Spoiler Alert: This post contains some (light) spoilers for Raya and the Last Dragon.
Disney has been eschewing the "traditional" plot formula of making the culmination of a heterosexual monogamous relationship the end-all-be-all for a movie's main female character. Moana is probably the biggest example of that — the young woman develops a friendship with Maui and there isn't a single crush she has in the movie, unless you count her hatred of coconuts.
And it seems like Disney's continuing in the same trend somewhat in Raya and the Last Dragon, with Raya and Naamari's relationship.
Are Raya and Namaari in a relationship in the film? Kind of.
Although there are definitely hints throughout the film that the two have feelings for one another, there really isn't a culmination of those feelings actualized in the movie between Raya and Namaari, which some critics of the movie have a problem with. Namely because Disney seems to have tip-toed the line between Elsa from Frozen being gay or not.
Many viewers thought that they were going to head into Frozen 2 and see Elsa take on a female lover, but that didn't happen. With Raya and the Last Dragon, viewers thought that they'd get some of that with Raya and Namaari. Kelly Marie Tran, who voices Raya in the movie, has been pretty vocal with her belief that Raya is gay, something she openly spoke about in Vanity Fair.
Namaari and her character do share certain moments in the script and they act pretty tender toward one another. Additionally, Namaari's design is something that VF thinks was made in mind to appeal to some queer viewers. "Namaari especially, with her well-muscled physique and asymmetrical haircut, feels intentionally designed to catch the eye of a queer audience," the outlet writes.
What's interesting about the relationship between Raya and Namaari in the flick is that it's very familiar, but a major children's release hasn't seen this exact dynamic between two Southeast Asian characters. Raya and Namaari begin as enemies, then become friends who have all sorts of tension between one another.
The cast features other popular Asian actresses as well. Namaari is voiced by Gemma Chan of Captain Marvel fame, and Sisu, the last of the water dragons and Raya's sidekick, is played by Awkwafina. The two journey throughout the five kingdoms in an attempt to unite everyone and Namaari ends up aiding them in their quest.
Also like Moana, the film doesn't really have a bad guy or main villain. The only real "bad guy" is misunderstanding and a general distrust between different kingdoms.
If you want to watch 'Raya and the Last Dragon,' you'll have to order it.
You can order it now on Disney+. You'll need to have access to a Disney+ account, but that's not all. You've got to fork out some extra cash in order to watch it, just like the live-action Mulan remake that was released on the mega huge streaming platform.
The good news is that the purchase price isn't just for a rental. Once you unlock the movie you'll get to watch it whenever you want.
The bad news is that the price is a bit steep. Raya and the Last Dragon will run you $29.99. You could just wait a while until it becomes free to stream on Disney+. If Mulan's pricing structure is any indication, that should take about three months to happen. So expect this flick to become a part of the Disney+ package around June of 2021.