The avatar franchise has come quite a
long way, from a little known cartoon on Nickelodeon to a terrible live
action adaption and finally the sequel that will most likely bring its
life on the screen, big and small to an end.
Season 4 of The Legend of Korra
is just around the corner, and I for one cannot help but admit to being
excited for what is the first time ever for another season. I don’t know
if it is quite a shame that Season 4 will be last Season of Legend of
The series hasn’t had the strongest run, at least not with its first two seasons.
+FOUR REASONS LEGEND OF KORRA SEASON 3 WORKED.
Objectively speaking, season 1 of Korra
was decent stuff if approached as a typical cartoon/anime series;
unfortunately that is exactly what Korra has never been.
As Successor to The Last Air Bender
Korra had large shoes to fill and it failed to do so spectacularly,
season 1 lacking in the energy and excitement of the first season of
Aang, while season 2 completely dropped the ball, weaving a messy tale
with numerous unnecessary episodes, scenes and plots.
With that in mind, I initially doubted
my positive opinion of Season 3; after all, once you hit the bottom in
entertainment, you can only go up, and Korra wasn’t going to get any
But analyzing it objectively, Korra season 3 was great stuff, even by
Last Air Bender standards, and I impute its success to four primary
Let’s get a couple of things straight about Korra
I didn’t approach this series expecting
an Aang clone. I certainly didn’t expect a level headed, highly
intelligent or even completely rational avatar from the new series, not
from a 15 year old.
That being said, Korra’s age and place
as a teenage girl in the avatar world doesn’t excuse the sheer stupidity
her character was written to display over the first two seasons.
And this business of Avatar wisdom
doesn’t make a lick of sense to me, specifically the common excuse that
this is some next level intellectual ability that Aang possessed but
which Korra lacked.
I am not asking for ancient wisdom
complimented by vastly superhuman thought processes; I expected basic
intelligence and common sense from Korra and for the first two seasons
she was little more than an idiot with special powers that UNWITTINGLY
AIDED her enemies rather than foiling them.
The rationale of a 12 year old boy with
less than a year’s training showing greater wisdom that a 15 year old
that has been trained as avatar since birth needs to be explained to me.
There is no excuse for the first two seasons of Korra. She wasn’t just
dumb. She was downright irritating to watch in some places.
And it almost feels like someone finally
stepped up to reign her character in with this last season, producing a
fairly level headed avatar that didn’t needlessly divert the plot from
its primary course through idiotic decisions and irrelevant side
Not to say that Korra was anything
special this season; she wasn’t exactly the star of the show; her
display of growth was none the less commendable. A waste, that we didn’t
start like this, because Korra would be a far more intriguing character
to follow by now. She single handedly ruined season 2, then somehow
saved season 3, at least in my eyes.
The world of Avatar: The Last Air Bender
thrived because of its rich cast of heroes, anti-heroes and villains.
Legend of Korra particularly struggled in the villain arena, and more so
in season 2, once more because of Korra.
It is difficult to respect villains
whose master plans and schemes depended heavily upon Korra making
decisions that weren’t just wrong but downright nonsensical. We’ve seen
Aang go off the rails, but for most of Season 2 it felt like Korra
wasn’t exactly doing much thinking.
In learning that the Order of the Red
Lotus would lead the charge as key antagonists for season 3, I expected a
villainous version of the White Lotus seen in Last Air Bender
. These guys weren’t nearly as impressive as far as abilities were concerned.
None the less this has to be the series’
most impressive cast of antagonists so far, imposing an actual level of
threat worth worrying over throughout the season. Let’s face it,
powerful as her opponents might have been in earlier seasons, we have
yet to see villains that are as intriguing in Korra as The Red Lotus
even while endowed with the strength to actually stand up against Korra
in a fair fight.
How i have longed for the old days of
Avatar, when the mere appearance of Azula immediately raised the stakes,
and the mission became more about escaping her crazy wrath than
accomplishing any goals.
Korra simply hasn’t boasted that same
level of threat in a very long while, and while the Red Lotus didn’t
quite invoke the same sense of danger as say Firelord Ozai or the
original combustion man, they turned this season into one hell of a
+The Supporting cast.
Say what you will about the original
team avatar, say that all the complaints surrounding team Korra amount
to excess nostalgia (which might be true).
You cannot deny the fact that Korra
hasn’t produced characters as interesting as Toph, Iroh, Zuko, Sokka and
Katara. And these guys weren’t merely sources of great action either.
Last Air Bender made comprehensive use
of each of Aang’s friends, injecting them organically into the series
and effortlessly utilizing them to further the story.
Exactly what Legend of Korra has never
done; for two seasons now, it has been the Korra show (what is her
second name, anyway?) and that would have been fine had the series not
bothered to insert Mako, Bolin and the rest into the story.
For two seasons these guys haven’t had a
thing to do in the series; for all intent and purpose, you could have
eliminated any one of them from the show and not only would Legend of
Korra not have suffered for it, it would have made Seasons 1 and 2 so
much better, allowing for a more compact story to unfold.
This failure to use them effectively has actually hurt the series as a whole so much more than Korra’s weird characterization.
I didn’t enter this series asking for a
return of my favorite characters in new bodies; and i certainly didn’t
expect the new cast to replace them. That is never going to happen.
I simply wanted interesting,
entertaining characters to follow; the common comparison between Bolin
and Sokka revolves around their comedic abilities, not taking into
account the fact that even without bending abilities, Sokka was an
integral part of the original story while Bolin might as well be a lamp
for all this importance to the show.
So when season 3 rolls out and begins
actively engaging most, if not all, of Korra’s friends into her tale and
in a meaningful way, what else can I do but nod my head in approval?
Finally, a story that can attempt to expand its talents and utilize all
its tools effectively.
Anyone remember the first season of Last
Air Bender? All those duels between Zuko and Aang, so many intricate
movements blurring by so fast that you had to take a moment, rewind and
watch the whole thing again.
That is what first got me into Avatar,
the sleek strikes, compact moves and destructive elements being
unleashed in all sorts of unique forms. I can’t say that we didn’t get
clean well animated action in Korra, but most of the first two seasons
produced some rather dull fights.
Again, this comes back to the fact that
Korra is a sequel; on its own, these would have been pretty impressive
fight sequences; in comparison to Last Air Bender, let’s just say that I
kept waiting for my jaw to drop but that didn’t happen.
Let me put it this way. I watched
episodes of the Last Air Bender whose plots were somewhat uninteresting,
but which none the less left me highly excited merely because of the
awesome fight scenes.
And I don’t know what the hell changed
with Korra this season. Maybe it was the addition of the Red Lotus and
the new air benders. But Korra has never been this explosive a series in
terms of the action.
I was surprised at how clean and
increasingly complex the fights became, alongside the interesting use of
bending. This is what I want from my Legend of Korra, not men and women
throwing elements at each other aimlessly, but skilled individuals
deploying powerful martial arts moves whose consequence happens to be
the movement of the elements.
The Legend of Korra
season 3 is the sequel The Last Air Bender
has been waiting for. This is the sequel Aang deserves, and truth be told I am not exactly happy about that.
We are already here, at the end of the
Korra journey, which makes this last season feel almost like a waste.
This should have been the first season of Korra. Had that been the case,
had the series began with such momentum, can you imagine where The Legend of Korra
would be right now?
Avatar fans would be whispering about it
with the same level of reverence normally reserved for the third season
of Last Air Bender. It might be more accurate to blame Nickelodean
here. The 12 episode run probably didn’t allow for much space to
With the fourth season just around the corner, the question becomes whether The Legend of Korra
can pull of a series finale on the level of Sozin’s Comet
( a finale that can contend with many of the best anime and manga finales).
Considering the quality of season 3, I actually have some hope in Korra.