How ‘The Legend of Korra’ creators paved the way for queer representation with a lesbian romance

In December 2014, the co-creators of anime series The Legend of Korra confirmed that the two main characters were a ‘lesbian’ couple.

The American TV series – based on hit series Avatar: The Last Airbender – certainly appeared to break new ground for children’s TV. LOK ended on a scene of Korra and Asami holding hands with only the implication of more, which wasn’t quite enough for many “Korrasami” shippers, however, the romantic relationship was later confirmed by the show creators on their personal Tumblr blogs.

Fans had long suspected that the series was building towards a romance for protagonist Korra and best friend Asami, with their closeness and strong bond a central theme for the show. The show’s closing moments appeared to confirm the rumours – when the pair walked off to the spirit world together hand-in-hand.

Bryan Konietzko and Mike DiMartino, the show’s co-creators, separately confirmed fans’ suspicions were true, reflecting on positive feedback.

DiMartino wrote on his Tumblr page: “Over the years we’ve heard from numerous fans, in person and online, how Avatar and Korra have influenced their lives for the better or helped them overcome a life struggle or setback. I am always humbled when people share their personal stories with us and I am grateful that my love for telling stories has been able to help people in some small way.

“So while Avatar and Korra were always meant to be entertaining and engaging tales, this universe and its characters also speak to the deeper humanity in all of us, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, culture, nationality, or sexual orientation.”

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In his post confirming Korra and Asami’s relationship, LOK co-creator Bryan Konietzko also confirmed suspicions that Nickelodeon weren’t keen on something less subtle than hand-holding, like a kiss between the pair, for example. “We approached the network, and while they were supportive, there was a limit to how far we could go with it,” he said.

However, the associated comic books weren’t restricted by this network skittishness, and in 2017 Dark Horse Comics released a graphic novel showing Korra and Asami’s first kiss.

The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars – Part One starts where the television series left off. Korra and Asami venture into the Spirit World for some alone time. At the end of their adventure, Korra and Asami decide it is time to return to the city. However, Asami tells Korra that, “Before we go, there’s one last thing I want to do on our vacation.” And kisses her.

The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars – Part One also broke new ground by revealing that Korra isn’t the first LGBTQ+ avatar: revealing that Avatar Kyoshi of the Earth Kingdom was bisexual.

Since The Legend of Korra paved the way for same-sex representation on kids’ TV, many other shows have followed suit, such as She-Ra, My Little Pony, and Steven Universe.

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