That’s right: another post about Avatar: The Last Airbender. If you’re not familiar with my others, I’ll link to them here: The Movie, The Movie/Cartoon Comparison, and The Zuko/Azula Shipper’s Guide.
I realize that I haven’t made good on my promise of “ways to cope”, which means that I haven’t properly discussed the shipper’s internet playground. I’ll do it here, using Zuko/Azula as an example, and I’ll also provide my Zuko/Azula recommendations from my hours spent scouring the internet for my comrades and their creations.
So, one of the first places I always go is fanfiction.net. It is the number one place to search for fanfics. If you do a search, be sure to check the rating, because it’ll automatically omit all M-rated fics, and while some of them are out of character and without any redeeming value, many others are quite good.
I read all 400+ stories containing Zuko and Azula as the primary characters listed (of course some I skimmed and some I quit), and I have chosen my favorites to link for you here. Most of the stories I liked the best are rated M (for mature). I didn’t purposefully go looking for smut, or P.orn W.ith P.lot, or lemons, or whatever you want to call them but the sexually explicit stories seem to have (in my opinion) some of the best characterizations for Zuko and Azula. An anomaly, I guess, because that’s not usually my preference – probably something to do with Azula being a sadist.
You may choose only to read stories, but you also have the option of writing, of course. I find it wonderfully cathartic. If you feel at all inclined to write yourself, you should do it. There are so many stories left to tell.
Zuzu is a story that takes place before Zuko is banished. It’s about Azula forcing Zuko into torture sex, pretty much. Not for everyone, obviously, as will be the case with some of these.
With A Childlike Devotion is about Zuko practicing kissing and sex with Azula in preparation for Mai, but of course nothing is ever that simple.
Hellfire is a series of drabbles. I personally like chapter 1. It takes place after Zuko returns to the Fire Nation with Azula. They have sex. Kind of a recurring theme, I guess.
Third’s A Charm is about three nights during which Azula tortures Zuko and has sex with him. His feelings progress.
In We Need the Storm, Zuko and Azula have sex, but it’s minimal on the torture. It’s about Zuko being unable to resist Azula, which is exactly what I like from him.
Seed Of Retaliation – a young Azula is actually jealous of Zuko.
And then there are the wonders of prison:
Zuko as Azula’s prisoner in I Hate You
In Devil’s Advocate, Zuko reflects on life with Azula when he returns with her to the Fire Nation.
Here’s one that features Sokka/Katara too!: How You Taste My Tongue.
This one is about Ursa and Ozai, a couple that has interested me very much. It comes down from the creators that their marriage was arranged, but I see a lot of potential for them. They make an interesting juxtaposition/foil for Zuko and Azula. This is a great story: The Way We Break Mirrors.
This ship obviously needs some more great stories written post-finale that aren’t torture porn.
I took up the mantle myself. I’ve got pages and pages of ideas for different Zuko/Azula stories, but this is the only one that actually got written so far. I wrote the bulk of it on Christmas day once I got home from the festivities. At that point I was still in the middle of watching the second season. I had to tinker with it to make it fit with the way the show ended, but I’m quite pleased with the product. It’s not very long: Infection, Poison, and Electrocution. It’s Zuko reflecting on how he feels about Azula as his prisoner.
Livejournal is another place to check. Most ship’s do have a page, although not all of them are very active. Sometimes there is discussion, but typically you’ll find posts for fanfiction, wallpapers, icons, and other fan-art. Avatar Incest is one place where you’ll find Zuko/Azula content.
You should peruse deviantART as I have done, because there are so many talented people out there that have created so many beautiful and wonderful images. I selected a few of my favorites to promote here, but there are plenty of others worth admiring.
These aren’t all necessarily indicative of incest, by the way.
I have to apologize to the artist of this manipulation because I couldn’t refind the source in order to give credit where credit was due. I literally can not tell you where it came from. Anyway, they did a great job. When I was taking screenshots of that scene I noticed that it looked like they almost held hands, but I never would have though to photoshop it. Thankfully, someone else did. Again, I don’t know who.
Zuko has brought Azula to be healed by the dragons. It’s a beautiful drawing, and what I love even more is the idea behind it: Zuko trying to save Azula. He’s risking his life in order to help her. He’s restraining her, but I can see the love in his embrace as well.
I love this next one so much because I think it really represents certain moments in Azula’s life. This one, clearly inspired by Klimt, is gorgeous, right? I love that she’s scratching him because…let’s be honest, that’s what would happen, right?
Their expressions are perfect, right? She’s deviously pleased, he’s freaked out.
It’s like she’s got control over him, she you can also tell that she loves him.
If you click on the pictures it will take you to the deviantART pages of the original artists. Please go there to support them, and you can also usually download the pictures in larger sizes.
I really really really wanted to draw a picture of Zuko visiting Azula in prison. I sort of imagined her scanitily dressed, and chained up to a post in a cooler. She’s smiling evilly, because she knows she’s got the upperhand in the conversation, and she’s making some blue fire in the palm of her hand behind her. And Zuko is sort of terrified. But…I can’t draw. I made some truly pathetic attempts, and then gave up. I think manips might be more in my league. I have made some of those. Nothing truly spectacular, though.
So, I’d also like to add that there is some fantastic Zuko/Katara stuff out there. If only Zuko/Azula had as many fans as Zutara…
So, the next place I always check out is youtube. If it’s a semi-popular ship you can usually find at least a few fan videos out there. As it is, there is a handful of Zuko/Azula fanvids with an incest-leaning. I’d love to make one myself, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.
ETA: It did happen! I just finished my own Zuko/Azula video to the song Hold It Against Me by Britney Spears. It has some dialogue too, and the video is very short. It’s at Daily Motion due to some copyright troubles with youtube/Sony (because of the song). I’m no great talent. You can really tell when someone has command of their program and a lot of experience, which is definitely not me. But the good thing is that in my vid, the incest implications are VERY clear, especially if you listen to the words of the song. /end plug.
The first I’m going to share with you doesn’t really have any zucest implications, but it’s delightful. It’s very well-edited, right up to the end: Lip-Sync Practice.
This isn’t an incest one either, but it’s so appropriate that it couldn’t be ignored: I Want It All.
Then there is the classic Zuko and Azula Get It On, which I think I’ve linked to at least twice already.
These last two aren’t music videos – they’re even better.
This one is a trailer. It’s very creatively edited.
And this short video has an overlay of dialogue from Cruel Intentions. Many consider Cruel Intentions to have incest, but I don’t count it because they are step-siblings, although it is ridiculously hot and in need of recommendation. It fits so well! I wish Zuko and Azula had more of a Sebastian/Katherine relationship. If Zuko had a bit more of an edge I think things between them could have been a bit more like Sebastian and Katherine. In fact, someone even went so far as to make this:
Katherine and Sebastian are wealthy step-siblings going to school in New York. Sebastian is an infamous womanizer, and Katherine has a perfect reputation but is something of an evil schemer underneath. When her boyfriend leaves her for a virgin, she sets out to have the girl deflowered out of revenge. She wants Sebastian to do it, but he’s too busy trying to seduce the beacon of virtue he came across.
I’ve seen the movie a couple of times, but I’m becoming a little fuzzy on the details. They make a wager, and if he wins then she’ll sleep with him (which he has wanted for a long time). Anyway, it’s a really fun movie and you should see it. Ryan Phillipe and Sarah Michelle Gellar really sizzle.
The other places I typically go when I’m starved for more about the couple or show/movie I’m obsessed with are the discussion forums. The forums at Television Without Pity are the best because they are moderated, and avatars and signatures are not allowed. The discussions at Fanforum aren’t particularly stimulating, but it’s a good place to find likeminded people, and it’s easier for find exactly what you’re looking for because there are relationship threads. I’ll also usually check out the discussion boards on imdb, though there usually a lot of whack jobs there. Fanfiction.net also has discussion forums, some are better and more active than others.
These ones you’ll just have to find on your own.
On to something entirely different:
So, I might have mentioned that I am not in the habit of watching anime. I’m going to add that I’ve never before read a manga. A manga, if you do not already know, is a Japanese comic book or graphic novel (or serial) that also adheres to a number of typical attributes that I’m not going to go into, such as the style of drawing the characters, etc.
But I was searching the WWW (does anybody call it the WWW anymore?) for more incest content, and I read about a manga called Oniichan Control. It’s about a young man who goes away to college (in Tokyo) hoping to escape his overwhelming attraction for his younger sister Noa (she is three years younger). I’m not exactly sure what his name is, but we’re going to call him Nii. He doesn’t just like her, he REALLY likes her. His room is covered with pictures of her. So, three years later, his sister decides to go to the same school, and ends up moving in with him.
Little does he know, Noa is totally yandere over him. Not only does she intend for it to be just the two of them for the rest of their lives, but she is prepared to scheme and even murder her way to that future. She pretends to be his sweet, innocent little sister, but she is constantly teasing him with her naked body and her underwear and she even put a hidden camera in their room.
What’s not to like, right? So, a new chapter is written every couple of months, and 9 chapters have been written so far. I figured I could read it online somewhere, and that was the case. I think that might not be entirely legal, so I’m not going to provide a link for you, but I will tell you that if you want to read it online, it is out there.
I’m mentioning Oniichan Control to recommend it, yes, because it’s funny although there is a ton of nudity and it was rather distracting. And I think I also mentioned before that comic book/graphic novel is not a medium I enjoy – I’m just not hardwired right to look at the pictures and read the words. Sometimes I can’t tell what’s going on in the picture, or sometimes I read the words in the wrong order, or attribute them to the wrong speaker – it’s all very frustrating. I’m sure it just takes practice, but I’m not interested in practicing. But anyway, what I really wanted to say about Oniichan Control is how it relates (slightly) to Zuko/Azula. First of all, there is the Asian connection. Secondly, Nii totally looks like Zuko! Granted, Noa looks nothing like Azula. She even seems to be blond.
But thirdly, Nii meets this girl, Mai, who sees that he is in love with someone else and sets out to take his virginity, break his love for this other girl, and then break his heart. Just because she can.
So, I’m sure the author of Oniichan Control (Kagesaki Yuna – a woman, surprising and not at the same time) is not out to correct the great Zucest wrong, but maybe the universe is trying to right itself?
So, my final thoughts on Azula and Zuko and Avatar: The Last Airbender. Hmmm… I have so many different thoughts. It’s all so hard to sort out: I didn’t want the Fire Nation to burn down the Earth Kingdom and I did want Zuko to eventually become Fire Lord, but I found something very unpleasant about the way it all went down. I realize that I liked Zuko as “evil” not because I like evil characters (though often that is the case), but because that was preferable for his relationship with Azula. I wanted Zuko to find a kind of equality with Azula, but he ended up with a superiority over her (in terms or morality, parental love, power, sanity, and possibly firebending), and that left a bad taste in my mouth, from a shipping perspective and as an Azula fan.
Iroh and Ursa both had moments of greatness and awesomeness, but I find myself angry at them because they gave up on Azula. I’m OK with Iroh saving the moon spirit, and I totally loved him during the first season and the beginning of the second season, but I grew very displeased with him, and I don’t like that because of how much I liked him to begin with. I don’t like the way he turned on his country. I think he should have tried to change things from the inside. I also think he ended up being a highly hypocritical character, even though I think that morally he was always in the right place. I wish there had been more consistency.
I’m disappointed that Ozai as a character was underdeveloped. I think that a setting allowing for more complicated morality might have allowed him to be a more complicated character. ATLA went above and beyond for what it was, of course.
As I pointed out before, things might have turned out worse for Azula, but I still feel that an injustice was done.
So I turn my eyes to her future. I realize that if you look only at the source material – which is to say, the actual finale episode, I don’t think it’s at all clear that Azula didn’t have a break through at the end. I mentioned this in my guide, but her crying break down at the end could very well have been indicative of a new lucidity. I firmly believe that the kind of crazy she was is not the kind of crazy that you don’t come back from. There’s no reason to believe that she couldn’t have been easily and quickly rehabilitated. Or even difficultily and over a long period. Her having a desire to redeem herself is perhaps a bit farther off, of course.
In fact, we see her chained up at the end, crying, and then she is never seen or heard from again. Almost anything might have happened. Just because the Nickelodeon website says that she’s in a mental institution doesn’t mean much. I don’t think the Nickelodeon website should be a dictator of “reality”. Or whatever.
First, a list of characters who went crazy evil/out-of-control, but who were brought back from the edge:
Granted, all of these characters had a little supernatural help, but I still think the situations are comparable. The point is that they lost control, but someone reached out to them and brought them back.
Next, a list of individuals who managed to stay totally badass even though they were defeated and captured:
Katherine, from The Vampire Diaries. (TVD returns tomorrow!!!!!!) Even though Damon and Stefan had the chance to put down a very-deserving Katherine, they locked her up instead. She’s strong, and smarter, and knows more, including exactly how to punch their buttons. Right now she’s starving and can’t leave her tomb, but she still manages to get the upperhand in most conversations and I don’t doubt we’ll seeing her roaming free again someday soon.
Diana, from V (2009). Her daughter Anna overthrew her and told everyone that she was dead. But Anna still needs Mommy’s advice, and the evil alien queen never looks quite as perturbed as when she comes from a little mother-daughter tete-a-tete.
George Bluth, from Arrested Development. He manages to keep running things from behind bars. As many gangsters do. Extra points because Mae Whitman, voice of Katara, played Ann Veal (also known as Bland, Egg, and Her?) on Arrested Development, and it has been incredibly negligent of me so far not to mention it, because Arrested Development is a great love of mine. Funniest. TV Show. Ever.
And finally, a list of totally awesome or totally gorgeous girls who weren’t totally “with it” mentally:
River Tam, from Firefly and Serenity. This lovely waif was lobotimized and experimented upon. She’s brilliant and a masterful warrior, but she’s definitely, definitely crazy. Extra points because she is most closely associated with her brother Simon, who gave up everything to rescue her. And she tried to marry him. Yes, you should watch Firefly.
Cassie, from Skins (Britain). She’s my favorite character from that show, Cassie. I like her best in the first season. Her craziness takes a dark turn later on, but it all ends well (I assume – it’s left rather open). She’s awesome because she’s incredibly beautiful, and likable through the haze. She’s a great example of a crazy person leading a semi-normal life.
Extra points if you are talking about Jean Simmons’ Ophelia from Laurence Olivier’s Hamlet because she spends half of her scenes groping and invading the personal space of her brother Laertes.
And speaking of Hamlet: I very recently saw the hilarious Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Undead. If you didn’t already like the idea of mixing Shakespeare and vampires, then you’ll absolutely have to love it when you learn that the title and some of the content is a play on the play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard. It’s also a movie. I bring it up to recommend it for those of you like me who are fans of Hamlet, but also because of the random incest comment.
Hamlet is playing with two skulls and has one say: “Kiss me,” and the other responds, “But you’re my sister.” Random. Kind of like the whole reason I even did a post on Gamer.
Elle Bishop, from Heroes. I already mentioned her in the guide because of her sexual application of lightning, so that’s a total bonus points. She’s not as crazy as some of these others, but her upbringing resulted in someone that is not entirely balanced.
Drusilla, from Buffy The Vampire Slayer. Angelus killed her whole family in front of her and then turned her into a vampire. She’s probably the craziest one on this list. She’s also smart, and scary as hell when she wants to be. Everyone loves Drusilla. She may be crazy, but life goes on.
Brittany Murphy’s character from Don’t Say A Word. It has been a while since I saw this movie. I remember her as being rather annoying, but despite the fact that she’s totally cracked, she’s sexy and holds on to her information well.
Almost Everyone, from Girl, Interrupted, including Brittany Murphy’s character. Again, it’s been a while since I saw this movie, and I don’t remember it that well. I can’t say whether these characters were all that awesome, but they were certainly crazy and beautiful.
Almost everyone from the compounds on Big Love is crazy (including main character Nikki), but only Lois, Wanda, and Adaleen are crazy and awesome.
Sheila, from Rescue Me. I don’t actually like Sheila that much (although I like her more than Janet, don’t get me started on Janet), but Sheila has some moments where she is pretty awesome, and she manages to be a contender for lady of the leading man even though she’s not the mother of his children and she’s batshit crazy. Oh, and she’s got a grown up son but she’s still sexy as hell.
So, in conclusion, I think Azula is going to be just fine.