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on September 18, 2013
I was hesitant to watch this series, not expecting it to be nearly as good as the original Avatar. I now believe it's just as good as the original while maintaining its own originality. It's a great story for anyone from 7 to 120 years old.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 4, 2013
If I'm being really honest, I wasn't hugely impressed with the first season of The Legend of Korra. Being such a huge fan of Avatar: The Last Airbender (of which Korra is a sequel/spin-off), I felt that "Korra" was somewhat rushed and clunky in comparison, not helped by the significant reduction of episodes that led to a more limited amount of time in which to tell the intended story.

But I was still looking forward to "Book Two: Spirits", hopeful that creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko could iron out the kinks and deliver a show that recaptured the magic of the original series. And they did! Or at least, they came extremely close, though "Avatar" is probably too dear to my heart to ever be fully eclipsed.

For those completely unfamiliar with the premise of the show, here's the gist: set in an Asian-inspired fantasy world where certain people possess the ability to manipulate (or "bend") water, air, fire or water, our protagonist Korra stands out as the only individual able to master all four elements. This ability identifies her as the Avatar, the reincarnated being whose task it is to maintain balance in the world.

Set seventy years after the events of "Avatar: The Last Airbender", Korra is the reincarnation of Aang, the last Avatar who saved the world from the threat of the Fire Nation and restored peace between the world's populations: the Fire Nation, the Water Tribes, the Earth Kingdom and the Air Nomads. Reborn as our head-strong and now teenaged protagonist, Avatar Korra struggles to reconcile her fighting prowess with her need to tap into her spiritual side, an endeavour that becomes all the more pertinent when rumours of dark spirit attacks on various ships reach her.

Returning to her home in the South Pole along with her mentor Tenzin (Aang's grown son) and her boyfriend Mako, Korra's happy reunion with her parents is cut-short when spirits attack the Winter Festival. Realizing that her Uncle Unalaq's skill at communicating with spirits allows him to effectively stop their rampage, Korra decides to apprentice herself to him in the hopes she'll uncover the reason behind the spirits' destructive behaviour, foregoing the opportunity to continue her spiritual training with Tenzin.

From there the narrative breaks roughly into three distinct storylines: Mako, his brother Bolin, and his ex-girlfriend Asami investigate several strange occurrences in Republic City, Korra tries to deal with the eruption of civil war between the Northern and Southern Water Tribes, and Tenzin and his family (his wife, his adult siblings and his four children) try to relax in the beauty of the Air Temples, ignorant of the turmoil that's happening elsewhere. It's an effective strategy, for the dispersion of the cast across several settings gives the show a real sense of scope, with episodes often concentrating on one location and its characters before weaving them back together for the grand finale.

It might all feel a little directionless for the five or six episodes, but it's at the mid-way point of the season that things click into focus. The two-part episode titled "Beginnings" delves back into the origins of the Avatar, and this alone is worth the price of the DVD set. With a shift in art-style that exemplifies the journey back in time to a much earlier period of this world's history, these episodes provide insight into the whys and wherefores of the very first Avatar, explaining the source of his powers and the reasons behind his calling. It contains beautiful animation, vivid characterization and allusions to everything from the Greek myth of Prometheus to the films of Hayao Miyazaki.

It really is a stunning piece of television, and from this point on the show picks up exponentially. Korra must travel into the spirit world to find the answers to the growing turmoil in the world, and here the imaginations of the writers and animators seems to know no bounds. Best described as Asian mythology meets Alice in Wonderland, Korra's adventures are truly a sight to behold - and yet are best left unspoiled for those yet to watch for themselves. Let's just say that I'll never look at meerkats the same way again.

Elsewhere we get to learn more about Tenzin's siblings Kya and Bumi (the other children of Aang and Katara from the original show) as well as watch Mako's unfolding investigation of eccentric businessman Varrick, who he suspects might be more than what he seems. With Bolin roped into the film industry (which provides a series of spoofs of serialized black-and-white movies, complete with rudimentary special effects) and Asami trying to salvage what's left of her father's company, Mako is left to grapple with the ineffectuality of his fellow police officers.

It's not all perfect: some of the original characters are given short-shrift (Bolin becomes little more than comic relief, embroiled in a rather disturbing relationship with Korra's cousin, whilst Asami and Lin Beifong are repeatedly shunted to one side), Unalaq makes for a one-dimensional and entirely too-obvious villain, and there are some animation sequences that look horribly rushed, but for the most part this second season of "Korra" not only improves on the first, but recaptures some of the feel of "Avatar: The Last Airbender".

Korra is treated to some genuine character development, there are plenty of fun nods to the original series and surprising cameos from past characters, and it ends on a note that promises plenty more exciting storylines for the future. Plenty of fan complaints seem to have been addressed and dealt with (the terminable love triangle, the lack of consequences for Korra at the conclusion of last season) and it seems a good sign that the upcoming Book Three is titled "Change".
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on October 4, 2013
Absolutely loving the start to book 2 so far! In particular, I'm glad that we've gotten to get away from Republic City for a bit. After all, part of the charm of The Last Airbender was getting to travel around with the Gaang, and see the different architectures and cultures of the four nations. I also enjoy the dichotomy of light and dark represented in the spirits, and alternatively expressed in the civil war between the Northern and Southern Water Tribes. More than anything else I notice a lot more humor in this season. The platypus-bear pooping money, and the demented quasi-romance between Bolin and Eska had me dying. Thus far we are only four episodes in, but I'll be editing this review as the season progresses with my continued thoughts. Based on what I've seen so far alone this season deserves the 5 stars I gave it. Absolutely love Avatar, and love Korra!

UPDATE 10/18/2013:

WOW, I just finished the two part episode "Beginnings" and I have to say that not only is this the best episode of Legend of Korra so far, it is also easily one of the best episodes in Avatar history, including those from The Last Airbender. This was truly some Hayao Miyazaki level, eastern mythological storytelling. In this episode we are introduced to Wan, the very first avatar, and how he became the bridge between the spirit and human world, as well as how humans gained the ability to bend the elements. It even clears up some plot holes from The Last Airbender about the Lion-Turtle. At first the stylized animation threw me a little bit, but mid way through the first half I came to love it.

UPDATE 11/16/2013:

I absolutely loved the finale. The spirit forest was my favorite part, it was like Miyazaki and Tolkien had a baby together. I wont go into too many details so as not to spoil it, but suffice it to say that the season absolutely does not wind down after The Beginnings. If anything it picks up speed. The final four episodes were absolutely fantastic, and so was this entire season. In addition to being introduced to some awesome new characters, we've been able to see some of our old friends as well. I'm definitely going to be picking this season up on Blu Ray, and I would encourage anybody who loves Avatar to purchase it on BR/DVD as well, especially those who stream it online, so as to show support for this awesome masterpiece.
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on December 10, 2013
I really want to like Korra. I really do. I'm a huge fan of the original Avatar series. The characters were great and dynamic; the balance of comedy to drama was near perfect; it's quite frankly the best tv show I've ever seen. Korra, though...
Like I said, I really want to like it. And there are great parts to it. I plan to faithfully watch every new season. The sad thing is that I mostly just watch it for the Avatar nostalgia. Like I said, though, it's still pretty good. It can be laugh-out-loud hilarious, or heartbreaking. Both times I watched the book one finale, I cried. However, the main problem with Korra is that the writers quite often bite off more than they can chew. They raise really interesting, complex problems, but these problems are either resolved tritely or swept under the rug. I could forgive this in the first book. The producers didn't know they'd have a larger scope, so everything had to be resolved in twelve episodes. In this book, though, they knew exactly what they had to work with, and this season still felt over-packed. In Avatar, the focus was always on the characters, and that's what made it work. I feel like none of the characters in Korra have really developed. Korra can be pretty unlikable, Mako's frankly annoying, I love Bolin (Nuk Tuk!), but he needs more fleshing out, and Asami's pretty meh.
The thing is, for a "kids'" tv show, Korra's pretty great. It deals with some complex issues, and is very entertaining. Don't get me wrong, I would still recommend watching it. I just was expecting more from the team that gave us Avatar. I'm holding out hope for the next season. The book 2 finale gave us a pretty interesting set-up, and I'm still hoping for a Zuko appearance (how dare they tease us like that and then not have him show up). But Korra just doesn't have the emotional power that Avatar had.
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on November 7, 2013
Addictive!! Its the only kids show I will watch with my kids! We wish they were longer than 24 mins.
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on May 10, 2015
Literally the only problem with this is that while the other three books come with a cardboard sleeve, this one doesn't. I'm very picky about DVD and book collections and the lack of continuity in packaging is extremely frustrating for someone so nitpicky.
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on February 18, 2014

As I know that most of the critical reviews tend to be dismissed as haters hating, I would just like to get some misconceptions out of the way. First of all, I love the world of Avatar and the world that BOTH Avatar: the Last Airbender and Legend of Korra present. Honestly, I still am fascinated by the blend of technology and magic the world has to offer and I genuinely find the characters of both series intriguing and riddled with so much potential, it hurts; as it is, the moment with Bumi and Aang's statue is actually probably one of the most moving scenes from both series thus far, with a concept that is honestly, really down to earth and believable, and it is well done.

Amon to this day is probably my favorite Avatar villain and the voice acting, music, and animation remain top notch. For this season, there were two main studios that worked on the show, those being Studio Pierrot (episodes 1-6, and episode 9) and the studio that animated the first season, Studio Mir (the gorgeous, GORGEOUS Beginning episodes 7 and 8 (even if you don't watch the season, those two episodes are mandatory viewing for any Avatar fan), and 10-14). If you liked the music from the first season, then you'll continue to love the sound here. The sense of humor continues to make its self known--in particular, Bolin (in the earlier half, that is) and Tenzin both are hilarious standouts, and Bumi also has some funny moments.

So, as you can see, there are positives to the season, and yet the score is still a 2 out 5. As the title of the review suggests, there are some great moments, but it is not long before the negatives make themselves apparent. So, if you are willing to take a second and look at the product objectively, here they are.

To begin, let's focus on the story.

To recap, the season opens six months after the ending of season one, with Mako now being a part of the police force (where he assures us at the beginning of the season Chief Beifong believes he might make detective soon), Bolin now trying to make pro bending work with two new, less than skilled teammates (don't expect to see them very long, since pro bending is basically nonexistent this season, and given all that goes on, this was probably a good move), and Korra is still training with Tenzin, but still has time to goof off with his children. After the events of season one, she is capable of entering the Avatar State. Anyway, before she can head off on a trip with Tenzin's family (including the now retired Bumi, who has spent his time living on Air Temple Island) to visit the Air Temples, she and the gang (including Asami) head down to the South Pole for a festival; however, once they get attacked by Dark Spirits, Korra decides to train under her more-spiritually-focused uncle Unalaq to try and stop this threat.

That, in a nutshell, is just the first episode. The other plot threads throughout the season include but are not limited to:

-A Civil War among the Water Tribes (apparently they have only one chief, which is odd, given that in the original show, they had two. Perhaps when Pakku went to go reunite with the South, he took out its own governance? Then again, they never established that the South always had its own chief . . . regardless)

-the amazing fun that is Varrick and his war mongering scheme

-Jinora's developing spiritual side

-Tenzin's and Bumi's frustrations with living up to Aang

-Bolin's budding film career in a clever callback to World War II propaganda films

-Asami's struggles with business

-Mako's police work

-the political implications of the civil war for everyone else

-Harmonic Convergence

-Korra's attitude and feeling attacked by everyone

-Unalaq and Tonraq's dynamic and falling out

-did I mention the Dark Avatar that comes up halfway through the season? The dark spirits honestly fall by the wayside by the second episode (at least until they get into the Spirit World; honestly, especially given the ending of the season and Korra's big decision, you'd think human and spirit relations would be more prominent, but nope; outside the Beginning episodes and Wan's conclusion that spirits and humans should live separately, that's all the development it gets until she somehow concludes Wan may have been wrong for reasons that aren't apparent or logically or even character-fitting).

As you can see, that's a lot of story threads to keep balanced and, honestly, to do most of it justice, it really should've been spread out across multiple seasons, which leads us to Korra's biggest problem: it tries to resolve almost all of these in 14 episodes, and as a result, the focus is so divided that almost none of the plot threads truly leads to really a satisfying conclusion. Most of these developments happen off screen anyway, so the amount the viewer is really invested in it is minimal: the civil war happens mostly off screen--we leave once the gauntlet's thrown and we return during a raid and Korra's father and her uncle having a showdown, but honestly, we don't have any idea if they ever really liked each other--the most we see of them before the war is being bitter and snarky with each other, so instead of being a moving, emotion-riddled battle, it just comes across as generic and could've been performed by anyone and the result and character growth would've been the same.

Which leads us to Korra: Book 2's second biggest problem: character depth and growth. It becomes quite clear in this season that the characters are being used as tools more than actual characters. Now, one may argue that that's all characters are: tools to channel a story, but the key is that we're not supposed to notice that. These guys are supposed to feel real enough that we get invested in them beyond them just being nicer than the bad guy, and that their actions have lasting consequences on each other like real people.

Now, I am aware that these guys have fascinating depth potential; season one showed us that well enough (not as well as the first Avatar series did, but that's neither here nor there), and there are some standout characters, namely Wan, Varrick and Bumi has his moments (earlier on; he does save our captured heroes later, but instead of being the soldier he claims to be, he more just bumbles into it for comedic effect, which is hardly growth, especially given that the guy had mostly just been comic relief up to that point anyway)--which is a shame, because between his relationship with Aang and his worst memory/experience (as seen in the Spirit World) lay the ground work for a compelling, fascinating character that he just doesn't get to show. At least the hints are there, which is more than I can say for all the character development that happened off screen: namely, Jinora and Korra. Then there is the category where no development happens. At. All.: Bolin and Unalaq, who quickly becomes such a generic villain, it's a wonder he wasn't store bought.

Jinora's discovery of her spirit powers and refining of them are both done completely off screen--the biggest hint we get of them is her looking over her shoulder in episode 2 and noticing the First Avatar's statue; next time we see her on her own, she's already playing with spirit bunnies. Of course, then, somehow given her personality of being serious (and now apparently more spiritual and knowledgeable than Tenzin), she gets herself separated from Korra because plot convenience, and then turns out to be the chosen savior/deux ex machina at the end. It comes out of nowhere, no one ever brings it up again, and it honestly is just baffling when it happens.

Next, we come to Korra: Korra, it is clear, the writers had a bit of difficulty with her character arc, as she seemed a little too put-together at the end of book one, what with her bending back and Mako now liking her and her new ability to access the Avatar State. So what do they do? Have her yell at someone at least once each of the 3 acts in the first few episodes; they try to come up with the reason that she feels so pressured by her responsibility as the Avatar, even though before that point, they didn't show us any new responsibilities or pressure--it opens with her racing Tenzin's kids on air scooters and then she gets to chat with Mako and go on vacation with Tenzin--it's fine if that is the reason guys, just have some evidence to back it up.

Naturally, her faith in Tenzin that accumulated over the course of season one is undone in one episode and any growth that she had in season seems to have been set back in favor of jerk Korra as she keeps insisting for people to treat her as the Avatar, but doesn't actually try to stay neutral in the slightest (she tries briefly in the civil war episodes, but that goes out the window when she threatens a judge herself versus, say, cop Mako "investigating") nor does she seem to respect her friends' advice. It honestly gets to the point that when she conveniently loses her memory (and gets it back two episodes later, except for the memory of her and Mako breaking up), it feels like she was replaced with a different protagonist. Clearly something happened to her inside the beast's stomach or through the revelations Wan shows her, but we don't get to see any of it nor does she apologize for her earlier behavior at all; it really doesn't feel like anything is learned, character-wise, and when a surprise cameo tries to give her words of wisdom, she had already been acting like she had it figured out after talking with Wan, making the cameo, as nice as it was, kind of pointless.

Now we have our favorite brothers: Mako, actually, for the most part, is pretty good except for falling back into the Asami and Korra love triangle again (it feels even more forced than it did in season one); Bolin, on the other hand . . . oh Bolin. As we've established, he becomes the comic relief . . . And. Nothing. Else.

Literally, almost everyone of his character moments is humor related; to the writers credit, he has one brief conversation with Asami in a later episode, but that is quickly forgotten as we watch Lin Beifong and the men who she apparently consider Mako's superiors (who aren't even skilled enough to be corrupt cops so much as incompetent idiots, which. . . contradicts their earlier behavior, but regardless, Lin Beifong really, REALLY does not look too good coming out of this season. Likewise, this is not a season for Asami fans, as she loses everything and NOBODY notices or really acts like they care--not even her.) do something stupid. Meanwhile, character growth moments like his first girlfriend (which, to be fair, was hilarious, even if it led to one of the most hypocritical moments I've ever seen when Mako tries to give him advice about how to break up with a girl (don't expect there to be any lasting consequences from Mako cheating on Asami in season one either)) is only played for laughs for almost the whole season, up until the last two episodes where it suddenly becomes a serious plot point out of nowhere and is quickly and painlessly written off by the end of the final episode so that any lasting emotional growth or development would be thoroughly squashed out and any real emotional implications for Eska about Bolin or even her father are shrugged off with all the weight of a loose scarf.

Even him finally moving out of Mako's shadow and getting his own place is just written for laughs--Mako, his brother and to some degree, his father figure, the guy he's lived with ALL HIS LIFE, and there isn't any actual emotion beyond "hey, he suspects Varrick of being a bad guy; it's this kind of crazy I'm glad I don't have to deal with at my own place." There isn't even a grudge or any emotion about Mako spending more time with Korra and the police versus playing pro bending; Bolin is apparently okay with being a third wheel for the first time in his life, nor did any of the years dealing and working for the Triads teach him how to identify a judge--I'm sorry if I'm ranting, but this is really, really a sore subject for me.

Suffice to say the list goes on.

There are moments where the brilliance of the show shines through the cracks between the clouds, but most of the time, the characters are thrown under the bus for the mess of a plot (which has more than few plot holes big enough to ride a sky bison through them, such as to how the dark spirits were even getting through to the human world before the spirit portals were open and how Korra survived her trip in a dark spirit's stomach.) and it makes me gnaw my teeth, because we know they can do it. They have done it with the first series, but because of their insistence on these season long story arcs, they have forced themselves to squish two-three seasons-worth of story and character development into one short package and the result is, honestly, a mess that, for all its positives, forces its characters to be so out of character or dumbed down both emotionally and in their so-generously-called-romances, to the degree that it is almost insulting to both the viewers and the cast themselves.

At least it looks and sounds pretty, and the Beginning episodes are pretty awesome.
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on November 3, 2013
Dunno if I'm reviewing this episode or the whole series, so I'll do both. If you only have 6 dollars, get Beginnings Pt 1 and 2- they are the best parts of Season 2, and these two episodes are -absolutely gorgeous-.

Overall I've found season 2 to be kind of less interesting or exciting than the first season overall, sorry to report. Seems like the story is lurching along for me. Still, I'm enjoying the season more than 99% of the other things I could have watched.

The series as a whole is fantastic. Wonderful stories that are true to the Avatar series in style and substance. However, Korra has its own unique flavor that feels at first more mature than Avatar and more socially relevant (as in social commentary) - stories that underscore universal and difficult struggles of society and governance, which I think is quite fascinating for a "children's" show.

I confess I am nearly a 40 yr old man, and yes I still watch cartoons and always will. But I only watch anime-inspired cartoons like this one, the DC and Marvel ones as well, because the quality of the content and artwork of those are extremely high; from the impressive research of the style of period pieces right down to well choreographed fight scenes that betray a depth of knowledge in martial arts and cinematography. Korra, in this case, gets so many things right about creating a mythical, magical ancient Mongolian-inspired universe that I feel like they have an ancient China cultural historian on contract, furiously cutting photos out of library books and fashioning them into the new set for next weeks episode. Watching it, I feel like I'm getting some deep knowledge of 'actual' Chinese mythology freebased, downloaded, and injected like Neo into my cerebral cortex, so I don't have to spend 4 years at university studying it. Thanks for that Korra!
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on September 23, 2013
There is nothing more to say. Perfect! It has been a long time since there has been a legitimate American cartoon with such depth!
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on November 4, 2013
After an amazing fist season Korra is finally back on TV. To be honest this season starts out a little bit slow. After having dealt with Amon and the Equalist last season, all of the troubles seem to be Korra being immature and other little family squabbles. The new "bad" characters start off seeming so weak and puny in comparison to Amon. But the plot line has definitely taken a turn for the better in the mid-season and it looks like Korra is in for another battle of Good vs Evil. This season finally reveals how the fist Avatar (Avatar Wan) came to be. That was by far the best two episodes of the K 2nd season of LOK so far and seems to serve as a turning point for the story to become something that it hasn't been since last season. This season at first was bland and there were no real problems but now the whole existence of the Avatar is clear and Korra knows what needs to be done. Overall a great story we'll have to see how it all holds up in the end. The season still isn't over yet and I expect that it will just keep getting better.
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