(Hy)Lights #30: Legend of KORRA (Book 2-4)

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Man, it’s been quite a while since I talked about Legend of Korra about a year ago, mostly recapping Season 1 and going into Season 2……and 2 more seasons aired later then followed by ratings going down lower and lower, schedule changes, and eventually moving them from Nickelodeon to Nick.com (and later Nicktoons) and believe that many were pissed at Nickelodeon for this (and they didn’t promote the show that well).

But since Season 1, how well did the show progress from the last time I reviewed it? Season 1 had a mixed to positive reaction to audiences and critics alike. It may not have been quite up to level with the original series but it is still a good season.

Anyway, let’s recap what happens in Book 2, 3, and 4.

Book 2: Spirits take place 6 months after Book 1 where dark spirits have been terrorizing the seas. Then Korra went to her uncle Unalaq, chief of the Northern Water Tribe, for tutelage on Spirit Bending and opens the portals to the spirit world; also starting a civil war between the Northern and Southern Water Tribes.

Book 3: Change begins two weeks later with the world discovering Harmonic Convergence. Korra, Tenzin and others recruit them to re-establish the extinct Air Nomads but as that’s happening, criminal Zaheer escapes from prison along with allies Ghazan, Ming-Hua & P-Li as they attempt to kidnap the Avatar.

Book 4: Balance is set three years later dealing with Korra’s self-discovery journey as she recovers from her encounter with Zaheer. Meanwhile, Kuvira, a former officer of Suyin Beifong’s service who is now ruler of the Earth Kingdom, refuses to step down and taking the power of all Earth Nations with Military force.

 

My thoughts:

BOOK TWO – Honestly, Book two may be the weakest of the series when it comes to most characters and the story as a whole, at least in the first half of the series. The first being the Korra/Mako relationship, which I find to be dull and lackluster to the point where I start to not care about it and hoping it would be tossed aside. Second, the whole Bolin becoming a movie star subplot may have irked me a little but fortunately it didn’t annoy me at much as Bolin did improve near the end. Oh, what else I forget to mention? Oh yeah, Unalaq sucks as an antagonist and he’s basically the misunderstood villain who thinks he’s doing the world a favor by unleashing the spirits in the human world. Now with that said, there are some strong positives of the show such as The Avatar Wan 2-parter episodes as we know all about the first Avatar and how much in-depth and enthralling this tale turned out to be.

Another positive is some of the newer characters introduced in the main story and most of them have their moments, the biggest being Varrick, who may be honestly one of the funniest and charismatic characters on the show along with his assistant Zhu Li. Both are basically the eccentric guy/straight man duo that manages to deliver every scene. Eska & Desna easily have their moments on the show that are funny but then you start to remind yourself that Eska is basically if April Ludgate was a water bender (and yes I know Aubrey Plaza voiced her) and Desna….is mostly forgettable some times. Tenzin’s brother and sister, Bumi and Kya, also got some good moments out of them when it comes to knowing their past as kids. Speaking of kids, Jinora actually got some moments to shine during the later parts as well, especially involving the spirit world.

BOOK THREE – Change is more than just the title of the book, it is fundamentally the keyword of this whole season and a big improvement over Book Two and possibly made have warrant some parts of the previous Book. The biggest improvement is by bar none Zaheer as the villain as it shows that the character and his allies are nothing to be fooled with. Don’t believe me? Watch Episode 10 and tell me otherwise. I do find the new generation of air benders element of the story very emotional on some levels, especially when Tenzin thinks about Aang and his dealing with being the last air bender. It does make you process that in your mind as it goes along. I’ll say this…..at first, I didn’t think I would like Kai in the beginning as he was annoying a few times and sometimes he just serves as being Jinora’s love interest but in the end, he turned out to be a decent character. Other new characters introduced are Suyin, Lin’s estranged half-sister and Opal, her daughter and we also have the courtesy of knowing the past between Su and Lin, which also involves Toph as well.

BOOK FOUR – Well, if Book 3 was an improvement then this is even more of a continuation of that improvement. Yes, it takes place 3 years after the events of the previous season but never felt like it was rushed or forgotten some important storylines. Like what Korra has been doing for the last 3 years as that fight with Zaheer really did some damage to her psyche as the Avatar, much like PTSD to a soldier after a war as something like that will mess with your head. As this is the final season, almost everyone makes it back for one last ride from Hiroshi Sato, Asami’s father who was jailed in Book 1; Toph, who is indeed still alive, made some kick-ass moments for her in this book and still one of the best characters of the Avatar Last Air bender universe and even Varrick and Zhu Li, whom both had a satisfying arc within the season. But……there is the point of that clip show but we are very aware of why the clip show was made and thankfully that manages to take cues from the Samurai Champloo episode ‘The Disorder Diaries’ although you can easily skip the first part and go to the middle and especially the third part with Varrick and Bolin.

Kuvira as an antagonist may not be as strong as Zaheer or Amon (at least until his reveal) by mostly being this dictator to her people but is more serviceable and effective than Unalaq by a large margin.

The animation is still proven fantastically well-made from the scenery to the action animation that the animators carried on. The weirdest thing about it is on Book 2, most of it was animated by Studio Pierrot (The team that made Bleach, Naruto, Tokyo Ghoul, etc.) while the rest of it was animated by Studio Mir. Both studios did display their best moments with little noticeable problems in there.

Voice acting, wise. I have said enough about the original cast in the last review I did with this and yes, Janet Varney still gives a great performance as Korra as does the starring cast as well.

There are plenty of voice actors in here to highlight on their performances, examples from John Michael Higgins (Varrick), Stephanie Sheh (Zhu Li); Zelda Williams (Kuvira), Todd Haberkorn (Baatar Jr.), Henry Rollins (Zaheer), Steven Yuen (Avatar Wan); Anne Heche (Suyin), Alyson Stoner (Opal), Grey Delisle and many others that are too many to name but still brought out the best in them.

FINAL VERDICT (THE OVERALL SERIES): While the show has a few bumps along the way (mainly through a little of Book 1 and most of 2) but the farther the show got, the more improved it turned out to be. Yes, this may not be Avatar: The Last Airbender and that’s actually a good thing since it doesn’t need to be a rehash of that. Korra proved to have a great story arc with interesting characters that does get a chance to develop as the show goes along.

 

And now to rate the rest of the Books (Gave Book 1 an 8.5 in case you miss it.)

Book 2 – 6/10 – VANILLA

Book 3 – 8.5/10 – High Solid B

Book 4 – 9/10 – FIRST CLASS

 

OVERALL – 8/10 – SOLID B.

 

And that is it of the Avatar Universe.

And this has been MAK2.0 aka The Blue Hybrid, bringing all the four elements in one Avatar.

 

LEGEND OF KORRA – courtesy of NICKELODEON STUDIOS

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