Nickelodeon's The Legend of Korra is an animated series that continues the story told in Avatar: The Last Airbender, but fast forwards the story by seven decades. Now, we live in a Roaring Twenties world of steampunk machines, telegraphs and phones, and trains. And the cities are bigger and better than anything seen in Avatar.
In any good story, the setting itself can act like a character, and this can really make a story shine. Some plots make more sense (or are simply cooler) in some environments than others. In this case, The Legend of Korra's first season takes place within the huge and ultra-modern Republic City and explores it in depth. The other three seasons often pay a visit here, too. What is there to know about this fantasy metropolis?
10 It began as a Fire Nation colony
Republic City had to come from somewhere, and the Avatar comics make this huge city's origins quite clear. For decades, the Fire Nation had been building colonies along the Earth Kingdom's coast, and Aang and Zuko worked to relocate them back to the Fire Nation after the war ended.
But the oldest and largest colony proved too entrenched in the Earth Kingdom to be moved, so the Avatar and Fire Lord let it remain to stand as a symbol of newfound world unity. It's both a practical and excellent gesture to the world.
9 It's a center for technology
True, Zaofu is home to the world's most innovative metal bending and the inventor Varrick is a Water Tribe native. Still, Republic City seems to lead the world in technology, such as Future Industries, headed by Hiroshi Sato and later his daughter, Asami.
Here, all sorts of new vehicles are innovated and put on the market, and every street of Republic City has telephone cables, railcar tracks, cars, and more. Technology is all over the place, and the Equalist movement, controversial as it was, helped spur technology even further.
8 It is port-friendly
Many people may travel to and from Republic City by airship, and there's plenty of airfields to use. But that's not the only option. Republic City sits on a bay, and it has a number of large, very modern ports where freighters, passenger liners, and even warships can dock with ease.
This makes Republic City a flexible and accessible place by land, sea, and air. In fact, Korra first arrived (discreetly) by ship, and her first sight of this grand city was its docks.
7 Local airfields
Let's not forget the airfields around Republic City. Interestingly enough, we first see those airfields as an Equalist base of operations, where airplanes were being launched for the first time ever.
This field soon became a battleground where Asami clashed with her father, and Bolin soon wrecked the airstrips. It can be assumed, though, that the airfield was repaired and put to more peaceful use later on. In season 2, in particular, it's clear that Asami's company is making more airplanes than ever.
6 It's an NYC Analog
Do you (heart) New York City? Maybe you have a shirt or mug that says so, and there's bound to be shirts and mugs like that in Republic City, too. This sprawling city is a clear parallel to the Big Apple, such as its sheer scale, skyscrapers, modern transport, its bay, and of course, the Manhattan-style center peninsula.
Don't forget the statue of Avatar Aang, a clear stand-in for the Statue of Liberty. A guest can visit Republic City for business, tourism, watching a pro bending fight, and much more! The nightlife is bound to be hopping, too.
5 It became a home for spirits
At the end of season 2, Avatar Korra made an impactful and somewhat controversial choice: she united the spirit world with the mortal world, and allowed spirits to move en masse. Now, Republic City became home to many new residents, none of them human. This required some serious adjustment, and many spirit vines erupted around the place.
The spirits feel entitled to live here, and there's some tension where that's concerned. But being a proper Avatar, Korra did her best to allow the two factions to get along in Republic City. By season 4, it's clear that some decent progress has been made where that's concerned. Visit the spirit-only neighborhoods some time!
4 It represents the whole world
This was touched upon earlier, and it's an important aspect of Republic City: it's a place where anyone from across the world can settle down and make a new home for themselves. It's an inclusive and diverse city, like today's New York City and London, and that fact is abundantly clear.
Fire benders, water benders, and earth benders live and mingle as a matter of fact, and clothing and building styles represent all three cultures. Don't forget pro bending, where these diverse benders compete as a team. Finally, there's Air Temple Island, which represents the Air Nation's small but growing presence in the world. At last, the four nations live in harmony once again.
3 The central government changes
So, we have a huge city with modern tech, lots of citizens, diverse benders, and more. How do we govern all that? At first, Republic City is led by the council, which includes benders of all four types to truly represent all people. These bender leaders help fuel Equalist resentment, though, and all of them are targeted in a raid (only Tenzin escapes).
After that battle, the council is dissolved entirely, and a president is appointed as the leader. In this case, we get the tough but fair president Raiko, who often works with Tenzin and Korra on all sorts of matters.
2 It's often attacked
If you live in Republic City, you might soon get used to the sounds of battle. In three of The Legend of Korra's four seasons, Republic City finds itself under attack. First, we get the Equalist movement, when benders are attacked everywhere and Amon tightens his grip on the city. Even the United Nations fleet is called in to handle this. Later, Unalaq fuses with Vaatu to form a monstrous Dark Avatar, and he launches an attack on Republic City at once.
Three years later, Kuvira's army muscles in, prepared to conquer it to complete the Earth Empire. She even brings a towering robot with a spirit cannon, and only Korra and her team take down this giant and protect the city. Interestingly, a new spirit portal opens in Republic City afterward, making this city an even more prominent location than ever.
1 It has a huge criminal underbelly
When you've got a city this big, it's easy for a person to become lost in the crowd and find themselves in the wrong neighborhood. Republic City is a shining city of success, wealth, and progress... on the surface. Go in a little deeper, and this city's thriving underworld makes itself clear.
Many gangs are in operation here, and they're not afraid to bully and extort shop owners and other citizens. In fact, years ago, the criminal mastermind Yakone was convinced that he could conquer all of Republic City from its underbelly. He failed, but just the fact that he tried shows how prominent the criminal underworld here really is.