|"This kid Tokuga, he took advantage of the chaos. He bumped off our old leader, Viper. Then started recruiting members of the other triads. Anyone who didn't fall in line didn't live long."|
|— Two Toed Ping about Tokuga.|
Tokuga is a young, nonbending mobster who overthrew Viper as the head of the Triple Threat Triad. With all the triads' turf destroyed, he was determined to unite all the triads under his rule, regardless of the cost. When a run-in with the dragon eel spirit left him severely deformed, Tokuga usurped control over Keum Enterprises, as he held its CEO, Wonyong Keum, responsible for the attack. Using Keum Enterprises's assets, Tokuga and the Triple Threats then stole a large amount of Earth Empire weaponry, and threw Republic City into chaos in an attempted takeover. The criminals were defeated by Team Avatar, however, though Tokuga managed to escape into the Spirit World.
Rise to power and transformation
Tokuga's origin and early life are almost completely unknown. He came to Republic City at some point in 174 AG, and immediately joined the Triple Threat Triad. Some triad members considered him suspect, with Zhen later arguing that Tokuga might have tried to escape from someone. Regardless, the triad's boss, Viper, vouched from the young nonbender. A few months later, after the destruction of downtown Republic City during the Invasion of the United Republic of Nations, Tokuga took advantage of the chaos to defeat Viper and become the new head of the Triple Threat Triad. A ruthless leader, he started recruiting members of the other triads and killed those who refused to follow him, including Viper.
In a bid for more territory, Tokuga led his Triple Threats to fight against Jargala's Creeping Crystal Triad in a battle for control over their turf. Initially, he stayed on the sidelines, watching as his men were pushed back by the Creeping Crystals. When Two Toed Ping suggested retreating, Tokuga firmly told the firebender that retreat was not part of his strategy and that the fight was not over until he said it was. Launching himself into battle, he quickly took down two earthbending Creeping Crystals with his hook swords. When he found himself outnumbered, he forsook his swords and took down his opponents with chi blocking instead. He prepared to end Jargala by striking her down though was forced to stop and retreat when Lin Beifong and her police force entered the scene.
Shortly after, Tokuga was hired by Wonyong Keum to attack the airbenders defending the Republic City spirit portal that evening. Although his Triple Threats outnumbered the airbenders, they were soon pressed back when reinforcements in the form of Team Avatar arrived. Tokuga was challenged by Mako, who attacked him with his firebending in an attempt to arrest him, though the nimble gang leader easily evaded the blast and used his hook swords to launch Mako through the air. As he was about to finish him, Bolin came to the defense of his brother, twirling three little rocks in his hand. Tokuga mocked him, noting that he would need bigger rocks if he hoped to defeat him, but was soon caught by surprise when Bolin phased those rocks into lava and cut through Tokuga's swords. Realizing he could not win that fight, Tokuga threw two smoke canisters at the brothers and made his escape.
The battle suddenly intensified when several angry spirits emerged from the portal to protect it from the aggressors. Tokuga saw Korra talking to the dragon eel spirit, though he misinterpreted the Avatar's intentions of talking the spirits down to having summoned them and riling them up against him and the Triple Threats. The dragon eel spirit, having turned dark, soon after launched itself at Tokuga. He tried to defend himself by throwing three knives at the spirit, though they flew right through it, and he was knocked over. The spirit, holding him responsible for disturbing the portal, charged again, this time moving through Tokuga, and the gang leader was deformed in the process. Weakened, he ordered his men to get him out of there, and the Triple Threats hastily retreated.
Seizing new financial and military assets
Enraged by how the conflict escalated and having been disfigured, Tokuga, accompanied by some of his men, forced his way into Keum Enterprise's headquarters to confront Wonyong, as he held the CEO responsible for failing to warn him that the Avatar could show up at the portal. With his right side now partially spirit-like, Tokuga used his right arm, which was now a tentacle, to lift Wonyong off the ground and slam him against the wall, angrily saying that "becoming a freak" had not been part of the deal he signed on to when he was hired to do Wonyong's dirty work. Tokuga, not satisfied by Wonyong's offer to pay him double, usurped control of Keum Enterprises and all its assets, letting Wonyong know that he worked for him now.
As the Republic City police searched for him, Tokuga set up a false hideout full of bombs and dummies, designed to draw in Lin Beifong and her team. As the police searched, Tokuga spent more time away from his triad's true hideout, and the members began to gossip him. On one night, Triple Threat Triad members were playing poker, as they began to discuss Tokuga's disfigurement. A member of the triad, Zhen, said that he did not trust Tokuga's leadership, and was worried that Tokuga did not have the triad's best interests at heart. Shady Shin defended Tokuga, saying that their former leader Viper had vouched for him, causing Zhen to note that Viper was now dead. Tokuga appeared from behind the group, threatening Zhen by asking if he wanted to be next, and wrapped his tentacle arm around his neck. As members began to flee, Tokuga lifted Zhen and slammed him against the table. Tokuga explained that after the spirit attacked him, he had become stronger and faster, and that his mind felt sharper and clearer. His new goal was for the Triple Threat Triad to take over over all of Republic City, and become the most powerful triad in history.
Shady Shin said he was on board with the plan but questioned how Tokuga would gain the money and military power required for such a goal. Tokuga responded that Wonyong had agreed to help with finances, and that they would raid the location where Republic City had stored the airships and mecha suits leftover from the Invasion of the United Republic. Tokuga said that in order for the plan to be accomplished, however, he would need the support of every member of the Triple Threats, as Shady Shin and two other members agreed to support Tokuga, and Tokuga asked Zhen if he was supporting them, or needed to be "put down", to which Zhen responded that he was. Tokuga then requested for all of his men to now prove that they were truly with him.
Tokuga raided the weapon storage facility, and he and his triad fought off the police until Team Avatar, sans Asami Sato, arrived. They demanded Tokuga stand down, but soon paused due to being shocked upon seeing his disfigurement. Tokuga told Korra to not act so surprised, as she had been responsible for his changes in appearance. Korra protested, saying she was trying to stop the spirit from attacking him, to which Tokuga responded that she should have tried harder, and that her actions would have consequences. Mako defended Korra, saying that it was Tokuga who must answer for his actions. Mako questioned who had sent him to the portal, and if he was working for Wonyong Keum. Tokuga responded that Wonyong worked for him now, revealing that the businessman was held hostage in an airship above.
Mako demanded Tokuga stand down, to which Tokuga responded that it should be Team Avatar standing down, as they were outmatched. Mako responded that they had not been killed by his trap at the docks, or been able to beat them at the portal, and Bolin proudly chimed in that he was dealing with Team Avatar. Tokuga smugly responded that they were missing a member, causing Korra to become enraged and charge at Tokuga. Tokuga used his tentacle arm to flip Korra, and when Bolin and Mako charged in to defend her, they were zapped by mecha suits, becoming unconscious. Korra panted, as Tokuga demanded she retreat and allow his triad to escape. Korra stated that there was no way she was backing down, as she entered the Avatar State. Tokuga said that she would back down, or Asami would die, revealing that the business woman was being held hostage on the airship above as well. As Korra retreated from the Avatar State, and Tokuga led his men in tanks across Republic City to claim it as theirs.
Attempted takeover of Republic City
After gaining access to new weaponry, Tokuga and his triad targeted the Creeping Crystal's hideout, to claim their turf as the Triple Threats' own. Jargala attempted to fight back, but at Tokuga's—and other members of her triad's—urging, she backed down and fled the scene.
After kidnapping Wonyong, Tokuga accessed his personal safe to steal plans for an illegal gas dispersion weapon created by Hiroshi Sato. As he held Asami and Wonyong captive, he entered the abandoned Earthen Fire Refinery they were being held in, as Asami demanded he let them go. He smirked, and said Korra had not suffered enough for what she had done to him, causing Asami to explain that Korra had been trying to stop the spirit, not encourage them. Tokuga then mocked her by calling her noble for defending her girlfriend, revealing that he knew of the two girls' relationship. When Asami got upset by this revelation, he told her that he had been keeping tabs on her office, but had a different mission for her.
Tokuga revealed the gas dispersion pump plans he had stolen from Wonyong's office, and told Asami he intended to have her create the weapon in these plans. Asami asked if Tokuga was planning to use knockout gas on mecha suits, but he told her he intended to use poison gas instead. Asami angrily refused, saying she would not let him hold the whole city hostage, but Tokuga quickly turned then grabbed Wonyong and began strangling him using his tentacle arm. He told her she could either watch Wonyong die, or obey his offers. Asami shouted for him to let Wonyong go while agreeing to Tokuga's demands, as he called her a smart girl.
Tokuga supervised Asami as she finished building the weapon. Wonyong pleaded with Tokuga, asking why he was doing this, and Tokuga responded with his belief that power cannot be given, but must be taken. Tokuga was interrupted by Korra, Mako, Bolin and the Creeping Crystal Triad. Tokuga instructed his men to prepare an airship for take-off, as Asami demanded she be let go. Tokuga refused, grabbed her and Wonyong and loaded them onto the airship. However, Tokuga was taken off guard as the floor he stood on was bent by Jargala as she threw a stick of jennamite at him. He smirked, catching it, telling her she would have to bend a lot more, before the rock began slowly encasing his arm. He quickly shattered it using his tentacle arm, and proceeded to use a hook sword to catch onto the departing airship.
Tokuga directed the pilot of the airship to circle the spirit portal, as he began making demands to the president and military lying below his ship. He announced that he was the leader of the Triple Threat Triad, and intended to take over Republic City because the Avatar and government had failed, and that the spirit portal had been nothing but a harbinger of destruction. He announced that he would make Republic City the most powerful in the world, and that the Avatar as well as the government would answer to him. He demanded a withdrawal of the United Forces from the spirit portal and Republic City as a whole, and that if this demand was not met he would begin releasing poisonous gas from his ship. He also added that he had Asami Sato and Wonyong Keum on his ship, and any attempts to shoot down his ship would result in their deaths.
As Tokuga finished speaking, Asami released the poisonous gas—inside the ship. As she released the gas, Wonyong ran to grab a gas mask for her and himself. However, Tokuga approached her and told her that her plan had failed to account for something—his disfigurement had left him immune to poisonous gas. He ripped her gas mask off, leaving her to choke, before being blasted in the back by Avatar Korra, who had flown up to the ship. Tokuga steadied himself before using his tentacle arm to smash open the glass windows on the side of the ship, releasing the gas outside and toward the civilians by the portal.
Tokuga noticed that Asami had begun steering the ship toward the portal's entrance, and swung at Korra with his disfigured arm, but Korra dodged and returned his attack with an air kick, announcing he was done terrorizing the city. He angrily shouted that he had only just begun, and dodged an air punch, then chi blocked her using his tentacle. Before he could strike a finishing blow, the ship tilted dramatically sideways, as Asami demanded that Tokuga keep his "slimy scales" off of her girlfriend. Tokuga fell through one of the shattered windows, and was holding on with his tentacle arm, announcing that the group was not done with him yet, when Wonyong showed up with an axe, chopping his arm off and leaving him to fall toward the ground of the Spirit World. Tokuga fled into the plants in the Spirit World, avoiding detection from the group and nearby forces, as Korra remarked that she believed they had not seen the last of him.
Tokuga is a ruthless man who will stop at nothing to reach his goal, and he is not above killing those who stand in his way. This includes former allies, as he murdered Viper although the latter had previously vouched for him. Although Tokuga noted that he hates hurting people when they are down, he readily makes exceptions to that rule, as evidenced when he was facing Mako at the spirit portal. His intelligence makes him a worthy opponent, as he often carefully assesses the situation before rushing in, though his impressive anger and temper make him a dangerous man.
Tokuga is a skilled chi blocker, being able to stun multiple opponents for a short period of time to give him an edge in battle. Even after being disfigured, he was still capable enough to chi block using his tentacle arm.
An agile fighter, Tokuga can swiftly make his way over the battlefield, dodging incoming objects and somersaulting over opponents. Using his hook swords, he is able to swing down a building and launching himself in the air.
By his own claim, Tokuga's physical strength and speed became enhanced as a result of his deformation after his encounter with the dragon eel spirit.
Additionally, his right arm became a tentacle-like appendage, which allowed him to lift people off the ground and toss them around with great force, as well as constricting them. At the same time, he mastered fine control and movement of the arm to precisely strike pressure points with it. He also appears to be capable of altering the length of this new limb, allowing him to extend its reach to a certain degree. Being part spirit, he is also immune to poison gas.
Though Tokuga is also skilled at throwing knives with great precision, his primary weapons of choice are a set of twin tiger hook swords. He possesses masterful skill with these weapons, as he is able to overwhelm multiple opponents, benders and nonbenders alike, pluck rocks launched by earthbenders out of the air and redirect them, as well as use his swords to swing around.
- Turf Wars trilogy
- Tokuga is the one of the few known human to have been possessed by a spirit, the others being Yao, a hunter who got possessed by the aye-aye spirit, and a governor's son during the Hao dynasty.
- Tokuga, who Irene Koh based on a friend of hers, is meant to be Japanese.
- Tokuga was voiced by P. J. Byrne during the second live reading of Turf Wars Part One on Twitch.
|Triple Threat Triad leader
174 AG - present
- DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer), Koh, Irene (artist), Piekos, Nate; Blambot (letterer), Campbell, Heather; Bak, Jane (cover), Ng, Killian (colorist). Turf Wars Part One (July 26, 2016), Dark Horse Comics.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer), Koh, Irene (artist), Piekos, Nate; Blambot (letterer), Campbell, Heather; Ng, Killian (cover). Turf Wars Part Two (January 17, 2018), Dark Horse Comics.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer), Koh, Irene (artist), Piekos, Nate; Blambot (letterer), Campbell, Heather; Ng, Killian (cover). Turf Wars Part Three (August 1, 2018), Dark Horse Comics.
- DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & Heck, Colin (director). (October 18, 2013). "Beginnings, Part 1". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 7. Nickelodeon.
- Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Five, "Cultural Diplomacy". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
- Turf Wars Library Edition, Sketchbook, page 230.
- Lee, Otter (October 8, 2017). NYCC Interview with Irene Koh, Artist Of THE LEGEND OF KORRA Comic. AsianCrush. Retrieved on October 9, 2017.
- Dark Horse Comics (May 27, 2020). The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Live Reading. Twitch.com. Retrieved on May 28, 2020.