Character + character design appreciation post: Mako.
(with Bolin up next, but Mako first because lots of people hate him and I want to try convince them otherwise)
(full body-ish sketches in odd poses because I don’t think we’ll ever see things like these in-show anyway)
Getting the shallow feels out of the way first, Mako’s design is really nice, kind of feminine and masculine at the same time. Rarely see shots or even fan art of this, but his coat looks like a dress from behind especially since it isn’t parted (like Lin’s coat is). It’s got lots of shapes(?) in common with the Equalist uniform, weirdly enough.
Then onto actual character… might get a bit rambling, though—
Episode 9, I like to think it was mama Mako kicking in, adopting a couple interrogation techniques from Korra, treating her like she treated his family when Bolin was abducted. If not before, it should be more than obvious by now he thinks of Korra as more than a friend.
But I also think if we can accept that Bolin’s moved on (as much as the Borra in me thinks otherwise), then his willingness to brush off what Asami thinks is Mako’s overly intense concern for Korra should be very telling. Being Mako’s brother, Bolin’s probably more used to Mako worrying and getting rash, he’s just more knowledgeable about Mako’s character,… and he’s also the one to remind people that Mako’s still human.
Asami, the whole time she’s been dating Mako, has just gotten the sweet, caring, affectionate side to Mako. He’s never gotten mad at or even yelled at Asami, and so far, they have yet to have one conflict between them (apart from the moped accident). So seeing him get worked up and seeing this rage just come out of nowhere—that was probably really startling for Asami. Of course, since it’s Korra he’s getting incredibly emotional for, Asami wonders why. And naturally, since she’s been noticing more between the two, she thinks it must be some romantic attachment—and who wouldn’t?
It’s understandable that Mako isn’t a very likeable character because he was initially a jerk, he doesn’t seem to realize how much he’s hurting Asami, and he treats Bolin too much like a child (I only say it’s a bad thing because Bolin often feels inferior). But past all that, I think it’s safe to say he’s grown as a character (contrary to all the posts I’ve read complaining that there hasn’t been enough character development??). He’s trying to make up for being so cold before, he’s trying to be nice and gentle, and I don’t think he’s intentionally trying to mess with people’s feelings. The “he’ll do what it takes to survive” thing is important to explain all the jerk-ish protectiveness/defensiveness, like with the threatening to abandon Korra if Hiroshi (i.e. Asami) got in trouble. And I think the “she’s going to need you” line from Korra kind of helped their relationship, showing that she’ll do what it takes just like he does.
That gesture at the end of episode 9, yeah, on Mako’s part, it was probably overdone. Carrying her over to somewhere comfortable, stroking the hair out of her face, telling her she’s safe now. But from Korra’s perspective, it must have meant the world. And to some degree, I think Mako knew this.
Given the situation, only Lin or Tenzin could’ve easily done the same, but they surround Korra to ask about Tarrlok (at least Lin does, and one could assume that Tenzin was thinking the same), Bolin and Asami are already tense about Mako and Korra, and then Mako’s really the only one left to give her peace because he’s kind of oblivious to that tension. Having been officials, Lin and Tenzin are more invested in defending Republic City on the whole, while on the other hand, Mako’s always been slightly more invested in the people closest to him (e.g. remembering the first infiltration into the equalist rally, his main concern is saving his brother first).
And so obviously the end of the episode was a romantic moment, completely opposite to the ending of episode 8, but it was also a moment Korra could confirm that she could depend on her friends. I mean, if you think about it, there’s no way you could force Mako and Korra to hate each other at this point, is there? And that’s not just the Makorra talking„
unless of course one of them recklessly gets themselves into trouble
…so really, I think the easiest way to understand
and then loveMako’s character is to just think of him as the mother, but not even jokingly though.