Denahi likes to tease Kenai, but still loves him in every way. However, at the final fight of the film, it looks like his anger has descended to madness and evil (shown throughout the film as he slowly grows a mustache and goatee to give him a more sinister and mad appearance, giving a physical manifestation of his slow descent into madness in his pursuit for vengeance).
He starts off as a mischievous, fun-loving character, but after Sitka dies, he becomes much more serious.
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 than 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 Broadway production of The Lion King.
- Even though Denahi was made to look like the main antagonist, Kenai, the film's protagonist, ironically appears to be the 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 three main antagonists in the Disney Animated Canon to be redeemed, the other two being Amos Slade and John Silver.
- Denahi becomes a silent warrior after Kenai turns into a bear, aside from some angry growls, screams, and yells when the two fight. He does not start talking again until after Sitka changes Kenai back. This may have been due to the fact that, as pointed out by Tanana, bears cannot talk to humans and vice verse, so when Kenai begged Denahi to stop attacking him since he is his brother, all Denahi hears is him growling.
- His totem is the Wolf of Wisdom.