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Western Animation / Raya and the Last Dragon

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"My whole life I trained to become a guardian of the Dragon Gem. But this world has changed, and its people are divided. Now to restore peace I must find the Last Dragon. My name... is Raya."

Raya and the Last Dragon is the 59th entry in the Disney Animated Canon.

Long ago, the people of the mystical land of Kumandra were united and protected by dragons. However, mysterious dark creatures called Druun wiped the dragons out and petrified the population. The last dragon, Sisu, used the last bit of dragon magic in the world, the Dragon Gem, to defeat the Druun before disappearing. In the aftermath, the people of Kumandra broke into five warring lands: Fang, Heart, Spine, Tail, and Talon.

Enter Raya, the princess of Heart and the guardian of the Dragon Gem. After an incident in her childhood causes the gem to break into five and revive the Druun, Raya strives to find Sisu and fix the world.

The film is heavily inspired by the cultures, aesthetics, and mythologies of Southeast Asia. It features the voices of Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina as the titular Raya and Sisu, with other supporting characters voiced by Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Benedict Wong, Sandra Oh, Alan Tudyk, and Ross Butler. It had a simultaneous release in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access on March 5, 2021, and became available to all Disney+ subscribers on June 4th. As with Mulan (2020), the film was released on other VOD providers a month after its premiere.

Previews: Teaser Trailer, Official Trailer, International Trailer.

The film's theatrical release was preceded by the short film Us Again.

Raya and the Last Dragon provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes A to C 
  • Accidentally Broke the MacGuffin: The main plot is kicked when greedy squabbling between the tribes for the Dragon Gem causes it to fall and shatter into pieces on the ground, freeing the Druun, which was sealed by its magic. Fortunately, the individual pieces still retain magic and can be put back together.
  • Actor Allusion: Namaari's hairstyle is curiously similar to that of Minn-Erv. Bonus points for being another Proud Warrior Race Guy.
  • Adrenaline Makeover: Both Namaari and Raya undergo this during the Time Skip. They both switch to practical outfits for combat or travel, with hairstyles to match.
  • Advertising by Association: "From the studio that brought you Moana and Frozen."
  • After the End: Lampshaded by Raya in the opening, currently traveling through the desert landscape that is Tail, as she narrates the history of Kumandra and how it broke. Countless people have been petrified by the Druun, and society is barely surviving their constant threat. The plot of the movie is Raya questing to restore Sisu and recovering the Dragon Gem pieces to fix the world.
  • All Asians Wear Conical Straw Hats: An Asian-inspired fantasy land complete with pagodas and ninja outfits, and Raya spends almost the entire movie wearing a conical straw hat. The salakot (the specific hat that she's wearing) is indigenous to Southeast Asia, which the film is based on. Sisu at one point gets one too, though she doesn't wear it for long.
  • All Your Powers Combined: The Dragon Gem is made from Sisu's four siblings' powers, and when she is in possession of them she can use their powers. With each piece of the Gem they manage to collect, Sisu gains another power of her siblings.
  • Ambiguous Situation:
    • Namaari's finger is shown pulling on the trigger of her crossbow with a prominent sound effect of the firing mechanism being squeezed. This is enough to motivate Raya to take defensive action but it is left unclear if Namaari was going to intentionally fire on Sisu out of desperation or was so emotionally overwhelmed by the presence of a dragon that she'd pull the trigger by accident.
    • With all the gem fragments in their possession, Namaari is about to escape into the world but changes her mind. Did she come back because she was motivated by altruism or guilt to repay the trust Raya and her friends put in her to reassemble the gem fragments and make amends? Did she come back because she realized she had nothing to escape to? Her mother was petrified, her city had fallen, and the Druun were everywhere. So, with nothing left to lose, she reassembles the gem stones as the only viable option she has left?
  • And Then What?: After Tong captures Raya and Sisu, the former calls him out for having no idea what he should do next.
  • Anti-Villain: Namari and Virana of the Fang tribe are pursuing Raya to get the pieces of the dragon gem, but they ultimately have the same goal as her (fixing the world). Virana believes that her only shot at redeeming her tribe is to be the one to bring everyone back.
  • Apple of Discord: The first time the Druun were defeated, the Dragon Gem left behind was coveted by humans as a source of power and became the subject of many wars for possession of it until the Heart tribe hid it away. This is particularly tragic, as nothing in the movie shows that humans can use the gem's magic besides its inherent repulsion of Druun, and that only works on a very small scale. Though every other tribe believes that their prosperity stems from it, the Heart tribe knows that the dragon gem in their protection doesn't confer any kind of power onto people.
  • Arc Symbol: Keeping to the film's Southeast-Asian influence, food is used throughout the film to show unity and prosperity. Benja invites the neighbouring tribes to a feast at the beginning as a sign of peace, which he punctuates with a meal using ingredients from all of them. The Gem's destruction results in the divided tribes running out of resources, with the Fang Tribe in particular coming to the brink of starvation. Raya spends the first part of her journey alone and untrusting of others, surviving off her own poorly made food that Sisu is unsubtly disgusted by. When Boun serves them on his boat, he tastes the food himself to prove that he is trustworthy. After the team is assembled, Raya eventually opens up to them more while they all sit and have a meal together.
  • Arc Words: "Someone has to take the first step."
  • Art Shift:
    • The animation switches to traditional animation as we are shown the tribes of Kumandra during Raya's explanation of the history of Kumandra.
    • Boun's plan to storm the Fang Temple is illustrated in Cel Shaded animation.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: Against the rough and realistic, earthly world of Kumandra and its inhabitants, the dragons are soft-appearing and bear cool colors, reflecting their magical and otherworldly nature. Helped in that the movie's depiction of dragons largely departs from usual depictions of Asian dragons.
  • Artifact of Hope: The Dragon Gem is a Power Crystal created by Sisu and her siblings to seal away the Druun and undo their petrifying effects on others. Aside from that, it is never shown to have any other magical capabilities, though most of Kumandra believe that it is somehow responsible for Heart's prosperity. After it's shattered, the gem is still able to repel Druun in a very localized capacity, The Power of Trust being the key component to reassembling the gem.
  • Back from the Dead: Everyone who has been petrified by the Druun is restored to life.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • During the Action Prologue, Raya is confronted by a Malevolent Masked Man who challenges her to a duel for the Dragon Gem. It turns out that he's actually her father, and their fight was just a test to prove her worthiness as guardian of the Gem.
    • It seems that the chief of the Spine tribe has captured Raya and Sisu, asking them about their gem shards. When they turn the tables on him, it's revealed Tong was actually a lowly foot soldier, and the real chief along with everyone else was petrified. Raya takes pity on him when seeing an empty crib by his side and asks for his help to evacuate Sisu and the others.
  • Blade Reflection:
    • After Chief Benja defends the Dragon Gem from the Fang invaders, the rest of the tribes arrive and start making their claims for the Gem as well. Benja holds his sword in a defensive pose across his chest while planning his next move. We see a reflection of Benja's grim determination in the blade, but then he sees Raya reflected in the blade as well. His look softens suggesting he recalls his earlier words to Raya about the world in which he wants his daughter to live and he tries yet again to promote the idea of coming together and building a better world as he resolutely sheaths his blade.
    • After Namaari accuses Raya of having equal blame in Sisu's death, Raya is snapped out of her Roaring Rampage of Revenge and catches her tearful eyes reflected in her blade. It's unclear is she's reacting to what Namaari said, or remembering back to when her father last held the sword facing a similar choice on whether to hold onto anger against a betrayer or seek a better world.
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: While the shrimp Boun's restaurant/houseboat serves is pretty mild, the sauces he uses are not. He even warns the others before serving them a meal:
    Boun: How hot do you want it? We have hot, really hot and "BOUN goes the dynamite!"
  • Book Ends: In the beginning of the movie, Benja invites the other nations to a diplomatic dinner. The tribes don't trust each other and the dinner is extremely ill-fated as a result, causing the Druun to come back. In the end, the other tribes arrive back at Heart, more unified and trusting.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Sisu's words ring true when she remarks that you can't expect good people to trust you if you don't trust them first. On the other hand, Raya's cynicism is pretty understandable, as it comes from being deliberately and intentionally betrayed by someone she did open herself to trust. We see that Raya's decision to withhold trust from all people, all the time, softens over the course of the story.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs:
    • Boun: "We got shrimp, we got congee, we got a shrimp congee that won't quit."
    • When Sisu is giving Raya ideas on a gift to bring, she suggests cats, knives, cats with knives, and knives with little cats on them.
  • Cats Are Mean: Sisu, when asked what Druun and cats have in common (they don't like water), her answer is that they have no souls.
  • Central Theme: Trust. Throughout the story, many characters either earn, test, or betray the trust of others. Deceit and dishonesty are what fuel many of the problems our heroes face, but the strength to have faith in others (no matter who they are) is what allows them to succeed in the end.
  • City on the Water: The Land of Talon is built on huts suspended above the water by poles and connected by a latticework of bridges and walkways. Sisu notes that it's a smart way to Druun-proof their houses.
  • Color-Coded Characters: The divided peoples of Kumandra are shown wearing outfits of varying colors depending on affiliation, Pink and Purple for Talon, Yellow and Orange for Tail, Blue and Green for Heart, White and Gold for Fang, and Red and Gray for Spine.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Random House Disney are publishing a graphic novel based on the movie.
  • Conspicuous in the Crowd: As the Druun attack the Fang tribe, everyone is fleeing away from the palace. Everyone, that is, except for Raya, determinately marching up the stairs to engage Namaari in battle for killing Sisu.
  • Contrived Coincidence:
    • The gem just happened to break into exactly five chunks, allowing each tribe to get their own piece, forcing Raya and Sisu to travel to each tribe's land to get each part of the gem and forming a heroic group along the way where each member represents their homeland.
    • Raya finding Boun's boat, which is the perfect vessel to sail the long river and gain protection from the Drunn for the rest of her trip to get the rest of the Dragon Gem shards.
  • Conveniently an Orphan: Noi and Boun are children who join the similarly-orphaned Raya on her quest because their families were petrified by the Druun. The inverse is in play with Tong who, while an adult, lost his child to the Druun.
  • Cracks in the Icy Façade: The titular character, Raya is shown to be aloof and distrustful of others because of her experience with Namaari, and has a very cynical outlook on life as a result. However, she is shown to be (somewhat) caring and/or trusting of Little Noi, a con artist baby who, even after she tricked her, is shown to have a Hidden Heart of Gold. Raya also was shown feeling out over meeting Sisu and is very patient with her when she's starting to learn about current life in this post-Duun era, hinting at Ray's Heal the Cutie arc that she will go on during that movie.
  • Crapsack World: The world without dragons before the Dragon Gem breaks is already bordering on this, considering that four out of five tribes in the setting are struggling to obtain the Dragon Gem rather than unite to honor the dragon's sacrifice. It is definitely this after the Dragon Gem breaks, causing the Drunn to return and wreak havoc upon the land. The tribes without access to lots of water are hurt the most with Heart, Tail, and Spine tribes having almost all of their population petrified by the Drunn. Only the Talon and the Fang tribes are faring a little better due to their cities being surrounded by water.
  • Credit Card Plot: Sisu wants to buy gifts for the Talon chief but has no money so she "buys" a bunch of stuff on "credit", which here just means taking stuff and promising to pay later. She doesn't realize that credit is only given to people that the merchants have known and trusted for a long time, which gets her pursued by an angry mob and rescued by the ruthless Talon chief.
  • Credits Gag: The film has a message near the end of the credits about the troubled production due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It not only also thanks everyone involved in it, but also takes a fun jab at a common problem people have when communicating over the internet.
    The making of this movie from over 400 individual homes was completely unprecedented, and entirely relied on the talent, ingenuity, and dedication of everyone at Walt Disney Animation Studios. The filmmakers would like to thank them for their tireless hard work, good humor and most of all patience... with our inability to properly use the internet. (Dude, you're still on mute.)

    Tropes D to G 
  • Darker and Edgier: It features a post-apocalyptic setting for the first time since Dinosaur, the protagonist using bladed weapons, the horrors of the shadow demons known as the Drunn, selfishness, and warfare, the sight of skeletal corpses laying in a ruined temple, an entire tribe wiped out by panicked warfare, the Accidental Murder of Sisu, and a climax that kills off every main character... temporarily, of course.
  • Darkest Hour: After Sisu's death, the water in Kumandra dries up, allowing the Druun full access to Fang sending the city into chaos. Raya and Namaari have reached their Rage Breaking Point and are engaged in a fierce, intense battle while Raya's band try and save as much of the population as they can before they are overrun.
  • Dismantled MacGuffin: The Dragon Gem has been broken into five pieces across the five tribes, and Raya has to find them all.
  • Disney Death:
    • Sisu is accidentally killed by Namaari right before the finale. She is brought back by the other dragons.
    • Raya believes that Sisu can bring back everyone who has been petrified by the Druun in the intervening years. When people from all five tribes trust each other and reform the Dragon Gem, turning to stone in the process, everyone comes back — including Sisu's siblings and the rest of the dragons.
  • Divided We Fall: Even after the first defeat of the Druuns and the creation of the Dragon Gem, humanity try to take it for themselves unleashing wars and dividing the land in 5 cities, all out of distrust. It reaches a (literal) breaking point, with the tribes accidentally breaking the Gem, causing the Druuns to return and bring humanity nearly to the extinction.
  • Doomed Hometown: Towards the beginning of the story, Heart becomes this trope when the other tribe leaders accidentally break apart the Dragon Gem, which brings back the Drunn. Heart is overrun by Drunn, its citizens are petrified or scattered and the city is abandoned. Chief Benja sacrifices himself to save Raya.
  • The Dragons Come Back: In the end, the dragons return and bring back life to Kumandra.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: The people of Kumandra thought that the Dragon Gem is the source of prosperity, due to repelling the Druuns, which is why they started wars to take it for themselves. But as Sisu explains, the Dragon Gem is fueled by the Power of Trust, making the entire conflict rather pointless.
  • Dragons Are Divine: The story shows that Kumandra dragons are bringers of water and life. When Sisu, the last dragon is killed, the water of the world dries up. This not only gives the Druun access to all the tribes that used water as a barrier but also ensures the end of humanity in a world without water.
  • Due to the Dead:
    • One of the first signs that Namaari is worthy of a redemption arc is when her hunting party rides through an ancient battlefield filled with the stone remains of dozens of dragons. Without a word, she slows the group from a furious gallop to a calm, respectful walk; taking care not to disturb the ancient dragons and regarding them with a genuine mournful reverence. Before leaving the battlefield, Namaari alone turns and offers the hand symbol of respect to the fallen dragons.
    • Raya, Sisu and Boun leave flowers floating on the water to honor their petrified family members.
  • Elemental Embodiment: Dragons embody water and all its life-giving qualities, their magic being what provides it to the world. When Sisu is awoken, she's formed by water coalescing together, and when she's killed, all the water of around Fang begins drying up immediately.
  • Elemental Motifs: The Heart tribe has strong water motifs as the guardians of the Dragon Gem, the last bit of magic from the water-associated dragons. The entrance to their land is marked by a large bridge, their members dress in blue, and the Dragon Gem's location features plenty of water.
  • Empathy Doll Shot: Raya (and the audience) sees an empty crib with an elephant toy in it within Tong's home, wordlessly communicating that he's a father who has lost at least his child to the Druun, gaining her sympathy.
  • Exact Words: Benja says to Raya, "I promise you will not set foot on the Dragon Gem's inner circle... not even a toe". After an intense fight in which Raya is disarmed, Benja declares that she lost, only for her to question "Did I?" as the camera pans to show she has managed to get one toe touching the inner circle. After commenting that he probably should have said "two feet", he then praises her for her skill and makes her a guardian of the Dragon Gem.
  • Failed a Spot Check: It takes Tong pointing it out for Raya, Sisu, and Boun to notice that Noi's name is embroidered on her shirt collar.
  • Fantasy Counterpart Culture: The world of Kumandra mixes various Southeast Asian cultures with fantasy touches like dragons and Mix-and-Match Critters. The aesthetics of the "Nations" of this world are even based on real historical countries.
    • Fang is based on the Khmer Empire, which was located in today's Cambodia. Architecture also strongly draws from Thailand.
    • Heart is based primarily of Vietnam and Malaysia, with interior architecture being mostly Thai and Indonesian. Allegedly the Heart Temple is based on Angkor Wat from Cambodia.
    • Tail is based on the White Sand Dunes of Vietnam.
    • Talon is based on the Majapahit, which was located in today's Indonesia and Brunei, as well as on the floating markets of Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. They also use Philippine lantern designs.
    • Spine is apparently based off Indonesian and Myanmar mountain cultures with Laos and Indonesia-based architecture, but they more heavily draw from non-Southeast Asian cultures like Mongolia and China.
  • Fartillery: One creature in Kumandra is the "Toot-n-Boom", a beetle that farts a cloud that explodes in a firework-like display. A narrow hallway covered in them is one of the traps protecting the Tail tribe's gem piece.
  • Fictional Earth: The land of Kumandra is formed around a body of a water shaped like a dragon, and each tribe is located at a body part.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: While talking with Boun on the boat, Sisu associates the Druun with fire, stone, ash, and destruction, and dragons with water, life, and creation. Dragon magic is heralded with the appearance of water, and their disappearance is heralded by the absence of it.
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: Tong acts notably like he's been isolated for quite some time, despite his denials that he's lonely. Also, during their first interaction with Tong, he's taken aback by how young Noi is when she and the ongis engage him in combat. Not too long after, it's revealed that not only is Tong alone, but he lost his wife and child to the Druun.
  • Floating Water: It's used as an indicator when dragons or their magic is around, such as the water of the temple in Heart flowing upwards towards the Dragon Gem. When Sisu is resurrected both times, water floats into the air.
  • Forgiveness: In the end, the tribe leaders turned to stone due to their selfishness are given The Pardon, including Virana, more for practical reasons. Raya and the others feel that being turned to stone and losing their home was punishment enough, and Namaari showed she was capable of being a better person. They agree to unite genuinely this time, and no one is drawing weapons at their ending feast.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • During her narration about the history of the Dragon Gem, Raya tells how humanity threw away a chance to unite and fought over the gem, "people being people". Turns out, Raya is speaking from experience, as she's witnessed "People being people" first-hand when the four other tribes fought over the Dragon Gem, to the point of breaking it.
    • In Talon, Sisu finds that her shopping spree lands her in trouble, only for an old woman to inexplicably take interest in Sisu when she mentions the Dragon Gem shards and is able to disperse the crowd with just a few words. The old woman's interest in the shards and command of the crowd hints that she is someone of authority in Talon.
  • Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: The movie closes with Sisu flying toward the viewers.
  • Free-Sample Plot Coupon: After completing her initial quest and actually finding Sisu, Raya now has a new challenge before her, to collect the fragments of the shattered Dragon Gem from the various tribal chiefs. Fortunately, she already has the fragment from her own homeland of Heart and she's already in the land of Tail which has been devastated by the Druun so their fragment is claimed by "simply" negotiating some death traps rather than confronting its citizens.
  • Gentle Giant: Tong has a soft spot for Noi, and likes taking care of her.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Tong says "I, too, wish to join this fellowship of Druun butt kickery!"
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Raya has to find the five pieces of the Dragon Gem.
  • Greed: The conflict began with everyone wanting to possess the Dragon Gem, believing it brings the tribe who holds it prosperity. However, there's never any evidence it confers any magical abilities to humans, and their pointlessly selfish fighting over the Gem accidentally breaks it, releasing the Druun and kicking off the end of the world.

    Tropes H to M 
  • Happy Rain:
    • The dragons are associated with rain and life, and water repels the Druun, so the group are overjoyed when Sisu makes it rain. In the climax, the rain summoned by the Dragon Gem heals all those who were petrified.
    • Inverted at one point, as Raya rejecting Sisu's plan to get the last gem piece from the Fang Tribe causes Sisu to become visibly frustrated and she causes a downpour in response. It turns out she did so because she needed to take Raya to Heart and needed the rain to be able to "fly".
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: Sisu's dragon power is being a really, really good swimmer. Raya isn't particularly impressed until they need to escape pursuit while stuck on a slow-moving boat and Sisu clamps onto the bottom and effortlessly propels it up to motorboat speeds.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: In the climax, as the Druun are taking over the city, restoring the Dragon Gem seems to be the only hope. Because no one trusts Namaari to give up her piece due to her betrayal and killing of Sisu, Raya decides to take the first step, and gives up her own Gem piece and lets the Druun take her. This convinces the others to follow suit, and for Namaari to choose reassembling the Gem over escaping with her life.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Sisu calls herself "not the best dragon", describing her involvement in defeating the Druun as being like a kid in a group project who didn't pitch in as much as the rest but still got the credit.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Tail's Chief takes her piece of the gem and sets up a bunch of booby traps to guard herself and it. They include tripwires, exploding beetles, and a spiked pit. The problem, she trapped herself and dies with her gem in her labyrinth.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Deconstructed for the theme; the state of the world is entirely due to people being unable to trust each other, but this is presented as something that must be overcome because it's ultimately a self-fulfilling prophecy that leaves everyone worse off. Notably, while Sisu names human discord as the source of the Druun, she doesn't hold it against them and maintains nothing but hope that all they need is to have faith in each other again to make things better.
  • Idiot Ball: Sisu being naïve about the Talon tribe is understandable; she needed a wakeup call to see that you can't just walk into town and shoot off your mouth about coveted Dragon Gem pieces. Even Raya got caught off-guard when seeing Noi crying and stopped in her quest to comfort her. Not-so-understandable is that Raya warns her they need to approach the Spine tribe with caution; after Sisu had just a conversation about the new Talon chief betraying her, she happily goes to the Spine chief hut and knocks on the front door before Raya can stop her. They were lucky that Tong was actually not the chief, just a little paranoid and traumatized, and he agrees to go with them on their quest.
  • Imagine Spot: As the gang approaches Fang, Sisu offers her plan for infiltrating the city to get their gem. It involves immediately confronting Namaari, offering her a really nice gift, then asking if she wants to help them save the world. This immediately wins her over as the animation and lighting for this sequence becomes much more vibrant and exaggerated than the rest of the film, and also has Namaari speaking with Sisu’s voice. At which point they clasp hands and skip off into the sunset chanting "Best friends forever!"
  • In Medias Res: The movie opens with a collection of narrative techniques, but technically begins with a few brief shots of Raya riding Tuk Tuk through the wasteland of Tail on her search for Sisu. It then shifts into a flashback telling of Kumandra in the time of Dragons, the coming of the Druun and their defeat by Sisu. This then shifts to A Minor Kidroduction showing how Raya enters the story followed by a Time Skip to the present where Raya is in the last legs of her quest to find Sisu at one of the ends of the great river. We do not see how she stole the Dragon Scroll from Fang nor her failed attempts to locate Sisu at the other river end points. We pick up Raya's story as she approaches the last mapped river end working to keep up her hope of finding Sisu.
  • Ironic Echo: When Raya asks "Who's hungry?" as a opening statement to the meeting of the Kumandran lands, the first one to respond is a Spine Warrior. Later in the movie, when Sisu gets herself and Raya caught in a trap outside the Spine Fortress, she asks "Who's hungry?", while carrying a meal she intended to present as a gift.
  • It Only Works Once: When they're kids, Raya takes Namaari down with a flying spin kick. As an adult, when she tries the same move, Namaari sees it coming and is able to block it.
  • The Joy of First Flight: Obtaining Spine's dragon gem gives Sisu the power to control rain, and there is an extended scene where she revels in this power by flying amongst the clouds for the first time in over 500 years.
  • Killed Off for Real: The chief of Tail is shown to have perished offscreen sometime during the Time Skip, and Raya and Sisu discover her remains. Since she was not petrified by the Druun, she is not resurrected after the Gem is restored in the ending.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Namaari experiences this in the climax. Immediately after she shoots Sisu with the crossbow, the waters surrounding Fang start to recede. By the time Namaari returns to Fang, her mother has been petrified and the city becomes overrun by the Druun.
  • Laser Hallway: The Tail chief has one, though with ropes that trigger booby traps rather than lasers. This forces Raya to use cunning acrobatics to slip through successfully. When she indicates for Sisu to follow, her serpentine dragon form swims around the ropes in mere seconds, plus she takes the long way through.
  • Last of Her Kind:
    • The dragons of Kumandra disappeared after creating the Gem, with Sisu being the last surviving one.
    • Raya herself is the only survivor of the Heart tribe from that fateful day.
    • Tong was the only member of the Spine Tribe to survive the Drunn's attack.
  • Last Place You Look: Raya finds Sisu at literally the last, most remote river ending point on her map, after having tried all the others first.
  • The Last Title: The movie title itself is Raya and the Last Dragon.
  • Liar Revealed: Strongly downplayed as Raya is quite truthful about her plans and intentions and only keeping Sisu's identity a secret to protect her. When the group finds out about Sisu they are understandably upset with Raya at first but quickly work though it when they realize they have a dragon on their side who is working to bring everyone back.
  • Light Is Not Good: Namaari's outfit as well as her mother Virana's both incorporate the color white.
  • Meaningful Name: Kumandra is taken from kuman, the Thai name for the Kumaras in Hinduism, and dragon.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: Raya's quest revolves around finding the five pieces of the Dragon Gem reassembling them so Sisu can fix the world.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The beginning is set when Raya is a preteen. The bulk of the film is set six years later.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter:
    • Tuk-Tuk resembles a cross between an armadillo, a pill bug and a pug.
    • The monkey-like Ongis are also part catfish and have multiple stomachs like a ruminant.
    • The Sherlots of the Fang Tribe resemble a cross between a caracal and a cheetah with the fur coloration of a fishing cat.
    • One re-occurring background animal resembles a tree shrew with butterfly wing-like projections.
  • Monster of the Aesop: The supernatural danger of the movie are the Druun, embodiments of discord that are ultimately destroyed en masse by great acts of mutual trust.
  • Monster-Shaped Mountain: The whole of Kumandra's river/lake system is arranged like a dragon, head to the west and tail to the east. The five nations it fragments into are named for the "body parts" they correspond to on a map.
  • Multinational Team: As Raya travels, she picks up friends from each part of the world: Boun from Tail, Noi and the Ongis from Talon, Tong from Spine, and Namaari from Fang. This allows the five of them to bring back dragons and defeat the Druun, as each of them is from a different part of Kumandra and trusted each other enough to hand the shards over during the Darkest Hour.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: While she doesn't show it, Namaari feels deeply guilty about being the one who broke the world. When faced with Sisu, she nearly breaks down crying, and afterwards she begs her mother to give up their Gem piece to restore the world.
  • Myth Prologue: Raya tells the audience about how their world Kumandra used to be united, fertile and defended by dragons before the dragons were wiped out by the Druun, and how Kumandra has now split into five warring clans. Raya winds up finding Sisu, the titular last dragon, and eventually brings dragons back to Kumandra.

    Tropes N to R 
  • Never Hurt an Innocent: Raya refuses to be mean to anyone who was innocent of her trauma. She's gruff with Sisu, but more in a Cruel to Be Kind fashion, and suspicious of Boun, but quickly warms up to him when he reveals that he lost family to the Druun too. On learning that Tong wasn't involved in the Dragon Gem being split and lost his child to boot, she invites him to join her crew.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The teaser trailer heavily showcases the scene where a younger Raya and a masked Benja duel in front of the Dragon Gem, making the latter look like one of the villains of the film. In the context of the story, this is actually a test which Raya has to pass to become a guardian of the Dragon Gem.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: When Namaari is pointing her cross-bow at Sisu, she tries to talk Namaari down with a You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech. Raya is watching cautiously and Namaari starts reacting emotionally to Sisu's words. Unfortunately Namaari's finger also starts to pull on the trigger causing Raya to react defensively and attempts to disarm Namaari with her sword, causing the cross-bow to misfire and kill Sisu.
  • No Escape but Down: Raya and Sisu escape from Namaari's pursuit by riding Tuk Tuk off a cliff into water.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: Noi and the Ongis briefly make a gargoyle pose on top of a building to go unnoticed.
  • Non-Human Sidekick:
    • Tuk Tuk the little armadillo-like sidekick helps Raya get past the net traps in the temple, and serves as her steed for her travel across Kumandra. Appropriately, Tuk Tuk is named after the auto rickshaws prevalent throughout Southeast Asia and a few other parts of the world.
    • Played with in regards to Noi and the Ongis as it can be difficult sometimes to determine who is the sidekick. However, it seems the Ongis have chosen to be the caretakers and companions of Noi. Despite their monkey-like appearance and inability to talk, the Ongis are shown to be intelligent and understand human speech since Uka answers Raya's question about Noi's family by forming the "prayer pose" of the Druun victims.
  • No Sympathy: Subverted. When Sisu goes against Raya's wishes while doing a Talon Tribe heist and trusts an old lady who nearly kills her, Raya apologizes for the world being this way.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Namaari hates that everyone keeps reminding her that she "broke the world" and violated Sacred Hospitality, which has strongly embittered her over the years. Her Establishing Character Moment as an adult is to threaten one of her men for reasonably pointing out if navigating the Death Trap obstacle course was a good idea.
  • Not Quite Flight: Dragons can levitate raindrops in the palm of their claws and step off of them like platforms. They can thus "fly" by Running on Raindrops across the sky.
  • Not Quite Saved Enough: In Kumandra's past, for some reason the dragon gem only restored the human victims of the Druun. In the ending, the humans recreating the process restores everyone that was ever a victim, bringing all the dragons back along with them this time around.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: While trying to teach his daughter about the importance of uniting the five tribes of Kumandra, Benja tells Raya how the other tribes' wrongful belief the Dragon Gem grants Heart power is born from prejudice and assumption. ...Just like the assumptions Raya made about the other tribes being cutthroat and ruthless.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Raya forever refers to Namaari as the "girl that broke the world". It's kind of warranted, given it was Namaari's fault the gem was shattered and the Druun returned. Boun refers to Namaari as such as well, showing the story of her actions has travelled far.
  • Our Dragons Are Different: The dragons in the film closely resemble the Phaya Nāga, serpentine creatures from Thai mythology considered to be the patrons of water, though the also incorporate elements of Chinese lung. Collectively they are all associated with water and life-giving rain, qualities present in both creatures (and common in Eastern depictions of dragons). As Sisu explains, they also each have a unique magical talent like conjuring fog or Shapeshifting.
  • Pardon My Klingon: The word "binturi" pops up a lot, and is not a part of any real world language. The way it's used seems to be a non-gendered, personal insult equivalent to "reprobate" or "miscreant".
  • Parental Abandonment: Due to the Druun driving humanity to the brink of extinction, whole families end up destroyed often leaving a single orphan as a survivor. Raya, Boun and Noi are all orphaned by the Druun. Inverted with Tong who lost all of his family including his child.
  • The Power of Trust: The theme of the movie is about each of the tribes learning to take a leap of faith into trusting each other again. It's eventually revealed that the Druun were dispelled by the dragon gem the first time not necessarily by its power, but the act of trust it took to create and share it.
  • Prayer Pose: Unless already in contact with other people when stoned, those petrified by the Druun take on a standing pose with their hands cupped together.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: Raya when she's about to confront Namaari in the Spine fort.
    Namaari: You and the Dragon Gems are coming with me.
    Raya: Hmm... my sword here says we're not.
  • Profiling: Because of the divide between the tribes, there is much mistrust and resentment between them. When Raya summarizes her understanding of her world, Heart is looked down on for being greedy and apparently hoarding the Dragon Gem, Tail is seen as a sweltering desert with sneaky mercenaries who fight dirty, Talon is considered to be filled with ruthless con artists, Spine is viewed as a tribe of giant axe-wielding savages, and Fang is seen as a nation protected by angry assassins. Each tribe has its entire population reduced into an unflattering representation worthy of distrust.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Raya and Namaari reach it with each other after Sisu is murdered and Virana is turned to stone. When the two face off, it's clear they're being driven by their pent-up anger and are fighting with the intent to kill.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: Justified considering the circumstances. Namaari just proved that she is still the "girl who broke the world" and acts in her tribe's benefit by attempting to steal the gem shards from Raya and Sisu, and then killing the dragon by accident. Thus in the climax, no one except Raya initially trusts her with them to fix the world.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After Namaari's second betrayal in which Sisu is accidentally killed, Raya enters the city of Fang intent on ending her rival once and for all and the two engage in a vicious sword duel fueled by their rage and neither are holding back.
  • Roofhopping: Happens a lot especially in the chase scene in Talon. Also during the climax Tuk Tuk does this while rescuing people while the city of Fang collapses.
  • Rousseau Was Right: In a world where people backstab each other on a daily basis and do whatever must be done to survive, Chief Benja believes that everyone can unite together if only someone takes the first step and start trusting others. Sisu believes in this even more so than him, going so far as to trust that Namaari - a person who throughout the story has been opposing Raya and the group all this time and was responsible for the world falling apart in the first place - deep down really does want to save the world as well and advises Raya to make amends with her and work together. In the end, Namaari does the right thing confirming that she is not entirely evil although her motivations in the climax are unclear as to whether she acted out of altruism, guilt or desperation. Either way, it does provide the foundation for the world to be saved, the hostility between the five tribes to finally cease, and for dragons to return to the world.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something:
    • The royals of Heart are also the martially-capable guardians of the Dragon Gem; Raya was trained to be the best fighters in Kumandra.
    • Like Raya, Namaari is a combat-capable princess. It is one of the things they initially bond over.
  • Rule of Symbolism:
    • When teaching his daughter the importance of what the other tribes have to contribute to make Kumandra, Chief Benja shows Raya a recipe made by the different ingredients from all five tribes note . After the six year timeskip, Raya relies on eating jackfruit jerky, showing that she doesn't trust the other four tribes' philosophy, and has even abandoned Heart's philosophy. Later on, she applies her father's recipe and shares it with her friends, showing she's begun to have faith in her father's belief about the five tribes becoming Kumandra again.
    • When Raya returns to Heart, and finds her father has been restored, she arrives as the sun rises between the heart stone structure signifying the dawn of a new day as we also see the five tribes come together as Kumandra.

    Tropes S to Y 
  • Sacred Hospitality: Benja promises the tribe leaders and members that there are no tricks or power grabs, he wants to have a feast where they can talk over how to become Kumandra again. When Fang tries to steal the Gem, he defends it but quickly puts his sword away to continue talking about Kumandra. Hope is snuffed out when someone shoots him with a cross-bow, formally violating the rules of hospitality and everyone then tries to take the Gem for themselves. When it breaks, the Druun who have been drawn to the human discord now take the opportunity to attack.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: A woman does it after Chief Benja's speech welcoming everyone.
  • Seeks Another's Resurrection: Nearly every character, since there's a possibility that those petrified by the Druun can be brought back with by reuniting the Dragon Gem and bringing back Sisu.
  • Shoo the Dog: Benja is injured in the Downer Beginning, and his daughter is insisting they're escaping from the Druun together. He gives her a motivational speech, telling her to not give up on the hope of Kunandra, and then tosses her off the bridge into the water to save her from the advancing Druun. Raya screams in protest as she falls and sees her father become petrified
  • Skewed Priorities: Played for Drama. When Namaari reports to her mother that there is a chance to fix their mistake and save the world, Virana does not embrace the idea but expresses concern. She fears that if the world is fixed, the other tribes will turn their wrath on Fang as they are already blamed for what happened. She prefers to gain possession of the dragon and the Dragon Gem shards so that Fang would be the one to save the world and thus gain clemency.
  • The Slow Walk: After Namaari shoots Sisu and flees back to Fang, we see Raya cross her Rage Breaking Point and follow her. Despite the surrounding chaos as the Druun invade the city, Raya ignores it all and continues to walk slowly toward the palace with a look of grim determination seeking her final battle.
  • Soft Water: Raya and Sisu ride Tuk Tuk off a fairly high cliff, landing in water below, yet none of them seem to suffer any apparent injury.
  • Stepping Stones in the Sky: After Sisu receives her brother Pengu's magic which allows her to summon rain, we see that she has the ability to manipulate the rain drops into platforms she can use to run across the sky, functionally giving her the ability to fly when it rains. We later see that every dragon has the ability to do this.
  • Strange Salute: Kumandran culture has a gesture of holding up one's hands in a circle as a sign of reverence.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Using her whip-sword, Raya attempts to disarm Namaari. However, instead of the expected success from her heroic action, Namaari braces herself and uses her crossbow to block the whip-sword causing it to accidentally fire and kill Sisu.
  • Taken for Granite: The non-human antagonists of the movie are the Druun, monstrous creatures of purple-glowing black smoke that steal the souls of humans on contact, petrifying them.
  • Taking You with Me: The chief of Tail sets up one last booby trap in an attempt to cause this even after her death. Anyone trying to take the Dragon Gem fragment from her skeletonized hand will set off a tripwire to dump a load of sand over the only exit from the throne room, sealing them in.
  • Tempting Fate: Raya assumes that beating her father's challenge means that they will be guarding the gem forever, as a dynamic duo. In less than a day, she loses her father, most of the Dragon Gem, and that position.
  • Theme Naming: Kumandra splits into five body-part-named tribes: Fang, Heart, Talon, Tail, and Spine.
  • Three-Point Landing: At one point when chasing Noi throughout the pathways of Talon, Raya leaps from a boat onto the dock and sticks this landing.
  • Toilet Humor:
    • Upon transforming into a human, Sisu remarks in amazement that her butt is now close to her head. As a trailer-only joke, she continues with how it "will be good for digestion".
    • When Raya is chasing Noi and the Ongis through the pathways of Talon, Noi slips out of her diaper and launches it toward Raya as a distraction.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: As a child, Raya was wary of the other tribes based upon her limited knowledge of their cultures. Her father was able to expand her viewpoint which is why she trusted Namaari in the first place. She became withdrawn and cynical after the betrayal due to the devastation of her tribe and loss of her father. Part of her character development arc is learning to open herself up to trusting others again which is championed by Sisu and aided by her interactions with Boun, Noi and Tong.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Sisu gets into scrapes because of her naivety, despite the constant booby traps and people trying to trick her. This literally gets her killed in the climax.
  • Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Sisu, who gets accidentally shot with a crossbow because she was the only one who actually believed in the basic goodness of people.
  • Trauma Conga Line: In one day, Raya loses her father, her home, and the last hope of keeping away the Druun. All because Namaari was selfish enough to betray her and violate Sacred Hospitality. She holds a grudge against Namaari for this, especially since it takes her years to find Sisu the Last Dragon, long enough for her armadillo pet to become a mount.
  • Villain Has a Point: While Raya and Namaari duke it out over Sisu being killed by Namaari’s crossbow, Namaari claims it’s just as much Raya’s fault for not trusting Sisu to be able to talk Namaari down. By extension, Raya chose to intervene by attacking Namaari with her sword rather than a more diplomatic option, which is what ultimately caused her crossbow to fire. Hearing this is enough to make Rays back down from the fight, sparing Namaari’s life.
  • Walk on Water: Dragons can do a variation in levitating and stepping off of water droplets. This effectively allows them to run through the air when it's raining.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: The other tribes and individuals that Raya comes into conflict with, particularly Namaari and the Fang Tribe, only want to use the Gem to protect their own people from the Druun. They ultimately put aside their conflicts and work together to restore the Gem and save Kumandra.
  • We Need a Distraction:
    • In Talon, Raya has Noi and the Ongis act out a slapstick routine in front of the guards, so she can slip past them unnoticed.
    • Raya distracts Namaari and the Fang army at Spine so that her friends can escape unnoticed.
  • We Used to Be Friends: A younger Raya and Namaari get along well when they first meet at the tribes' feast, and Raya decides to show her new friend where the Heart Tribe keeps the Dragon Gem. Unfortunately, Namaari betrays its location to her own tribe and they try to steal it, resulting in the Gem breaking and mutual resentment between Raya and Namaari.
  • What the Hell, Hero?:
    • Downplayed. When the crew finds out that Sisu is the last dragon, Boun asks Raya why she didn't tell them, more in amazement then in anger. They then understand when Raya points out she wasn't sure what a changed world would do to Sisu on knowing her identity, considering what the Talon replacement chief nearly did to the Sisu. Boun says he's all in, and not for jade. The others follow suit.
    • Zig-zagged. Namaari gives one to Raya by saying that she's equally to blame for Sisu's death because of her lack of trust. The creative team wants Namaari to have a Villain Has a Point moment with her accusation however the scene where Sisu is shot does not support Namaari's claim.
  • What You Are in the Dark:
    • Despite having no incentive to help out the Fang Tribe considering their reputation and it was their fault they're in this mess, Boun decides in the climax to evacuate them during the Darkest Hour, at a great personal risk. Tong, Noi and Raya then follow his lead and do the same thing, using their gem shards to ward off the Druun.
    • Zig-zagged. With all the dragon stones in her possession, Namaari initially tries to escape. She does choose to come back and reassemble the dragon stones and her Due to the Dead moment near the beginning of the film shows that she has genuine reverence for the dragons and is not completely evil. However her motivations at this moment are unclear. Is she responding to the trust Raya and the others put on her and is acting out of altruism or guilt to try and make amends? Or did she come back because she realized she has nothing to escape to? Her mother is petrified and her city is overrun by Druun. With nothing left to lose, she decides to reassemble the gemstones because it's the only viable option she has left.
  • Wide-Eyed Idealist: Benja and Sisu. Benja only wants the tribes to unite peacefully so that Kumandra can be one place again. Sisu believes that everyone is good and no one has bad intentions, which almost kills her many times.
  • Would Hurt a Child: After the Dragon gem falls and breaks, we see that the leader of Tail body-slams Raya to the ground in her frantic desire to grab some part of the Dragon Gem.
  • World-Healing Wave: When the Dragon Gem unleashes its potential to destroy the Druun, it unleashes a wave across all of Kumandra that destroys them all and calls forth a rainstorm that restores all their victims.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Raya's reaction to Noi: "A con-baby? Are you kidding me?"
  • Zombie Apocalypse: The Druun invasion for all intents and purposes is functionally identical to one since they multiply each time someone falls victim to them.


Video Example(s):


Sisu Shapechanges

Sisu the Dragon gains one of the dragon crystals and with it the ability to shapeshift into human form.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / Weredragon

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