Korra. Asami. Korrasami. I'll never forget the moment when that actually became a reality. It was one of those, "where were you when…" moments that didn't initially seem major at first, because many people believed that Korra and Asami were just entering the Spirit World as friends. But then it suddenly clicked, probably simultaneously, with the audience: Korra and Asami were not just friends – they were actually into each other. In fact, I distinctly remember sitting on the couch with my wife while watching the series finale of The Legend of Korra, and then tilting my head to the side, and wondering, "Wait…Is Korra gay?"
Apparently, I wasn't alone. Series creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko actually had to confirm the show’s same-sex relationship after the episode aired because many people were unsure. That's when I acquired a brand new appreciation for it, since children’s cartoons didn’t do things like that. Not back in 2014, anyway. I've since re-watched The Legend of Korra several times (and got major heat when I once argued that The Legend of Korra is better than Avatar: The Last Airbender), and it still blows my mind that the series really pulled off an LGBTQ+ couple on a kids' show, which is why I have four reasons about how it's still groundbreaking, even today.
The Romance Between Korra And Asami Continued On In The Comics In A Big Way
I check out the Avatar and Korra fan pages quite often, and a lot of people today say that the show didn’t do nearly enough prior to that ending to establish that Korra and Asami were interested in each other, and…I don’t entirely disagree. As I mentioned in the introduction, I actually wasn’t entirely sure about Korra’s and Asami’s feelings for each other until the two creators said that it was their intention to make Korrasami a reality.
And that’s completely understandable, since The Legend of Korra, which had several great episodes, was still a kid’s show in 2014, which, I might add, predates the date that same-sex marriage became a constitutional right in this country in all 50 states.
That said, where the Nickelodeon TV show could only go so far, The Legend of Korra Dark Horse comics went all-in with Korrasami. In fact, their relationship is put into question in the Turf Wars story arc, where Korra and Asami are still coming to grips with their relationship even existing. In this way, whereas the creators could only go “so far” with the cartoon, they could go much further, and deeper, into Korrasami's relationship in the comics, where it’s definitely no secret that Korra and Asami are an item.
It Was Groundbreaking At The Time For A Nickelodeon Cartoon To Actually Have A Gay Couple, Even If It Was Just At The End
Also, I still applaud the creators for even having the courage to make certain that Korra and Asami became a couple at the end of the show. Don’t forget, throughout the series, Korra was actually discovering for herself whom she was attracted to, as she tried out a relationship with Mako that just didn’t work. In this way, the showrunners allowed Korra to feel out where her attractions lied, allowing the viewer to go along with her on this journey of self-discovery until she realized that she was attracted to a woman.
For all the people who say that maybe things could have been clearer between Korra and Asami's relationship if the show had been made today (and I have genuinely seen people say this), we don't necessarily know if that's true or not. In fact, when I interviewed Janet Varney, who voiced Korra, she had this to say about Korrasami today:
So, maybe the creators would have done things differently if the show ended today, or, maybe they wouldn't have. Either way, what does matter is the ending that we got, since the creators really didn't have to go that route, but they did anyway. And the show is all the better for it.
Kids Today Who Watch The Show Might Already Know About Korrasami, So They Might Potentially Watch The Show For The First Time With That Insight In Mind
Here's something I never thought of before until quite recently, but today's generation might go into watching The Legend of Korra for the first time with prior knowledge that Korra is gay, and I think that's huge. This recently came to my attention when one of my students (I also teach) actually saw The Legend of Korra art book I keep at the front of my classroom for students to leaf through, and she said, "I just started watching that show on Netflix. Did you know she's gay?"
I said I did, and was bracing myself to hear her possibly say something negative about this, since the attitude toward homosexuality in my building isn't always as positive as I would like it to be. But, she smiled and said, “That’s so cool,” and so I smiled and replied, “Yes, it is,” which gave me a bit more faith in this upcoming generation than I might have had before this little interaction, which is great.
The Legend of Korra Walked So She-Ra And The Princesses Of Power Could Run
Lastly, I think it's incredibly important to mention how the groundbreaking ending to The Legend of Korra broke boundaries and allowed other cartoons to actually have meatier, more substantial same-sex relationships. I'm mostly thinking of the GLAAD award-winning Netflix series, She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, which can be found in the Representation Matters Collection on Netflix.
What's wonderful about this is the sense of progress. She-Ra and the Princesses of Power was lauded for not shying away from having its two leads, Adora and Catra, be into each other. But, it didn't stop there, as there were a number of other same-sex relationships (George and Lance come to mind) on the show, that may or may not have been as readily accepted by the general public today if not for The Legend of Korra taking that mighty first step yesterday. In many ways, the ending to The Legend of Korra walked so She-Ra could not only run, but soar.
So, yeah. Even though it was years ago, I still consider the series finale to The Legend of Korra groundbreaking for introducing an LGBTQ+ couple in a kids' show. But, what do you think? For more articles on gay pride, and The Legend of Korra, make sure to swing by here often.
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Rich is a Jersey boy, through and through. He graduated from Rutgers University (Go, R.U.!), and thinks the Garden State is the best state in the country. That said, he’ll take Chicago Deep Dish pizza over a New York slice any day of the week. Don’t hate. When he’s not watching his two kids, he’s usually working on a novel, watching vintage movies, or reading some obscure book.