Blu-ray Review: The Legend of Korra — The Complete Series (Limited Edition SteelBook)

Fans of The Legend of Korra who may not yet own the series on Blu-ray may want to do so now, as Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment has released the complete series in gorgeous SteelBook fashion. Honestly, even if you do own the series already, this limited edition SteelBook collection is reason enough to upgrade – or the perfect gift for that Avatar fan in your life!

The collection comes in a box that has an opening in the middle of it, which showcases the cover of one of the SteelBooks. It’s a really eye-catching visual where instead of simply sliding it into your Blu-ray shelf like a book, it displays really nicely facing outward, so if it fits in with your decor, it’s a set that’d look great sitting on a shelf facing outward.

For those who aren’t familiar with the series, The Legend of Korra is a follow-up series to the immensely popular Avatar: The Last Airbender. The same co-creators of Avatar, Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino, returned to bring Korra to life, so their ability to build a world full of lively characters, witty dialogue, and fantastically addictive storytelling that made Avatar so popular also returns, making The Legend of Korra just as engaging, but also different in its own ways.

Unlike Avatar, which saw the story of Aang trying to harness the power of the Avatar to help put an end to The Hundred Year War over the course of three seasons (each of which are referred to as “Books” instead of seasons, with each episode being a chapter in said book,) The Legend of Korra instead tells different stories in each season (book.) Well, that’s not entirely true, as the series does tie together season to season, it just doesn’t depend on it. While Avatar: The Last Airbender would have been cut short and left fans hanging if they’d been cancelled after season 2, Korra would have been okay, as each of her tales have a beginning, middle and end over the course of each season.

The Legend of Korra picks up 70 years after The Last Airbender, and while you don’t have to have watched the original series to pick up on what’s happening here, it’s highly recommended. A lot has changed over the decades, the biggest of which is the passing of Aang. This isn’t a major shock or spoiler, as the only way a new Avatar can come to be is after the current one dies. So while it’s sad to say goodbye to Aang, Konietzko and DiMartino do a great job of making Korra someone fresh and likeable right out of the gate, as she’s not just a carbon copy Aang going through the same motions.

Korra is also 17 years old and when the show begins, which gives her a different perspective on life than Aang, who was only 12 when we first met him. This allows for some different storylines to come to life as Korra tries to figure out who she is as a person, as well as the Avatar. Speaking of, Korra also knows how to bend three of the four elements in episode one, so her journey to becoming the Avatar is right at the finish line instead of only just beginning.

It also doesn’t take long for Korra to meet the colourful cast of characters that will accompany on her journey over the course of the seasons ahead. As someone who loves The Last Airbender and every character within it, I wasn’t sure when beginning Korra whether or not lightning could strike twice; but with this being a show about mastering the elements I should’ve known that that wouldn’t be an issue, because strike twice it does. Much like Korra is different from Aang, her friends Mako, Bolin, and Asami differ from Katara, Sokka and Toph in ways that make them unique in their own right, so it never feels like we’re entering redundant storytelling.

The Legend of Korra also delves a lot deeper into the Avatar mythos, so fans of the world will get to learn a lot more about how the Avatar came to be, as well as why the Avatar’s bond with the spirit world is so strong. There’s just a lot to love here and much like The Last Airbender, I wish that both of the series could’ve just continued on in telling their tales. Luckily, for those interested, both series do continue on in comic book form, but the series themselves wrap up nicely before their adventures continue afterwards, which is huge when it comes to investing in Blu-ray sets like this.

Each of the seasons receive their own SteelBook, so four SteelBooks are to be found within the cardboard case. The image on the cover of the boxset is from Book 4: Balance, which showcases just how beautiful the art on these cases is. There’s also Book 1: Air, Book 2: Spirits, and Book 3: Change, each of which showcases Korra on the front doing one of the four types of bending she can do, while on the back there’s a moment that’s taken from the season that’s stylishly displayed. There’s a great, shimmering look to the image on the back, which compliments the more exact “taken from the show” styled look to the front of each case. Of course, the art style used in Avatar and Korra is spectacular, so you know if they’re releasing a limited edition SteelBook that it’s going to be good.

On the inside of each case we have the two discs per season, which are fastened in incredibly well, so those worried about damaged discs can fret not. The visuals on the inside are beautiful as well, such as Book 1: Air showcasing the statue of Aang that’s outside of Republic City in artistic fashion, or Book 2: Spirits, which has the waterfront view of Republic City, much like you see during the show’s credits. The spine of each case perfectly displays which book it is you’re reaching for in prominent fashion, which is always appreciated.

So if you’re a fan of The Legend of Korra, or know someone who is, I’d highly recommend picking up this beautiful SteelBook set, as it not only strikingly captures the art style of the show and displays it perfectly for all to see, it also holds the discs inside securely, which is of the utmost importance when it comes to keeping sets like this safe for the long haul.

Video and Audio:

The animation in this show is just a joy to look at, and unlike its predecessor, which was animated and shown in 4:3 full screen, The Legend of Korra is showcased in 16:9 which is awesome. While it wasn’t something that took away from The Last Airbender, it’s great to get to see these dynamic animations from corner to corner on a big screen TV. Without question picking up this series on Blu-ray is the best way to experience it both visually and on the audio front.

Speaking of, each season is presented in 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio and sounds great. The score is fantastic throughout the whole series, and the sound effect mix is spot on. Add in the fantastic voice work and you’ve got an anime gem on your hands. There’s nothing to complain about on the audio front whatsoever, as every episode just sounds superb from start to finish.

Special Features

Book 1: Air Special Features:

Blu-ray Exclusive Audio Commentaries – This is the bread and butter of each disc’s special features, as each episode had its own commentary by co-creators Michael Dante DiMartino & Bryan Konietzko, and they’re randomly joined by various guests throughout. The guests include cast and crew members, and the commentaries are truly awesome for fans of the series to listen to. Everyone gets involved in delving into the episodes, and they’re just a blast to listen to. Highly recommended for all once you’ve finished watching the series.

Blu-ray Exclusive Animatics – Here’s a hefty 53-minute feature that sees the favourite animatics as chosen by the creators. These guys know how to make easy-to-watch special features, that’s for sure. They just delve into things in such fascinating ways that you can’t help but to become quickly engrossed in what they’re talking about.

The Making of a Legend: The Untold Story – Here’s the fluff piece of the special features, being a quick 6-minute featurette that sees the cast and crew poking fun at one another via puppets.

Book 2: Spirits Special Features:

Audio Commentaries – Much like Book 1, the commentaries are the main feature on Book 2 (this will be a trend moving forward.) Here we see the co-creators taking center stage as the voice actors sit this season out (they are joined by different crewmembers in various episodes, however.) While it’s always great to hear from all sides, DiMartino and Konietzko are so…they’re just so invested and listening to them talk about the show just puts a spotlight on how much they care about every aspect of it. So giving these two more time to delve into the reasons behind choices made in each episode is anything but a bad thing.

Scene Bending – Here’s a hefty storyboard feature that comes in at 81-minutes in length. Fans of how a show like this comes to life should enjoy seeing these early stage concepts in motion.

Inside the Book of Spirits – This is a 9-minute feature that sees DiMartino and Konietzko talking about how the storyline for season two came to be, and how certain major aspects of it didn’t even exist when the story was first coming together. The biggest complaint about this feature is that it’s not longer! I wanted to see some of the voice acting happening, and the animators matching things up, and the sound crew…I wanted to see it all! But it’s still fun to get this quick look into how a season comes together.

Kindred Spirits: Tenzin’s Family – This is a five minute featurette that briefly touches on the character of Tenzin, his relationship with his siblings and how that’s affected how he is around his own children. This isn’t anything major, but any features that delve into character so you can learn a bit more are always welcome.

Feuding Spirits: Korra’s Family – This is another quick five minute featurette that looks at Korra’s family, how she’s a heroine who actually has both parents still, while also touching on the introduction of her uncle and two cousins.

The Re-Telling of Korra’s Journey – This is a 34-minute “Previously on,” which is actually great to watch if you take some time between season two and three. It’ll help give you a nice refresher before jumping into the season to come.

Book 3: Change Special Features:

Audio Commentaries – I’ll sound like a broken record two more times in this review, as again, these are just a great listen and shouldn’t be missed by any fan. Once again the voice actors aren’t around, but once again that doesn’t really hurt the commentaries, even though it would’ve been nice to have had them be a part of it.

The Spirit of an Episode – This is a hefty feature that comes in at an hour and 7 minutes. It contains 13 behind-the-scenes featurettes that run at about five minutes each and focus on bringing the episodes to life, challenges met along the way, developing parts of the story as well as things that didn’t make the cut as the season progressed.

Book 4: Balance Special Features:

Audio Commentaries – The final discs contain more commentaries, some of which even have various voice actors return! Again, broken record, these aren’t to be missed, kudos to the team for giving such a treat to fans in the form of these fantastic commentaries throughout!

2014 Comic-Con Panel – This is a 35-minute feature that just has the 2014 New York Comic-Con Legend of Korra panel in its entirety. Lots of fun to watch for fans, especially if you haven’t been able to see any of these folks on a panel before.

The Making of a Legend: The Untold Story Part II – Here’s a throwback of sorts to the special features on the season one disc, where we get a fun little behind-the-scenes goof around with cast and crew.

Republic City Hustle – This is a 10-minute, 3-part animated short about Mako and Bolin’s childhood, which is a nice bonus.

Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment Presents The Legend of Korra: The Complete Series (Limited Editoin SteelBook Collection). Co-created by: Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino. Starring: Janet Varney, David Faustino, P.J. Byrne, J.K. Simmons, Seychelle Gabriel. Rating: PG. Runntime: 1210 Minutes. Blu-ray Released: Mar. 16, 2021.

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