KORRA & ASAMI SATO
Before I begin this review proper allow me a moment to soapbox. Much as most would try to deny otherwise, in the entirety of the world as far as animation is concerned, be it aimed strictly for children or adults, it is Japan that has been the most progressive as far as portraying romantic relationships. Admittedly, it is not so much less restrained as a severe lack of restraint particularly in those of the… ahem… fanservice variety. Sad as it is to admit, even those few anime that made it here to the West where they were able to be viewed readily, and easily, by people were dumbed down to a point that was both insulting and nonsensical.
“Cousins…” Really, guys? That… that just… ugh… Sometimes, rare though those instances are, I’m almost ashamed to be a writer…
Anyway, onto the relationship of Korra and Asami Sato. I’m sure many fans are already long aware of the facts I’m about to through out here but to those who haven’t watched the show or read the blog entries of series creators Michael DiMartino or Bryan Konietzko, allow me to shed some light on things. First and foremost, Korra and Asami were never intended to end up together though the idea had been tossed around as far back as the first season. It never truly went anywhere then because, at the time, they hadn’t expected for The Legend of Korra to be given anymore additional seasons as the network had a few, rather surprising, concerns towards it.
Would you actually believe that Nickelodeon thought guys wouldn’t care for Korra as a lead character because of her being a girl because “conventional tv wisdom” says that while girls will watch a show featuring boys, the opposite cannot be said for boys? I’m not certain, but I think the entirety of the male gender was just insulted… Methinks some people were unawares of the aptly named “brony phenomenon” that had begun two years prior to the premiere of The Legend of Korra.
Once the greenlight had been given, the series took several surprisingly mature turns not only with the breakup of Mako and Korra, the stapled romance made at the end of Book One, but had something of a love triangle occurring with him and Asami, his prior girlfriend.
Asami and Korra’s relationship has always been friendly with the only true strained instances being those that involved Asami’s father and his work for the Equalists. Even with the whole Mako thing and him being about as wishy-washy as a wet noodle towards them both, to a point where one has to serious ask what the heck is his deal, the two of them stayed on friendly terms and even became besties by Book Three where the true hints of romance began.
In the aftermath of the Red Lotus poisoning her, Korra was all but crippled by the end of it and out of everyone that she knew, family and friends alike, it was Asami who was there to lend her an open ear and was there to help take care of her prior to Korra’s departure to the receive care in the South Pole. Heck, even during her tenure over the following three years it was Asami and Asami alone that she wrote back to though she received letters from her other friends.
Korra and Asami are from two entirely different walks of life and I like that. Both of them are equally feminine as they are tomboyish in their own distinct ways without either one of them being the one to, as a few of my friends say, “wear the pants” in the relationship. When the show first began, I initially thought that a new character would have to be introduced in later seasons as the ones available to Korra to season one… Well…
Mako, as I’ve said, is a decent guy but can’t make up his dang mind at all. Bolin… I like him, really I do, but if an episode goes by where I’m not face-palming myself due to his antics I consider it an exceptionally spectacular episode. I entertained the thought of Korra and Asami ending up together but I thought to myself, “No way would they be that daring. They can’t even kill off the major bad guy in this series.”
This statement was made before the demise of not one but three major bad guys so you can imagine my sudden turn towards the possibility.
Really, the thing that I like most about this pairing is that it naturally progressed from beginning to end and wasn’t shoved in our faces that it was coming squeezed in for convenience sake like it was for Makko and Korra in Book One. The hints towards this pairing were subtle enough that even veteran writers questioned whether or not the series was heading where it was.
Before the finale, my friends and I, all avid fans of both Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra discussed where we thought the series was heading, specifically with Korra and Asami. While we all agreed that they were hints littered about all over the freaking place towards a possible pairing, it was only myself and a few others that thought that the series would take the plunge and confirm a pairing that, until then, had been virtually nonexistent in Western animated media.
The ending of the series… Geez, how can I even begin to describe it? … You know what? I can’t. Not in a way that would do it and the show itself justice so, in all honesty, if you want to see what it is I’m talking about here, I wholeheartedly recommend watching The Legend of Korra from beginning to end. I assure you, you won’t be disappointed.