“You’re the smartest, funniest, toughest, buffest, talentedest, incrediblest girl in the world!” —Bolin
The Legend of Korra is one of very few shows where the lead character is also my favorite character. I think the moment in the series that really sold me on Korra’s character was in episode 2 of Book I, after she first watched the Fire Ferrets play their pro-bending match. When Bolin asks Korra what she thought of the match, she doesn’t give some “That’s pretty good for three people who aren’t the Avatar” or “Let me show you how a girl earth-bends” type of response. Instead she gets excited and asks Bolin to teach her some moves. In doing so, I felt she displayed a willingness to learn and a maturity I’ve rarely seen in a cartoon protagonist. I love that even though Korra is the most powerful bender in the world and a veritable demigoddess, she constantly works to improve herself in order to become a better Avatar. In an age when comedy seems to center on characters who are stubbornly or stupidly resistant to character development, it’s refreshing to see a progressive maturity in a well-written protagonist.
I discovered White Hawk’s epic Korra and Naga portrait a while back and knew that I’d have to keep it in mind for a future blog post. For those not familiar with the characters, Avatar Korra is the most powerful bender in the world, able to bend all four classical elements while all other benders are limited to earth, fire, air, or water. Naga is a polar-bear dog, and Korra’s best friend and noble steed. A Southern Water Tribe girl, Korra’s outfit in the portrait is essentially her winter fatigues with a fur-lined winter coat for traveling about her southern homelands.
Korra’s regular all-weather adventuring gear, pictured here in another stellar portrait from Agent Hawk, feels similar to the standard monk archetype. It’s light and flexible for unhindered movement in combat. I suspect Korra’s top is some kind of modified cheongsam (qipao), sleeveless to facilitate her highly acrobatic fighting style. She wears blue arm-wraps to protect her forearms when deflecting chi-blocker hand-to-hand attacks.
Tied with a belt, Korra’s fur-trimmed waist-cloak and apron make up a flexible battle-skirt, while the cloak itself provides additional padding for her bum while riding Naga. Our heroine’s pants are loose but durable for high-contact earth- or fire-bending. Lastly, her boots are light and flexible for effective footing or kicking renegade fire-benders in the teeth. All in all, it’s a smart, utilitarian adventuring outfit.
I’ll admit that Korra starts out brash and overconfident, but for me it wasn’t in a way that made her unlikable as a character. And while her pride and hotheadedness occasionally get her into trouble throughout the series, I deeply appreciate that incompetence never makes the list of Korra’s faults. She’s a smart, well-rounded, and ultimately complex protagonist, and one who I hope viewers of all ages connect with and find inspiration in.
Huge thanks to Agent White Hawk for letting me borrow Korra for the blog. Feel free to check out Hawk’s Tumblr as well. As always, thanks so much for reading, folks! Take care and stay awesome!