Asami is not a Mary Sue: Breakdown
I don’t even like the term Mary Sue because it’s constantly hurled at female power fantasies, which are under intense scrutiny and criticism that male power fantasies are rarely subjected to. But putting aside my utter distaste for the term in general, I’m irritated enough to dissect this Asami is a Mary Sue idea. It’s pretty simple:
Mary Sues are generally overpowered and good at whatever they do. Asami can not bend, a strike against her in the Avatar-verse, where the awesomest of powers is bending. (Even the awesome anti-bending villain was a bender, we can’t have awesome people being so powerful without bending!) Asami can fight very well because of years of training and practice with professional teachers. She can race a car. She can use the equipment her father produces and makes, and shows more than a passing familiarity with technology.
She still gets arrested, jailed, threatened by bending ability, and almost murdered by her father before Bolin comes to the rescue. When she saves her friends, she doesn’t pull out godly abilities but instead uses the enemies’ weapons against them. Nothing overpowered here, especially considering powerhouse Korra and strangely good bender Mako.
Mary Sues are typically gorgeous. Yep, she’s gorgeous. But so is Korra, Mako, Bolin, and any other main young character. We don’t have a nonconventionally attractive or even ugly main character. They are all gorgeous. Asami is conventionally attractive in a very feminine way, but so fucking what when Mako fits all the attractive hipster male stereotype settings and Korra is an athletic hottie. Denied on this point, too.
Everyone loves and adores the Mary Sue and can not help but be charmed by her beauty, grace, and innate awesomeness. This one gets a ‘you’ve gotta be fucking kidding me’ because Asami is so peripheral to everyone on this show. Even when Mako is dating Asami, his story is not about her, it is not focused on her, it is a roadblock on his way to Korra. Bolin rarely talks to her. Korra goes from being a jerk about her to admitting she was wrong and liking her, but not in a very deep or friendshippy way. Tenzin and Pema know shit about her. Lin doesn’t talk to her.
She’s that girl the main cast would refer to as ‘nice’, but then realize they know little about. Her struggles are not headlined like Korra’s and Mako’s are- in fact, Mako’s indecision over his romance gets more of the plot than Asami’s struggle over her father. And that’s a shame. Oh yeah, and her dad tries to kill her. And everyone forgets about that for Korra losing her bending. (Which is important too, but no one talks to her about it or shares support aside from Bolin rescuing her. The long-term effects aren’t deemed worthy of focus.)
Everything goes the Mary Sue’s way.
*prolonged, derisive laughter*
That, and the fact that she isn’t even dating Mako anymore, that she was unceremoniously and wordlessly shunted aside for the main romance, should be proof enough that she is not the prototypical ‘Mary Sue’. Unless I’m missing some other trait.
Further proof that all a female character needs to do to be a mary sue is to be female.