MANILA — As Disney on Wednesday released the first teaser for its Southeast Asia-inspired animated film “Raya and the Last Dragon,” a number of Filipino viewers were quick to recognize what appeared to be the country’s national martial arts.
“Is that Arnis?” was the question of some Filipino netizens, reacting to the lead character engaging a mysterious villain in combat with a technique using two sticks, resembling Arnis. (See the reactions at the end of this story.)
If Raya’s combat style is indeed based on Arnis, that wouldn’t be a surprise, as the film is said to be inspired by Southeast Asian cultures.
“Raya and the Last Dragon’s” fantasy setting is called Kumandra, and reportedly blends elements from cultures of the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, and Myanmar.
In the teaser, Raya (voiced by Kelly Marie Tran) is introduced as the guardian of the “dragon gem,” who embarks on a mission to “restore peace” by finding the last dragon.
“Raya and the Last Dragon” is scheduled for release in March 2021.