Comparing Aang and Korra: Part 1-The 4 Elements

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Ever since LOK came out, anything comparing Aang and Korra (who's the better Avatar, who would win in a fight, etc.) has been a hotly debated subject. In this blog, I'm going to address some of these topics, such as their comparative skill in the elements, the challenges they faced, their ways of dealing with problems, and so on. They way I see it, both Avatars have their respective strengths and weaknesses, and that is what makes them both interesting characters. While one might be better or worse in certain aspects, neither is truly better than the other.

The first topic I'd like to talk about is how Aang and Korra compare in terms of their respective bending abilities, making sure they both get the respect they deserve for their skill while also determining who is better in that element

Airbending:

In Legend of Korra, air is the last element for Korra to master, and it is also the one she has most difficulty with. While she could not airbed at all throughout most of Book 1, by Book 2 she had become proficient in the art. Throughout the rest of the series, air became one of her most commonly used elements. She has demonstrated very respectable power and skill, proving herself to be a better airbender than I think many people tend to give her credit for

Here's a few gifs to demonstrate some of her capabilities

Granted the mech was already off balance, but this blast (which was smaller than her earlier AS amped blast) showcases her bending power
Granted the mech was already off balance, but this blast (which was smaller than her earlier AS amped blast) showcases her bending power
Showcasing high reaction speed and solid air bending defense
Showcasing high reaction speed and solid air bending defense
A demonstration that Korra can do more than just punch air
A demonstration that Korra can do more than just punch air
And one example of Korra using the airspout, an advanced airbending technique
And one example of Korra using the airspout, an advanced airbending technique

However, while Korra has shown respectable skill in airbending, air is Aang's native element, and when it comes to airbending Aang is simply on another level. His raw bending power is some of the highest in the series, for any element, and throughout the series he demonstrated incredible skill and versatility. He incorporates airbending into his every movement, enhancing his speed and agility and leading Toph to give him the nickname Twinkle Toes, showing his affinity for and mastery of the element.

Some gifs to demonstrate Aang's airbending

One of Aang's best feats-blowing back the lava from a volcano
One of Aang's best feats-blowing back the lava from a volcano
Another demonstration of his raw power
Another demonstration of his raw power
And here's one demonstration of his speed and agility, something he incorporates into every battle
And here's one demonstration of his speed and agility, something he incorporates into every battle
Making a tornado to redirect a boulder from Bumi
Making a tornado to redirect a boulder from Bumi
And one more just to show both his enhanced agility and raw power
And one more just to show both his enhanced agility and raw power

Obviously both Aang and Korra have lots of other airbending feats, this is just a sampling.

In conclusion, while Korra has come a long way in airbending, it's quite safe to say that Aang is the superior airbender.

Waterbending:

Water is the second element Aang learns, and from the beginning he appears to be a natural, easily picking up Katara's basic moves. Despite this, water is one of Aang's least used elements, second only to fire. While he was certainly competent at waterbending, he was never particularly outstanding, particularly in terms of combat feats.

Few gifs

Blocking a blast from Ozai, probably his best combat showing for water
Blocking a blast from Ozai, probably his best combat showing for water
Showcasing a flash freeze
Showcasing a flash freeze
Demonstrating the water octopus in training with Katara, a solid showing of skill
Demonstrating the water octopus in training with Katara, a solid showing of skill

Air is Aang's natural element, but water is Korra's. While she doesn't use waterbending as frequently as Aang used airbending (after all, air is much common than water), when she did the results could be very impressive. Trained by Katara, Korra has demonstrated some of the strongest water bending in either series, rivaling Aang's airbending in strength, as well as high precision and versatility, from ice and steam manipulation to casual waterspouts. Korra has also demonstrated healing abilities, a skill learned from Katara that Aang never acquired.

More gifs

Healing Bolin's shoulder
Healing Bolin's shoulder
Demonstrating waterspout usage (carrying Mako and Asami) as well as combat
Demonstrating waterspout usage (carrying Mako and Asami) as well as combat
Staggering and flash freezing Kuvira's mech, a massive display of raw power
Staggering and flash freezing Kuvira's mech, a massive display of raw power
Demonstrating both the waterspout and raw power
Demonstrating both the waterspout and raw power
And an example of precision-turning Unalaq's attack against him
And an example of precision-turning Unalaq's attack against him

While Aang was clearly intended to be skilled at waterbending, Korra is a natural waterbender with more and better feats. Just as Aang was the better airbender, Korra is the better waterbender

Earthbending:

Earth was the element Aang had the most difficulty learning (as it is air's opposite). However, after unlocking the ability, Aang quickly made earth his second most used element, demonstrating extensive power and skill. By the end of book 3, he had learned to incorporate his airbending enhanced agility into his earth bending, as well as use of Toph's seismic sense (while the seismic sense is not as significant an advantage as some would make it out to be, it is a useful skill). His strength and versatility put him among the top earth benders of the series.

Some of Aang's feats

A demonstration of raw power
A demonstration of raw power
And more raw power-taking out an airship
And more raw power-taking out an airship
Aang frequently created rock armor, a demonstration of skill
Aang frequently created rock armor, a demonstration of skill
Using the seismic sense to sense Ozai's attack
Using the seismic sense to sense Ozai's attack

Earth bending has never been Korra's most spectacular element, but it has always been solid throughout the series. She has demonstrated a variety of attacks and, by the season finale, raw power to compete with Aang's. However, Korra's earth bending abilities are not limited to just rock. In season 3, Korra learned how to metalbend, quickly developing proficiency in the skill. This ability, something Aang was unable to learn, adds greatly to her versatility.

Feats:

Her first use of earthdbending, casually wrecking this poor guy
Her first use of earthdbending, casually wrecking this poor guy

Some combat skill showings
Some combat skill showings
A demonstration of her raw strength
A demonstration of her raw strength
A demonstration of Korra's metal bending abilities against Kuvira
A demonstration of Korra's metal bending abilities against Kuvira

Earth isn't as clear cut as air and water have been. In terms of pure earthbending, Aang as a strong edge. He demonstrates greater raw power with more consistency and has shown a wider variety of skills. However, when it comes to special techniques, Korra has the advantage with her knowledge of metalbending. Overall, I would say Aang is the superior earth bender, with his greater ability in pure earthbending making up for his lack of metalbending.

Firebending:

Fire was the last element Aang learned, and it was his least used element. Even so, he has demonstrated reasonable skill in the art. Learning from the dragon masters helped Aang come to a better understanding of the true nature of fire, and his training with Zuko gave him useful skills to use in the battle against Ozai. The most useful technique Aang learned from Zuko was lightning redirection, a highly specialized technique few other fire benders in either series have demonstrated.

Feats

Countering a blast from Ozai. Both were comet enhanced at the time
Countering a blast from Ozai. Both were comet enhanced at the time
Practicing with Zuko
Practicing with Zuko
Redirecting lightning
Redirecting lightning

Unlike Aang, Korra has made consistent use of fire bending from the beginning of the series, and for much of the series it was her go to element for fighting. She has demonstrated great power with fire as well as skill, casually negating other fire blasts and using fire jets for propulsion.

Feats:

Showing fire negation and raw power
Showing fire negation and raw power
A very powerful display of fire bending
A very powerful display of fire bending
A demonstration of her use of fire jets for propulsion
A demonstration of her use of fire jets for propulsion
Some combat firebending
Some combat firebending

Overall, while Aang has the specialized skill of lightning redirection, Korra has demonstrated greater raw power and skill in fire bending, making her the superior fire bender.

Final Thoughts:

So overall:

Air=Aang. He is a natural airbender and a prodigious master who has demonstrated some of the greatest power and creativity with this element that we have seen from any bender.

Water=Korra. This is Korra's native element and her best. While it's use may be limited by the environment, when Korra does use waterbending she has proven herself to be a formidable powerhouse.

Earth=Aang. Aang has shown greater raw power on a more consistent basis, as well as a greater variety of techniques and skills. By the season finale Korra had narrowed the gap with her advancements in metal bending and high end demonstrations of power, but there is a reason earth is Aang's second most favored element.

Fire=Korra. The direct, forceful nature of fire bending is well suited to Korra's aggressive, straightforward fighting style, and she has repeatedly shown herself to be a powerful and skillful fire bender. Despite his training from the dragons and mastery of lightning redirection, Aang has shown very little in the way of fire bending to compare.

Aang tends to focus heavily on air and earth bending, and has consistently demonstrated high end feats in those elements. His airbending is second to none, and his earth bending is among the best in Avatar. However, when it comes to waterbending and fire bending, Aang is significantly lacking. He rarely uses these elements, and while he is suggested to have skill in their use, has done little to demonstrate it.

Korra, on the other hand, frequently alternates the elements, using them simultaneously (water is used less frequently only because it is less abundant and therefore less practical). While she might not have consistently demonstrated the same level of power and versatility in a single element as Aang has with airbending, she is overall more balanced in her elemental usage, blending them together into a fighting style that draws on techniques from all four disciplines.

Those are my thoughts on Aang and Korra's bending abilities and how they compare. My plan is for this to be the first in a series of blogs giving my thoughts on some of the differences and similarities between Aang and Korra-thier respective challenges, their fighting styles, etc. Feel free to comment, discuss, challenge, etc. There may be more I have to add to this blog, but even if there is it won't be anything major. If anything it will just be gifs (I enjoy good gifs)

Hope you enjoy, and ideally this'll lead to some good conversation.

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