Back when Avatar: The Last Airbender was airing on Nickelodeon, I always enjoyed an episode or two when I could catch it, but I never fully invested myself into following the series. That was then. A year ago, I watched the entire series and loved it, so when I heard about Avatar: Legend of Korra, I was very excited for it! As it happens, the two-episode season finale of the 1st season (consisting of 12 episodes) was a couple weekends ago, which means that I can finally review this awesome show! So let’s jump right in!
For those unfamiliar with the show and its world, you don’t have to worry about knowing too much about it – the show does an adequate job of providing those who are unfamiliar with the bare basics and facts of the world of Avatar. With that being said, Legend of Korra is definitely more rewarding if you’ve seen The Last Airbender. Many references are made to The Last Airbender that make Legend of Korra that much more immersive for those who have seen the former show.
I won’t try to spoil too much of the plot, but I will give you a very brief overview: Korra, the new Avatar after Aang, has finally completed her fire bending training, meaning she can now bend Earth, Fire, and Water, and is now ready to begin her air bending training with Aang’s son, Tenzin. Unfortunately, Tenzin cannot stay to teach her where she is currently located, and so she follows Tenzin to Republic City, a hub for benders and non benders to live in harmony. There, she becomes involved in a war between benders and non benders whilst learning how to air bend.
Right away, in the very first episode, you can see how the world has changed from The Last Airbender; Republic City is very steampunk and modernized compared to the rural nature of The Last Airbender – you see cars, boats, and other various forms of technology, and alongside that you can see how much the team has improved in their animating. The environments are gorgeous, and the animation is much more fluid, especially when it comes to combat. There is no loss of production when it comes to Legend of Korra; each episode was pretty consistent when it came to its animation, and it was cool to see a different style of bending in the pro-bending matches.
The music is fantastic. I actually was able to get enough points on Korra Nation, an advertising campaign for Legend of Korra, for an exclusive soundtrack, and it’s great. While I enjoy the music for combat, I think my favorite pieces are the ones with violin during the more somber moments of the series. It really hit me during those moments. The ending theme is also great. All in all, the music fits each scene wonderfully, and its soundtrack is definitely one I could listen to again and again.
This is the show’s weakest point for me, but by no means is it bad. It’s great! I like how they play with how Korra is a much more physical Avatar – she relies on her bending to be an Avatar, and her difficulty learning Airbending lends itself to her difficulty connecting with her past lives spiritually, so to see her struggle through that was an interesting perspective for an Avatar. The whole “revolution” from non-benders (calling themselves Equalists) is also really interesting because you could see that in The Last Airbender where benders always had power over non benders. It was never addressed, but being able to see that as a sort-of foreshadow made the Equalist revolution a sensible direction because of how technology can bolster non-benders. The themes of revolution and corruption ran rampant throughout the series, but it is that very concept that we can relate so easily to thanks to the many movies and other shows that address these issues, as well as what we know from history in the past and currently.
Despite the predictability of the show’s plot progression, there are a lot of surprising twists thrown in there, and I was pleased with all of them. And to be honest, some of the predictable points were necessary, in my opinion. The ONLY thing I thought was kind of weak was the inevitable love triangle (square, maybe?) between Korra, Mako, and Asami, but to be honest, how they acted wasn’t too bad considering they’re all teenagers, but all of them had rushed feelings, I think, but that’s because the season was only 12 episodes.
I loved the characters in this series. Sure, some of them didn’t really get fleshed out, but Korra, Tenzin, Lin, Amon, Tarrlok, and a whole host of others were very fleshed out. I really enjoyed watching them grow as characters, despite how rushed some of it had to be because of the 12-episode limit. However, that can be forgiven because of the revolution and how that can cause more drastic change in characters. There was a lot of conflict between many of the characters, and I enjoyed seeing that many of those conflicts came to a resolution.
A lot of Legend of Korra’s criticisms, for me, stem from how short the first season was. But, it’s important to keep in mind that this was supposed to be a mini-series with two seasons of less than 20 episodes, so you can’t expect what The Last Airbender provided. With 12 episodes, Legend of Korra is very impressive, and if you haven seen The Last Airbender, you will enjoy Legend of Korra. Even if you haven’t seen The Last Airbender, Legend of Korra is sure to impress.
I will eagerly be awaiting next season, where I hope a lot of my criticisms are put down.
Plot Direction: 7/10
Final Score: 8/10