Saturday Suggestion – Animation: Legend of Korra

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You’ve probably heard of or at least watched Avatar: The Last Airbender. What most people haven’t done yet, but totally should, is watch its sequel: The Legend of Korra. Korra is the latest reincarnation of the Avatar, a person who can bend all of the elements which includes water, air, earth, and fire and is responsible for keeping balance in the world.

Brief intro: Seventy years after the events that took place in Avatar: The Last Airbender, 17-year-old Korra is training to become the new Avatar. The Legend of Korra delves back into the themes that we all became accustomed to in Avatar: The Last Airbender. LOK brings even more to the table, catering to the people who grew up watching ATLA. We are able to experience a look at social unrest and terrorism, race, gender and sexual orientation as well as PTSD and mental health. These might be heavy subjects for what was/is a children’s show, but they are handled with care and amazing writing just like ATLA.

Book One: Air sees Korra learning how to handle social unrest and terrorism in a 1920’s inspired metropolis called Republic City. Equalists rise up and being to strip benders of their powers in an effort to be, well, equal. In Book Two: Spirits, Korra learns more about the history of the Avatar lineage and mythology of the ATLA universe, including the mysterious spirit world during a time of civil war with the Northern and Southern water tribes.

Book Three: Change presents new conflicts for Korra. After her battle with the “dark avatar,” non-benders all over have suddenly acquired air-bending abilities. A dangerous criminal also gains these abilities and escapes prison, freeing his comrades and forming a plan to kidnap Korra. In an effort to save the aribenders that Zaheer has taken as hostage, Korra gives herself up to Zaheer, only to find herself being tortured until the brink of death.

The last of The Legend of Korra series, Book Four: Balance, follows a broken Korra, taking us on a journey of re-discovery of self, PTSD, and healing. While Korra struggles with her avatar identity, a new king of the Earth Kingdom is about to be crowned after the Earth Queen was murdered by Zaheer, and Kuvira, who calls herself the “Great Uniter,” has set her sights on claiming the Earth Kingdom and Republic City. With Toph’s and the unlikely Zaheer’s help, Korra is able to overcome her fears of being the Avatar.

Review: The Legend of Korra may not be a traditional anime, but it’s an American animated series heavily influenced by anime. So don’t come for me in the comments please!

The Legend of Korra hits so many points home for me. Korra struggles with her responsibilities as the Avatar. Her journey stalls after trauma that leads to PTSD, something I am very much familiar with. While rediscovering herself and overcoming her fears, Korra learns who she needs to be and how her journey has shaped her into a better person and a better Avatar.

Korra is also the first bisexual animated character I have ever known, something I believe we need to see more of as a bisexual/pansexual person myself. LOK may have it’s dark themes, but there’s much to be learned from this series that is often overshadowed by the success of the kids’ show Avatar: The Last Airbender and the fact that Nickelodeon eventually moved it to web video and download only after receiving criticism over the show’s contents. It deserves a place next to ATLA’s success, so if you haven’t given The Legend of Korra a chance yet, it’s about time that you did.

If this post seems familiar, it’s because I wrote about The Legend of Korra on Geek Out Challenge: Day 19!

Bottom Line: If you loved Avatar: The Last Airbender, you’ll fall head over heels for The Legend of Korra.

Official Rating: TV-Y7-FV

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5 thoughts on “Saturday Suggestion – Animation: Legend of Korra

  1. I really likd how they expanded on bending, making it evolve over the years it made the show feel way more clever to me. In so many shows the abilties just halt.. but it would make sense people want to push it beyond so that was really smart.

    I had difficulty getting trough Book 2 though, the whole spirit bending arc felt too confusius too floaty in a way for me.. it did not seem to fit Korra to me compared to the somewhat more grounded tone of book one. I dropped the show for a good while but came back when I heard part 3 & 4 were quite interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely agree. Seeing bending evolve and how it affected their daily lives was really cool and believable. Book 2 was a bit of a slog but I did enjoy seeing the back story about the origin of the Avatar, and, of course, the end of Book 2 broke my heart into a million pieces.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve always been intrigued by the Legend of Korra and was active on Tumblr at the height of its popularity and I’ve seen countless GIF sets and fan art that caught my attention but I struggled with Avatar the Last Airbender (mostly because of Aang).

    Do you think one could skip right to Korra without having watched Airbender (if they have a general idea of the storyline)?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you could get away with not watching ATLA but you may not appreciate some of the older characters and their journeys in Korra as much as others. Several characters from ATLA make appearances and are even regulars during a few of the seasons. That said, I don’t think it’ll take away from Korra for you.

      Liked by 1 person

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