Reviews: The Legend Of Korra
Fascinating, Because it Won't Pull Punches
I'd like to preface this by saying I only paid slight attention to Last Airbender. As a series it was interesting, but didn't strike me as truly awe-inspiring. Legend of Korra has essentially shifted my paradigm into making me want to watch Last Airbender again to see what led up to Korra. Each character feels flawed, not to the point of incapability to act but as human beings who must work through and learn from their flaws. Especially interesting to watch is when they go into family dynamics, and how children feel about their parents, siblings feel about each other, and how difficult it can be to accept your family for who they are at times. The show also fascinates politically, because I've noted that it will not take the easy route of just solving problems with punches or a heartfelt plea. Each antagonist shows that they're ruthless and intelligent, playing the Avatar to their own ends despite her best efforts. Each one actually feels like they belong more in a Tom Clancy novel leading a rogue nation or terrorist group rather than playing the arc villain on a kid's show. That scores major points in my book, since it shows a willingness to not treat younger viewers as idiots as many contemporary cartoons have been accused of doing. The main characters themselves are flawed, imperfect, and sometimes stupid human beings. Which makes them all the better, since anyone can have emotions cloud their judgement like the main characters have. Reading through all the arguments about Mako's relationship troubles, it strikes me as strange that people would react so strongly since many people have similar problems with knowing what to do in a relationship, even if they aren't sheltered. It's not perfect. The short seasons and single-arc antagonists mean that the show can't go into further detail on what happens after the enemy is defeated, and at times the contrived coincidences do break suspension of disbelief. Yet, despite these flaws, the show stands tall on it's own. As with Tenzin and Aang, Legend of Korra can be compared to it's predecessor, but should not be treated the same way. It is it's own show, with it's own story to tell. On it's own, it's an entertaining and fascinating watch that will hopefully become a standard by which similar shows can be measured to, but not made to be exactly like.
More focused on defying stereotypes than storytelling
Any series following one as popular as The Last Airbender was going to be subject to a large amount of scrutiny, and that bias has to be kept in mind when reviewing its sequel. The problem is that, on its own, The Legend of Korra, after four seasons of troubled production, rapid changing of stories, and an ending that may keep its creators from ever working in television again, cannot be considered a good show. The problem with the show is twofold. The first is that the show has a lot of ideas, and while many of these ideas are interesting on their own (Bending as a sport! Racial relations! The beginnings of mecha development as a practical means of war! Rebuilding an entire culture!) they're all put together in such a way that they don't blend well with the narrative. The show doesn't take the time to explore the ideas it has, instead, it throws new ones. And what that leads to is a lot of questions and plotholes that are never addressed in any sort of satisfying manner. And its solution to that? Pile on more ideas! Which inevitably only worsens the problem as we're never given a reason to care about the ideas we already have. You would think a lot of the ideas, fairly interesting ones mind you in some cases, would have repercussions in the show, but they're never seen. The second issue, and this will likely cause a lot of people to accuse me of bias of some kind, is Korra herself. Korra is less a character than she is a stereotype buster. OK, Korra is a strong, independent woman of color who is the main heroine and is canonically bisexual. She also has no real character outside of being the opposite of what the stereotypes that the creators of the show want to attack are. It's very difficult to get behind a character whose whole perceived reason for existence is to be the opposite of what's expected. This attitude comes right from the first time we see her as a child, where she boldly declares "I'm the Avatar, deal with it" as if to insult anyone who doesn't want her as the lead. And the problem is the characterization is forced, unlike the multitude of strong females from The Last Airbender, who never had to resort to such simplistic characterization. This is a series with a lot of ideas, but seems more focused on telling people what's wrong than a good story. And the end result is that Korra is not a good story.
Not to say that Legend of Korra was necessarily a bad show. There's no such thing as bad shows. Just bad writers. And nowhere has it been more obvious than here. The Legend of Korra is a shining monument that shall be shown to future generations as the epitome of lazy writing and wasted potential. The main character, Korra is a complicated character, but very little attempt is made to display this fact for the first two seasons, during which violent and egocentric. She gets better in season 2 (better late than never I guess). Too bad the same can't be said for her enemies. The villains, initially established as morally grey with compelling points, very quickly take a hard swerve into one dimensionality as they show their blatant hypocrisy and just start to kick puppies for the sole purpose of establishing that, yes, they are evil MWAHAHAHAHAHA so that Korra has an excuse to solve the problem by punching it (which she rarely actually does, as Deus ex Machina is employed to solve that problem). Speaking of which... Deus ex Machina, a tradition started by, though narrowly avoided in, the original series finale, Avatar: The Last Airbender (it fit every criteria except solving an unsolvable problem), is heavily employed in resolving most of the major problems. Bad guy debended Korra? Lolenergybending. Vaatu's about to win? Loljinorabending. Korra's been poisoned? Lolpoisonbending. Season 1 is chock full-o-relationship drama as Mako, Korra and Asami triangrelate (yeah, something tells me you're the only one in that trio that won't end up with someone Mako XD), eating up screentime that could have been better served (for example) showing the non-bender oppression that Amon is always harping about. Also, Dante Basco makes no effort to use a different voice for Iroh II! Korra is like fugu fish. If properly prepared it could have been good stuff. Unfortunately, the chefs had the manual dexterity of a runaway freight train and we all died from tetrodotoxin poisoning. C for effort, A+ for concept. F- for execution. I'll be generous and say that averages out to a D. Heck, make it a D+. Sequel series need not apply. Thank you, come again.
Flawed fun for the family
Hey people, I'm kinda new at this reviewing thing, so I'm hoping people will cut me some slack. Hoping I can bring my own perspective. The last time I watched this series was during season 1. By the time it wrapped up, I felt it fell short of my expectations and lost interest. Not to say that I thought it was all bad. Amon was menacing and was a threat the franchise has never seen properly before. I also liked the setting. The problem I had was the constant drama and Twilight-like romance stuff that held back Team Avatar. It didn't help that I wasn't fond of the main character either. This past weekend, I decided to give the series another chance and rush through seasons 2 to 4 and they have varying responses. Season 2 was the worst. It had the problems that season 1 had but also all the characters holding onto the idiot ball (President: Yeah no, how about we just wait for the villain to become a giant and then we fight?) And I know that the way Korra beat Amon was an ass pull but how does Jinora help Korra by turning into a spirit thing? A lot of the finale was just poorly established "vague spirit stuff". Though to be fair, I really like Varrick. Season 3 is my favorite. No more Team Avatar romance clashes which let the characters grow on me. The Red Lotus, like Amon, are villains that the franchise has never seen before. Except combustion, we've seen that before. I felt that Tenzin had a great moment when facing The Red Lotus and I liked the finale. This would be the season that I would have ended the series on. Then came season 4 which I felt didn't live up to S3. For the villain, they kinda copypasted Fire Lord Ozai as a woman with half-baked abandonment issues and nerfed Korra so she could stand a chance. Everyone knew the second Korra recovers, Earthbending Hitler was finished. And why does Varrick, a side character(granted, my favorite character), have a more fleshed out romance than Korra? It seems odd that, after Korra saves the day, we get this "BTW, Korra and Asami are together now, bye!" It's just adrupt. As it stands, Korra and Asami being a thing makes as much sense as Korra and Tenzin. So as a whole, one good season, one bad, and two that needed polishing. Unfortunately, I feel this just isn't as good as the characters and structure of the story that Avatar Aang gave us. And yet, it's still worth a look. Except S2.
Season 4 finale: Good, but trips on the finish line
The episode was good, but did not finish as strongly as it could have. While the fights were fast-paced and had impressive scope, I did not feel the same level of urgency and tension that I did from Sozin's Comet. Maybe it was the buildup raising my belief that more people were going to die, but it felt like the heroes had a few layers of Plot Armor activated and got a few too many close calls to keep it believable. Giving Kuvira a tragic backstory now felt forced. Had they put her backstory in "Enemy at the Gates" or "Battle of Zaofu" it would have seemed more natural, but not so much when it's right as she's being defeated. I was thinking to myself "Oh, now you want me to feel sorry for the stone-cold conqueror who nuked her fiance and threw her surrogate mother in prison? Sorry, not feeling it". And finally, maybe my Shipping Goggles are in need of repair, but prior to Season 4 I did not get any hints that Korra and Asami would get a Relationship Upgrade, so when it happened I had a similar reaction to Kuvira's backstory. I like my romances to be a bit more fleshed out, please, not just dropped on us in the last half of an already short and cluttered season. These few things made the finale seem a bit thrown together, like they had ideas but were too quick to get them out. There were parts I enjoyed, but they were dragged down by the flaws.
The legend of Korra season 4 review
So what do I think? Let's see.... Pros:
- Korra truly developed in this season and so did (surprisingly) Prince Wu
- Kuvira was fleshed out as well
- Seeing Asami reconstruct her relationship with her father is satisfying
- Politics were a nice touch......
- (Minor) A freaking Mech? Are you freaking serious? I highly doubt that Kuvira's army advanced that fast especially when we get no scenes of them even developing that mech.
- The asspull. I thought we were done with this Bryke. Korra blocks the beam with airbending or whatever the hell that was and it apparently makes a new portal to the spirit realm because of the amount of energy it sent out? But it didn't do so when she was blasting buildings with that same energy?
- (Minor) Prince Wu's development was filled with his comedic garbage which got in the way of him actually developing at some points.
- Opal was a jerk in this season. Yes, I can say this and be completely sure of myself. I'm no relationship expert but I'm pretty sure that acting like a jerk to someone and later on say: "Hey you can gain my trust again by doing this for me." would probably get me a certain gesture and the F-Bomb. I understand how she feels but it is barely addressed since she was out of line as well when he was TRYING to gain her trust again.
- Developing a villain at the finale is NOT A GOOD WAY TO DEVELOP A VILLAIN. Maybe a specific portion of his viewpoint but not her entire backstory. And doing a portion of it during a flashback is not acceptable too. And why did you pick a minor character from season 3 to be the main villain of Season 4 WITHOUT SOME FORESHADOWING AND DECENT DEVELOPMENT PRIOR TO SEASON 4?
It all comes down to the characters
Review of books 1 and 2. Slight spoilers. Avatar: The Last Airbender is one of my favorite series of all time. This sequel is not a bad series by any means. It has good animation, great action scenes and a well-developed world. And yet is still disappoints me. Why? Let's take a step back. Why was the original series so great? It certainly wasn't because of the story, which wasn't very original - it's every epic fantasy story you've ever heard of. The setting was more interesting, trading the standard European middle ages setting for an Asian-inspired world. But at the heart of it all were the characters, who were just so vibrant and lifelike that I was sucked right in. So in Korra we see the same thing, with one key difference. The setting is fantastic, I like the creators' decision to evolve their world instead of keeping it in Medieval Stasis. The storyline is once again nothing really special, although I like the decision to give each season its own arc and villain instead of having one overarching plot. However, I find the characters very hard to care about. Compared to the original series' characters, they seem so bland and one-dimensional. Korra is hotheaded, Mako is stoic, Bolin cracks jokes and Asami is just... boring. In season 2 it appears that the writers don't even really know what to do with her. The seasons of this series are shorter and more tightly plotted. At first this sounded good to me, yet looking back this may actually be the problem. ATLA had many "filler" episodes that served to highlight the various characters. Because we got to know them so well, the plot-heavy episodes carried that much more weight. (Plus, they found a way to make all of it relevant by re-introducing many previously one-shot characters during the final season.) In Korra, we barely get to know these characters, no matter how many worldshaking dangers they face. The characters and the story do not have room to breathe. It's pretty damning that my favorite episode is "Out of the Past", which features an extended flashback to ATLA's characters. Legend of Korra is a well-intentioned effort, but ultimately, it falls short of the mark.
New Edit: They should have just owned it
I was originally planning on making a sock puppet account to post this review. I'm still not happy with the series, in light of the finale. However, instead of complaining about the problems, I will present a solution. Since Bryke, especially with the last two books, wanted to emphasize more political conflicts. I'd make things more realistic. The Avatar's decisions will not always be popular, however an unpopular decision isn't necessarily a bad one. Here are my complaints and how I'd like to see them addressed: One point is that Korra, while she has matured, isn't a particularly wise Avatar . Though she isn't necessarily a failed one. Korra's inaction (whether voluntary or otherwise) has led the world to adapt without the Avatar's presence. B1 While Korra stopped Amon, she wasn't a part of the process to elect Raiko. B2 While Korra defeated Unavaatu and left the spirit portals open, she wasn't a part of republic city's infrastructure being rebuilt. Nor was she concerned about the other nations reacting to harmonic convergence. B3 Korra was sick and the air-nomads had to take over. B4 Republic city is in ruins, a new spirit portal is unlocked. The Earth Kingdom's government needs to be rebuilt from the bottom up. Korra has just gotten past her three year rehab, and decides to go on vacation. Compare Korra to the anti-Bush complaints when he flew over Katrina, or when he remained at the elementary school during 9-11. Or the "Obama golfs/vacations too much" or him saying he found out about the conflicts of his administration through news sources from CNN, and not the white house. Most of Korra's in-story opponents came off as more flippant (Toph, Raiko, her "approval ratings", etc) or evil (Unalaq, Amon, the Red Lotus, Kuvira). None of them were rational, though they could have been. The biggest missed plot point, in light of Korra's inaction, was her preference of republic city. In her defense, it could be argued that republic city represents the four nations, therefore she only needs to concern herself with that place. On the other hand, the Earth Kingdom was being ruled by a despot, we don't see the fire nation, and apparently the Southern Water tribe is more advanced than the North. Should Korra be concerned about these issues? The answer shouldn't be clear. But the question should be asked.
In defense of Korrasami
This pairing is the only one I have EVER actually cared about. In fictional relationships, I’ve always seen them bogged down by endless stupidity. It’s always love triangles, or will-they-won’t-they bullshit, or it’s one-sided with stalker behavior getting involved, or they're star-crossed, or one can't work up the courage to talk to the other, or contrived miscommunication, or there’s cheating, or I flat out don’t like one or both of them. I hate the Love Makes You Stupid trope. I hate the subtle anti-intellectualism of treating it as a truism that love bringing down your IQ while also presenting it as the greatest thing you can feel. The relationship between these two has none of those problems. Their both smart, cool, and mature, they talk to each, they care about each other, and I like both of them. But for some reason people think it's a mistake. I've seen three common reasons people say they don't like the pairing: homophobia, which I won't go into, ship rivalry, which I don't care about, and the feeling it was "rushed". The two have been growing closer and having plenty of subtext throughout seasons 3 & 4. Don't tell me they didn't, the bulk of the Korra Ho Yay page was the two of them. And all they did at the end was, effectively, go on a first date. They didn't even kiss! It's not like they had a completely one-sided crush for a few episodes and then got married! No one would ever find that romantic and believable and I'm sure many fans would feel the same way if something like that happened with a straight couple! Some also dismiss it as a gimmick, something tacked on at the last second. Even if that was true, it doesn't matter. It works, and it felt great. That's why I'm so defensive of it. It made me give a damn about a romantic relationship, something no other work has ever done. It actually made my cold, lifeless heart beat. And I'm glad it exists.
Vastly Superior to ATLA
Yes, I said it. LOK is ten thousand times better than it's predecessor. Here's the basic gists: - The protagonist is far more engaging. This is not a diss on Aang, who is himself a wonderful protagonist as well, but for all complaints he pretty much rarely evolves, his angle is mostly about accepting responsibility. Korra, on the other hand, goes a full 180º: from brash, headstrong young woman comes a wiser, peaceful, down to earth person. Admitely some of her development is too emotionally gruesome, a visceral breakdown, but in the end its worth it. Our little girl grow sup. - The main antagonists are better, hands down. The Fire Nation isn't total morally Black, but its head, its true representatives, are, and of these only Azula ultimately has any sort of character, and just at the very end. LOK, on the other hand, has very morally complex antagonists: a tortured young man who came to see himself as a monster and wishes to cleanse the earth of all other monsters, a misguided anarchist group seeking freedom for all with no ulterior motives, a spirited woman who always felt abandoned and wanted to make sure her nation wasn't. With the exception of "HAW HAW HAW I'M EVIL" Vaatu and Unalaq, nearly all antagonists are both well-intentioned visionaries and have their own traumas, making them unambiguously human and worthy of sympathy. They work off Korra very well, and in the end she becomes a better person because of them. - The side characters are simply better. ATLA has its advantages in turning stereotypes into fully fleshed characters, but LOK goes an extra mile and makes its side characters entirely unique individuals with no clear cut archetypes, and so are much better for it. - The worldbuilding is phenomenal. Few shows can mix High Fantasy and Urban Fantasy without sacrificing one or the other, yet LOK never feels the need to exterminate one side for the sake of the other, except in the first season. To say nothing of the pretty landscapes and artwork. - The show is better morally. In ATLA, we have standard things like "GURL POWAR" and spirituality = good. On LOK, we have a few examination of the ramifications of that, spirituality =/= good, and the injustices of the world are addressed, like the genetic nature of bending. Though at times the execution is flawed, kudos for the effort.
Interesting but Stunted: Spoilers
Honestly, a part of me likes Korra more than TLA; not for the story or characters though, it's for the 20s aesthetic and the focus on politics. Korra is an interesting character and an enjoyable one; She starts out strongheaded and overconfident only to move past, only to become obcessed with her failures. It's believeable and honestly, she's more fun than Aang in my eyes. A lot of the characters have an interesting development; the Beifong family have an interesting dynamic and the adults from it are all awesome individually, Zhu Li and Varrik are great, Tenzin's older family members are fascinating and even the Kids could be interesting. Asami is great and the arc with her father is well done. The feel and aesthetic of the world in Avatar moving forward and having an industrial revolution? It's why I love this series. If nothing else, they pulled that off well. The main problem with this series is that the individual Books don't connect. There are reasons that each book is a self-contained arc, sure. Still Book II is a prime example of ignoring character growth. A major part of Book I was Korra learning to respect Tenzin, Book II has her run off immediately. Bolin becomes Narcissistic when this trait isn't in Book I (IV does it better). Another major problem is that the villains have fascinating premises but they rarely get explored: Both Book I and IV but feel weakened by the need to make their villains evil rather than ambiguous. Was Kuvira having re-education camps necessary? Zahir and the Red Lotus come off particularly bad in this; their motivation is poorly thought out and frankly comes off as a caricature of Anarchism. His co-operation with Korra in book IV is really strange, both in character and thematically; I can understand the moral of accepting the past where you were a victim but confronting the attacker in person for absolution seems like an awful idea. Book II was a disaster; As said before, the character development is overlooked while the theology is dumbed down. Raava and Vaatu give a very wierd dualistic element to a character that represents Balance, while they develop Wan only to remove him. At least the twins and Varrik give us fun moments. In short, Book I was great; if nothing else watch that. After that, the show is a mixed bag but still fun. Don't let Book II turn you off and you might enjoy it.
A fantastic show despite its flaws.
What's there to say about a show like The Legend of Korra, a sequel to one of the most acclaimed western action/adventure series ever produced? It's certainly been uneven — it started off as good, but inferior, went on to become a mix of the wretchedly bad and the surprisingly great, and in its last two seasons settled on the consistently good and consistently great. With high expectations to meet and many production problems throughout, making Korra at all satisfying was no doubt an uphill battle. The first season was mostly good, but tainted by a weak conclusion and poor romance subplot. The second season was very poorly structured, but somewhat redeemed by a strong finale and good individual elements. The last two seasons excised most of their flaws and managed to maintain a quality comparable to the first Avatar, each ending on their highest note. Korra, as a whole, is not as consistently good as its beloved predecessor, but I do think many of its individual elements surpass it — The world, brilliantly averting Medieval Stasis, is more interesting and unique than ever, Korra herself has a better, less archetypical character journey than Aang did, most of the villains have more nuance than the well-written but standard antagonists of the first series, the supporting cast barring Team Avatar itself is more memorable, the visuals and fight choreographies go beyond what Avatar could do at its peak, and it pushes its progressive themes further than the first show managed, without ever falling into the trap of feeling overly message-driven. That much can be said for even season two: It's no masterpiece, but even it had elements in it worthy of one. I think, ultimately, that I am willing to forgive the show its shortcomings, because at the end of the day I'd rather watch something that has both flaws and merits than I would something that's just consistently mediocre. Korra is many things, but even at its very worst it never ceased to be ambitious or inventive, never once did it feel entirely stale. Even early season two, the nadir of the series, presented an interesting and thought-provoking conflict that elevated it above the average action cartoon. I'm nothing but glad for having sat through it, and if you like an exciting, thoughtful adventure show, I recommend that you do too.
An inferior dragging sequel
To be brief; the first two seasons were rubbish. Season 1 ended on a deus ex machina, without resolving the villain's grievance. Then it got worse with season 2 where they ruined previously established continuity (turtle lions teaching all elements), destroyed the mystery of the Avatar, ended on yet another deus ex machina and made Korra automatically correct in reshaping the world despite the valid reasons not to. Then the writers finally produced something of worth in season 3. They increased character progression and created dynamic challenges with multiple villains. For once, the finale did not end through codswallop and there were hard emotional aftermaths. Season 4 took one step back by throwing in a series first of a clip episode and throwing in more politics than scheming and plots. Just as with the politics, they turned maturity into boredom. Many of the characters felt bland and the zany enthusiasm which the original series was renown for, was restricted to a handful of joke characters. Yet another deus ex machina helps end the series and then it ends with a controversial scene, for all the wrong reasons. The series does push many boundaries and tried to bring in revolution, but the sheer amount of deus ex machinas and trampling on the mystique of the original series makes it poorly implemented. One good season is no reason to put up with three poor ones. For all it's attempts to be hip The Legend of Korra isn't as funny, intriguing or well-structured as the The Last Airbender.
I love Korra the character and I expect whether you like her or not is the make or break deal with the show. For me, Korra is one of the most relatable characters there is. Over the time spent with her, she's began to feel like a good friend or an older sister. The way Korra changes as a person with time is almost magical. If you go back and watch the first episodes after finishing the season, she looks, acts and thinks like a younger person. She's very real (except for her circumstance). She starts off young, enthusiastic and headstrong. She wants to fix everything right then and there and she has no idea how but she's going to try and do it anyway. And she makes mistakes and she slowly realises you can't just dive in, that she doesn't have the answers. As she matures, she keeps her spirit and determination but learns to accept her fears and her flaws as part of herself. most of all, her headstrong nature is turned into a careful but indestructible drive and determination to keep fighting for the world at every step. She's an older sister you wholeheartedly respect. She's the extraordinary that anyone one of us is capable of. And in particular, the way she deals with trauma in Book 4 is a great handling of the subject. People keep trying to solve her problems and tell her the magic words that will make it all right, but it doesn't. It takes time and time and more time, their are setbacks and even when she thinks she's fixed it's still just part of the process, but it's not hopeless. The side characters can be equally incredible or entertaining, particularly props to Tenzin, Zaheer, Varrick and Asami all of which are strokes of genius. Tenzin could have been so irritating, and yet they make up his stuck-upness utterly endearing. They find the parts of it that are earnest and credible and show it to the world. However some characters only click some of the time (Mako, Wu, Bolin). Individually there are fantastic episodes, some completely fine storytelling. But the overall plots are the most inconsistent part. Typically they're rushed and only half explore their ideas and the pacing can be terrible. I can very much understand the people who can't like the show because the bad half is too prominent, but for me the setting and highlights wipe away the poor plotting and occasionally plaid characterisation.
Mini Season Reviews
Ranked best to 'least best' Book 3 - The best season of Korra. The pacing was absolutely perfect, the plotting was interesting and the villain was superb. Book 3 has ideas and themes and it runs with them. The only real criticism of Book 3 is that they're doing so many interesting things with so many interesting characters that you wish you could see more of all of them. Zaheer was an intense, nuanced villain with a legitimate ideal and the resolve to go through with it. He has all the qualities to admire in a hero, except that he will cross any line to achieve his goal. He's the embodiment of a whisper being louder than a shout. The finale is breath-taking (along with another famous Zaheer scene) and gives real consequence to Korra's struggles. Book 4 - This one is tricky, because 4 is by far the most inconsistent season. Kuvira kept flipping personalities episode to episode and none of the pacing or themes really paid off. Kuvira could either be a recognisable face whose sympathetic but ultimately gets dragged down by her ambition or she could be a harsh and ruthless unknown Hilter-esque figure whose will is finally broken by Korra in the final episode. On the other hand, Korra's arc of dealing with trauma is truly incredible. It's so good that it makes me completely forget about the failings of the season.It's so easy to go wrong with trauma, to suggest that you just need to 'try harder' or 'let yourself be happy'. Korra never missed a step and it makes her recovery earned. Follow that up with the incredibly subtle Asami relationship, which I still can't believe they included. It's two people who've found that they support and depend on each other through everything that comes their way. Book 1 - It's easier to forget how risky and daring Book 1 was. It would have been so easier to repeat Avatar, but instead they chose to drastically change the world, themes and even age of the characters. Both ATLA and TLOK are made stronger by TLOK choosing to be it's own thing. I absolutely adore the style and setting and character designs. Book 2 - It says something that my 'worst' season of the show contains one of the best episodes of the whole franchise and some of the funniest characters (Varrick, Eska), whilst dramatically improving old dynamics. But Book 2 doesn't stand out.
One Hell of a Roller Coaster Ride.
Okay, I remember when I watched the Last Airbender and I thought it was an awesome series. So, now that the sequel is over, I'd thought I'd throw in my two cents. Personally, I loved it. I thought it was a pretty awesome show. The new Team Avatar might not measure up to the Gaang, but they are still awesome in their own right. Season 1 was a pretty good start. It did a good job at introducing us to the new Team Avatar and the Darker and Edgier nature to the world. Amon and the Equalists are among the coolest Avatar villains yet. I regard Amon particularly as Steve Blum at his evil best. Though some have complained about the romantic undertones, I mostly tried to ignore them. Season 2 was pretty awesome concerning the whole spirits ordeal. The Beginnings two-parter introducing us to the first Avatar Wan was the highlight of the season for me and Vaatu is one of my three favorite Avatar villains (the other two being Hundun and Kuvira). And Varrick. Who doesn't love Varrick?! Unalaq, however, was a bit... meh. The whole Evil Uncle thing has been done to death and his reveal as a villain wasn't that surprising. Season 3 was the high point of the whole show. It had more drama and managed to expand on the backgrounds of some of our characters and was filled with emotion. The Red Lotus pretty much rival Amon as the coolest villains in the show. Season 4 was a slight step down from season 3, but it was still loaded with drama, action, Character Development, and an explosive Grand Finale. I just had mostly two problems with it: Kuvira: While she's one of my favorite villains in the show and Zelda Williams does an incredible job voicing her, She would have been a better character if the actually developed her as a person rather than focus on how many times she can cross the MEH. Also, what was with the whole Ethnic cleansing thing. They mention it once and just drop it. Seemed pointless to me. Prince Wu: While I am glad they didn't make him a stereotypical snobbish twerp and that he does become a more mature person in the later episodes of the season, I think his Character Development would have been better had it happened much earlier and if it had less silliness in it. Overall, the show's had its ups and downs and probably doesn't measure up to its predecessor, but it's still an awesome show in its own right and I'm sad its over.
A worthy sequel that ultimately surpasses its predecessor
After the excellence of Avatar: the Legend of Aang, a sequel was a difficult task. Fortunately, Bryke rose to the challenge with the darker, more mature Avatar: the Legend of Korra. Korra takes place in a very different world with early-20th century technology such as electricity and radios, and mercifully avoids rehashing Aang's story. Also there are mechs and turbolasers. This is one of the most feminist pieces of entertainment around. Women of all ages are prominent and awesome, and not even in a deliberate way - having great women is just a fact of life. Season 1 concerns Korra's efforts to learn airbending while also struggling against Amon, a creepy and menacing revolutionary who desires to rid the world of bending. This is a good conflict, though the show spends too much time on Korra's pro-bending that would have been better spent on the Republic's politics to show Amon's point. Best: two overlapping love triangles are handled incredibly maturely. Season 2's primary villain is Korra's uncle Unalaq, who want to TAKE OVER THE WORLD! Good: Unalaq is a more compelling evil overlord than Ozai; we get to see how the Avatar first came to be; every single episode ends on an epic cliffhanger. Bad: Tenzin's family holiday should have been pruned back. Best: for once we get to see the progression of the relationship between the teenagers who got together at the end of their epic adventures. Season 3 is where Korra really shines. As new airbenders appear, tensions mount within the Earth Kingdom, while a group of fearsome anarchists seek to bring freedom to all. It's fantastically well-written, the fight choreography is gorgeous, and the villains genuinely do have a point. Best: Korra doesn't emerge unscathed... Season 4 is driven by the fallout from the season 3. With Korra incapacitated by severe physical and psychological injuries, the fractured Earth Kingdom has been reunited by Kuvira, a driven woman who evokes Kim Il-Sung, Qin Shi Huang, and Oliver Cromwell. The stakes are high, the setpieces awesome, and the final battle epic. Best: This children's cartoon ends with two main characters in a gay relationship. Bryke, I understand you have no plans to do more Avatar, but at some point could you make one with an Earth Avatar in a modernish setting? Please?
I want more
Fans often compare ATLA and LOK, trying to decide which is the "better" series, but now that Korra has ended, there is one significant difference, for me at least, that puts Korra above its predecessor. Both series ended on high notes, wrapping up most of their respective plot threads. But while I was satisfied with ATLA's ending and had little interest in the posst-finale comics, I want more Korra. What happened with Zuko's mom, post-war reconstruction, or Toph's parents never struck me as all that interesting. But the new spirit portal, the Red Lotus, spirit energy weapons, and the budding relationship between Korra and Asami does. ATLA finished the arcs of its characters well. LOK still has so much to do with its characters and the world, and it frustrates me to see it end just when its quality reached the point where it could surpass the previous series.
An overall review of The Legend of Korra....
As a comparison to the original: Inferior The first two seasons were a mess of Asspulls, wasted potential, and just bad characterization and development. They started to pick themselves up in the last two season but even that had glaring flaws. It also doesn't help that Bryke just has to resolve everything with a Deus ex Machina. Yeah the original had these too, but not as bad as these. Not nearly as bad. You could say that Korra has better villains, but most of them just get butchered or develop far too late (*cough* Kuvira *cough*) . The only villain that I think is decent is probably Zaheer but barely since that Red Lotus crap was brought out of nowhere thanks to the writers fantiastically breaking the rule of Show, Don't Tell. Don't even get me started on some of the supporting characters... So if you compare it to the original, it is a rather big disappointment. Mostly due to some bad writing. As a standalone: Flawed but enjoyable So don't compare it to the original you say? What about as a standalone. That's no excuse for the amount of flaws and glaring issues this series has. But it can still stand on its own (mostly due to the last two seasons). Korra decently develops in Seasons 3 and 4 and she genuinely changes and grows. So does Prince Wu in season 4 and heck even Asami in a way. The animation is much better than A:TLA so if you are here for eye candy then you will get it (even though its kinda sketchy on some spots with CG animation). The soundtrack is also better than TLA's in my opinion so there's something that you could listen to. Overall: As a successor to TLA, it's very disappointing. As a standalone, its a bit more bearable but don't think for a second that excuses the massive flaws this series has. But either way, its still enjoyable in its own right.......once you get past Seasons 1 and 2.
Just a Few Words: This is awesome!
I hope everyone minds if I give this review in a few words: The Legend Of Korra is one of the best Nickelodeon series ever! There were loads of things in this series that were awesome, worthy of being just as great as Avatar: The Last Airbender, if not better. Each book (like the previous series) was just as good as the last.
Book 4 Episode 1 review
Pros: Improved in almost every aspect I cannot really say anything about the characters since this is the first episode, but I can say that the conflicts the characters have against each other are much more understandable than in previous seasons Politics were really well done The WTF moments were brilliant Fight scenes are well done as usual Cons: (Very minor Personal Con) I completely understand why Opal is hostile toward the Earth Force (or whatever it was called...), but saying that you are growing apart from your boyfriend just because he wants to HELP people but just happens to be in a corrupt military is kinda shallow. (Personal Con) Kai and Jinora's relationship is still going....sigh....better than Makorra at least. But I really hate these Love at first sight plotlines... Timeskip....seriously? After so many plotlines were left open last season? Is this a good idea? Overall: I see potential for major improvement in this season. Everything looks like it could be improved upon in this season. Didn't like Opal's characterization is Season 3? Season 4 comes in and ties in her brother's (It's her brother's betrayal right?) betraying into her conflict with both the Earth Force and her relationship problems with Bolin. Didn't like how underused the politics were in Season 1? I suspect that Season 4 will definitely improve on this aspect. Did you think that Korra isn't dealing with her problems correctly? Yeah........just watch the episode....... Overall, I hope that this Season keeps on improving and doesn't waste the amount of potential it has. It better work its ass off to not end up like Season 1.
Book 3 overall review
Having watched the last 2 episodes I would like to point out some final thoughts. There are spoilers....you have been warned... Pros: Finale is a brilliant and smart way to end the season. Seeing the 3 previous Big Bads show up again is sorta satisfying (I wish the could have somehow tied in their motivations to the Red Lotus's and do something with it but whatever...) Final bending battles were well animated Korra has a nice character arc this season that ISN'T RESOLVED WITH A DEUSEXMACHINA....or a a power that is given to the protagonist (Sorry TLA, you're guilty of this too....in a very small way.) Zaheer's Deus ex Machina (sorry Zaheer but it was) was a surprisingly brilliant way to tie in both Zaheer's characterization and the Airbender mythos together. Cons:
- Oh btw, when I put down Just for Fun or a Personal Con....they are basically just minor gripes I point out because I can but it doesn't really take away from the experience. A lot of people seemed to miss this.
The Legend of Korra episodes 1 and 2 season 3 review
Episode 1: I guess showing a small scene about how Korra is dealing with the new changes is ok. And closing the annoying three-way love triangle is great plus the animation and scenery are great. Now for the bad parts, there is zero Foreshadowing and barely any explanation for why the citizens apparently got airbending. Plus, Korra and Asami finding out that they both kissed Mako behind their backs is handled very poorly in my opinion. Plus, why the hell has Bolin never evolved beyond being comic relief after 2 seasons? Plus, due to Fridge Logic, Korra apparently got an 8% approval rating and the leader of Republic City doesn't approve of her even though she I dunno SAVED REPUBLIC CITY!!!! I wouldn't be bothered too much about this if I had seen their side of the argument or reasons for being that way but their point is basically "Oh she is disrupting peace with the citizens even though she is clearly saving a bunch of people....KICK HER OUT!!!!" The bad guy is ok so far. Overall: If you want to see wasted potential then go watch this episode. Episode 2: Korra and Tenzin need to understand that people aren't willing to throw away their lives just to become an airbender in the nomads. It was fine at first cause Character Development will fix that right? WRONG! This is not even addressed instead it is mostly played for laughs as they come up with a plan to "convince them to become the equivalent of monks" This new kid, Kai has great potential for Character Development (I'm keeping my hopes up) but his introductory scene is paced way too fast (it was like five minutes after he shows up and it's already revealed that he is a liar and the real thief. REALLY? THIS IS A THIRTY MINUTE SERIES!!!!) but I don't like how Jinora is shown to have a crush on him. Love on first sight is possible...i guess, but for the love of god.... IT IS NOT GOOD ON WRITTEN FORMAT!!!! So anyways, the bad guy was breaking out his evil friends.....don't have too much gripes with this....yet.. Overall: If you want to see potential for Character Development and seeing it being wasted at the same time then watch this episode. Tenzin's joke about "getting tattoos on your back" was funny though. All subjective obviously.
Screwed by the Network the Series
As a continuation, the LOK is pretty brilliant. Avatar had more of a defined straight path because Aang had one main goal: defeat the Fire Lord and stop the Fire Nation's reign of terror. LOK is different; it's about rebuilding a world to be better than it once was and figuring out how to even go about doing that. For those complaining about how different it is, I don't know what else to say but "Duh." Korra and Aang have completely different tasks and Korra has arguably the harder one. I enjoy LOK because of how different it is from the original series while still maintaining all of the mythos and spirit from the previous one. Whereas Avatar in regards to Aang focused on the idea of duty and responsibility, LOK with Korra tackles the philosophical question on how should one person shape a world and what path is ultimately best for everyone. On its own, the entire series is definitely one that gets better every season, however that's more because of how Nick treated the show than the show itself. Nick gave the series only 12 episodes, so the writers attempted to create a story that felt as large as the original series in 12 episodes. This is not an easy task, but the final product was engaging and interesting. Then Nick saw how popular it was and ordered 3 more seasons or books. This royally fucked the narrative of the story as the following books feel at times divorced from the first season. Also, the main bad guy in the first season and his mission was compelling and I could've watched Korra battle it out against him for much longer. There was so much potential in that story and there are still many unanswered questions. But again, that's not so much the fault of the series writers than it is Nick. Overall though, the show provides compelling storylines season after season and all of the bad guys aren't spouting out evil. They actually are providing alternative opinions in how the world should be shaped. In fact, their ideas, while radical aren't necessarily awful or not plausible, which ends up pushing Korra to rethink her own mission and vision for the world several times. The art is beautiful, the voice work is, as always, pitch perfect, and the fighting scenes have only gotten better with time. While it does have a few plotline valleys (the Mako-Korra-Asami triangle of doom), the show ultimately hits high notes.
A Different Taste
The Biggest YYMV about Korra is that it is not Avatar: The Last Airbender, and it is up to the individual whether this is a good or bad thing. Avatar was a potentially apocalyptic story about the end of the world and the development of the characters as they tried to defeat this overwhelming enemy that was the Fire Nation. Korra originally deals more with social upheaval and evolution, and focuses on how the world is going to grow now that it is no longer in danger of being destroyed. Korra is, especially if you read some of the Word of God materials, designed to be the equal but opposite of Avatar instead of re-hashing old materials, and thus it necessarily deals with very different characters and issues. Korra is explicitly Aang's opposite. Where he was spiritual, diplomatic, and best at air bending but had to painstakingly learn everything else, she is brash, a combat junkie, and intuitively learns three elements by age 4 but can't get air. Violence was Aang's last option and her first, but while he had the Avatar State to fall back on when needed she lacks that spirituality and relies on her own skills. And while Aang never wanted to be the Avatar, Korra never wants anything else. Asami serves as Zuko's counter—he defined himself by his family and past until the very end while she defies her father to do the right thing. Both come from upper-class lifestyles, both are on the outs with distant fathers after losing mothers, and both tend to be broody and confrontative while saying more with silence than words. Mako counters Katara. Where she was the Team Mom he tries to assume a similar position with debatable success. Katara was consistently shipped with Aang with some Zuko teasers; compare the Mako, Asami, Korra triangle that falls apart. Where Katara kept the group together, Mako distances himself from the awkwardness through his job. Bolin is like Sokka: always cheerful and upbeat but never quite as self-confident as he seems. See first how he was with Eska (anti-Yue) and then Opal (Suki). He always seems to get the short end of the stick but is still a valued friend. If you go into this with your mouth set for Avatar Season 4 you will hate Korra. It is about the new trials and tribulations of the next generation. Read the Word of God stuff to get some good subtleties.
Spirits Season Finale: What???
Ok, so this finale started off strong. We had Unalaq ready to absorb Vaatu while everyone had their own seperate roles to play. Tenzin and family go off to find Jinora while Mako, Bolin and Korra try to stop Unalaq. Tenzin gets some good character development realizing he is supposed to be his own person. Mako and Bolin get some awesome moments, especially Bolin with Eska, and Korra lays the smackdown on Vaatu in epic fashion, almost sealing him away singlehandedly. Then for the punchline Raava is destroyed and we're treated to a nice scene of all the Avatars fading away, including fan favorites Aang and Wan. I really have no complaints with part one. It's an excellent set up. So what's the problem? Part Two. So we finally have Korra not being the Avatar. The girl who believes everyone should do whatever she says because "I'M THE AVATAR!" is stripped of her status. So obviously she would have to rely on her abilities as just Korra to save the day, therefore completing her series long character arc, right? WRONG. Instead Tenzin gives her a pep talk which sums up to "YOU'RE THE AVATAR!" *facepalm*. And then Korra summons a giant blue astral projection to fight the giant purple monster to save the day! How does this fit in Avatar? Beats me. This hasn't even been IMPLIED before. I felt like I had flipped to Power Rangers by mistake. I know the Avatar has much spiritual energy, but: 1. She's NOT the Avatar at this point in time. 2. Since when are spirits Megazords??? But wait, there's more! After STILL getting her ass handed to her (Go Korra? 0_o), Jinora pops up and does....something (never explained) and brings Ravaa back. What?! What was the point of taking her away if she was going to come back in a couple of minutes? Korra does the spirit calming technique and somehow wins, even though that move has never been established to destroy spirits so it wouldn't really help here. So there we have it, a finale full of unexplained ass pulls that don't fit in the story itself. I know people liked this, and I'm not calling you stupid if you do, but personally I've lost faith. This made NO sense and it felt rushed and last minute for no reason. I'm officially done with Korra. Going back to the original series, which I already know is awesome
Season 3 review (up to episode 10)
I think that this is honestly the strongest season of the Legend of Korra but it's not without its flaws. So did my opinions change during my previous review of this series? Let's see. Pros: Zaheer is a surprisingly good villain Lin's backstory was alright The bending battles are better this season The storytelling and characterization slightly improved This season expands on why airbenders are bald and adds in a few more bending styles Cons: Some of the characters are pretty one-dimensional (Kai, Bolin's third crush, and too many others to mention) Needs more Foreshadowing (apparently Unalaq was involved with the Red Lotus. Ummm....when was this shown in Season 2???? And don't even get me started on the entire "Airbending caused by Harmonic Convergence" thing) (Personal Con) Still kinda feels rushed after 2 seasons. Lots of wasted potential (Seriously, what was keeping the producers from at least showing Unalaq's connection to the Red Lotus in Season 2? Come on! Plus, they should have extended Kai's introduction to an entire episode so that he could have gotten Character Development rather than randomly deciding to be a better person.) (Personal Con) Sure Zaheer is an alright villain to me but what about the rest of the Red Lotus? (Just for Fun) How did Korra learn Metalbending so quickly? Doesn't she need a connection with her past spirits to learn it so quickly like in the first series (it was established pretty early on)? Didn't she lose her connection to them? I know it's trying to be it's own thing but.....it's a Plot Hole to me. (Personal Con....maybe...) How do they expect us to care about relationships with characters that are barely fleshed out? Bolin still hasn't evolved beyond comic relief. (Personal Con...probably) Is it me, or does the CG graphics look weird in some places? Overall: Despite the flaws, I think this season is pretty enjoyable. Just remember that although it is not trying to be TLA (I know stop comparing but it has to be said) it is FAR below it (ok not that far) in terms of storytelling and characterization. The animation is pretty top-notch despite being weird during CG usage. But so far, this series exceeded my expectations and I am pleasantly surprised. Much better than S1 and S2. But on its own, it's alright. Not amazing or great just.....alright.
Living in the shadow.
It has been interesting watching through The Legend of Korra after watching through the Last Airbender. Given that it is a separate show, it is still a follow up series to, what is in my humble opinion, the greatest television show of all time. I love the story of Aang and I love all of the A:TLA references that are made in Korra, I found Korra really to lack the overall qualities necessary to keep up the reputation. In the A:TLA, you see Aang, a young boy who is constantly struggling to master all of the elements before the Fire Lord wins the war; he is internally struggling as he faces the death tolls of the war, relationships with other characters, and morality as he tries to defeat the Fire Lord without taking his life. In Korra, we are presented with a young avatar, approximately 4 years old, who can already easily bend earth, fire, and water. In Book One: Air, the few struggles she faces are somewhat superficial, other than facing Amon, who is one of the best villains of all time. She struggles with her relationship issues in the confusing love pyramid with Asami, Bo-Lin, Mako, and herself, and of course, she struggles with air bending; but there is no real presence of morality struggles, or larger than life issues like the tolls of war on a society, or a personal struggle to either go against one's beliefs or to stay morally upright. I have done my research and have come to find out that the creators of the series were only planning on doing one follow up season. Which is why there is relatively little time for character development, and also why Korra's character seems to regress in maturity in Book Two: Spirits. It also helps to explain why Korra starts out moderately overpowered. Some things that I love about the Korra series are the comedy, the target audience, the music, and the general continuation of the Avatar Universe. I love that the comedy stayed fun and light hearted and the core of the show is very entertaining. I never forget that creators grew the show to apply to the same audience as A:TLA, as they were, when the show aired about 4 years older. Of course, once again, Jeremy Zuckerman does another phenomenal job in this series as he did in the last. So while the show is still great and one of my favorites of all time, as of the end of Book Two, Korra still lives in the shadow of A:TLA.
Good, close to great at times, but never groundbreaking.
All I can say is that Doug Walker had pretty much hit the nail on the head with alot of things I could say. The first season started good but waned a tad by the end, and the second season was just inconsistent, and too much so to really stand as something as cohesive as it was clearly tying to be either. Beginnings was definitely the high point of the second season and more or less the show since Amon, and it essentially didn't even center around Korra beyond using her as the subject of a pretty contrived and almost emotionless take on self-discovery, especially compared to Wan himself, or Aang for that matter. That doesn't say very much on how well they establish and develop her as a protagonist. In my opinion, the most dramatic turn was when she broke down in Tenzin's arms after admitting how scared she really was of Amon. Otherwise, she's not very relateable. In fact, how she treats the others is what makes them all much more relatable and feel more established. Some moreso than others, of course, and in the sense that these characters should have had more time for development instead of just shoving the blandest villain in the franchise and establishing that position with each episode. While they've said Korra's attitude in season 2 was very much intentional, it was so much a rehash of season 1 on a basic level that it really did feel more like a contrivance than a supposed sense of self-discovery in its overall execution, which is a problem with many of this show's plot points revolving around the protagonist. In my opinion, I could bring up Kung Fu Panda 2 as something that did a better job of that entire aforementioned story structure (but that's my all time favorite animated film so, yeah, I'd probably end up coming off as biased). Basically, Lo K simply lacks the same level of quality in perspective-driven execution that Avatar The Last Airbender had. That, to me, is one of the most defining aspects of any good story-heavy character-driven series (also why I loved Kung Fu Panda 1 AND 2 so much, but I digress). The show favored adding to the lore by the second season, and adding characters—not adding TO the added characters. And yes, "Spirit of Competition" was EVERYTHING WRONG WITH ROMANTIC SUBPLOTS AND THE COLLECTIVE PROBLEM OF THE SHOW'S TAKE ON ROMANCE IN GENERAL.
Season 2- The Dark Knight Rises of the Avatar series
Well, season 2 has come and gone and I have a strange feeling of deja vu. I'm a huge fan of the series, I enjoyed it while it lasted, but once it was over, I felt a little disappointed and unsatisfied. And the more I think about it the more I start to notice the flaws. Ultimately, I have to say this was the weakest season of both shows. Yeah, it's The Dark Knight Rises, all over again. Both this and TDKR tried to be bigger and more epic than their immediate (and better) predecessors. In TDKR the villain plot involved a nuke wiping out Gotham. In Spirit, an evil entity from the dawn of man is going to break free, destroy mankind, and start a new age of darkness. So there's more at stake, but while the Season 1 villain, Amon, was compelling and iconic, Unalaq is very flat and Vaatu is something of a generic doomsday villain. Both TDKR and Spirit are plagued with problems with their pacing and logic. We won't get into TDKR, but Spirit doesn't really get into the spirit world, the real villain, or the real meat of the season until about halfway in. Korra makes good character development IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON, after completely backsliding in the first half for no apparent reason. And then there's the finale. It starts off promising. (SPOILER ALERT!) Korra loses her avatar powers and there's a new "Dark Avatar" tearing everything up. I was thinking: "Yes! Korra's going to have to save the day using nothing but her wits! It's a complete 180 from earlier, when she relied on brute strength for everything! This makes perfect sense for the character's progression!" Only... it doesn't happen. At all. Instead, she meditates in the tree Vaatu was stuck in and summons a giant blue version of herself (with NO AVATAR POWERS OR BENDING, just because), beats Vaatunalaq in a wrestling match,pulls out Raava and saves the day. Giant blue Korra wasn't foreshadowed AT ALL. Some people complained about Aang and the giant sea turtle, but this is much worse in my opinion. That actually made sense from a characterization standpoint. This is nothing but deus ex machina with no character development. It's the worst part of the season for me, despite it being a cool fight scene. Like TDKR, there's some good stuff here too. The Spirit World is great, as are Tenzin's family's character development and Varrick. Still the weakest season, overall.
Legend of Korra: Needs more filling!
Many people complain about the show Legend of Korra, some of these complaints are easily rebuked. "Korra is so insufferable, Aang was a better person!" Her dad was almost murdered by her uncle, and Aang froze himself in an ice block for a hundred freakin' years. Nobody is perfect. However the one complaint among all fans is that the show's pacing is a bit off, season 2 was better than season one of course but still it is still felt. This problem that will NEVER be resolved can be fixed by one glorious thing: Filler. Yeah,remember how when Avatar last Airbender came out and people complained how much they HATED the filler episodes? Don't you just want to STRANGLE THEM NOW?! While I still feel Korra to be a great series in its own right, Avatar last airbender wins due to it having much more stand alone episodes. With Avatar the last airbender there were a PLETHORA of episodes you could watch not in sequence, "The ember island players", "The great divide", "Sokka's master", and the famous anthology "Tales of Ba sing Se". Last Airbender was given the time to BREATHE once in a while, focus more on the characters rather than the over arching plot. Legend of Korra on the other hand is pretty much one reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally long episode, which while still good somehow feels rushed. You may have noticed how I said there was nothing they could do about this? Well, thats becaue the episodes have all ready been ordered and next season is only going to have 13 episodes(most of which will be 2 parters I assumbee). Hell, the first season was only supposed to be a one season spin-off its kind of amazing we even get 3 more seasons! While its plot may be rushed, I'll still enjoy it for as long as its on. Especially since 2-D animation is basically dying out, I'm enjoying this for all its worth!
PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS: itty bitty personal character
I've had negative opinions about Korra's characterization. She's treated as THE AVATAR and not a person; a worthless protoplasmic sack lugging THE AVATAR around. I was deeply hoping this show would turn around and have our heroine show us what she's made of. So they force Raava out. I wanted precisely that to happen; make Korra not the Avatar anymore, stripped of her powers when she needs them most. Understandably, Korra's upset. She's failed and is single-handedly responsible for ending a long and proud tradition. Tenzin steps in and tells Korra that she doesn't need Raava to set things right. This is what I'm banking on. So how do they resolve the threat of an ultra-powerful dark spirit promising to bring 10,000 years of darkness? Simple. Turns out Korra doesn't need to be the Avatar after all because she already has all the PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS AND DESTINY built right in, and uses that to save the day. Except that's not enough, and Jinora has to bail Korra out because it's still too much for her. It leaves a sour taste in my mouth. I wanted to see Korra solve problems without taking her powers and destiny for granted. Bolin demonstrated heroism all by himself, being in the right place at the right time, not accountable, said "I've got to do something about this!" and did it. Korra grew in power, but she still hasn't grown as a person. Even her breakup felt tacked-on. She says that their relationship isn't working out, but she doesn't address the reasons: Korra often acts unreasonable and Mako is afraid of disagreeing with someone who could bend off his head for disagreeing. Korra can't push others around because she's the Avatar. Her judgements aren't infallible, given her sheltered upbringing and youthful lack of life experience. And she can't use the previous Avatar's wisdom as a justifying crutch if she never used their wisdom and then lost them anyway. Well, there's always next season, I suppose. Hopefully they can paint THE AVATAR as someone who doesn't need to rely on her PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS AND DESTINY to help the world and can solve problems like a responsible human being. And show how Korra's unwise decisions will give her bad karma that will bite her in the butt and she'll have to own up to it.
Book 2 - Spirits: The Avatar-verse season to end all others. ***Spoilers!***
Book 1 of Legend of Korra was magnificent. Book 2 was, as I expected, magnificent-er. How much? This much:
- First and foremost: we at last get some insight into the history of the Avatar. Specifically, we learn the origins of the Avatar, and how the world came to be organized into societies full of benders.
- Just as last season had a villain that could easily be interpreted as a stand-in for militant communism, this season also had a villain who reflected a piece of real-world politics from days gone bye: colonialism. (YMMV on that, though - that's just my interpretation.)
- It manages to outdo even Book 1 in the Darker and Edgier department. After all, Amon didn't want to wipe out the world, just benders. This villain was apocalyptically evil just like Ozai.
- The finale, especially the big climactic battle scene, reminded me very strongly of Pacific Rim. Who didn't watch that and think, Vaatunalaq is the Kaiju and Blue-Giant-Korra is the Jaeger?
- Ultimately, the book ends with everything changing for permanent-like (and, sure enough, Book 3 has already been confirmed to be called "Change.") Truly, there is no going back now.
The giant shadow
The Legend of Korra is a great series, and to its credit has done a lot to set itself apart from its predecessor, Avatar: The Last Airbender, especially in the first season. But it is not the 'legend' the original was. Unlike Avatar, Korra has clear weaknesses as a series that go beyond nitpicking individual episodes or details. It has tremendous strengths as well, but the near-perfect balance that Avatar achieved is missing. Some of the problems with the series are due to behind the scenes issues that limited the length of the seasons and left the creators not knowing if they would have more seasons. But it is the final product that must be reviewed, and the final product did suffer because of these factors beyond the creators control. The primary issue caused by the behind the scenes drama was a problem with rushed pacing, an issue that has plagued both seasons so far. The other standout issue has much less to do with external factors. The new team Avatar just isn't compelling as a group and as individuals only Korra and Asami are truly interesting. Korra herself is much less likeable than Aang, though she is not a bad character by any means. She is insufferable in a way that makes it fun to see her fail. Korra has some truly fantastic characters, Tenzin and his family, Lin, and Varrick. But that only serves to make me wish the series was focused on them instead of on Korra and her team. Doug Walker hit the nail on the head when he said that there was something wrong when a child training a lemur was the most interesting thing happening. Korra's biggest strength has been its plot, despite the pacing issues. The plot of the first season, while not explored as well as it should have been, was incredible, and the plot of the second season would have been great if they had more time. Post-finale update. Seasons 3 and 4 were vast improvements over the first 2 seasons. The plot finally settled in, Korra became a much more likable character, and there was more focus on those characters that were more likable to begin with. The return of the airbenders turned out to be a standout case of Growing the Beard.
A special like no other, Beginnings Part1 & 2 are considered by many to be quite possibly the best episodes of not only Korra, but the Avatar series as a whole. I'm hardly pressed to contest this, considering that it not only features suberb animation and voice acting, but also amazing character development. Wan manages to grow as a man far faster than Aang or Korra did in their whole series, developing from an cunning though well meaning thief to a sorrowful, tragic hero that spend most of his life trying to atone for his mistakes. Alongside him are a cast of colourful characters that manage to be unique and powerful in their own way, some of which with as little as a few minutes of screen time. Equally as important is the atmosphere, which blends the feeling of the more epic episodes of both series, while not failing to acquire the awe inspiring reverence of asian mythology. Some points of interess: - The spirit designs and ideas are rather insanely amazing. Even with this light/dark dichotomy, "non-dark" spirits manage to come across as alien, capricious beings not unlike fae, albeit still reasonable and amicable. The designs owe much to Ghibhli movies, in a big love letter to Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, while still getting away with more unique designs, like flying plant jellyfish and an aye-aye spirit. The light and dark spirits themselves resemble not-very-stylised flatworms, probably the last animal you'd expect to connect with cosmical forces. - Although I dislike the fact that the neutral Dark Is Not Evil and Light Is Not Good nature of Yin and Yang has been butchered - please, just shut up about the "balance" and admit you think darkness should be wiped out, it's embarassing -, Raava as a character is so strong that she has rightfully become a fan favourite, and indeed her tale with Wan is a very heartwarming one. Vaatu is just a generic villain, though. - There's some confusion in regards to how bending came to be, and the current expanation, that lion turtles gave it and that animals simply teached the techniques, removes the spirituality of the original series, but the idea of the lion turtles being the protectors of mankind is appealing and makes their demise more depressing. - I enjoy the subtle parallel to the Promethus myth in Wan's story.
I really liked TLA. It was a great concept, the characters were fleshed out and the fights were some of the best I've seen in animation. The only problems I had with it were when I wanted to know more; when I wish the show dug deeper. Korra took every complaint I had and said "I know, right?" and made it the focus of the new series. Where TLA only focused on benders, and we never got to see what life was like for the people who didn't have superpowers, TLK focuses on the class struggles between the often-lower class non-benders and the high and mighty benders. Energybending was thrown in at literally the last minute of TLA, and I felt like there was so much more that could have been done with it; TLK does exactly that, by making it the primary power of the villain in the first season. Aang (or more accurately, the writers) spammed the crap out of the Avatar state, despite being something that really shouldn't be used almost ever, given the heavy risks associated with it. TLK spends almost the whole season with Korra being unable to use the Avatar state, and the next season seems geared up to explore the concept in a much deeper way. It would have been really easy for the writers to retread familiar ground, sticking with Aang. It was a brave decision to go with a new lead character, and to use the first series as a springboard for the next one. Time has passed and the world has grown since TLA. Airbender had a couple Steampunk elements to it, but Korra makes it a core aspect of its story, as technology rises to a point where it can actually challenge the magic that has been the dominant power for thousands of years. People of all types are emigrating to huge cities, forcing benders of all elements, as well as non-benders, into the same cultural mixing pot. All that, plus the strengths of Airbender are as strong as ever in Korra. The characters are just as fleshed out and lovable, with Korra herself setting the bar for baddasses everywhere. I wait with bated breath for September, to see what the next season brings us.
Book 1, so far, so good!
The book is flawed, but I enjoyed it. SPOILERS The ending is just so... rushed and neat. It leaves you feeling slightly miffed, we have all this build up, then a few minutes of slight deus ex machina. I think the ending is perfectly plausible (avatars can take, why not give back) but we could've had perspective on Korra's character and how she'd deal with no bending and her trying to connect with the spirit world to get it back. On top of that the romance subplot felt a bit of pandering to the fandom. There is an angsty romance triangle, sort of like the fanfics of Aang/Katara vs Katara/Zuko. However it isn't grating, but isn't handled well, as Mako just sort of leaves Asami for Korra. We don't even get to know Mako that well. Sure, we know his backstory, but we never really get to delve into his feelings for Asami and Korra. Bolin is handled poorly as well, he's just a goofball, and unlike Sokka, isn't a goofball who serves the plot. He's just... there. He's likeable and funny though. Asami is better developed, with her backstory, feelings past and current shown more clearly and has an interesting conflict with her father. However I enjoyed the book a lot. The length is both benefits and hinders the series: we get no pointless episodes such as 'The great divide' in ATLA. However, as discussed above, it can cut the series short. Korra is a fantastic character. She's more flawed in a way that makes her potentially more dislikable than Aang (arrogant, confrontational, flips when she doesn't get her own way, blames others), but this makes her very interesting. We get to watch her become more like the wise, calmer and more balanced avatar like Aang. (no doubt keeping her spunky personality though!) The action and animation is tremendous. The war ship battle near the end is fantastic to look at, for excitement and admiration for the animation. This is also evident in probending. The movement towards the future is so cool. I've seen people criticise it on other sites but the progression towards a more steam-punk society is so interesting. There is a conflict we did not see much of before (glimpsed in 'Zuko Alone') about non-benders and benders alike. It shows that conflict came come from the system within rather than the big bad outside. It contrasts well with ATLA. Flawed, but so far, so good! I had a lot of fun watching it.
Almost as good......
TBH I did not go into this series with high hopes. I didn't want to see a new avatar, I wanted Aang and the Gaang back. But Korra was a well thought out character and the plot had more urgency behind it. The good: The animation is amazing. I would out it in the league of a Miyazaki film. Korra herself is a delight. I was honestly surprised that I liked her so much. The first time we see her smash through a wall, telling everyone to "deal with it!" it was as if she knew fans like me would fault her for not being Aang. She depicted a strong women well and realistically, something fiction could use more of. Amon was an extremely menacing opponent with a more relatable motive than Orzai. The fact that he didn't have to wait for a comet or a full moon to do his worst damage made him a foe worthy of the Avatar. The bad: The main weakness of this series is it's length. Many have criticized this season for it's lack character development (especially the supporting cast), it's "too neat" ending, and lack of the old Gaang. All of this has to do with whole season being only 6 hours long. Bolin, Mako and Asumi never really had too much depth to them to begin with which made any development and/or romance seem shallow. So reviewers have also complained that it was resolved too well. In the finale, several plot points were resolved in the span of 1 hour. While I have no problems with neat and tight storytelling, I have to agree that it did feel rushed. Just too much resolution in a short span that it became distracting, there was no moment to take it all in. One issue that never was satisfactorily addressed for me was the fate of the old Gaang. There were scant hints here and there but nothing to really sink my teeth into. We know that Aang died (obviously) but how? In the finale it when he appears in front of Korra he looked like he did when he was forty (but based on calculations of Korra's and Tenzin's age Aang would have been in his 60's). Why did he die so young? Toph died young, but who did she have Lin with? Did Sokka die in the same attack? What happened to Zuko? Hopes for book 2: Since book 2 is also only 13 episodes long I think the plot needs to be more focused and mention more about the old Gaang. i give it an eight of ten.
Book 1: Air - Off and running to a truly excellent start.
After the unfortunately poor reception of The Last Airbender, some may have thought the Avatar franchise was dead. I hoped not, because I, unlike most of the world, actually enjoyed The Last Airbender - but that's a subject for another place. In any case, the franchise is now back and better than ever with this amazing sequel series. Sure, a lot of the story feels a little cliched, what with the four-way romantic troubles between Korra, Mako, Bolin and Asami, and the strong female lead a la Katniss Everdeen or Buffy Summers. But overall, the storyline of the first season alone makes up for all of those shortcomings. It's Darker And Edgier, not just compared to the original show, but to any other kids' programming anywhere. It's exactly this sort of stuff that I wish had been around when I was in the target demographic (I think at that time the darkest stuff available was The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy and Danny Phantom, both of which are still among my all-time favorites but are really more humorously black than anything else). It is also the sort of stuff that is the reason why I will never join the ranks of the Bronies, because I'm just not into light-hearted fare so much. The shorter seasons help too, because they allow for faster pacing like most cable shows for adults. And the lavish art design really adds to the appeal for me too. My sister is about the same age I was when Avatar The Last Airbender first came out, and she's watching this show in the same innocent way as when I first watched the original. It's a little bit sad, seeing this show now and knowing that my sister is still too innocent to know about all the hidden metaphors throughout. But, because this show is very daring in its depiction of more adult issues than usual for a seemingly kids-only show, I have to give the creators their props. I hope Book 2: Spirits starts up as soon as possible. There's no set premiere date yet, as far as I know, and I'm really starting to feel sick of the long wait. It's getting almost as bad as the gap between Books 2 and 3 of the original show.
The first season of the Legend of Korra began with a bang. I liked pretty much everything about it before it launched and throughout the first half of the season. In the second half, my excitement began to wane, culminating in a severe disappointment in the finale. The biggest problem is probably the pacing. For the first half of the season, roughly speaking, it's fine. But from Episode 7 onward, it gets worse. Everything happens too quickly, and no subplot is finished properly. Characters aren't developed, Team Avatar being perpaps the biggest offender - there's no chemistry between them. Even the fights are rushed and stiff. All in all, the story really deserved more than 12 episodes. So that's one thing. Another is the the Equalists. They started out so great! An army of badass normals who aren't happy with the current social order that puts people who get their powers handed to them on the top of the totem pole. But also radicals who don't care if their victims are innocent. Ultimately, a great contrast to the enemies of the previous series. Sadly, it was wasted. Their motivations are shallow - Hiroshi is the only one who even gets a spelled out one, which is "Firebenders killed my wife!". Yawn. They come off as crazy hatemongers because the "oppression" against non-benders is never actually shown. Weren't the Equalists supposed to be morally ambiguous? Finally, their competence had waned so much by the time of the finale it was just sad. And then there's Amon. Gods, he was such an awesome villain. Steve Blum's voice, intimidating speeches, masterful planning, incredible fighting skills, mysterious origins and power... and then he turned out to be a bloodbender with daddy issues. His power was revealed to be inexplicably powerful bloodbending. How did it work? Beats me. Why did he want to rid the world of bending? We're left to guess. His father was horrible, but there's quite a leap of logic between that and an insane quest to end all bending. The whole revolution was reduced to a joke, since they'd all been duped by a bender. The finale itself tops it off. It's horribly rushed, as I said. Korra gets her bending taken away and "discovers her spiritual side" (somehow) in all of 10 minutes. Then Aang shows up and everything is fixed. No struggle, no development, no attempt to overcome her limitations. Just a clean wrap-up.
Way to Short, but Theres Something
I'm going to start this review by saying that I enjoyed the season. The characters were nice, even Mako. It felt like A:TLA, which was a pleasant surprise. However, I was also disappointed. A span of 12 or so episodes isn't enough room for a major plot arc. So instead of saving content for next season, there was so much going on some of it couldn't even be answered well, or at all. The love triangle, Hiroshi and his family, Amon and the Equalists, bloodbending, it just could have been answered so much better (Most of this stuff starts and ends between episode 5 and 12). However, their is something old fans will certainly appreciate. 1. Fight scenes feel like fight scenes. You'll be amazed by the stuff happening in the last 4 episodes. 2. Good voice acting and characters. Amon is even voiced by Steve Blum, the voice of many famous characters. 3. The animation is great. It looks like an anime with Western effects. 4. Nostalgia, need I say more?
(first season review) Raised expectations causes disappointment
Avatar: The Last Airbender had more depth than it let on. At first glance it looked like a standard good vs. evil adventure, but over time it revealed its hidden depth, showing characters who underwent change and growth, themes such as how war changes people's lives, and how one can be on the wrong side but still believe they're doing the right thing. It did all this while still being a fun adventure cartoon for a family audience. People didn't expect much, and were pleasantly surprised by the show's quality. The Legend of Korra, on the other hand, has almost the reverse. The authors promised us more in-depth themes, and the show teases those themes early on. When Korra arrives in Republic City, we see that there is a class division, with the magic-using benders - the elite minority - having all the power and privilege, while the non-benders are left out, forming a movement called the Equalists to try to take the magic away from benders. We're given a few examples of how the Equalists have a legitimate point - their entertainment is based around pro-bending, a sport that only benders can play. Their ruling council consists only of benders. The police force consists entirely of metalbenders. And a gang of benders extorts townspeople. It's easy to see why the Equalist movement is so popular and why non-benders hate benders so much. But the moral complexity goes out the window rather quickly. The Equalists start by taking bending power away from the gang, a rather sympathetic move. Then they take it from a cheating sports team. But after that, they rapidly turn into terrorists, kidnapping police officers and locking them up, and attacking the town indiscriminately. Who would support them after that? Opportunities to show greater shades of gray are squandered. At one point in the finale, during the terrorist attacks, we briefly see benders and non-benders living in peace underground. This would have been a great opportunity to show us how and why they live in peace - maybe they're just tired of the war? Maybe there's still animosity bubbling beneath the surface? But instead it's glossed over, and we quickly get back to the action. This is indeed a very good action cartoon, but sadly it feels like that's all it is, once it degenerates into mostly simple good vs. evil.
Too Many Flaws
The Legend of Korra had a lot of promise, but overall there were just too many flaws to make it a good show. There's almost not character development for the main cast. Korra starts off impetuous and bullheaded. She rushes into things without thinking about the consequences. She readily uses bending to get her way. These are pointed out by flaws in the very first episode. She ends the season exactly the same without these issues ever seriously being dealt with. Mako starts off as a quiet, boring character who's a bit of a jerk, and ends the season exactly the same — with no non-superficial explanation for why two girls are after him. Bolin is basically just comic relief, his emotional pain used for laughs and then forgotten. Asami has a bit more depth, since there's an ongoing story where she actually has to change somewhat given her father. Pabu and Naga barely even have personalities (which is quite a contrast compared to Apaa and Momo. Some other characters have a bit more development. Tarrlok is one of the more developed characters. Yet some of his actions seem to serve no purpose unless he was actively trying to help Amon. That leads us right into another major problem with this first season. A lot of what happens seem heavily contrived. As if the plot is on rails and characters aren't allowed to think or act naturally to what happens. The security forces are effective, until they need to fail and then they are the worst security force ever — not just losing, but not even noticing anyone approaching them or audience members pulling out weapons. After the Avatar is kidnapped, Lin suddenly knows where the bad guys probably are — Why didn't she go after them a long time ago? And combat, though animated well, is full of tactical fail. Earthbending holes under the mechs or rock armor or any number of other things would have made the fight more even. Later similar techniques just seem to be more effective for no reason. Combat in At LA was more clever than this. There's also a failure to examine the themes that are raised. Are benders lording it over non-benders? Korra seems to indicate it might be a problem. Maybe Amon has a point. Korra's lack of thinking and flexibility seems to be a problem too. What about the philosophy of airbending? These are brought up but never examined. Hopefully season 2 will be better
Legend of Korra-Good, not great.
Avatar the Last Airbender was a great show. It was a wonderful story with fleshed out characters, terrific pacing, beautiful art, fun action, good humor, and a great world. It's hard to top that. And Korra...doesn't. It's certainly good. It has decent humor, some different but still good action, even better looking art, and some fun characters. It's just lesser in degree. The problems come in the story, the characters, and the pacing. The story had quite a lot of potential but dropped too much of it along the way. The Triads disappear after episode 3 or so, we get one episode of oppression for non-benders, Tarlok defeated far too quickly, and overall Korra and several characters have bad development. Korra as a character is very well designed for a season that questions bending vs nonbending. She's probably my favorite character based purely on design but her arc just had a rushed ending. Bolin was fun but ultimately had nothing to do. Asami was probably the best of the team in all honesty. As for Mako...he's a mess. He has a simple character arc(he goes from not liking Korra to gradually loving her) but it's so poorly handled. And it takes up way too much of the screen time. Limited word count prevents me from saying too much but I thought he was dreadful. Other characters like Tenzin, Tarlok, Amon, and Lin are fine but some are not given enough to do while others are disappointing in the end. But the big issue is the pacing. The first four episodes are well paced. After that it kicks into way too fast. The romance takes up a whole episode and Bolin relegated to background. Then Amon blows up a building, declaring war on the city. Then it's revealed that Sato is a bad guy, Asami joins the team, and then the rest of the Krew live with Korra. Then we get Team Avatar, oppression, breaking the team up, a big fight, and a good twist. And more keeps coming at a speed that you can't take it all in. The finale especially is hilariously bad at it's pacing. Overall Korra is good. I've heard people say it's better than the first season of Avatar but I disagree. I'll take the season that takes it's time over Korra any day.
Book 1: Part Even Better Sequel, Part Decent
The Legend of Korra Book 1: Air Voices of: Janet Varney,JK Simmons, Mindy Sterling, Steve Blum, David Faustino, PJ Byrne, Seychelle Gabrielle, and Dee Bradley Baker Grade: B+ Avatar The Last Airbender might very well have been the greatest cartoon every created,it was phenomenal,and in a way it's not too different from Star Wars in that once a continuation was announced,...people would go crazy and have massive expectations that couldn't possibly be delivered. And just like how Star Wars went from multiple writers and directors to just George Lucas,so did the Ava-verse go from many writers to just Michael Dante Di Martino and Bryan Konietzko and likewise the Protection From Editors has taken a toll It's not apparent in the first half which actually starts off better than ATLA did,the characters are immediately likable and complex,the antagonists are effective and quite clever and seemingly have a point about the oppression of non-benders. The humor takes a bit of a more "anything for a laugh" approach,but most of the jokes are very nicely placed. No character was put out of focus and they all each got one episode to nicely develop. The pro-bending was a nice break,maybe a little long but was a great balance out. The only thing wrong with this half is the one episode where the creators decided to Troll everyone and make an episode entirely on pairings. Sadly this episode only foreshadowed the mess to come,in which they decided to make decided to pull another Katara and derail the character closest to earth,they put one character out of focus and made him the secondary comic relief,who was the first? A four year old with his tookus and Sesquidilian Loqaciousness. The antagonists never developed enough,nor did the what they stood for,making them a straw movement and the leader a Boring Invincible Villain. They took a break and developed the Smug Snake into a better villain,....until he got shafted.This was the half that couldn't decide on being plot based or character based,the small moments that were clear were pure gold though,and every character in the Love Triangle really developed through the roof. Spirituality kinda fell though,so this ended up being imbalanced. The atmosphere remained awe-inspiring,the flashbacks were nicely put to use,it's not ATLA but it's no waste of time either.
Season 1: Everything you could ask for and more
I feel comfortable making the claim that so far, The Legend of Korra is the greatest children's show ever to exist, and one of the greatest shows overall. Let's go down the list: first, the animation is gorgeous, and that's one of the first things I noticed. The voice acting, the sound design, all of it is perfect or near-perfect. In regards to the technical stuff, The Legend of Korra should be used as a standard for other animated shows to reach. The character design is extraordinarily well done. Korra makes a very interesting protagonist. At first, she appears to be another shonen-esque, headstrong, fiery character. However, she is shown to be more nuanced than that: she is clearly inexperienced and a bit nervous in regards to romance, and she comes to fear the villain, Amon, creating an inner conflict between her duties (and her outward eagerness to take Amon down) and her secret fear of Amon. I can hardly blame her for that fear: Amon, while not very different from the menacing villains of other shows, is extremely adept at being menacing, and makes a great villain. Furthermore, when we learn his backstory late in the season, there's an ever-so-slight hint of good in him, which helps humanize him while failing to make him any less threatening. The other characters, too, are nuanced and well-written, but none of them are as interesting as Korra or Amon, and so I won't lengthen this paragraph any further by delving into any of them. The setting is extremely interesting. I was initially uncertain of how the new setting would change things, but it proved to be even more interesting than The Last Airbender's feudal world (although YMMV). The urban setting and steampunk gadgetry lend themselves well to the new characters and conflict. I can only hope that the next season will explore Republic City in more depth. The plot is mesmerizing and fast-paced. It is very well-written, with a few interesting twists. Notably, it explores more mature themes than most children's shows. You find yourself itching to watch the next episode, to find out what will happen next, in a way that few shows manage to elicit. I won't go into detail: watch it yourself, and enjoy each new discovery. Finally, the romantic subplots and action scenes are handled well, and were very enjoyable. Overall, I would recommend The Legend of Korra to anyone wholeheartedly.
Season 1: A Delight to Watch
As a whole, I found season 1 to be an wonderful start to the series, with an intriguing plot line, nicely-realized characters, and excellent production value. Without revealing too much, I will say that the main plot manages to tie together a variety of threads and themes in a very clever way, and the central "mystery" is beautifully handled: the solution is surprising, but not completely out of nowhere and still satisfactorily solvable to the very watchful viewer. Korra herself is one of the most likable teenage protagonists I've seen in a long time. Talented, funny, good-hearted, but also deeply flawed and human. And kudos to her voice actress, who makes her even more likable with her consistently fantastic delivery. It's also wonderful to see a kid's show where the adults are so interesting and well-developed. Tenzin in particular is refreshing as an archetypal "wise old mentor" who also happens to be a goofy family man. As per Avatar standards, the action set pieces are thrilling to watch and gorgeous to look at, particularly in 106, 108 and the finale. The show makes excellent use of combining ancient bending practices and customs with modern styles and technology, giving a very "real" feel to the world. My only minor qualm with season 1 is that the pacing feels a little off here and there. Though interesting in its essential dynamics, the love triangle bogged down the plot at times simply by taking up too much screen time. But overall there is very little I would change about this season. Can't wait for more.
The first season of The Legend of Korra is good. Unfortunately, it's that hair-pullingly frustrating sort of “good” that constantly reminds you it had the potential to be so much more. Keep that in mind, as my review is going to sound far more negative than my actual opinion of the show, which is fairly ambivalent. Throughout the development of the show, the creators talked a big game about how Korra was going to tackle more mature themes and feature a more nuanced conflict. They failed in providing this. Utterly. The problem is, the set up was all there: the people of the city rising up in anger, lead by an extremist of dubious morality. A politician more concerned with milking the conflict for his own benefit than actually helping things. An Avatar who's idea of “problem solving” is “head butt it and throw it through a window”. And by the end Amon is so clearly evil that the only real “ambiguity” to his defeat is the question of whether it's more surprising he didn't have a handlebar mustache under that mask or that he didn't shout “Curses! Foiled again!” when he was defeated. Tarrlok, who could have been used to raise some really interesting questions about the balance of freedom and security, descends almost immediately into puppy kicking villainy. Korra solves the problem by throwing Amon through a window, though at least she didn't headbutt him. In the end though, it really comes down to how the Equalists were portrayed. Giving them legitimate problems could deliver a lesson on how, in situations like this, just beating them up is attacking a symptom of the problem, and not the problem itself. Korra could learn one of the first things Tenzin says she needs to, that “being the Avatar is about more than fighting.” Instead, however, they're just a bunch of deluded idiots and hatemongers who deserved everything they got. In the end, instead of Grey And Gray Morality, we end up with Black and White and Black Morality, with Korra standing between Tarrlok and Amon as the shining light to their darkness. Where's the nuance there? All in all, it's popcorn entertainment. If you don't think about it too hard and don't go in expecting too much, it'll keep you occupied for a few hours. The problem for me is that, as a fan of the original, I came in expecting so much more than this, and was sorely disappointed by it.
A Few Points Short of Greatness
The Legend of Korra is the sequel to the series Avatar: The Last Airbender, but it falls short of many of its predecessor's strengths. For most of the season, the characters lack motivation in their relationships and battles. The antagonists' and the protagonists' goals and ideals are also barely defined and, in some circumstances, incomprehensible. Because their ideals lack definition, it is hard to care about either Team Avatar or the Equalists. The show had a great start: I cared about and was interested in Korra, Tenzin, Mako, and Bolin in the first two episodes. Korra recognized that Republic City was "out of balance," and it appeared that the season would revolve around her overcoming her brashness in order to bring balance back to Republic City. The first season doesn't do this, which is to be expected, but it doesn't even progress along those lines, it becomes one big "Uh-uh. Nuh-uh." fight. And on the relationship side of things, once the pro-bending arc ended, it didn't feel like they had much reason to be as close as they acted. This is the summation of the first season's Equalist conflict: "I am Amon and I have the power to take away a person's bending. I will use it because we know benders have been the leaders of every war, and even in Republic City there are bending gangs that use their abilities to bully nonbenders and threaten nonbenders' lives and property." "I am the Avatar and I say no, you're wrong because bending is really cool, yo." I'm not kidding. No bender ever brings up the fact that benders have also been some of the greatest people, such as Avatar Aang, that bending is incredibly useful and powers the city, or the fact that nonbenders have just as great a capacity to be bullies as benders do. What makes this even more egregious is the fact that the worst things the Equalists did before the season finale (in which they kidnap children and other innocent benders) was destroying private property and imprisoning attacking police officers. The biggest mistake this season took was waiting until the last three episodes to make Amon the ruler of Republic City. If the second half of the season had been Team Avatar fighting the oppression of Amon, they would've had a reason to be close, and Amon would've been able to be shown to be as evil as the protagonists thought.
Great and Well Made but YMMV
Let's state the thing that everyone agrees on. The Legend of Korra: Book Air is a beautifully made. The animation is gorgeous, music amazing and perfectly timed, and voice acting superb. The designers pulled out all the stops and it SHOWS. Now to deal with the things that people will either love or find horribly disappointing about Lok: Air. Characters: The cast of Lo K are all very interesting. I found myself attached to them very quickly and easily. They all had a good amount of depth but what they lacked is character DEVELOPMENT. The villains get hit hardest with this. Korra gets the most but that is done is small almost unnoticeable ways. I needed to pause and think about to realize she had under gone a serious amount of the change during the course of this season. For me this WORKED. I felt like I was watching REAL teenagers and adults be placed in tough situations and them dealing with them realistically with all the faults that entails. There were no cheap personality flips but rather a course of REAL development that people go through when dealing with the adult world. Pacing: Lo K moves FAST. There is exactly one breather episode and the rest of it can be summed up as 'fast paced' or 'Oh, My GOD!'. This works miracles at building the tension and excitement of the show but doesn't give us time to explore all the niches and people of Republic City. Again, for me this worked. I wasn't interested in diving into Republic City but into the plot of Lo K. Plot: Lo K plot is much darker and narrow than it's source. I liked the story. It didn't just hold me attention, it grabbed me, showed me how great it was going to be and than dared me to look away. The theme of this season was oppression and Lo K: Air did an excellent job of showing how people react to it and what people do when they learn they can push back HARDER. There were subplots but Lo K really tailored itself to Amon/Equalists vs. Heroes. If you are looking for a excellently made, fast paced, short show with interesting characters, realistic and terrifying plot points and great twists you will love this. If you are looking for an epic, world building, with long hard looks at each side with plenty of character development, you are going to be horribly disappointed. I loved Lo K: Air and eagerly look forward to the next three books.
Season 1 Retrospective
I'm ambivalent on Korra, a show that started with great promise in its pilot. The animation, music, art design, and choreography are all excellent, CG is used decently, and characters like Lin and Tarrlok stand alongside the franchise's best. It's 80% of an excellent show. It's the other 20% that's the problem. Korra can't decide if it wants to be a plot-driven show or a character-driven one, and that indecision creates a muddle. Poor arc pacing is also a problem. The setting isn't developed enough for the viewer to invest in its plot-driven fate. Compared to the vividly realized culture of Ba Sing Se in the original series, a six episode arc, we know little about Republic City after twelve episodes. Why are the Equalists rebelling? It's hard to buy benders are really oppressive when Mako and Bolin, the only main cast benders who work in the city itself, are constantly exploited: low-paying, non-union jobs at the power plant, and an arena boss who pays them so little that they can barely cover monthly expenses like food and rent. If the triads are the real cause of bending oppression for the common non-bender, then what does it say about a Police Chief that the show goes to length to venerate? The result is Bender/Non-Bender strife exists in a contextless void, a revolution without a cause, with no answers because the show offers minimal details. Things happen. Then more things happen. It's bloodless drama. The cast isn't developed enough for a character-driven drama. Lin and Tarrlok are well-drawn for the time we get with them. Korra herself starts off strong on an enlightenment arc in the pilot, but her character growth slacks off in the back half of the season and never pays off in the closing arc. The rest of the cast has minimal development. Mako is an overprotective mama bear, which hurts his romances. Bolin is flat, with only Episode 5 to shine in. Asami's Luke/Vader conflict is never exploited for the logical drama it could provide. Amon's wonderful backstory sadly shortchanges the Equalist plot, and is clumsily inserted at the 11th hour. The saddest thing is, it wouldn't have taken much to make the show really solid. A little exploration of Republic City's culture, of benders and non-benders, of the characters and their interpersonal relationships. Instead, Korra is the lesser son of a greater sire.
"The Spirit of Competition"—How to do Love Trianlges Right
Okay, I hate the tropes Love Triangle and Love Dodecahedron. I just do. I'm not a romance fan, and most of them are very clumsily executed and become blights on non-romance oriented shows. As well as the fact that they are easy Wangst sources and usually abused for that (and sometimes Face Heel Turn fodder). This was how you do it right. This was "two people involved with others have a moment, but realize that it hurts others". Mako feels guilt for cheating on Asami, and Korra feels bad for upsetting Bolin. It wasn't the usual "it's okay for this couple to cheat" that you see with Romantic Comedy protagonists, where their other love interests, no matter how close, are nothing and usually unsympathetic so the audience doesn't care. From what we know right now , Asami is a sweet girl, and Bolin is a sweet guy, and we know that what Korra and Mako did was not kind to them. I think that's a good message for a kid's show to point out. Also, I think this was Bryke's Take That to the rabid Die For Our Ship their fans sometimes reach. Mako and Korra were pounced on by many, including old Zutara fans who took them as a next-best-thing, people who liked the idea of it before the show started or had full character descriptions, and then the most sane—those who liked how they interacted in-show. I think it was Bryke being a pair of literal, annoyed, and smart creators who were willing to say "fine, you want that—here's what it is" and more importantly "here are it's consequences". I have never seen a cartoon love triangle that had this kind of thing—usually one side is revealed to be evil or lets go instantly to the point of it being unrealistic. So kudos to Bryke for being willing to go there, willing to do this and show us that, hey we are going overboard with the shipping (like MLP's Hearts and Hooves Day did) and maybe we should focus on the show itself and not go too overboard in the subplots.
Great start to the new series!
I actually didn't have high expectations for a sequel series to Avatar The Last Airbender, but by the time that the two released episodes, "Welcome to Republic City" and "A Leaf in the Wind" ended, I was hooked and chomping at the bit for more. The animation is gorgeous, the character designs are great, and the pacing is fierce. Judging by what has been released so far, it appears that there will be more of a focus on the characters and less on the plot, which I'm looking forward to watching. One of the flaws of the original series (in my opinion) was that sometimes the characters would feel more like plot devices than actual people. In this series, the personalities seem to be coming out full-force with the plot slowly building around them. That said, I'm not a huge fan of Korra's character yet. My main issue with her (which I'm hoping will be resolved in a future episode) is that at the age of five or six, whenever the Order of the White Lotus came to visit her and her family, she was already a phenomenal bender of three out of the four elements. The two Avatars that came before her, Roku and Aang, both had to learn their elements one by one, and it took quite a bit of time. Roku didn't begin to learn anything but firebending until he was declared the Avatar at 16, and the entirety of the previous series documented Aang's training in water, earth, and firebending. Korra figured out (or was told by someone other than the Order of the White Lotus) that she was the Avatar at an extremely young age, and as far as we know, taught herself three out of the four elements. This deviates sharply from what has previously been shown in the Avatar-verse, and I hope that it is explained later on in the series. The humor in this series so far has been as sharp as the first, with both subtle and loud jokes. The sparkling bush and Korra scratching an itch during meditation are two that stand out. There are far more hilarious moments, but it's impossible to list them all. There have already been plenty of Mythology Gag moments, such as a mention of Zuko's mother, Korra striking some aangsty poses, and a merchant that could very well be a descendent of the Cabbage Man. Oh, and there's a metalbending police force led by Chief Lin Bei Fong which is AMAZING. I'm looking forward to seeing where this series goes.
So far, it's pretty good.
As someone who was a fan of the previous series, The Legend Of Korra has some pretty big shoes to fill in my opinion. But I'd say it's doing a pretty decent job. Production-wise, The Legend Of Korra is a stunning show. Pros:
- The art is fantastic - the architecture is beautiful, the setting as a whole is very big and very real, the motions of the characters are fluid and dynamic. The character designs are all lovely, and I really like how they manage to incorporate both traditionalism and modernism in the city, as well as the characters' designs and personalities. I love how the show's colors get progressively darker in order to reflect the series's tone.
- The voice acting is very real and believable.
- The battle scenes are amazing.
- Some of the characters - especially the side ones who have rightfully become fan favorites - are just beautifully rendered, believably characterized, and all around spotlight-stealers (Lin and Tahno being examples). Despite what is stated below, however, our protagonists are still likable - Korra, for example, is an Idiot Hero who is certainly shaking things up, but even she is not immune to bouts of low self-esteem. Characters are great for the most part. Amon, especially, is a great villain.
- The call backs to the original series are heartwarming in a way.
- The soundtrack is just great - it sounds very oriental and very jazzy and very 20's all in one.
- Sometimes it feels like characterization is being given up to make way for shipping - case in point, Bolin - We do not see him growing from his heartbroken Makorra kiss experience, and the way he shrugs it off after that episode is almost disturbing. Shipping is all well and good, but the way it's done on this show seems very rushed and sloppy, even for something that was meant to be a twelve-episode series.
- The plot also moves pretty fast. This review was written post-tenth episode, and I'm very curious to see how they'll resolve everything (including the sudden addition of a new, important character at the end) in two episodes. But this was originally planned to be twelve episodes long...
Upon looking at Legend of Korra, I was happy. I didn't see all of the original series: one or two episodes of season one, some of season two, and the latter half of Season 3 (including the movie). I got most information from this site. I like Legend of Korra, the aesthetic and the city itself feels just as big to me, as the previous world that the Original series took place in. Personally, I liked the old Firenation war machines, and the upgrade in technology was very nice. The look of the new machines is still very in-vocative of that old technology. I like the music, it's that old Oriental music, blended with some jazz-esque tunes, which remind me of the twenties (chich the series in general reminds me of). Several other points.
- Animation: Love it, the cars, the city, the mechs, they all look amazing.
- Voice Acting: very good, It syncs up well, and the voices are enjoyable to listen to. I keep thinking about Transformers Prime every time Amon opens his mouth.
- Characters: I like all of them, no considerable gripes have popped up yet. Amon is a very threatening and mysterious villain, and to me feels better than Ozai. The Heroes are all likable (to me anyway). I like the concepts of the police force, but they go down way too easy (I have this complaint in many shows, where enforcers are reduced to mooks to show off the bad guy talents).
- Shipping: don't care about, whatever they do in the series I'll be fine with.
- Final thoughts: The setting and animation are the golden points to me, as is the action. This is a very good series, and I recommend it to anyone looking for some quality entertainment.
First impressions from someone who didn't watch the first series
I have not watched Avatar The Last Airbender. I did not really feel much desire to watch the show, nor its sequel; I only caught an episode of it by accident. However, that one episode piqued my interest, and I tried out the rest. The conclusion is good: Legend of Korra is astounding so far. The animation is gorgeous. While I'm not an anime fan, the style works for the heavy action sequences because it allows the characters' bodies to move fluidly. The action scenes are all incredible and smooth, and the angles are well-chosen to emphasize the movement of the "bending" abilities. The color palette is rich; instead of using only bright colors, it goes for a variety of more muted hues that fit the urban setting. Speaking of which, I love the city; the design is a blend of Imperial Japan, roaring 20's USA, and traditional Asian style that feels alive. Scenes like the ineffectual park guard yelling at Korra for assaulting an equalist make the world feel larger than the conflicts between the main characters, which I feel is a good thing. The characters are likeable. Korra at first can seem like your typical Idiot Hero, since she is emotional and stubborn to a silly extent, but her free-spirited attitude is treated both positively and negatively, and it's certainly not the only part of the character. Some of her conflicts, especially that in the fourth episode, are surprisingly relatable. She feels natural, instead of just being pieced together to please one demographic. Definitely one of my favorite protagonists I've seen in a cartoon. Mako and Bolin are decent. Bolin's best moments so far are in episode 3, where he expresses optimism and pessimism in his own way; however, his humor might get a bit grating. Mako seems like the stereotypical "bad boy", especially in his debut, but I grew to like him and his more normal persona. Tenzin is a great mentor character because he's not just a one-dimensional mentor who is always right or always proven wrong; because he makes mistakes but still means well, the audience sympathizes with him. One of the issues I had with Young Justice was that it felt very deliberate, as if the advertisers just yelled out "This is a serious show" to everyone watching. Transformers Prime, while very good in other ways, features the same problem. Legend of Korra is thankfully better. Can't wait for episode 5!
I think it's pretty great.
Maybe I'm just bad at being critical, but so far there's almost nothing about this show I don't love. Just like in ATLA the characters are interesting and engaging, the art is excellent, and the emotional pitch manages to run from exciting to comic to earnest without a misstep. The Legend of Korra definitely seems like it's headed towards a slightly different, darker tone than ATLA, but I'm going to give it some time to see whether this is well-handled or not. So far some slightly more mature themes have popped up, some disturbing things have been hinted at—not that ATLA hasn't already gone into some mature territory—and I like the way that's the show is building up a more complex world than the one we've seen before. There isn't just a bad guy that Team Avatar needs to defeat. There are the Equalists, the triads, the police, the White Lotus, and the people caught in the middle, and it seems like the show intends to examine the fact that, although some of these groups have opposing ideals, it doesn't mean that they're necessarily wrong. As for the setting: good world building is something that appeals to me personally, so I appreciate the details like seeing lightning bending used as a power source that give the city more verisimilitude. I also think the steampunk-y details just look cool: who doesn't appreciate a zeppelin? Yes, I had hoped that if we ever got a sequal to Avatar it would focus on the Gaang, not someone new. I'm disappointed that we don't get to see Ursa or the aftermath of the war and that most of the characters from the original show are gone, as I think most fans of ATLA are. But I think it's completely unfair to be disappointed with Korra for what it isn't—judge it for what it is. [Written after watching the first three episodes.]
(first two episodes review) A very different direction than the first cartoon
Avatar The Last Airbender was about a group of kids and teens who traveled the world, going from place to place and not stopping for long, in an attempt to end a war started by an obvious villain with a standard "take over the world" goal. It was set in a world of Asian mythology similar to society a few hundred years ago. The sequel makes it clear early on that it is a very different cartoon providing a very different experience. Korra is not a kid who hangs out with kid friends; she is a teenager, and a very headstrong one. In fact, characterization is one thing I feel is very well done in this show, as Korra is believable with her mixture of flaws and virtues. She wants to do the right thing, but is reckless and impulsive and impatient. She feels like a real human being. The world is very different from the previous show, to the point where I can say it's a different genre. Technology that is largely 20th century exists alongside the "bending" magic of the original show, so we can see how people who can manipulate earth, air, water and fire would live in a society similar to ours, where cars, radio and pro wrestling - I mean, pro bending - tournaments all exist. We are shown the things that everyday people do, the things they do for fun and the things they care about. And speaking of things they care about, we are soon introduced to a very vocal anti-bending faction that feels discriminated against by the benders. Korra of course is quick to protest this despite not being familiar with the situation and being new to Republic City, but it isn't long before she witnesses a gang of benders extorting money from a non-bender, and we see what the anti-bending faction is upset about. Which leads me to my next point. Even though only the first two episodes have been released thus far as a special promotion, it already looks like this show will deal with more complex nuances than "Big Bad wants to take over world, stop him!" Themes of discrimination, prejudice and distrust, and even good ideas gone horribly wrong already appear early on. With the show set in one location, there's room for far more character development, and we will likely see how Republic City itself changes over time. So far, a great showing for a very different sequel.