Denahi likes to tease Kenai, but still loves him in every way. In the beginning of the movie, he's a protagonist but in the middle until the climax he is an antagonist. Also, he is one of the antagonists who is not evil. 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). His role of an antagonist is due to him unknowingly being a threat to Kenai, as he assumed Kenai was killed by the mother bear. His totem is the Wolf of Wisdom.
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 younger generations. Than, as a young man, witnesses his brother's, Kenai's, totum-recieving 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 a bear. As Denahi tries to save Kenai from falling in a hole, Sitka broke the ice cliff with his spear and falls into the waters with the bear to save his brothers.
Denahi advises Kenai against avenging Sitka's death, as it may anger the spirits, but Kenai sets out to kill the bear anyway. Kenai does so and is transformed into a bear by Sitka. 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, 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 brige 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, recongizing it as Sitka, and follow it. Denahi reached the mountian 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. Shocked and confused, Denahi threw down his spear. When he sees how much Koda meant to Kenai, he told Kenai that he "looked a 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 an handprint on the wall, making his manhood offical.
- 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 did not appear (physically or verbally) in Brother Bear 2 because his voice actor, Jason Raize, committed suicide in 2004 while the sequel was in pre-production. Another reason for his absence may be due to the fact that Kenai had chosen to remain a bear permanently, and does not need him anymore. Though it is possible that they meet up with each other offscreen.
- Denahi's totem being a wolf may be a subtle reference to the long portrayal of wolves being antagonists in several stories, and it could have been a way to foreshadow Denahi's role as an antagonist.
- 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.
- Denahi is the only Disney main antagonist to be a biological sibling to the hero, and the third Disney main antagonist to be biologically related to the hero, after Scar and Hades.
- He is also the second Disney main antagonist to reform at the end of the film, after John Silver, and later on Maleficent (in her own film).
- 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 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.