Art by firedragon2009
Kataang or Zutara, we’re all here because we like one or another. I myself, am on the Kataang side. So I decided to share why in one neat little article. Some parts are taken from my other article.
Why I Like Kataang
First and foremost, I like goofy, light hearted romance more than I do a serious and mature one. I like things that will make me laugh, something that isn’t full of angst and melancholy. Aang and Katara have more of a cute and fun relationship. Don’t get me wrong Kataang has it’s mature moments; such as the moments mentioned in the paragraph below. I don’t think a ship has to be complex and elaborate to be a good ship. Kataang has a sort of a simple charm; everything just sort of fell into place and it happened very gradually, naturally, and realistically too.
I also feel like there was way more time put into Kataang. Their relationship was budding from the beginning but didn't really start until season 3. In the pilot he wakes up and the first thing he wants to do is go penguin sledding, he doesn't care about the cute girl looming over him...not in that way anyhow. If it was rushed then he probably would have been declaring his love to her right then and there. But such isn't the case, he really didn't start crushing on Katara until a while after he met her.
After that though, throughout season 1 we seem him blushing and getting flustered around her. Like when they were practicing waterbending and she asked him how she looked and he was all flabbergasted. As the show moved on we had episodes like the fortune teller and the cave of the two lovers. In the cave he was hinting the whole time about his crush and it was in that episode where they almost kissed. In the fortune teller all he truly wanted to hear from the fortune teller was that he was going to hook up with Katara. And then there were all those times when Katara stood by his side even when he was at his scariest (in the Avatar state). She's really the only person who was able to talk him down.
Season 2 showed their love in a more passionate way; Like when Aang went into the Avatar state because he thought he'd lost her.
Or when, when Azula struck him down; Katara dropped what she was doing to catch him and save him. She used her spirit water to save him.
And in the episode prior he was willing to cast away his ability to ever get into the Avatar state to make sure he'd have Katara. When told he'd never be able to enter the Avatar state if he didn't cut away any Earthly attachments he couldn't do it. What...rather who...was his Earthly attachment? Katara. And he couldn't let her go, even if that meant never reaching his full potential as an Avatar.
If that isn't love, I don't know what is.
Season 3 is when things started to get really steamy; when he was loosing sleep he hallucinated kissing Katara! He had that wild dance scene with her in the headband; in which he told her to forget about the crowd and that it was just the two of them. It was like a high school dance but without the school. And of course there was the good luck wishes before the eclipse. And finally came the finale where they had their first real kiss. But this is probably because it’s actually canon. I’m not going to say Zuko and Katara’s friendship isn’t developed; but that’s all I really see Zutara as…a brotp. I just don’t like it romantically.
People seem to make a huge deal of Aang’s age, but I don’t think it’s really a huge deal; I personally believe that Aang is only 12; he is physically and mentally so. This would make him only 2 years younger than Katara. Whereas Zuko is about 17 making him 3 years older than Katara. So really if anyone is 'too old' for Katara, it'd be Zuko. However I don't think age should affect genuine love. Especially since in both cases the age difference is so small.
Now if Aang looked and acted like he was 112 I could see the problem, but he doesn't so I don't see the problem. The reason him being a 112 year old with the mind of a 112 year old (in the body of a 12 year old) would be an issue simply because he has that much more life experience and is finally wiser. But this isn't the case. Using this logic I can argue that Zuko is too old for her because due to his father's abuse he has more experience out there than many do.
If you want to get into technicalities; Aang was frozen for 100 years, so time was technically dead, frozen as well for him. Because of this semi-time stop Aang didn't truly age at all, only the world around him. Getting older but not growing at all. Of course if he acted 112 and was in a 12 year old's body or was a 12 year old in the body of a 112 year old man that would be weird. But since his mental processes correspond with his physical age I don't see an issue. The only ageing Aang truly did was his chronological ageing, or aging measured by passing time. He never aged biologically (his bodily functions and physical appearance) or mentally (that one is self explanatory) if all that made sense.
Leading back into the main point; due to the back up provided prior, I don't think age is a problem and I don't believe Aang is a pedophile.
With all of the above said, Katara is older than Aang. Which in itself would invalidate this argument. I would think so anyhow. And I didn't mean to come off as a know it all up there if I did. In fact I think Aang’s age aids Kataang. It gives it both a more mature edge, and that innocent child-like air that I love about the ship.
Anonther thing I love about Kataang is that it isn’t as lustful and sexual as Zutara. There's a difference between passion, of which Kataang has and lust which I believe Zutara is based on. The fanart only seems to further this; the fact that Katara and Aang are fully clade and sharing a passionate kiss where as Katara and Zuko appear to be naked (in a lot of the fanarts) is a sign that a relationship is mote lustful then loving. Kataang has more passion, Zutara has more lust. I like the sweet passionate romance more.
I also like Kataang more because air and water something more unique and less done. I honestly cannot list an air/water couple off of my head right now. Fire and water has been done many times prior and isn't as entertaining because of it's extensive use in my opinion anyhow. To list some examples; Korra and Mako (TLOK), Shark Boy and Lava Girl (Shark Boy and Lava Girl), etc. The air and water combo is just so unique and has a delicate edge to it. It’s not something you see all the time.
I also feel like Aang and Katara can benefit from each other by being in a relationship more than Katara could by being in one with Zuko. Aang is an Avatar trying to save the world and learn to bend. Katara is a girl who can teach and wants an adventure. Zuko has Iroh to help direct him down the right path, and friends are good for helping one heal. As Zuko's friend Katara is still a healer. Katara doesn't need to be romantically involved with Zuko to be of help to him. It's more productive to the show to keep Katara as Aang's love interest seeing as she is one of his biggest motivators and paring those two keeps Mai in the plot. While that doesn't seem like a pressing issue, Mai's relationship with Zuko is very crucial to the plot; it pushed along Azula's development (which lead to an even bigger event, her defeat, with out that push to insanity that battle may have been lost) through Mai's betrayal, which happened because of her love for Zuko. Ultimately Maiko was had a huge impact on the plot, one that would have been lost upon having Zutara. Katara could probably get better emotional help from a peaceful air nomad. Aang and his people were raised to control their emotions and remain in a peaceful state of mind. I'd rather get help from someone who was trained to keep their emotions in check than an angsty (and I say this not to be mean but because most teens are) teenage boy that struggles to keep his own emotions in line. Maybe Katara could talk to him about those issues because he's been there, but Aang would be a better choice to learn control from. Aang also seems like someone who'd be more comforting and understanding.
Overall I just think Kataang is so sweet. I enjoy watching the scenes they have together. Next to the Azula scenes the sweet and touching Kataang ones are some of my favorites to watch.
Why I don’t care for Zutara
To be quite honest I don’t feel like it would be a healthy relationship. It isn’t Makorra bad, but I feel like Zuko can be too explosive. Along that same principle is the whole bad boy/good girl trope. This trope is way overdone; Bella and Edward (Twilight), Chloe and Derek (The Summoning), Musa and Riven (Winx), Taranee and Nigel (Witch), Lissa and Christian (Vampire Academy), Kylie and Lucas (Shadowfalls) and a whole bunch more. Of course the hero with the sidekick thing has been done a lot too, but I like that better. I never really liked the bad boy-good girl concept, as it puzzles me why a nice girl would shoot for a big jerk (Speaking generally here, not just of Zutara). As a female myself, I'd much rather go for a sweet caring guy who'd treat me right. Plus the bad boy-good girl relationships usually result in a lot of unnecessary fighting between the romantically involved persons and sometimes even abuse, be it from the guy or the girl. And I'm not a fan of abusive relationships.
I also don’t care for how sexualized Zutara is. I am simply not at all into the sex appeal. And most of the fan art and fanfics for Zutara seem to be very lustful. This is what I mean by I don’t care for such serious and mature relationships. When I ship stuff I don’t go into it for the breast shots nor the topless men. And that’s what the vast majority of Zutara seems to be. I just think there should be more to relationships than sex appeal. But most of this I feel like I explained above.
As stated above; between the fire/water pairing and the good girl/bad boy pairing I think Zutara is a bit cliché. I have seen so much of the prior it just becomes boring to me. Granted main girl/main boy is well used as well. But honestly at this point in literature/cartoons, what kind of relationship hasn't been written yet? However hero/hero and good girl/bad boy seem to be the two most overdone next to maybe forbidden romance.
Again, being completely honest one of the main reasons I didn’t like Zutara was because I used to hate both Zuko and Katara, and the last thing I wanted was to pair the two off. However my feelings towards Zuko changed drastically; I don’t hate him anymore…in fact I actually quite like him. Katara herself however, I still don’t care for.
And finally, to be rather honest a handful of fans
also served to deepen my dislike of Zutara. I had dude invite me into a debate with him and then went off on me accusing me of bullying him and such. He then proceeded to yell at me on literally everything I posted on the site. Such ‘debating’ methods really didn’t help my case of disliking Zutara any.
All of this said, thank you for giving this a read, I hope I didn’t offend anyone, that wasn’t my intention if I did. Feel free to comment in agreement or disagreement.
Art by molokolo