I don’t know why (actually, I do know why, and I’ll get into that), but some people really hate The Legend of Korra. For those who don’t know and are just finishing Avatar: The Last Airbender on Netflix, The Legend of Korra is the subsequent series and it follows the next Avatar in the cycle—a waterbender named Korra.
But while some people love The Legend of Korra (Like me) others utterly despise it, even going the length to say that it disrespects the legacy of Avatar: The Last Airbender. Now, obviously, I disagree, but I at least want to explore some of the reasons why people don’t like TLOK. There will be some light spoilers up ahead, but really, this is for the people who haven’t watched the series yet. So I won’t reveal anything major in Korra (but I will for ATLA, so Avatar spoilers ahead! ). Scout’s honor.
Here are the arguments made against The Legend of Korra...
1. That Korra Is a Terrible Avatar
What detractors will say: While Aang wasn’t perfect, he made for a great Avatar. He had very little time to master all four elements, but he managed it, defeating Fire Lord Ozai in the process. But Korra made way too many mistakes. Especially early on. And the events concerning what happens to her connection with the past Avatars is unforgivable.
Counterpoint: While Korra did have her issues, she shows a lot more growth than Aang over the course of her series, but only because she has to. She’s the polar opposite of Aang, who starts off very humble (that’s the airbender way) but eventually comes into his own once he masters all four elements. Korra is brash at first (and already knows all but one element when we first meet her), but becomes humble later on, which makes her a very interesting Avatar, to say the very least. And by the end of the series, she becomes an excellent Avatar, exhibiting many of the same traits as Aang. It just takes her longer, that’s all.
2. That Having Different Villains Each Season Weakens the Series
What detractors will say: Avatar: The Last Airbender had one major villain, and that’s Fire Lord Ozai. Yes, there were underlings in the Fire Nation, and Zuko’s switching sides is one of the best twists. But having just Ozai as the main villain made the final battle much more intense and personal, making Book 3 arguably the best season in the whole series. But Korra having a villain every season just weakened the series as a whole. Especially since some villains were better than others.
Counterpoint: Yes, Unalaq SUCKED in Book 2 of Korra, but I would argue that Amon, Kuvira, and especially Zaheer are far superior to the humdrum Fire Lord Ozai. All three aforementioned villains on The Legend of Korra are complex with their motives, and they each influence their respective seasons much more than Fire Lord Ozai ever did in the entire series of ATLA. You know how some people are like, yeah, Killmonger was kind of right in Black Panther? Well, Amon, Kuvira, and Zaheer all have that vibe going for them, too. Ozai is pretty one dimensional in comparison.
3. That Republic City Is the Only Major Setting In Korra, and That Stinks
What detractors will say: Avatar: The Last Airbender had several unique locations, but The Legend of Korra is almost entirely spent in Republic City. Not only that, but Republic City is pretty lame since the steampunk aesthetic is more of a distraction that anything else.
Counterpoint: Actually, I don’t have much to say to this one. It’s all just a matter of preference. Yes, the advancement, given the relatively short span between ATLA and TLOK, does seem like a bit too big of a leap. But I personally like the old-timey, and yet, somewhat modern setting of Korra. But I do understand why many people hate it.
4. The Characters on Korra Aren't As Memorable As the Ones On Avatar
What detractors will say: No character on Korra is as good as Aang, Toph, Zuko, Katara, Sokka, or Uncle Iroh. Not a single one.
Counterpoint: I highly disagree with this one. While Bolin is no Sokka, and Mako is no Zuko, they’re not supposed to be. TLOK has a very different tone from ATLA, and also very different characters. I love Tenzen (voiced by J.K. Simmons) and his inability to keep his cool since he has both his father (Aang) and his mother’s (Katara) traits. I adore Bolin, especially when he becomes a movie star. And how can you not love Varrik (“Zhu li, do the thing.”)? It’s not that the characters on TLOK are bad, it’s just that they’re not the ones from ATLA, which goes to my next point.
5. It Would Have Been Better If We Had Just Seen the Characters From Avatar All Grown Up Rather Than Getting Korra
What detractors will say: What the fans of ATLA would have preferred was to see the adventures of Aang, Toph, Zuko, Katara, and Sokka as adults.
Counterpoint: I mean, I guess that could have been cool, but it just has a Saved By the Bell: The College Years feel to me. I much prefer seeing the next Avatar in line. I also prefer the flashbacks and how the previous characters who aren’t dead have aged substantially. It kind of makes me think of the recent Star Wars trilogy, and how having the old characters in these new movies kind of detracted from giving the new characters the spotlight. But, then again, I liked The Last Jedi (“Let the past die.”), so make of that what you will.
6. Korra Is An Unlikable Protagonist. Aang Was So Much Better
What detractors will say: Korra is just a lousy protagonist, and I can’t get invested in The Legend of Korra because I don’t like her.
Counterpoint: Korra is indeed quite unlikeable at the beginning of the series, but that’s intentional. She’s supposed to be brash and hot-headed. It only makes her eventual change that more resonant. Korra makes a lot of mistakes and is very different from Aang, but her growth is substantial, and by the end of the series, she’s an amazing character who’s gone through some pretty traumatic stuff. So all I can say is stick with her. Ultimately, I find her personal journey more satisfying than Aang’s.
And those are just some of the major reasons people despise The Legend of Korra. But what do you think? Have I convinced you that TLOK has a lot to offer? Sound off in the comments section below.
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.