Walt Disney Animation Studios recently released their latest film called “Raya and the Last Dragon,” touted as Disney’s first Southeast Asian representation. Raya, therefore, is the very first Disney princess of Southeast Asian descent, whilst joining the roster of princesses who do not have any love interest like Elsa and Moana.
Set in a fictional world known as Kumandra, dragons and humans coexist in harmony. When the country’s peaceful living conditions was threatened by an unseen evil force, the dragons of Kumandra had to sacrifice their race in order to save the lives of humans.
While it brings joy to many Asians and Asian-Americans to be properly represented, It’s also ironic that the Disney Plus Channel is not available in most Southeast Asian countries. Nonetheless, proponents say that the representation of Southeast Asians in Hollywood would not end there.
”Raya and The Last Dragon Plot Overview
The inspiration for the main storyline of this fantasy film was drawn from several instead of just one Southeast Asian country. Kumandra was prosperous and peaceful nation until a plague came upon the people 500 years earlier, which led to their division. Borders had been set in order to prevent the plague from infecting the people in their territories, as the evil force called Druun turned infected people into stone.
The plague almost threatened the existence of humans, if not for the dragons that poured all their magic in creating a dragon gem to drive the Druun back to its dark recesses. However, it also meant sacrificing the dragon race as only one dragon remained in existence.
Now that the evil force has returned the situation was different, where the new generation of Kumandrans are divided, all fighting for possession of the last remaining dragon and its magical power. While Raya tried to look for the last legendary dragon, she realized that it will take more than a a dragon gem to save the people of Kumandra, because after long years of their divided stance, they do not understand the value of teamwork or of trusting each other.
This Disney animation movie hits quite close to the present situation in which a pandemic has shattered nations; creating a world where stronger nations have made sure they will be the firsts to acquire the vaccines. While many were looking for someone to blame and to criticize, they also triggered acts of violence against Asians, particularly in the U.S.