If you thought being romantically attracted to fictional characters was a hopeless enterprise, try falling in love with animated ones. Ever since Avatar: The Last Airbender debuted on Netflix, the internet has seen a surge in people declaring their feelings for various members of the cast, and not in ways you’d necessarily expect. Indeed, not only are the majority of these people adults rather than children, but the object of their desire isn’t Katara – the ‘conventionally’ beautiful, kind and caring female lead of the show. Rather, its edgy antihero, Zuko.
While the thought of being in love with an animated character may seem silly upon first glance, it’s not an unnatural response to have. See, animators figured out a long time ago that they can manipulate the look of their characters in order to boost ratings as, by amplifying certain characteristics, like breasts or eyes, as well as specific behaviors, they also amplify our feelings for them.
— Vivian (@vivian_v_) May 15, 2020
oh to be the flame held in zuko’s hand pic.twitter.com/hiRAoJ66km
— s 🦋 (@zvkooo) May 14, 2020
Historically, this technique has worked best on characters that are female. That said, males are by no means immune to fan fiction, and Zuko’s is a case in point. The disgraced son of the series’ antagonist, a ruthless dictator who styles himself as the Fire Lord, Zuko received a nasty scar on his eye for disrespecting his father during a military council.
Though he was acting in the interest of his soldiers, he was subsequently banished and not allowed to return home until he had captured the Avatar – a task which, as anyone who has seen the show knows all too well, is damn near impossible. And down below you can see just a sample of the reactions from Twitter, with tons of people showing their love for the character:
— sanjna.b 🍉 (@sanjna77554028) May 15, 2020
at any given time please assume i am getting overly emotional about zuko’s redemption arc in avatar the last airbender thank you
— rebecca mix (@wordmixrr) September 3, 2019
prince zuko… his many serves. he always gave the girls something fun with his different hairstyle. pic.twitter.com/JICzD33ngo
— evan 🙂 (@beyonseh) May 16, 2020
when zuko grew out his hair 12 year old me was ready to risk everything for the fire nation https://t.co/x4GFH2VuUo
— indie (@INDIEWASHERE) May 21, 2019
people who knew me in 2010-2011 hearing me talk about Zuko again in 2020 bc I never shut up about him back then pic.twitter.com/6lhSy4CvbV
— heather @ no thoughts, only ACNH🏝🍑 (@heathernharmony) May 18, 2020
Me seeing the Zuko character arc again while rewatching Avatar on Netflix pic.twitter.com/wddIuTQ4W0
— zuko_the_goat (@zuko_the_goat) May 16, 2020
Avatar is on Netflix brb gonna go fall in love with zuko again pic.twitter.com/JHg4jlrhCg
— Bailey (@BHender_) May 15, 2020
What exactly it is about Zuko that has captured viewers’ imagination depends entirely on personal taste. Some are merely attracted to his physical appearance, which includes a ripped body alongside a constantly changing, but usually long and wavy hairstyle. Others, not unlike in real-life, are attracted to his rebellious, bad-boy personality. As a firebender, Zuko has a highly flammable disposition, one which betrays a sensitiveness which no doubt many fans find touching.
Tell us, though, who’s your Avatar: The Last Airbender crush? Let us know in the comments below!