Oct 3, 2013

Avatar: The Last Airbender: Sokka Loves Zuko

If you have a free hour or two, check deviantart.com or fanfiction.net for  "Aang Sokka" or "Sokka Zuko."  You'll get millions of fan fiction romances, homoromantic or homoerotic pictures, and endless arguments over which anime boy is in love with which.

Avatar: The Last Airbender was a Nickelodeon animated tv series (2005-2008) that followed the conventions of anime.  Set in a medieval, vaguely Japanese fantasy world, it featured teenage martial artists with mystical powers struggling against the evil Fire Lord and his minions.

The main characters were:

1. Aang (Noah Ringer in the 2010 movie),  the last Airbender, a martial artist with mystical powers.
2. Katara (Nicola Peltz), a female Waterbender.
2. Sokka (Jackson Rathbone, top photo), the older brother of Katara, who doesn't have any bending powers.
4. Zuko (Dev Patel, left), a Firebender, the exiled prince of the Fire Kingdom who eventually becomes their ally.

The gay subtexts are blatant, obvious, and, according to most fans, deliberate, a reflection of the same-sex romances commonplace in "real" Japanese anime.  Sokka and Zuko are really into each other (sorry, I meant Sokka and Aang, or Aang and Zuko, or Sokka and one of the minor characters, or Zuko and.....)

It was an enormous success, spawning video games, comic books, action figures, toys, books, a feature film, and a large fan base that writes stories, draws pictures, and dresses up for cosplay. In 2012, Nickelodeon premiered a sequel series, The Legend of Korra, featuring Aang's son.