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Why Baby Noi Is The Saddest Character In Raya And The Last Dragon

Fans around the world are finally able to see Disney's first Southeast Asian princess in the latest fantasy film Raya and the Last Dragon. Full of adventure, touching moments, and a poignant lesson to be learned, you can bet on the typical Disney warm and fuzzy feelings to hit you by the end of the movie. But don't be fooled — there is also a heartbreaking plotline in the midst of the family-friendly tale.

Though there are many serious and even evil characters in the movie, you wouldn't expect the character that gives the film much of its comic relief to have the most touching backstory. Little Noi, the adorable baby who lives with a pack of monkey-like Ongis, uses her advanced wit and strength to survive by conning the unsuspecting people of Talon. However, if you look past Noi's cute and funny antics, there's a much darker story that's worth paying attention to.

An orphan just trying to survive

When we first meet Noi, she's by herself and seemingly vulnerable. We quickly learn that she's not only a con-baby, but her and her family of Ongis also use their smarts and adorable looks to survive. This would be a funnier plot twist if Noi's life story wasn't so upsetting.

How does a baby end up being raised by a pack of animals? It turns out that the Druun killed Noi's family, leaving Noi to fend for herself. Thankfully the mischievous Ongis adopted her, and she's apparently been well cared for. Nevertheless, the thought of an orphan baby is enough to bring tears to your eyes.

Thalia Tran, the young actress who voiced Noi, noted the baby's strength and perseverance: "For her to be so young and to have her family turned to stone by the Druun, and her to kind of have to raise herself with the Ongis and that sense of strength that she has to develop, I think that's something that's also very common in Southeast Asian families. Especially because it's something that is very valued, that sense of independence. I think there's just a lot about Noi that even though she can't speak it into words, that people will connect with — hopefully — that I definitely connected with."