Those of you who might remember my Avatar: The Last Airbender, might remember that I believe that I wished that all series were like that one. My expectations were high when I saw there was going to be a follow-up to the series with The Legend of Korra.
This is the biggest problem that I have with The Legend of Korra is I am constantly comparing it to Avatar: The Last Airbender. It just doesn’t compare, as the series practically take place in different universes. It seemed pretty creative as the world of Avatar grew up. While Avatar: The Last Airbender takes place on a world with mostly medieval technology in an age of empire, The Legend of Korra takes place in an age where industry and modern politics are just beginning. I’m not certain when Korra takes place in comparison to the first Avatar series, but the Avatar has died, and another has risen to take Aang’s place. This is Korra, and I won’t bother explaining how the Avatar system works. Go watch the first show for that.
The show fails on the opening scene. Korra is a young lady who has mastered fire, water, and earth, but not air. Considering that it took three seasons of the first Avatar show for him to master the four elements, it seems odd that Korra has all but one from the get go. A friend of mine pointed that out to me, and now I can’t un-see it.
Korra must learn air-bending from Tenzin, the son of Aang. Korra is pretty headstrong, and meets up with friends firebender Mako and earthbender Bolin. The first season is Korra taking on a foe known as Amon, who leads a group known as the Equalists. They want to remove bending from people, and this storyline is entirely self-contained. Seriously, you could just stop watching after season 1, and I wonder if the creative team didn’t know if they were going to get another.
Season 2 is called Spirits, because all the other elements (fire, water, air, and water) were taken. Korra must take on her uncle Unalaq, who has a plan to unite the spirit world with the real one. Oh, he also becomes the “dark avatar”, and there is a two-part episode that reveals the origin of how the avatar came to be. It’s not bad.
When it comes to Season 3, it gets a little bit more interesting. There is a group of villains led by Zaheer, who tried to kidnap the Avatar in the past and breaks himself and his friends out of prison to finish the job. There is also the rebuilding of the air-benders, which is an interesting sub-plot on the show as the air-benders and Korra’s group must work together to stop Zaheer and his evil gang. It’s probably the most fun season.
Season 4 is a final nail in the coffin. The main villain is Kuvira, a military leader who wants to unite the Earth kingdom, whether they like it or not. This storyline is kind of like the first TV series, but instead of the firebenders taking over the world, it’s the earthbenders. This somehow ends with team Avatar taking on a giant twenty-story robot with a death ray. Yeah, it’s not as awesome as it sounds, and the ending feels worse.
My final verdict on The Legend of Korra is this. I remember when I watched the live action The Last Airbender, and thinking that I shouldn’t have watched it, that I should have been satisfied with just the animated series. As time went on, I started to hate The Last Airbender movie because it was an terrible abbreviation of the first season of Avatar: The Last Airbender. As I said before, I can’t stop comparing The Legend of Korra with Avatar: The Last Airbender, and it just pales in comparison. I would love to say that The Legend of Korra stands on its own two feet, but its too steeped in its own mythology to do that.