I always critiqued the handling of Korra’s “gender” on how to oppose the soft-spoken supposedly “feminized” Aang she was made physically strong (which I at first loved) but then shown she was absent/devoid of spirituality. One must also notice that Aang is always talking about “honour”, “justice” and has made multiple libidinous advances towards Katara. Such “honour” and “justice” and sexual/romantic attraction are physical and Aang approaches them with undeniable physicality. Aang is soft true but his masculinity is always affirmed; in conjunction to that his spirituality and physicality are brought together in positive cohesion. Korra gains hardly any spirituality. Even at Book 4 Korra opening a spirit portal is a physical act not a spiritual one. Aang fought Ozai was an amalgamation of both spirituality and physicality. Aang used the physical to reach a spiritual; Korra may have been using a spiritual type act to make also a physical act but in my opinion it translates more to the same old physical act.
I did not mind Korra’s emphasis on physicality but as Aang I wanted her to be emotionally and spiritually secure which was best shown in Book 2 ending fight with Unavaatu. Korra is always overpowered by her physicality. Aang never faced this problem. Aang also used avatar state as recklessly as Korra but was not so critiqued on it as Korra. Aang at the end of the series is content and “complete”; he is allowed a reprieve. Korra is shown always to be frustrated, sexually and otherwise, she is never really allowed a reprieve. As some fans of Tumblr had noticed Korra’s resolve to learn more was not enthusiastic or energetic; it comes almost as a defeat.
What began as a beautiful framework for a new series became debilitated at the end — at first I respected Bryke’s decision to make Korra the opposite of Aang. I may not have always admired hot-headed Korra but I respected her. I understood that her teaching additionally being sequestered from society had made her somewhat itching to always be flamboyant and to divulge in childish narcissism. It made very good sense. Her fear of Amon’s sucking out bending was also legitimate; she has grown to believe she is physically very strong yet here a supposed non-bender was doing away bending. However, I found her to be elitist. Korra constantly thinks that benders are the best. This attitude was not subverted even by Book 4. One may argue that as this is not TLA so there need not be repeat performances in LOK concerning the topic of non-benders. True, yet the question has been raised. So, I would have wanted that non-benders pick up a fight. Book 1 was pretty much benders protecting their elitist personalities and ranks not protecting privileges of both benders and nonbenders alike. Korra is challenged by a pretty competent army of non-benders. Korra sees them strategically take over Republic City which no other villain was able to do. Not even Kuvira. It was important that Korra understood the qualms of people in the series such as the nonbenders. It was important that Korra sympathised with them. Korra does not. Rather she does everything Amon states an arrogant bender does. Abuse their powers.
I thought in Book 1, originally when it premiered, that by the end Korra may have lost her powers but in Book 2 will eventually regain them but also by learning competent non-bending forms of fighting such as chakra-blocking. After all Aang for a large part of TLA Book 1 was competent only in air bending so there is no injustice in making an avatar feel bereft of their bending. It would have made Korra understand that being the avatar is so much more than bending or power which Aang also realizes. These epiphanies may have come in Book 2 to Korra but my speculations were very soon extracted and put away somewhere else as Korra regains her powers by some subset of energy bending. Even in Book 4 Korra faces really weird personal reflections which begin very complexly but then are toned down as her spiritual journey gets toned down with conclusions just being juiced up. Finally ending with a romantic endeavour that pretty much screams fandom service.
With concern to Asami Sato she is a very hopeless character. Instead on focusing on her prowess as inventor and fighter we can see that Asami pretty much is the incompetent-bimbette beauty. This in Book 1, which is meant to show that non-benders and benders are equals, is more offending because Asami is the only nonbender at that time in Team Avatar. Always dolled up and first and foremost shown as a socialite. The credit of being an inventor goes to Varrick not to Asami. This is actually quite defeating because Asami is reported to be one of the main characters. I noticed that in most conferences Asami’s voice actress is not really paid attention to. It is quite apparent no one really cares much about Asami as a character. Which is sad. In Book 2 the pathetic way she wheedled out to Mako again not even a week gone by since his breakup with Korra is also stupendously rude writing of her. Asami should be more concerned about her company and also her future role as an inventor. She is her own individual not Mako’s or Korra’s girlfriend alone. Asami is so insignificant that none of her actions matter to people except almost all of the avid fans of Korrasami. Which is telling about this character. Characters like Bolin even Kuvira are able to be seen without a romantic quotient. Asami is not given that right nor even hinted at the luxury of that.
Not to mention Asami does reprehensibly cruel things at times and no one finds it objectionable. Like how Varrick attempting to make Asami profit from war in the South Pole by selling her machines. That is pretty morally hot territory. Asami’s father was profiting from war should Asami just be “daddy’s girl” and do exactly the same things as her father? Should team avatar also think it reasonable for Asami to do this? I find it audacious that Korra, Mako and Bolin do not find this morally unruly dark and white hot territory but appease to it as some sadomasochistic people. Asami treated war as business and that makes her ruthlessly cold for a moment for she doesn’t question it. Defense should obviously be thought of but as the North Pole had already invaded should not there be other pressing matters like having her company deliver medicine and food to the wounded? Also then to a certain capacity give machines only as defensive maneuvers? Because Republic City is clearly not supportive so doing all this may cause more future problems for everyone
Asami is a hollow character, nevertheless, she was a character with much potential thus I feel it is weakening her progress as a character to make her into a love interest again. With Kataraang I did not see only Katara as a love interest. Her character was beautifully poignant, fierce, determined a complementary of both masculine and feminine traits. Even if Asami was to be Korra’s love, even if the decision was sudden, I would have liked more character writing of her in Books 1 and 2 that would validate her role as a character in her own right. Ironically, even Zhu Li and Varrick got this through gestures and unambiguous plans being made. I can understand that sometimes writing a romantic relationship is not an immediate decision; not all books have to be Love in The Time of Cholera or The Perks of Being a Wallflower but you can be sensitive about the growth of a character as a character independent first then move towards relationship cues.
A character does not even need to be so physically strong to be outstanding: Varrick is less stronger than many males and females but his character had some decent exposition. Zhu Li is shown to be more physically capable than him but also efficient and meticulous. Additionally, it was hinted that Zhu Li is an inventor-genius in her own right who has made it possible for most of Varrick’s ideas to work so they are a dual team. Zhu Li is able to finish and even help make stable the spirit-weapon which Varrick was unable to do thus she is learned and an intellectual/cerebral person. Sure, Bataar helped but it seemed that Bataa oversaw more than actual involvement as he was not necessarily familiar with what Varrick and Zhu Li did.
The tragedy was that even Prince Wu evolved. Asami never did. The sort of emotional and psychological breakdown that Wu had was quite explicit that he is a bit of a symbol, a mirror, to how Korra in the beginning was as well. That like Korra he also felt that his existence and importance was only significant when he became a ruler. We see the genesis of his self-reflection as a spokesperson, a evacuation expert and in the end a person who does not require the monarchy to give him meaning; he is able to be fully his whole, charming self without such public validation. Of course, many people do not like Wu (personally, I am a bit disinterested in him, with or without him Book 4 would still have its importances and its flaws), he is just a bit more of a comic relief. Yet, I was wondering, this show introduced Wu at the last Book, understandably, as a successor to the Earth Kingdom, yet I am a bit questioning why no one elected someone of equal merit as Kuvira? From the very start Wu had proved to be more of a radically incapable character and even everyone including Mako felt that Kuvira had brought, initially, a lot of stability and infrastructure to the Earth Kingdom. I would think electing someone of equal merit would be more than crucial now as Wu has done nothing of any socio-economic or socio-political interest to help the Earth Kingdom. Despite all this, in the end, Wu does evolve more than what his initial character was.
In this context, what has Asami done exactly? She did not readily relinquish future industries nor did she care of its demise. She could, as noted by many fans, mourn her father properly. She showed no signs of learning even as Korra did in the spirit world. Her role became that same stringent and closed boundary of love interest. Rather she has lost whatever agency she has gained. A more fitting end for her would be if she decided to travel earth kingdom and fire nation and make designs to help build her city from scratch. It is true that going on a vacation maybe her thinking of her own needs now but it wasn’t nicely presented. Also, her going in between both physical and spirit worlds would be a better exploration of self for her not this sudden “vacation” for it contributes nothing for her personhood.
If Mako went with Korra it would be more understandable even as a career gesture — he has faced a lot of pressure being a bodyguard of a future king and has wounded his arm severely. For him a journey to heal his body in the spirit world would be motive enough to take him along even as a friend. I am not forgetting that Book 4 had made Mako and Bolin strangers. If they wanted us to see it from Korra’s perspective that now Asami is more important for Korrasami and those two have become strangers to her, doesn’t that imply something pretty stingy about Korra as a person? Korra should try to reconnect with both Mako and Boilin as friends; should ask Boilin about his feelings of being betrayed by Kuvira and also the sort of magnetism and energy that Mako had in Books 1 to 3 was made absent here. Mako also accompanies Korra to help people who were attacked by spirit vines furthermore was present in her psychological piecing up next to Zaheer. Those are very crucial to her personhood so why make Asami absent there? The execution of Korrasami was built-up as though it was some bad memory. In a recent fanart I saw Korra and Asami share rooms, that is semi implicative, in actual Book 3 Zhao Fu Korra and Asami shared no such lodgings. Asami showed less concern than Mako and Bolin that Korra was being kidnapped. Her only major signs of concern is when Korra was dying and when she was in a wheelchair. That is not enough. Asami’s character is written as though she is ambivalently juggling roles not being multifarious.
I think the most nice scene of Korrasami is in Book 4 when Asami tells Korra not to listen to her naysayers (while bringing her tea which was the only good symbolistic thing to show some evolution as Book 1 Asami had denied giving Korra tea). If those sorts of scenes repeated it would be beautiful. In fact Makorra had nice scenes like that all the time in Book 1 and Book 2 and even Books 3 and Book 4 . Their breakup in Book 2 felt morte coerced because it felt that they were being childishly fighting for no reason. Even after amnesia Korra strongly feels for Mako and in multiple times in Book 3 shows a lot of concern for him which is romantically executed; mutually exposed. Some other fans had put up this analysis and I agree that Asami’s romantic feelings for Korra (no matter their hodge-podge development) was stronger than what Korra felt. So, in the end Korra concedes in something she actually shouldn’t. Which is more sad because Asami is now a psychological wreck losing all that she worked for in a few years in the city and losing her father. This ending doesn’t do her justice at all.
A confident, strong person, whether man or woman, should not concede so easily to any such relationship. The magnetism and chemistry of Makorra was at times subtle but so fluid that both parties actively desired and loved one another. They wanted to show, the concept was excellent though its execution raw in lacking, is that Korrasami is more “balanced” or “calm” than the tempestuous Makorra. Well, in theory, that does charge a balance but truthfully the tempestuousness of Makorra in Book 2 was forced. In all books they have had their calm moments. So, without some intellectual or emotional evidence it seems unsatisfactory that Makorra can’t happen even in Book 2. A better ending for them would have been if Korra said that she feels that Mako cannot understand her as a person and avatar (which ironically he does understand her more so than Asami and respects her fully as person and avatar) thus she must leave. This could have been done with Mako ignoring Korra as a person or only treating her as avatar (which actually Asami does).