The Legend of Korra
|The Legend of Korra|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||12 (List of episodes)|
|Running time||24 minutes|
|Original run||April 14, 2012 – present|
|Preceded by||Avatar: The Last Airbender (TV series)
The Promise and The Search (comics)
The Legend of Korra is an American animated television series that premiered on the Nickelodeon television network in 2012. It was created by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko as a sequel to their series Avatar: The Last Airbender, which aired on Nickelodeon from 2005 to 2008. Several people involved with creating Avatar, including designer Joaquim Dos Santos and composers Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn, returned to work on The Legend of Korra.
The series is set in a fictional universe where 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 the Avatar is responsible for maintaining balance in the world. The series follows Avatar Korra as she travels to the metropolis of Republic City to learn airbending and face an anti-bender revolutionary group called the "Equalists."
The series, whose style is strongly influenced by Japanese animation, has been a critical and commercial success. It obtained the highest audience total for an animated series in the U.S. in 2012, and it was praised by reviewers for its high production values and for addressing difficult sociopolitical issues such as social unrest and terrorism. It was initially conceived as a miniseries of 12 episodes, but it is now set to run for 52 episodes separated into four "books," each of which tells a separate story.
Series overview 
The Legend of Korra was initially conceived as a 12-episode miniseries. Nickelodeon declined the creators' pitch for an Avatar follow-up animated movie based on what then became the comic The Search, but chose to expand Korra to 26 episodes. The series was expanded further in July 2012 to 52 episodes. These episodes will be grouped into four separate "books" composed of 12 to 14 episodes ("chapters") each, with each book telling a stand-alone story. The Legend of Korra will conclude with the fourth book.
|Book||Chapters||Originally aired (U.S. dates)|
|Season premiere||Season finale|
|1||Air||12||April 14, 2012||June 23, 2012|
The Legend of Korra is set in the fictional world of Avatar: The Last Airbender. The world is separated into four nations: the (Northern and Southern) Water Tribes, the Air Nomads, the Earth Kingdom, and the Fire Nation. The focus of the series is "bending," the ability of some humans (and animals) to telekinetically manipulate the element associated with their nation (water, earth, fire or air). Bending is carried out using spiritual and physical exercises, which are portrayed in the series as similar to Chinese and other Asian martial arts.
Only one person, the "Avatar", can bend all four elements. Cyclically reincarnating among the world's four nations, the Avatar is responsible for maintaining balance in the world. Like its predecessor, The Legend of Korra focuses on the current incarnation of the Avatar: Korra, a 17-year-old girl from the Southern Water Tribe. At the start of the series, she has mastered waterbending, earthbending, and firebending, but must complete her training by learning airbending from Tenzin, the youngest child of Aang and Katara.
The series is mostly set in Republic City, the capital of the United Republic of Nations, a state that emerged after the end of the war that occurred in Avatar: The Last Airbender. The metropolis, described as "if Manhattan had happened in Asia" by the series' creators, has become a melting pot for people of all nations. Its residents are united by their passion for "pro-bending," a spectator sport in which two teams composed of one earthbender, waterbender, and firebender try to throw each other out of a ring using bending.
The series opens with a montage introducing Korra as the Avatar and showing that she has mastered every element except airbending. It is then revealed that due to problems in Republic City, Tenzin will not be able to move to the Southern Water Tribe and teach Korra airbending. As a result, Korra sneaks out and runs away to Republic City so that Tenzin can train her there. Once there, Korra clashes with police chief Lin Beifong (the daughter of Toph Beifong from the original series) after dispensing vigilante justice to the local triads. Shortly thereafter, the two main antagonists of the season are introduced: the Equalists, an underground activist movement; and Tarrlok, an ambitious politician. The Equalists are non-benders led by the mysterious masked man, Amon. Their goal is to bring about "equality" between benders and non-benders. Councilman Tarrlok believes in aggressive tactics for bringing the Equalists to justice, despite protests from his pacifist colleague Tenzin, Korra's airbending trainer. As Korra explores Republic City, she meets the brothers Mako and Bolin and joins their pro-bending team, the "Fire Ferrets". They are successful in the league, but romantic tensions among them and Asami, Mako's girlfriend, put a strain on their relationship.
As the story progresses, Korra discovers that Amon has the power to remove a person's bending ability. Tarrlok cajoles Korra to join his anti-Equalist "task force", and the Equalists begin using terrorist tactics, climaxing in an attack on the pro-bending arena, where Amon strips the winning team of their bending. But when Tarrlok continues indiscriminately repressing non-benders, Korra refuses to continue supporting him. After Tarrlok imprisons her friends to blackmail her, they fight. Tarrlok overpowers Korra with bloodbending, an illegal form of waterbending, and kidnaps her, framing the Equalists. Tenzin, Lin, and Korra's friends eventually discover that Tarrlok is lying, but as they do Amon arrives at Tarrlok's hideout and removes Tarrlok's bending. Korra escapes, only to find Republic City facing an Equalist military coup.
In the two-part finale, naval reinforcements from the United Forces, led by Iroh (the grandson of Zuko from the original series), are defeated by Equalist sea mines and biplanes. Attempting to find Amon, Korra learns that Tarrlok and Amon are both sons of Yakone, a bloodbending criminal who was defeated 42 years ago by Avatar Aang, and that both are waterbenders and bloodbenders. In a showdown with Amon at one of his rallies, Amon is able to strip Korra of her power to bend all elements but, in desperation, she unlocks her airbending. After Mako and Korra manage to overpower and publicly unmask Amon as a waterbender, Amon flees with Tarrlok, who later detonates their boat on the open sea. Despondent, Korra finally manages to establish spiritual contact with her predecessor Aang, who restores her bending powers, allowing her to do the same for Amon's other victims.
Cast and characters 
|Main cast members|
|Janet Varney||David Faustino||P. J. Byrne||Seychelle Gabriel||J. K. Simmons||Mindy Sterling||Dee Bradley Baker||Steve Blum|
|Korra||Mako||Bolin||Asami Sato||Tenzin||Lin Beifong||Naga, Pabu, Oogi, Tarrlok||Amon/Noatak|
Korra (Janet Varney), the series' 17-year-old "headstrong and rebellious" protagonist, and Aang's successor as the Avatar. Her transformation "from brash warrior to a spiritual being", according to Di Martino, is a principal theme of the series. The character was inspired by Bryan Konietzko's "pretty tough" sister, and by female MMA fighters, notably Gina Carano. The series focuses on Korra and her friends: bending brothers Mako and Bolin and non-bender Asami. Older brother Mako (David Faustino) is a firebender that's described as "dark and brooding", having grown up on the streets. The character was named after Mako Iwamatsu, the original voice actor for Iroh in the original series. Younger brother Bolin (P. J. Byrne) is a earthbender that has an opposite personality and is described as lighthearted, humorous, and "always having a lady on his arm". Asami Sato (Seychelle Gabriel) is the only main character who is a non-bender and is the only daughter of the wealthy industrialist Hiroshi Sato. The other main characters are the airbender master Tenzin (J. K. Simmons), Republic City police chief Lin Beifong (Mindy Sterling), and animal friends Naga and Pabu (both Dee Bradley Baker, the voice of a number of animals (including Appa and Momo) in the original series). Pabu was inspired by Futa, a famous standing Japanese red panda.
Recurring characters include Tenzin's wife Pema (Maria Bamford) and their children Jinora (Kiernan Shipka), Ikki (Darcy Rose Byrnes), Meelo (Logan Wells), and Rohan. Jinora is calm and an avid reader; Ikki is described as "fun, crazy, and a fast talker"; Meelo is hyperactive; and Rohan is born during the third-to-last episode of Book One. Korra and her friends are supported by Iroh (Dante Basco, the voice actor of Zuko in the original series), a firebender and General of the "United Forces". He is described as "a swashbuckling hero-type guy". He is named after Iroh, Zuko's uncle in the original series.
Book One: Air features two main antagonists: the Equalist movement's mysterious masked leader Amon (Steve Blum), who has the power to remove an individual's bending, and Republic City's Councilman Tarrlok (Dee Bradley Baker), an ambitious and charismatic politician and waterbender from the Northern Water Tribe who resorts to increasingly repressive methods. Other recurring Equalist antagonists include the second-in-command "Lieutenant" (Lance Henriksen) and self-made founder Hiroshi Sato (Daniel Dae Kim) of Future Industries (a company that makes the "Satomobile", this series' version of the Model-T automobile). Hiroshi's character was inspired by Theodore Roosevelt and by the Japanese industrialists Keita Goto and Iwasaki Yatarō. Another antagonist, mob boss Yakone (Clancy Brown), is seen in Korra's flashbacks to Republic City's past.
The Legend of Korra was co-created and produced by Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko at Nickelodeon Animation Studios in Burbank, California. Animation work is mostly done by the South Korean animation studio Studio Mir. Producing the series is a lengthy process, taking about 10 to 12 months per episode.
Book One: Air 
Production of the series was announced at the annual Comic-Con in San Diego on July 22, 2010. It was originally due for release in October 2011. Tentatively titled Avatar: Legend of Korra at the time, it was intended to be a twelve-episode mini series set in the same fictional universe as the original show, but seventy years later. In 2011, the title was changed to The Last Airbender: Legend of Korra, and again in March 2012 to The Legend of Korra. The premiere was eventually delayed to April 14, 2012.
The creators wrote all of the episodes of the first book themselves, omitting "filler episodes" to allow for a concise story. Once the series was expanded from its original 12-episode schedule to 26 and then to 52, more writers were brought in so that the creators could focus on design work. Joaquim Dos Santos and Ryu Ki-Hyun, who worked on the animation and design of the original series, also became involved with creating The Legend of Korra, as is storyboarder Ian Graham. Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn, who composed the soundtrack for the original series as "The Track Team," also returned to score The Legend of Korra.
Later books 
By June 2012, Book Two's writing had been completed and the episodes were in the process of being storyboarded and animated. As of May 2013, the books two, three and four were in development simultaneously, according to Bryan Konietzko.
The Legend of Korra is produced mainly as traditional animation, with most frames drawn on paper in Korea by the animators at Studio Mir and scanned for digital processing. Each episode comprises about 15,000 drawings. The series makes occasional use of computer-generated imagery for complex scenes, most noticeably in the animations of the pro-bending arena or the Satomobile factory.
While The Legend of Korra is produced in the U.S. and therefore not a work of Japanese animation ("anime") in the strict sense, The Escapist magazine argued that the series is so strongly influenced by anime that it would otherwise easily be classified as such: Its protagonists (a superpowered heroine, her group of talented, supporting friends, a near-impervious villain who wants to reshape the world), its themes (family, friendship, fear, and death) and the quality of its voice acting as well as the style of its visuals are very similar to those of leading anime series such as Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Bleach or Trigun. A notable difference to such series is the absence of lengthy opening and ending sequences set to J-pop songs: to save broadcast time; The Legend of Korra's openings and endings last only a few seconds. The series mostly abstains from using the visual tropes characteristic of anime, but does rarely use exaggerated facial expressions to highlight emotions for comic effect.
Like Avatar, The Legend of Korra is scored by The Track Team, the partnership of composers Jeremy Zuckerman and Benjamin Wynn. While both gentlemen scored "Avatar", they have split their roles on "Korra" - Zuckerman composes the series music while Wynn produces the sound design. As with Avatar, no soundtrack album has been published or announced to date.
Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino's concept for the score was to blend traditional Chinese music with early jazz. On that basis, Zuckerman and Wynn composed a score combining elements of Dixieland, traditional Chinese music and Western orchestration, performed mainly by a string sextet and various Chinese solo instruments.
Book One: Air drew an average of 4.3 million viewers per episode. This was the highest audience total for an animated series in the U.S. in 2012.
The Legend of Korra received critical acclaim. David Hinckley of the New York Daily News wrote that the "visually striking" series is "full of little tricks and nuances that only true fans will notice and savor, but nothing prevents civilians from enjoying it as well." Brian Lowry of Variety felt that the series "represents a bit more ambitious storytelling for older kids, and perhaps a few adults with the geek gene." Prior to the first book's finale, Scott Thill of Wired hailed The Legend of Korra as "the smartest cartoon on TV," able to address adults' spiritual and sociopolitical concerns while presenting an "alternately riveting and hilarious ride packed with fantasy naturalism, steampunk grandeur, kinetic conflicts, sci-fi weaponry and self-aware comedy." Thill proposed that the Equalists' cause reflected the recent issues in the Occupy movement, and DiMartino responded that though the series was written before Occupy Wall Street began, he agreed that the show similarly depicted "a large group of people who felt powerless up against a relatively small group of people in power." Alyssa Rosenberg praised the show for examining issues of class in an urban setting, and a guest post in her column later argued that the struggle between Korra and Amon's Equalists reflected some of the ideas of John Rawls' "luck egalitarianism," praising the show for tackling moral issues of inequality and redistribution.
Elements of the first book that received particular praise were the exceptional quality of the animation, the background paintings and the martial-arts action scenes, as well as the series' innovative and engrossing visual design and style. The writers were credited for finding a believable balance between magic and technology and for their mature and nuanced portrayal of romantic relationships and conflicts. Critics also praised the writers' willingness and ability to tackle difficult themes such as social unrest, terrorism, Tarrlok's murder–suicide of Amon, as well as the insinuation of Korra contemplating suicide during the season finale.
While Book One: Air was generally well received, some aspects of the writing were criticized by reviewers. In Kotaku, Kirk Hamilton wrote that he felt that the series failed to tackle its central conflicts in a meaningful way, commenting also on the mix of comedy and drama, the many character arcs in a shorter series than Avatar, and the neat ending. Raz Greenberg of Strange Horizons commented that Korra seemed as though she had things too easy in life in comparison to Aang, and also criticized the show's rapid pacing. Max Nicholson of IGN praised the series' writing, animation, humor, setting, and characters, and wrote that elements characterized as a deus ex machina had been foreshadowed throughout. But in his opinion, the love triangle arc between Mako, Asami, and Korra fell flat and the pro-bending arc felt superfluous, although it led up to the conflict with Amon. He also considered that Mako, although a major character, felt underwritten. Lauren Davis of io9, while approving of the character arcs and the setting, was also disappointed about the series's pacing.
The Legend of Korra received two nominations for the 2012 Annie Awards. Bryan Konietzko, Joaquim Dos Santos, Ryu Ki-Hyun, Kim Il Kwang and Kim Jin Sun were nominated in the category of Best Character Design in an Animated Television Production, and the first two episodes were nominated in the category of Best Animated Television Production for Children. The series was also nominated for the "Outstanding Children's Program" award from among the 2012 NAACP Image Awards, which "celebrates the accomplishments of people of color". The series did not win either award.
IGN editors and readers awarded the series the "IGN People's Choice Award" and the "Best TV Animated Series" award in 2012. The series also took second place (after My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic) in a TV.com readers' poll for the "Best Animated Series" of 2012.
|Annie Awards||Best Animated Television Production for Children||The Legend of Korra||Nominated|
|Best Character Design in an Animated Television Production||Bryan Konietzko, Joaquim Dos Santos, Ryu Ki-Hyun, Kim Il Kwang and Kim Jin Sun|
|2nd Annual BTVA Voice Acting Awards||Best Vocal Ensemble in a New Television Series||The Legend of Korra||Won|
|BTVA People's Choice Award for Best Vocal Ensemble in a New Television Series|
|Best Female Lead Vocal Performance in a Television Series - Action/Drama||Janet Varney (Korra)|
|Best Female Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Guest Role||Eva Marie Saint (Katara)|
|Best Male Lead Vocal Performance in a Television Series - Action/Drama||JK Simmons (Tenzin)||Nominated|
|Best Male Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Supporting Role - Action/Drama||Steve Blum (Amon)
Dee Bradley Baker (Tarrlok)
|BTVA People's Choice Award for Best Male Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Supporting Role - Action/Drama||Steve Blum (Amon)||Won|
|Best Female Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Supporting Role - Action/Drama||Mindy Sterling (Lin Beifong)||Nominated|
|Daytime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Special Class Animated Program||The Legend of Korra||Pending|
|Outstanding Directing In An Animated Program||Joaquim Dos Santos, Ki-Hyun Ryu, Andrea Romano|
|Outstanding Casting For An Animated Series Or Special||Shannon Reed, Sarah Noonan, Gene Vassilaros|
|IGN's Best of 2012 Awards||Best TV Series||The Legend of Korra||Nominated|
|Best TV Animated Series||Won|
|IGN People's Choice Award for Best TV Animated Series|
|Best TV Hero||Janet Varney (Korra)||Nominated|
|NAACP Image Awards||Outstanding Children's Program||The Legend of Korra|
|Young Artist Awards||Best Performance in a Voice-Over Role (Television) - Young Actress||Kiernan Shipka (Jinora)|
The first twelve episodes (Book One: Air) of the first season aired in the U.S. on Nickelodeon between April 14, 2012 and June 23, 2012, and are available in the U.S. on the channel's website and through the Hulu Plus service. They are to be broadcast in other countries on the local Nickelodeon channels beginning in August 2012.
In June 2012, Nickelodeon began producing the second part of the first season (Book Two: Spirits). The premiere date for Book Two has not yet been announced. In a May 2013 press conference, Nickelodeon announced that Book Two would air "later this year".
Home video 
Book One: Air of The Legend of Korra is to be released on DVD and Blu-ray on 16 July 2013. It is to contain audio commentary from the creators, the cast and crew. Both versions are to contain, as a special feature, a comical interview with the series' characters in puppet form. The Blu-ray version is to comprise, additionally, audio commentaries for all episodes as well as the extra "Series creators' Favorite Scenes: Eight Animatics".
Art book 
As with Avatar, a hardcover art book, to be published by Dark Horse on August 6, 2013, is to detail the creation of the series's first 12 episodes. It is to be titled The Legend of Korra: The Art of the Animated Series (Book One: Air), ISBN 978-1616551681.
- Revolution (ISBN 978-0449815540), adapting episodes one to six, published on 8 January 2013
- Endgame (ISBN 978-0449817346), adapting episodes seven to twelve, to be published on 23 July 2013
In August 2012, Variety reported that Paramount Animation, a sister company of Nickelodeon, was starting development of several animated movies, with budgets of around US$100 million. According to Variety, a possible candidate for one of the films is The Legend of Korra. Series creator Bryan Konietzko later wrote on his blog that no such movie was in development.
Video games 
- Legend of Korra: The Last Stand, a platform game in which players control Korra trying to catch and defeat Amon.
- Korra: Republic City Run, an endless running game in which players control Korra (drawn in the Japanese "chibi" style) as she evades Equalists and collects items.
- Super Mini Puzzle Heroes, a puzzle game involving several Nickelodeon characters, including a chibi-fied Korra.
- Republic City Rescue, a Yuan collecting game.
- Welcome to Republic City, a game which introduces the player to the Republic City and various characters of the show.
- Super Brawl 3, a fighting game
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- Official website
- The Legend of Korra at the Internet Movie Database
- Studio Mir (Animation Production Studio)