Korra, Korra, Korra… Alright I’m just going to admit it, I have a shockingly uncharacteristic anime crush on that woman, I mean just…damn, but as M I must put that aside to review season one of Avatar the Legend of Korra and review it just as harshly as I would anything else. So let’s, my vice friends, move past my rather embarrassing feelings for the fictional character she and get this started.
Let me make this clear, Avatar: The Legend of Korra is a sequel to Avatar: The Last Air bender and for this to be enjoyed to its fullest it is to be seen as such and expects you the viewer to have seen the Last air bender. Which as you can read here is actually fantastic so if you haven’t seen it first don’t start with Korra, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice, but to those that don’t know it follow the adventures of Korra the new avatar over 70 years after aang as she masters air bending in the 1910s themed republic city all while under the threat of Amon an anti-bender.
A while ago I wrote a blog post to speak to my feelings on the first few episodes of Korra before the series ended, the heart of it all was that I was very worried about if and when the series was going to go anywhere and in short it’s ironic to say that it did literally the episode past my impressions, almost jarringly so shit gets very real very fast in very little time and only gets realer and realer. Legend of Korra, if you have not read my blog, bests its predecessor in a few very noticeable ways, the most noticeable one is with Korra herself, she is by her nature a much better and more interesting character then Aang, she is arguably the best character in the show which is almost never true with a main protagonist, more so the show succeeds in its maturity, Avatar the last airbender has a sort of fame for acknowledging death and then having death within the show, Avatar the legend of Korra goes further with politics concepts of law and equality, moral grey with your enemy and even suicide. Korra was made for us the teenagers that watched avatar, the world and the characters are all older to reflect this. These seem like the most logical improvements one can make to Avatar as a whole, even minor things like natural conversation and a more mature take on humor show a growth, as a whole the parts of Korra are superior then Aangs story so much so it’s worth noticing. Oh and visually its cleaner and more well produced having a easily larger budget then the first season of avatar the last air bender.
I think it’s important to note the difference in story Legend of Korra and the Last air bender. The Legend of Korra is like a single novel with a set beginning and end and as such performs a story excellently. The last air bender was a three book long Epic (literal sense) and as such has a lot more time to flush out the world and the story, the stakes are simply higher in a 100 year war built up over three seasons then a conflict that can be started and ended in one. I do feel that simply nothing (mild spoiler for last air bender) can match the intensity as the final match between Zuko and Azula or Aang and the Firelord. The simple build up just makes for a more meaningful show in the end, however comparatively I feel stronger about Korra then any one season of Last Air bender. This does not however make Korra without flaw. The nature of it forces a rush that’s a bit undeserved the characters change their feelings and build relationships in a almost jarringly forced way that makes you so aware that Korra was assumed to only have one season (now new seasons will be made) The 1910s theme is poor in my taste as is the terrible recreation of New York in republic city, the setting of New York is overused and bored to begin with. The cultural homogenization as well as the bending homogenization is meant to symbolize the unity of the four peoples but really just robs them of their uniqueness, and while the old benders do not most of the new ones just use I kid you not boxing over the unique and culturally link martial arts that was painstakingly real and well choreographed. Most distasteful of all bending has for the most part been made near moot point so much so lightning bending the ultimate one hit kill for anyone in the series is now no more powerful the a solid punch to the chest, no joke a character gets hit with it and gets up and walks away like not 30 seconds later with no healing involved.
Korra as a single entity I feel confident in saying is better than Last airbender if by nothing else because of Korra herself. I look forward to what else is to come and hopefully I can say that with more time and a tone change this is exactly the Avatar I wanted. Well all said and done I can give with comfort Avatar: The Legend of Korra 4.5 Polar-Bear Dogs out of 5.