Top o’ the Lot: Battles from The Legend of Korra
Hello, and welcome to another addition to Top o’ the Lot! Today, David and I are teaming up again to bring you more Avatar goodness as we do our follow-up to our list of best Last Airbender battles. This week, we’ll be counting down our picks for the best battles from the sequel series, The Legend of Korra! Plus, we need an excuse to watch some Legend of Korra again.
5) Tenzin, Bumi, and Kya vs The Red Lotus
Taylor: Starting off the list, we have the Book 3 showdown between Aang’s children and the Red Lotus. As the extremist group comes to take down the new Air Nomads in their infancy, Tenzin and his siblings step up to defend the Northern Air Temple. The fight itself is pretty nice, with our heroes splitting off into one-on-one fights, the highlight of which is definitely Tenzin and Zaheer squaring off in a battle of Airbending masters. The main reason I have this fight on the list, though, is because of how big of an emotional moment it was in the series. Tenzin’s new Air Nation had just started to come together, so the stakes here are quite dire. But in the end, Zaheer and company are too much, leading to a devastating defeat, the climax of which is one of the most brutal beatdowns in Avatar history as Zaheer, Ghazan, and Ming-Hua, deliver a 3-on-1 thrashing of Tenzin. It is perhaps the most emotionally devastating scene in Avatar history, which is saying a lot, and certainly worthy of a mention here.
David: Oh man, this fight. The Red Lotus show up in a Earth Kingdom airship at the Northern Air Temple and herd the fledgling Air Nomads. The Red Lotus are tired of chasing after Korra and have decided to bring Korra to them. What better way than by attacking Tenzin and the new Airbenders. One thing that happens moments before this fight begins, Zaheer expresses some degree of respect for Tenzin as an Airbending master. When the Red Lotus threaten the new Airbenders, Aang’s dream of restoring them in danger, Tenzin defiantly lashes out at Zaheer, Ming-Hua and Ghazan, calling on his siblings, Kya and Bumi to aid him so the other Airbenders have a chance to escape. Tenzin and Zaheer face off in a duel between two Airbenders, something that we really haven’t seen in either Avatar series. Tenzin’s skill and mastery of Airbending show that Zaheer, as impressive as he is, still has much to learn. The fighting between Kya and Bumi against Ghazan and Ming-Hua doesn’t go as well. I feel that Bumi wasn’t never really a match for Ghazan. Kya, as skilled a Waterbender as her mother, is clearly no match for Ming-Hua. Eventually, the siblings are forced off a ledge, only to have P’Li show up and resulting in the pair deciding that falling down the cliff-side is a better option. The fight between Tenzin and Zaheer continues, and if it hadn’t been for P’Li’s combustion bending Tenzin might have had the upperhand. Now, Ghazan and Ming-Hua have joined this fight, but Tenzin bravely faces off against the Red Lotus. In the end, Tenzin is backed against a wall as Zaheer offers him one last chance to give up. Tenzin refuses and the Red Lotus brutally beat him down. This fight really showed that sometimes the good guys don’t always come out on top.
4) Team Avatar, Lin, Suyin, and Zaofu Guard vs The Red Lotus
David: This fight shows us that the Red Lotus were indeed a force to be reckoned with. The Red Lotus, in a daring kidnapping attempt, are foiled when Pabu awakens Bolin. Bolin and Mako are the first to engage the Red Lotus as others soon join the fight. I should note that this is one of the few fights where Korra is not an active participant. The fighting quickly turns into a siege as the Ghazan turns the area surrounding the Red Lotus into a moat of lava, preventing the rescuers from engaging in close quarters. Which is equally matched by the metal-bending of the Bei Fong family to provide cover from P’Li’s combustion bending. All this is pretty impressive, considering this fight actually takes place inside one of Zaofu’s domes. The Red Lotus, using their sub-styles of bending show they are able to stand their ground against overwhelming numbers. In fact, this fight features sub-styles of bending quite prominently. The rescuers devise a plan to recover Korra that involves a degree of coordination, mostly depending on Bolin’s ability to knock out P’Li. The Bei Fong sisters are able to recover Korra, and the Red Lotus, realizing their opportunity has passed, quickly withdraw.
Taylor: As David said, this fight does a great job showing off how competent and frightening the Red Lotus are when working in a group, as they are able to take on some of the most skilled benders in the show ON TOP OF a small army of guards. I also love all the moving pieces to this fight, with the Bei Fong sisters working to bungie jump to Korra’s position while coordinating with Bolin to incapacitate the highly dangerous P’Li. Overall, it makes for a very effective stand-off, and easily the best “seige” fight in the series.
3) Korra vs Unavaatu
David: One of my favorite fights. The second season finale seemed pretty dire for Korra and Team Avatar, not to mention the entire world. After Unalok merges with Vaatu, the Spirit of Darkness, and becomes the Dark Avatar, a towering monster hellbent on ushering in an age of darkness. Korra was separated from Raava, the Spirit of Light, and was ready to admit defeat. This is when Tenzin gives her one hell of a pep talk. Tenzin tells Korra that Raava doesn’t define her and by using the Tree of Time (Vaatu former prison), Korra can connect with her inner spirit and use the cosmic energies of the universe to defeat Unavaatu. It’s one of the best moments in the series, the teacher expressing faith in his student and her abilities. Korra makes that cosmic connection and becomes a blue giant. She connects with the spirit portal and goes on to spoil Unavaatu’s city wrecking spree in the best way possible… a Kaiju fight with an incredible light show.
Taylor: There’s an argument to be made for how this fight is a great example of Korra finding her inner strength, which it totally is, but if I’m being completely honest here, this fight would make third place just on the virtue of it being a spiritual kaiju fight. Nuff said.
2) Korra vs Kuvira in Republic City
Taylor: Coming in at second place, we have the epic confrontation from the series finale between Korra and Kuvira. After a season of build-up following Korra’s physical and emotional recovery from the events of the Book 3 finale, the Avatar and Kuvira finally square off in the control room of Kuvira’s city-stomping mech. The visual flare of this fight is Avatar at its finest with the two combatants hurling liquid metal around at each other, giving some of the coolest imagery from the show. But more importantly, this battle is the culmination of both Korra and Kuvira’s distinct paths. This fight serves as a great finale to Korra’s season long journey of recovery and self-discovery, as she is able to use her struggles to grow stronger, allowing her moments of weakness to let her empathize with her enemy. Kuvira, on the other hand, is at last halted in her march of conquest, forced to reflect inward and lay bare her motivations. It’s a powerful moment that caps off the season (and the series) quite nicely. Also, they blew up a jaegar from the inside AND Korra tanked a laser. That is just objectively cool.
David: The build-up to this fight was incredible. As impressive as this fight was, what is more impressive is how this fight ended. Korra’s recovery and Kuvira’s conquest is what lead them to this final confrontation. Right after Korra bends the energy of the spirit cannon superweapon, saving Kuvira and creating another spirit portal. Korra and Kuvira end up in the spirit world and there they have a little heart to heart, there they realize that have more in common than they know. Korra’s compassion for others, even her foes, makes Kuvira realize her actions were wrong, afterwards Kuvira surrenders and thus ends the conflict.
1) Korra vs Zaheer
Taylor: Coming in at the top spot, we have the title-card bout from the Book 3 finale, Korra vs Zaheer. Maybe I’m a little biased by my feelings on this one, since I hold that Zaheer is far and away the best of Korra’s antagonists, but I genuinely feel that this fight is objectively the best. Driven to the brink by the Red Lotus’ poison and her believe that Zaheer had murdered her father, Korra flies into a rage as she pursues the rebel Airbender through the skies. This fight is easily one of the most dynamic from either series, managing to be fast-moving and high-energy while still being brutal and unsparing. This fight also has an awesome symmetry with the battle between Aang and Ozai from TLA, with the action zipping around at high speeds, yet also features a role-reversal; here, it is Korra taking a role similar to Ozai, complete with firebending propulsion, chasing after the airbender Zaheer. Also worth noting is the way that Korra’s overwhelming force and passion is set off against plays so well off of Zaheer’s precision and control. All told, this fight was a grand spectacle, and rests at the Top o’ the Lot for this week.
David: If there’s one fight to rival that of Aang and Ozai’s, this one’s it! There’s always been a question in the back of my mind on who is actually fighting in this one, an enraged Korra or the Avatar spirit lashing out in self-preservation. After being poisoned by the Red Lotus, Korra in the Avatar State chases after Zaheer. The very landscape is used as a weapon as Korra Hulk’s out and starts tossing the tops of mesas at Zaheer. Zaheer, with his unique Airbending abilities, easily dodges her attacks rather gracefully. But that doesn’t deter Korra, as she uses whatever handy to press her attack. Propelling herself with flames shooting out of her feet, bounding off the ground and doing whatever she can to keep up with Zaheer. Korra is able to slow Zaheer down enough to catch up only to have the poison finally take hold and prevents her landing a final blow. Zaheer closes in to deliver his final blow by pulling the air out of Korra’s lungs, only to be prevented when a tornado created by the Airbenders sucks them into it. Zaheer, carrying a passed out Korra tries to escape, but the added weight makes the attempt difficult. As Korra slips from his grasp, she regains consciousness and using her shackles slams Zaheer into the ground. This fight was showed that even though Zaheer lost everything important to him, he was still dedicated to the Red Lotus’s cause.
So that’s our list! Which fights did you enjoy the most? Feel free to let us know in the comments, and thanks for reading!