Review by Vladi

*Contains Spoilers*

So to anyone new to this series, this is the third season of The Legend of Korra, which is a sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender. Now if you are unfamiliar with that series, you probably have been living under a rock. Fortunately for you, I will earthbend your ass out from underneath it. Avatar: The Last Airbender was an absolutely AMAZING series that came out back in 2005. It follows the adventures of Aang and his friends on a quest to restore balance to a world torn by war. The world is divided into four nations, fire, earth, water, air, each with their own history, powers, and cultures. The characters were great, the concepts were pretty kick ass (I mean who doesn’t want to be able to control the elements while doing martial arts, seriously!?), there was a nice story arc – it was just a really well-made show. Now without further kiss-ass and plunges into anime nostalgia, we fast-forward to 2012 when the Legend of Korra came out.

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(Image Source: http://avatar.wikia.com/wiki/Avatar_Wiki)

The first season of Legend of Korra was quite good. It did what very few animes do, and it actually evolved the world the original left behind. What I mean by that is that while the first series was set in what seemed to be a medieval time period, the Korra series were set two or three generations later, in what appears to be an 18th century. And it is very well done. The world has changed a lot, it has modernized. Republic City, where a lot of the story takes place, resembles New York in the 30’s. Of course, bending has been integrated into this new civilization, and it makes for a pretty kick ass setting. What made the first Korra good is, arguably, a well-made villain. I am, of course, talking about Amon. We were given a villain that was shrouded in mystery, posed a genuine threat, and actually had very relatable motives for starting his revolution against benders.

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(Image Source: http://avatar.wikia.com/wiki/Avatar_Wiki)

Fast forward to the season 2, and Nickelodeon exiled all of its writers to the Sahara desert, and replaced them with chimps. The villain was the one dimensional, take-over-the-world kind of guy. He didn’t seem to pose any real threat, his flip from good to bad was done over a single scene, with hardly any hints. Just trashball of a writing script. And to top it all off, we had a Godzilla-like battle between Godzilla Korra and Godzilla Unalaq (her uncle), and it was just a joke of a finale. So with that concluding season 2, I was really wary into starting season 3.

However, I was pleasantly surprised. Season 3 came in like a gust of fresh air (GETTTIT, GETTIT?!). The plot seemed to come back on track with the introduction of some new villains. The producers of Korra must have learned well from their mistakes, because the new villains greatly resembled Amon, in principle, at least. We have The Red Lotus, Zaheer, P’li, Ming-Hua, and Ghazan.

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(Image Source: http://avatar.wikia.com/wiki/Avatar_Wiki)

They are top security prisoners, and absolutely devastating benders. That’s all the information we are given for a while, and quite honestly, that’s all the information you need. They are cool, they are deadly, they are mysterious. They make you want to watch this series and figure them out. They aren’t cliché; their motives are quite unclear until at least half way through the season. And even then, when you find out, (SPOILER!!!) that it’s destroying Korra, you still want to know, “why”? And, I will say this: very few animes make a good case for their villains. But the motives and ideologies of these rebels are actually quite legitimate, which in turn, makes the plot all the more enjoyable to follow. Note for future writers out there: Good vs Evil = lame as HELL! Conflict based on genuine issues of a political/social/moral nature =  AWESOME.

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(Image Source: http://avatar.wikia.com/wiki/Avatar_Wiki)

Another big plus of this season is that Korra gets to move around. A big part of the original Avatar series was that the protagonist went around the world to complete his quest. You got to see different benders, different cultures and different characters. The last two Korra seasons really lacked that. However, we have her on the move again in this season, and it was quite enjoyable to see Ba Sing Sei again, and also the deserts that were featured in the original. We also got to see a new place, Zaofu.

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(Image Source: http://avatar.wikia.com/wiki/Avatar_Wiki)

Zaofu is a metal bending city ruled by Lyn Beifong’s sister, Suyin Beifong. Like all other places in the Avatar universe, Zaofu has its own culture, architecture, and style. Seeing places like this was one of the things that made the first Avatar so enjoyable to watch. Suyin’s pretty much the opposite of the rigid, law-abiding, Lyn, and is the cause for some pretty sweet family drama between them. Looking forward to a lot more of this in season 4.

The bending also seemed to go up a notch since the last two seasons. I don’t know what it was, but it really felt like every bender did the same thing with just a different animation. They threw some punches and kicks, blasts of whatever element came out. In this season, much like the original series, bending looks distinctive again. It’s not about just hurling blasts at the enemy, but manipulating the elements in a way that will give you an advantage. There’s actual rhyme and reason to the fights again, and they are very fun to watch. I remember seeing Toph Beifong do her bending for the first time, (when I was just about set on the opinion that no one in their right mind would want to do something as lame as earth bending, compared to the other “cool” elements) and having my mind blown on just how cool she made earth bending by manipulating the terrain around her. And we get a lot more of that in this season. So again, thumbs up!

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(Image Source: http://avatar.wikia.com/wiki/Avatar_Wiki)

I’ll save the worst for last. My only beef with this season, and the Korra series in general, is that it doesn’t have much character development. Korra is much the same as she is in the start, and the same holds true for Mako, Bolin, and Asami. One of the things that made the original Avatar so fun to watch was that you saw Aang and Zuko (his enemy) change. You saw them mature, and you saw their outlooks on the world change. Mako is just the brooding handsome guy whose sole purpose is to drop teenage panties. Bolin is your discount Sokka. And Asami is just Asami. Again, this isn’t too big of an issue as the villains provide an engaging conflict, but it would still be nice to see some development in the last season.

Other than that, the show was great! It really improved on a lot of stuff and started to feel like the original Avatar again, for which I can’t give it any higher praise.

Definitely recommend!

Written by Vladi Ardenski

Currently living and exploring the awesome Japan! More of my mysterious sexy persona to be revealed soon in internets near you...