Legend of Korra, Book Two: Spirits: The Art of the Animated Series
Written by: Michael Dante DiMartino, Bryan Konietzko, Joaquim Dos Santos
Publication: September 03, 2014
Format: FC, 184 pages; HC, 9” x 12”
If you know me, you know I loved Avatar: The Last Airbender, and you know I LOVE Legend of Korra. In fact I love it so much I write the reviews for the episodes here on FTN, got to interview Korra herself Janet Varney, and I wrote a 65-chapter fan-fiction about the Avatar to come after Korra called Avatar: Spirit of Earth (look it up!). So when I was offered the chance to check out a review copy of the art book for Book Two: Spirits, I totally jumped at it.
Love it, or hate it (trust me, there’s a lot of both), Book Two: Spirits changed the game for the Avatar universe. We were introduced to the first Avatar, Wan. We were given the history of how the Avatar came to be. Wars were fought on many levels. Relationships were tested and pushed to the brink. It was a lot to do, and as the art book: Book Two: Spirits: The Art of the Animated Series, shows, it was tough to draw!
As viewers, I don’t think we appreciate what the writers and artists have to do to make a show, especially an animated series like Legend of Korra. There’s a lot of stuff that goes into something like this, and as the creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino state really quickly, “Book Two was hard”.
Despite the difficulties though, it’s clear that Book Two: Spirits was one of their favorite seasons to do. From the introduction of more spirits, to the revealing of Wan, and so on. It was a journey, but one that paid off in the end.
This art book not only gives you art from the second season of LOK, it breaks it down episode by episode, showing off key characters, key scenes and gives commentary about the pieces themselves. As you read, you’ll see the passion that Michael and Bryan have for the Avatar universe and the immense amount of fun they had in the process of making this book.
At its core, it’s just fun to see the art and hear from the creators what went into making this season. From simple changes like having more wintery attire, to creating new characters, to the storyboards and animatics, it’s a process, and a lot of work and detail goes into every single frame, picture, or shot. And Bryan and Mike, and others are there to guide you every step of the way to tell you what’s going on.
The more you delve into this book, the more the art just strikes you. Whether it’s set pieces from classic scenes, or classic shots you’ll be happy to see in large size (see: Aang’s family portrait), it’s beautiful all around. Event the rough stuff like the concept art for characters, or the storyboard sequences are fun to look at as you’ll no doubt go back to that scene in your head and see how it plays out.
There are 180+ pages of art to look at, with a majority having commentary of some kind. It’s not the longest read you’ll have, but it’ll be a fun experience.
Now to the obvious question, “Why should I get this?”. I’ll admit, this art book isn’t for everyone. This is probably for the hardcore Korra fan who wants to appreciate the series, and more particularly the season, even more. This book is passion, pride, love and joy straight from creators to you. You’ll learn things you might not have picked up from the season itself, including one or two questions that have lingered in fans’ minds. But most importantly, it’s an amazing look at the process of making an animated series on the level of Legend of Korra.
So, if you’re up for taking a behind-the-scenes look at the Legend of Korra, I highly recommend checking out Book Two: Spirits: The Art of the Animated Series.
5 out of 5 Nerds