Avatar: The Last Airbender and its successor The Legend Of Korra have remained staples of animated TV. The success following the release of TLA on Netflix only testified its continued relevance. Besides the action, characters, music, comedy, and drama, a hallmark (and hot point) of both series have been their romances.
The popularity of these couples inspired fans to conjure (and push) their ships. The creators appreciated the fans’ input and even included references of the “shipping wars” that occurred online. Whether they were short-lived, lifelong, or long-waited, these couples stood out for their undeniable chemistry, love, and intense connection.
10 TLA: Sokka & Yue
When Team Avatar reached the Northern Water Tribe Sokka became acquainted with Princess Yue. There was an instant connection between the two. However, Yue couldn’t pursue a relationship as she’d been betrothed to someone she didn’t love. After the moon spirit’s physical form was killed by Admiral Zhao, Yue (who’d been saved by the spirit years prior) made a sacrifice and gave her life to resurrect its form. Before departing, she bequeathed Sokka a farewell kiss. Throughout the series, Sokka could be seen gazing at the moon haunted by his first romance. In the words of Zuko, “that’s rough, buddy.” Despite their brief time together, their awkward but adorable interactions made them one of the sweeter pairs.
9 LoK: Jinora & Kai
The granddaughter of Avatar Aang and airbending prodigy in her own right, Jinora met Kai whilst searching for potential airbenders. At the time, Kai was an orphan and street thief who warmed up to Jinora immediately.
Following the series time jump it was shown they became an item. Their admiration and concern for each other made them one of the more adorable couples.
8 TLA: Zuko & Mai
Zuko and Mai had known each other since childhood. Zuko’s sister Azula often teased the two and put them in compromising situations. As teens, Zuko and Mai dated before he was exiled and left to capture the Avatar. When their paths crossed again they progressively picked up where things left off.
On the surface, Zuko was hot-tempered and Mai was soft-spoken. Yet, having strict, ambitious fathers, they were able to relate and open up to each other. Mai comforted Zuko and encouraged his sensitive side. Despite eventually breaking up in the comics, they remained friends.
7 LoK: Bolin & Opal
In the romance department, Bolin’s experience was tumultuous. After being heartbroken by Korra and almost killed by his ex-fiance Eska, there didn’t seem to be much hope for him. Until, he met airbender Opal. When they met, there was immediate chemistry. He swooned Opal with his humor and kindness. Unlike his “relationship” with Eska he could be open and honest which Opal appreciated. They eventually became a couple but faced some discrepancies following Bolin’s association with dictator Kuvira and the long-distance factor. However, their relationship was reinvigorated following Bolin’s rescue of her family.
6 TLA: Cabbage Man & Cabbage
A love that rivaled Romeo & Juliet or Beauty and the Beast. This being “Cabbage Man” and his cabbage. A humble merchant, he traveled far and wide selling his beloved cabbage. His affection for the vegetable was so strong he couldn’t resist cuddling them. Sadly, his cabbage cart was frequently destroyed (unintentionally) by Team Avatar or other perpetrators. To which he exclaimed, “my cabbages!” Yet, his devotion persisted as he repeatedly replaced each decimated cart. In the Legend Of Korra, his descendent and proprietor of Cabbage Corp also had an immense passion for cabbage.
5 LoK: Pema & Tenzin
Before family life and harmonic convergence, Tenzin was the second to last of the remaining airbenders. While he was dating Lin Bei Fong it was evident they had different life goals.
Pema, an air acolyte, felt so passionate about her feelings for Tenzin and was certain him being with Lin was a mistake, so she proclaimed her love for him. He reciprocated and ended his relationship with Lin. Down the line, they’d have four children, three of them airbenders (with the youngest being a potential). The longevity of their relationship was attributed to their common ground, support, and innate connection.
4 TLA: Sokka & Suki
In the first season, Sokka and Suki met on Kyoshi Island. Their initial meeting was riffed due to Sokka’s sexism but they learned to appreciate and respect each other’s abilities. Both being leaders, they shared a logistical mindset and knew how to operate as a team.
As the series progressed, Suki later joined Team Avatar which allowed their relationship to bloom. Sokka lavished her with romantic gestures which she appreciated.
3 LoK: Zhu Li & Varrick
Much like Korra & Asami, this couple started platonically. They made a great team. Varrick was an eccentric, innovative genius while Zhu Li was his over-worked, intuitive assistant. While she appreciated his brilliance and vision she was aggravated by his indifference and mistreatment of her, and switched sides (to save Varrick). During their time apart, Varrick realized his behavior was wrong and forlorned her absence. When they reunited they agreed to be partners and come clean about each other’s feelings. By the series finale they got together and married.
2 TLA: Aang & Katara
In the pilot, novice waterbender Katara and her brother Sokka discovered Avatar Aang suspended in a block of ice. After freeing him, it was love at first sight for Aang. Together, Team Avatar went on to master the four elements and stop Ozai. During this time, they became each other’s closest friend and confidante. Whenever they faced adversity they’d turn to one another for comfort and guidance. They brought out the best and encouraged each other to follow their pursuits; Katara learning waterbending, Aang mastering the four elements, etc.
1 LoK: Korra & Asami
Being one of the more controversial couples, Korra and Asami’s relationship had rocky beginnings. They started as friends but Korra broke Asami’s trust by pursuing Mako. Eventually, they overcame that hurdle, and Asami would become Korra’s closest friend. During her recovery, Asami and Korra corresponded by mail every day until Korra stopped replying (due to her insecurities). When they met up years later they reconciled and their friendship grew stronger. At the series finale, they decided to go on a long-deserved vacation where they held hands before traveling to the spirit world.
In the following comics, they became an official couple. The show’s network Nickelodeon was supportive but cautious about featuring a same-sex relationship. Resulting in some changes for the final scene. Some viewers were conflicted as they felt the pairing came out of the blue or pandered. However, others praised the couple as being a stepping ground for LGBTQ representation.
Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend Of Korra are staples of animation. A lot is loved in these series, with romance being a factor.