The Legend of Korra – Book Four: Balance (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
March 8, 2015 by Dennis Amith
“The Legend of Korra” ends on a positive note and the final season “Book Four: Balance” is a fitting end for the series. If you have stayed with the animated series for this long, then “The Legend of Korra – Book Four: Balance” is highly recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2014 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: The Legend of Korra – Book Four: Balance
DURATION: 13 Episodes (Episodes 40-52) Minutes (297 Minutes)
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080i High Definition, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 2.0 Stereo
RATED: NOT RATED
Release Date: March 10, 2015
Directed by Ian Graham, Colin Heck
Written by Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Joshua Hamilton, Tim Hedrick
Produced by Tim Yoon
Music by Jeremy Zuckerman
Casting by Shannon Reed
Art Direction by Joaquim Dos Santos, Bryan Konietzko, Ki Hyun Ryu
Featuring the following voice talent:
Janet Varney as Korra
Dee Bradley Baker as Various Voices
David Faustino as Mako
P.J. Byrne as Bolin
J.K. Simmons as Tenzin
Jeff Bennett as Radio Braodcaster
Seychelle Gabriel as Asami Sato
Steve Blum as Amon
Darcy Rose Byrnes as Ikki
Mindy Sterling as Lin Beifong
Logan Wells as Meelo
Lance Henriksen as Lieutenant
Kiernan Shipka as Jinora
Richard Riehle as Bumi
Adrian LaTourelle as Unalaq
Lisa Edestein as Kya
Aubrey Plaza as Eska
Aaron Himelstein as Desna
Maria Bamford as Pema
John Michael Higgins as Varrick
Steve Blum as Amon
James Remar as Tonraq
Jonathan Adams as Vaatu
Zelda Williams as Kuvira
In Book Four, Avatar Korra is now broken and bruised and begins a journey of self-discovery and survival in a new world where the strong prey upon the weak. When an aggressive military force rises up led by the power-hungry Kuvira, the fate of the Earth Kingdom hangs in the balance and only the Avatar can set things right.
Three years have passed since the defeat of Zaheer.
Korra, who has renounced her identity as an Avatar, continues to live with the after effects of the liquid-metal poison placed in her body by the Red Lotus and losing her power, is in search of a way to rid the poison but get back her powers. Having kept her distance away from her friends and family, a lot has happened in the world.
Prince Wu has been crowned as the Earth King and Mako has been assigned as his bodyguard. Opal and Kai and other benders try to keep the peace against the bandits that are roaming the kingdom.
Meanwhile, Kuvira is trying to be the “Great Uniter” and heading an army which includes Bolin, Varrick and his assistant Zhu Li. But when Kuvira begins to threaten everyone who does not follow her as a leader, this pits the benders against the new Earth Empire.
Find out what happens in “The Legend of Korra – Book Four: Balance” now available on Blu-ray and DVD!
What is “The Legend of Korra” about?
From Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, the creators of the popular Nickelodeon animated series “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, comes the sequel to the series titled “The Legend of Korra”.
Originally planned as a 12-episode mini-series, “The Legend of Korra” was greenlit for a total of 52-episodes (four seasons) for a total of four books with 12-14 episodes each.
While the first two seasons aired on Nickelodeon, the third season “The Legend of Korra” featured eight episodes being aired on Nickelodeon, but stopped due to declining ratings and episodes 9-13 were made available online via Amazon, Google Play, Xbox and Hulu.
The first season known as “Book One: Air” features animation from Korea’s Studio Mir and the series would receive critical acclaim and also drawing an average of 4.3 million viewers, having the highest audience total for an animated series in the U.S. for 2012.
And now “The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air” will be released on Blu-ray and DVD in July 2013.
“The Legend of Korra” is set 70-years in the future after the events of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and how the world was brought into peace. The world which features the four nations which include the Water Tribes, the Air Nomads, the Earth Kingdom and the Fire Nation have people trained to “Bend” the element that they are associated with their nation (so, a person can bend water, earth, fire or air).
But for Korra of the Southern Water Tribe, at 4-years-old, she was able to bend fire and earth and thus was trained to become the Avatar to the Order of the White Lotus. Now at 17-years-old, she can “bend” water, earth and fire but yet is unable to “air-bend”.
She is to be trained to “air-bend” from Tenzin, the youngest child of Aang (the last airbender and the protagonist of “Avatar: The Last Airbender”) and Katara (the water bender from the Southern Water Tribe who was the first to discover Aang and free him from an iceberg – episode 1 of “Avatar: The Last Airbender”) but the problem is that Republic City has become unstable and Tenzin will not be able to stay in the Southern Water Tribe to train her and must leave.
Upset that Tenzin won’t train her , Korra who feels that because she can bend three elements, she’s powerful enough and wants to see the world and perhaps Tenzin may train her in Republic City. Master Katara (who is also Tenzin’s mother) accepts Korra’s reasoning and allows her to go to Republic City alone.
But immediately when Korra arrives in the Republic City, trying to save people from a bending gang, she is arrested by Republic City’s metalbending police force and immediately is not well-liked by the police chief Lin Beifong (daughter of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” character Toph Beifong), but to her aid comes Tenzin who takes her in. To ease tensions, it is revealed to the media that the Avatar, Korra is staying in the city and for Korra, she tells everyone that her goal is to protect the people of Republic City.
Meanwhile, something ominous is happening in the city as a mysterious masked man named Amon who leads the Equalists (non-benders) and their goal is to bring equality between the benders and the non-benders. But Amon has shown that he has some power to eliminate one’s bending abilities.
For “Book Two: Spirits”, the storyline is set six months after the events in the season final of “Book One: Air”.
Korra is now being trained by her uncle, Unalaq and has discovered that restless spirits have been terrorizing the south seas. And she needs to find the way to calm the dark spirits.
But as she and her father Tonraq goes to the area of the Water Tribes, she discovers something ominous and one who is trying to merge with the dark spirit known as Vaatu in order to become the Dark Avatar.
But will Korra have what it takes to calm the Dark Spirits and face the Dark Avatar?
For “Book Three: Change”, two weeks after the Harmonic Convergence, Korra was expelled from Republic City by President Raiko because spirit vines continued to cover the city and Korra was not able to remove them. But with various people suddenly developing airbending skills, this leads Tenzin, Korra and friends to search for airbenders in various areas and recruit them to join the Air Nomads.
But the evil and powerful criminal named Zaheer has escaped prison with a few others and with his tremendous airbending skill, does Korra and friends have a chance of stopping him?
For “Book Four: Balance”, the story takes place three years after the events that left Korra poisoned and without her power. As a new Earth King is to be announced, bandits have created a hostile environment and the few benders are busy helping diffuse the crime.
This leads Kuvira, the master metalbender who was part of the Metal Clan in Zaofu to reunite the rest of the kingdom via her Earth Kingdom army and has earned her the title of “Great Uniter”. She offers to protect the nation states from the bandits in exchange for their loyalty.
But as Prince Wu is to become the next Earth King, Kuvira denounces the authority of the Earth King and dissolves the Earth Kingdom to create the Earth Empire under her leadership.
And anyone who goes against her will face severe punishment.
With chaos now residing in the kingdom, pitting the benders vs. the Earth Empire, will Korra be able to find a way to regain her powers and fight against Kuvira and stop the madness?
The main characters of “The Legend of Korra – Book Four: Balance” are:
- Korra – A teenage girl who has mastered fire, earth and water but not wind-bending. She is the successor of Aang and thus was kept hidden in order to protect her. But because of her temper and rebellious side, she tends to do things on her own pace, even though it may get her into a lot of trouble. In Book Two: Spirits, despite having more control of her airbending abilities, she will be put to the test when she comes across a new enemy intent on destroying the world. In Book Three: Change, Korra does all she can in trying to recruit the new airbenders to join Air Nomads. In Book Four: Balance, Korra has lost all of her powers and is scarred by previous trauma.
- Mako – A firebender and member of the Fire Ferrets bending team. He is a firebender that came from the streets, he is seen as a dark individual. He is dating Asami Sato, daughter of the wealthy industrialist Hiroshi Sato but also is attracted to Korra. He was Korra’s boyfriend and is currently a police officer. In Book Four, he has been assigned to work for Prince Wu, the next Earth King.
- Bolin – The younger brother of Mako who is an earth bender and is lighthearted, gullible and humorous. The opposite of his brother who goes to work with Kuvira.
- Asami Sato – Mako’s ex-girlfriend and the daughter of Hiroshi Sato, the wealthy industrialist. She once loved Mako was once jealous of Korra but she has matured and is now responsible for keeping Future Industries afloat and restore the corporation’s reputation.
- Master Tenzin – The youngest son of Aang and Katara. He tries to fulfill his father’s wishes and was assigned to train Korra in air bending and assisting her.
- Republic City police chief Lin Beifong – A former girlfriend of Tenzin and the daughter of Toph Beiphong. She is very strict when it comes to honoring the laws of the land and it puts her in odds with Korra. She is brave and loyal.
- Suyin Beifong – Dancer and the leader of Zaofu. A powerful metalbender who has a strained relationship with her older half-sister, Lin Beifong. Married to Baatar and has five children.
- Toph Beifong – A blind earthbender who traveled with Aang and friends. She is responsible founding the Republic City’s police force and taught the art of metalbending to her students, her daughters Lin and Suyin.
- Kuvira – A master metalbender who was part of the Metal Clan in Zaofu. She served as captain and the city’s guard as party of Suyin Beifong’s dance troup. Abandoned by her parents, she was raised by Suyin Beifong like a daughter. In Book Four, she has earned the title as the “Great Uniter”.
- Baatar Jr. – Suyin Beifong and Baatar’s eldest son and an engineer. He joins Kuvira and the Earth Empire to help reunite the nation.
- Iknik Blackstone Varrick – The flamboyant billionaire who joins Kuvira to help reunite the Earth Kingdom.
- Zhu Li Moon – Loyal to Varrick as his assistant, she is secretly in love with him, despite him treating her badly.
- Pema – Tenzin’s caring wife and mother of Jinora, Ikki, Meelo and Rohan, who are young children training to become air benders.
- Tonraq – The father of Korra and a waterbending master.
“The Legend of Korra – Book Four: Balance” is presented in 1080p High Definition and my thoughts in watching the series is how impressive the character designs, the detail and shading of the characters and how breathtaking the background art is for the series, as well as the mechanical design. The series is vibrant and colorful, I didn’t see any artifacts or any problematic issues during my view of the 13-episodes. If anything, fans of the series will be thrilled of how beautiful “The Legend of Korra” looks in HD and Studio Mir and Studio Pierrot has done an amazing job for this second season!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“The Legend of Korra – Book Four: Balance” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and Spanish 2.0 Stereo. The lossless soundtrack for “The Legend of Korra – Book Three: Change” sounds fantastic. Action scenes come alive and utilizes the surround channels very well, especially for environment ambiance. Dialogue and music are crystal clear!
Subtitles are in English SDH.
“The Legend of Korra – Book Four: Balance” comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary – Featuring nine audio commentaries with the creators, cast and crew. A Blu-ray exclusive!
- Featurettes– Featuring short Nickelodeon featurettes such as Kuvira vs. Prince Wu, Republic City Hustle: Part 1-3.
- Legend of Korra: 2014 Comic-Con Panel Featurette – (34:43) Featuring the NYCC panel. A Blu-ray exclusive!
- The Legend of Puppetbender Presents “The Making of a Legend: The Untold Story – Part II” – (7:47) The characters in puppet format discussing the latest episode and tensions on the set. A Blu-ray exclusive!
“The Legend of Korra – Book Four: Balance” comes with a slipcover and poster.
The final season of “The Legend of Korra” is here with “Book Four: Balance”.
With the series being moved from Nickelodeon and streamed online with Book Three, pretty much seemed like the nail in the coffin but fortunately Nickelodeon gave the series creators and writers another season to end the series.
With the wonderful “Book Three: Change”, the series brought in a lot of characters and featured an exciting, thrilling fight against Red Lotus which left Korra poisoned and without her power.
With “Book Four: Balance”, the series felt different in that Korra was without her powers and for the most part, the majority of the series, she was getting beat up.
Without her powers, the final season utilized the supporting characters with efficacy.
We have Mako working with the vain Prince Wu, while Bolin would work with Kuvira but learning along the way that she is bent on power and has become a dictator and threatening anyone who goes against her. Bolin is more prominent in book four as more of a character to supply the comedy relief, while his brother Mako and friend, Asami show up every now and then.
Surprisingly, Southern Water Tribe industrialist, the flamboyant Varrick and his assistant Zhu Li also get more time on the series as they are also working for Kuvira as well.
While the final episode no doubt is thrilling and we do see tragedy, the ending of the series featuring what possibly may be the beginning of a romance of two primary characters, was no doubt trending on social media. For those wanting more details of the ending and were unclear about it, one can easily listen to the audio commentary for the episode for more details.
But the final book and its conclusion is a fitting end to the series. “The Legend of Korra” has been exciting since the first season and while it received a lot of flack due to its comparison to “Avatar: The Last Air Bender”, the series while connected, did its best to differentiate itself with each book and in many ways, earned the respect of fans of all ages thanks to its smart writing but also the writers not shying away from darker elements.
With that being said, as many fans were thrilled that “The Legend of Korra” appealed to adult viewers, there are those who wish the series were more child-friendly and would have liked the series to be geared towards children and whether or not that led to the series being taken off air due to declining ratings and being streamed on the Nickelodeon website, it may be have contributed to the series being taken off television.
But the truth is that since the beginning, the series has received flack from original fans “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and “The Legend of Korra” kept facing an uphill battle, while fans, including myself, praised the series for its writing and character development.
With each book (season), “The Legend of Korra” got better and better and “Book Three” will no doubt be my favorite book of the entire series. Book Four was exciting, entertaining and a lot of fun. But it was a series that the writers had to come up with a story to complete the series.
What I enjoyed about season three was the balance of action, drama and romance, with Book Four, while action and political drama continued, with Korra going on a journey to get her powers back, we are left with relationships that seemed as if they were going nowhere. From Bolin and Opal on opposing sides, the main romance involved Varrick and Zhu Li and what we were given in the last few minutes of the final episode.
If anything, the writers wanted to bring many of the characters, including the antagonists back for the final season, the series also brings back “Avatar: The Last Air Bender” albeit an older Toph Beifong for a number of episodes as well. And I suppose, with the final season, it made sense to see this grand finale with many characters.
As for the Blu-ray release, the animation is absolutely gorgeous. Colorful and vibrant with breathtaking background art, this series has always captivated me visually. And it’s lossless soundtrack is very good as it also utilizes the surround channels, while crystal clear through the center and front channels. Special features include audio commentary for nine episodes and also short featurettes, a New York Comic-Con featurette and also the return of the puppetbenders!
Overall, “The Legend of Korra” ends on a positive note and the final season “Book Four: Balance” is a fitting end for the series. If you have stayed with the animated series for this long, then “The Legend of Korra – Book Four: Balance” is highly recommended!
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