Spoiler-Free Show Review:
The Legend of Korra Season 1
Rating: 9.0 out of 10 stars
The first time I watched The Legend of Korra I had such high expectations because it was in the same world as Avatar: The Last Airbender, that I felt a sense of disappointment. It just wasn’t the same.
The second time I watched it, I was able to appreciate it better because I accepted that it could not be the same as Avatar: The Last Airbender. I watched Season 1 with my roommate and we had a great time.
If you go into this show expecting it to be the same as Avatar: The Last Airbender, you will not be satisfied. But if you go into the experience embracing the new and relishing the old, you will see that The Legend of Korra is a fitting sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender.
If you haven’t watched Avatar: The Last Airbender yet, don’t watch the The Legend of Korra. Go watch Avatar: The Last Airbender first.
From now on, for simplicity’s sake, I will often refer to Avatar: The Last Airbender as ATLA and The Legend of Korra as LoK, the acronyms commonly used by fans.
The Legend of Korra was created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko. It is a sequel to the TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender.
Characters in this show are either benders, who can control one of the four elements, or non-benders, who cannot control any elements.
It is a unique blend of anime style with the style of American cartoons. It draws from Inuit, Japanese, Chinese, and Tibetan culture.
Beginning 70 years after the events of ATLA, LoK follows the journey of 17-year-old Korra, who is the new Avatar and grew up in the Southern Water Tribe. In Season One, she travels to Republic city seeking to learn airbending.
- Entertaining, appealing characters
- Character who has the same voice actor as Zuko
- In some ways it is the same world as ATLA, but it has changed
- Considers how those without bending ability live in a world of benders
- Creative ways of using bending
- New types of animals unique to the world, old ones make a reappearance
- Fitting villain who is both charismatic and frightening
- Catchy music
- Because of ATLA, LoK was held to a very high standard that it couldn’t quite reach
Korra is not just a reiteration of Aang. She is strong-willed, often defiant, powerful, and very much a teenager. She’s not afraid to say what’s on her mind, and she’s willing to take chances.
Korra’s biggest obstacle at the start of the series is her struggle to airbend. In ATLA, Aang struggled to learn earthbending because it was so different from airbending. In LoK, Korra struggles to learn airbending because it contrasts so strongly with her personality.
Mako is a firebender who is typically untrusting, aloof, and somewhat short-tempered. He will often act without thinking in a way that hurts or offends those around him, even though he is a good guy at heart.
Bolin is a fun-loving guy who is more laidback than his brother Mako. He’s a strong earthbender. If you’re thinking he’s just a replacement for Sokka, he really is not. He might have the best sense of humor, but he’s not the sarcasm guy.
Asami is sweet but tough, a non-bender who came from a rich family.
Tenzin and his family are helpful mentors to Korra as she seeks to master airbending and figure out how to be a good Avatar, but they also serve as comic relief!
There’s also a character voiced by Dante Basco, the same voice actor as Zuko from ATLA. Listening to him is a nostalgia overload.
The most notable way LoK differs from ATLA is the advanced technology that has allowed cities like Republic City develop. Sato-mobiles are the cars of the Avatar universe. Radio and telephones have become the major way people hear the news and communicate.
There is also a police force mostly comprised of metal benders. Seeing them in action is actually pretty cool.
Another thing I love about the worldbuilding of LoK is the inclusion of modern spectator sports–namely, pro-bending. The game is more than just two teams beating each other up with fancy elemental bending. There are plenty of unique rules and ways to incur penalties. Watching it is more exciting than seeing an actual sports game, at least to me.
The animals of LoK are just as lovable and fun as those in ATLA, although there are not many introduced in the first season. We meet two animals who are pretty much mascots for the main characters.
Naga is a polar bear dog that belongs to Korra, while Pabu is Bolin’s pet fire ferret and the mascot for the Fire Ferrets probending team.
Amon is the major villain of Season 1, and without spoiling anything, I can only say that he is basically the leader of a militant group of non-benders. He is formidable and terrifies Korra despite her usual courage.
The music is unique to LoK, completely different than ATLA. There’s some jazz music, for example. It’s all instrumental, which I prefer for shows like this.
A lot of people hate on Korra and complain that LoK is not as good as ATLA, but I promise you, it is well worth it even if ATLA was better. ATLA was a hard act to follow, but the creators did a good job nonetheless.
If you are interested in how I rate shows, check out my rating system.