TV Review: The Legend of Korra “Beginnings Part 1 & 2”

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Ever since the Avatar was fully explained thanks to Roku in the original series, most fans of the show, myself included, immediately started to wonder who was the first Avatar? Well after years of speculation and various fan theories, “Beginnings Part 1 & 2” finally answers this question in spectacular fashion in what may be the best episodes in both Avatar shows by far.

Part 1 begins with Korra being taken by the Fire Sages into their temple where they put her in something resembling holy water after figuring out her spirit was infected and would be destroyed unless she regained her connection with her past lives. We get to see some of the past Avatars like Aang, Roku, Kyoshi and Kuruk before we finally see a young Wan and thus we see his journey as to how he became the first Avatar.

Wan himself was easily the best part of the episode because of his personality, the way he was written and how they were able to make you emotionally connect with him in only 44 episodes. He begins as this young; Aladin like thief who’s barely scrapping by and at the end of his life becomes a champion for peace and order between the newly formed bending nations. His actions inspire both spirits and people, changing their very ways of life all of which lays the foundations for the Avatar universe we know today.

One of the things I was looking forward to the most was the humans vs. spirits conflict and it’s handled wonderfully. Spirits inhabit most of the world and attack any human who dares enter their domain, forcing humanity to seek refuge inside cities built on top of giant Lion Turtles who act as their protectors and are the only ones capable of granting them the ability to bend.

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At first this gift must be given back but Wan is able to keep his and through his journey he learns how to command all four elements and his actions inspire others to do the same which inevitably leads to humanity taking the fight to their spirit adversaries and later on against each other. At the same time spirits hate humans because they perceive them as selfish and destructive creators who have no respect for anyone or anything.

It’s a conflict that makes a lot of sense and it’s done in a realistic way where both sides are right and wrong at the same time and you can really understand where they’re both coming from and it was able to keep me engaged.

The creators also didn’t sugar coat anything this time around as they have characters constantly talk about death, killing and I loved it because it really sold the whole message of “This is a brutal and hostile world inhabited by people and creatures who are willing to do anything to survive and come out on top”.

We also finally get to see how the Avatar came to be and it was done in a predictable but fun way. In this universe there are two spirits: Raava and Vaatu. Raava represents order and peace while Vaatu represents Chaos and Destruction, the two cannot exist without the other and they are destined to do battle every 10,000 years. Wan gets involved in this conflict thanks to his foolhardiness and thanks to this he is able to be master all four elements and become the Avatar this darker, more hostile world needed him to become.

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Vaatu was delightfully evil and reminded me of Aku from Samurai Jack which is always a plus in my book, Raava easily could have been just a goodie two shoes but she goes through a character arc of her own, at first she wants to battle Vaatu alone and has a typical spirit view of humans  but she realizes she cant maintain order in the world by herself and that it needs a strong champion to keep the peace.

The episodes didn’t go out of their way to beat us, and Korra over the head with life lessons on how she should act and operate as the Avatar; instead it let the story progress at a brisk pace but also left the viewer with enough things to keep thinking about once it was over. Wan made mistakes much like Korra is making now, he did or said the wrong thing without thinking things through and it ended up causing a lot of pain, death and suffering in the world because of it.

I can only hope Korra is finally smart enough to learn from his and her own mistakes and finally progresses as a fucking character already, because if this doesn’t make her realize the error of her ways then I don’t know what the hell possibly could.

Lastly I have to mention the animation and my god was it spectacular! The creators stated they use ancient Japanese paintings as inspiration for this style and it shows, you really feel like you’re watching one of those paintings in motion and at the same time experiencing this tale of super powers, spirits and grand adventure all presented in spectacular fashion. The final battle between Wan and Vaatu is easily one of the best fights I’ve seen period in any fictional work.

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In case you hadn’t noticed from reading my review, “Beginnings Part 1 & 2” were freaking awesome! It has been years since I have experienced something this spectacular and it is easily one of the best things accomplish with the animated format, a compelling main story, really likable main hero and amazing animation easily makes this my personal favorite story in the Avatar universe period.


+ The main story is very compelling and handled naturally

+ Wan is an exceptionally well done and fully fleshed out character

+ The animation will make your eyes orgasm

+ Vaatu is the Aku of the Avatar universe, nuff said

+ All the great revelations

+ Fantastic way for Korra to learn from her mistakes and develop


Nothing at all, I loved every second of it!


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