Listen to the Final Episode of ‘The Avatar Returns’

The final episode of The Avatar Returns is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

Goodbyes are hard. That’s why we drink. In this episode your sad hosts are sad. In the absence of new Avatar: The Last Airbender or The Legend of Korra chapters to discuss, we get slightly inebriated and try to make it a party. There’s trivia, “Who Said It” challenges, lists (because everyone loves lists), and lots of self-indulgence and time-wasting. We really do go out on the top of our game.

In all seriousness, we have had a tremendous time sharing this journey with each other and with all of our listeners. No one could have predicted how important this silly little project would become for all of us, and so reaching the end and having to step away is truly bittersweet. We’re all proud of what we’ve done, but we’re going to miss coming together every week to have these discussions. We will of course return from time to time with new episodes as the graphic novel series collected editions come out, so this isn’t goodbye forever.

Thanks to each and every one of you who has joined us along the way. It’s been an honor and a pleasure.

“The greatest illusion of this world is the illusion of separation.”

(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 46.)

Listen to ‘The Avatar Returns’ Episode 43

The Avatar Returns episode 43 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

The Avatar Returns phone tree has been activated and we’re answering the call as we head into the back half of The Legend of Korra Book Four. In chapter 407, “Reunion,” the band is back together…mostly. And it feels so good…mostly. Wu is down; Korra and Mako are on each others’ nerves; and Bolin lavabends the taste right out of some mecha suit mouths. In 408, “Remembrances,” cue the twinkling flashback music as, you guessed it Golden Girls, it’s a clip show. But oh what a glorious clip show it is! Chibi Mako tells his romantic origin story to Chibi Wu; Korra and Asami share some tea and reminisce; and Varrick shares the tale of the Greatest Mover Ever Made! And finally, in 409, we journey “Beyond the Wilds” to poke things with sticks while Korra finally confronts her inner demons, which bear a striking resemblance to a hippie prison sage Zaheer.

However, the bulk of our discussion tonight focuses on the hundreds of possible spin-off properties we hosts are dying to see in the future, including the possible Varrick/Bolin road movies, the anarchist PSAs of Zaheer, and the “Fearsome Foursome Phone Tree Saga!” (We also talk a little about the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival and the anime juggernaut that is Your Name. But really it’s all about that phone tree.)

Next: the penultimate episode of our show discussions. Only two more podcasts focused on The Legend of Korra before we put a bow on the whole TARP project with our big blowout wrap party episode. So next week we’ll be looking at chapters 410, “Operation Beifong,” and 411, “Kuvira’s Gambit.”

(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 43.)

Listen to ‘The Avatar Returns’ Episode 39

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The Avatar Returns episode 35 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

This is a big one, kids. Team The Avatar Returns assembles to breakdown their thoughts on the final four chapters of The Legend of Korra, Book Three: Change. There’s a lot to cover, starting with the typical children’s television tropes of on-camera assassinations and Boxer Rebellions when Zaheer proclaims “Long Live the Queen” in chapter 310. In 311, “Ultimatum,” he may possibly have bitten off more than he can chew when he challenges Tenzin to a slap fight after airbending school. Bolin learns that the answers were inside of him all along in 312, “Enter the Void.” And Korra She-Hulks out all over Zaheer’s face in the final showdown of 313, “Venom of the Red Lotus.”

Paul gets weepy over the incredible fight choreography this season. Eric is positively giddy with anticipation for Book Four: Balance. And Arlo drops the knowledge we’ve all needed about Shadow the Hedgehog.

Next: as always the break between seasons of Korra gives us another opportunity to revisit old friends by exploring the official Avatar: The Last Airbender graphic novel series from Dark Horse Comics. This time we reconnect with the Aang Gang as they face Vol. 4 – Smoke and Shadow.

(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 39.)

Listen to ‘The Avatar Returns’ Episode 33

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The Avatar Returns episode 33 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

This week on The Avatar Returns we read the immortal classic Through the Looking-Glass, and What Korra Found There, also known as The Avatar’s Adventures in Wonderland. In chapter 209, “The Guide” Korra and Tenzin are finally reunited, we meet Bum-Ju, and bid a fond(ish) farewell to animation Studio Pierrot. Then chapter 210 ushers in “A New Spiritual Age” as we follow the white dragonfly-bunny to Uncle Iroh’s spirit tea party, see some genuinely creepy crawly things, and endure the return of the Dick Owl. And lastly chapter 211, “Night of a Thousand Stars” proves to be one of our favorites episodes of the entire season as Bolin becomes the real life Nuktuk we always knew he could be. But what’s that? Unalaq really does have a doomsday device? Nuk-nooo!

Also we nominate the new Batman: The Killing Joke animated film for the Unsexiest Flash Animation Circa 2002 Award.

Next: say goodbye to Book Two as we close out the season with chapters 212-214, “Harmonic Convergence,” “Darkness Falls,” and “Light in the Dark.”

(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 33.)

Listen to ‘The Avatar Returns’ Episode 31

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The Avatar Returns episode 31 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

As The Avatar Returns continues its exploration of The Legend of Korra Book Two, Eric thinks Unalaq’s boringness continues to bore, Paul thinks Korra’s temperamental teenager act continues to grate, and Arlo thinks Paul has gone from face to heel. [Ed. note: he’s wrong, Paul has always been an evil bastard.] Fortunately for Eric, chapter 205, “Peacekeepers” features very little Unalaq. Paul is given a mostly Korra-free episode with chapter 206, “The Sting.” And Arlo can forgive (or at least ignore) Paul’s horribleness because Varrick’s heel turn is just so amazing. And everyone comes together in their love for Nuktuk, The Hero of the South!

Next: Studio Mir makes their triumphant return to animation duties with chapter 207, “Beginnings, Part 1” and 208, “Beginnings, Part 2.”

(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 31.)

Listen to ‘The Avatar Returns’ Episode 30

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The Avatar Returns episode 30 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

Six months later…we rejoin our regularly scheduled Avatar universe, already in progress.

The Legend of Korra Book Two kicks off with a gurgle as angry squid spirits drag unsuspecting sailors to their watery graves, Korra has finally “mastered” airbending, and Mako does his best Horatio Caine impression. Chapters 201 and 202 introduce us to Korra’s uncle Unalaq, who is boring but apparently important, and Varrick, who’s just plain smarmy fun. Oh, and there’s a whole spirit portal thing the Avatar has to deal with, but really we just like Varrick. Then in chapters 203 and 204, it’s civil war all over again as boring-but-bad Unalaq leads the Northern Water Tribe in a bid to “save” their Southern Water Tribe cousins. We learn more about Tenzin’s family, including his hippie chick sister Kya, and his wild and crazy older brother Bumi. The hosts agree, Bumi 2.0 is a big improvement over King Bumi.

Also, Arlo reveals he’s had an Eska or two in his past, and Battle Athletes Victory wins the prize for most obscure anime reference on the podcast yet. Congratulations!

Next: Book Two continues with chapters 205, “Peacekeepers,” and 206, “The Sting.” Starring Robert Redford and Paul Newman.

(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 30.)

Listen to ‘The Avatar Returns’ Episode 27

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The Avatar Returns episode 27 is available for listening or download right here and on iTunes here.

Book One of The Legend of Korra closes with a bang as Team Avatar and the United Forces face off against Amon and the Equalists. Chapter 111, “Skeletons in the Closet” finally reveals the true identity of Amon, and reminds us just how truly horrific bloodbending can be. And chapter 112, “Endgame” rings out the season with Asami confronting her father, Korra getting “unbent,” and an argument for why villains should invest in oil-based makeup. Through all of this the boys defend murder suicide, compare The Legend of Korra to Speed Racer (Amon is Bender X?!), and explain why that ending is NOT just another “deus ex Aang.”

Does the show resolve Korra’s identity crisis? Does she overcome her case of Avatar block? Do benders and non-benders learn to live together in harmony? This and much more this week on The Avatar Returns! Featuring music by Arlo and The Love Trapezoids.

Next: we step away from silly cartoons to talk about funny books. Our look at Dark Horse Comics’ official tie-in graphic novel series continues with Volume 2: The Search.

(Show notes for The Avatar Returns episode 27.)