|“||And do what, young Avatar? Face the wrath of your bending? No. I think I'll fight from inside here where my odds are a little more... equal.||„|
|~ Hiroshi Sato to Korra in "The Aftermath".|
|“||These people ... these benders ... They took away your mother, the love of my life. They've ruined the world. But with Amon, we can fix it and build a perfect world, together. We can help people like us everywhere!||„|
|~ Hiroshi Sato attempting in vain to persuade Asami to join the Equalists.|
Hiroshi Sato is a major antagonist in the first season of The Legend of Korra, then a supporting character in Season 4. He is Asami's father and Amon's third in command. He is a non-bending, barrel-chested businessman with a big personality. His family lineage extends back to the first Fire Nation colonists. His idea for the Satomobiles caused him to become the captain of industry in his era. During a police search of his secret factory, he revealed himself to be an Equalist, creating high-tech weaponry to fight against benders. Initially a tragic and well-meaning anti-villain, he eventually becomes more ruthless in his crusade against benders, devolving into little more than a petty hypocrite.
He was voiced by Daniel Dae Kim.
Hiroshi came from a poor family whom he supported by shining shoes on customers. At 18, he became rich when he created automobiles by convincing a wealthy banker to invest in his ideas. Hiroshi eventually met his future wife Yasuko and married her, and later they had a daughter named Asami. However, his happiness was shattered when his wife was killed by a member of the Agni Kai Triad who robbed the Sato Estate which caused Hiroshi's hatred of benders. His daughter and the world at large would remain unaware of his vengeful loathing for years to come, though. Asami brought Mako to Hiroshi's factory where he explained his humble beginnings, and then announced that he would sponsor the Fire Ferrets in the pro-bending tournament, provided they would bear the Future Industries logo on their uniforms. Hiroshi later attended a gala hosted by Councilman Tarrlok in honor of Avatar Korra. There, he saluted Korra, saying that everyone was expecting great things of her.
As the Fire Ferrets' sponsor, he and his daughter attended the Pro-bending Tournament final, which, along with the Equalists' ambush, they spectated from a private balcony. After the Equalists attacked the Pro-bending Arena, Hiroshi was asked to come to police headquarters to be questioned about what he witnessed during the attack. When he was done, Hiroshi was led out by Tenzin and Lin Beifong. Lin told him to come back if he remembered anything else. He accepted this statement, stopped to acknowledge Korra, and walked out.
After the attack, Hiroshi, as one of the witnesses of the incident, was interrogated by Lin Beifong and Tenzin, finally stating that he wanted the Equalists "to pay for what they've done."
While Korra visited his home, she overheard Hiroshi talking on the phone and began to suspect he was working with the Equalists. Lin and Tenzin interrogated visited him and communicated him their suspicion, to which Hiroshi excused saying it was all a misunderstanding and he was just talking about business and an opportunity to strike the market with a new line of Satomobiles, but at the obvious doubts of the benders, he offered his factory to be investigated. The Metalbending Police Force searched all of his warehouses but they were not able to find any evidence. After receiving a tip from a worker about Hiroshi being part of the Equalist by manufacturing their weapons and having an underground factory in his mansion, Korra, Tenzin, Lin, and some metalbending
officers searched the house and found the place under his workshop. However, this was a trap by Hiroshi to ambush the benders, so he and some Equalists, using mecha tanks, attacked the group and eventually overpowered them.
When Hiroshi spotted Mako and Bolin trying to save the now unconscious Lin, Tenzin, and Korra, he prepared to thwart them, but was confronted by his daughter, whom he tried to convince to join the Equalists, stating that his reason for being part of the revolt was to get revenge on all benders due to the death of his beloved wife, who had died at the hands of a firebending member of the Agni Kai Triad criminal gang and also hoping to create a better world for non benders as a whole. Hiroshi offered Asami an electrified glove, who, after telling her father she loved him, took it to stun him, letting the benders and herself escape to safety.
Sometime later, after Asami, Bolin and General Iroh are ambushed and imprisoned by the equalists, Sato met with his daughter in their cell. He expressed regret that he had caused her harm but, still assured of the righteousness of his path, also stated she needed to come to her senses so they could once again be a family. A disgusted Asami refused bitterly telling him her mother would be ashamed of his actions. This angered Hiroshi who after being informed by an equalist soldier that the planes are ready for combat, turned to Iroh and cruelly informed him that they had intercepted his transmission to the United Forces to stay in reserve and knew of their hiding place with the intent of destroying the fleet and made his leave. However the trio escaped thanks to Naga and Pabu and set out to stop the Equalists' airships.
In the season finale, he is forced to face his daughter in battle in mecha suits while she was using hers to destroy his aircraft. Asami tells him he doesn't feel love for her mother anymore and is too full of hate. He attacks her and now completely filled with madness and hatred decides that "there's no chance to save her" and decides to kill his own daughter. He attempt is thwarted by Bolin who uses his earthbending to throw boulders and buys Asami time to destroys his suit and calls him a terrible father. Asami renounces her father, agreeing with Bolin and throws a disc with electric cables at him as he tries to flee. He is sent back to prison afterwards and Asami takes over the company when the Equalists disband.
In Book 4, it is revealed that Hiroshi has come to regret everything he had did and he wrote to his daughter many times, but she never opened the letters. However, Asami accepts the invitation to visit him in prison, but only to tell him to stop contacting him. He actively seeks to reconcile with his daughter and reaches out to her, acknowledging his past crimes and telling Asami that she was the only achievement he was proud of. Asami only responds by running out on him in tears. She later returns, however, and states that she feels sadness instead of anger. She is uncertain is she can truly forgive him, but then offers to play a game of Pai Sho, which he accepts gladly. Later Korra gets the feeling he is actually manipulating Asami.
When Kuvira attacks Republic City, Lin releases Hiroshi from prison to help with the hummingbird mechs. He plans to utilize a plasma saw that can cut through platinum to make an entry into Kuvira's mech. He reconciles with Asami while installing the saws onto the hummingbirds. Truly wishing to redeem himself, Hiroshi willingly sacrifices his life so that Republic City could be saved by cutting into the mech even when Kuvira was about to crush him, which creates the opening needed for Team Avatar to enter the mech, but not before ejecting Asami to safety.
- His name shared with Lee Kang-to from Korean television series Bridal Mask.
- Many viewers of the show made comparisons of his appearance in Season 4 with filmmaker, George Lucas, and Japanese animator, Hayao Miyazaki.
- The machines Hiroshi creates serve a similar purpose to those created by Lian, the main villain of the first Avatar: The Last Airbender game.