The Legend of Korra

 
Strong heroine, positive messages make great fantasy series.

What parents need to know

Educational value

The show is intended to entertain more than to educate, but there are strong social messages and some information about martial arts and mysticism.

Positive messages

Positive messages about self-control, overcoming the odds, and staying true to your values are woven throughout Korra's story. Good and evil are clearly defined, and the power struggle between the sides results in a realistic number of victories and losses for each.

Positive role models

Korra is a determined, goal-oriented heroine whose strong sense of duty guides her to embrace her training and develop her talents. She's not perfect, and she often finds that her impetuous nature impedes her ability to learn from her even-tempered mentor. Ultimately, though, she tries to be open to new ideas and is dedicated to improving her skills. Tenzin finds his patience tried by his hot-headed student, but he sticks with her for the common good she'll do in the future.

Violence & scariness

Fantasy cartoon violence is rooted in martial arts-style exchanges, but there's less hand-to-hand combat than there is fighting using the natural elements of water, fire, earth, air, and, in some cases, metal. People are thrown through windows and take death-defying falls, all without visible injury.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language

Occasional use of "butt."

Consumerism

This cartoon is a sequel to Avatar: The Last Airbender, which has lots of tie-in products.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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?

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, and 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?

QUALITY
 

Continuing in the tradition of epic fiction established in Avatar: The Last Airbender, THE LEGEND OF KORRA 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? This series has so much going for it that you just might want to take it in along with your kids.

Families can talk 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? 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?

This review of The Legend of Korra was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byEnderlain May 5, 2012
age 13+
 

Korra is darker, edgier and more mature than her predecessor.

The first two episodes are rather calm and normal. There isn't too much conflict. However, by episode three, I start to question if this is for anyone below the age of 13. Nick has been marketing it to young teens to adults and I am starting to see why. The original series was rather lighthearted at times, but Legend of Korra is more darker, more intense, and more mature. The main villain and his minions are extremely frightening; he can disable their bending abilities permanently while his minions can disable temporarily, all causing great pain to the bender. The physical violence is more intense. Kicks to the face or groin were rarely seen in the original series. They are now commonplace in this series, along with more visible pain from receiving blows from rocks, fists, and so on. Episode Five, "The Spirit of Competition" is the episode that marks this as being inappropriate for young kids. The episode revolves around the romance of the main characters. While Korra herself is a great role model, her romantic choices are definately something no kid should ever take to heart. Mako cheats on his girlfriend Asami while she is blissfully unaware with Korra. He states that he cannot make up his mind who he likes, so he likes both of them, while Korra uses his little brother Bolin as a temporary comfort after Mako rejects Korra's initial invitation to a date (despite being in a relationship with Asami). Also, there is implied drinking and hangovers, as well as some pretty blatant sexual innuendo. Nonetheless, the series is good, but I wouldn't let an 8-year-old watch this.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Parent of a 12 and 17 year old Written byCollegeGirl_Kid... December 22, 2014
age 14+
 

Beautiful Animation But Poorly Written + Containing Political and Suggestive Themes

I watched this entire series all the way through and this is a perfect example of why it's not okay to just watch 1 or 2 episodes here and there of what your kids are watching before saying it's appropriate for children to watch. In the 4th season (after an entire season of listening to Korra's whining), we find out that all the bad guy(s) aren't actually really bad (...again), anime-styled Gundams do exist with robots bigger than mountains (the heck?!), boys are always worthless (as according to LOK -- opposed to the original series where each character was important), Monarchs (even in fantasy worlds) are of the devil entirely, Korra is overbearingly masculine girl power 24/7 instead of awesome like Toph, and (worst of all) LOK never bothered to finish the ending of the original Avatar series. It leaves fans of the first series to read a graphic novel to find out the ending of the original (this is in spite of alluding that they would finish the first series when Jinora asks about Zuko's mom in the first couple of episodes--drawing in many initial viewers). Quite frankly, I was sad to find out that character development never picked up in the series as I hoped (though Verrick remained an interestingly zany character until the end). They made many characters like in the original, but did not follow through with the depth required to make all the characters in the series feel like more than place fillers on the screen. The world was much less intricate and far more shallow in terms of development. The story was very rushed to finish, and wrapped up in the most politically correct way that I've ever seen (which includes strong homosexual implications between Korra and her friend) in an attempt to be memorable. No wonder Nick decided to pull it off air after low ratings during the 3rd season. It seemed as though very few who continued to follow the series were interested in the story as much as which characters can fall in love with other characters. Overall, I feel that it undermined the brilliance, beauty, and depth of the original series and was, sadly, a huge waste of time. Despite the beautiful animation, continued inconsistent themes between the two series makes The Legend of Korra feel like a B-rated squeal to the original series (at best). I definitely give a yellow caution before allowing your children to watch this--or even before you bother watching this yourself. There are much better written series by far. This is definitely not what "Avatar: The Lat Air Bender" fans would expect from the sequel to the award winning series.
Teen, 15 years old Written byRevDragon April 15, 2012
age 7+
 

Okay, but misses the charm of the original

As far as the avatar series is concerned, I am a real "avatard." Seeing the new series finally premiere was very nice. After watching the first two episodes I was a little disappointed, but not as much as I probably would have been had I watched the live action movie. Thankfully the animation wasn't changed in anyway, it still looks like an "avatar" cartoon. The changes to the world are very weird however seeing how modern things are now. My main dislike would have to be the characters or character as you will. I know it's the politically correct thing to have "strong" females, and there's nothing wrong with that. But Korra just comes off as annoying. How many times can you say "I'm the avatar" within one hour? This fact is thrown in several times and it gets tiring. She's not very likeable from my perspective, at least not like the former avatar was. The positive is she tries to do the right thing, but like a cocky, stubborn female, which doesn't give hints of much maturity. Tenzin is probably one of the better characters that I've seen, quickly becoming my favorite. From his facial expressions to his lectures, I see a lot of his father inside him though Aang is not a living character in this series. The current supporting cast is okay, nothing really special that I noticed about them. The action is very entertaining. Everything I expected it to be as far as the bending and martial arts is concerned so there would be nothing missing from that department. Characters get hit with all the elements: fire, earth, water, etc. This is something I will continue to watch, and for a fan like me, I still say it's worth a watch.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence

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