If you were to live in the world of Aang and Korra, you would probably wish to be a bender. That is the most entrancing aspect of that world because it does not exist in ours. To be a nonbender in a bending world seems a tragedy, but the creators of the shows handled their nonbending characters with great skill. Sokka in Avatar: The Last Airbender was beloved by fans for his significant comedic timing and those unexpected deep moments that were centered around his own personal journey. And Asami in The Legend of Korra was a strong and talented woman despite her inability to bend the natural elements.
Asami especially demonstrated the power that a nonbender could possess, which is saying something given that she starred in the show alongside the mighty Korra. Not only did she hold her own in countless fights using her self-defense training and technological prowess, she also provided an exemplary model of mature and practical behavior. Korra, as our irascible heroine, was prone to fits of emotion that caused problems for her later on. Asami always kept a level head in the face of Korra's temper. Together, they certainly balanced each other out.
But there are many surprising factoids about Asami's journey through the four Books of The Legend of Korra. For a character who is not considered a main protagonist, she definitely encountered her fair share of problems, within the narrative and during the course of her development. She is a character that, despite the feelings you may have first held towards her when you first met her, must have won you over in the end by the sheer power of her personality and strength of convictions.
20 From Princess Yue To Asami
M. Night Shyamalan's The Last Airbender is no masterpiece of cinema. Its divisive casting decisions and dissimilitude from the beloved cartoon television show that it is based on caused fans to rage against it. We cringed at the idea that a sequel might be in store. But not all that came from the live-action movie was a bad thing. In fact, we would even say that there is one extremely splendid thing that came from it.
Seychelle Gabriel is the voice actress who plays Asami in The Legend of Korra. Can you believe that she also plays Princess Yue in The Last Airbender? It's true! In the movie, Yue and Sokka's relationship falls flat and does not carry the weight that their relationship did in the show. With episodes available to devote to developing their interactions, it is no wonder the show handled Yue and Sokka in a more polished fashion. However, Gabriel definitely shines in how she performs as Asami.
19 Bi Beginnings
From the very beginning of Asami's conception, the idea that she was bi was floated around. As often happens when creating a character from scratch, you throw around a ton of ideas and then collect the best working aspects of the conglomeration and trim it down to an understandable person. One of those ideas regarding Asami was that she might be interested in a same-gender relationship. It was never put into play until after Book Two because of the creators' trepidation that it would not be allowed on a children's TV network.
I am of the opinion that the relationship between Asami and Korra was a phenomenal idea. I wish that more significance had been placed on it from the beginning, but the creators' decision to take their relationship in that direction was a bold move that flowed seamlessly with Korra's journey.
18 Kiss The Girl
The squeal of excitement that all those fans of Korra and Asami let loose at the The Legend of Korra's finale probably shattered windows. As the two of them held hands and entered the Spirit World, it was an affirmation of their blossoming relationship. Their final pose as they stared into each other's eyes, reminiscent of the wedding they had just attended, was the ultimate hint that they were now a couple.
However, for some, this was not enough. Good friends could just hold each other's hands and gaze lovingly into each other's eyes too, right? And since the show was officially over, those who felt the finale did not give Korra and Asami's relationship validation might have feared that they would never see that change. The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part One answers our prayers. The first part of a comic book trilogy, it reveals that Asami and Korra share their first kiss in the Spirit World after having a wonderful vacation and just before returning to Republic City.
17 Miss What's-Her Name
Most people have a family name, a surname, if you will, that they share with other members of their family. It links them to their past and it is a handy way of letting other people know how you might be related to certain persons. As you might have noticed, Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra are not very big on last names.
Asami Sato is one of the few characters in both Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra to have a recorded last name. Her father, Hiroshi Sato, is another one, and Toph's family (which includes Lin and Suyin) are known to be a part of the Beifong family. Everyone else either never mentions their last name or they do not have one. I suppose it's easier to know people on a first-name basis if they only have first names.
16 A Death In The Family
Asami's background is a tragic tale. It's becoming a bit of a trend to have fictional characters with horrific backstories. Perhaps the reason for this is that it increases sympathy for them, or maybe it is simply to make the characters marginally more interesting than they would be without the tragedy. In Asami's case, her backstory provides more for the plot than usual, making her a step above average I-have-a-sobstory-for-a-past types.
Her mother was killed when she was only six by a gang of firebenders called the Agni Kai Triad. They broke into her home to rob the place, and Asami's mother, Yasuko, was killed during the attempt. Depressing enough by itself, her death causes her husband to form a deep-seated hatred of all benders. It is this hate that then causes him to join with the Equalists, and eventually face off against his own daughter. Asami, despite having her mother killed by benders, maintains a higher sense of moral integrity and justice than her father.
15 Letters Of Love
After her fight with Zaheer, Korra was broken, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. We do not blame her for that. That fight looked exhausting. She was captured, poisoned, and then she had to resist the natural instinct to let the Avatar state take over while the poison coursed through her body. And then she had to battle with Zaheer while the poison was still inside her. That was not an easy fight, and it would break anyone. We like to picture Tahno, leader of the Wolfbats pro-bending team and all-around jerk from Book One, trying to take on Zaheer. It makes us laugh.
While Korra was recovering, she did not reply much to any of her friends, even though they did send her letters to cheer her up during her struggle. The one person she felt that she could turn to was Asami. This is one of the signs the creators of the show offered us viewers to indicate that Korra and Asami were more than friends. Asami was the one person that Korra felt most comfortable with in sharing how vulnerable she felt.
14 Roads To Success
Republic City was the first new place we visited when we returned to Aang's world in The Legend of Korra. Only, we found that it was quite a different world from the one we knew in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Motor cars zoomed around a bustling city. Tall skyscrapers blocked the horizon from view. Korra's world in Republic City was more modern and had definitely taken a turn for the steampunk. And Asami had a hand in it.
When Korra opened the Spirit Portal, spirit vines began to sprout all over the city. Since the Avatar was dead set on leaving the portals open, Republic City could do nothing more than work around the vines. Asami, as head of Future Industries, oversaw the construction of elevated roadways that allowed drivers to circumnavigate the encroaching Spirit Wilds. That is why she knows the roads she has to expertly race on when chasing after criminals: she built them.
13 On Kya's Radar
After coming out to her parents, Korra was left in turmoil about being public about her relationship with Asami. Korra's parents had been happy for them, but they had warned Korra about saying publicly that they were together. Korra, of course, got angry at hearing this, leaving Asami to gently suggest they head back to Republic City. The two of them returned, assured in their love of each other, but unsure about whether or not to share the news of their relationship with others.
Leave it to one of Aang's children to know, right off the bat, that Korra and Asami were together. Kya, Aang and Katara's daughter, congratulated the two girls on their newfound happiness as soon as she saw them. She told them she knew by their look that they had started a relationship; when she had gotten back from her first vacation with a girlfriend, she said, she had worn the same expression.
12 The Lady from Shanghai
Asami has a look about her that sets her apart from the other female characters in The Legend of Korra. She has a luxurious mane of black hair, startlingly pale green eyes, and the style of a steampunk industrialist queen. When Mako meets her for the first time, we are as astonished as he is by her appearance. Asami was so polished, it is impossible to believe that her design was not taken into careful consideration when the show's creators first conceived of her character.
Asami's look was partially based on 1940s actress Rita Hayworth. Bryan Konietzko has admitted that his design of Asami's hair was taken heavily from Hayworth's own gorgeously abundant mass of hair. And looking at them side by side, it's not difficult to see the similarities.
11 Huge Sports Fan
The Legend of Korra introduced us to the sport of pro-bending, a three-versus-three match of benders trying to expertly pummel their opponents off of a raised platform. It was a novel concept, especially given the fact that not all persons are benders, which means that only a select few could even try to participate in the sport. It made sense that the Equalists, a rebel faction opposed to benders, would stage an attack at the Pro-bending Arena. It is a perfect symbol of the glorification of bending.
But nonbenders and benders alike flock to the arena to watch the sport, enjoying the competition and spectacle together. Asami is one of those nonbenders who enjoyed the sport immensely despite not being able to participate. She liked pro-bending (and Mako) so much that she convinced her father, then head of Future Industries, to sponsor the Fire Ferrets, Korra, Mako, and Bolin's pro-bending team.
10 Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
There is a saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Normally, I would call this inane. Separation from a loved one just serves to make the heart sadder. Why would anyone prolong an absence if they could avoid it? However, this is not the case in Korra and Asami's relationship. The two of them have proven that the saying can sometimes be applicable.
While Korra was recovering from her battle with Zaheer, she spent three years away from her friends, receiving, yet barely replying to, letters from them. During this time, each of her friends got on with their own lives and pursued their separate interests. Asami accomplished much as the head of Future Industries, but the three-year absence of Korra from her life made Asami realize that she had feelings for the Avatar. She considered writing a letter to Korra confessing her love, but ultimately decided against it.
9 Building The Thing With Zhu Li
Both Asami Sato and Zhu Li are accomplished and proficient women. They both excel at their jobs and have been underestimated time and time again. Asami took over Future Industries after her father was arrested as an Equalist conspirator and brought the company to new heights. Zhu Li worked for the eccentric inventor Varrick, brilliant in her own right and persistent despite a constant lack of appreciation.
During Kuvira's attack on Republic City with her giant mecha suit, she laid waste to many buildings, homes and businesses alike. Afterwards, Zhu Li and Asami created housing plans in order to rectify the homeless situation that many Republic City citizens were facing. First roads, now houses. If Asami keeps rebuilding Republic City, in the next series we may or may not get, the place will be named after her.
8 In Sickness And In Health
Korra's poisoning and subsequent fight with Zaheer left her in a wheelchair. This was upsetting not just because our favorite fiesty Avatar was injured, but because of how active she had been before. More so than Aang, Korra reveled in her physical abilities. Her physique clearly pointed to a young woman who pushed her body to its limits. So seeing her languidly sitting on a wheelchair was distressing, for us and for her friends.
Asami was there for Korra during her time as an invalid. She cared for her friend with as much care as she could provide and then some. It was during this time that Korra realized that she had feelings for Asami. Asami was there for Korra at a time when Korra wasn't there for herself, and thus, their relationship strengthened while Korra was at her weakest.
7 Looking To The Future
After Hiroshi Sato's arrest, Future Industries was left in disgrace. Because of his ties to the Equalists, Hiroshi's company was on a downward spiral because no one wanted to do business with such a company. Despite this, Asami took control of the ruined company her father had left her as a legacy. She strove to make Future Industries a competitor in the business arena again.
And she succeeded. Despite some struggles in the beginning when Asami had to turn to rich inventor Varrick for help, she was able to bring Future Industries from the brink. Future Industries was largely in charge of creating new roads after the spirit vines grew from the Spirit Wilds, and it also continued to be a leading innovator in Republic City's technology scene.
6 Fly Like A Hummingbird
When Kuvira made plans to attack Republic City, we all shuddered at the thought that she had an army of mecha suits and a cannon powered by Spirit energy. Kuvira was also a gifted earthbender/metalbender on her own. She seemed to have all the cards in her hands. And that's when she revealed that the Spirit energy cannon was to be mounted on a giant mecha suit, and by giant, we mean larger than a skyscraper. It was huge. Enormous. Gargantuan. Terrifying in its awesomeness. Kuvira could have fought a Kaiju from Pacific Rim in that thing.
Asami and her brilliant inventiveness is a large part of the reason that Korra and her friends ended up triumphing in that fight. In less than a week, Asami designed hummingbird mecha suits to combat Kuvira's death machine. These small suits could maneuver the way a dragonfly hummingbird could, vertically and horizontally. It was only with the use of these hummingbird mecha suits, which attached to Kuvira's giant mecha suit and drilled holes in it, that Korra prevailed.
5 Eye On The Competition
In Avatar: The Last Airbender, a familiar face that we all grew to love was the cabbage merchant whose cabbages kept getting wrecked during Aang's adventures. His memory lives on in The Legend of Korra. Cabbage Corp was built by that cabbage merchant and became the business rival of Future Industries. It is known to make cheaper cars than the Satomobile, the vehicle that Future Industries produces.
Asami, as any good business owner should, keeps an eye on her competition. Though, honestly, referring to Cabbage Corp as competition when they perform as weakly as they do against Future Industries is laughable. When Korra and Asami were captured by the Earth Queen and were being transported back to the palace, Asami recognized the ship they were on to be constructed by Cabbage Corp. Knowing this, she knew the ship would not be entirely "shipshape." She was able to break a piece of railing off to aid in her and Korra's escape.
4 That's A Handy Skill
Asami grew up rich. While her father may have made the climb from poor to wealthy, she was born with that figurative silver spoon in her mouth. This is always made clear by her many talents. Her superb fighting ability was brought about by self-defense classes that her father paid for. Her knowledge of machines and how they operate was clearly nurtured by her father's expansive industrial business which she had access to. And her style? No poor person dresses with that much polish.
So what we would like to know is how and why she learned how to pick locks with a hairpin! While rescuing Tenzin from the Red Lotus, Asami unlocked the chains binding the airbending master with a clip from her hair. Where on earth would she pick up this skill? It's the one unaccountable ability she has. Not that we'll question it too much. It's not like we wished for Tenzin to die, so someone had to pick those locks.
3 Asami: Evil Equalist Spy
When Korra first met Asami, she was automatically jealous of her because Asami was dating Mako, Korra's then-love interest. So when Korra began to uncover the Equalist link to Future Industries, we'd be lying if we said we didn't suspect Asami of knowing about the whole scheme. She defended her father so adamantly and she came across as so intelligent, that it was hard to believe that she could have been ignorant of her father's dealings.
But familial affection often blinds us to transparent truths. Hiroshi had been keeping Asami in the dark. However, this was not originally going to be the case. While the creators were still developing the story, they considered making Asami an Equalist spy who was dating Mako only to learn more about Korra. They ended up becoming so fond of her character that they changed it to what it is now.
2 Pai Sho Master
Pai Sho was first introduced to viewers in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Uncle Iroh constantly played it on board Zuko's ship, and there was that hilarious episode where Iroh simply had to buy a new white lotus tile, only realizing after many misadventures that he had had it all long. It turns out that it is quite a difficult game to master completely, and since Iroh is almost like the Yoda of the series, it lends the game even more importance.
Asami shows herself to be a master of Pai Sho. While staking out a room at an inn, Mako, Korra, Bolin, Asami, Naga, and Pabu are cramped in an opposite room with nothing to do but wait. Bolin and Asami decide to play some Pai Sho, and Asami quickly proves herself the better player. She beats him soundly game after game after game. Brains and beauty do go hand in hand sometimes.
1 LGBT Representation Confirmed
Korra and Asami's relationship took long strides in regards to LGBTQ representation. Korra's journey throughout all four books is more of a spiritual one than Aang's. Her strength in using the elements is never in question, but her ability to be the bridge between the physical and the Spirit World was always in doubt. Through each of the story arcs, her growth as a spiritual and mature Avatar becomes more pronounced, until the very end, where she does not beat her opponent into submission, but instead converses with her in the Spirit World and convinces her to submit.
As everything is looking up at the end of the series, Korra and Asami take a trip to the Spirit World together, symbolizing the beginning of their relationship. Now accepting of her role as the Avatar, Korra has also accepted that the person who would make her most happy is Asami. This mature acceptance of her love is a positive representation of an LGBTQ relationship, and the fact that this was done in a kids' TV show illustrates how far above most other kids' show The Legend of Korra really is.