebending to cause a large explosion. His mooks are knocked aside, but Amon casually boards.
Firebending's advanced technique of lightningbending, once only demonstrated by Azula, Iroh, and Ozai, is, after seventy years and an industrial revolution, mundane enough that firebender menial laborers use it to run the power plants. It is also noted that firebenders who are strong enough to use this gift are not common, though.
Metalbending, once Toph's unique innovation. She decides to teach it at a school and it is now practiced by an entire police squad.
Unskilled, but Strong: The first benders had no actual skill; they were given an element by their lion-turtle when they left the city, and gave it back when they returned. They never had a chance to train. Wan was the first to learn how to truly use his element, becoming the first real firebender after training with a dragon.
Hunter: The way Wan uses fire...I've never seen anything like it. It was like it was an extension of his own body.
In "The Revelation," Korra and Mako do battle with Equalist chi-blockers who are riding motorcyles.
In "When Extremes Meet," Team Avatar uses Asami's satomobile to attack, and defeat, Equalist forces staging a jail break. At one point it becomes a car vs. motorcyle battle.
Victory By Endurance: The Fire Ferrets win two matches by simply dodging or blocking their opponents' attacks until they've tired themselves out, at which point the Ferrets win with ease. Mako impressively manages this when it's three-on-one.
Villain Has a Point: Benders are disproportionately represented in the present day Republic City Council (i.e. the current council is 100% benders, though there had been at least two non-benders on it in the past), and some benders (such as the gangsters in the first chapter) really are using their powers to abuse non-benders.
In general, the council's selection process doesn't leave much in the way of equal representation. The Air Acolytes who only occupy a single island and the restored Air Temples get a seat on the council, the Southern and Northern Water Tribes (which admittedly don't see eye to eye in Book 2) hold individual seats despite their combined population being lower than either the Earth or Fire Kingdoms (likewise only one seat each), and there appears to be no locally-elected legislative officials (mayor, etc.). The fact that the benders within Republic City have no more representation on the appointed council than the non-benders is not something the Equalists think about (or Amon wants them to).
Villainous Rescue: When Tarrlok is about to flee the city with Korra as his hostage, Amon shows up and de-bends him.
Korra Nation. The point was to get people to inform their friends of the show by having automatic posts show up on you Facebook/Twitter profile for people to click. The person sending the posts earned points for every link clicked and every person who signed up using their personal link, with the points going towards prizes including a drawing for a trip to this summer's SDCC and exclusive MP3 releases of music from the show.
Another branch of Korra Nation dealt with gaining likes, shares, and tweets of the Korra Nation website; on which fans could discover hidden content such as production sketches and background art. Sharing the site 100,00 times would allow fans to see the premiere a week early. It earned 100,000 points within the first week of its announcement, and as promised the first two episodes were available online on March 24th.
The Korra Nation website no longer exists, but the viral marketing continues with the Korra Nation tumblr and facebook pages. Art, production information, and clips of the upcoming episodes are posted to these pages once or twice a week.
When The Planets Align: Happens every ten thousand years, signifying a harmonic convergence event. The energies of the two spirit portals combine and allow either Raava (Order) or Vaatu (Chaos) to dominate the other. The loser is absorbed and slowly gains strength until the next convergence, and the cycle repeats.
World-Wrecking Wave: When Vaatu is freed, the entire world is covered in a purple field and Aurora Borealis fills the sky.
Wretched Hive: Tenzin acknowledges that Republic City has gotten a lot worse since his father's death, to the point that he considers his responsibilities as a councilman more important than teaching Korra.
Amon claims that his ability to remove a person's bending is a gift bestowed upon him by the spirits, who have determined that the Avatar failed in its duties of bringing balance to the world. Amon is actually simply utilizing another form of Wrong Context Magic; by combining bloodbending with chi-blocking he is able to strip away a person's bending ability.
Sokka discusses this trope in a flashback. While bloodbending without a full moon appears to break the laws of bending, Sokka quite reasonably points out that the fact that nobody has ever done it before does not mean it is impossible, given other examples of Wrong Context Magic that he encountered in the original series and especially when all evidence indicates that it actually happened.
Wuxia: As with its predecessor, a heavy genre influence.
Xanatos-Gambit: Amon makes a public demand over the radio that the city government shut down the Pro-bending Arena and cancel the championship match. If it works, he shows that he can make the government fold under pressure. If it doesn't, his original plan goes forward and he demonstrates his power regardless.
Varrick can come off as playing Xanatos Speed Chess all the time in his plans to get support for the South, take over Future Industries and make boat loads of money. Hell his introduction can be seen as this: either no one tells him he's not flying (and he knows that they're all yes-men in his pocket) or someone points out that he's not (and he gets his claws on someone who isn't afraid to be honest). If Asami didn't follow his advice to send tanks to the south (which he stole) it wouldn't have mattered because in a matter of weeks he'd be able to buy the company out right because it was in trouble, he just didn't wan thte chances of competition for the bidding...
Yandere: Eska could give Yuno a fair match in that department.
You Are Not Alone: In chapter eight, when Korra is crying about not being able to take the burden of saving the city alone, Mako, Bolin, and Asami come along and remind her she is not alone and they are there to help her save the city.
You Keep Using That Word: Technically the words "electrocute" and "electrocution" exclusively mean "to kill with electricity", though they long ago passed the point in common usage where it can mean non-fatal shock (shock, or electrify, being the "correct" terms in non-fatal electrical incidents).
You're Just Jealous: After Mako wrongly accuses Korra of using his brother for some Operation Jealousy ploy, she sees through his facade and remarks that he is jealous. This seems to be a favorite tactic of Mako since he uses the same argument against Korra when she insists that Hiroshi is an Equalist and Mako believes she is only doing this because she's jealous of Mako's and Asami's relationship.
alternative title(s): Avatar The Legend Of Korra; The Legend Of Korra; The Last Airbender Legend Of Korra; The Last Airbender Legend Of Korra; Avatar The Legend Of Korra; Legend Of Korra; Legend Of Korra