written by Justin Prince (@prince_justin)
Okay guys, I gotta say I am really kicking myself for never giving Legend of Korra a fair shake when it was first on television. For those that may not know though, Legend of Korra (hence forth referenced as Korra ) is the sequel and successor to the widely popular Avatar: The Last Airbender (going forward referenced as Avatar ). Maybe I was too much of an anime snob, I never gave Avatar a fair shake and immediately wrote it off for being a "wannabe-anime-show." After finally watching Korra I'm seriously kicking myself for being so stuck up and elitist about it. I've even decided to finally give Avatar a fair shake and watch through the series, so far so good... I hate to say this because, inherently, nobody likes to admit they are wrong. But I used to give an ex-girlfriend of mine some serious shit for liking Avatar as much as she did, and while we aren't friends anymore... I would have to say to her, "you were right... this show is pretty damn awesome."
Let's back it up a bit, while a sequel to Avatar, this isn't a continuation of Aang's story. Aang's story has come full circle and this series focuses on an all new avatar, the titular Korra. The setting is 70 years after the end of Aang's story and is set in a more modern world. After the end of the Hundred Year War, Avatar Aang and Fire Lord Zuko united the four nations to become one United Republic of Nations, with Republic City being the primary setting on the tale. While still retaining a very distinct architecture and style inspired by Chinese and European culture, the world has decidedly become more advanced, automobiles are motorbikes are commonplace and the world is much different than the setting of Avatar.
Korra is the main protagonist of the tale, she has mastered bending three of the four elements the Avatar must learn to truly lay claim to the title, the one element she is having the most trouble with is air. Thus she is charged to train under Tenzin, the current master airbender and youngest son of Avatar Aang. Naturally this isn't an easy road for our heroine and she struggles with mastering the concepts of airbending, unlike her predecessor Aang who was a natural airbender. Throughout the story, Korra befriends a pair of pro-bender (a sport) brothers, Mako and Bolin. She eventually joins their team, to the chagrin of her Master Tenzin who does not think highly of the sport. Some of the coolest moments for me was watching these pro-bending matches. Love sure does like to dance in triangles, and this is no different. Korra begins to develop feelings for Mako while Bolin is more than obvious about his attraction to Korra... adding to this triangle is the beautiful Asami Sato who vies with Korra over the affection of Mako. Asami spends a good amount of this season dating Mako and personally I loved her character. The writers could have gone the cliché route and made her a petty antagonistic foil for Korra, but I'm glad they never did that... it made it all the more bittersweet to eventually see Korra's affections returned by Mako come the close of this "book." While I was glad to see the two finally be fully honest with their feelings for each other, I felt so bad for Asami. Even after Asami learned that Mako could also have feelings for Korra, she never did hate Korra. Can I order some "TEAM ASAMI" t-shirts? Think that'd be weird?
The main conflict of Book 1 revolves around the Equalists and the Benders. Some Benders would use their gifts to commit crimes or run an organized crime syndicate, this of course can lead the viewers to sympathize with the regular humans who demand equality among benders and non-benders. The shadowy figure behind a mask, Amon, emerges as the primary antagonist throughout the entirety of Book 1. Even more troubling is his ability to fight on par with Benders and having an ability that allows him to rob a Bender of their ability, thus making them into regular humans.
The pacing of the story was perfection at its best, I was never bored nor did I ever feel like the cliffhangers were too gut-wretching. I powered through the entire first season in just two days and I plan to watch it again when I can order the HD versions... good old *sarcasm* X-Finity didn't have the HD version available On-Demand. I got to hand it to em, this was such a thrilling series to watch. The art direction was gorgeous, the music fit each scene, and the voice acting fit each character to a tee. This is one of those rare shows that just screams "attention to detail." It's obvious just how much the creators loved these characters, something this good has to be a labor of love. Book 2 premiers this September and I couldn't be more excited.
check the trailer for Book 1 and hit up the Quick Bits for a little bit of Book 2...