Avatar: The Legend of Korra, the sequel to the beloved television series Avatar: The Last Airbender, aired from 2012 to 2014 and has received much criticism ever since. Viewers have taken issue with different aspects of the show, such as the protagonist’s characterization and the lack of a consistent villain. While I acknowledge that The Legend of Korra is by no means a perfect series, I want to explain what it is about this show that has made me fall in love with it hook, line, and sinker.
First of all, let’s discuss our controversial main character, Korra. Despite how greatly disliked she is by the Avatar fandom, I personally find her to be worthy of being the heroine of this story. At first glance, she seems to be nothing more than your average protagonist who is determined to fight evil, but upon further analysis, there is much more to her than meets the eye. At the beginning of season one, Korra’s almost childlike optimism and eagerness to become involved in dangerous situations signaled to me that she was a naïve character who hadn’t yet experienced true fear in her life. Eventually, traumatic experiences do cause her to become so ridden with fear that she is unable to carry out her responsibilities as the Avatar. It was fascinating to watch her find the courage to fight again in the final season and mature into someone who carefully contemplates the decisions that she makes. Overall, Korra undergoes a significant character arc, which gives her plenty of depth and makes her feel real.
Another element (no pun intended) of the show that I appreciated was the portrayal of female characters. There are several women and girls in this series: Jinora, Lin, and Zhu Li, just to name a few. Simply including female characters in an action series is one thing, but the fact that these female characters also play complex roles in the storyline is what sets The Legend of Korra apart from other action shows. For example, Lin starts off as a seemingly cold-hearted police chief, but we later find out about the events in her past that led her to become this way. Some of my favorite episodes are the ones in which her complicated family dynamics are explored. This complex representation of so many women is one of the reasons why I enjoy The Legend of Korra.
Lastly, what makes The Legend of Korra so fascinating is how three-dimensional the villains are. They feel like living, breathing human beings, instead of cartoonish villains who are evil for the sake of being evil. Let’s take a look at Zaheer, for example. His agenda to annihilate all world leaders is bound to create chaos, but he is passionate about his cause and adamant that this will help to create a better world. I enjoyed watching the scenes in which he has deep conversations with Korra, as these scenes depict an interesting side to Zaheer – willing to have a calm and civil conversation with her, even though he wishes nothing more than for her to not exist. Villains are my favorite part of any fantasy story, and the villains in The Legend of Korra were definitely thought-provoking.
There is a lot more I could say about this show, but those were some of the biggest reasons for why I couldn’t stop watching Avatar: The Legend of Korra. In my opinion, despite its faults, The Legend of Korra has an interesting cast of characters that help to deliver a compelling story, and dynamic characters like these are what make a story unforgettable.