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Conventional TV wisdom has it that girls will watch shows about boys, but boys won't watch shows about girls. During test screenings, though, boys said they didn't care that Korra was a girl. They just said she was awesome.
—Neda Ulaby, "'Airbender' Creators Reclaim Their World In 'Korra'", All Things Considered, NPR
Set seventy years after the events of its predecessor, the series follows the adventures of a rebellious teenage Southern Water Tribe girl named Korra, Aang's successor as Avatar. Her quest leads her to Republic City, a metropolis based off the Roaring Twenties where crime is rampant and an anti-bender revolt headed by a faction called the Equalists is taking place. Under the guidance of Tenzin, the son of Aang and Katara, Korra struggles to master Airbending and bring harmony to Republic City.
While it was originally announced as a twelve-episode Miniseries, Nickelodeon picked up an additional fourteen episodes during production, with option to renew. The first two episodes received a limited online release in the United States from March 24th-25th as a reward for liking, sharing and tweeting the website KorraNation 100,000 times.
- Absentee Actor:
- "The Spirit of Competition" does not feature Tenzin at all, though he is spoken of.
- Lin is absent from "When Extremes Meet".
- Age Cut: In "Welcome to Republic City," four-year-old Korra affects an intense expression as she firebends directly into the camera, obscuring the scene with a burst of flame, which seventeen-year-old Korra disperses while wearing a matching expression.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Even though they don't know who he is, Aang's children feel pity when they see Zhao in the Fog of Lost Souls. When he sees Tenzin and mistakes him for Aang, his expression has desperate hope, that he won't be trapped in this fog forever. Kya and Bumi quickly toss him off and run with their brother.
- All According to Plan: In "And the Winner Is..." when the government of Republic City refuses to close the pro-bending arena in response to his threat, Amon replies they are doing exactly as he planned. His goals are furthered whether they give in to his demands or not.
- All There in the Manual:
- Nick.com's "Welcome to Republic City" adventure game, which provides supplemental information not presented in the show itself.
- Several items within the adventure game (particularly the history books at City Hall) recursively reference events detailed in the Interquel graphic novel trilogy Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise.
- Animation Insider's family tree [dead link] reveals the names and bender status of Korra's parents, as well as the faces and bender status of Tenzin's siblings.
- Korra Nation has concept art, interviews and production details.
- Bryan Konietzko's Tumblr has concept art and usually some accompanying information on character development.
- Alliterative Name: Pro-bending teams like the Future Industries Fire Ferrets, Red Sand Rabiroos, White Falls Wolfbats, and others.
- Amazon Admirer:
- Mako's taste in women tends to run this way. He meets Asami when she nearly runs him over in a sports car, and encounters Korra when Bolin recruits her for their Probending team. The problem is that Mako doesn't know how to set boundaries with Korra, who hasn't been taught that that hitting on a guy in a committed relationship is very wrong for a lot of reasons. He also doesn't know how to set boundaries with Asami in season two after he breaks up with Korra. It says something that Prince Wu in season 4 says he fudged it.
- In season 3, after they've had time to bond and talk about the awkwardness in Mako dating them both, Asami and Korra develop this dynamic towards each other. Asami gives Korra driving lessons, and busts them out of the Earth Queen's custody. Korra comes to admire how Asami never gives into despair or gives up in the face of impossible odds. It's implied, however that Korra nearly dying via mercury poison is what made Asami realize that she had feelings for Korra, but she wasn't ready to act on them until the end of season 4.
- Amazon Brigade: The Rabbiroos are an all-female Pro-Bending team.
- Animals Hate Him/Evil-Detecting Dog: When Amon hijacks the radio, Pabu, who is lounging by a radio, is frightened by his voice and jumps away.
- Animal Theme Naming: All pro-bending teams follow the pattern of being named for in-universe Mix-and-Match Critters.
- Anti-Magical Faction: The Equalists, Republic City's rising anti-bending and Muggle Power movement. They believe benders use their Elemental Powers to oppress non-benders, a belief strengthened by the presence of bending gangs such as the Triple Threat Triads and the five-bender city council. Their soapboxers promote a revolution against the bending class, and foster hatred for benders in general, while their fighters use the same Pressure Point chi-blocking techniques used by the original series' Ty Lee.
- Animesque: Even more so than its predecessor.
- Are We There Yet?: In "Welcome to Republic City", the introduction of Tenzin and his family features his daughter Ikki asking this over, and over, and over...
Tenzin: [While son Meelo gums his head] Yes, Ikki. As I've been telling you for the last fifteen minutes, we are -- finally -- here.
- Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: In "The Spirit of Competition," Bolin asks Mako what he thinks of the idea of asking Korra out. Mako responds that he likes her, but he's already in a relationship, prompting Bolin to clarify:
Bolin: I was talking about a girlfriend for me! Leave some ladies for the rest of us!
- Arrested for Heroism:
- In "Welcome to Republic City", Korra's readiness to fight gets her pegged as a Destructive Savior by the metalbender cops.
- In episode eight, "When Extremes Meet", Asami is arrested for trying to stop oppressive measures against non-benders. Tarrlok claims that her father's connection to the Equalists is the reason, and when Mako and Bolin try to come to her defense they are put in the slammer, too. Ultimately, Tarrlok admits directly to Korra that he is simply doing this to manipulate her and force her cooperation.
- Art Evolution: Art director Bryan Konietzko has discussed his evolution towards more realistic proportions and less oversized heads. This is particularly noticeable when redrawn original series characters appear as stills during the Opening Narration. Far greater detail and more CGI is used, leading to a far cleaner and more realistic look than the original series.
- Audible Gleam: In "Welcome to Republic City", when a bush manifests a Bishie Sparkle.
- Awesome Personnel Carrier: The Nick.com "Welcome to Republic City" game details the police force's armored trucks.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Korra and Lin fight Equalists posed this way in "And the Winner Is..."
- Badass Army: It takes more than a mere Avatar to impress Republic City's metalbending police force. The Equalist chi-blockers are also formidable foes, skilled in martial arts, ambush tactics, and motorbike-riding.
- Balloon Belly: In "The Spirit of Competition" Pabu gets one after joining Bolin for a night of binging on noodles.
- Batman Gambit: In "The Voice in the Night", Tarrlok arranges for a group of reporters to accost Korra at a party he is throwing in order to force her to join his anti-Equalist task force. When they accuse her of cowardice and abandoning her duty to the city, she responds by immediately joining the task force.
- Bear Hug:
- In "Welcome to Republic City," Korra uses an Effortless Amazonian Lift to pick up Tenzin and his children to give them a group hug.
- In "The Spirit of Competition" Mako unceremoniously grants his brother one in cheer when Korra pulls off an incredible "hat trick" single-handedly (much the same way he did in his introduction), and wins the match that gets them to the finals.
- Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Averted in episode 8. In Korra's fight with Tarrlok, she sustains a cut on her face from Tarrlok's icicles.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Korra and Mako butt heads when they meet in "A Leaf in the Wind" and while infiltrating "The Revelation", but recognize that they have feelings for each other, and begin to act on them in "The Spirit of Competition".
- Betty and Veronica:
- For Mako, sweet and gentle Asami is the Betty, while violent and borderline Tsundere Korra is the Veronica.
- For Korra, goofy and excitable Bolin is the Betty, while serious and driven Mako is the Veronica.
- Beware the Silly Ones
- Bumi, like his namesake, is a goofball. Ikki, Meelo and Jinora consider him the cool uncle as he comes a few hours late to defend Republic City, while Tenzin sighs about having to entertain his big brother. The man is a general for a reason; when helping fight against Unalaq, Bumi ends up disarming an entire camp just by fiddling with the controls, and looking around with a "Who, me?" expression. And this is before he gains airbending powers in Book 3, where he leads a retinue of Air acolytes to rescue his niece and Kai, as well as baby bisons.
- Prince Wu fully admits that he is a spoiled prince, and expects to basically do nothing while more experienced leaders run the kingdom. He develops an Odd Friendship with Mako, when the latter is assigned as his bodyguard and Mako learns to see past Wu's playful exterior. In the Book 4 climactic invasion, Wu uses his singing to convince badger moles to dig tunnels out of Republic City, so that he can evacuate the civilians before the oncoming invasion. When it seems Kuvira's troops have cornered him and the evacuees, he pretends to surrender only to sing and have the badger moles stomp the mechas.
- Big Bad Ensemble: Amon and Tarrlok, although Tarrlok refuses to admit to any similarities between them.
- Big Fancy House:
- Tenzin and his family live on Air Temple Island, a sanctuary in the city's bay.
- The Sato mansion, which rivals the royal palaces of the Earth King and Fire Lord in terms of breadth and splendor.
- Birds of a Feather: Bolin believes he and Korra are meant to be with each other because of this. She likes him, but not in the same way.
- Bishie Sparkle: Parodied in "Welcome to Republic City", where there are bishie sparkles on the resident bush of a park-dwelling Hobos.
Gommu: Took me a while to procure a bush that beauteous. *bush sparkles*
- Bittersweet Ending: Book Four ends this way. Korra stops Kuvira from destroying Republic City and uses her cannon's misfire to create a new spirit portal, stopping a ground zero explosion. She also takes a vacation with Asami to the Spirit World, as the two realize they have feelings for each other. Varrick finds a way to apologize to Zhu-Li for being an egotistical ask and proposes to her. They end up marrying and "do the thing" with Bolin officiating the ceremony. Prince Wu decides to reform the Earth Kingdom as a democracy, acknowledging that he is not experienced, wise, or competent enough to rule. However, thanks to Kuvira's actions, she has killed Hiroshi Sato just as he reconciled with Asami, broken her ties with Suyin, and left a trail of devastation and pain in the Earth Kingdom. Baatar Jr. has also ruined his relationship with his family for siding with Kuvira; his mother forgives him, but everyone else hasn't, and he realizes that Kuvira didn't love him enough to fight for him. Ruins of the Empire goes on to show that while under house arrest, his siblings are rather cold and snarky to him, especially Opal, and he has to face the consequences of his actions every day while serving his sentence.
- Bi The Way: The series finale reveals that both Korra and Asami are this way. They dated Mako, and expressed interest. Asami later was brought to tears when it seemed that Zaheer had killed Korra, and wrote faithfully to two years while the latter was recovering. They realize they have feelings for each other after Korra manages to talk down Kuvira, and go on a couples vacation. Ruins of the Empire goes further into how Asami hasn't forgiven Kuvira for murdering her father and nearly murdering Korra, and threatens her not to try. anyfunny business.
- Bland-Name Product / Fictional Counterpart: Most cars seen in the series resemble real-world 1920s and early 1930s cars, albeit combined and given a Far East flair. For example:
- The regular Satomobile sedan is a 1920s Ford Model T sedan with a pagoda roof.
- The police cars resemble Ford Model T paddy wagons.
- The truck in the background when Asami crashes into Mako resembles a Sentinel steam lorry.
- The obscured truck in Episode 1 and the armored police trucks look like a Mack AC Bulldog or Napoleon.
- Also from Episode 1, the green car looks like the Milburn Electric.
- Tarrlok gave Korra a roadster that features over a dozen design cues from expensive cars from the twenties to the forties, most noticeably Auburn.
- Asami's motor scooter looks mostly like a Vespa, which was a 1940s onward scooter, making it a bit of an "odd man out" among the "Oriental Jazz Age" aesthetic.
- Shady Shin and the other Triple Threat Triad gangsters use a hot [dead link] rod based on various Ford Model T hot rods.
- In Episode 7, Asami takes Korra for a spin around the Sato test track in a race car [dead link] resembling a two-seater version of the 1920s race cars.
- Asami's Cool Car in Episode 8 greatly resembles a four-seater version of either a 1950's Allard or Panoz [dead link] roadster from 1992.
- Blue with Shock: In "The Voice in the Night", Tenzin goes blue in the face when his son Meelo uses something as a toilet off-screen--at a high-society gala.
- Bob Haircut: Featured on some female characters as part of the Roaring Twenties aesthetic. One of Tahno's Fangirls wears the style. Jinora combines it with an Odango Hair.
- Bound and Gagged: Bolin and a few Triple Threat Triad members in Episode 3. Then again with Korra after Tarrlok defeats her with bloodbending in Episode 8. Tarrlok forgot the "gagged" part, though, and nearly got his eyebrows singed off by a livid firebreathing Korra for it.
- Bratty Teenage Daughter: Discussed Trope in "A Leaf in the Wind" when Tenzin expresses frustration with Korra, now his live-in student. After his daughters witness a particularly bad bout where Korra insults Tenzin's teaching skills, Tenzin tries to avoid the inevitable.
- Breather Episode: After two pretty dark and brutal episodes, "The Spirit of Competition" is a fairly lighthearted story involving the pro-bending tournament and the show's Love Triangle, and comes right before a slew of Wham Episodes.
- Bring My Brown Pants: In "And the Winner Is..." the Combat Commentator as he is attacked by Equalists. On live radio.
Shiro Shinobi: "I am currently wetting my pants."
- Broken Faceplate: An example in "The Aftermath": While fighting Mecha-Tanks made out of metal-bending-proof platinum, Chief Beifong resorts to the strategy of bending her metal bracer into a Blade Below the Shoulder, leaping up to the shoulders of one of the Mecha-Tanks, and driving the claw straight through the more vulnerable cockpit canopy. The chi-blocker piloting it is shown desperately dodging. After a few cuts, we see the Mecha-Tank as immobile, Bei Fong having bashed though most of the canopy segments, so this may have been a Gory Discretion Shot.
- Building Swing: In "Welcome to Republic City", the Republic City police perform Building Swings to debark from their patrol zeppelin, via metalbending Retractable Weapon cables dispensed from wrist-mountings on their uniforms.
- Bullying a Dragon: Being the Avatar hasn't stopped people from being overtly confrontational with Korra. Tahno does this intentionally, because Korra attacking him would disqualify the Fire Ferrets from competing against his team. Tarrlok also mocks Korra as a "half-baked Avatar in training" since she hasn't mastered airbending, despite the fact that she has mastered the other three. His bloodbending did allow him to best her in a battle, but it was a trump card he only played in desperation. He got a solid ass-kicking when he tried to beat her in a straight fight.
- Burping Contest: In "The Spirit of Competition" Korra and Bolin get into one on their date, much to the horror of the other patrons in the restaurant. Korra seems to come out on top.
- Call a Rabbit a Smeerp: Automobiles are called Satomobiles and Motorcycles are called Satocycles, after Hiroshi Sato, the Henry Ford-like industrialist who first marketed cars to the masses.
- Calling Your Attacks: In "A Leaf in the Wind," Korra tries with no success:
Korra: "Airbend!" *performs form at newspaper* "What is wrong with me? Airbend!"
- Call Back:
- In "The Revelation," when Amon takes away Lightning Bolt Zolt's bending, Zolt says the same thing that Ozai said when Aang took his bending away in the series' finale.
- In "The Aftermath", the owner of Cabbage Corp shouts "No, not my Cabbage Corp!" as he is arrested, similar to how the Cabbage Merchant did in the original series. Comes complete with an establishing shot featuring a statue of the original Cabbage Merchant holding a head of cabbage triumphantly towards the sky.
- Can't Kill You - Still Need You: In "The Voice in the Night". When Korra challenges Amon to a duel, he has his men restrain her and explains that while he could take her bending away, he will not because that would make her a martyr. Instead, he details a plan to take care of her last.
- Capital City: Republic City is this to the United Republic of Nations.
- Cast of Snowflakes: Even crowd shots are rendered with impressive detail and diversity.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: Episode 6, "And the Winner Is" - The Pro Bending commentator Shiro Shinobi. He retains the same energetic and fast-paced reporting tone when the match concludes and the equalists start emerging from the audience and using electric gloves to attack the event. He does not even change tone when they attack him, adding that he is peeing his pants without the tiniest vocal quiver.
- Catapult Nightmare: Korra gets one in "The Voice in the Night", as a result of being truly afraid for the first time in her life.
- Central Theme: Attaining balance, whether it be in an individual, a city, or the world. Recognizing one's own strengths and weaknesses, and by doing so, adapting to your personal environment and situation.
- Changing of the Guard: Korra and her compatriots take up the mission of their fore-bearers: to preserve peace and balance in the world.
- Cheaters Never Prosper: The Wolf Bats win the Pro-bending championships through cheating and paying-off the refs, but in the end Amon and his Equalists stripped them of their bending.
- Chekhov's Gun: At the end of the very first episode, a blueprint of a Mini-Mecha can be seen on the wall of the Equalist base. Cut to episode seven where they are wreaking havoc on the Metalbender Corps.
- Chekhov's News: In "A Leaf in the Wind", Korra hears of up-and-coming pro-bending team the Fire Ferrets, and their star player Mako, via a live radio broadcast.
- Combined with Chekhov's Gunman in "A Leaf in the Wind," when Korra is reading the newspaper, and a picture of Tahno can be seen on the back of the paper. He shows up about 3 episodes later as her rival.
- Chekhov's Skill: In "A Leaf in the Wind", the spiral dodging movements and footwork Jinora demonstrates and Korra struggles to master later help Korra win her first pro-bending match.
- At the racetrack in "The Aftermath" Asami mentioned she had taken self defense classes which later prove useful in subduing a chi blocker and her father
- Chekhov's News: In "A Leaf in the Wind", Korra hears of up-and-coming pro-bending team the Fire Ferrets, and their star player Mako, via a live radio broadcast.
- City of Adventure: Republic City, the show's main setting.
- Close-Call Haircut: In "When Extremes Meet", Tarrlok's opening attack on Korra slices off a few hairs from her ponytail when she dodges it.
- Clothing Combat: In "The Revelation", Korra borrows her friend Mako's Scarf of Asskicking to disguise herself and infiltrate an Equalist rally, and ends up using the scarf to throw a huge bouncer into a steam vent, knocking him out.
- Color-Coded Elements:
- Unlike the original series, where with few exceptions anyone's Elemental Nation citizenship or Elemental Powers could be determined at a glance, the people of Republic City either use a wide range of colors in their fashion, or Downplayed Trope their traditional colors, as with multiethnic bender crime gang the Triple Threat Triads. People that live in their countries of origin, and people who are deeply involved in their culture (like Tenzin and his followers, the Air Acolytes) still play this straight.
- Pro-bending teams identify which element each team member bends by their color-coded belts and helmets.
- Combat Commentator: Introduced in "A Leaf in the Wind," Shiro Shinobi, the announcer at pro-bending matches, narrates the action for spectators and radio listeners. He also narrates the "Previously On..." segments, complete with footage edited to look grainy and sepia-toned. Played for Laughs and drama in "And the Winner Is," where he continues commentating in the same manner he always does while he has an Equalist mook confronting him and about to electrocute him.
Shinobi: I am currently wetting my pants.
- Combat Tentacles: The Metalbender Cops' weapons of choice are wrist-mounted retractable cables that can be manipulated through bending. They are used to tie up criminals and move around the city.
- Comfort Food: In "The Spirit of Competition," Bolin takes Korra to a Southern Water Tribe restaurant for the food that she grew up with. Later, when he catches Korra and Mako kissing, he spends the entire night gorging on their noodles.
- Continuity Nod:
- In "The Revelation", Korra recalls the antibending protestor from "Welcome to Republic City" who gave her a hard time, and tracks him down so she and Mako can pump him for information on the chi-blockers.
- When Korra explains to Tenzin that Amon can take away a bender's bending permanently, Tenzin mentions that previously only the Avatar had that power: This power was developed and used in the series finale of the original show.
- Conspicuous CG: CGI is used for many things, including Satomobiles, Aang's statue in Republic City, Yue Bay, the police zeppelins, the airbending training gates, the boat Korra travels on, and for a brief shot in episode 7, Korra and Asami.
- Contrasting Sequel Character: Aang's successor, Avatar Korra, has goals, personality, pals, and even love life are insanely different. Basically, she is a Water Tribe princess, who is a jerk with a heart of gold and always looks for a good fight or challenge...Until she got character development.
- All the Avatars in history are personified versions of this trope, starting with Wan.
- Conveniently-Timed Attack From Behind: In "The Revelation" as bola-wielding chi-blockers advance toward a sprawled Mako and Korra, Naga frees herself. She and Pabu lunge bellowing (and squeaking) at them, at which they throw their smoke screen and flee.
- Cool Bike: The Equalists' motorcycles and Asami's moped.
- Cool Car: Future Industries' race car [dead link] is pretty cool, as is the gangsters' hot rod and the roadster Tarrlok gives Korra. Even the regular Satomobile sedan is pretty cool. Then there's Asami's alternative transport (a phaeton-type car) when Naga objects to carrying four people at once in "When Extremes Meet".
Mako: I like the new Team Avatar's style.
- Cosplay: In the final match between The Wolf Bats and the Fire Ferrets, cosplayers of the respective teams can be seen in the stands.
- Crash Into Hello/Meet Cute: In "The Voice in the Night" Asami meets Mako by nearly running him over with her moped.
- Cross-Popping Veins: In Episode 7, when Bolin and Mako are swimming in Asami's pool, Bolin orders her servant to dry him off, only for Bolin to immediately hop back in the pool. The servant understandably pops these.
- Cuffs Off, Rub Wrists
- In "Welcome to Republic City" Korra does this after Lin releases her from custody.
- In "The Revelation" Lightning Bolt Zolt also rubs his wrists after he's untied for his fight with Amon in episode three.
- Culture Chop Suey:
- The established Far East blending now adds elements of The Roaring Twenties and The Great Depression to its cultural milieu, with Republic City itself as a blend of Shanghai, Hong Kong, Manhattan, Vancouver and San Francisco.
- The soundtrack, as per the Track Team, is described as "1920s New Orleans Jazz but if it were invented in China".
- Culture Police: Cultural revolutionaries the Equalists want to eradicate the Supernatural Martial Arts of Bending and extend this to opposing its most popular culture, the Fictional Sport of pro-bending, on the grounds that it leads to idolizing benders.
- Curb Stomp Battle:
- In "Welcome to Republic City," Korra's battle with the three Triple Threat Triad members is laughably one-sided, despite her numerical disadvantage.
- In "The Revelation," Amon has absolutely no trouble dodging the captured bending criminals' attacks and closing the distance so that he can take away their bending
- In "The Revelation," Amon's lieutenant wipes the floor with Bolin and Mako, brutally so.
- In "The Voice in the Night", Korra gets ambushed, restrained and Breaking Speeched by Amon in no time flat.
- The Wolf-Bats score a first-round victory in "The Spirit of Competition", which was brutal enough to put the other team on stretchers. The very next episode, the Wolf-Bats fall to a Curb Stomp Battle against the Equalists and pay for it.
- When Amon's Lieutenant attacks Asami after she has made clear what side she was on, she proceeds to knock his first rod out of his hand, and then uses his other rod to knock him out.
- Damn You, Muscle Memory!: In "A Leaf in the Wind", Korra accidentally earthbends when she becomes frustrated during her first pro-bending match, despite assuring Bolin just prior that she would only waterbend to stay within the rules.
- Darker and Edgier: Korra is far darker than the original, which already had plenty of dark moments for a kids' show. According to the creators, they were surprised they could even get away with some parts of the show.
- Dartboard of Hate:
- In "A Leaf in the Wind", when Korra is trying to airbend, we zoom out to see that her target is actually a picture of Chief Beifong in the newspaper, which she then incinerates in frustration.
- At the beginning of "And The Winner Is..." the Fire Ferrets are using photos of Tahno, the captain of the Wolf-Bats, as target practice.
- De-Power: Amon can do this to benders.
- Dead Guy, Junior:
- Dead Line News: Even as the pro-bending arena is being attacked, and an enemy comes storming into the announcer's room, Shiro Shinobi continues commentating his attack for all the listeners at home.
- Death by Origin Story:
- In "The Revelation" we learn that Bolin and Mako's parents were killed when Mako was eight by a firebender who was mugging them. Later in the same episode, Amon claims that his family was killed, and his face scarred, by a firebender who extorted money from his non-bender family.
- In "Aftermath," we learn that Asami's mother was killed by a firebending triad member. This fact was used by Hiroshi Sato in order to tempt Asami to join the Equalists with him.
- Death Glare: In "The Voice in the Night" Pema gives Tenzin quite a glare after he reluctantly allows Tarrlok to join them for dinner. He only acquiesces because according to Air Nomad philosophy, you cannot turn away a hungry guest. Ikki then trumps her mother when she really glares at Tarrlok after declaring him "weird;" her glare continues for twenty seconds, even after the camera pans away from her to cover his conversation with Korra.
- Destructive Savior: In "Welcome to Republic City" Korra ends up destroying more property than the gang members she caught when she first arrived in Republic City, which is quickly pointed out by the Metalbending Police when they try to arrest her. Chief Beifong is adamant that, Avatar or not, acts of vigilante destruction will not be tolerated.
- Didn't Think This Through:
- Korra starts out this way, having the power of the Avatar but not the social skills, common sense, or grounding needed to make important decisions. Case in point that when she leaves the compound to find Tenzin and his family in Republic City, it didn't occur to her that she would need money or that she could accidentally break the rules related to public brawling. She gets better about this by Book Four, outright refusing to fight Kuvira in a one-on-one fight without at least reasoning with her first and seeing if there is a peaceful solution.
- Pema overhears Korra asking Ikki and Jinora what true love involves and what to do about crushing on Mako when he's dating Asami. She thoughtlessly encourages Korra to pursue Mako, relating to how things worked out for her when she confessed her feelings to Tenzin, who was in a relationship with Lin at the time. Pema apparently forgot that her confession led to Lin trashing Air Temple Island, and it was a messy breakup overall. As it is, when Korra tries the same thing, she alienates Mako and Bolin at the same time. To top it all off, Pema gets a Heel Realization when she meets Asami after the latter has to take refuge on Air Temple Island.
- Zaheer smugly points this out to the Earth Queen in Book 3. By capturing the Avatar in a means to find the Earthbenders that Korra rescued from the Dai Li compound, she basically made an enemy of the other nations, if word were to get out to Republic City or the Fire Nation. He reminds Hou-Ting that her position is fragile given the other Nations support her, and that support could easily vanish if she proves incompetent. The Dai Li are not diplomats, after all, and can't defend her with their earthbending from politics. That's not even going into Hou-Ting wanting to work with Zaheer in the first place, given he's a murdering anarchist and terrorist to boot. When she tries to throw her weight around with Zaheer when he reveals he overhead that Korra escaped, he proceeds to suffocate her with airbending as the Red Lotus curb stomps the Dai Li.
- Zaheer himself falls victim to this, which Korra tells him bluntly in "Beyond The Wilds". His plan with the Red Lotus was basically "equalize nations, dismantle the Avatar as a symbol of balance, spread anarchy, let the people revel in their freedom." Beyond that? He didn't have any steps. It didn't occur to him that, while undercover as a new Air Nation acolyte that his knowledge of advanced techniques would attract Kya's suspicions, and he barely escapes when she busts him snooping around her father's things. Assassinating the Earth Queen did lead to anarchy, but also created a power vacuum that allowed Kuvira, a much worse and more competent tyrant, to start her campaign. Zaheer is particularly crushed about this one when Korra tells him his philosophies led to the principles he hated gaining more power. To top it all off, he tries to fatally poison Korra while she's in the Avatar State. Ignoring the fact that even while dying she thrashes him, it didn't occur to him that Lin or Suyin could metalbend the mercury out of her once they were in range. Also, the last person who tried killing the Avatar this way -- Azula-- lost her friends, her mind, and her status, earning some bad karma. Zaheer loses his friends, his freedom, and his victories. All he can do is try to stop Kuvira by helping Korra with her block, while sentenced to imprisonment in a mountain while chained up so tightly he can no longer fly.
- Die or Fly: In "A Leaf in the Wind", when Korra is on the verge of losing the pro-bending match for the Ferrets, she suddenly gets how to move like a leaf in the wind.
- Dieselpunk: Despite the inspiration of Steampunk, and the use of aesthetics associated with it, the series fits squarely into this category; the internal combustion engine is in widespread use and the setting matches the 1920s, with all the cultural trappings.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: In "A Leaf in the Wind", Bolin correctly presumes that Korra is a waterbender due to ethnicity and clothing, but Korra trolls him by saying she's an earthbender (which she is too...). Bolin hastily tries to apologize for Mistaken Nationality.
Bolin: I'm sorry, no, no! I didn't mean to assume! It's that, I was just figuring... with your Water Tribe getup... that you are... a Water Tribe... gal.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?:
- The 1920's environment and the Equalists' rhetoric about overthrowing the ruling class mirrors the Communist/Socialist organizations that sprang up in industrializing countries during the late-nineteenth/early-twentieth centuries.
- In "The Revelation" the staging of Amon's removing the bending of the leader and members of the Triple Threat Triads is set up like a public execution.
- In "The Voice in the Night" The Equalists ganging up on Korra, forcing her to the ground, and Amon's mental torture that follows are terrifyingly similar to a rape. Korra's reaction does not help.
- In "The Spirit of Competition" Bolin sees Mako and Korra kissing after Bolin had gone on a date with her the day before and spent the night drowning his sorrows with noodles and acting hungover the next morning and throwing up after a hit to his gut.
- Do Not Adjust Your Set: Amon hijacks radio broadcasts to spread his message.
- The Door Slams You: In "A Leaf in the Wind" Korra has great difficulty getting through the obstacle course posed by the airbending training gates, getting smacked around like a pinball.
- Downer Ending: "When Extremes Meet" ends with Mako, Asami and Bolin in jail and Korra being driven by Tarrlok to somewhere where she'll "never be found".
- Down to the Last Play: Happens in "The Spirit of Competition", with the Fire Ferrets' second tournament match.
- The Dragon: The Lieutenant.
- Dreaming of Times Gone By: During a Flashback Cut after Korra was knocked out by Amon. This seems to be theme whenever Korra gets knocked out, as it happens several times afterwards.
- Driven to Suicide: Jinora relates a story she read in a historical novel where a princess was unable to be with the man she loved, so she burned down an entire country via dragon and then jumped into a volcano.
Jinora: It was so romantic!
- Drowning My Sorrows: In "The Spirit of Competition", Bolin performs a family-friendly variation, binge-eating tons and tons of noodles after he witnesses Korra kissing Mako.
- Drunk on Milk: When Bolin has his feelings hurt by Korra, he spends the whole night in a noodle shop, and Mako has to actually carry him home in the morning.
- Elaborate Underground Base: There is a massive factory hidden beneath the Sato estate.
- Electric Slide: In "Welcome to Republic City," the metal-bending police use this to easily chase criminals on the run.
- Elemental Eye Colors:
- While largely continuing its predecessor's formula of tying a person's eye color to their home nation and bending element, there are some aversions in multicultural Republic City. The firebender on the pro-bending team the Rabbiroos has green eyes and one of the metalbender cops has amber eyes, for example.
- The three main characters -- Korra, Mako, and Bolin -- play this trope straight. Korra has aqua blue eyes and is the waterbender of the team, Bolin has leaf green eyes and is the earthbender, while Mako has amber eyes and is the firebender.
- While not a bender, Asami is definitely of Fire Nation descent given her name and hair color (her father looks straight out of the Fire Nation) yet she has green eyes, a mark of the intermarrying of ethnically Fire Nation and Earth Kingdom citizens in the Fire Nation colonies.
- Elemental Powers: Republic City is full to bursting with fire-, earth-, and waterbenders, and is home to every airbender or potential airbender in the world (all five of them). Particular cases below:
- Blow You Away: Tenzin and his three kids are all Airbenders, and Korra is learning to become one from Tenzin.
- Dishing Out Dirt: Korra and Bolin are both Earthbenders.
- Extra Ore Dinary: The police force are all Metalbenders. Their chief, Lin Beifong, is the daughter of the one who created both the discipline and the city's police force: Toph Beifong.
- Making a Splash: The native element of Korra and of her people, the Northern and Southern Water Tribes.
- Playing with Fire: Korra and Mako are both Firebenders.
- Elemental Punch: Tahno tries a waterbending-enhanced uppercut on Korra in "And the Winner Is...", though he fails to connect.
- Elite Mooks: The chi-blockers, who unlike the gloved Equalists are able to match benders in an even fight--and come out on top.
- Equal Opportunity Evil:
- The Triple Threat Triads are an actively multiethnic bender organized crime gang. In "Welcome to Republic City" Korra meets and beats a Power Trio of protection racket enforcers consisting of a waterbender, earthbender and firebender respectively. Other Triad groups, such as the Agni Kais and Blood Monsoons, avert this by being element-specific.
- The Equalists are gender and nationality eutral; In "The Revelation", there were some female Chi-blocker Elite Mooks alongside the male ones, contending with Korra and Mako, and their membership is drawn from the non-benders of all three nations.
- Establishing Character Moment: In "Welcome to Republic City" Korra at age four: "I'm the Avatar! You gotta deal with it!"
- Evil Overlooker:
- Evil Plan: The Equalists plan to end the era of bending and eliminate the bending arts entirely.
- Evil Versus Evil:
- Exact Words: In "A Leaf in the Wind", Tenzin tells Korra she cannot watch a pro-bending match. When he catches her enjoying one on the radio, she points out that he never said she cannot listen to one. Tenzin, of course, points out that it's a violation of the spirit of the order, if not the letter.
- Eye Am Watching You: In "Welcome to Republic City", Chief Beifong gives this to Korra, index and pinky pointed to her eyes, then Korra. Korra gives one heck of a stink face before throwing the gesture right back.
- Face Palm: In "A Leaf in the Wind", Mako does this when Korra makes her first mistake as their team's replacement player in a pro-bending match.
- Face Your Fears: Korra tries to face Amon, who absolutely terrifies her, in Episode 4. It only makes things worse.
- False Camera Effects:
- Blurring often transitions from the foreground to the background or vice versa, as if someone is adjusting the focus on a camera.
- The demonstrations of earth- and airbending in the intro make the "camera" shake slightly.
- Korra and Mako's fight against the chi blockers in "The Revelation" features a moment where the "camera" swivels around Korra and her opponent in a panoramic sweep.
- Fandom Nod:
Jinora "Gran-Gran, I've been reading all about your old adventures; I've been dying to ask you; what happened to Zuko's mom?"
- Fan Girl: Apparently, Bolin has a ton of them. During the first pro-bending match's opening in "A Leaf in the Wind", one of them can be heard screaming very loudly "I love you, Bolin!", and Mako's initial attitude towards Korra implies that Bolin brings fangirls to their prep room often.
- Fantastic Racism: The Equalist movement claims that benders are oppressing the non-benders of the city. The thing is, they have some legitimate points; there are multiple bending crime gangs which prey on non-benders, and Republic City is ruled by a council of five benders, one from each nation (Fire, Earth, North & South Water, and Air). On the flip side, Amon talks about "cleansing [benders] of their impurity" and other Equalists have voiced loathing at the thought of benders and non-benders mixing romantically.
- Fascists' Bed Time: Tarrlok imposes a curfew on all non-benders in "When Extremes Meet."
- The Federation: The United Republic of Nations, a collection of former Fire Nation colonies created as a fifth nation.
- Feminist Fantasy: A female-led animated action show with a protagonist designed to be athletic and muscular is a calculated risk, but, as seen in the pagequote above, it's paid off.
- Feud Episode: "The Spirit of Competition".
- Fictional Sport: Pro-bending, where teams composed of one waterbender, one firebender and one earthbender compete against each other, trying to gain the most territory or knock out as many opponents as possible before time runs out.
- Fingerless Gloves:
- Come standard on otherwise heavily padded pro-bending uniforms, as well as the similar armor Korra wears for her Firebending test in "Welcome to Republic City."
- Mako wears his own set in his daily clothes.
- Finger-Snap Lighter:
- In "Welcome to Republic City" the Firebender of a Triple Threat Triad Power Trio pulls this to back up his boss's threat against a shopkeeper who was behind on his protection money.
- In "The Voice in the Night," Korra manifests a ball of fire in her palm to verify that she can still bend.
- Flashback Cut: Played for Drama in "The Voice in the Night;" After Korra is knocked out, she's briefly Dreaming of Times Gone By, with split-second visions of Aang, and his friends Sokka and Toph as middle-aged adults.
- Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling:
- Mako and Bolin have shades of this. Mako is a tightly controlled young man focused on winning the pro-bending prize money to keep himself and his little brother from going back on the streets, while Bolin is more of an easygoing type with a sense of humor and a way with the ladies. Mako is also determined to stay away from the Triads, but Bolin allows himself to almost be dragged into a turf war in "The Revelation".
- Jinora (older, polite, calm) and Ikki (younger, motormouth, high-energy).
- Forceful Kiss/"Shut Up" Kiss: In "The Spirit of Competition", Korra kisses Mako after he explains that he likes her, but he still likes Asami. He kisses her back.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble:
- Korra is Choleric.
- Bolin is Sanguine.
- Mako is Melancholic.
- Asami is Phlegmatic.
- Fourth Wall Psych: Tenzin looks directly at the camera when he says "You must promise me that your teenage years won't be like this!" (He's actually talking to his kids.)
- Freeze-Frame Bonus:
- At the very beginning of "A Leaf in the Wind", there is a picture of Tahno, introduced in "The Spirit of Competition", on the back page of the newspaper Korra is reading.
- At the end of "Welcome to Republic City", there are blueprints on the wall to Amon's left, apparently detailing Mini-Mecha. The mecha themselves appear in "The Aftermath".
- The battle moves fast enough that it's hard to notice, but screenshots of "The Revelation" indicate that the Equalist who chi-blocks Korra has a feminine figure. Guess they really do strive for equality...
- A certain man in a yellow suit and a hat with a red feathery puff on top has been featured in nearly every crowd shot so far. Fans have made a game out of finding him.
- From the Mouths of Babes: Ikki pulls this on Korra in "When Extremes Meet". She reveals Korra's crush on Mako to Asami, who was unaware of the crush beforehand. Ikki also likes to comment on stuff that isn't appropriate.
- Funny Side-frame Event: After declaring him "weird," Ikki stares at Tarrlok for twenty seconds. The stare continues even after the camera pans to the left to focus on Tarrlok's conversation with Korra, where Ikki can be seen at the right of the shot, still staring at Tarrlok.
- Gender Equal Ensemble: Team Avatar (not counting mentor Tenzin), once Asami officially joins up.
- Generational Saga: In Korra, the previous series' protagonists, their children and grandchildren are alternately featured, depicted in Flash Back or discussed, particularly Avatar Aang's multigenerational family, with his Reincarnation Korra narratively treated as a de facto member.
- Generational Trauma: Even though the world is no longer under constant attack from the Fire Nation, the emotional scars remain:
- Because Aang disappeared for a hundred years, the White Lotus takes great pains to identify Korra when she's a toddler. Fortunately for them, she had mastered three of four elements. We find out they might have gone easier on her training to ensure she had a normal childhood, if a separate faction called the Red Lotus hadn't plotted to kidnap her and raise her as an anarchist Avatar. Thanks to the attempt, Korra's father insisted they up the protection on the compound to ensure no one could harm his daughter, while the White Lotus feared how history would repeat if Korra vanished. As a side effect, however, Korra's social skills and spirituality are lacking; without having to interact with real-world context or daily life, she's at first inept when doing something as simple as finding food in Republic City. She calls out her dad for this in season two, but understands his perspective when Zaheer under a truce meeting reveals that he masterminded the kidnapping plot.
- Avatar Aang was a good person, a cheerful guy, and a doting father, but Tenzin felt immense pressure from Aang since they were the last two Airbenders in existence. Aang couldn't forget that he was the only survivor of the Airbender clans, having found many skeletons where he expected to find friends, and passed that anxiety onto his only airbending child. Kya and Bumi felt that they were ignored in favor of Tenzin, and both resented their little brother while still showing they would protect him with their life.
- Firelord Izumi and her son General Iroh bear the emotional scars of what their ancestors did. Iroh leads fleets to protect the innocent while knowing the implications of declaring war. Izumi herself refuses to launch preemptive strikes against Kuvira in Season 4, pointing out that decisions like that led to the Fire Nation destroying entire cultures.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Can be found here.
- Gilded Cage: At the start of the series, Korra lived in a lavish mansion, with her only real challenge in life being to learn bending from masters... in the middle of an inaccessible and heavily fortified compound, miles from any other inhabitants of the South Pole--including her own parents. She was not allowed to leave the compound without permission, and had guards watching her at all times, even while taking Naga on a walk.
- Girly Run: In "The Spirit of Competition," Bolin does this with bonus Inelegant Blubbering while fleeing the deeply hurtful sight of his friend Korra (who he'd taken on a date the night before) kissing his brother Mako.
- Good Parents: Korra's parents, along with Tenzin and his wife.
- Gosh Darn It to Heck: Justified, as it is both a family show and set in the equivalent of the 1920s.
- Graying Morality: Compared to the original Avatar series. The best example would be the Equalists, because unlike the Fire Nation, they actually have a point. The non-benders in the city are taken advantage of by the benders, who compose the ruling council without any non-bender representation.
- The Great White North: The Southern Water Tribe city at the South Pole, home of Avatar Korra, her parents, and her Waterbendering sifu, Master Katara.
- Group Hug: The Fire Ferrets have one in "The Spirit of Competition" after defeating the Rabiroos.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: A heroic example. While the Order of the White Lotus serve as Korra's Hero Secret Service, she can get around them pretty easily when she wants to.
- Guilty Pleasures: Tenzin does not approve of Pro-Bending, yet in "And The Winner Is" he seems to know the rules quite well. He even cheers on Korra when she plays; though it's just as likely that he learned the rules after he decided to allow Korra to keep playing, all in support of his pupil and not for any love of the game. Or to the extent that he genuinely enjoys the sport, it may be because he enjoys seeing Korra succeed.
- He Is Not My Boyfriend: "A Leaf in the Wind," when Bolin lies to Toza to let Korra backstage, Korra feels the need to correct him:
Bolin: So, you see, we're together...
- Healing Hands: Korra is one of the water-benders who have the ability to heal, having learned it from Katara.
- Heart Is an Awesome Power: Wu's singing voice becomes this. Towards the end of Book 4, Wu says that Republic City can use the badger moles to dig tunnels before Kuvira's invasion, to evacuate the citizens. Mako points out the problem: badger moles are wild. Then Wu starts singing and rapping; a badger mole lets him ride and he uses his song to encourage them to dig in the right direction. When it seems that Kuvira's mecha troops have cornered them, Wu offers to surrender as the prince and ruler of the Earth Kingdom in exchange for letting the civilians go, and keeps singing. Her persuades the badger moles to attack the mechas instead, which they do with pleasure. Mako and Bolin are impressed that Wu had it in him.
- Heart Symbol: Mako has them fluttering around his head after meeting Asami, but more subtly, the table and chairs they sit at on their first date are lit in such a way as to strongly imply a heart.
- Hidden Depths: Bumi admits to Tenzin in Book 3 that he admits he's not used to being an airbender or part of the Air Nation. For most of his life, he was the odd duck in the family with no powers, and felt like he didn't belong. Tenzin reminds Bumi that he's got a clear head on his shoulders, and experience in leadership. In short, he's exactly like the Avatar Aang was.
- Held Gaze:
- One between Korra and Mako in "A Leaf in the Wind" after they win the Pro-bending match.
- Bolin and a minor unnamed bender share one of these when the bender is led away to have his abilities removed by Amon in "The Revelation".
- Hero Insurance: Subverted Trope in the premiere. Though she assumes she has leeway, Korra learns the hard way that being the Avatar is not a license to dish out vigilante justice and smash property.
- Hero Secret Service: The Order of the White Lotus act as this to Korra. However, they seem to spend more time listening to the radio than watching Korra.
- Hobos: Korra encounters one in the first episode, living in a bush in one of Republic City's public parks. He alludes to there being quite a few homeless people in the city.
- Hold Your Hippogriffs:
Bolin: (to Korra) In a real match, you'd be a sitting turtleduck.
- Holding Your Shoulder Means Injury: Bolin performs this in "The Spirit of Competition," after getting smacked by a stray earth disk. Unusually, it actually is his shoulder that's injured, complete with ugly bruise.
- Huddle Shot: Used "Spirit of Competition", when Mako tries to build up confidence for the upcoming tournament.
- I Am Not My Father: A recurring motif.
- Tenzin is as serious and staid as Aang was carefree.
- Lin shares Toph's toughness, she's very strict about enforcing the law and has no patience for the Avatar's vigilante justice.
- Asami refuses to join the Equalists with Hiroshi.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The pattern is carried on from the parent series, with "Book Name- Chapter- Episode Name".
- I Did What I Had to Do: Mako delivers this line word for word when defending his prior association with the Triple Threat Triad.
- Impairment Shot: Korra's view of Amon wobbles, goes sideways, then goes dark after he strikes her.
- Impossibly Cool Weapon: The Lieutenant, Amon's second-in-command, dual wields electrified kali sticks.
- I Need to Go Iron My Dog:
Korra: I'm supposed to air sit, I mean baby bend, I-I mean babysit the airbender kids.
- Inelegant Blubbering: In "The Spirit of Competition", a deeply hurt Bolin is reduced to this, complete with Ocular Gushers, rivers of snot and miserable wailing.
- Infectious Enthusiasm: In "A Leaf in the Wind," staid Tenzin gets caught up in the mood and lets out a celebratory whoop at Korra's first pro-bending victory.
- The Infiltration: In "The Revelation" Mako and Korra disguise themselves to sneak into an Equalist rally.
- Instant Awesome, Just Add Mecha: The Equalists, with the help of Hiroshi Sato, developed small mechas equipped to counter Bending, with a group of them being able to render Korra, Tenzin, Lin and some of the police force unconcious.
- Instant Win Condition: In pro-bending, if an entire team is knocked off the ring in a single round, they lose the entire match, regardless of score.
- Ironic Echo: During the infiltration of Sato Manor, one metalbender cop was assigned to watch over Asami, Mako, and Bolin. When he tells them to stay put until Chief Bei Fong returns, Mako and Bolin incapacitate him, and Bolin delivers this spiteful reprise:
Bolin: Yeah, just stay put until the chief comes back. That sounds very familiar, doesn't it? Why? Because you said it.
- Ironic Name: Korra's father Tonraq is a huge man who towers over his wife, Senna. His name is an Inuit word for "tiny man".
- Island Base: While not exactly a "base," the Air Temple Island where Tenzin and his family live is pretty sweet.
- It Got Worse:
- First, Amon reveals he can permanently revoke someone's bending powers. Second, he reveals the game-changing electrified gauntlets, so "everyone has the power of a chi blocker". And now, Hiroshi Sato has delivered metalbending-proof Mini-Mecha to the Equalists.
- When first introduced, Tarrlok seems like a well-meaning, albeit self-serving politician trying to protect the city. In episode 8, "self-serving" is the only part that still applies. He begins persecuting all non-benders, arrests Korra's friends to blackmail her into playing ball, then bloodbends Korra when she refuses to comply, planning to take her somewhere no one will ever find her.
- It Only Works Once: When Korra first fights Equalist chi-blockers, they use smoke bombs to disorient her and cover their escape. The second time she faces chi-blockers she encases the smoke bombs in water and freezes them to contain the smoke.
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: Bolin, who despite his bulky physique and athletic profession, is extremely emotional and sensitive, and loves make-overs.
- Jazz: Has been added to the soundtrack. A sprightly big-band-esque set of horns plays whenever Korra springs into action.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Tarrlok is using his task force to score political points, but the Equalists are a militant revolutionary group openly advocating the violent overthrow of their country's government and the extermination of bending. Some sort of official response is necessary to that existential threat and Tarrlok is the only council member offering a plan.
- Just Friends: In "The Spirit of Competition," the Sibling Triangle of Bolin, Mako and Korra articulate their feelings towards each other in various ways. After resulting interpersonal tensions nearly cost them their place in the finals, the three settle back into a mutually friendly dynamic, with the larger underlying Love Dodecahedron unresolved.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch:
- The first public victims of Amon's bending-removal ability are the leader of the Triple-Threat Triad gang and three of his bender thugs.
- Amon's second group of victims is the Wolf-Bats pro-bending team, which had just won the championship through bribery and flagrant cheating.
- Lame Comeback/No, You:
- In "Welcome to Republic City" Korra is not that good with the verbal wit.
Protestor: Benders like this girl only use their power to oppress us!
- In "The Spirit of Competition", Bolin gets one, but he has the excuse of being "drunk":
Mako: I told you that dating a teammate was a bad idea.
- Kung Fu-Proof Mook: The Equalists' Mini-Mecha are made from platinum, metal so pure metalbenders are incapable of manipulating it.
- Logical Weakness:
- The Equalists electrical technology is very effective against the Metalbending Police, whose armor and Combat Tentacles are a perfect conductor.
- Metalbenders are easily crippled when faced with pure metal, which makes sense when one considers that metalbenders actually only bend the earth-based impurities in metal and not the material itself.
- The Mini-Mecha are well-armored against bending, but a glass cockpit window is required for navigation. That glass is not proofed against bending, leaving the pilots vulnerable to direct attack -- as Lin demonstrates.
- Love At First Sight:
- Bolin literally did a Double Take the first time he saw Korra and later explained that he liked her right away.
- Korra's face lights up when she first sees Mako.
- After Asami ran over Mako, he began seeing hearts (literally) after she took off her helmet and scheduled a date.
- Love Dodecahedron: Bolin likes Korra, who likes Mako, who likes Korra but is dating Asami.
- Low-Angle Shot: Used on Amon at the end of "And the Winner Is..."
- Freudian Trio:
- Korra, Mako, and Bolin as the pro-bending team the Fire Ferrets. This extends to their bending itself (Water, Earth, Fire), Chromatic Arrangement / Elemental Eye Colors (Blue, Red, Green), and their setup as a Freudian Trio (The McCoy, The Spock, The Kirk).
- The Triple Threat Triad grunts deliberately Invoked Trope this with their team of three, an Earth, Fire and Waterbender... at least, until Korra kicks their butts.
- Le Parkour: The urban cityscape setting allows for heavy use of the style in outdoor fight choreography, and an expert is employed as a consultant.
- Made of Explodium: Played With. When Hiroshi is looking out the window of his mecha he sees Lin stabbing away at another, which then appears to explode. Cut to a different POV and its revealed to really have been Korra blowing fire on his window.
- Magic A Is Magic A: Bending follows specific rules. Certain characters seeming to violate the rules are major plot points: Amon can take away bending, an ability that only the Avatar is supposed to have, and Tarrlok can bloodbend when there is not a full moon.
- Magitek: While a lot of the technology is what you'd expect to find from the 1920s, things are supplemented by bending. Lightningbending generates electricity, metalbending and firebending aid the working of metal and the making of buildings, etc.
- The Magocracy: The United Republic Council is made up of five benders representing each Elemental Nation (Earth, Fire, Air and North & South Water), so Republic City lacks non-bender representation within its government.
- Malevolent Masked Men: All of the Equalists wear masks. Some are Gas Mask Mooks, and the leader wears a White Mask of Doom.
- Market-Based Title: Due to the legal issues surrounding the name "Avatar," the show will be referred to as just The Legend Of Korra in the United States, and Avatar: The Legend Of Korra for international audiences.
- May-December Romance: Tenzin (51), the third child of Aang and Katara, is Happily Married to Pema (35), sixteen years his junior. Their oldest child is 10.
- Meaningful Background Event: Bolin is first seen in the background in "A Leaf on the Wind" as he walks past Korra arguing with the gym manager of the Pro-Bending arena. He does a Double Take when he sees her, slicks back his hair and walks over. In "The Spirit of Competition," he explains to Korra that he liked her from the very moment he saw her.
- Meaningful Echo: The scene where Amon demonstrates the ability to remove people's bending is extremely similar to the scene where Aang did the same thing to Ozai. Right down to the dialogue.
Zolt: What... what did you do to me?
- Medieval Stasis: Averted. The technology present in Aang's time has advanced and spread, with Republic City boasting radios, electricity, cars, skyscrapers, cameras, microphones, and trains. A post-war development boom erased the Fire Nation's previous technological advantage.
- Melting Pot Nomenclature: As a melting pot, Republic City plays host to names from multiple ethicities: Korra is a variant of the Greek name Cora, Mako's is Japanese while his brother Bolin's is Chinese. Hiroshi and Asami Sato have Japanese names, as does Shiro Shinobi. Narook the noodle-shop owner's is Inuit. Tenzin and Pema's are Tibetan. Jinora's is Sanskrit. Ikki is Uzbek for "two." Butakha is Indonesian for "bald." Lin Beifong is Chinese, Saikhan is Mongol, Hasook is Korean, and Tarrlok is Irish made to look Inuit.
- Mini-Mecha: The mecha-tanks. They were built by Hiroshi Sato, for the Equalists.
- A Minor Kidroduction: The series opens with a brief look at four-year-old Korra as part of an Establishing Character Moment, before jumping ahead in an Age Cut thirteen years later to the present day.
- Misaimed Marketing: In-Universe. The announcer uses Bolin throwing up last night's meal as the perfect time to advertise "Flameo Noodles, the Noodle-iest noodles in the United Republic!"
- Misplaced Retribution: Amon's motivation, according to Tarrlok. Tarrlok tells Korra and Mako that Amon is actually his older brother, who used to be a sweet kid named Noatak. Their father was Yakone, a bloodbending mob boss that Aang depowered and imprisoned for his crimes against citizens. Yakone escaped from prison, settled down, and raised his two waterbending kids as weapons to get revenge on the Avatar, by making them practice bloodbending on a regular basis. Noatak called out Yakone during a particularly brutal session where he was forced to bloodbend Tarrlok, who was not even a preteen, saying that the Avatar was more powerful because he could take away bending rather than control people. Rather than consider that his father was an asshole, Noatak concluded that bending causes corruption of the mind and strove to "rescue" people by removing bending from everyone in Republic City. This would eventually lead to Amon targeting Tenzin and his family, the most innocent benders to boot. It's implied that in the first season finale that Amon came to realize this, that he and Tarrlok became their father, and the weapons that Yakone wanted to destroy the Avatar. He returns to the ruins of Air Temple Island and frees a depowered Tarrlok, asking if they can go start a new life. Tarrlok pretends to agree, only to use an Equalist glove to blow up their boat to pretend history from repeating.
- Mix-and-Match Critters: Animals from the original show, with some new additions.
- Korra's Canine Companion Naga the Polar Bear dog, just as giant as one might assume.
- Bolin's pet fire ferret Pabu, a mix between a ferret and a red panda.
- Descendents of rediscovered Sky Bison and Ringtailed Winged Lemurs (close cousins to Flying Lemur Momo) live on Air Temple Island.
- Lizard-crows scavenge in Republic City's urban sprawl.
- Mood Whiplash:
- "The Voice in the Night" ends with Korra sobbing into Tenzin's chest as she admits that, for the first time her life, she is terrified and has no idea what to do. "The Spirit of Competition" begins with upbeat big band music and turns into a Shipping plot.
- "And the Winner Is…" starts with the continuation of the Pro-Bending championship now with more serious opponents and ends with a terrorist attack led by Amon.
- Mugging the Monster:
Triple Threat Waterbender: Who do you think you are?
- The Earth Queen Hou-Ting tries throwing her weight around with who she thinks are bounty hunters wanting the Avatar. Turns out they were Zaheer and the Red Lotus. She pays for it, with her life.
- Muggle Born of Mages: Animation Insider's family tree [dead link] reveals Aang and Katara's middle child Bumi as the non-bender of their three children.
- Muggle Power: The entire Equalist movement is based around establishing nonbenders in positions of power and eliminating the need for bending entirely, in response to the oppression of nonbenders by benders. They end up dissolving as of Season 2 owing to Korra proving that Amon is a fraud, and he outs himself as a waterbender after she airbends him out a window. It also helps that Asami, Mako and Bolin take down Hiroshi Sato's mechas while General Iroh leads an assault against the Equalist forces, nearly taking them down solo.
- Muggles Do It Better: So far, the Equalists have been far more dangerous, capable and effective than their bending adversaries. In fact, Korra lost her first fight against an Equalist Mook, and later on, both of her teammates lost to The Lieutenant at the same time.
- Mundane Utility:
- Korra uses firebending to cook a fish in the Republic City park.
- Firebenders can be seen generating lightning for use at a power plant.
- The Adventure Game on Nick.com reveals the Future Industries uses firebenders for welding.
- Musicalis Interruptus:
- See Fandom Nod above. As Katara begins her story, dramatic music starts in the background, only for it to abruptly stop when Ikki interrupts.
- At the beginning of "A Voice in the Night," while Korra practices airbending forms after dinner, she has the radio on to some cheerful music. Halfway through, it is interrupted by a broadcast from Amon.
- As Tenzin begins to explain to Korra the choices in life which lead to him choosing Pema over Lin a serene, peaceful music wells up, only to break off with him sputtering "Why am I even telling you this?!"
- Mutually Exclusive Magic: As in the original series, all but the Avatar are only capable of bending one element. Children of mixed heritage will learn the element of one of their parents or the other, and perhaps no element at all, but never both.
- My Parents Are Dead: In "The Revelation," Mako snaps at Korra when she comments she has people to take care of her, and his brother Bolin explains to Korra that they have been orphaned for quite some time. Later, Mako elaborates further, revealing to Korra that at age eight, he witnessed his parents' murder during a mugging by a firebender.
- Never Trust a Trailer: "The Spirit of Competition" looked as if it would focus completely on the probending tournament, but was really an entire episode about the Love Dodecahedron.
- New Era Speech: Amon gives one of these at an Equalist rally.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Lin Bei Fong voluntarily resigns from the police force due to her failures to curb the Equalist threat. However, that allows Tarrlok to manipulate the new chief of police.
- Non-Human Sidekick:
- Korra's polar-bear dog, Naga.
- Bolin has a Fire Ferret buddy called Pabu.
- Not Bad: In "A Leaf in the Wind" stoic Mako sincerely offers this compliment when Korra successfully follows Bolin's pro-bending advice. It backfires, as she assumes she has been Damned By Faint Praise, to Mako's confusion.
Mako: What? I said "Not bad."
- Not So Different: In episode eight, Tarrlok compares Korra to himself this way, saying they both use force to get what they want. It is promptly turned on him when Korra states that his actions towards non-benders makes him no better than Amon, making his eye twitch in fury.
- Not the Fall That Kills You: Averted. When Korra freefalls from hundreds of feet in the air, Chief Beifong does not catch her. She extends a metallic cable, allowing Korra to swing down and slow her descent more gradually and safely.
- Novelty Decay: Once-unique elements of the previous series have now become common:
- Firebending's advanced technique of lightningbending, once only demonstrated by Azula, Iroh, and Ozai, is, after seventy years and an industrial revolution, mundane enough that firebender menial laborers use it to run the power plants for low pay. Mako, however, knows how to use it in a sneak attack when Amon has him cornered.
- Metalbending, once Toph's unique innovation, is now practiced by the entire police force.
- The Equalists fighters all use Ty Lee's Pressure Point-based chi-blocking.
- The Air Nomads have gone from Aang alone to Aang's son having an airbending family, along with a number of non-bender acolytes devoted to the Air Nomad way of life.
- Obvious Rule Patch: Pro-Bending didn't take into account what would happen if the Avatar became a player. The referees allowed Korra to continue, but only as long as she bent a single element.
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In "The Spirit of Competition", all we hear of the Wolf-Bats fight is some noise of the hits and the buzzer going off every few seconds. When we look back at them, they won their match in the first round and their opponents are being carried out on stretchers.
- Offscreen Teleportation: Special points to Tenzin in "A Leaf in the Wind" for somehow making it from Air Temple Island to the Pro Bending Ring in the 30 seconds between the match resuming and Korra getting knocked into the pool below. Airbenders travel fast.
- Oh Crap:
- In "A Leaf in the Wind" the White Lotus guards Spit Take when they are listening to the radio and learn that Korra is playing in the pro-bending playoff.
- Tahno gets a moment when the Equalists subdue him and Amon approaches him. We get a close up of his face just before Amon takes his bending.
- The new Chief of Police Saikhan gets one when he sees Councilman Tenzin coming into his station after Tarrlok ordered him to arrest Korra's friends and many innocent non-benders.
- Korra when she realizes that Tarrlok is a bloodbender and can do it without the full moon.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: The Wolfbat's over the top entrance in "And the Winner Is..." comes complete with a choir chanting ominously in the background.
- One Name Only: In-universe, surnames are the exception instead of the rule, and tend to indicate wealth, as with Lin Beifong, and Hiroshi and Asami Sato, though Combat Commentator Shiro Shinobi also has a surname.
- OOC Is Serious Business: When Korra uncharacteristically refuses an offer to join an Equalist-hunting taskforce in favor of finishing her training, Tenzin correctly deduces that she's doing so out of fear rather than any sense of obligation.
- Opening Narration: In the same style of the original. The demonstrative benders are the Avatars Kyoshi, Roku, Aang, and Korra. Tenzin inherits the speaking role from his mother. The ""Previously On..."" segments use a sepia tone and a dramatic announcer, indicative of the era because of their great similarities to 1920's film.
- The pilot differs slightly from the rest of the episodes, using a longer recap:
"Earth. Fire. Air. Water. When I was a boy, my father, Avatar Aang, told me the story of how he and his friends heroically ended the hundred year war. Avatar Aang and Firelord Zuko transformed the Fire Nation colonies into the United Republic of Nations: a society where benders and non-benders from all over the world could live and thrive in peace and harmony. They named the capital of this great land Republic City. Avatar Aang accomplished many remarkable things in his life, but sadly his time in this world came to an end, and, like the cycle of the seasons, the cycle of the Avatar began anew."
- Later episodes use a shorter narration and the demonstrative bending is sped up:
"Only the Avatar can master all four elements and bring balance to the world."
- In episode seven, Tarrlok replaces the announcer in the "Previously On..." segment, which is also changed to a press conference recap instead of the film style of the previous episodes (though the sepia tone is kept).
- Opposing Sports Team: The Wolf Bats.
- Opposites Attract: Hot-headed waterbender Korra and cool-headed firebender Mako.
- Orbital Shot: Used in "The Revelation" when Korra and Mako are fighting some chi-blockers.
- Our Founder:
- Republic City has a massive, Statue Of Liberty-esque monument to Aang, one of the city's co-founders, in Yue Bay. His face is also printed on the Yuan.
- Toph, inventor of metalbending and establisher of the force, has a gold statue at Police Headquarters.
- Zuko has his own statue at Central City Station, with him holding up an eternal flame.
- The Cabbage Merchant has a statue in front of Cabbage Corp's main building, proudly holding a cabbage above his head.
- Papa Wolf: Tenzin, like his father, abides by Airbending principles of pacifism and mercy. That does not apply if he spots you kidnapping any of his children. Just ask the bison poacher whom he saw driving off with Jinora. He didn't even chide Kai that much for attacking the man after he had surrendered, merely reminding him that hitting a defenseless opponent is unfairr, before praising his technique.
- Parental Abandonment: Mako and Bolin, whose parents were murdered when Mako was eight. The brothers had to take care of themselves at a young age while living on the streets. Mako, in particular, took on the parenting role.
- People Puppets: Bloodbending, like in the previous series. Tarrlok has the added benefit of not needing a full moon to do it.
- Pet The Dog: When confronting the Earth Queen, Zaheer doesn't bother chasing down her nonbending advisor when he flees for his life from the Red Lotus assault, since he's not in their way. Later, he reproaches Ming-Wa for threatening a telegraph operator who understandably doesn't want unauthorized personnel near the delicate equipment before politely asking the man how to make an announcement to the city.
- Precocious Crush: Meelo has one on Asami. Jinora and Ikki also refer to Mako as "cute" or "dreamy," though that's at least partly just to tease Korra.
- Pretender Diss: Tarrlok brings up Aang's defeat of a man named Yakone 42 years before the start of the series during his speech calling for an anti-Amon task force, resulting in...
Tenzin: This is a completely different situation, and how dare you compare yourself to Avatar Aang!
- "Previously On...": Narrated by Combat Commentator Shiro Shinobi, in the style of a sepia-toned 20s-era movie serial with melodramatic background music.
- Race Against the Clock: The plot of the third episode is to rescue Bolin before the Equalists take away his bending. They come right down to the nail.
- Racial Remnant: Tenzin and his family, for the Air Nomads.
- Reality Ensues:
- When Zaheer assassinates the Earth Queen, he makes a sincere announcement to the citizens of Ba Sing Se that they are no longer subject to the whims of petty tyrants and corrupt leaders, and can choose their own path. He thinks this will liberate the people and make them happier. Nope. Riots ensue, as do raids, and the city nearly burns down from the chaos. The Four Nations try to address this problem in Book Four by appointing a new ruler that they can guide from distance, but because of Wu's naivete and incompetence, Kuvira finds an easy hole in the power vacuum as potential Earth Empress, and she's even worse than Hou-Ting. Any political theorist could have pointed out the logical flaw in Zaheer's plan, and Korra takes time to call him out for not considering this possibility.
- Mako in this same scene attempts to use firebending to cut through metal of his and Bolin's jail cell. He's making progress, but owing to the density of the bars, it's slow-going so he asks Bolin to try one more time to metalbend. Metal has a high thresholds of heat before they melt, and these bars are meant to hold different types of benders.
- Reality Is Unrealistic: Viewers frequently comment that the quantity of technological advances over the seventy-year timespan between series is implausible, though the progression deliberately parallels Real Life technological development between the 1850s (how advanced the Fire Nation was) and 1920s (how advanced Republic City is).
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: In "And the Winner Is..." Amon delivers one to pro-bending fans about celebrating and praising the flagrantly cheating Wolfbats, (incidentally giving due credit to the above-board Fire Ferrets) drawing a parallel to societal worship of domineering, abusive benders.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- While not overly friendly, the metalbender cops in Republic City come across this way. When Korra starts a street fight with a gang, they promptly arrest the thugs, but also arrest Korra for "destruction of private and city property, not to mention evading arrest".
- Tenzin can zigzag this. Of course, he has his hands full raising a family of airbenders and is overly strict on Korra because she seems to not understand the weight of her responsibilities. When Korra gets him to admit he's wrong, however, Tenzin will concede like with Pro-bending. Book 3 has him stop Kai from walloping a poacher who had surrendered because the man had kidnapped Jinora, after letting the kid get a few blows in; he first chides Kai for attacking a defenseless opponent, before praising his technique.
- Prince Wu eventually realizes, thanks to his growing friendship with Mako and Character Development, that he doesn't want to be an idiot prince and pawn, even if in his case he would be relying on guidance from more experienced leaders. His crush on Korra also inspires him to be more proactive, like suggesting that just because she lost to Kuvira in a fight doesn't mean she should be excluded from international diplomacy talks. Later, he uses his singing voice to encourage the badger moles to create evacuative tunnels outside the city and get the civilians out before Kuvira's invasion; he even protectively gets in front of the evacuees when Kuvira's mechas seem to corner them. After the dust settles, Wu admits that he is not the best candidate to rule the Earth Kingdom, announcing his plans to abdicate once he finishes setting up an elected democracy where the people can choose their leader. Ruins of the Empire goes further to show him trying to set up stable election systems, and hesitating on arresting Guan because Guan has technically broken none of the established rules and he doesn't want to set a precedent of throwing his weight around as ruler because a candidate is disagreeable. A vision of Hou-Ting accuses Wu of finding an excuse to shirt his responsibilities, something that worries him. When Guan's plans become too big to ignore, Wu cancels the elections for the Earth Kingdom's safety but promises the transition will happen, just more gradually and with more failsafes.
- Zuko's daughter Izumi is a fair Firelord, as shown in Book 4. During international talks about what to do about Kuvira, she expresses fear that if the Fire Nation sends troops to stop her preemptively, it would be the exact same thing that he ancestors did when they started a war against the other sovereigns. She and Zuko spent a lifetime. She agrees, however, that Kuvira cannot invade Republic City or other sovereigns because it's basically an invasion. When Raiko says he'll reinforce the city's defensive borders, Izumi promises to lend aid, and honors her word.
- Recurring Riff:
- The SDCC '11 Trailer uses the same score that the trailers for Season 3 of ATLA used. The music is particularly moody and energetic at different times. Special award for the Editor who synched all the action so meticulously.
- The music heard in the opening is an orchestral version of ATLA's theme.
- The main theme is remixed and repeated often in every episode so far.
- Redshirt Army: The Metalbending Police appear to fill this role considering how the Equalists use electric gauntlets and Mini Mechas made of platinum that the former are no match for.
- The Republic: The United Republic of Nations is the first one in the Avatar-verse.
- The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The Equalists.
- Ring Out: An important mechanic of pro-bending. Forcing a player off the back (and only the back) of the arena and into the surrounding pool removes them from the game for the remainder of the round. Forcing all three players out in a single round is an Instant Win Condition, which is why, in a best of three rounds format, the third round is always played. It's the only way left to win for a team down two rounds.
- Roaring Twenties: The technology, speech mannerisms and culture are evocative of the real-life 1920's, and Word of God says this is the current time period in Korra's day.
- Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: One of the major themes explored in the series is tradition versus modernity. Spirituality versus progess also plays a part.
- Royal Mess: The Fire Nation's ruler, a position roughly analogous to Japan's Emperor, is termed "Fire Lord," and as of Korra's era, the title is held by a woman.
- Scenery Porn: Just take a good look at Republic City. There's so much scenery porn that there needs [be] [a] [Parental] [Advisory] [warning.]
- Schizo-Tech: Despite the generally Early-Twentieth Century level of technology present in the show, the Equalists seem to have mastered high-energy, low-mass power generators or batteries, giving their mooks electrified Kali-sticks and Power Palms.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money: The Wolf-Bats pay off the referee in the Pro-Bending Championship so they can cheat without being called on it; by their third round with the Fire Ferrets, it is so blatant that the announcer calls them on it. It's implied by Amon that this is hardly unusual for them.
- She Is the King: The adventure game specifies that Zuko's daughter rules as Fire Lord, established as a gender neutral title.
- Shipper on Deck: Jinora and Ikki for Mako/Korra.
- There is a bridge with the distinctive silhouette of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, with less obvious allusions to Golden Gate Park, and infamous high-security prison Alcatraz.
- The character Mako is a shout out to the deceased voice actor of Iroh in the original series, Mako Iwamatsu.
- Asami Sato is not a visual Shout-Out to Lust from Fullmetal Alchemist. Their similarities were completely unintentional, but Bryan Konietzko embraced it in a Tumblr post after having it pointed out to him, since he thinks Lust has a beautiful character design.
- "The Aftermath" also features a brief racing segment, set to music that's The Jimmy Hart Version of the Speed Racer theme.
- Shut UP, Hannibal: This exchange.
The Lieutenant: You benders need to understand: there's no place for you anymore.
- Sibling Team: Bolin and Mako are brothers.
- Sibling Triangle: Between Korra, Mako, and Bolin.
- Sibling Yin-Yang:
- Mako and Bolin grew up on the streets, but while Mako is responsible and dedicated to keeping them together and safe, Bolin is a fun-loving charmer with a fondness for the ladies.
- Tenzin's daughters Ikki and Jinora. Jinora is a Cute Bookworm Shrinking Violet and the Girly Girl to Ikki's Motor Mouth, Genki Girl Tomboy personality.
- According to Katara, Tenzin had this relationship with his siblings Kya and Bumi when they were children. Tenzin was very serious while his siblings were rather rambunctious.
- Sickeningly Sweethearts: Mako and Asami are too much for Korra to handle, although her own feelings for Mako probably contribute.
- Sleep Cute: Korra and Mako when staking out the Equalist protestor in "The Revelation".
- Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: Just like the first series, it seems to be at a Level 5 for the Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality, portraying male and female characters as equals.
- Sliding Scale of Villain Effectiveness: High. The Equalists present a formidable threat to the Avatar and Republic City. It doesn't help that Korra begins inexperienced and the government doesn't initially take the Equalist threat seriously. But even after the true threat Amon poses is revealed, he and his group still score some major victories, and do so rather brutally.
- Small Secluded World:
- Upon learning that Korra was the Avatar, the Order of the White Lotus set up a large compound in the Southern Water Tribe for her to live in, to fulfill the promise they made to Aang to protect his reincarnation. There, Korra underwent her Avatar training, under constant watch from the Order. She was allowed to leave, but only with supervision and as long as she did not go outside the South Pole. When Tenzin tried to delay her Airbending training, and thus ultimately her freedom from the compound, Korra ended up running away in order to follow him to Republic City.
- For Korra's airbending training, Tenzin attempted to set up something similar on Air Temple Island. This fell apart remarkably fast.
- Soft Glass: Averted in "And The Winner Is...", where the reinforced stadium dome is first shattered by an airship plunging metallic cable ladders through it, but the unbroken ceiling still supports the weight of several people battling on top of it. Even Korra's hard landing, near the edges of the original break, takes a few moments to give out under her feet.
- Soft Water:
- The pro-bending ring is far enough above the water below that you'd expect injuries, at least from the non-Waterbenders, but this trope is in full effect.
- Waterbenders in pro-bending are the only ones allowed to hit their opponents in the head due to this trope.
- In a nod to the previous series, when Korra jumps into the ocean from a cliff on Air Temple Island, she bends the water up to herself to soften her landing.
- Spin Offspring: So far, there are four named first generation Spin Offspring and one who has yet to be seen:
- Toph's daughter Lin Beifong is the captain of the police metalbenders in Republic City.
- Aang and Katara's son Tenzin, who is teaching Korra to airbend just as Roku's descendant Zuko taught Aang to firebend. Tenzin also has two other siblings, Kya and Bumi, named for characters in the first series. Tenzin himself brings his wife Pema, and three children, Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo, with a fourth on the way.
- Zuko's unnamed daughter ascended to the Fire Nation's throne three years prior to the series' start, following his retirement as Fire Lord.
- Spirit Advisor: As Roku advised Aang, so too will Aang advise Korra.
- Spiritual Antithesis: Korra was designed to be everything Aang was not. To a degree, the rest of the show is also meant to be unlike the original series (staying in a City of Adventure as opposed to Walking the Earth, and so on).
- Spit Take: In "A Leaf in the Wind", a White Lotus guard does this right into the face of another when the pro-bending announcer on the radio reveals that Korra is playing in a match.
- Static Stun Gun: The Equalists, with their electrical technology, incapacitate their enemies with primitive tasers.
- Steampunk: Though the series itself is not steampunk, utilizing electricity and the internal-combustion engine for its technology, the genre was an influence, particularly the aesthetic. The creators explained that they took inspiration from Jules Verne and call the show "steampunk-lite".
- Stereotype Reaction Gag: In "A Leaf in the Wind" Korra Downplays and Invokes this when she asks Bolin to teach her some Pro-bending moves. He agrees but isn't sure how his earthbending will translate to her waterbending. She responds that she can earthbend, and Bolin freezes up before Digging Himself Deeper, stumbling through an apology about making assumptions based on her Water Tribe clothes. After letting him squirm a little, she allows that he was right, she is a waterbender, and a firebender, too. Bolin's brother, who saw her as just a common fangirl up to that point, does the math:
Mako: You're the Avatar, and I'm an idiot.
- Supernatural Martial Arts: Just as technology has advanced, so have the bending arts, with many hybridized styles shown even in just the first episode in addition to the more classic bending styles. Mako and Bolin's styles show shades of modern boxing and kickboxing, despite wielding separate elements.
- Tall Poppy Syndrome: Rather than espousing the more egalitarian view implied by their name, the equalists want to empower Muggles by ridding the world of bending entirely.
- Teens Are Short: Averted. Korra is as tall as most other adult women, Mako is very tall indeed, and Bolin is still within a reasonable adult height even though he's shorter than his brother. It's part of the Art Evolution from the original series, which played this trope straight.
- Tell Me How You Fight: Jinora and Korra's varying execution of airbender footwork highlights their temperments. The more showy Korra navigates airbending training gates with lots of energetic spinning. In comparison, Jinora's approach to the course is fairly clinical: she turns on a dime but keeps her upper body rigid.
- Tempting Fate:
- In "And the Winner Is...", the Wolfbats, having just cheated their way to victory, ask if anyone else wants to take them on. Amon answers the call.
- In "When Extremes Meet", Korra taunts Tarrlok about having no water to bend after destroying his office (which had a wall fountain). Unfortunately, she forgot about another source of water nearby.
- There Was a Door: Korra's Establishing Character Moment has her Earthbend the wall of her room to make an entrance. Her parents probably did not have that in mind when they wanted her to come meet the White Lotus members sent to verify her Avatar status.
- Three Round Deathmatch: Pro-bending works on a best of three rounds format. The third round is always played, even if one team already has two wins, because knocking all three opponents out of the ring in a single round is an Instant Win Condition even if down two rounds.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Cabbage Merchant, The Chew Toy and Recurring Extra of the original series, earned enough of a fortune during the peace times that he was able to found a technology company in Republic City.
- Time Skip: The series takes place 70 years after Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- Title Drop: The first three episode names are mentioned by a character.
- "Welcome to Republic City" is Gommu's cheery dialogue on realizing Korra is a Naive Newcomer.
- Tenzin tells Korra the key of the airbending device is to be like "A Leaf in the Wind".
- "The Revelation" is what Amon's assembly is all about.
- Toilet Humour:
- In "The Voice in the Night" while at Tarrlok's gala, Tenzin has to chase after his son Meelo, who has apparently decided that something offscreen is a toilet.
- In "When Extremes Meet," Team Avatar joins hands and vows to stand by one another through whatever comes...and Meelo floats down onto their joined hands by using a fart to airbend.
- Tonight Someone Kisses: In perfect Avatar tradition... The clincher? This came out the day before April Fool's.
- Tragic Keepsake: Mako's Scarf of Asskicking doubles as this.
- The Triads and the Tongs: The Triple Threat Triad, a pan-elemental bender organization that collects protection money from shopkeepers, and its referenced competitors, the Red Monsoons and the Agni Kais.
- Tricked-Out Gloves: Double as Static Stun Guns for the Equalists.
- True Companions: The new Team Avatar.
- Try Not to Die:
Mako: (to Korra) Don't do anything too fancy or aggressive... in fact, don't do anything - just try not to get knocked off the ring.
- Twitchy Eye:
- The waterbender from the Triple Threat Triad after Korra taunts him.
- Korra when Tenzin cuts off the radio seconds before the pro-bending match being played is finished.
- Tenzin displays this on hearing that Korra is participating in a pro-bending match.
- Tahno gets one after Korra beats him in the tiebreaker.
- Undercover As Lovers: In "The Revelation" Korra grabs Mako's arm and leans in to provide a more convincing cover when they approach the bouncer at an Equalist rally.
- Underdogs Never Lose: The Fire Ferrets were considered the underdogs going into the tournament. Subverted as the Wolf Bats win through illegal moves.
- Unflinching Walk: While pursuing Amon onto an Equalist zeppelin, Korra uses firebending to cause a large explosion. His mooks are knocked aside, but Amon casually boards.
- Unnecessary Roughness: Korra gets a penalty in one of her matches for needlessly bounding an enemy up and down with her bending, and then gets a yellow fan for talking back to the ref.
- Unresolved Sexual Tension: Korra and Mako. And then Bolin's one sided crush on Korra.
- Unstable Equilibrium: The Pro Bending ring is designed intentionally with this in mind, as per Bryan's explanation of the mechanics of the game.
- Urban Fantasy: Of the rare alternate world variety, given that the setting is analogous to The Roaring Twenties and takes place in a world shaped and developed in large part by bending.
- Variable-Length Chain: The police force can use their bending to unleash metal cables as long as they need for their purpose, stored in a set of spools on their back.
- Victory by Endurance: The Fire Ferrets win two matches by simply dodging or blocking their opponents' attacks until they've tired themselves out, at which point the Ferrets win with ease. Mako impressively manages this when it's three-on-one.
- Villain Has a Point: Benders are disproportionately represented in the Republic City Council (i.e. the council is 100% bender), and some benders (such as the gangsters in the first episode) really are using their powers to abuse non-benders. In fact, thanks to Tenzin's place on the council, his family and the Air Acolytes - a group of twenty or thirty people who have decided to follow Air Nomad teachings - have more of a say in the city's affairs than the thousands of non-benders born and raised in Republic City.
- Viral Marketing:
- Korra Nation. The point was to get people to inform their friends of the show by having automatic posts show up on you Facebook/Twitter profile for people to click. The person sending the posts earned points for every link clicked and every person who signed up using their personal link, with the points going towards prizes including a drawing for a trip to this summer's SDCC and exclusive MP3 releases of music from the show.
- Another branch of Korra Nation dealt with gaining likes, shares, and tweets of the Korra Nation website; on which fans could discover hidden content such as production sketches and background art. Sharing the site 100,00 times would allow fans to see the premiere a week early. It earned 100,000 points within the first week of its announcement, and as promised the first two episodes were available online on March 24th.
- The Korra Nation website no longer exists, but the viral marketing continues with the Korra Nation tumblr and facebook pages. Art, production information, and clips of the upcoming episodes are posted to these pages once or twice a week.
- Vomit Discretion Shot: When Bolin "loses his noodles."
- Watching Troy Burn: Amon and the Equalists' destruction of the pro-bending arena.
- Weaponized Car: The Equalist motorcycles have smoke screens.
- Welcome to the Big City: The plot of the first episode, as sheltered Country Mouse Korra realizes Republic City isn't the shining beacon of harmony and prosperity she thought it was.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: The Equalist movement. Their case against the benders is not altogether unreasonable, but the measures used to reach their goal are quite extreme.
- Wham! Episode:
- "And The Winner Is" has The Fire Ferrets losing the Pro-Bending championship to the cheating Wolfbats, then Amon appears and De-Bends the Wolfbats, then Amon's forces defeat the Metalbending Police Force and then blow up the Pro-Bending arena and dress the remnants in Equalist flags. Also counts as a [Wham! Episode]].
- "The Aftermath". Hiroshi Sato is The Mole working for Amon, and he's built Mini-Mecha. At the end of the episode, Asami has turned against her father and will be moving to Air Temple Island with Mako and Bolin, while Lin says she's going to Turn In Her Badge and work outside the law to bring down Amon.
- "When Extremes Meet". Tarrlok begins rounding up non-benders and imprisoning them, Korra confronts him, and then he bloodbends Korra without the full moon and Korra has a flashback to the previous Team Avatar fighting a crook who looks suspiciously like Tarrlok. Notable for being the third Wham! Episode in a row.
- Wham! Line:
- "When Extremes Meet": "You're a blood bender? It's not a full moon, how are you doing this?"
- Whip It Good:
- The Metalbender Police use retractable metal whips on their wrists to restrain criminals and move about the city.
- Some Equalist mooks use whips to snag their opponent's arms, pulling them off balance and preventing them from bending.
- Why We Can't Have Nice Things: Korra destroys the 2000 year old airbending training gates out of frustration.
- Wig, Dress, Accent: Korra's disguise to infiltrate an Equalist rally is a hat, scarf, and long coat in flapper style which covers her distinctive hair style and clothing.
- With a Friend and a Stranger: The variation where the protagonist is the newcomer. Korra plays the stranger to siblings Mako and Bolin.
- Working with the Ex: Lin and Tenzin cooperate "like old times" in episode six.
- Wretched Hive: Tenzin acknowledges that Republic City has gotten a lot worse since his father's death, to the point that he considers his responsibilities as a council man more important than teaching Korra.
- Wuxia: As with its predecessor, a heavy genre influence.
- Xanatos Gambit: Amon makes a public demand over the radio that the city government shut down the Pro-Bending arena and cancel the championship match. If the pro-bending championships are not stopped, then he and the Equalists have an audience for the demonstration of their power. If the tournament is canceled the government has given into Amon's demand and showed that it will not challenge him.
- You Are Not Alone: In episode eight, when Korra is crying about not being able to take the burden of saving the city alone, Mako, Bolin, and Assami come along and remind her she is not alone and they are there to help her save the city.
- You Will Be Spared: Amon to Korra, of the "I'm saving you for last" variety.
- You're Just Jealous: After Mako wrongly accuses Korra of using his brother for some Operation: Jealousy ploy, she sees through his facade and remarks that he is jealous. This seems to be a favorite tactic of Mako since he uses the same argument against Korra when she insists that Hiroshi is an Equalist and Mako believes she is only doing this because she's jealous of Mako and Asami's relationship.
- Zeppelins from Another World: Republic City has its own zeppelins, used by Metalbending Police patrols. The Fire Nation shared the technology with the rest of the world.
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