The Legend of Korra vs Avatar: The Last Airbender

The Legend of Korra, which wrapped up this past Saturday, was good. Rather, it was solid. However, after experiencing the first Avatar series in all it’s splendor, I can’t help but feel that The Legend of Korra left a lot to be desired. Ah, I should point out that I’ll be comparing Korra to Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is arguably the best series ever made in America ever. So it might seem like I’m being harsh, but keep in mind that I did like The Legend of Korra overall.

Avatar: The Last Airbender was a brilliant series, one of the best shows I’ve seen ever. It had everything from suspense to humor to love, and it mixed it all beautifully. The Legend of Korra brought some of this back, but there were a lot of reasons why I think it fell short when it came to being even close to the original.

1. Where’s the Humor?

During the series, I felt like a lot of the humor from the first series had vanished. Bolin gave us a few things to laugh at, but I felt like the comedic relief was spread out very sparsely, and that did a big job in making this series not quite as fun as the first one.

Am I saying that this series was too serious? No. The dramatic effects were done decent enough where the series was enjoyable to watch, but without  a character like Sokka constantly being a goof, the mood was just too somber to be fun.

Where was the cabbage dude? I feel like it would have been awesome to keep that joke running from the first series. Cabbage man aside, I feel like the characters were a bit too series, and this leads me into my next point.

2. The Characters Lacked Personality

Look at Toph. She was fucking awesome. Sokka, Awesome. Even Aang threw in plenty of spice to the show. Each character was zany, fun, and still had the ability to get serious when they needed to. Compared to the characters in The Legend of Korra, I just felt like they had more to offer.

Korra, Mako, Bolin, Asami…they were all……boring. They talked. They never cracked jokes. They didn’t really have anything special going on. They weren’t engaging.  I never once thought to myself, “Mako is the man.” or “Korra yes!” The only time I did do something like this was with Chief Bei Fong, who was hands down without question the best character in this entire series, as well as the most badass.

When General Iroh entered the fray I got excited because he had a huge fleet of Fire Benders and was voiced by the same person who voiced Zuko, but unfortunately, they all proved to be useless.

3. Too Generic, Too Short

The first Avatar series had the good fortune to be long as fuck, which allowed for characters to be developed further (like Zuko for example). Not only that, but the plot had so many intricate parts that made it interesting. Avatar centered around, Aang, who had been frozen for 100 years and was also the last Airbender in existence. This already set up for a show filled with discovery and adventure, as Aang had to rediscover the world, which his friends discovered it for the first time. It dealt with war and a setting of what happened after the Avatar had been missing for so long, and restoring peace to all areas of the world in many different ways, while at the same time training Aang’s skills by finding masters. There was a lot of different shit going on.

By comparison, The Legend of Korra took place in one location and followed the basic plot of, “Bad man comes and must be stopped.” The fact that it was only 12 or so episodes long didn’t help. everything from personalities to the whole love triangle was breezed through at unrealistic speeds that made it tough to actually insert myself into the show.

There’s a couple more things that could have been improved upon, but at the end, the only conclusion I can come to is that I must now rewatch the first Avatar series. If you ask me, they should have just made a sequel to the first series where Aang, Sokka, Toph, and Katara are all grown up and fighting battles and shit. That would be much more interesting.

The Asterisk *

I guess it depends what next season will be like. Don’t forget, this is just Book 1. So far though, this just seems too rushed though.


33 thoughts on “The Legend of Korra vs Avatar: The Last Airbender

  1. The problem is that sequels always need to be better than the original. Even if they manage to be nearly equal, it won’t feel like it because you have the memory of the original to fall back on. When watching the original, you had no idea what to expect and everything was shiny and new.

    I do agree that the original was superior, but Korra did some things better in my opinion. I liked the slightly darker tone, for one, and I thought Amon was an immensely more interesting villain than Ozai. The complicated conflict of whether the world would actually be better off if nobody could bend, and the irony of him doing exactly what his father intended was much more engaging than Ozai’s “I know! LETS LIGHT EVERYTHING ON FIRE.”

    My main beef with Korra was its last minute or so. All the previous avatars showed up and give her her bending back… somehow. Then she suddenly had no qualms about wrecking Asami’s love life… for some reason. And then she was able to restore everyone’s bending… through some method. Nothing was explained, and it just felt like the creators decided at the last minute that they didn’t want to leave anything hanging for the next season.

  2. I have to agree with you Glo that the original series was awesome. Korra had its good moments but it lacks substance. Hopefully things will improve in book two.

  3. Seeing as I haven’t watched either (wait, wait, but I haven’t watched any other anime besides Mouretsu Pirates the past two months either), should I watch Avatar first before Korra?

  4. Actually, cabbage dude’s descendent is in there for all of 15 seconds, with the whole Cabbage Corps. deal. Avatar: the Last Airbender. The way Korra and Mako’s romance progressed kinda annoyed me, and every character just made me go eh. I’m also trying to figure out why the airbending kids don’t have arrows. They’re not tattoos, right? Right. The whole Avatar state thing at the end was totally predicted too. When Amon was on the boat at the end my first thought was, “Amon a boat motherfucker.”

    • Whattttttt how the fuck did I miss that!!!??? GGGAHHHHHHHHHH

      The show was too series and the Cabbage Corp went completely over my head. Sooo pissed that was awesome beyond question probably the highlight of the series so far for me.

      I thought the arrows WERE tattooed.

      You can’t fool me, Amon to your puns.

      • ‘”Once reaching master status, airbenders are tattooed with five light blue arrows: one extending from the base of the spine to the forehead, one for each arm pointing to the hands, and similarly for the legs. The design is in emulation of the flying bison’s natural markings, as they were the first airbenders. Unlike most master airbenders who gain their status later in life, Aang received his tattoos when he was only twelve after his invention of the air scooter, making him the youngest airbending master in existence.'”

        This just makes Aang seem kinda badass. More badass than Korra. Sorry about the bad pun, btw. It’s Amonday. (HAH!)

    • Yeah it wasn’t as good as the first one…not even close. The only bright spot was Chief Bei Fong. However, it sets up for what could be a very interesting continuation.

  5. Though I did enjoy the 1st book, I will agree that a lot more can happen in 61 episodes compared to 24. Then again, compared to most who want a lot, I wasn’t expecting much and got enough, thus satisfying me. As a sequel it succeeds, but is it better than the prequel? No.

  6. I finished rewatching the original a few days ago after Korra got me all hyped up again. I actually loved Korra, and though the storytelling was (slightly) better and (quite a bit) tighter than in The Last Airbender, plus it had an amazing villain. I do think Azula is slightly better, and she’s the poster-villain, she’s not the main villain.. so Korra wins that one as well.

    And the greatest flaw in Korra: the characters.
    I know you said this as well, but I just wanted to agree with that. There are actually several goofs in Airbender that make you go “uh huh” or “why not just do this or that?” (I make sense to myself, that’s enough), but it had really well written and endearing characters with personality.
    I mean, characters like Sokka and Toph weren’t just comic-relief and badass, they had substance. Korra seemed to cater more to the current Twilight-fanbase where everyone is one-dimensional and tries to be cool. Apart from Beifong, who is clearly her mother’s daughter. Yet the bitch still has nothing on Iroh.
    Even smaller characters like Suki, Ty Lee and Mai were better characters than the majority of Korra.
    Finally, the world. The world has a lot of character itself, and Korra was just set in 1 location. I am biased towards the time period in Last Airbender, but I’m sure Korra has a rich world full of character as well, and I wish they showed that.

    At the end of Korra, and I actually enjoyed the ending a lot unlike many, I was like: ‘Wow, that was awesome!!!’ and moved on the next day. At the end of Last Airbender (for the second time), I was like: ‘Wow, that was awesome!!!’ and the next day.. I was sad it was over because it was the last I’d see of those characters (until I rewatch it again).

    I’m hoping Iroh 2 (bad choice to name him that though, come on) and Bumi 2 will make a difference next season. Plus I’m still holding out hope for Bolin, even though he didn’t deliver the first season.

    And to come to Korra’s defense once more, albeit subjective, Last Airbender’s first season wasn’t that great to me either apart from an ep here and there and the stellar finale. Book 2 is where the magic truly began. And boy… dat magic.

    • Let’s hope you’re right. I think it will be interesting to see how Korra and Mako do in the next book. A prediction from me is: They date, fight, and reconcile before the end, because it’s the most generic plot you can have with a couple.

      • You’re forgetting the Korra vs the-now-evil-Asami bitchfight in-between.

        Let’s hope not. That’s actually one of my biggest complaints with Korra: I do not care for how quickly they turned up the romance plot. I understand why though, since the Kataang and Zukara shipping wars were quite big back in the day (and I disliked those immensely as well, even though I had no issues with the plot in the actual cartoon).

        I hope they just leave the romance alone now; just have them dating like a plain, normal couple and nothing else.

  7. Wait… The Last Air Bender ended? Then what the hell was with Zuko confronting his dad in prison and asking where his mother is?

    Clearly, Korra is just a filler arc until they get back to the real story.

  8. …I hated avatar period…no one died, ang never killed anyone (though it proved he was a good Airbender abstaining from just that), and the romance (I remember) was tired and cliche. Yes is was great for a show over here, but after being spoiled by Durarara!!, Elfen Lied, & those other shows during its original run, I just couldn’t stand avatar. Legen of korra seems like people are “grown up,” but still little. I know it’s meant to be directed @ kids of all ages, but damn…bros brother was crying like a little bitch for korra kissing on his brother & “cheating.” idk..I cant help but think if it were kiritsugu, he’d have just hooked it up & then smoked a cig. Mind you I don’t endorse cheating…but still. Avatar just isn’t getting any of my patience. Sorry :p

  9. I watched a sort of marathon (8 episodes per weekend) and I tried really hard to understand your passion for Cabbage Man other than him having traveled all around the world and being the best series summarizer ever. I think he’s okay and cool at best, but not legendary in terms of background characters.
    You can banish me to hell now.

  10. I’ve only watched the first two episodes of Korra, but is it just me or does bending seem a lot less…traditional, if that’s the right word. maybe it’s all in my head, but it seems like bending is more like punching with elements..probly a bad example, but it’s late.

    • Yeah I get what you’re saying. I could agree to that. I’d say a better way of putting it is that this series is a lot more political that the previous. The previous series dealt with the mystery of the Avatar and discovering different types of bending, and in this series, we already know all there is to know about bending, and it becomes more of a political issue as opposed to learning about bending.

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