A Dragon Rant Because I Dislike Sisu’s Look

My friend called me a “dragon purist” recently after they had to sit through two different rants from yours truly about how silly the dragon Sisu in that new Disney movie Raya And The Last Dragon looks.

So maybe I am a dragon purist? Like, sorry I don’t want whatever this is.

The dragon from Raya And The Last Dragon.

The body of a greyhound, the horn of a unicorn, the snout of a wolf, and the fur of a main coon cat. This is not a dragon.

While, yes, I prefer that dragons have scales and wings, I totally respect that a lot of dragon designs from Asian cultures are different. I own several dragon things that are of this style. They’re still incredibly beautiful yet fierce. Most importantly, they still look like dragons. See below.

Chinese Dragon. A Japanese Dragon.

Chinese New Year Dragon. The Dragon-Phoenix on treasures of the Nguyen dynasty.

Another reason why I was called a dragon purist is because we were looking at this chart of different dragon types, and I expressed how some of these, like the ones without arms, are poor excuses for dragons.

Dragon type chart

Are we really gonna sit here and say a Wrym is a dragon? That’s a snake.

Anyway, here is a list of the dragons from media I don’t like, based on looks only:

  • Sisu from Raya And The Last Dragon
  • the dragon from The Neverending Story
  • the dragons from Zelda: Skyward Sword

Here’s a list of dragons from media that could be better but could be worse, based on looks only:

  • Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon (sorry, he’s too goofy looking!)
  • the dragon from Spirited Away
  • Mushu from Mulan
  • the dragon from Pete’s Dragon (both versions)

And lastly, here’s a list of dragons from media that I like, based on looks only:

  • Dragon from Shrek
  • the dragons from Harry Potter
  • Smaug from The Hobbit
  • Saphira from Eragon 
  • Spyro
  • the dragons from Game Of Thrones*
  • the dragons from Zelda: Breath Of The Wild

So, to summarize, I am very passionate about this, in case you haven’t noticed, and I’m big time mad that Disney had a chance to have a really cool dragon as a main aspect of the movie, and they chose to make it look so bad. Not to mention that since it’s voiced by Awkwafina (who under other circumstances I don’t have an issue with) the dragon will be Quirky™. I mean, this was concept art Disney showed in 2019, which I like a lot better!
Sisu concept art being presented.

And this is allegedly early concept art from someone who worked on the movie, but I can’t confirm this. Still very cool and fierce.
Raya and the Last Dragon - Sisu Concept Art by Scott Watanabe - Raya and the Last Dragon Photo (43813111) - Fanpop

They actively went worse, and for what? So kids would buy more merch? I don’t know, but I am appalled.

What do you think about Sisu from Raya And The Last Dragon? What dragons in media do you enjoy visually?


* P.S. here is a supercut of just the dragon scenes in Game Of Thrones in case you’re like me and don’t care for the show but want to still see some cool dragons!


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7 thoughts on “A Dragon Rant Because I Dislike Sisu’s Look

  1. The genie in Aladdin could have looked very different. And the most villainous looking one is probably the closest to the original folklore. One does not count on Disney to get things right in terms of original source material, not for *any* of the stories they’ve adapted into movies.

    Speaking of dragons in particular, though, it actually used to be more common for them to be more like snakes, like the Lambton Worm. Not that there wasn’t any variance there, of course, but Tolkien *really* altered how they’re generally perceived as flying and breathing fire and such, as did, ironically, Disney in Sleeping Beauty.

    Heh, I’m guessing Sisu’s concept got altered because they didn’t want her, being a good dragon, to look scary or something like that.

    • Oooh, I forgot about the dragon from Sleeping Beauty.
      I know nothing about genie lore or anything like that, but that’s super interesting and a good comparison.

  2. Personally, I don’t mind when dragons have stuff like fur, or lack arms, or embody some non-fire element. It’s all different cultures at the end of the day, and usually even when they look different from the norm, they still have aspects to very clearly show that “Yeah, that’s a dragon alright”

    That said, Sisu doesn’t even remotely look like a dragon. She looks more like some super weird Kelpie (Mythological water spirit often depicted as a sorta scaly horse in media). Given that, and the fact that she looked much closer to a dragon in her 2019 concept you showed, I can definitely see why you’d be upset with it. I can kiiinda see the “Dragon purist” thing to an extent (Which I don’t mean as an insult, to each their own and all), but not with Sisu. Calling Sisu a dragon is really pushing the boundaries of what they are in media, and I think it’s understandable to not agree with that.

    • I totally own the dragon purist title! And I like walls of text, I’m always flattered when someone takes time to comment something long because it means I’ve inspired them to say it!

  3. Sisu looks more like a chimera than a dragon, but a bit too fluffy/cute. I’m not a fan at all 😦
    Toothless always seemed more like a cat than a dragon, as much as I loved the first two movies (we don’t talk about the 3rd!).
    Anyway, if you’re a dragon purist I am too. The word ‘dragon’ conjures up ideas in my mind of how a dragon should look. Sisu fits none of those ideas, and is nothing like the awesome Smaug or Game of Thrones Dragons!

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