Posted December 24, 2014 by GP Manalo in Movies/TV

Why “Avatar: The Legend of Korra” Is One Of The Best Animated Series On TV


Last week, we see the series finale of Nickelodeon’s cult hit animated TV show “Avatar: The Legend of Korra”. And my God – what a finale that was *whistles*. Creators of the show, Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko along with their team went above and beyond to deliver the final season of The Legend of Korra despite its troubles behind the scenes (budget and distribution problems to be more specific), and they were able to give their final bow after all their hard work. Here at Flipgeeks we take a look back on what made the series be dubbed as one of the best animated TV series right now.

It’s A Strong Female-Led Show

the-legend-of-korra-season-2-episode-9-korraLet’s get the obvious out of the way here (although we are gonna go deep in this topic). Not every day we see a strong female-led show that does have her be this super-powered being but most of all somebody who could be looked up to as a “role model” and relate to from a mortal’s standpoint. One could argue that The Last Airbender/Legend of Aang does have some kick-ass ladies in the spotlight like Katara, Toph, Azula, Mai, Ty Lee, and Suki but never have we seen one star the show itself (outside of OVAs or filler episodes where they do have the share of the spotlight).

Korra may be seen as this perfect god-like super-powered being known as the Avatar but she does have her fair share of flaws that makes her “imperfect”. She made a lot of mistakes, at some point doesn’t have the ability to help people despite all her training. This was the main theme throughout the series that does get a lot of emphasis. Out of all her imperfections she finds a way to get over the pain and start to move forward, the kind of trait that the human race one should look for in a character. There are a lot of fans who see themselves in Korra’s character, and not only just girls but even boys and the LGBT community (let’s just say – all the genders) and Korra is definitely the best role model to look up to.

Now I’m pretty sure you know where this is going, and this is where the Korrasami talk falls in. I was somehow surprised on the reveal of Korrasami in the finale; it definitely caught me off guard. I’ve been in denial about their relationship even though it had hints because I never really thought Nickelodeon would do something this ballsy lvxkqyfnpi7gjc2mwqwjon national television. The more I reminisce about their relationship the more their relationship made sense to me.

The thing about their relationship is that they had shared the same guy before but they never begrudge each other. Instead they hug it out like it was nothing; they actually became quite the power couple in the third season. They’re both different in terms of working with their abilities but they somehow, support each other, fight, and solve problems together very well. The three of the best things they did together that did better than their last relationship. With that said, I’m actually happy that this happened. The creative team behind this does earn my respect and I do wish the community would do the same. People accuse this moment as “empowering for the sake of empowering” the LGBT community but this is good empowerment if you look into it deeply.

It’s The Perfect Blend of Everything!

lin+and+suyinThe phrase I gave for this segment pretty much applies to everything about the show; when it comes to the show’s tone it’s a perfect blend of comedy and drama, the series smartly blends different genres such as an epic adventure along with a science-fiction-fantasy vibe and at some point have a dark noir going for it, it even gets a spiritual fantasy world coincide with a technological steampunk-Blade Runner-ish world like Republic City when it comes to their world building – and the list goes on.

The kind of mix they have here is what makes the show exciting and unique making it be different from other animated series right now. There’s a sense of tension in the battle scenes where there are actually stakes going on, how important these characters are to one another, and how one event has a great impact in future stories, they don’t just drop and forget about it. Even though they have a lot of quieter moments they’re unafraid to make room for big laughs that do hit and not feel out of place (did I mention that I did burst out laughing at some point?).

what-a-beautiful-way-to-end-book-three-of-the-legend-of-korra-part-1-5af997a4-0937-4c5a-99e9-2305b0aa8f75I just find myself being surprised on the dark undertones this series has. The latter half of the first and third book got me hooked on the show even more due to the fact on how ballsy the series is as it is being played in a TV program like Nickelodeon. It’s really the third season that goes very dark. Losing your bending and a dark past of Amon in the first book are two things that are shocking yet terrifying to watch. But watching someone die through airbending and even the sequence where they were poisoning Korra are both examples of the terrifying things that happened in the series.

I guess you can say they know how to BALANCE different ELEMENTS of the show.

Ambition Is What Drives the Series Forward

the-legend-of-korra-rain-cloud-grumpyI’m not just talking about the behind the scenes problems it has (distribution-wise), I’m talking about the show as a whole. Many of the fans are divided about the second season’s weak performance in terms of writing (Korra being out-of-character along with other characters, a disappointing antagonist, etc.) but despite all the problems it had on the first two seasons (the first one being a tad-bit rushed and focused waaaayyyy too much on the romance), the ambition of the creators still pays off in the long run.

The creative team of DiMartino and Konietzko tries its best to keep their audience be invested through the creators’ vision and ambitions despite its shortcomings whether it has them delving into a deeper yet personal character journey for Korra in the latter books of the series, exploring the lore of the first Avatar, catch up with our favorite characters after three years of the Avatar’s absence or even finding sympathy to a bunch of murderous team of “bad guys”.



An Engaging Cast Of Characters

Legend-of-Korra-Season-4-Episode-10-Operation-BeifongThe Legend of Korra has an even diverse and engaging cast of characters. Sure – they’re not the original Team Avatar but they still work together very well throughout the series. Outside of team Avatar, the side-character adults have a more prominent presence in the series than they ever did in The Legend of Aang wherein their emotional baggage does stand front and center at some point of the series. The most notable one is Lin’s emotional baggage towards the BeiFong family and it had the best dramatic sequences the series has ever beheld, even when it just involves them sitting in a forest somewhere. Even the adults have its fair share of character growth too, like Tenzin coming out of his comfort zone as the strict meditative master and be more of the fun side like his father did. Both Lin and Tenzin reconnecting with their families had the best sub-plot in the series and it does have a satisfying result to the characters’ future. Heck, even Varrick’s quest for self-redemption (through hilarity) was engaging and he’s just the comedy relief of this show.

Legend-of-Korra-Rememberance-ReviewThankfully, the villains in this series doesn’t really have that one goal of the typical ruling the world plot (except for Unalaq), they weren’t painted in black and white either (except for Unalaq). What I love about the villains here is that they’re villains that see themselves as the good guys (except for Unalaq) with their deeds are seen as good things even though they are pretty effed up (except for Unalaq). Each villain (except for Unalaq) has their fair share of emotional baggage where their pasts reflect their choices and goals in the future, the kind of goals that aren’t necessarily for their personal gain but also for the people as a prevention of the same thing that has happened to them in the past (that led them to doing this). All of them wanted control over one thing, even though they are in a good path to going to that (or at least…. How they see it), they instead lose their way with a big mess behind them.

In the finale, I am quite glad that Kuvira didn’t die as an end once and for all, but instead just have it be resolve to two characters simply meditating together, a point where you do understand where she is coming from out of all of this.  Kuvira is the best example of what I said earlier about the villains in this losing their way of their path to control. Since nobody took the role to help fix the chaotic earth kingdom, she had to take all the responsibility to fix and unite the Earth kingdom once again. But the more she gained power, the more bat-s**t crazy she becomes.

Delving deeper to the adults’ side; the old team Avatar even have the chance to have some sort of role in this new series (the image of Zuko riding a dragon seals the deal for me). Though Aang and Sokka are absent and instead be reduced to flashbacks or just go around like Jedi ghosts, it does put a smile on my face to see them do or say the kind of things they would when they were kids (*insert picture of fugface Aang here*).

Each character explodes with brilliant personality, and the voice cast was given great material to work with for their characters. I just find myself looking forward to watching these characters interact with each other. Each and every character has a good moment whether it is a chance of redemption or just have them do awesome things.


korra-pro-bendingTechnology is not the only element that does step up its game in this series but we get a lot more bending-related action sequences in this series to the point where it goes on a whole new level. This series we get even more “next level” stuff like Lava Bending and Metal Bending (Even Lightning Bending had the best sequence in the finale), and the action scenes done with those elements are amazing and at some point even mesmerizing to watch. It’s ludicrous to know that they were able to think of new yet imaginative stuff to do with bending in each episode (In the third season, they even explore its different uses to everyday activities like Arts and Crafts and even dancing and of course the pro-bending course at the first season) wherein they do upstage the other, there was barely a moment where I could take the series down for not doing anything new or for the lack of a better word “Interesting” with the bending (you had at me at the airbending flying ability). Of course there are still the occasional martial arts/dirty fighting action sequences and even that has some “Raid” (that Indonesian cop movie) level fight choreography.

Recurring Themes:

legend-of-korraBoth the series (LoK and TLA) focuses on a personal journey of two of the main characters, and it goes deeper and deeper in each season to the point where you can really see their growth. The Last Airbender/Legend of Aang has Aang’s guilt and skepticism of taking the responsibility that are setting himself back from becoming the Avatar people needs to fulfill the prophecy, while Legend of Korra has the main character’s journey begging the question if the world really needs an Avatar in a world that is in the peak of a great global transition. In Korra’s journey her guilt for not being good enough to be the best Avatar is what sets her back from being the best she could be along with her self-doubt of how she could bring peace to the world as she maintains all the personal values her master(s) taught her. Those two things were the same thing Aang has faced before, as the Avatar I guess they have to go through the same journey in order for her to grow.

az_avatar_ujabb_inkarnacioja_3Thematically, the show does have a lot of interesting things to say about technology. We’ve seen this play a part in The Legend of Aang and we see it again in Legend of Korra. In LoK, the innovations over at Sato Industries does play a significant role all throughout the series as they build some things that are familiar to us in the real world and some that is very much so made for fictional purposes (they even outclass some weapons and vehicles from Fire Nation technology from TLA). The thing about Legend of Korra is that we have seen Technology play a bigger role in the franchise than in TLA, as the world had gradually changed since the last time we saw the world. An even different time where technology had become more important than bending (since only a few can inherent such ability unlike gaining technology that could be equally distributed and be even more powerful). I was glad that they did explore further on how the public’s thinking towards bending as they introduce the Equalists in the first season. Here, the writers have put Korra in the right place and time to show the significance of bending and the wisdom she had learned from her masters in this new yet ever changing world.

People usually brush off the show’s themes but these kinds of themes are one of the reasons why people should not excuse this to simply be a cartoon with pretty lights and fast-paced action.



I would go on about this show for hours, but then I realize that I wrote down more than 2000 words in 4 pages (man, I could write a thesis paper about a friggin’ cartoon). But that’s really it. The Legend of Korra does have its fair share of ups and downs, but the more I think about the flaws and see it conclude in the fourth season does made me appreciate the  show (and a bit of the second season) a tad bit more. It was good to come back to the world DiMartino and Konietzko created and it is good leave again with satisfying results.


So what did you think of the series overall? Love it? Hate it? Talk about it on the comments below!

GP Manalo

G.P. Manalo is a student by day, and a resident tortured writer by night. Writing to keep him sane from all the Business School papers and presentations piling up each week.