Legend of Korra: Book 3, Episode 1, “A Breath of Fresh Air”

A’ight, so I absolutely loved the return to the world of Avatar last night. We’re introduced almost immediately to the fact that air bending has returned with Bumi discovering he’s one of unknown many who have developed the power to air bend. The great part was that everyone refused to believe him at first. At the same time, Korra had to deal with what were essentially spirit vines (and the spirits who have moved into them) which are taken over parts of Republic City, much to the chagrin of the residents of the city and even more to the president of the Republic, whose approval rating is nearly as low as Korra’s. At the end of the episode, Korra has yet to solve how to remove the vines, but knowledge that other air benders are popping up has become accepted by Team Avatar, who convince one poor fellow to come to air bender island to learn how to control his new powers. Then, lastly, the president politely (or not so politely) tells Korra to leave Republic City, as in, exiled. The episode ends with Korra happy with this decision and plotting with Tenzin to travel the lands to find new air benders to restart the Air Bender Nation.

Immediately, I will add that I thought the animation was beautiful (and the following episodes only built on this opinion). It’s incredible how much of a difference the animation studio makes in the product that’s produced and StudioMir has shown itself to be irreplaceable in making the show a premium product (people are blinking again!). Likewise, Jeremy Zuckerman returns with impeccable scoring for the show, which hopefully will make its way to a released soundtrack sometime in the future. I thought the writing was fine and it seems that the writers are intent on making a statement by bringing Asami and Korra together in the first episode and establishing their relationship beyond Mako. There were a number of small moments which were great, such as Tenzin’s and Korra’s mentor/student or father/daughter talk on what it means to be the Avatar and pleasing everyone, Bumi’s desire to give his spirit friend a sweater (it’s his first one, okay?!), to the old man glaring at Korra’s awful driving.

As the first episode concluded, I was already excited for the next. And while I don’t want to make statements to the other episodes (leave it for those posts), I will say that this season so far is already starting to feel so much more like the original ATLA than the show has before.

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