While The Last Airbender was the series that started the world and is a classic in many ways, The Legend of Korra was able to draw and build on what had been done before to make improvements on many aspects. While fans have opinions on which of the two shows is better, they both have their strengths and weaknesses, pros and cons. The two series have very different styles, focuses, and themes, and there are some things that Korra does better than Avatar.
We’ve put together a list of eight of the ways that Legend of Korra is better than Avatar The Last Airbender.
8 CATERING TO AN OLDER AUDIENCE
Avatar The Last Airbender was a show that audiences of all ages could enjoy, which is a great thing. But, Korra was definitely a bit more mature and more relatable to a slightly older audience. One of the biggest reasons for this is that the main characters in LOK are slightly older than the main characters in TLA. In Avatar, Team Airbender is mostly in their preteens while Korra and her friends are older teens. This means the show can have a slightly older perspective that appeals to older audiences and that certain aspects can be explored more fully such as romance.
7 FOCUSING ON SPECIFIC CITIES AND GOING MORE IN-DEPTH
The Last Airbender had a very central story that was all working towards defeating the Fire Lord and Fire Nation. Even though the main goal was very precise, the team actually spent a lot of time exploring all over the world.
While getting a bit of a flavor for lots of different nations was enjoyable, Korra allowed viewers to immerse themselves more fully in different cities and places. For example, much of season one is spent in Republic City which allowed fans to see how the cities and people in Korra’s world actually lived.
6 EXPLORING THE HARDSHIPS AND STRUGGLES OF BEING THE AVATAR
Aang was a wonderful character, but the show definitely felt geared more towards children. While Aang did have his hardships with learning to be the Avatar, in a lot of ways things came together quite easily for him. He was clearly super powerful and able to learn and master most of the elements in a relatively short period of time, even earthbending, which he struggled with the most. Korra explored a lot more of how difficult it would be to be a teenager and have the world relying on you. She struggled to learn airbending and also to figure out her place in the world as the avatar. The series went much darker than Avatar did in the season three finale when Korra was poisoned and tortured by the Order of the Red Lotus. Korra has to struggle to overcome what happened, and we see much more of her interior struggles and the trauma that she faces.
5 TIME PERIOD INNOVATION AND TECHNOLOGY
One of the most interesting parts of the Legend of Korra was that it takes place in a time period in the world of Avatar that is more technologically developed. The show combines many elements from decades in our own world but gives them a unique spin.
There are styles and technology from the '20s and radio announcer voices from the '40s. Plus, we get to see a world where technology and the magic of bending are combined into one. While there were some vehicles and weapons of war in The Last Airbender, mostly from the Fire Nation, the technology in Korra is much more advanced and really fascinating to see.
4 BETTER ANIMATION
Since The Last Airbender came first, it’s easy to see when comparing the two that the animation style of Legend of Korra is more intricate and developed.
It’s clear that the animators had more time to develop each frame and that the world is more detailed. The animation styles of the two series are very different, and the LOK animation style makes you feel more immersed in the world and the small elements that inhabit that world.
3 MORE VILLAINS
In The Last Airbender, there is a central villain that Team Avatar is seeking to defeat. Firelord Ozai is the big villain, but his children also function as villains at different times in the series. While there are some side villains such as Sparky Sparky Boom Man, mostly there is one theme and focus to the bad guys. Legend of Korra, on the other hand, uses different villains in different seasons to explore different themes and complex issues. Amon, for example, in season one, is a villain that is used to call attention to a world where some people are benders and some are not, and the inherent problems that could create in society.
2 MORE COMPLEX STORIES AND NARRATIVES
One thing about Airbender that worked well was the central theme and narrative. Team Avatar was always working toward defeating the Fire Lord and his reign of terror against the other nations. However, this meant that a lot of the episodes were just filler towards bigger battles and scenes that led to that final goal.
While sometimes Korra could get lost in figuring out where exactly it was headed, it did explore many more aspects and cover a variety of themes. From Korra renouncing her title as the Avatar in season four, to the Spirit World focus in season two, and more, Legend of Korra was able to tell complex narratives that expanded on the world that had been set up in The Last Airbender.
1 Korra And Asami
While there were some cute romances in The Last Airbender, the characters were younger so those relationships didn’t evolve past a certain point. While Legend of Korra struggled at first to tell realistic and relatable romantic narratives, they finally found their footing in a very satisfying way when they had Asami and Korra get together. Sadly, the relationship wasn’t explored much until the last episode of the show, but even that was rather groundbreaking for a children’s show. The LGBT representation was something many fans loved, and the relationship has been featured and expanded upon in the spin-off comics.