Review: Legend of Korra – Book 3 Artbook

Oh wow! It was in the latter part of December 2014 that The Legend of Korra had ended. With the flood of fandoms that we at Nerd Reactor juggle, it did not feel so long ago when we journeyed alongside Korra, Mako, Bolin, and Asami. Yet here we are, about to hit one year since that finish to an amazing show.

The jump from Book Three to Book Four was quick, with over a month that broke the two seasons apart. Given the transition from airing the show on television to finishing the run on the internet, the fandom had mixed feelings on how Nickelodeon regarded their beloved show. Regardless of where everyone decided to put themselves in the spectrum of fan comfort, it was a fun rollercoaster with visceral themes and fun moments. Compared to the other seasons, Book Three felt dire by putting the Team Avatar crew against older, experienced Benders, the Red Lotus.

Each Chapter is dedicated to an Episode within Book Three - Change.

Each Chapter is dedicated to an Episode within Book Three – Change.

Let’s clear some things first…

  • The air date of Book Three – Change was June 27, 2014, and ended on August 22, 2014.
  • The air date of Book Four – Balance was October 3, 2014, and ended on December 19, 2014.
  • The Legend of Korra: Book Three – Change, The Art of the Animated Series, was published on January 27, 2015. Okay, so I’m nearly a year late on throwing this out there! Hey, holidays are coming out and I know not every fan has the artbook yet. Let me go over why this piece of work is valuable…
The antagonist, Zaheer, with his various design details.

The antagonist, Zaheer, with his various design details.

What it’s not…

  • Brief skimming of art. Comparing this volume to the original Avatar – The Last Airbender Artbook, they did not skim on showcasing the variety of work that exists per season.
  • Thorough episodic study. While it did not skim on things, please don’t expect this to dive into the interesting angle you saw in one episode or the one extra character which shifted the story flow. While it does focus on spreads of designs and set-pieces, it brings key aspects of each episode as a dedicated chapter.
  • Compendium from other seasons. This artbook is strictly for Book Three. Some of you may find this point redundant, but I assure you that expectations of things that MAY seem obvious are not always obvious for some people. There is no art from Book Two or the closely connected Book Four.


What it does well..

    • Sample key aspects of an episode. What I admire about having an artbook dedicated to the entire season, with chapters showcasing each episode, is that we are given character-design sketches, character turn-arounds, and group compilations. Not to mention when one of those mixed-animals are present, there are design sketches for them as well. The various designs of secondary characters, like the guards of the Metal Benders and Mako/Bolin’s family in the Earth Kingdom, get some pages dedicated to them as well.
    • In-depth sequence of animatics. This was surprising and amazing. Some of the most amazing parts of The Legend of Korra, just like The Last Airbender before it, has been their action sequences. In some of the pages in this book, we see a compilation of various frames sequencing these mesmerizing moments. As an animation major out of college, this brought a smile to my face.
A sample of the animation sequences.

A sample of the animation sequences.

    • Design diversity. With each chapter dedicated to an episode, I feared that it would be prone to a template sequence of what kind of content we could expect. For example: character design, creature design, location design, animatic. No, these editors aren’t fools! Each chapter understood what important aspects to showcase in each episode, sometimes they were characters and other times they were animations, and maybe animation frames. Even now, I sift through the pages and I’m quite fond of what they put in relation to an episode. Never stale!
    • Key set-pieces. Some of the great set-pieces of the artbook possess so much detail. While we see aspects of locations, like the desert oasis or the Air Bender valley during the show, they were initially created with such details that are made available in this artbook. Some of these set-pieces are shown at the head of the chapter, other times they have a dedicated spread.
Each Chapter has a set-piece based on the Episode it is centered around.

Each Chapter has a set-piece based on the Episode it is centered around.

With the holidays coming up, it may be a great addition to your Avatar collection if you have not already acquired a copy of this artbook.

Dimensions – 9.3 x 0.8 x 12.1 inches
Hardcover, 184 pages
Full color

The Legend of Korra: Book Three – Change, The Art of the Animated Series is published by Dark Horse Books.
You can purchase now on Amazon.

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Jaynesis Ong
Jaynesis Ong 162 posts

He is currently a graphics designer by trade, illustrator for indie games, fashionisto, film production assistant, socialite, sampler of fine music, and taster of various new MMO games. JB likes destructive walks on the beach, visceral plot points, maniacal villains, and collapsing galactic empires.