Zaheer is Superman! That’s what I learned from The Legend of Korra Book 3 finale this past Friday, a spectacular effort to bring the series’ most ambition season to a close and leave an inkling of how Book 4 could potentially pan out. Now, where to begin? What I find most striking about the finale in its entirety is that there’s a particular sense of “rawness” to it. It took me a while to figure out what choice of word could most accurately describe the episodes’ general mood, but once I determined that word to be “raw,” things just kind of clicked. So what do I mean?
Both episodes of the finale offer an experience unhampered by insane spiritual/supernatural occurrences and are ultimately void of common Avatar tropes such as warfare and destruction (things that usually turn finales into miniature wars purely to ramp up the stakes). Everything seems grounded and centralized around the characters (it’s their story after all), and the emotional moments, of which there are many, are naturally implemented. This is the rawness I’m referring to, and it creates a far more engaging experience than what the finale would embody otherwise. While a huge Pearl Harbor-reminiscent battle (Book 1) can be impressive, and a showdown between giant spirit Korra and Unavaatu (Book 2) is no doubt thrilling, the confrontations active in the Book 3 finale take place on a more personal level. The animation is another body of work I’d consider to be “raw.”
I got the impression during my viewing of the finale that the visual component appears to be a little flat in comparison to past seasons, but I soon connected that aspect back to the overall grounded nature of the finale. Rather than relying on flashy special effects or a morphed visual style like Book 2′s finale (which looked great in its own way), ‘Enter the Void’ and ‘Venom of the Red Lotus’ are presented with a sort of cleanliness. What makes the animation so impressive is the raw talent (See what I did there? I used the word “raw” again!) behind the pencil and paper. Everything is so well drawn, especially in the last episode, and the attention to detail is expertly realized, from the ripples of clothing to changes in facial expressions. These episodes don’t need to coat the animation in sparkles and make-up because there’s nothing to hide. Studio Mir attributes heavily to the series’ success, and the Book 3 finale is no exception.
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Morgan Bannon, of Avatar: The Last Airbender Online, had me on his podcast earlier this morning to discuss the Book 3 finale. The podcast has been dubbed ‘Admin Talk’ – and it’s likely our last ‘Admin Talk’ until we get some news on Book 4. In this particular episode of ‘Admin Talk’, Morgan and I discuss the Book 3 finale, what it was like to cover Book 3 on our respective fan sites, “digital” Korra, Nickelodeon’s handling of Book 3 and we even touch on Book 4. Oh, yeah – we also discuss Book 3, too, because that’s kind of important.
The podcast is a bit lengthy at a bit over 95 minutes long. I though Morgan and I did a great job of covering the last several months that have encompassed Book 3, so I highly recommend listening to it if you’re interested in our lasting impressions of Book 3. We also talk some smack to Nickelodeon, so if you’re interested in that kind of thing, this podcast is definitely for you.
The download link for the podcast can be found below. Either right click and save as, or simply click the link and stream the podcast. Feel free to critique the show and let me know what you though. Enjoy:
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Now do you see why I held off on a prediction post this week? There’s no way I could have predicted this… this absolute epicness. The two-part finale began with “Enter the Void” – which set up the Red Lotus’s final act beautifully. Team Avatar – including Suyin, Lin and Tonraq – discuss a way to save the Airbenders from the Red Lotus while in route to the Northern Air Temple. Bolin suggests a ridiculous bird-calling technique, which was a bit more annoying than comedic, but Bolin shines in other aspects of this finale. “Bird calls? Really?”
Korra explains that the only way to re-balance the world is by giving herself up to the Red Lotus. After some argument, her father agrees and Korra leaves to contact Zaheer. “Zaheer? Are you Za-there?” Meanwhile, Bolin expresses his worry for Opal, Naga and Pabu. Cue Naga and Pabu fighting over Bolin’s scarf! “No, not Mako’s scarf! Bad dog and rat-thing! I’m very disappointed in you two! Please let Mako and Bolin’s Grandmother be in Book 4.
Zaheer and P’Li have a shipping moment of their own. P’Li talks about how she knew Zaheer would find a way to break her out of prison, just like he saved her from becoming “that War Lord’s killing machine” as a girl. “You’ve shown me what true freedom means.” It’s too bad we didn’t get more backstory on these incredible villains, but it’s interesting to see such an intimate scene between the two before they lose each other forever.
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