The Legend of Korra

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Name: Avatar: The Legend of Korra or The Last Airbender: The Legend of Korra
Abbreviation(s): Korra, A:TLOK, LOK
Creator: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko
Date(s): April 14, 2012 - December 19, 2014
Medium: Cartoon
Country of Origin: United States
External Links:
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The Legend of Korra, also known as Avatar: The Legend of Korra and The Last Airbender: The Legend of Korra, is a cartoon series airing on Nickelodeon. It is the sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender and is about the next avatar after Aang, Korra, who has mastered three of the elements and must journey to meet Aang's son in order to learn the final element, air.

Plans for the show were first announced in 2010.[1] According to the show's creators, the setting inspiration for the series is Roaring 1920s steampunk Shanghai.[2] Though originally planned to be one twelve episode season, near the end of the first season the series was renewed for an additional three seasons.

The series has received praise for its diverse representation of women, races, cultures, and sexualities. It is also applauded for handling important topical issues such as discrimination and privilege, PTSD, and war, among others. [3] On the other hand, it has been criticised for its plot developments, depictions of political ideologies, and handling of romantic relationships which have caused some to consider it inferior to its predecessor.[4][5]


The first season focuses on Korra's efforts to learn airbending from Tenzin, Aang's son, in Republic City, a unique place were non-benders and benders of all abilities live together. Korra is also fighting an anti-bender movement that is arising in the city and participating on a pro-bending team. Pro-bending is a sport where teams of three benders, (earth, fire, and water) battle.

The second season is framed around a civil war arising between the Northern Water Tribe and Southern Water Tribe. There is also a focus on the spirituality of the Avatar and the history of the role of the Avatar.

The third season deals with the emergence of a group called the Red Lotus, who want to overthrow the world's governments. It also deals with the effects of the Harmonic Convergence from the second season, such as the revival of the airbenders.

The fourth season has a time-skip from the end of the third season, and focuses on the aftermath of the events of the third season. A new villain has arisen with the intent of uniting the separated Earth Kingdom.

Main Characters

  • Korra - the Avatar following Avatar Aang. Korra is from the Southern Watertribe. Though a talented bender, Korra can struggle to connect with her spiritual side. Her best friend is her polar bear dog Naga.
  • Asami Sato - an intelligent engineer from Republic City. Asami is the heir and later CEO of the company Future Industries. Though a non-bender, Asami is a skilled in hand to hand combat.
  • Mako - a firebender from Republic City. Intially on a pro-bending team, he later quit pro-bending to become a member of the Republic City Police Force. He is the older brother of Bolin.
  • Bolin - an earthbender from Republic City. Mako's younger brother who was intially on a pro-bending team with him, though he later quit this to try to help find new airbenders and reunite the divided Earth Kingdom.
  • Tenzin - one of the few remaining airbenders, Tenzin leads the Air Acolytes in keeping airbender culture alive. Youngest son of Avatar Aang.
  • Lin Beifong - Chief of Police in Republic City, and an accomplised earthbender who can also metalbend. Elder daughter of Toph Beifong.


Because Legend of Korra is the sequel to a completed series with an established fandom, many fans from the previous series have turned their attention to this one. Both fanart and fanfiction were created for the show before any episodes had aired. The series' premiere drew 4.5 million viewers. [6]

On the downside, because its predecessor's fandom was often contentious, it has already seen more than its fair share of controversy.


When Avatar: The Last Airbender ended, many Zutara shippers were left unsatisfied by the end-canon ships. The announcement of Korra reignited the residual resentment. When it was confirmed that Tenzin, the man from whom Korra would be learning airbending, was the son of Aang and Katara, many Zutarans viewed this as a slap in the face as it confirmed that their ship never became canon.[7]

At SDCC 2011, more details came out about The Legend of Korra, which had been pushed back from airing in 2011 to 2012. Among them was the news that Korra would join up with a pair of brothers, Bolin and Mako. There was some dissent over which brother to ship her with. Many fans who initially latched onto the idea of Korra/Mako as a pairing were Zutarans. There was pushback against Korra/Bolin by Makorra fans, some whom believe that opposition to Makorra was fueled by residual discrimination against Zutara shippers.[8]

Shipping became even more complicated when the first season premiered and introduced a love triangle between Korra, Mako, and Asami. Several factions quickly arose: the Makorra fans, the Mako and Asami (or Masami) fans, and the fans who wanted to avoid a love triangle, thinking it unnecessary, stupid, etc. Another faction that was quick to arise were the fans who began to ship Korra and Asami (which was, at the time, generally considered a crack ship) to flip the dynamic of the love triangle. Bolin also had a canon crush on Korra, creating the ship dubbed Borra, which was another factor. When the first season ended with Makorra being canon many people were upset. Some were upset their ship (Masami, Borra or Korrasami) wasn't canon, and there was widespread anger that Makorra became canon while Mako was still, by all appearances, in a relationship with Asami.

The second season didn't improve matters. Though romantic relationships are much less focused on than in the first season, the second season broke up Makorra and briefly reunited Masami. This revived ship wars that had calmed down due to the time that had passed between seasons. In the third season romantic relationships between the members of the main group were phased out entirely (Bolin was the only one in an active romantic relationship). In terms of relationship building, the third season focused mainly on expanding the friendships between the main characters. This was generally well received, as many thought the romantic subplots were detracting from the main plot too much, in addition to creating fandom drama, and were happy to see platonic relationships expanded upon.

As the show progressed to its fourth season, the Korra/Asami (aka Korrasami) ship grew in popularity. [9] The focus on the growth and development on the relationship between Korra and Asami in the third season was continued into the fourth season. People began to see their interactions and growth heading in a romantic direction. Korrasami became the primary rival ship to the still-favored Makorra. When the series came to a close on a final shot of Korra and Asami holding hands and staring into each other's eyes, the fandom simply erupted. The excitement over Korrasami becoming endgame even bubbled over and bled into mainstream media like Vanity Fair. However ship wars quickly rose about whether the ship was legitimate. Some attacked it calling it underdeveloped, or the ending vague. Eventually the creators, Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, made Tumblr posts [10] [11] confirming the romantic relationship status of Korrasami, which was well-recieved by the majority. Even those who didn't watch the show [12] or ship Korrasami praised it for being groundbreaking in Western children's cartoons for having a canon same-sex relationship between two women-of-color.




A trend that's been noticed among certain fanartists is the tendency to whitewash Korra, whose skin is markedly brown. This trend also existed in the original Avatar: The Last Airbender fandom with some fanart of Katara, who was also brown-skinned and came from the same Waterbending Tribe as Korra.[13] This led to the creation of the #NonRacebendedKatorra group on DeviantArt.[14]

Female Relationships

Fans were largely excited by the prospect of a female avatar. A topic of interest, particularly during the first season, was female relationships, or the lack thereof. Fans observed that the majority of Korra's important relationships were with men, and that her relationships with prominent female characters were often contentious, e.g. Lin Beifong. When Asami was first introduced, she was immediately set up are someone who Korra envies, sees are romantic competition for Mako, and scorns for being traditionally feminine. Fans were critical of Korra's attitude, wanting to see women who complex characters and were not pitted against each other. This discussion was vastly improved in later seasons by the introduction of more female characters and Korra's relationships changing. Her growing friendship with Asami led to an increased focused on F/F shipping in fandom, and full turnaround by the time their relationship became canon.

Notable Fanworks



Archives and Communities