The Legend of Korra – Book Three: Change Blu-ray Review
As The Legend of Korra — one of the best animated series ever to hit TV screens — comes to a close, Nickelodeon has begun releasing the final volumes on DVD and Blu-ray. While fans had to wait over a year between previous home video releases for the series, The Legend of Korra – Book Three: Change is hitting store shelves just six months after Book Two: Spirits. And once again, it’s an exemplary Blu-ray release that every Korra fan needs to have on their shelf.
The Legend of Korra – Book Three: Change begins with the world entering a new age, as new Airbenders are coming into their powers all over the Earth Kingdom. Korra (voiced by Janet Varney) and her friends Mako (David Faustino), Asami (Seychelle Gabriel), and Bolin (P.J. Byrne) set their sights on recruiting these gifted individuals, hoping to build a new tribe of Air Nomads that will be led by Korra’s mentor Tenzin (J.K. Simmons). After choosing to leave the spirit portals open in the previous season, Korra has to deal with the after effects, as spirits begin to overtake Republic City, angering citizens and causing them to lose faith in Korra. Meanwhile, four powerful benders escape from prison after more than a decade behind bars, led by the nefarious Zaheer (Henry Rollins), intent on kidnapping the Avatar for unknown purposes. One thing that Book Three really drove home was the fact that no choice is ever easy for the Avatar, with every action having drastic and longstanding consequences.
While the physical-spirit world convergence has had some positive effects, such as the new group of Airbenders, it has also granted Zaheer the power he needs to escape confinement and set his evil plans into motion. But the new surge of spiritual energy also let Korra learn how to metalbend, and Bolin even learned how to lavabend – both of these abilities made for some pretty intense, beautifully-animated sequences in this season of The Legend of Korra.
The animators seriously outdid themselves for The Legend of Korra – Book Three: Change. There were so many visually stunning moments this year that it became hard to keep track of them all. The spectacular battles between Zaheer and Korra in the final episode were the cherry on top of this fantastic season, but even quiet, emotional moments were gorgeously rendered, as characters were able to express themselves even without any dialogue whatsoever. Jeremy Zuckerman’s evocative score managed to make every scene just that much better. The voice actors continue to impress, lending the necessary emotional weight to their dialogue, especially Janet Varney and Henry Rollins, whose Zaheer is one of the show’s best villains since Book One’s Amon.
The Legend of Korra – Book Three: Change is packed with special features, as was the case with the show’s previous releases. Here we have 13 very informative and interesting audio commentaries, featuring creator/executive producer Bryan Konietzko, creator/executive producer Michael Dante DiMartino, co-executive producer Joaquim Dos Santos, composer Jeremy Zuckerman, supervising producer Lauren Montgomery, directors Melchior Zwyer, Colin Heck and Ian Graham, lead sound designer Benjamin Wynn, foley mixer/supervisor Aran Tanchum, and writers Tim Hendrick, Josh Hamilton and Katie Mattila. Unfortunately, none of the voice actors are present here, which is odd considering that they made appearances on the commentary tracks for the previous two Blu-ray releases. That said, we get a great inside look at the creative process behind each episode.
The Spirit of an Episode is a 67-minute long series of featurettes that takes a look at some of the character designs, story arcs, and challenging animated sequences, as well as some martial arts reference footage used by the animators for maximum realism and fluidity.
Without a doubt, The Legend of Korra – Book Three: Change is one of the greatest, if not the greatest season in the entire run of the show, not to mention the most consistent. Boasting incredible production values, deep storylines and complex themes, this is a show that will have no problem standing toe-to-toe with the legacy of The Last Airbender.