I’m really late to the party with this, but I’ve been watching the Legend of Korra recently!
The Legend of Korra is a sequel to the ever-popular Avatar: The Last Airbender series. It is set seventy years after the end of its predecessor. Seventy years is a lot of time, so though you’ll encounter a lot of familiar elements (pun may be intended), there’s also a lot of new things to discover in the United Republic of Nations, as the world the series takes place in is now called.
I just finished season one. Apparently the seasons (they’re still called books though) will be more or less standalone stories, unlike The Last Airbender? I personally don’t see that as a negative thing, but not necessarily as a positive one either. I’ll have to see if they can keep up the quality, because I was really impressed with season one.
As mentioned, the series takes place in the same fictional universe, only seventy years later. You won’t believe how much that adds to the series! It allows for a much more modern world. A lot of inventions have been made, so we now things such as motorized vehicles available to the general public. The four nations have united and their center, Republic City, feels like it came straight from a steampunk setting.
Material things aside, bending has evolved as well! Where in the first series Toph essentially invented metal bending, it is now a common ability, possessed by most all of the members of the police corps. We can also see some unique use of bending from the first series used more widely as well, and various rare techniques make their reappearance.
But the most important thing about the time-skip between the two series is how it enables you to see the impact the story described in The Last Airbender has had. Over the years, Aang has united the four nations, essentially shaping the world into an entirely different place. Various characters are descendants of the heroes from the first series, and some are even named after them!
But the series doesn’t stick in the past. It rarely ever mentions the events from seventy years ago, and if it does it’s done very briefly. “Oh yeah, that happened.” Though that doesn’t mean they don’t work with the large span of time in between the two stories!
The Legend of Korra seems to have a more mature feel to it than The Last Airbender. Almost right off the bat, it raises very relevant issues, with the first season having a strong focus on discrimination, rebellion and revolution. The more modern setting aids with this, making the world feel easier to relate to.
Bending isn’t just some sacred “martial” art anymore, either. Professional bending is an actual sport now, where two teams of three members (one for each element except the still rare air) duke it out in a game that I can best describe as “ranged sumo wrestling”, though it’s actually much cooler than that. These sport matches are pretty different from actual bending combat, draw a lot of spectators, and have a great commentator. The whole thing just feels so… modern, professional, mature. They’re all words that come to mind, but nothing can accurately describe it.
And I’ve still only really talked about the setting! We obviously follow Korra, good chance she’s the new Avatar. I mentioned a revolution, pro-bending, so surely she must be involved with those things! Sounds like a rather talented kid!
Anyway, all in all, the Legend of Korra has pleasantly surprised me. I had heard a couple of negative things about it way back when, and though there’s a wee thing or two they could’ve done differently, it all ties together really well. It’s essentially a more modern and mature take on The Last Airbender. It’s still a “children’s cartoon” though, so no blood or other gore. But there’s plenty of violence to get around! Did I mention the animation’s actually pretty damn good? Well, there you are.
If you haven’t watched it yet, you got two point something seasons to catch up on. And look, what a coincidence, summer’s almost here, so you’ll likely have plenty of time!