Green Lantern’s Razer and Aya is love done right
“Green Lantern: The Animated Series” has an oddly adorable couple in Razer the Red Lantern and Aya the robot. This week’s CartoonClack breaks down why this isn’t just concentrated cuteness, but also an example of a positive romantic relationship in children’s television.
I’m a sucker for romance. OK, scratch that — I’m a sucker for good romance. And while that definition can be very subjective, for me it’s about couples with a slowly developing relationship. It starts with building trust and growing into something special. Most of all, it’s about respect as well as romance. So imagine how happy I am that not only is a pretty cool romance happening on one of my favorite shows, but one that’s happening on a show aimed at adolescents – Green Lantern: The Animated Series. Yes, while Young Justice is my favorite cartoon out there right now, GLTAS has really captured my heart and much of that has to do with the relationship between the show’s two original characters — Razer and Aya. This newest episode “Blue Hope” focused on the two of them for the first time this season and really highlights why this only-really-just-begun relationship is so refreshing.
For one, the characters both have separate story arcs and character development outside of their budding romance. Razer spent most of season one as a sort-of prisoner turned ally for the Green Lanterns because he realized he couldn’t kill innocents anymore. He dealt with his past and his demons mostly by lashing out at others and himself, but he wanted to be a better person. Razer also came to better terms with the loss of his wife, arguably the driving factor to him becoming a Red Lantern and the main source of his rage (and therefore power). On the other side, we have Aya. To put her in the simplest terms, Aya is awesome. She’s a AI nav computer who keeps saving Hal and Kilowog and Razer over and over. She chose to make herself a Green Lantern. When Kilowog says she doesn’t even have a body, so how could she be a Lantern, she immediately makes herself a body and basically responds, “Any other reasons?” She’s brave, clever and by the end of the first season all three of her shipmates acknowledge that’s she’s (to use Hal’s wording), “Not a rookie anymore.”
Outside of their own character development, season one had oodles of hints at their attraction to each other. It was very easy to go into full fangirl mode and squee with delight every time they had a moment together because they’re just so adorable. Yes, she’s technically their spaceship. Yes, she does accidentally look like his dead wife (oops). But the season finale proved that Razer’s affection for her is genuinely for her — I seriously doubt the Star Sapphires could have gotten him to Aya if he didn’t really love her.
Now that the hiatus is over and we’ve finally seen Razer and Aya face to face in season two, the best thing I can say about the episode is how it was just as much about their personal development as it was about the two of them together. Razer is dealing with his overall rage through Blue Lantern Saint Walker’s training, but he’s still struggling with his disbelief that Aya could ever love him … and whether he deserves to have love in his life again at all. Sure a lot of this comes from self-loathing, but he doesn’t just assume Aya loves him just because he loves her — that’s a big plus in my book.
After Aya calls Razer out for saying all machines are emotionless and apathetic (I was shouting, “Razer, she’s right there!” at the TV during that scene), she doesn’t wallow or try to figure out what she did wrong. No, she tries to befriend the damaged Manhunter instead. And it’s during these scenes that we get to see everything great about Aya come front and center. Aya sees the best in everyone. She chose her own fate. And as the Manhunter disturbs her with his blind apathy and desire to kill, she defiantly states, “I am nothing like you.” It such a powerful moment for the show and by the time the Manhunters detect emotion in her when she looks at Razer, we know it’s Aya choosing him for herself because she is her own person.
Best of all, the episode ends with Razer apologizing to Aya for his behavior, unlike some cartoon characters from last year (I’m looking at you, Young Justice and Legend of Korra). Thank heavens for that apology because it would have sent a really bad message to not have him apologize for indirectly calling her mindless and soulless.
While Razer and Aya’s relationship is such a great part of this show, the beautiful thing about them is that they both have emotional and complex story arcs of their own. Their personal growth makes their romance that much more interesting. So what am I looking forward to going into the rest of the season? I’m looking forward to more individual character development for both characters. I’m looking forward to a positive representation of a second love. And I’m looking forward to them continuing to act adorable. That being said, I’ve seen the DC Nation trailer and I know that some dark stuff is coming for these two. Considering how his rage exploded when she was hurt this episode, I can’t imagine what’s going to happen down the line.