The Legend of Korra is an American animated television series that aired on the Nickelodeon television network from 2012 to 2014. It was created by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino as a sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender, which aired from 2005 to 2008. Animated in a style strongly influenced by anime, the series is set in a fictional universe in which some people can manipulate, or "bend", the elements of water, earth, fire, or air. Only one person, the "Avatar", can bend all four elements, and is responsible for maintaining balance in the world. The series follows Avatar Korra, the reincarnation of Aang from the previous series, as she faces political and spiritual unrest in a modernizing world.
The main characters are voiced by Janet Varney, Seychelle Gabriel, David Faustino, P.J. Byrne, J.K. Simmons and Mindy Sterling, and supporting voice actors include Aubrey Plaza, John Michael Higgins, Steven Blum, Eva Marie Saint, Henry Rollins, Anne Heche and Zelda Williams. Several people involved in the creation of Avatar: The Last Airbender, including designer Joaquim Dos Santos, writer Tim Hedrick and composers Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn, returned to work on The Legend of Korra. Most animation was done by Studio Mir of South Korea, and some by Studio Pierrot of Japan. The Legend of Korra ran for fifty-two episodes, separated into four seasons ("books"). It is to be continued as a comics series.
Like its parent show, The Legend of Korra received critical acclaim, drawing favorable comparisons with the HBO series Game of Thrones and the work of Hayao Miyazaki. It has been praised by reviewers for its production values and for addressing sociopolitical issues such as social unrest and terrorism, as well as for going beyond the established boundaries of youth entertainment with respect to issues of race, gender, and sexual identity.
Reception[edit | edit source]
Gender, race and sexual orientation[edit | edit source]
Summing up Book Four, Joanna Robinson for Vanity Fair described it as "the most subversive television event of the year", noting how much of the season and series pushed the boundaries of what is nominally children's television by "breaking racial, sexual, and political ground": It featured a brave, strong, brown-skinned female lead character as well as a bevy of diverse female characters of all ages, focused on challenging issues such as weapons of mass destruction, PTSD and fascism, and was infused with an Eastern spirituality based on tenets such as balance and mindfulness. Levesley also highlighted the "many examples of well-written women, predominantly of color" in the series. Oliver Sava at The A.V. Club noted that the series had "consistently delivered captivating female figures"; he considered it to be first and foremost about women, and about how they relate to each other "as friends, family, and rivals in romance and politics".
Moreover, according to Robinson, the series' final scene, in which Korra and Asami gaze into each other's eyes in a shot mirroring the composition of Avatar's final moments in which Aang and Katara kiss, "changed the face of TV" by going further than any other work of children's television in depicting same-sex relationships – an assessment shared by reviewers for TV.com, The A.V. Club, USA Today, IGN and Moviepilot. Mike Hoffman, on the other hand, felt that Korra and Asami's relationship was not intended as particularly subversive, but as something the writers trusted younger viewers, now often familiar with same-sex relationships, to be mature enough to understand. Megan Farokhmanesh of Polygon wrote that by portraying Korra and Asami as bisexual, the series even avoided the error of assuming sexual orientation, as many other TV series did, to be a strict divide between "gay" and "straight".