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The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

June 26, 2013 by  



70-years after the events which took place in “Avatar: The Last Airbender” comes “The Legend of Korra” and while the world has changed for the better, a new threat has arrived in Republic City but Korra and friends will do all they can to protect everyone from a man who is trying to eliminate “bending” forever.  “The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air” features all 12 episodes from the first series, audio commentary for each episode and more!  “The Legend of Korra” is an edgy, exciting and action-packed series that looks magnificent on Blu-ray!  Highly recommended!

Image courtesy of © 2013 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air

YEAR: 2012

DURATION: Episodes 1-12 Minutes (289 Minutes)

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 2.0 Stereo, French 2.0 Stereo

COMPANY: Nickelodeon/Viacom/Paramount

RATED: NOT RATED

Release Date: July 9, 2013

Directed by Joaqim Dos Santos, Ki Hyun Ryu

Written by Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko

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

Daniel Dae Kim as hiroshi Sato

Richard Epcar as Saikhan

Maria Bamford as Pema

From the creators of the Award-winning Avatar: The Last Airbender, comes a new TV series that continues the exciting adventures of element bending. When Avatar Aang passes, he is reincarnated as a girl named Korra, from the Southern Water Tribe. Against the wishes of her guardians, Korra leaves the safety of her home to travel to Republic City. Before long, Korra’s Avatar skills are put to the test when she encounters a group of Chi-blockers led by a masked man named Amon. With his Equalists followers, Amon plots to gain control over Republic City and ultimately rid the world of the “impurity” of bending. Korra and her friends will stop at nothing to capture him, leading to an Avatar adventure like nothing before in Legend of Korra: Book One: Air!

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.

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.

As Korra stays with Tenzin, her interests turns to pro-bending teams, which Tenzin is against.  When Korra goes behind Tenzin’s back, she becomes friends with two of the pro-benders from the “Fire Ferrets”, Mako and Bolin (and also includes Asami, Mako’s girlfriend who is jealous that Mako pays too close of an attention to Korra).

But when the Equalists begin using terrorist attacks and when an attack on the pro-bending arena where Kora and the Fire Ferrets are at is attacked, Amon shows his power by eliminating the winning team’s bending abilities.  Meanwhile, a politician named Tarrlok does not like Korra and her friends in interfering with police work but when he authorizes those rallying against the government to be arrested as Equalist, Korra and friends stand up against the Tarliok, not knowing that he has a secret bending-ability.

Will Korra and friends find out the secrets of Republic City and what Tarrlok is really up to?  Find out in the first book of “The Legend of Korra”.

The main characters of “The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air” are:

  • Korra – A 17-year-old 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.  And with her being in Republic City and causing trouble for trying to save the public from criminals, unfortunately the political leaders and law enforcement are not so thrilled that she is getting herself involved on cases.
  • 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.
  • Bolin – The younger brother of Mako who is an earth bender and is lighthearted and humorous.  The opposite of his brother.
  • Asami Sato – Mako’s girlfriend and the daughter of Hiroshi Sato, the wealthy industrialist.  She loves Mako but is jealous of Korra, because of the attention he tends to give to her.
  • Master Tenzin  – The youngest son of Aang and Katara.  He tries to fulfill his father’s wishes and is assigned to train Korra in air bending.
  • Republic City police chief Lin Beilong  – 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.
  • Pema  – Tenzin’s caring wife and mother of Jinora, Ikki, Meelo and Rohan, who are young children training to become air benders.
  • Amon – A mysterious masked-individual who has the power to remove one’s bending ability.
  • Tarrlok – The ominous city councilman who carries a secret.

VIDEO:

“The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air” 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 12-episodes.  If anything, fans of the series will be thrilled of how beautiful “The Legend of Korra” looks in HD!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 2.0 Stereo and French 2.0 Stereo.  The lossless soundtrack for “The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air” sounds fantastic.  Action scenes come alive and utilizes the surround channels very well.  Dialogue and music are crystal clear!

Subtitles are in English SDH.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – All 12 episodes of “The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air” features audio commentary by the creators, cast and crew.
  • The Legend of Puppetbender Presents “The Making of a Legend: The Untold Story – Part I” – (6:05) A short featurette featuring an interview with the characters (in puppet format).
  • Creators’ Favorite Scenes: Animatics – Featuring  various scenes comparing the sketches/animatics to the final product (screen by screen).

EXTRAS:

“The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air” comes with a slipcover.

As a fan of “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, for anyone who watched the series, you can’t help but to become excited for “The Legend of Korra” and to see how much of the world has changed since Aang and friends have literally changed the world.   Also, to see how much the series will change in terms of characters, tone and also in terms of how the series would look compared to the original series.

I realize that for sequels, it’s not always easy for the creators to come up with another hit as many who grew up with the original, tend to be stuck with the original.  But sometimes, you get something different and sometimes something even better.

With “The Legend of Korra”, is it better than “Avatar: The Last Airbender”?  Well, for one, these two are two different series and features characters of different age groups.

Part of the allure of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” is the naivety of young Aang, Katara, Sokka and friends.  Innocent kids who tend to grow up quickly due to their surroundings.  And there is always a sense of a cat and mouse storyline as they are in continually pursued by the Fire Nation.

For “The Legend of Korra”, Korra is somewhat the opposite of Aang.  She has a hot-temper, she is rebellious and she is not as friendly and humorous as Aang.  If anything, she’s a person that tends to do things impulsively, learns from her actions and as much as she wants to do things for the greater good, she tends to do things at her own pace.

Fortunately, she is joined by a supporting cast of people who also tend to get themselves into a bit of trouble but also are doing things for the greater good.  The storyline is not much about being pursued but Korra and friends seeking out clues to find out who the mysterious Amon is and why he is trying to remove the bending abilities of individuals but also having to deal with the mysterious and ominous Tarlokk, a politician who tends to have some sort of vendetta against Korra.

And I’m hooked!  Creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko created something much different than “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, a series that is a little more dark, characters that are much more mature but also including some elements to connect both series together.  For example, while Aang is no longer among the living, Katara is.  And also, we get to see the descendants of these individuals now helping the new generation, which is pretty cool!

Animation-wise, the character designs and the art backgrounds for this series is magnificent.  I love the character designs for Korra and friends but also the antagonists.  The art backgrounds compliment the entire series and the action elements are smooth and well-done.

But as “Avatar: The Last Airbender” did over a decade ago by becoming an animated series that had a storyline and animation as good as anime series are in Japan, “The Legend of Korra” continued the quality a decade later. There is not many series in America that have this level of production and “The Legend of Korra” is one of the better looking animated series currently airing on television.

Every episode featured is captivating, edgy and action-packed!  I reviewed this series and watched it along with my ten-year-old son and we were both hooked.  It’s a wonderful series and while I always enjoy “Avatar: The Last Airbender”, its characters and storyline, rather than compare the two, I prefer to see this series as something different.  The series of course has the connection of bending and a connection between its characters and its descendants but times have changed and the world has changed in the last 70-years and the characters reflect that change.

As for the Blu-ray release of “The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air”, picture quality is fantastic on Blu-ray as colors are vibrant and I saw no problems with artifacts.  Lossless audio is utilized very well and surround channels are used effectively during the action-scenes.  And as for special features, every episode has an audio commentary track and you also get a few other features such as a puppetbender featurette and animatics.

Overall, if you are a fan of “Avatar: The Last Airbender” and have been curious about “The Legend of Korra” or you happen to be a big fan of the series already and wonder if the Blu-ray release is worth owning, the answer is “yes!”.  The series looks and sounds so much better in HD and the additional featurettes especially the audio commentary featuring the creators, cast and crew makes this series worth owning on Blu-ray!

“The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air” is highly recommended!






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