The Legend of Korra is likely one of the finest animated collection to ever grace tv. Nevertheless it’s usually overshadowed by its predecessor, Avatar: The Final Airbender, which is in competition for the finest animated collection of all time.
Hey, I get it. Each are superb artworks, and each happen in the identical world (with Korra set 70 years after Avatar), however they inform very totally different tales in very totally different codecs. Avatar’s arrival on Netflix in 2020 was a cultural occasion, and rightly so. However Korra hits the identical highs as Avatar — it simply does so with a format and a set of characters which can be wildly totally different from their predecessors.
Here is why The Legend of Korra is value your time, whether or not it is a first viewing or a return to the collection.
The Legend of Korra walks a special path than Avatar: The Final Airbender
Considered one of my favourite components of The Legend of Korra is the best way the present investigates particular themes in every of its 4 seasons. Averaging 13 episodes, every season builds on the concepts that got here earlier than them.
Spirituality, accountability, trauma, management; the present spends a dozen episodes exploring every of those ideas, creating a special viewing expertise in contrast with the long-form journey of Aang and his associates within the unique Avatar present. It is nearer to a group of brief tales than a single epic novel.
The themes of Korra really feel extra mature and developed in contrast with Avatar. Each take care of weighty topics, however the place Avatar tends to dip a toe in sometimes, Korra wades waist-deep and takes its time exploring tough points. The present takes ideas like emotional manipulation, abuse of energy and post-traumatic stress and visibly grapples with them alongside the viewer.
A few of these explorations are higher than others (in later seasons, the present jokes about its personal shortcomings in season 2), however the general result’s a collection whose evolution mirrors the expansion of its protagonist.
Why it’s best to watch it
The Legend of Korra hits the identical emotional highs as Avatar: The Final Airbender. Korra could fumble round these highs greater than Avatar did, however that is one of many benefits of watching reveals on streaming providers: You may get by way of the dangerous stuff quicker. And the present’s vibrant spots shine even brighter when watching on demand.
Watch the present within the highest high quality you’ll be able to, as a result of the motion sequences are really beautiful. Korra and associates’ battles towards the Equalists in season 1 are nonetheless among the flashiest, most electrifying animated battles on TV. The present bares its motion ambitions midway by way of the primary season with “And the Winner Is…” and the bending contests within the season three and four finales are unrelentingly thrilling.
There’s one thing new to find with every new viewing, whether or not it is small particulars you missed the primary time, or simply in-show moments that tackle new that means primarily based on real-world occasions because the present aired. Watching metalbenders detain peaceable protesters hits in a different way in 2021 than it did in 2012. A few of it could really feel too near house, however a part of the worth of the present is its means to sort out actual conditions in a fantasy world, and to make use of the fantastical components to discover these concepts in methods real-world tales cannot.
Very like Avatar, the characters are a significant spotlight of Korra. Bending brothers Mako and Bolin are the present’s resident cool man and comedian aid, respectively. Tenzin, the youngest son of Aang, performs a mentor who’s simply as challenged by Korra’s persona as he’s happy with her eventual accomplishments. And we should always all kneel earlier than Asami, who manages to be the brains, magnificence and coronary heart of the brand new Workforce Avatar, all whereas holding her personal in fight.
But when there have been just one cause to look at Korra, it must be the journey of the title character herself.
Whereas Aang’s story in Avatar: The Final Airbender is about accepting accountability whereas staying true to your values, Korra’s story is about discovering how you can study out of your experiences and how you can develop past your personal expectations. The Korra on the finish of season four feels so totally different from the Korra in episode 1, and voice actress Janet Varney is the soul of that change. Korra’s transformation is plausible due to the authenticity Varney provides the character. She breathes vibrant life right into a heroine who’s each brash and unsure, a grasp and a novice, an unstoppable powerhouse and a mild, loving pal.
The Legend of Korra could have its 10th anniversary in April subsequent yr. And… I simply love this present, OK? It isn’t good — it is flawed, similar to all of us. And, similar to all of us, it stumbles by way of these flaws, typically getting worse earlier than it will get higher. However finally, as all of us hope to do, it finds its footing, realizes what it needs to be, and it pursues that imaginative and prescient with optimism and confidence. Please, simply give Korra an opportunity. It will nestle its means into your coronary heart.
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