Tag Archives: Lilo and Stitch

Disney’s Non-Princess Heroines

A large part of Disney’s reputation is based primarily on its princess line. The princesses are the most recognisable of the characters and they’re the ones that are used on pretty much all of the merchandise. However, the princesses are only a small proportion of the Disney heroines and a lot of their leading ladies have no connection to royalty (Some of them even end up in the princess line up despite this. I’m looking at you Mulan.)

In a lot of cases, the non-princess heroines are actually a lot more interesting and much more well-rounded than the royals. So this post is going to analyse some of the non-princess Disney heroines. There’s not really a ranking system, this was just the order that I remembered them in.

To narrow the field a bit, I’ll be solely looking at the Disney ladies and not the collaborations with Pixar (such as Jessie from Toy Story or Violet from the Incredibles).

1. Fa Mulan

Like I said before, Mulan is not a Disney Princess despite frequently occurring in the line-up. The only princesses in the Mulan movies are the emperor’s daughters; Mei, Su and Ting Ting. Mulan isn’t a princess, nor does she marry into royalty; Shang is a general. This closest we get is when she almost marries that little jerk in the second movie.

So, Mulan isn’t a princesses but she is definitely one of the most bad-ass of all the Disney heroines. The film teaches girls that they are fully capable of fighting and defending themselves just as well as the boys. And this ideal is probably best embodied at the beginning of the second film where Mulan sings Lesson Number One and teaches the village girls the basics of fighting.

I only have one problem with Mulan; what they did to her after the films.

In all of the Disney parks and in all of the merchandise, Mulan is dressed like all of the other princesses; glammed up and wearing pretty dresses. This pretty much goes against what the entire movie was about. They often put Mulan in her match-making dress which is pretty much a symbol of her discomfort when it comes to anything overtly feminine.There have been adaptions in the parks where Mulan is shown in her battle armour, which is a much better representation of her character, but unfortunately, this is still a rare sight.

And besides, this is the outfit we should have seen her in;

She’s not pretending to be overly feminine in order to gain a husband, nor is she pretending to be male. She’s just being herself. And this is how she should be represented.

2. Shanti

I hated how Shanti was represented in the first Jungle Book film. She’s essentially a temptress, and the only reason Mowgli decides to live in the village is because the pretty girl fluttered her eyelashes at him. She’s pretty much just an object of lust for Mowgli and a convenient excuse for the writers to have Mowgli stay with his own kind.

I looked on the Disney wiki page for Shanti and I found this:


Children should not be capable of seduction.

But then the sequel came out, and she suddenly became pretty awesome. She has a lot of responsibility placed upon her and she feels responsible for both Mowgli and his adoptive brother Ranjan. She’s been taught to fear the jungle and stops Mowgli leading the other children there during the song Jungle Rhythm. Mowgli leaves the village with Baloo and, thinking that her friend has been kidnapped, Shanti braves the jungle in order to find him. Shanti handles the situation pretty damn well. She has the responsibility of looking after Ranjan who followed her and is able to keep the both of them safe (at one point she even punches Baloo who is pretending to attack in order to scare her away).

So, the initial introduction of Shanti was pretty poor. Luckily this was fixed in the sequel where she was given actual characterisation instead of just being a child siren.

3. Roxanne

I loved Roxanne. If you don’t remember her, she’s Max’s love interest in the Goofy Movie who, for some dumb-ass reason, was left out of the sequel.

Roxanne is presented as being the typical high school popular girl, she’s beautiful, charming and Max fully believes that she would never be interested in him.

But Roxanne is actually pretty endearing and very clearly has a crush on Max.

They’re a really sweet couple and I’m upset that she didn’t get more screen time although I do understand why given the father/son road-trip plot of the film.

Like I said, Roxanne didn’t feature in the sequel and it’s never really explained if they broke up or if they’re trying long-distance. Hell, for all we know, she could have died in the meantime.

4. Tinkerbell

I refuse to count the new movies in the characterisation of Tinkerbell. She’s just far too cutesy to be considered the same person as the original Tink. They also changed her name (she’s a Tinker fairy named Bell) so I’m going to count her as a totally different character, just for peace of mind.

The Tinkerbell that was presented in Peter Pan was pretty awesome though. Unlike the new adaptions, Tinkerbell was non-verbal, so a lot of her emotions are displayed through her movements and it works really well. You don’t need to know what she’s saying to understand exactly how she feels about any given situation. Unlike most Disney heroines, Tinkerbell can be fiercely jealous to the point of trying to kill Wendy. The explanation for this is that Tink is so small that she can only feel one emotion at once, and this emotion will consume her. And despite the murder attempts, most people can’t help but love her.

5. Vanellope von Schweetz

I wasn’t quite sure where to place Vanellope, because she is revealed to be the games princess towards the end of the film. However, she rejects this title and instead prefers to be known as the president, so I suppose she can’t be counted as an official princess.

Vanellope is a brilliant demonstration of how disabilities or other limitations can be overcome. She’s similar to a paralympian, there’s a lot of stigma against her and people don’t believe her to be capable of fulfilling her dream. But she soon learns that her glitch can be used to her advantage and even help her win the race.

She’s a sweet kid whose outlook on life has been dampened by persistent bullying from her peers but she’s still determined to follow her dream and it’s a pretty good message for Disney to be spreading.

6. Megara

I’ve mentioned in a previous blog post (A guide to the mistakes of Disneys Hercules) that I have some issues with the way that Disney represent Greek mythology but I’m going to leave that to one side for now and just focus on Meg. Although I will say that in the mythology, Megara was the daughter of the King of Thebes, so she could have been a princess if Disney had of developed her back story more.

Meg is a pretty cynical character but given her back story, this is pretty justified. She sells her soul to save her boyfriend (Prince Adonis) and he repays her by running off with another woman, leaving her in the service of Hades. I think that put in that situation, we’d all be pretty cynical.

One of my favourite things about Meg is that she sums up the plight of women pretty well and calls Phil out on his borderline stalkerish ways.

“Well, you know how men are. They think “No” means “Yes” and “Get lost” means “Take me, I’m yours…. Don’t worry, maybe Shorty here can explain it to ya.”

Pretty progressive for a Disney film and a great role model for budding feminists.

7. Esmeralda

Esmeralda featured in the Disney line for a while but was cut in 2004. The Disney wiki page lists a number of reasons for this:

• Her appearance is similar to Jasmine, which made girls confuse the two characters.
• Her sultry pose in the film may have influenced the decision.
• The fact of not having connections with royalty.
• Her clothes deemed inappropriate for a princess.
• The unpopularity of her film.
• The fact of living on the streets, and not in a respectable family, like all the other princesses.
• Not generating enough profits.

Now, I’m pretty sure that the only thing that deems whether or not a girl is a princess is their connections to royalty. Her clothing and the fact that Frollo casts her as the seductress should have nothing to do with it. The similarity to Jasmine thing is borderline racist. And if we’re cutting people who used to live on the streets then Aladdin shouldn’t count as a prince.

Esmeralda is a pretty good depiction of the Madonna-Whore complex. Frollo views her as an evil seductress, while Quasimodo sees her as a pure, angelic being. So although I was routing for Quasimodo to get a love interest, I can see why she ended up with Phoebus who just views her as a feisty, strong willed woman.

This aside, Esmeralda is a fantastic role-model and speaks out against injustice despite it being incredibly dangerous for her to do so.

8. Jane Porter

Jane is pretty much an animated version of Evy from the Mummy. She’s a well education, proper young women who is having a fantastic adventure and its just great to watch her having a good time.

Like Esmeralda, Jane was originally included in the princess line up. Let’s see wikis reasons for why she was cut:

• Her dress could be confused with Belle’s dress.
• She is not an actual princess.
• She was in the jungle.
• She was, perhaps, a queen because Tarzan is the King of the Jungle.
• She does not sing.

I agree that she shouldn’t be a princess, but her living in the jungle is a lame reason. As is her inability to sing.

9. Alice Liddel

I don’t really have any strong feelings for or against Alice, and I think that’s because I’ve seen so many different adaptions of her story that the character has just become pretty bland to me. So in both of the Disneys adaptions I don’t really care for the heroine. I think that I prefer her more in the Tim Burton version because she’s grown up and able to really fight her own battles, but she’s still pretty apathetic about the whole thing which makes it hard to be emotionally involved in her plight.


10. Wendy Darling

Wendy is a 12 year old who travels to a land where she is surrounded by boys and she is pretty instantly cast in the role of mother. She pretty much lands straight into the gendered role and when I watched it I was pretty disappointed that the girl character couldn’t be a lost boy. So I think I do much prefer the character of Jane, Wendy’s daughter. Jane initially has a motherly role and takes care of her younger brother Danny. But when she travels to Neverland, she becomes the first Lost Girl, and for a while she acts just like one of the boys. So all in all, I much prefer Jane’s depiction and role compared to her mothers.

11. Lilo Pelekai

Lilo is unlike any six year old that I know. She has a lot to deal with, the recent death of her parents, her sister becoming her primary care-giver and her peers constant taunting. Lilo is incredibly resilient and like a lot of children uses fantasies to help her cope. A lot of responsibility gets placed on Lilo. She and Stitch are placed in charge of finding the other 625 escaped experiments and have the responsibility of re-homing these incredibly dangerous alien experiments. By the age of ten (in the film Leroy and Stitch) she appears before the Galactic Federation and is given named as the caretaker for all the experiments. All in all, Lilo is a pretty impressive child and is incredibly underrated.

12. Nani Pelekai

As exceptional as Lilo is, her older sister is equally impressive. Whilst coping with the death of both of her parents, Nani was suddenly cast in the maternal role and became solely responsible for raising her younger sister. Nani rearranges her entire life to accommodate this role change, it’s suggested that Nani was a surf champion, something which she only does recreationally now. She also has no time for dating and has to devote her time to raising Lilo and finding a stable job. Despite all of the hardships that come her way, Nani does an excellent job of raising her little sister and the Pelekai family is one of the best that Disney has to offer because of this.


13. Captain Amelia

Amelia is an adaption of Captain Alexander Smollet from Treasure Island, and she was pretty much designed to defy gender norms. When first boarding the ship, Jim Hawkins and Dr Dobbler assume that Mr Arrow is the captain, possibly because of his large and intimidating demeanor. He informs them that the captain is inspecting the ship and Amelia is shown running along the mast and flipping down in the most refined manner possible. She’s described as being the finest captain in “this or any other galaxy”. And as the film progresses, it’s incredibly clear that she deserves such a title.

14. Nita

If Pocahontas gets to be a princess, then so should Nita. Both of them are the daughter of a chief, so the only thing holding her back is the fact that Nita was introduced in a sequel.

Nita basically embodies the girl next door trope. She was Kenai’s childhood friend who is apparently bonded to him as his soul mate. An amulet which Kenai gave her is representative of this bond and she needs to burn it before she marries her fiancé. The film basically ends the same way as Shrek, with Nita becoming a bear so that she can live with her soul mate.

It’s a bit of a flimsy plot, and Nita is basically what happens when you mix Pocahontas and Mulan together. But as female protagonists go, she’s not the worst.

15. Anita Radcliffe

Anita isn’t very well developed, which is understandable given the movies focus on the Dalmatians. All we really know is that she loves Roger and that at one point, for some unknown reason, she was childhood friends with Cruella. So unfortunately, I don’t really have much to say about Anita, I would have loved to have seen more scenes which focus on her and her relationship with Roger, they just seem adorable.

16. Penny, Jenny Foxworth and Olivia Flaversham

I’m pretty sure these three girls are just different versions of the same character. Jenny and Penny both live in New York, get kidnapped by the main antagonist and then get rescued by animals. Penny is an orphan whilst Jenny’s parents are never home. Olivia also looses her only parent and is then kidnapped by the antagonist and subsequently rescued by the mice heroes. I don’t really have a lot to say about these characters because they’re pretty plain and just cutesy damsels in distress.

So those are the most memorable non-princess Disney princess. What do you think of these leading ladies? Should they have just as much attention as the princesses? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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Top Eight Disney Sequels

The Disney sequel movies tend to have a bit of a bad reputation. A lot of them had a much smaller budget and were straight to VHS releases, so naturally the quality is pretty poor. But there are some sequel movies that I absolutely adore and will defend to the death. So here’s my top eight Disney sequels. Why eight? Because these are the only ones that I like. That’s why.

1. Beauty and the Beast

There were two mid-quel movies for Beauty and the Beast; The Enchanted Christmas and Belles Magical World.

The Enchanted Christmas is pretty much my go to Christmas movie. The setup is that Belle tries to bring Christmas to the castle whilst a massive organ named Forte (played by Tim Curry) attempts to brainwash the Beast so that the curse is never broken. As much as I love it, this mid-quel has a lot of problems. Particularly its introduction of new characters who are never seen again. It is a pretty well thought out story though and has the same feel as the original movie, despite the cheaper animation.

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Belles Magical World was set up to be a Disney TV series, like Aladdin or the Little Mermaid, it didn’t quite pan out though and three (or four depending which version you have) stories were crammed into one movie. The stories are very obviously meant to be episodes and attempt to achieve a lot of development in a short amount of time. Each of the episodes come with obnoxious preachy songs about the moral of the story which are so irritating that I have to skip past them whenever they show up. At least The Enchanted Christmas has a decent soundtrack. But by far, the best part of this DVD was the live action section;

2. Lion King

Okay. I’ll admit it. Like many girls my age, I had a bit of a crush on Kovu the lion. But can you blame me?

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And you know whats awesome? His voice actor was pretty attractive too.
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But back to the review. While Lion King was an animated version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Lion King II: Simba’s Pride was an adaption of Romeo and Juliet. One of my favourite parts of this film is the soundtrack. I can’t stand ‘Upendi’ but ‘My Lullaby’ and ‘Not One of Us’ are just so brilliantly sinister. If you haven’t seen this movie you should check them out;


There was also a third film in this series; Lion King 1 ½. This film is essentially Timon and Pumba watching the first film and telling their version of the events. This shouldn’t work as a plot, but it does and I love it. While Lion King was based on Hamlet this film is based on the play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead” which features the events of Hamlet through the eyes of two minor characters.
The film is great character development for two well loved minor characters. Timon and Pumba stumble around in their attempts to find a home, accidentally falling into the plot of Lion King. And as far as I’m concerned, this movie is perfect.

3. Mulan

There’s a bit too much focus on the love stories in Mulan 2 for my liking but there are some great moments of girl-power throughout the film. My favourite moment comes early on when Mulan is training on her own and all of the village girls show up, wanting to be taught how to fight.

The story follows Mulan and Shang accompanying three princesses to their arranged marriage. During this time, Mulan convinces the princesses to follow their hearts instead of their duties. The princesses then fall for the gang of three who are conveniently perfect matches for the girls. The plot can be a bit preachy about the “my duty is to my heart” story line. But there are some brilliant moments, I’m still traumatised from Shangs supposed death and Mulan going to marry the obnoxious little prince. So despite the heavy emphasis on the love story, Mulan 2 is definitely worth a watch.

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4. Jungle Book

The jungle book sequel follows Mowgli adapting to human life but he soon finds it difficult to cope and returns to the wild. I never liked the ending of the first Jungle Book, where Mowgli didn’t want to join the human villagers until he sees the pretty girl. The sequel makes up for it though. Shanti is a pretty awesome character and she works well as a childish voice of reason. She knows the rules better than most of the children and is pretty intent on following it, but she soon gets swept up in Mowglis madness.

5. Lilo and stitch

Stitch! The Movie was a great lead into the TV series (which I used to watch religiously). It introduces how the main characters intend to deal with the other experiments who were released all over the island. I’ve always loved the Lilo and Stitch series because of how they portray different styles of families. Lilos older sister Nani is the matriarch of the household and for a while it’s just the two of them. After the events of the first film, the family expands to include Nani’s boyfriend David, Stitch, Uncle Jumba and Aunt Pleakley (Gender fluid aliens. Go Disney.) In this film, the family expands even more as stitch is determined that all of the other experiments constitute his cousins and therefore our dynamic duo are determined to find the one place that each of the experiments belong. It’s a lovely form of quest which spawned a brilliant TV show.

Stitch has a Glitch is more of a midquel, set between the two previous movies. It’s essentially a rehash of the first movie, a default in stitches programming means that he revert to his original destructive nature. This film isn’t quite as engaging, but the family dynamic is as strong as ever with some emotion references to Lilo wanting to follow in her mother’s footsteps.

6. The Little Mermaid

I do love Return to the Sea, but it is essentially the first film in reverse. Ariels daughter Melody has always been on land and wishes that she could become a mermaid. Melody was never told about her mother’s past after a conflict with Ursulas sister and it seems like a lot of the conflict in this film could have been avoided if they had just explained to the half-mermaid child why she loves the ocean so much. A bit of fore-thought could have saved a lot of drama but I suppose that wouldn’t have been a particularly interesting film…

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I never really liked the prequel Ariels Beginning though. It goes back to Ariels childhood and shows her mother being killed by sailors and King Triton subsequently banning music in the kingdom due to his own depression. Ariel, the little rebel that she is, discovers an underground music club headed by Sebastian and makes it her mission to bring music back to the kingdom. Not a particularly interesting plot, but it does give the music presentation of the first film (Daughters of Triton) a lot more significant. It does however make Ariel seem pretty fickle for missing something which she campaigned so hard for.

7. Hunchback of Notre Dame

This sequel isn’t all that well constructed. It’s basically giving Quasimodo the love interest that he didn’t get in the first movie. However, there is one fact of the movie that I absolutely love.

Remember how Esmeralda and Djali mocked Phoebus when he informed her that his name means ‘sun-god’? Well, the pair had a son. And somehow, Phoebus must have persuaded Esmeralda to let him name the poor kid. Because Zephr is the name of one of the Greek gods of the wind. And imagining that conversation just makes me laugh.

8. Cinderella

Another confession for you all; I hate Disneys Cinderella. I do however, love the sequels.

Cinderella II: Dreams Come True is essentially the same as Belles Magical world, where three short stories are squished into one film. My favourite story by far is the step-sister Anastasia falling in love with the baker.
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They’re a perfect couple, but unfortunately, there was another sequel; Cinderella III: A Stitch in Time. In which they conveniently forgot that the second film existed. Lady Tremaine gets possession of the Fairy Godmothers wand and basically it’s the climax from Swan Princess. Anastasia appears to have forgotten about her boyfriend and is instead willing to disguise herself as Cinderella to marry the prince. So as much as I love the second film, this set of sequels goes to the bottom of the list for forgetting about their happily ever afters.

So that’s my list of the best Disney sequels. Let me know what you think. Do you love or hate the Disney sequels? Have I missed any that you think should be on the list? Let me know.

Top Five Animated Sibling Relationships

I totally planned this blog post for National Siblings Day (which was April the 10th) but got distracted by work so didn’t get a chance to write it. Regardless, I still wanted to write it, so here’s my list of my top five favourite animated sibling’s relationships.

5. Digimon- Matt Ishida and TK Takaishi.

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My favourite episode of Digimon has always been the season one episode ‘Greymon Garumon’. In this episode, Tai tells Sora that “Matt doesn’t treat TK like a brother, only like he’s a bother.” Matt reveals that they’re half-brothers and don’t get to see each other often. Despite this, throughout the episode, Matt shows his protective side. For example, he tells Gabumon to lie down with TK during the night to keep him warm, claiming that he’s sending Garbumon away because he’s making him sweat. Matt then risks his life in an attempt to save TK from being attacked by a Sea Dragon (creatively name Seadramon). With TK and Matt, the creators prove that even half-siblings can share the same kind of protective bond the full siblings do.

4. Rugrats- Phil and Lil DeVille. Tommy and Dill Pickles. Chuckie and Kimi Finster.
Rugrats is great for showing a range of sibling relationships which were well developed over the series extensive run.

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Phil and Lil are fraternal twins who are practically identical, so much so that in one episode all they have to do is give Phil the pink bow and their mother can’t tell the difference. The episode focuses on the crisis of individuality that a lot of twins feel, and proves that although they claim to want independence, the twins really do need each other.

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In the Rugrats movie (1981), Tommy’s younger brother Dill was born and the movie dealt with the theme of sibling rivalry and jealousy. In one scene Tommy practically attempts to kill Dill, but thankfully his sense of brotherly protection kicks in and he spends the rest of the movie caring for his baby brother.

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Chuckie goes through most of the episodes with only his father, but in the movie Rugrats in Paris (2000), his dad Chaz gets married and Chuckie gains his step-sister Kimi.The pair are incredibly sweet together and I’ve always loved their relationship, particularly in the spin off series ‘All Grown Up’ in which Chuckie tries to protect Kimi from her supposedly deviant boyfriend.

The wide range of family structures addressed in the series meant that there was always a character which children could relate to. I always sympathised with Tommys plight in the Rugrats Movie, as I did once try to return my younger sister to the hospital, just like Tommy does in the movie (In my defense I was only two at the time!).

3. Frozen- Elsa and Anna.

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The latest Disney film has a great focus on the relationship between the two protagonists; Anna and Elsa. The sisters were incredibly close as children, but after Elsa accidentally hits Anna with her powers, Elsa is removed from Anna’s life in order to protect her. Anna grows up separately from her sister, desperate from any kind of acknowledgment from Elsa. After Elsa’s powers are revealed, Anna understands why her sister has been so distant and rushes to talk to her. The films big climax finds Anna forsaking the true loves kiss which she needs to save her life in order to protect her sister. Anna is, of course, saved by her own act of true love, and Elsa learns that love is all that she needs to thaw the eternal winter (because love has always been the natural enemy of snow). The focus on sisterly love is a refreshing shift away from Disneys typical girl-meets-boy formula.

2. Lilo and Stitch- Nani and Lilo Pelekai.

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A lot of people praise Disney’s Frozen for focusing on the importance of the sisters relationship, forgetting about the relationship in Lilo and Stitch. After the death of their parents, Nani shoulders a great deal of responsibility, choosing to raise Lilo on her own. Aliens aside, a massive portion of the plot is dedicated to Nani’s struggle to support her sister, and the threat of social services taking Lilo away. The film shows a more natural form of self-sacrifice, while Anna literally gave her life to protect her sister, Nani does so metaphorically. One of the reasons Nani gives David when she explains that she can’t date him is that all of her time is taken up looking after Lilo. The characters have a incredibly realistic relationship, with Lilo resenting Nani’s rules and Nani having to cope with the stress of raising a child despite being relatively young herself. Despite their rocky relationship, it’s clear that the sisters love each other, and the prospect of Lilo being taken away is simply heart-breaking.

1. Fullmetal Alchemist- Edward and Alphonse Elric.

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Edward and Alphonse are essentially the anime version of Sam and Dean Winchester, they will literally die for each other, and are willing to do anything as long as it would ensure their brothers happiness. Family is the single most important thing to the Elrics, their father left at a young age and after their mother dies, the brothers attempt human transmutation to bring her back. The result is that Edward loses his leg in the trade, while Alphonse loses his entire body. Edward sacrifices his arm to retrieve Alphonse’s soul, attaching it to the suit of armour. This scene is incredibly emotive, particularly Edwards line;

“Give him back! He’s my brother! Take my leg, take my arm, take my heart – anything, you can have it! Just give him back! He’s my little brother, he’s all I have left!”

The series follows the Elric’s journey to restore their bodies back to normal, with each of the brothers thinking about each other, rather than themselves. The characters are well written and incredibly emotive. Even with Alphonse’s lack of facial expressions the characters are very moving, and their dedication to each other is clear in practically every action whether it’s the manga, the 2003 series or Brotherhood. Even in the film Conqueror of Shamballa where the brothers are in separate worlds and Alphonse has no memories of his brother, their every move is motivated by their desire to be together.

All in all, the Elric brothers are perfect examples of sibling bonding, so much so that even one of the soundtracks is dedicated to the theme of brothers. Go have a listen by clicking this link to the voice actor for Edward singing the song.

So that’s my top five animated sibling relationships. What do you guys think? Do you agree with my choices, or do you think that there are some siblings that have been missed off the list? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear from you guys!