The Elements of Legend of Korra

Legend of Korra picks up 70 years after the end of The Last Airbender. Korra is a daughter of the Southern Water tribe, the same tribe Aang’s friend, and later wife, Katara is from.

It’s been about 16 years since the death of Aang, and the new Avatar has been found. Unlike Aang at the beginning of his story, Korra has already mastered three of the four elements. The one she has trouble with is air, the primary element of her predecesor, and the first ‘book’ (season) covers her jouney mastering this element. Meanwhile she’s dealing with a society, built by Aang and his friends from the first seires, which some believe no longer needs benders, and who see bending as a way of protecting a privileged class of people.

The style of the show is very similar to the original. The animation, the writing, the dialogue, the humor is all very familiar; the show has a different formula, however. Where Last Airbender was formed around traveling from city to city, town to town, learning about the setting and exploring the world, Legend of Korra takes place mostly in a single city.

Essentially, Korra is stuck, training in Republic City, the capital of the world government. It’s a large city with lots to explore, but at the end of each day, she’s back at the Air Bender Temple on a small island in the central river that splits the city.

Her companions for her journey are a pair of competitive benders from a sport in which small teams try to knock each other off of a large pedestal with only their bending abilities. Her joining one of these teams has become a sub-plot of the show, with the trio moving slowly through the major tournament as the episodes progress.

The character of Korra is quite different from Aang. Where he was disciplined and calmly exuberant, Korra is impetuous and sometimes uncouth. Where Aang would do anything to create peace, Korra is perpetually looking for a fight. Korra has everything to prove in a world which isn’t even sure it needs her anymore. I have a pretty big weakspot for rebellious female heroes, so I’m really looking forward to future development of this character.

I’m also looking forward to the development of the world, and learning the past 70 years of the world’s history, how the Republic developed up around Aang and his friends.

Fans of the first show probably already know that they would like this one, but it’s a certainty now. Of course, I still recommend that everyone See Avatar: The Last Airbender in its entirety. If you haven’t seen it yet, start there, though it’s not necessary to have seen it to get into Korra.

Legend of Korra airs on Nickelodeon on Saturdays.  If you want to catch up, the first two episodes – including the double-length premier – are available on Amazon Instant Video.