Asami Sato LoK

Asami Sato: Beauty, Brains and Badassery Combined

“The Legend of Korra,” the sequel series to the beloved and acclaimed “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” ended its run in 2014. Now, the shows creators have announced they will be making new content in the same universe.

But before the world begins to move on from Korra and her adventures, it’s the perfect time for a retrospective. Specifically, take a look at one of the most compelling characters in the series: Asami Sato. Initially set up as a romantic rival to Korra, explore the exceptional design of this brainy, brawny and beautiful character.

Who is Asami Sato?


Caption: Asami and Korra started out as foils before becoming best friends and lovers.

Asami Sato is the only daughter of industrialist Hiroshi Sato. As a young girl, she saw her mother killed when criminal benders broke into their home. This led her father to train her in the best self-defense methods. When she is first introduced, Asami is set up as Korra’s rival for Mako’s attention.

Asami and Korra are foils of one another: Asami is elegant, Korra is brusque, Asami is feminine, Korra is a tomboy, Asami is very rich and Korra comes from humble means.

However, her character takes a sharp turn when she discovers Hiroshi Sato is supplying terrorists with advanced weaponry. The decision to fight her father and remand him to custody is played painfully.

Asami Sato is perhaps one of the most mature characters even from the beginning of the show. This doesn’t mean that she is completely free from hang ups.

In season two, the stress of running her failing company and the loss of her father drives her back to Mako. She is shown to be insecure of Korra’s confidence and aggressiveness. She also makes bad deals to try to save her business. Her desperation is taken advantage of by businessman Varrick, voiced by John Michael Higgins, a periodic member of the ”Bob’s Burgers” cast.

But as the story progresses, Asami Sato stands out as a rock of stability among the group. Her levelheadedness helps resolve conflicts. Her engineering skills have been useful in escaping the cells of airships and even jury-rigging emergency transportation. And her business acumen helped restore Capitol City back to functionality after the climactic battle of season two.

In terms of relationships, she was first only a pretty face for Mako to swoon over. But after season one, she grew to be her own character. Instead of focusing on flash romances, she focused on growing her business empire and building up her friendship with Korra.

After all their camaraderie in season three as they escaped the Red Lotus, Asami and Korra’s relationship upgrade at the end of the series makes a lot of sense. They have been together through a lot of things and have a degree of understanding few members of their group have.

Although viewers didn’t get to see Korra and Asami kiss in the show, they very much do so in the sequel comics.

What Does Asami Sato’s Character Design Mean?

Asami Sato's dress design
Asami Sato’s character design is inspired by Old Hollywood actresses.

Asami Sato’s character design is one of the most elegant in the entire series. Some viewers compared her vivid eyes, long black hair and pale skin to those of the homunculus Lust from “Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood”. Series creator Bryan Konietzko has since gone on record that this is just a coincidence, although the two characters do share the same color lipstick.

The primary inspiration for Asami Sato’s character design is Golden Age Hollywood star Rita Hayworth. Once just has to look at her long flowing black hair and oval face to see the resemblance. This instantly evokes a sense of classical elegance and refinement. Both are fitting since Asami is graceful, even during a fight, and comes from immense wealth.

Asami’s clothes are mostly red, indicative that she is descended from the Fire Nation. However, her eyes are green, an eye color exclusively found in the Earth Kingdom. This means that the Sato family could have come from an intermarriage between Fire Nation colonists and Earth Kingdom natives.

How Do Asami Sato’s Outfits Highlight Her Character?

different outfits
Asami Sato’s outfits are practical, protective and stylish.

A character’s costume can say a lot about them.

For example, Homelander’s knock-off Superman ensemble suggests that he is a great hero, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Asami Sato probably has the greatest number of outfits in the entire group. This is entirely fitting with her character as she can afford a huge wardrobe. However, Asami Sato’s outfits generally come in only two flavors: baggy engineers uniforms and subtly stylish business attire. Both are excellent at conveying what her character is about.

Asami is the group’s resident engineer, able to manipulate electrical devices and build contraptions under pressure. She is also an avid racer and pilot, both of which require protection. Her engineering get up covers her entire body and provides additional padding, showcasing that she is no fool.

When she is meeting with dignitaries and potential business clients, Asami wears skirts with short jackets on top. They are very subtly red, even maroon, to indicate her Fire Nation heritage.

Both types of Asami Sato’s outfits highlight her ingenuity and business savvy. They are as precisely calculated as the engineering equations that this beautiful and brainy character routinely solves.

It’s been years since Asami Sato graced the airwaves, but she is still one of the best characters in the Avatar universe. Her moxie, ingenuity and determination are truly stellar additions to Korra’s Team Avatar.

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