This is a bit embarrassing to admit… but when I saw the final scene of Legend of Korra, I cried.
I cried not because the series was over, or because characters died, but because I never, in a million years, thought the series would end the way it did.
I never thought one of my favorite all-ages cartoon series — especially one on Nickelodeon, a children’s channel — would end by making a romantic relationship between two women canon— not even one of the side character, but the protagonist. The protagonist, who not only is also a female character of color, but possibly the most powerful character in the entire show.
Growing up, a lot of the people on TV and cartoons looked nothing like me, nor did I have a lot in common with them. (The closest I really got was Jasmine with her dark skin and bookworm Belle from Beauty and the Beast.) Even in my own family, I was kind of an oddball. The Korra finale made me emotional, not just because of what it means to me now, but because of the difference it would have made to me as a child. It would have meant the world.
Queer people might as well not have existed when I was a child. It would have been so significant to me to see two women together, romantically, not merely hinted at like with Adventure Time’s Princess Bubblegum and Marceline or so subtly played, like Willow and Tara on Buffy (not to mention how horribly the later, actually canon couple, ended).
Would I have been happier if the series creators had gone even further with their very blatant mirroring of Avatar: The Last Airbender’s finale? Yes, of course, but Korra and Asami were clearly in a very different part of their relationship than Aang and Katara were in the Avatar: The Last Airbender finale. A part of me would have preferred it had happened just so I wouldn’t have to spend the couple days afterwards reading comment after comment saying that they were “just friends” on the multitude of articles speculating before the creators officially confirmed it.
A much larger part is ecstatic it happened at all. I saw two female characters I adored go from rivals, to friends, to partners. No one can take that away from me.
Where have you found surprising representations that you identified with? What emotional reaction did it draw?
You can comment below or tweet me @izzorizzo. I’ll be the one still giddily giggling in excitement.
Isabela Oliveira is a renaissance geek, in the sense that she knows a little about a whole lot of things. She is always looking for the next great TV show to marathon and for the next exciting thing to learn and write about. In her spare time, she writes and manages social media for The Geek Embassy and works to dismantle the patriarchy in Vancouver, Washington.