Ranking the Seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra

Photo Credit:http://www.unleashthefangirl.com/editorial/avatar-series-aang-vs-korra/94702

So how does The Legend of Korra rack up against Avatar: The Last Airbender? We’ve had seven seasons of bending greatness, but which is the best? For this list, we’ll be ranking all seven seasons, or books, of the Avatarverse and naming our favorite moments from each of them. This might just spawn a rewatch of the entire series, from The Boy in the Iceberg to The Last Stand.

 

Photo Credit:http://www.kpopstarz.com/articles/34363/20130712/legend-of-korra-book-2-spirits-comic-con.htm7. The Legend of Korra Book 2: Spirits

An obvious low-point for the franchise, Spirits has a tough time getting off the ground. The first half of the season is, frankly, pretty boring. Things pick up once we get the seminal Beginnings, but the end of the season doesn’t quite hit the highs of the other seasons of Korra. It didn’t help that Unalaq was a pretty weak villain.

Best Moment: Raava fuses with Wan and says “We are bonded forever,” to the classic Airbender theme, creating the very fist Avatar. (Beginnings)

 

Photo Credit:http://www.comicbookmovie.com/comics/news/?a=649286. Avatar: The Last Airbender Book 1: Water

The first season of the series spends a lot of time world-building. That’s not a bad thing, but it does mean that a lot of the best storytelling is saved for the other two seasons of Airbender. The epic finale in the the Northern Water Tribe is mostly satisfying, but Aang’s giant blue koi spirit feels a bit too deus ex machina. But, that didn’t stop the series from getting off to a great start.

Best Moment: After saving Aang from General Zhao, the mysterious Blue Spirit is revealed to be Zuko. (The Blue Spirit)

 

Photo Credit:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Legend_of_Korra_(season_1)5. The Legend of Korra Book 1: Air

Korra gets off to a livelier start than Airbender mostly thanks to the world already having been explained. All the updates introduced this opening season are really cool. Amon is to date the best Korra villain, rivaling Azula as the best villain of the entire franchise. What sets this season back a bit is how Korra’s arc finishes in the finale. She didn’t really earn airbending and the connection to her spiritual self could have been sold a little better.

Best Moment: Tarrlok murder-suicides Amon, truly his brother Noatak, and himself after they escape Republic City to start over somewhere new, just as their father tried to do, therefore ruining both their lives. (Endgame)

 

Photo Credit:http://www.amazon.com/Avatar-Airbender-Complete-Three-Collection/dp/B001AI77664. Avatar: The Last Airbender Book 3: Fire

The final season of Last Airbender is absolutely riveting. After a bunch of great character development, the first half of the season culminates in the epic Day of Black Sun, a failed attempt to take out the Fire Lord. The second half sees Zuko finally joining Team Avatar, some loose ends tied up for Sokka and Katara, and the unforgettable finale, Sozin’s Comet.  So why not number one? Two reasons, both from the finale. Zuko should have defeated Azula, not Katara. Also, Aang is only able to go into the Avatar State when Ozai pushes him into a rock that touches his scar. Two sort of cheap endings in an otherwise outstanding finale.

Best Moment: Jeremy Zuckerman’s score takes control as Zuko and Azula begin their final duel, with bursts of red and blue fire illuminating the sky. (Sozin’s Comet Part 3: Into the Inferno)

 

Photo Credit:http://avatarthelegendofkorraonline.com/the-legend-of-korra-book-4-nycc-panel-primer/6696/3. The Legend of Korra Book 4: Balance

Don’t let animation fool you, Balance is one of the most interesting and complex seasons of television of 2014. Keeping a sharp eye on politics, Korra’s journey has never felt more dire. The season is an examination of PTSD, questioning the power Korra possesses after all her crippling battles over the first three books. Kuvira was a perfect final foe for Team Avatar to fight. This series has always prominently featured technological advancements, making her super weapon, an obvious reference to nuclear weapons, feel like the next logical step for the world. Speaking of progress, the final shot of Korra and Asami, clearly representing romance, put The Legend of Korra lightyears ahead of many other “children’s shows”. It was a stunning end to a stunning show.

Best Moment: Korra and Asami ride off into the sunset (well, spirit portal), tastefully doing an LGBT romance on an animated series. Unheard of. (The Last Stand)

 

Photo Credit:http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/06/20/exclusive-the-legend-of-korra-book-three-premiere-date-announcement-and-clip?abthid=53a484c0640ac451070000242. The Legend of Korra Book 3: Change

This was the season Airbender fans were waiting for. A globe-trotting adventure full of action, humor, and world-building. It’s the closest Korra ever came to feeling like Airbender. That’s not to say that the political intrigue was missing from this season, because it surely wasn’t. Zaheer leads the Red Lotus, a terrorist group that believes in anarchy over monarchy. After they manage to murder the Earth Queen, they attempt to finish off Korra, leading to some of the greatest bending battles in the history of the franchise. Change turned out to be the best thing for Korra, giving the series newfound energy.

Best Moment: After Zaheer has been defeated, a ceremony is held to induct Jinora as an airbending master. she takes off her hood, revealing a shaved head and a blue arrow over her scalp. She looks just like her grandfather. (Venom of the Red Lotus)

 

Photo Credit:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0417299/1. Avatar: The Last Airbender Book 2: Earth

This is the season that the whole franchise hit its stride. The introduction of Toph as a main character at the top of the season is an early indicator that things are about to get really good. She balances the first Team Avatar perfectly. From there, it’s a dangerous path to Ba Sing Se, the Earth Kingdom capitol. With an end of a season that feels a lot like The Empire Strikes Back, we end on a dark note as Azula nearly kills Aang with a bolt of lighting. But before that, the humor and action are at an all-time high. This is the most balanced and exciting season of the whole Avatar franchise.

Best Moment: Iroh’s vignette in Tales of Ba Sing Se in which he helps several random citizens before visiting his son’s grave. For such a cheerful soul, we see some of the tragedy that got him where he is at that very moment. (Tales of Ba Sing Se)

 

How would you rank the seasons of the Avatar franchise? What are you favorite moments from both series? Let us know in the comments below!

 

By Matt Dougherty

6 Responses to Ranking the Seasons of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra

  1. Mitch says:

    I love both shows but here it goes:
    ATLA B 3
    LoK B 3
    ATLA B 2
    LoK B 4
    LoK B 1
    ATLA B 1
    LoK B 2

  2. Stu says:

    mine goes like this

    LoK Book 3
    AtLA Book 3
    LoK Book 4 or AtLa Book 2
    LoK Book 1 or 2
    AtLA Book 1

  3. Chandler says:

    My order:
    Tier 1
    LoK Book 3
    AtLA Book 2
    AtLA Book 3

    Tier 2
    LoK Book 1
    AtLA Book 1

    Tier 3
    LoK Book 4

    Tier 3:
    LoK Book 2

  4. Avatar Rick says:

    7. Spirits
    6. Balance
    5. Water
    4. Air
    3. Fire
    2. Change
    1. Balance

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