You might be familiar with the Nickelodeon series Avatar: The Last Airbender, which ran from 2005 to 2008. The animated children’s series was known for its fantastical world building, super-powered fight scenes, emotional plot and strong, relatable characters. While Avatar was full of well-rounded and inspirational female characters, the show’s spinoff, The Legend of Korra, presented young adults like myself with a new type of heroine.
The show takes place years in the future after Avatar, and follows Korra, the new Avatar. In the Avatar universe, Benders have the ability to control and manipulate one of the natural elements (earth, fire, water, and air), while only the Avatar can control all four elements. Korra is hot-headed, rambunctious and often crude, acting with her fists before questioning situations. At 17, she is still training to master the elements and, against her parent’s judgment, travels to the technologically advanced Republic City. There she finds that crime is not as black and white as she had thought it to be. In the city resides a growing group of “anti-benders,” who oppose bending by using chi-techniques to forcibly block people’s bending abilities. Korra battles the anti-bending revolution while grappling with her responsibility as the revered Avatar.
For me, Korra was one of the coolest girls I had ever seen on TV. From her muscular build to her outgoing personality, she was everything I decided I wanted to be. What made her a great character though, was her growth. Over four seasons, Korra went from being brash and childish to thoughtful and selfless. She was an ideal leader in my eyes.
I can’t deny that the original Avatar series is unmatched. But Korra offers a fresh take on the heroine role while continuing the captivating legacy of Avatar. Don’t underestimate the power of cartoons: The Legend of Korra is funny, terrifying and for me personally, moving.
Girl Museum Inc.