WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for The Legend of Korra: Ruins of the Empire -- Part One, from Michael Dante DiMartino, Michelle Wong, Vivian Ng and Rachel Deering, on sale now.
When The Legend of Korra ended five years ago, it broke ground with what many saw as a huge step forward for LGBT representation in cartoons. After defeating Kuvira's army and saving the Earth Kingdom, Korra, the Avatar, went off to explore the Spirit World with Asami.
As they departed, they held hands and stared into each other's eyes, clearly ready to embark on a relationship and confirming fans' suspicions they had fallen in love. In The Legend of Korra: Ruins of the Empire -- Part One, we finally get that big moment we've been waiting on, and it's something way more than just a kiss (though there is that, too).
In the Turf Wars comic sequel, we did get Korra and Asami coming out to friends and family as they began fighting off a new terrorist threat in the form of the sinister Tokuga. In the Spirit World, we even got a kiss between them, but it felt rushed, and there wasn't any discussion of how they were moving forward as girlfriends. Fans felt it came off as pandering, one based more on style than substance, even a bit impulsive as it happened as soon as they touched down in the ethereal realm. But in this new sequel, the romance is much more nuanced and feels very organic.
With the Earth Empire now being run by Commander Guan, Korra decides to ask Kuvira, who's seen the light, to go speak to her former legion and get them to surrender for the sake of peace. Asami and Korra's inner-circle don't agree, though, as Kuvira was the catalyst for the death of Asami's father and countless others in her attempted coup. Basically, no one wants to give Kuvari a second chance, but as Korra discusses it with Asami, we see them as a mature and trusting couple, leading to their big kiss.
And as we said, it's much more than just a kiss. We see the strength of their bond and how compassionate they are with each other, not just in private, but publicly. It's what fans always wanted them to be, sticking to their characteristics of love and empathy, as it's not an easy decision for Asami to make. But she knows the Avatar is worth taking a chance on and listening to, and they work their problems out with honest communication.
This interaction shows the progression of the series and how it handles this diversity too. Gay representation is very important to the franchise, especially after Turf Wars spent three volumes speaking about equality and homophobia across the kingdom, so now to see them normalized like this is remarkable. More so, it feels genuine and not gimmicky at all as this prequel really fleshes them out as soulmates.
They're holding hands more, hugging, embracing and doing all these little romantic gestures we've never seen before, reiterating how in love they are with each other. And sealing it with a deep, meaningful kiss after a healthy debate continues to honor why we shipped Korra and Asami in the very first place.
The Legend of Korra: Ruins of the Empire -- Part Two goes on sale Oct. 8, 2019.