“Avatar: The Legend of Korra” is a globally recognized Nickelodeon animated series, which is often compared to HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and the animated films of Hayao Miyazaki, the creator of “Spirited Away,” “My Neighbor Totoro” and many more. It is the sequel to the series “Avatar: The Last Airbender.”
“Avatar” is set in a world where people can “bend” each of the four elements: air, water, fire and earth. The Avatar is the only one who can control all four elements and he or she is responsible for bringing harmony to the world. Aang was the Avatar in the first series, “The Last Airbender,” and Korra is Aang’s successor in the sequel. With the successful show in its last season, creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino are preparing to bring the series to its conclusion. The last season, “Balance”, premiered on Oct. 3, and the second episode left its fans with a cliffhanger. With numerous criticisms surrounding the series, the creators hope to maintain their fanbase with an epic and suspenseful plot.
In episode two of book four, Korra flees from a mirage of herself in the Avatar state. For naming purposes, I will call this mirage “Sparkly Eyes.” Throughout the episode, Korra is haunted by Sparkly Eyes, who hurts her physically and mentally. The episode briefly overviews the events during Korra’s three-year rehabilitation. In the previous season, Zaheer, the main antagonist, paralyzes Korra’s legs after the final battle. Hoping to walk again, Korra returns to her home in the South Pole to begin treatment. After regaining mobility, she decides to return to her friends. However, because of shame, she resets her sails and travels in isolation, reflecting on her life so far. At the end of episode two, Sparkly Eyes chases Korra into a swamp, where she encounters one of the main characters in the first Avatar series, Toph.
From the first two episodes in book four, we are able to discern three important facts of the final season. First, the antagonist will probably be Kuvira, called “The Great Uniter.” She is the captain of the Earth Kingdom army, and she plans to conquer the Earth Kingdom through intimidation and strength. Second, Korra’s internal conflict will be to rekindle her spiritual connection with the Avatar state. Her inability to access the mighty Avatar power would obviously become her downfall in the future. Lastly, Korra’s decision to save the airbenders in book three might have some residual effects in this season. Nevertheless, this season’s plot cannot be predicted. Many questions are still left unanswered from book three. For example, Konietzko stated in his interview with IGN, “He [Zaheer] is not dead.” There is a possibility that the antagonist who maimed Korra in book three might return to finish the job. Book four will hopefully bring answers and closure to the series.
Unlike the first series, “The Legend of Korra” was heavily scrutinized by viewers as being terrible at surpassing the first installment. I was one of these disappointed viewers. Korra failed my expectations as Aang’s incarnation; however, as Avatar Aang once said, “You are not me, and you should not be me…” Korra is not Aang, and she should not be like Aang. Sure, the characters in the second season are not as interesting as those in the first, but they add more maturity throughout the show. Sure, Korra made some grave mistakes as the Avatar, but so did Aang. As viewers, we must be open-minded and accept the changes in the series. “The Legend of Korra” will never be like “The Last Airbender,” but its unique characters, better animation and more mature and philosophical themes, such as modernization, fascism, terrorism and transition to adulthood, make the show worthwhile. Avatar Aang is gone, but he lives through Korra, and we should cherish that fact.