Denahi is the main antagonist of Disney's 2003 animated feature film Brother Bear. He is the younger brother of Sitka and older brother of Kenai. When Sitka dies and Kenai goes missing after fighting the bear who is Koda's mother, Denahi seeks to avenge his brothers without knowing that Kenai was turned into a bear.
Denahi starts off as a mischievous, fun-loving character. He likes to tease and provoke Kenai, but still loves him in every way.
However, because of Sitka's death, his personality changes and he becomes much more serious. After Kenai went to kill the bear to avenge Sitka, Denahi arrives at the location, but only finds scraps of Kenai's clothes and Kenai as a bear. Misunderstanding the situation, Denahi thinks the bear has killed his brother. This makes him develop a more serious, bitter personality as he vows to avenge Kenai by killing the bear.
However, at the final battle of the film, his anger and desire for revenge has completely consumed him (shown throughout the film as he slowly grows a mustache and goatee to give him a more sinister appearance, giving a physical manifestation of his slow descent and corruption into madness in his pursuit for vengeance).
After Kenai transforms back into a human, Denahi is shocked to realize the bear he was hunting down was his brother the whole time. He then manages to reform, telling Kenai that he "looked better as a bear" and that no matter what he chooses to be, he will always be his brother.
Role in the film
Denahi is first seen as an old man telling his story to the younger generations. Then, as a young man, witnesses his brother's, Kenai's, totum-receiving and makes fun of him for the totum being the "Bear of Love." When Kenai went to get the basket that was taken by a bear, Denahi and Sitka went after him and saw him get attacked by the bear. As Kenai tries to save Denahi from falling down a hole, Sitka breaks the ice cliff with his spear and falls into the waters with the bear to save his brothers. His body is not found.
After Sitka's funeral, Kenai tries to convince Denahi that they should go after the bear, but Denahi refuses, claiming he doesn't blame the bear for Sitka's death because Kenai provoked it to attack. Denahi advises Kenai against avenging Sitka's death, as it may anger the spirits, but a frustrated Kenai sets out to kill the bear anyway. Kenai fulfills his mission and is transformed into a bear by Sitka's displeased spirit. As Denahi arrives at the scene of the fight, he sees scraps of his brother's clothes and Kenai in his bear form. Believing that his brother lost the fight and was also killed by the bear, a saddened Denahi begins to hunt Kenai's bear form relentlessly across the wilderness, not understanding that the bear is actually his brother. He first sees Kenai in the woods where he hides behind a tree. When Denahi comes out to attack, Kenai sees him and tries to talk to him, still unaware that he was a bear and therefore that Denahi could not understand him, so Denahi tries to stab Kenai.
Denahi later sees Kenai in his bear form in a lava field. There, Denahi tries to kill him, but Kenai hits him and runs for it along with Koda, when he gets up he gets his spear and tries to break the log bridge that Kenai and Koda are trying to get across and he breaks the bridge but Kenai and Koda manage to get to the other side and Denahi gives up briefly, then he growls and tries to jump to the other side but lands on the bridge instead. The log then falls, with Denahi, into the waters below even though Kenai tried to save him.
Denahi was later seen trying to warm himself with a small campfire and was about to give up on avenging Kenai when he saw an eagle, recognizing it as Sitka, and followed it. Denahi reached the mountain where the (Northern) lights touched the earth and found Kenai in his bear form and attacked him. During the battle, Sitka arrived and changed Kenai back into a human. A shocked Denahi threw down his spear after realizing the bear was really his younger brother the whole time. When he sees how much Koda meant to Kenai, he told Kenai that he "looked better as a bear," and that he'll always be his brother no matter what Kenai chooses to be.
Later, Kenai was made known as a man, even in bear form, and Denahi was there to see and help his brother put a handprint on the wall, making his manhood official.
- Denahi is the narrator of the film. Although the subtitles in the film mistake the narrator to be Sitka, it is shown at the beginning that he is the narrator when it shows an elderly Denahi, wearing his totem, as he tells the story in Inuktitut, which is vocally translated to the audience.
- Denahi was originally going to be Kenai's father instead of his older brother.
- Denahi's voice actor, Jason Raize, also played Simba in the original Broadway production of The Lion King.
- Denahi was Raize's first and only film role before his death in 2004.
- Even though Denahi was the main antagonist, Kenai, the film's protagonist, ironically appears to be a more malevolent character, since killing Koda's mother was considered an offense to the Great Spirits, and a posthumous Sitka now attempts to stop Denahi from suffering the same fate as Kenai.
- Denahi is one of the four main antagonists in the Disney Animated Canon to be redeemed, the other three being Amos Slade, John Silver, and Te Kā as well.
- Denahi became a silent warrior after Kenai turned into a bear, aside from some angry growls, screams, and yells when the two fought. He did not start talking again until when he breaks the bridge in the lava field as he briefly yells out, "No!", then when he was warming himself with the campfire, and then again after Sitka changed Kenai back. This may have been due to the fact that, as pointed out by Tanana, bears cannot talk to humans and vice versa, so when Kenai begged Denahi to stop attacking him since he is his brother, all Denahi heard was him growling.
- His totem is the Wolf of Wisdom.
- Given his elderly appearance at the start of the movie and telling the story, it is possible Denahi later became the shaman of his tribe after Tanana, as he took part in Kenai's manhood ceremony by lighting the ceremonial fire Tanana's place.