VIDEO: Avatar: The Legend of Korra

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Sursum reviews the currently running Nickelodeon series The Legend of Korra, the sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender. Taking place 70 years after the adventures of Aang and the gang, the show focus on Korra, a teenage girl who’s the current incarnation of the Avatar. Sursum explains why this show has everything you could possibly want from children’s entertainment.

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  • MephLord

    I wish I would’ve finished seeing the original series.  I never got to see Toph before life circumstances forced me to move and now there is another series.  Is the original series required viewing, or is the first 12 or so episodes of the original enough to be familiar with the world and the conflicts within?

    • Russel, watching the first series is highly recommended, regardless of circumstances. 

      And, BTW, I’m not going to watch this review; I didn’t watched LofK so far (I live outside USA), because I fear spoilers. 😛 And BTW, I wouldn’t call Avatar cartoons “kids stuff”, despited being made with them in mind, I think they are so far the best attempt to do a anime in the West.

      • MephLord

        I never considered it a kids show.  If anything it’s a sophisticated series like Young Justice from DC or Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes from Marvel (two series I’m extremely fond of).  I quite liked what I did see of Avatar: The Last Airbender mind you (especially Appa, he’s great) and will get around to finishing the series one of these days.

        • Russel, that remark about “kids’s show” was aimed at the lead paragraph of this video. 🙂

          • Jill Bearup

            It’s a “kids’ show” by definition, as in the the primary demographic they aimed it at was children. But, as evidenced by my overwhelming enthusiasm for it, I don’t think of it as “kids’ stuff”. Or if it is, it’s adults’ stuff too!

            It’s wonderful how it’s gained such a wide audience, and that is credit to the strength of the story and the writing and the characters. While they didn’t necessarily *aim* to make a show that twenty-somethings love, that’s what we got. 

            It’s the best kind of “children’s programme”: rather like Doctor Who, everyone loves it. Perhaps “family show” would be a better designation for these kinds of shows, in contrast to “children’s programmes” like, say, the Teletubbies or something. *shudder*

          • Sofie Liv

            They also discuss some pretty damn heavy subjects within the show.

            They actually go so far as to head on discussing the consequences of killing some-one!
            They do not shy away, they stay and talk about that! that all they learned before hand told them, killing is bad, it’s not the answer, but Ang still has to kill the fire-lord, or else every-one else dies.  And again, they don’t cheap skate out of that one, they talk about it and explore it.

            Childrens subject? erh… I don’t know, what do you think?

            I also love how People seem to have completely forgotten that Doctor who is actually a children’s show.
            They fully discuss it as is it a deeply serious adult show, though it is at heart a kids show, which is wonderful! it’s just that well written and proof childrens stuff is indeed worthwhile and shouldn’t be dumb 😀

          • Jill Bearup

            It’s a wonderful thing. And (not here, obviously, but) some people are all ‘Ooh, think of the children!’ when kids’ shows talk about difficult stuff. 

            But you know, they’re going to have to deal with death and loss and betrayal and all those other harsh things that we’d like to protect them from. Better to be introduced to it through fiction than blindsided when it does happen for real.

          • Sofie Liv

             I agree, in childrens television I believe it’s more important than to any medium to discuss those things.

            I honestly believe it’s important using his medium to introduce and discuss it, to leave food for thought to the children, and they can handle it.

            Harry potter did that amazingly, Doctor who is doing it amazingly, obvious last airbender did it amazingly, that’s great story telling for you.

            Making empty childrens tely and stories is the easy cheapskate out of you ask me. And more than any-thing, that is what actually angers me, the treatment of childrens movie in hollywood.
            Sluggish action movie, actually doesn’t make me angry.. dumb childrens movie with the excuse. “It’s for childrens so they don’t know.” does.
            The fact that movies as “Smurfs.” “Alvin and the chipmunks.” ext keeps coming out, genuinely makes me a little angry.

          • BTW, I must say that I can point to lots of examples of grown up entertainment that have  plots that are more shallow, worse or no character development and more deux ex machina bailouts than TLAB.

          • Sofie Liv

            funnily enough, dumb childrens movies still makes me way more angry than dumb adult movies.
            Doesn’t make a ton of sense, I know, my only line of defence is that I care, and children more than any-one deserve good stuff.

            Beside, they are the only one going to take some-thing important with them from the entertainment medium. Us adults have all grown to stiff and single-minded, we wont change or think to much because of a movie.
            Children will walk around for weeks having the tale they watched being all big and grant for them, they are open, curious and deserve good treatment. It does matter what we feed them in entertainment.

            Adults.. we are stupid people just needing to be entertained by our own ideals of entertainment. call me biased, but I really believe in “childrens.” programming.

          • Jill Bearup

            Amen to that! 🙂

        • Jill Bearup

          You don’t need to watch the original series to get Korra, as it kind of explains the setup before we start with the main character. So you can jump right in with her Korraness.

          And DoktorNo, minor spoilers abound, so yeah, give this one a miss till you’ve seen episodes 1&2! 🙂

        • Sofie Liv

          I’m sorry, but Avatar the last airbender is a far superior show to young justice and Avengers earth mightiest heroes, if you ask me.

          I mean, those two are great, they are not bad at all, but they are not at the same level as Avatar The last airbender either, cause that show is phenomenal.
          There is a superhero show as good as Last airbender mind you though, and it’s called “Justice League.” and “justice League unlimited.” and why the hell not, “Batman Tas.”

          Young Justice is good, but it’s not as good, same for Avengers.

          And that’s just my personal feelings on the subject, I wouldn’t hesitate to call Airbender one of the greatest animated shows of all time, those two shows doesn’t reach that at all. 

          • Well, makers of Avatar: TLAB were clearly limited by the fact, that target audience were kids watching Nickelodeon. They made this show, as it would be made for older audience.

          • MephLord

             I’ve seen every episode of Justice League and JLU multiple times (that probably doesn’t say much about me), and I love the supporting cast and the stories presented (favorite episodes are Grudge Match, The Return, Wake the Dead, Task Force X, Patriot Act, and of course Destroyer “I feel like I live in a world made of cardboard, always careful not to lose control, even for a second or someone could die.  But you can take it, can’t you big man.  This is a chance to go all out and show you just how powerful I really am.” One of the greatest quotes from Superman ever!  As for Justice League arcs I like Hearts and Minds, Terror Beyond (brilliant use of Cthulhu Mythos), Secret Society, Wild Cards (always have a soft spot for Harley Quinn), and Maid of Honor (nice to see Diana get some down time and show off her fun loving side).

          • Sofie Liv

             So you agree Young Justice doesn’t really hold a candle to that?

            Which is fine really, we should accept young justice for what it is, it is its own show!
            Nothing can life up to Jl and JLU so it’s actually only good they are not even trying but just tries different directions with the same characters.

            And don’t you worry, I wont judge, cause I’ve seen all of Justice League several times as well! I love that show a lot, I do think it’s a high mark of superheroes in any medium, using the media of a series to take the story arching higher than a time limited movie ever could. And man, it is so good.

            Don’t know which ones are my favourite though, I must admit I have a bit of a weak spot for “Double Date.” I just…
            The romance between Q and Huntress is so weird.. and yet it works, probably because they are both cucko.. I mean they are both good characters in their own right, not needing the other to have a story, and they both have an arch in the story, which is really nice for a superhero couple, well done.

            Dark Heart also just has this.. weird silent yet dreading feel to it, it just has a weird atmosphere that I can’t describe, which is also what makes it so cool.  Also it is a perfect set-up for what comes next, a perfect start to a very good arch that doesn’t shy away from very big dilemmas when it comes to heroes.

            I am going to go on a limp here and say, there are no bad episodes in Jl or JLU

          • MephLord

            JLU has the big advantage over Justice League in that the whole season had a larger plot but each episode was self contained, which is why it remains one of the best cartoons ever made, and will always be the benchmark set for other series (since in Justice League, each two or three part show was pretty isolated).  Young Justice follows that formula, and I guess I just found the villains in Young Justice more engaging, for the most part, than the ones in JLU (League of Shadows and Injustice League especially).  JLU, Young Justice, Iron Man: Armored Adventures (thought it would be lame, ended up loving it), Avengers: Earths Mightiest Heroes and then Batman: The Animated Series are the top five IMHO.

          • Sofie Liv

            Actually, both young justice and Avengers is some-thing I would like to dub. “Generation Cowboy bebop shows.” 
            Meaning, they try to be a lot like Cowboy bebop more than any other show. I am willing to call cowboy bebop the most influencing show about how to write cartoon shows at all in this decade.
            That whole thing with gradually introducing the mains and be more focused than the over-all story arch rather than the single on shot stories.

            I must admit, I prefer the JL, Teen Titans and so ford, where there true enough, is a story arch going on, but it never overshadow the one shot stories, which are closed stories.

            Also one thing I feel makes Cowboy bebop work so good that doesn’t entirely work with Young Justice, is that Cowboy bebop is a very closed show, there’s a certain amount of episodes, planned from the start, and it was done, having a very definite ending they always build towards.
            Young Justice and Avengers is ongoing for as long as there is an audience.
            And.. I’m sorry Russel, but the animation isn’t as good, clearly they have started using flash to safe money as well as time, and it shows.

            And Avater being a show not using flash at all, and that shows to, but just old school hand drawn animation, that in itself is a treat.

          • MephLord

            Cowboy Bebop also had the benefit of the best musical composer on the planet, Yoko Kanno, so that is hardly a fair comparison.  It had a tight focus on a crew of five characters with a well planned story with characters with no previous historical baggage (You couldn’t write Robin without Batman being involved as an example).  Teen Titans is a show I also like (but then I also enjoy the Puffy Ami Yumi show) so I think it was so different that it worked with both seriousness and humour but Raven and Cyborg really carried the show.  I still believe in the animation quality of Young Justice though, my opinion of that won’t change. 

            Regardless of disagreements about story content and characters, I do believe we can agree that we are finally blessed with cartoons that are both beautiful to look at, enjoyable to watch and mature enough to not insult our intelligence.

          • Sofie Liv

            I don’t know, we also had a good couple of years back in the nineties with Batman Tas, Animanics, Pinky and the Brain, Real Ghostbusters, ninja turtles, hacked, Ducktales, Darkwing Duck, Aladdin ext ext ext.

            Those were some really really good quality shows, and there was a lot of them around shown on the same time, but then it suddenly stopped and became dumb again.
            I have no idea what the freak happened, and even to this day these shows are often over-looked by each representative studio.
            What the hell is it with Disney and not releasing old tely shows on DVD nor treating it like it was worth any-thing?
            Darkwing Duck is amazing, it needs a prober DVD release, Aladdin to was a surprisingly engaging show (yeas I just watched a couple of episodes for nostaligas sake, and the themes and stories actually are as strong as I remember, cudos!)

          • Ed Wong Hau Wuncler IV

            Many other anime have inspired Western animated shows not just Cowboy Bebop. Boondocks takes inspiration from Afro Samurai in it’s style and themes even though it is a satirical show that gives South Park a run for it’s money. Sorry I’ve been spamming that show so much because there’s many people who haven’t seen this show, but it’s honestly my favourite animated series at the moment. It’s 4th season is coming later this year.

    • TheCrazyFish

       To answer your question, watching the original series is highly recommended, not just because it’s a great show but also because there are things that come up in the Korra series that tie in with the first series and will make more sense. That said, it’s not strictly necessary. You won’t be lost completely, you just might not enjoy it on exactly the same level.

  • Grimevil

    A couple of points that I just have to share with someone:

    1. After Korra appeared on-screen it took me about 3 seconds to decide that I will watch the show religiously. The girl has so much charisma and energy! I keep imagining all the ways she will influence the people around her!

    2. The animation is very fluid and natural. I like how all the little cartoon exaggerations seem so much a part of the movements and actions, that it is very easy to miss them.

    3. I think that too many people compare this show to the previous one… it is the same world, but most of the characters and themes are very different. I believe that it was done intentionally and that overlooking the differences might spoil the fun of watching the new series.

  • Ooglechev

    I think the original was more like Steampunk Land. In the Fire Nation colonies they’d have classic asian buildings slammed together with steam chimneys and coal furnaces. Not to mention those badass tanks that the Fire Nation had. This series is less integrated with classic architecture. 

  • Tim Terrell

    I couldn’t take this chick just gushing over this show. I had to turn the review off. I am not suggesting that this series is bad. As a matter of fact, no one has to be sold on any animated Avatar series. Everyone knows that they are good. But all of this gushing is sickening.

  • Modern Day Avatar

    Do you think Korra would like to go penguin sledding with me? If I wasn’t opposed to killing, I would have murdered M. Night Shamaylan by now, not for the atrocious attempt at bringing Avatar to the big screen (though that is most of the reason), but rather because I saw in an interview he did about The Last Air Bender he said he was “confused about the reaction from American critics”. All I can say is, “Really, you have no idea why the only people who would go and watch your movie have nothing but negative things to say about it when you know full well you did not ever see a single episode of Avatar: The Last Air Bender?” Seriously, how do you make a movie based on a popular cartoon series and mispronounce the names of about half the major characters? What purpose does it serve to completely change the entire story and all of the subtle but important details? WHY DID THE OCEAN SPIRIT NOT GET ANGRY AT ZHAO!? HOW COME NOT A SINGLE FIRE NAVY SHIP WAS SUNK!? Why didn’t Ong behave like Aang? Why was Soaka the best represented character, in that he actually kind of looked like and kind of behaved and sounded like Sokka? If the creators of Samurai Jack could get Lucas on the phone and consult him when making Star Wars: The Clone Wars, then the filthy rich M. Night Shameful Name should be able to at least check with Brike to make sure he’s got the pronunciation of the names right. Sheesh, I shouldn’t have to tell Hollywood how to do their f’ing job.

    • Jill Bearup

      Korra: she’d kick your butt at penguin sledding. And yeah. I haven’t watched the movie. Why skyrocket your blood pressure like that?

      There’s a neat little nod to Ong in the comics when somebody keeps mispronouncing Aang’s name to annoy him.

      Made me laugh, anyway.

      Bryke are awesome, but also total trolls. You just know they’re chucking things into the new series for their own personal amusement. 

      Thankfully, it’s pretty funny to the rest of us too. Except possibly a couple fangirls who take things waaaaaay too seriously.

      • Zeekrow

        I love how in Korra sleazy Tahno keeps calling her The Uh-Vatar (I think its a not so subtle screw you to Shyamalan.)

        • Jill Bearup

          That made me laugh LIKE A DRAIN. And then I had to explain to my husband why it was a not-so-subtle swipe at the movie. (He got the Ong bit, but that one went over his head)

    • FoolForTigers

      I think we should devise a plot for M. Night. His “movie” was inexcusable. But it’s real simple why – the megalomaniacal egomaniac INSISTED on WRITING the script for the film as well as directing it. That’s why it carried literally NONE of the tone of the original series, and strayed so far away as to make it nearly unwatchable. He should be jailed for that travesty of film-making.

  • Aaaaah…not generally a fan of anime or cartoons in general, really, but I LOVE Avatar: The Last Airbender, and so far I love The Legend of Korra just as much. My only quibble is just the fact that I liked the old companion characters better than the current ones, but Korra and Aang are both superb, so I have no real complaints. ^_^ Good review of the show, too.

  • FoolForTigers

    GREAT review! And I couldn’t agree with you more….only, you didn’t mention anything about the musical scores from the episodes, particularly the finale episodes. Absolutely GORGEOUS.