Disney just dropped the trailer for their new animated feature film Raya and The Last Dragon yesterday, and there’s one major scene that made our jaws drop instantly. The movie comes from the same creators as Frozen and Moana, and is set in “the fantasy world of Kumandra where humans and dragons lived together in harmony.” The two-minute clip shows us a female protagonist, distinctly morena, as she makes her way through a castle and its dungeon.
The character design and animation clearly gives off this South East Asian aesthetic that’s ambiguously reminiscent of Thai, Indonesian, or Malaysian architecture and design elements. Not to mention, the female lead is undeniably tan with prominent Malay features. But the main reason why this trailer stood out for us is because of the action sequence that’s featured, which showcases Raya drawing two wooden sticks from her back as she fights off her enemy!
The character is evidently practicing Arnis in the film, the Philippines’ national martial arts. It’s pretty cool too see iconic Arnis moves in film—more so in a big-budget Disney animated movie that will be shown all over the world! Also, don't you think Raya's hat in the end looks a lot like a salakot?!
Some commenters were quick to spot the Arnis action in the clip.
Meanwhile, others went on to point out the obvious comparisons and references to Nickelodeon’s animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender because of the character design.
Watch the full trailer here:
Raya and The Last Dragon is set to hit theaters in 2021.