Written a lot about this — Korra and Korrasami with Makorra

The truth is that Makorra and Korrasami, both, were written, in my honest opinion, pretty poorly and boringly. In Book 1 Makorra still had some good points. I will not say Mako is a horrible person because  in the beginning Mako did view Korra as the avatar only. It is through rigorous experiences and also through conversations that he found that Korra, despite his initial dislike of her as a spoiled molly-coddled person, was not that at all. Mako realized that Korra had had problems being in tune with herself and also her roles and that the pressure of being an avatar was in conjunction with many of his socio-economic problems. Ironically, it was repeat performance — Aang was pressurized too much and so could not be the boy he was and Korra was too isolated and had the same effects. Mako eventually understood this.

Mako saw in Korra a kindred and so had Korra found a kindred in Mako. They both had flaws but both valued the same things — a healthy physique in terms of learning new fighting styles and both could rely on each other when they were really sad and confused. I do not see much of Korrasami acting like this. Asami treats Korra pretty much as the avatar all the time. As in, as a status quo, as a title, as a person of power alone and as a thing rather than also a person unique to herself. So, it is hard to see them in a relationship. I would say that if Aang made Zuko his lover/boyfriend/spouse it would make more sense as Zuko learned to see Aang as Aang aside from avatar in many moments from Book 1 of TLA. Zuko’s focus on Aang as avatar  was more or less transitory and had purpose on stopping the fire nation. And Zuko’s relationship with Aang was always a problematic once. The same problems did to arise much in Korrasami. She quickly acclimatises to Korra because she is not an exiled prince whose honour restoration depends on catching the avatar. Asami has large moments of calm yet still cannot ask Korra what her favourite colour is; would she likes wearing more? Mixed red, green and blue as she has stronger focus on earth and fire elements? It feels pretty inorganic at times what Korra and Asami do. Better pace and writing would make this more sweet and subtly romantic. An example is how Kenshin Himura falls in love with Tomoe Yukishiro and then Kaoru Kamiya in Rurouni Kenshin. Between Kenshin and Korra there were almost none to minute physical contacts in the TV series but their love was nicely orchestrated.

Also, if a lesbian relationship was to be structured I would have  elected wholeheartedly Korinora and Kovira.  Korra and Jinora had have loads of fun since Book 1  and this fun became mutual support in Book 2 and a very deep understanding. Jinora became an indispensable ally in Book 3 and also somebody who could help Korra to learn more about spirituality. Despite their age differences, the timeskip may have been longer and in those absences Korra could have found in her heart a special place for Jinora and Jinora for Korra. I would have liked a more complex relationship with Korra and Kuvira which may  have taken a romantic turn — it may have began as appreciation and sparring in Book 3 and developed into something deeper in Book 4 which would have heightened the tension between them because of their obvious feelings with the anxiety of Kuvira having her goals and Korra having hers and they both feel differently but know the potential good between both of them which would elevate both the psychological and physical ramifications of the series.

I think Jinora aspiring to be like Korra then falling in love with her and Korra valuing Jinora as a young friend and even mentor then realising that this person  is the right person for her would  actually do great things for both characters.  That love would be more real and calm and even visually  and emotionally feasible than the Korrasami one or even a no-make up /recovery Makorra one. Also in the end Makorra stayed canon. People noticed that Mako and Korra still loved each other deeply and that depth was not extinguished rather inflamed by Mako’s speech at the end  and Korra’s reactions to said-speech without validation that Mako and she are just friends now because I think Bryke  themselves cannot for the life of them believe that Mako and Korra can only  be friends; in the subtext and even  context they are NOT ONLY  FRIENDS. I think deep within themselves they root for Makorra.

Long time before in a conference I think Varney herself suggested that Korrasami is the only way to make people  happy. This was not Bryke’s opinion and truthfully even Varney prefers Korra with Bolin. One may see that Korrasami was a tactic to make fans happy that is why it’s execution was so flimsy. Korra and Asami would  be better as best friends like Korra and Bolin. I would have loved Korra being with Jinora or Mako or even Kuvira. Many people even thought that Amon was not a bad person for her so we can see  that Korrasami was initially pretty much a  thin fandom and I have noticed it is mostly supported by people who are either pretty very young or wanting representation. That is what irks me. Other bi/queer people did notice the lack of good exposure in the representation of Korrasami. They wanted a kiss or more embraces perhaps. Korrasami is not even a healthy representation of a lesbian romance  or even a lesbian couple as it’s buildup was skewed and it espouses many negative stereotypes of women and strong women in general.

The excuse of it being a kids’  show and all is pretty  malignant in its own right concerning that despite the fire Adventure Time got they still made Princess Bubblegum and Marceline a couple who shared a romantic/sexual past. The feelings of both of these girls are nicely handled. Their gestures are double entendres — at times friendship at times more than friendly endearing — the way they notice each other, share each others’ possessions is fully deserving of an applause of a gay romance nicely handled for kids’ show. Those two women may be bisexual and they both are full-fledged characters  so they hooking up in the end and not with Finn would make more phenomenal sense and celebration. Stereotypically, it would make “no-sense” too for others because Marceline is an edgy, prankster hybrid Vampire princess while Bubblegum is an OCD, scopophilic, a bit arrogant and also control freak of a person. Marceline is a more free spirit while Bubblegum is a disciplinarian. Yet, they also share similarities. They look at wider scheme  of things, they enjoy small fine things in life, they enjoy to  capacity simple creature comforts, they can appreciate good food and know that too much  drama in conferences can be boring. They both know  when to stay put and when to wander. I would also say that though Princess Bubblegum may end up with Finn I think that Bubblegum with Marceline also makes a beauty. I would be happy if she does end  up with Marceline or if Finn does end up with Marceline rather than her. Also I was also pleased that despite Marceline’s  appeal Finn has also looked to her as a comrade and a best friend primarily, someone he highly respects and learns from as well.

Moving back to LOK, many people hated Makorra as they thought Mako  cheated and that was that. I liked that Mako and Korra made mistakes and that they were flawed and that they  realized that they loved each other through many shared experiences. Mako did not start his journey liking Korra much, he thought she was pretty and likeable but at times he wondered if they were the right people for each other. Korra felt it in her bones from the start but obviously there was a mutual acceptance after many moments  and that made that relationship realistic. Mako liked Asami, true, but his attraction to her was more of a crush and a physicality  (I see that happening even between Asami and Korra as in I feel Asami likes Korra more as attraction). This  became obvious in Book 2 when Asami and Mako  kiss very easily and make out instead of talking or Asami asking or Mako confessing what happened with Korra.

But that attraction was not enough, Mako and Korra understood each other on a deeper level. I did not think Mako was a cheat — he would have told Asami earlier if things were not spiraling out of control and Korra was not a cheat either.  This felt more like nitpicking because Mako did apologise to Asami and I could see Asami and Korra have a mutual unspoken understanding too. These things happen between people. It was not that Mako and Asami dated for years and then Mako out of the blue deserted Asami and Korra betrayed a friendship with Asami in its entirety. They were young and they only kissed out of turn/line that is wrong but they apologised and attempted to make amends. Yes, it should  have better presented and Korra  and Asami should have had more interactions in Book 2 that showed and told that things between them were cool and collected. Their guilt should have better realized but it was realised. Mako initially did not own up and got mad about Boilin saying to Asami that Korra and he kissed because well he probably didn’t like being accused of suddenly but yeah I think he would have  quickly said so what he did . After all when he realized how much he loved Korra it was obvious that he loved her enough now and in a way made a distance with Asami. As Mako said too many things were happening and he just didn’t know how to break it down and Korra had encouraged him to stay with Asami after her father turned a baddie so it would  be callous to just say out to her that look we are dating now. As I said it was executed badly  Makorra in Book  1 but it wasn’t so flawed — teens  do make mistakes like that and if a guy like Amon is around  they do get unsure when to say things even adults would.

Then Mako denying that Korra has broken up with him was wrong but he was put on the spot and he did love Korra. Also as I said that breakup  from its infancy felt forced. Mako would have tried to make amends with Korra because he loves her and Korra loves him and they respect each other. Sometimes we do not immediately tell others the truth but we do pretty soon. Mako would have as soon as he could as well. Though I did not like his actions I could understand why he lied. And I thought to be frank that was not good writing of him at that precise time. I would have expected Mako confess and say that he would be with her and that he hopes they could still work out. I felt Bryke made Mako a liar because they coercively wanted Mako and Korra’s relationship to end. Mako  and Korra were both at fault but they were  earnestly trying to support each other and in real life that may not work out as you plan. But they weren’t abusing each other that their breaking would have made me happy or relieved.

Rather I saw them put into a bad spot again — Mako saying to president Raiko what Korra wanted to do was not his fault because pretty much a lot of people thought Korra asking the United Forces to  fight in a Civil War between the Water Tribes could be dangerous. I have a very good feeling that Asami would do exactly the same thing if she was in Mako’s spot. She was willing to sell her machines in the war so if she saw that her company may shut down if Raiko got a whiff of her allegiances she would also confess. To Mako and Asami it was not really their position it is their legacy and also their possible chance of redemption. Mako has to prove that he is no longer a gangster, not a slippery person but a trustworthy cop. I mean Asami is doing the same thing; she is trying to show Republic City that her company is good and equal. That her father necessarily does not define Future Industries with his anti-bender sentiments. It is Korra getting angry and her execution of that anger that was a bit too  weird. Korra’s anger is just but not so much. I mean going into Mako’s office and starting a commotion, destroying property and yelling and screaming was not fair. It was lucky she was the avatar and she wasn’t arrested because that was the head police precinct. If she had been someone else she would have been immediately arrested or been suspended to come close to the vicinity for a while. I know Mako would have made it up  to her because that is what all he was doing in Book 2.

One may  argue that if Korra and Mako can be childish why not Asami as she kissed Mako  in Book 2. The thing is that Asami pretty much  realised that Mako is not the right person for her because the amount of time and energy, support and care  he shows for Korra even in Books 2, 3 and 4 are not even a modicum present in Book 1 when even Asami was riding that carriage through the  park. If even in that intimacy while cuddling all Asami can confirm is that she feels safe with Mako and Mako can’t say anything else other than how his father’s scarf reminds me of his father then how can be right for each other? In fact, Korra and Mako in the same park with Naga present talked more about their lives and not just romance cuddle. I would think Asami seeing that  would realise that what she  felt for Mako was a physical attraction and nothing more.  Also Asami didn’t renounce this “feeling safe”  co-dependent attitude — she just moved on to the avatar which is telling that despite her fighting skills and inventions Asami is portrayed as bad formulated damsel-in-distress whose only affirmation in life is to be liked by physically strong or powerful people who can protect her.  This may not have been with Prince Wu  ’cause he can’t help her but this was done with Varrick pretty much all the time, yeah sure she she hurt his wrist in Book 4 but pretty much cosied up to  Varrick  too in minimum time.

Also, she never really tells Raiko off in Book 4 for not prioritizing Korra or tries to help her in any way. Hell, even in the letters there is no sign of aid Asami is pretty much in love with her own projects to even give a shit. No advice, no  nothing.  She listens and that’s great but she doesn’t even affirm that with saying always write more. I see that in Book 2 Mako did critique Korra so maybe Korra thought she would be judged if she wrote to him but Mako did say always he respected her choices and didn’t take her crap when she was dealing some unspecified, unfair rage at him. Mako would understand what Korra felt she would understand that Korra not being able to go avatar state is important — hello.  Book 1 finale anyone? I don’t see how only Asami would be able to understand. Because she has to reshape her company well she kinda managed to do that with a lot less time than expected. It is Mako who gets shot down a lot so I can see that Korra would get an understanding ear from him too. So there is no really reason or instinctual feeling given that  Korra only confide with Asami; it feels just like  we might do Korrasami so let’s just put that in.

None of this complex dynamic even as friends existed between Korra and Asami. Even when Mako chooses Korra again and Asami can only fume she is also second choice for Korra as well. A buy one get one free kind of choice not an emotive and well balanced choice. I felt Asami’s character was horribly raped as a to and fro doll who gets the deep end from both Korra and Mako multiple times. Korra in Book 3 should have done more activities with Asami  that made them more friends before lovers.  Asami’s role is still pointless and she hardly was involved in anything major even by Book 3. If they made Asami even actively learn about spirits in Book 2 and 3 and write part of the equations that enabled the Spiritcannon of Book 4 I would think wow what a character evolution.

What I also  could  not fathom what happened between Kai and Jinora and what happened to Jinora as a character in Book 4 — this airbending master was overlooked as a potential, pivotal person in Book 4 aside  finding Korra she had less exposure than the Beifong family. I found this pretty  silly concerning that Jinora was a airbending master now and she had done so much more since Book 1.  These character reductions was getting cheesy because Boilin  may have been in many frames but at times I could not pinpoint why he was there. Book 4 made better exposure of Varrick and Zhu Li which I would have preferred if they did so to Asami, Bolin and Mako.

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8 thoughts on “Written a lot about this — Korra and Korrasami with Makorra

    1. Why can’t you stand them? They are pretty natural. And if you are being sarcastic to me that’s not funny. I am pretty much into many gay/queer pairings in media. I didn’t like how Korrasami was written but I didn’t like many things about LOK that I actually did write before on this blog. Have my opinions changed? No. But now I am enthusiastic to read Korrasami in the comics. I REALLY wanna see the pairing fleshed out. I find it pretty funny you would call yourself Asami because Asami is confirmed bisexual/queer. But if you are being serious being gay/queer is pretty natural. Having queer/gay/SGA/homoerotic feelings are pretty natural no matter how you identify yourself. Do you have issues with yourself? Why do you hate media like that and can’t stand them? Hopefully, you do not gay/queer people in real life. That is just hate. Hate comes from ignorance. I have seen ignorant people do ignorant things. But ignorance is not genetic. Talk to a counselor. Read materials. Make yourself more aware. Don’t be a homophobic/queerphobic person. Trust me putting down others is not the way. Queerness, of any type, is not a threat to anyone and if you have been taught that then you have been hanging out with bigots. Don’t be a bigot like them.

  1. Thank you so much for articulating this! I absolutely hate it when (typically heterosexual) writers shoehorn shallow, heteronormative, stereotyped or unhealthy LGBT relationships to signal their virtue (Once Upon a Time is hugely guilty of this by crack pairing Red Riding Hood/Dorothy Gale in one episode and then writing them out of the show, despite the Philip/Aurora/Mulan and Swan/Queen relationships being far more popular and developed) or appeal to disgusting yaoi fangirl fetishes (the boy/boy relationships in Dragon Age and Mass Effect suffer a terrible case of this, and the straight relationships are even worse because all the love interests need psychiatric help). There’s throwing a bone and then there’s being completely tone-deaf to basic human psychology, nevermind politics and media influence.

    At least when Joss Whedon killed Tara it followed the previously established rule of the series that every single relationship eventually falls apart. Except, oddly enough, Angel and Spike (at least one interview confirmed they were lovers in the past, they’ve both died and gone crazy multiple times, and they have a pathological ambiguously platonic love/hate relationship).

    1. I am happy that I got to articulate this. Though I know by no means my views and understanding are a popular one. We are age driving by policies and social etiquette not really emotion, rationale and logic. That is why our passions tend to get flimsy and our romances cheap rhetoric. I do not care that there are yaoi fetishes. Yaoi can help straight and queer women alike and it has. I liked many yaoi, if not all, for similar reasons. Men’s sexualities in terms of aggression, passion and assertiveness is given more credence and acknowledged than anything. Lesbianism or bisexual women in mainstream narratives are meant to titillate the straight, usually White, man. For women, imagining a gay/bi-male relationship sometimes offer many possibilities especially when lesbianism is considered scopophilic and been fetishised so much. Also being “male” or reading through a male lens can be empowering for some people feeling the same social double standards and coercive practices put on women will not be put on men. This is more or less, to an extent true.

      However, this does not mean I support ever yaoi portrayal on TV and I notice anime fanservice nowadays are pandering to fans rather than actually working on a narrative that seems realistic and plausible. By entering queer representation as such the shows make the queerness another form of “entertainment”, a theatrical display of drama that is meant to work as some perverse catharsis. Eve Sedgwick Kosofsky had already articulated that if queer relationships are harmed by their absence in media and discourse then straight relationships are equally, or more or less, hurt the same way by having grand narratives such as Romance Archetypes/Stereotypes, History and how Love is constructed. Overexposing the heteronormative matrix/gender normative matrix in both straight and queer relations equally so (in one way or another) actually hurts our sense of self. Most animes do this too. I was lucky to see many without it but that does not mean there aren’t stupid animes like there, such as “Highschool of the Dead”, to show nothing aside cheap sexual kicks that make no sense and characters as flaccid (all puns intended) as a squishy debacle.

      Thank You for taking the time to read my work.

      1. I did not mean to imply that I had a problem with male/male relationships. I have a problem with Japan: it is most definitely not LGBT friendly (gay marriage isn’t legal, there’s no legal protection against hate crimes, no politician wants to touch this with a ten foot pole) and this is reflected in their media. The Japanese genres of Boys Love, Girls Love and so forth typically never portray realistic relationships and rely on silly stereotypes like “all relationships exhibit a masculine/feminine dynamic”, “it’s a phase they will grow out of”, “everyone is straight yet bi-curious.”

        I totally agree with your critique of romance writing in general. The reason why, say, SwanQueen is so popular with fans (of any sexuality) is because Swan and Regina were written as characters with their own quirks and foibles, who are complex enough that they don’t fit into traditional gender molds, and who aren’t defined by their endless cycle of dying boyfriends. All too often relationships in general, much less gay relationships, are written to fulfill media’s unhealthy obsession with romance (or worse, a diversity quota) and forget that characters need to be interesting and complex outside of their romantic relationships.

        Every relationship in Bioware games is awful. The straight relationships feel forced or end badly, the gay relationships are loaded with stereotypes, and every single love interest has severe psychological issues that they never receive treatment for and which present a danger to themselves and others. These are not healthy relationships!

      2. Of course, I know that you did not mean you don’t like male/male relationships. Well, yes, that is not only for yaoi genre but it is also for romance het genre as well. There are problematic dynamic in those shows that do make me unhappy. I don’t know much about bioware games to really comment about but I liked the queer relationships of Fallout 4 as whether you play Nora or Nate and whether you are having a relationship with a guy or girl the story is the same and means a lot. I think the “everyone is straight bi-curious” trope happens because people can call themselves straight but in modern times they do exhibit a lot of queer attitudes. Yes, the trope is comical but it is also based on some realism. I think many shows have fanserive. It is hard to write actual romance of both het and queer quality because it will not always be aesthetically pretty and will have ugly truths in it and also people aren’t perfect and will have flaws, foibles and make mistakes but most people wanna zone that out when watching media. I can understand that but true representation is hard to write when you want only the frills and not the flesh.

      3. The blog “kissmyanime.wordpress.com” has a more articulate tackle of the subject of Japanese media (including Boys Love/Girls Love) being politically incorrect. I feel my flailing attempts to explain it would only mangle the message.

        In my experience the term “fanservice” most commonly refers to risque content like jiggle physics and skimpy clothing. I think what you mean is “pandering”. Pandering more accurately refers to things like the Korrasami debacle, where writers signal their progressive political views in a way that exploits and marginalizes gay rights.

        Retconning Korra to bi or gay after already intending her to be straight isn’t just an example of the show’s already bad handling of relationships, budget cuts, etc getting that much worse. It might have turned the Avatar world into a fantasy ideal where gay relationships are so normalized as to be unworthy of comment by Korra. Korra, who is a messianic figure raised in a convent in a world styled after an Industrial Age China. A nation which in the real world was extremely conservative and heteronormative.

        What are we supposed to take away from this? I wish we could just write in gay relationships as easily as we right straight ones and without resorting to tired stereotypes. Homophobia, as it pains me to admit, is alive and well everywhere today and media is clinically proven to affect people’s beliefs. An ending that boils down to a vague “two girls love each other” message (much less two boys, non-cis, etc) isn’t going to magically make homophobes disappear or convince anyone to question their social constructs. Is the Avatar world a fantasy ideal free of homophobia or will Korra and Asami have to conceal their relationship from their friends and family? Is Korra sexually fluid or transgender because she has vague memories of being (and having sex as) a man and a father? Will the nonexistent sequel explore that I wonder? This could have been an excellent opportunity to deconstruct the concepts of sex and gender, but instead we got “look at me I’m so progressive” subtext that most of the audience missed.

        What irks me about this is that the progressive media codones Bryke’s behavior rather than demanding better writing. There are a lot of constructive ways that media could tackle the subject of convincing people to stop being heterosexist and to assuage the alienation experienced by non-straight non-cis teens. Did we learn nothing from the baby steps on Touched by an Angel or Glee? Writers who are bad at relationships in general, script changes, budget cuts, and censorship are not a constructive way to tackle this. I totally support Korrasami in the abstract but I hate the writers and producers for strangling it.

      4. This is an excellent answer filled with rich analyses. My good friend, if I may call you, I completely love you reply. I do not always think that immanently BL or GL is non-PC as in the convoluted politics of PC Korrasami/KS/KA is also pretty “progressive” but that is another topic. I do agree that BL and GL can be, as het romances, as harmful and gender normative/heteronormative. Even in the abstract Korrasami feels dull. It is a fanservice crack ship that became canon. There are many types of fanservice and one is just “giving fans what they want” in the modt basic and reductionist level. To me most cultures are heteronormative not heterosexual as heterosexist can be taken at times in a “positive” light. The fact is even if there was no problems in the Avatar world in queer relationships, as apparently Kaya is also queer, it just does not happen. Like Makorra did not just happen. Korra was also pretty demisexual and gender queer and she was already queer. Making her in a femslash relationship without any background between the two characters is literally fanservice and pleasing straight, cis men. Korrasami feels forced and written for them. Bryke’s “hetero lens” comment was unethical as it gave ammunition to trolls and bullies alike to give patronizing lectures to MK people and people in general who disliked Korrasami. It also pushed aside the queer people who actually disliked Korrasami. There is going to be a comic soon and it just seems to be a cash grabber though I hope it delineates fairly Korra and Asami though I doubt it. Korra was already queer; she was non-gender normative, interested in one person and she was very apolitical in some stances. She did not need a relationship with a stranger to validate her queerness.

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