Blu-ray Review: The Legend of Korra (Book Three: Change)



The Legend of Korra is one of the finest animated shows that Nickelodeon has produced. Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino were able to create a story that topped their previous Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sadly Nickelodeon really fumbled the show’s third season. This is not the usual case of creative network executives inflicting dumb ideas on the producers. Instead there’s a complete trainwreck in scheduling. The third season ended up airing before its advertised debut date. Why? Because new episodes leaked onto the internet. The network panicked and ran the third season as soon as possible to not lose ratings. This idea backfired. The audience didn’t quite know the new episodes were already airing. Thus the season started off with low ratings. After half the episodes aired, Nick yanked it from the broadcast channel and offer it through their website (along with other streaming websites). The channel must have needed that time slot to run another marathon of SpongeBob SquarePants. Casual fans of the show were confused and left in the dark about their dear Korra. The release of The Legend of Korra, Book Three: Change on Blu-ray is the first time many of viewers will get to see all the episodes and enjoy them on their HDTV.

The Legend of Korra is an American version of a Japanese anime series in character design and attitude. This alternate universe has people with the psychic ability to bend various elements to do their will. The one that can bend air, fire, earth and water is considered an Avatar. They are extremely rare. Korra is a young woman with those gifts. With great power comes greater people who despise you. This constant interference of haters ends up messing with Korra’s ability to develop her powers. Not to mention her own coming of age issues affect her emotionally. This inner and outer conflict makes The Legend of Korra a compelling series to people who aren’t that hung up on Japanese anime.

Book Three: Change picks up shortly after the end of Book Two: Spirits. A Harmonic Convergence has changed the world so that people all over the place are discovering their air bending skills. Korra, her mentor Tenzin (Oz‘s J. K. Simmons) and others do their best to find these new air benders and bring them into a new version of the Air Nomads. For every good teaming up, there must be a bad teaming up. Zaheer (Black Flag’s Henry Rollins) busts out of prison and puts together a group of evil air benders. Their goal is to kidnap Korra. Rollins is up to his best wicked voice work as he leads attacks on the Earth Queen’s kingdom. He won’t be stopped until he controls Korra and her powers.

There’s plenty of action and intrigue in Book Three: Change to keep fans of the first two books wanting to marathon the episodes. The artwork and animation is still top notch. Korra continues to be the strong character with a cool hairstyle that my five year old daughter adores. After all the confusion from when this was originally aired, getting to see all the episodes on Blu-ray makes things feel better.

The good news about the botched season three release is that it didn’t mark the end of the series. The Legend of Korra – Book 4: Balance has completed production. This fourth series was always intended to wrap up Korra’s saga so this is a major relief to fans who feared they’d be left hanging and have to resort to fan fiction to get closure. Nick still has issues releasing the show properly. This time they started airing it online, but they recently allowed the series to find a home of Nicktoons (deep in your cable guide). If you don’t want to fuss with your DVR, Book 4: Balance is coming to DVD and Blu-ray on March 10th.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfers bring out the detail in the drawings of the imaginary world. If you can, get the Blu-ray to allow the art to dazzle. The audio is 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. This is a crisp sounding series. Henry Rollins gets good an menacing in the surround sound. There’s also a 2.0 Stereo Spanish dub. The episodes are subtitled.

Audio Commentaries are provided on all the episodes. Along with the creators, they bring in a variety of crew including the Sound Designer and the Foley Artist.

The Spirit of an Episode are short behind the scenes featurettes that give insight into what you just saw. They cover everything from the story to the sound mix.

The Legend of Korra, Book Three: Change is triumph of great TV over screwed up network scheduling. The 13 episodes deserve to be seen in a marathon viewing on the same TV from the same source. Book Three maintains the elements that made the first two books so special.

Paramount and Nickelodeon present The Legend of Korra, Book Three: Change. Starring: Janet Varney, Henry Rollins, J.K. Simmons and Bruce Davison. Boxset Contents: 13 episodes on 2 Blu-ray Discs. Rated: Unrated. Released: December 2, 2014.

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