|"I backed down against Kuvira and I'm still paying the price. I'm not about to make the same mistake again."|
|— Raiko to General Iroh and Wenyan on his decision to take a stand against Tokuga.|
Raiko is a nonbender native to Republic City who served as the first democratically-chosen president of the United Republic of Nations. An assertive authority figure, he was elected to the position following the dissolution of the United Republic Council in 171 AG.
His term was not without difficulties, however, and all the crises that plagued the city took its toll on his popularity. By 174 AG, the year of the presidential reelection, Raiko had to pull out all the stops to regain the public's trust in hopes to be reelected, though he eventually lost the election to Zhu Li Moon.
With financial backing from Varrick, Raiko managed to set up a decent election campaign based around a platform of conservative fiscal ideology and bringing equality to Republic City, and was elected by a nonbending majority as the United Republic's first president after the United Republic Council disbanded itself due to its failure to represent the interests of the majority.
Six months after the revolution, Raiko was visited by Avatar Korra and Varrick, who requested the deployment of the United Forces to aid the Southern Water Tribe in the Water Tribe Civil War. Raiko refused to send his forces, believing that the Republic had no business interfering with internal Water Tribe conflicts. When Varrick pointed out that the Republic was already involved in the conflict due to the bombing of the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center, the president merely stated that he was doing everything he could to bring the culprits to justice. He asserted his position, and promised only to facilitate a diplomatic resolution between the tribes. As he declared the meeting over, Korra stated that his passivity would lead to the destruction of the South.
Raiko later came by the police headquarters to talk to Chief Lin Beifong about the bombing of the Southern Water Tribe Cultural Center the previous night, threatening to replace her unless she yielded results. After the meeting, he passed by Mako's desk, complimenting him on his good work. Aware that Mako was dating the Avatar, he inquired whether or not he knew if Korra was plotting something that might compromise the security of Republic City. As Mako hesitated, Raiko reminded the young officer of his oath to uphold the law first and foremost at all times. As he turned to leave, Mako confessed that Korra intended to go directly to General Iroh for help. With that information, Raiko made his way down to the docks where the United Forces were stationed, and caught the general and the Avatar plotting to bring the fleet down to the South for training exercises as an excuse to engage the Northern blockade. The president asserted his authority as commander-in-chief and warned Iroh against deploying his fleet without authorization, threatening to court-martial him if he did. He also warned Korra against going behind his back again, strengthening her dislike of him even further.
Raiko and his wife attended the finale of The Adventures of Nuktuk: Hero of the South as honored guests, having been invited by Varrick in hopes of convincing them to help support the South in the Water Tribe Civil War. Aware of Varrick's intentions, Raiko reaffirmed his position to remain diplomatic in the conflict. In the middle of the mover, Raiko and his wife were nearly kidnapped by four waterbenders, but were promptly saved by Bolin, who subdued the attackers with his earthbending. The president and his wife were secured by several of Chief Beifong's officers to ensure their safety, while Varrick was apprehended for masterminding the attempted abduction.
After the mover, Raiko was approached by Avatar Korra, who once again asked him to reconsider sending support to the South, having discovered that Unalaq's plan was to free Vaatu and destroy the entire world, rather than just occupy the Southern tribe. With this information, Raiko again decided against mobilizing his troops so that he could instead direct efforts to secure the safety of the United Republic.
As Harmonic Convergence enveloped the world, Raiko, along with Beifong, surveyed Republic City from an airship for an expected attack. Raiko helplessly watched the Dark Avatar, a fusion of Unalaq and Vaatu, destroy his fleet and lay waste to the city. When his airship was shot down by one of the Dark Avatar's energy beams, he was saved by Chief Beifong, who grabbed hold of him and used her metalbending to swing them both to safety on a nearby rooftop.
Aftermath of the Harmonic Convergence
Following the shift in the planet's energy due to Harmonic Convergence and the spirit portals being left open, Republic City became infested with vines and spirits. With no means of removing the vines effectively, Raiko's approval ratings dropped significantly. As the president held a press conference concerning the matter of the vines, Korra showed up and Raiko used the opportunity to put the blame on her and try to highlight the efforts of his administration. Korra hotly reminded Raiko that his administration had been powerless against the Dark Avatar, though before he could react, Lin Beifong separated the two and ended the press conference. Raiko immediately marched back into City Hall.
After being alerted that Korra was undertaking a new attempt to remove the vines, Raiko brought the press to her location to see if she would succeed or not. He watched in amazement as she succeeded with her spiritbending, though when the vines grew back stronger than before moments later, Raiko was escorted out of harm's way by his bodyguards while Korra, Lin, and Bolin dealt with a collapsing building.
Later in the evening, Raiko came to Kyoshi Bridge as Korra saved a new airbender, Daw. Displeased by the fact that Daw's new abilities, a result of Harmonic Convergence, had caused a lot of damage to the city, the president demanded to know if these crises would become a regular part of life. When told that the spirits and the vines were there to stay and that he should grow accustomed to them, Raiko retaliated by saying that he knew someone who was not staying and subsequently ordered Korra to leave the city.
Two weeks after Korra had taken down Zaheer, President Raiko went to Air Temple Island and officially welcomed her back to Republic City, thanking her for stopping the Red Lotus from plunging the world into anarchy. When Lin helped Korra ascend the stairs to enter the temple, Raiko remarked that she was not looking well, noting that the world needed the Avatar now more than ever as the Earth Kingdom was in disarray following the assassination of the Earth Queen and there was the potential for more Red Lotus anarchists to be in hiding. The president subsequently attended Jinora's anointment ceremony as an airbending master, during which her tattoos were revealed.
With the Earth Kingdom in need of a leader, Raiko traveled down to Zaofu with Tenzin in order to convince Suyin Beifong to take control. Although they were unsuccessful in rallying Suyin, Raiko and the other world leaders made Kuvira the provisional head of the Earth Kingdom after she proved herself by stabilizing Ba Sing Se.
Preparing for Wu's coronation
In the three years following the Insurrection of the Red Lotus, President Raiko remained in power and worked to find a way for the citizens of Republic City and the spirits living in the Spirit Wilds to coexist. To this end, he contracted Future Industries to redesign the city's infrastructure, rebuilding and creating new roads to accommodate changes in the cityscape. At some point, he also renamed Republic City Park to Avatar Korra Park in the Avatar's honor. Following the outbreak of anarchy in the Earth Kingdom, Raiko provided political refuge to Prince Wu until the nation was stabilized by Kuvira, viewing it as his chance to influence and mould the scion of one of the world's oldest monarchies.
In 174 AG, Raiko held a public ceremony for the grand reopening of the Central City Station. During his speech, he specifically thanked Asami Sato and Future Industries for helping to update the rail system and establishing a connection between the United Republic and the Earth Kingdom like never before.
After the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon, Raiko requested Prince Wu's presence to go over some details regarding the aftermath of his coronation as the new Earth King. As the prince expressed his concerns over his safety in the Earth Kingdom, the president tried to reassure him by telling that Kuvira had "pretty much" stabilized the nation, though his words did not truly calm Wu.
President Raiko was later approached by Prince Wu in regards to Mako coming along with him to Ba Sing Se after his coronation even though that was not in the firebender's job description. However, the president readily agreed to the prince's request, using Mako as part of his diplomatic game, despite Chief Beifong's opposition to the transfer.
Later that night, President Raiko attended a dinner at Air Temple Island together with his wife, Buttercup, where they both engaged in an animated conversation with the prince about spa treatments. When an Air Acolyte notified all the dinner guests of the arrival of a ship from the South, Raiko and the others went to the docks to greet Korra, who was scheduled to arrive with the ship. However, the president grew worried about Korra's whereabouts upon learning that she had left the Southern Water Tribe six months prior.
Before Kuvira and her army arrived in Republic City, Raiko was forced by the metalbender to pardon Varrick of the crimes he had committed in the nation. The day before Prince Wu's coronation as Earth King, Raiko oversaw the preparations made on the square before City Hall. He asked Wu if he was excited for his imminent ascension to the throne. Before he could receive a proper answer, however, the prince dashed off and began dancing to show a Metalbending Police Force officer why he could not erect bleachers in a certain spot, which prompted Mako to ask the president if he was certain the world leaders wanted to have Wu on the Earth Kingdom throne. Raiko assured the firebender that they would send a delegation of experienced advisers to Ba Sing Se to handle the day-to-day governing. When Tenzin joined the conversation, he asked him if he had any updates regarding Korra's whereabouts. Receiving a negative answer, Raiko continued to ease the airbending master's worries about Kuvira's growing military, pointing out that she was to step down the following day and that they could then begin correcting any of her mistakes if necessary. As Mako expressed concern about Kuvira's willingness to step down voluntarily, Raiko assured him that everything would be okay, as the metalbender had known from the start that her position was only of a temporary nature and she had given Raiko her word that she would relinquish power when the time came.
The next day, Raiko sat on the podium with the rest of the world leaders from where he witnessed Wu's coronation as the fifty-fourth Earth Monarch. When Kuvira speeched after receiving the Kyoshi Medal of Freedom, he glanced at Tenzin, who was sitting next to him, in concern when the metalbender announced that she had no intention to relinquish the power over the Earth Kingdom to the newly crowned king, denouncing his authority altogether and appointing herself as the leader of the new Earth Empire. Concerned about Kuvira's declarations, Raiko and the world leaders convened after the coronation and agreed to send Suyin Beifong as their representative to speak with Kuvira and convince her to step down. When Tenzin wanted to leave the city to search for Korra, Raiko asked the airbending master to stay behind and help him find a diplomatic solution for Kuvira's actions.
Weeks after Kuvira annexed Zaofu and effectively reunited the entire Earth Kingdom under the name of her Earth Empire, President Raiko convened a meeting between the world leaders, sans the Water Tribe's representatives, to discuss their course of action to stop Kuvira. Although Wu had told him to invite Korra to the gathering as well, he refused to do so. During the meeting, Raiko proposed to deal with the entire situation immediately, something for which he received support of Wu, though the Earth Kingdom royal could not offer any realistic idea on how to do so. Cutting him off, Raiko stated that they needed to take the fight to her. Although Tenzin was against the idea, the president received support from Lin Beifong, who reiterated that Kuvira could not be trusted. When their meeting was interrupted by Korra, Raiko angrily chastised her for barging into the council room, saying he could not have people interrupting meetings whenever they want, though Varrick and Bolin promptly entered as well, further annoying the president. Deeming them to be traitors, Raiko immediately ordered the guards to remove them, though when Bolin revealed that they had defected from Kuvira's army and had secret information for them, he let them stay. Learning Kuvira was attempting to assemble a spirit vine-charged super weapon, Raiko reasoned that she might use that to attack Republic City and concluded that the only way to protect themselves was with a preemptive strike. He received strong opposition from both Tenzin and Izumi, however, who both declared their forces would not take part in such an unprovoked attack, and thus Raiko settled for taking defensive measures at the borders, something for which he did receive the Fire Lord's help.
Raiko later summoned Asami and Varrick to his office. When Varrick noted that it was nice to be welcomed back, Raiko corrected the eccentric inventor by pointing out he was only there out of necessity as opposed to a voluntary decision. He clarified further that he never liked Varrick, especially not after he had tried to have him kidnapped. After Asami and Varrick started bickering, Raiko implored them to set aside their differences, since he hoped that they, as the two brightest minds in the city, could work together to figure out a way to defend them all against Kuvira's weapon. Not long after, Raiko was contacted by Tenzin and approved his request to grant Korra access to Zaheer's prison cell.
After securing his borders and making sure the troops were guarding the rail lines into the city, Raiko held another meeting with Wu, Mako, Korra, Tenzin, Varrick, and Asami, during which the latter two presented their plan to manufacture a mecha suit that could fly in every direction. He asked about the location of a spirit ray weapon, not seeing one included on the blue prints, and grew angry upon being told by Varrick that there were no plans to add one, since it was deemed too dangerous. Noting that Kuvira was already using the technology, Raiko demanded to have access to spirit vine-charged weapons as well and snapped at Korra that, since Kuvira harvesting the vines had caused them to turn hostile in the first place, she should harvest the vines herself as the "bridge between the two worlds". As Korra refused, he went along with her suggestion to ask the spirits for help in defending the city and agreed with Wu that it was a good idea to start evacuating the city in order to safeguard the people. He ordered the royal to work together with the police force to coordinate the evacuation and dismissed everyone to resume their tasks, demanding to be updated daily about their progress.
Surrendering Republic City
Some time later, Raiko held another meeting with Korra, Tenzin, Wu, and Mako, during which they discussed the progress of the evacuation of the city. When they were interrupted by Suyin, Lin, Zhu Li, and Bolin, he angrily snapped at the latter for having a habit of interrupting his important meetings. Learning that Kuvira was planning to attack the city two weeks later, Raiko agreed to cut the rail lines to the city, since Lin reasoned Kuvira would use those to transport her heavy spirit energy cannon, though wished to evacuate as much citizens as possible before they did and converted the voluntary evacuation to be made mandatory. He was reassured by Korra that she would not let Kuvira take their city.
A week later, Raiko was not pleased to have to abandon his office in the city and relocate to the tower on Air Temple Island, though Lin assured him that the island was the ideal location for his base of operations and he would be safe there. When Team Avatar announced to him, Lin, and Tenzin that they would like to try and take out Kuvira's spirit energy cannon before it reached the city, Raiko agreed with their risky plan, noting that it might be their only chance to prevent an all out war. When they already returned the next day, he was shocked to learn that Kuvira's arrival was only hours away and a week ahead of schedule. Raiko ordered Lin to contact General Iroh and alert him of the new developments, noting that they needed to lock down the city.
Retreating to his tower, Raiko was shocked to witness the arrival of the Colossus, an enormous mecha suit that carried the spirit energy cannon, despite having been briefed about its size. He contacted Kuvira and ordered her to turn her army around and leave, lest they would attack her. She brushed off his demand, however, noting that he was in no position to order her, and emphasized her words by using the power of her spirit energy cannon to sink the United Forces battleships in a matter of seconds, much to the president's shock. As she subsequently aimed her weapon at the United Forces ground troops, Raiko was given three seconds to surrender, lest his army would be wiped out. Although Iroh asked for an order to engage, Raiko sadly said to Lin that he had no choice and contacted Kuvira, stating that he surrendered the city to her. He was subsequently told to surrender his army and the Avatar to her, as well as reveal his location to Baatar Jr., who would meet him to present him with the Earth Empire's terms.
Raiko and Lin awaited the arrival of Baatar Jr.'s airship at Air Temple Island together, though was alerted by Baatar Jr.'s crew that they did not know where Kuvira's second-in-command was. When another soldier alerted them that she had an incoming radio call from Kuvira who wished to speak to her fiancé, Raiko impatiently asked to be given the radio and demanded to know from Kuvira what kind of game she was playing, since she had told Baatar Jr. would be there, but he was not. After the call was terminated, Raiko witnessed in horror how Kuvira blew up the Future Industries factory where Avatar Korra and their allies were located.
Following Kuvira's defeat, Raiko attended Varrick and Zhu Li's wedding ceremony on Air Temple Island, during which he sat next to his wife. During the ensuing dinner party, he was seated on the same table as Buttercup, Tonraq, Senna, and Tenzin. Considering the damage done to Republic City during the battle, Raiko told Tenzin that he had decided to expand the metropolis rather than rebuild the downtown area where a new spirit portal had been created and intended to announce those plans to the public the following day.
Presidential reelection campaign
Following the defeat and subsequent arrest of Kuvira, President Raiko saw his popularity among the people of the United Republic plummet, as they regarded him as a coward who abandoned them during their time of need. As such, he dedicated the majority of his time on his reelection campaign in an attempt to salvage his reputation, neglecting to visit the temporary refugee camp that had formed at the outskirts of Republic City. To that end, Wenyan, Raiko's campaign manager, had commissioned campaign posters featuring a triumphant Raiko defeating the Colossus with an uppercut and the slogan "vote Raiko—he will wallop tyranny with a knockout blow!" Raiko was not convinced, however, musing that the idea was misleading since it had been Korra who defeated Kuvira and not him, though he went along with the idea after Wenyan pointed out that it was imperative for his reputation that they projected an image of strength and fearlessness to offset the belief that he was a coward.
Their conversation was interrupted when Korra, Asami, and Zhu Li arrived for their 2 o'clock appointment. Raiko condescendingly asked Korra if she was finally done "gallivanting" around the Spirit World as a way of greeting. Korra merely stated that they needed to talk, to which Raiko implored her to do it quickly, as he was "extremely busy". Much to his embarrassment, however, Korra noticed his campaign poster and mockingly asked if he was busy trying to figure out how to "wallop tyranny". Raiko snatched the poster out of her hands, noting that it was still a work in progress and asked her to get down to business. The three women explained their idea for a much needed housing project, asking the President for funds, but Raiko dismissed them, as the city's coffers had already been depleted due to the need for additional police officers and the relocation of the government. When Zhu Li countered that providing proper housing for the homeless citizens would help calm the unrest and offered, alongside Asami, to partially finance the project themselves, Raiko was pulled aside by Wenyan for a quick word. The campaign manager reasoned that with Raiko's poll number being in the negative, funding a housing project will divert negative attention away from the "Kuvira debacle" and place him in a positive light. Seeing truth in Wenyan's advice, Raiko reconsidered his dismissal of the project; he asked Asami to finish drawing up her housing plans and bring them by a few days later, noting that he would make sure there was some money available.
As the three women turned to leave, Korra suggested to Raiko that the city buy the land surrounding the spirit portal from Wonyong Keum, so that they could turn the area into a spiritual sanctuary with public parks, rather than an amusement park as Wonyong had intended. Raiko waved her off, reiterating that the city was broke, and dismissed her from his office.
Having received news about the altercation between spirits and the Triple Threat Triad at the spirit portal, Raiko ordered the United Forces to erect a perimeter around the portal, placing it on lockdown. In order to further improve his approval ratings, he visited Asami and Zhu Li's construction site with a group of refugees. He acknowledged their struggles and usurped Asami and Zhu Li's housing project to serve his own political agenda, telling the refugees that he had fast-tracked the construction project and will be working around the clock to finish it as soon as possible. When asked when the construction will be completed, Railo allowed his campaign manager to promise the refugees that the "Raiko Residencies" would be finished by the end of the month before quickly introducing Asami and Zhu Li as the overseers of the project.
After having his picture taken a few times, Raiko brushed off Asami and Zhu Li's attempts to have a conversation with him and wanted to leave. Before he could, however, he was confronted by Avatar Korra, who warned him of another spirit crisis if he did not call off his military. Raiko refused and was quick to retort that he would not be having a crisis if Korra had not created the portal in the first place. Although Korra defended herself by pointing out that she had not done so on purpose but had to do something in order to save the city, Raiko placed emphasis on the fact that she destroyed entire neighborhoods by doing so, rendering all the refugees listening in on the conversation homeless. Raiko turned to the refugees, telling them that while Korra claimed to have their best interest at heart, she left them to return to a broken city to pick up the pieces while she went on a vacation. Finding support in the dismay of the refugees at Korra's address, Raiko turned back to Korra and blamed her recklessness and selfishness for shattering the lives of the refugees while he was "as usual" left to deal with the consequences. Although Asami and Tenzin were quick to defend Korra, the Avatar led her friends away from the president and the refugees.
Days later, Raiko sat in his office with Wenyan when he read out loud a newspaper article that Zhu Li was running for president. He sighed, telling Wenyan he believed this election was over, because people liked Zhu Li's authenticity, help with the evacuees and that she had helped during Kuvira's invasion. However, when Wenyan spun Zhu Li's candidacy announcement as her having helped the evacuees for personal gain, and that her helping to fight Kuvira was reckless. Raiko responded he may have a chance when Wenyan spun it that way, but was interrupted by the council page announcing that there was an ongoing crisis at the spirit portal, to which Raiko responded that it was a chance to change the narrative.
Raiko arrived at the portal and had the protesting airbender blasted with a direct stream from a waterbender. At Iroh's insistence, Raiko called off the waterbenders but had them remain in position. Just then, Zhu Li busted down the barricade surrounding the portal, bringing in a camera crew and Varrick, acting as a director. They began filming her making a speech in which she declared that the portal should not be hostage to businessmen or politicians, and should be shared by all, as the people around her begun chanting, "Bring peace to the portal! The portal for the People". Zhu Li stared down Raiko, as he stared back at her.
During the protests, Tokuga flew overhead in an airship, demanding that Republic City answer to him, to which Raiko remarked that a "hoodlum" like him had no idea how to run a city, but Wenyan responded that he had a way with words. Tokuga ordered Raiko to withdraw the United Forces from Republic City, or face the poison gas he had equipped to the airship. The protestors and film crew began panicking, as Tenzin and Zhu Li attempted to have them remain calm. Iroh approached Raiko and asked for orders, and Wenyan responded that Raiko had to respond carefully, as the results of his decision would likely determine the election.
Raiko answered that he had backed down against Kuvira, and would not make the same mistake again, and that he would withdraw the forces for it to appear as though he was surrendering, but at the end would strike the ship down. Iroh questioned his actions, noting that Wonyong and Asami were on board, and striking the ship would result in their lives. Raiko asked if he was questioning his order, and Iroh stood down, saying he would radio the airfield.
As Asami Sato flew the airship into the spirit portal, it crashed, leaving the poison gas to surround the area around the portal. Raiko and Wenyan evacuated in a car, while Zhu Li helped the civilians and protestors evacuate as she was filmed. Raiko's decision to flee wound up costing him the election, as Varrick filmed him leaving while Zhu Li stayed to help the others escape.
Three weeks later, on the night of the election, Raiko stood alone as he stared through a glass window of Republic City as he received the news that Zhu Li had won, and he would soon be stepping down. Sometime later he attended Kuvira's trial.
As a politician, Raiko strives to find diplomatic solutions to problems that occur within his nation. He is mindful of international politics and will not hesitate to use other people to benefit the United Republic and his own office. He is a prideful man who has difficulties acknowledging his mistakes and will try his best to always save face in a public setting. Under pressure from the media and public opinion, he is prone to shift blame to other parties, as he did in the aftermath of the Unalaq Crisis and Kuvira's invasion of his nation, placing the entirety of the blame regarding the sprouting Spirit Wilds and the destruction of downtown Republic City, respectively, on Avatar Korra.
- Buttercup Raiko (wife)
- Raiko is the first known democratically elected head of state in the Avatar world.
- Raiko likes the Nuktuk chronicles.
- Raiko is his surname, and his first name has never been revealed. Bryan Konietzko and Joaquim Dos Santos once joked that his first name was "Phil".
- Michael Dante DiMartino joked that Raiko had "a little Trump in him sometimes" by the events of Turf Wars.
|President of the United Republic
171 AG - 174 AG
Zhu Li Moon