A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Legend of Korra -- a sequel series to Avatar: The Last Airbender -- is rich in storytelling, mysticism, and positive themes surrounding a headstrong but principled heroine who heeds her sense of duty and works hard to make herself worthy of the role that destiny gave her. Korra's not perfect, but she's open to learning from the mistakes she makes, and she tries hard to absorb her mentor's teachings, all of which has fantastic messages for kids. The show's violence involves the elements (fire, water, etc.) more than it does straight hand-to-hand martial arts-style exchanges; it shouldn't be a problem for most kids thanks to that sense of fantasy. If you're looking for a cartoon that combines action, humor, drama, and positive messages and will appeal to both boys and girls, then this may be just what you want.
What's the story?
In THE LEGEND OF KORRA, decades after the Hundred Year War restored balance to the four nations under Avatar Aang, his passing leaves uncertainty among the population of Republic City. Unrest develops between the benders and the non-benders who reside there. Enter Korra (voiced by Janet Varney), the Avatar reincarnation of Aang, who hails from the Southern Water Tribe -- and who, by age 17, already has mastered earth, fire, and waterbending. Anxious to prove herself worthy of her role as "The Chosen One" by completing her airbending training under Aang's son, Tenzin (J.K. Simmons), Korra heads to Republic City to persuade him to take her on. But when she arrives in the bustling metropolis, she finds things aren't as peaceful as she imagined, thanks to the anti-bending revolution led by the masked fighter named Amon (Steve Blum), who preaches the elimination of benders to restore his own version of balance to the nations.
Is it any good?
Continuing in the tradition of epic fiction established in Avatar: The Last Airbender, this series boasts a surprising level of substance for an action cartoon. Kids' interest won't end at the clashes between good and evil; in fact, that aspect of the show is mostly overshadowed by rich characters and a plot that references Asian mysticism and legends of long-ago cultures rooted in unity with the elements of the earth. And there's much to glean from the responsible content and the outstanding heroine at the story's heart. Hot-headed and impatient, Korra is the antithesis of Tenzin, who doesn't relish his task of helping Korra find her inner balance. Ultimately, though, the pairing of these two opposites is what might save the day -- that is, if they can overcome their differences and find common ground.
Kids don't need to be familiar with Aang's story to follow Korra's, but if this sequel sparks their interest, they may want to revisit the original show for some background on the original players and the history of the recently unified nations. The best news? The Legend of Korra has so much going for it that you just might want to take it in along with your kids.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about responsibility. How does Korra respond to her call of duty? What does her role as Avatar require of her? Does she take her responsibilities seriously in The Legend of Korra? What are your responsibilities? What do you learn from fulfilling them?
If your kids have seen Avatar: The Last Airbender, you can talk with them about the similarities and differences between the two shows. Were you surprised that Aang's successor is a girl? Which of her qualities are reminiscent of Aang's? Which ones make her unique?
What does The Legend of Korra say about girls in leadership roles? Does being a girl make Korra a better Avatar in any way? Does it hinder her? How do shows like these battle stereotypes? What kinds of leadership roles do women hold in the real world?
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