- For Koda's gallery, see here.
While on the way to the Salmon Run, Koda got separated from his mother due to an attack by human hunters. Shortly afterward, he befriended an older bear named Kenai, whom, unbeknownst to Koda, was truly a human who had been transformed into a bear. The two became traveling companions with the goal of reaching the Salmon Run; Koda so he could return to his home and Kenai so he could reach the Mountain Where the Lights Touch the Earth. Along the way, the two formed a bond and became like brothers to one another.
Once at the Salmon Run, Koda told the tale of how his mother had fought off a pack of human hunters and gotten separated from him in the process. This caused Kenai to realize that he had killed Koda's mother when he was still a human. Kenai confessed this to Koda, who fled from him in sorrow. Though angry and hurt by Kenai's confession, Koda ultimately returned to save him from the human hunter Denahi.
After Koda's rescue, Kenai was transformed back into a human by the Great Spirits. He and Koda embraced, reconciling their brotherhood, and Kenai decided to become a bear permanently in order to care for Koda. The two went on to live at the Salmon Run as adoptive brothers.
Later, Koda accompanied Kenai and his human friend Nita to Hokani Falls. Along the way, Koda felt left out by his companions and realized that Kenai was falling in love with Nita. Though Koda implored the spirits to change Kenai back into a human so that he could be happy with Nita, Kenai refused, and so Nita became a bear instead. Kenai and Nita married, and the three became a family.
While Koda and his mother are on their way to the Salmon Run, they stumble upon a fallen basket of salmon, which belongs to a tribe of humans. Koda and his mother make off with the basket and eat the fish, enjoying themselves. However, a young tribesman named Kenai pursues them, and Koda's mother soon picks up his scent. She orders Koda to hide, after which Kenai emerges and antagonizes Koda's mother.
Eventually, Koda's mother overpowers Kenai and forces him off a ledge, but then Kenai's brothers, Denahi and Sitka, join the fight. The fight continues until Sitka stabs his spear into the glacier upon which they're fighting and fractures it, sending himself and Koda's mother plummeting into the water below. Koda watches the fight and his mother's fall in fright from the underbrush.
Koda continues on alone until he meets Kenai, who has been transformed into a bear. He finds Kenai dangling from a bear trap and asks him if any hunters are around. When Kenai responds in the negative, Koda emerges and introduces himself, after which he promises not to tell anyone about Kenai's embarrassing predicament. Koda then grabs a nearby stick and begins whacking Kenai with it, only ceasing when Kenai yells at him to stop.
Irritated by Koda's interference, Kenai orders Koda to put the stick back on the ground so that he can retrieve it himself. Though confused, Koda does as Kenai asks, then sits on the ground nearby and begins telling Kenai story after story about his cubhood. This goes on for some time, with Kenai struggling to reach the stick, until Koda nudges it closer, allowing Kenai to finally grab hold of it. Even so, Kenai is unable to free himself.
Sensing Kenai's predicament, Koda promises to free him if Kenai will accompany him to the Salmon Run. Though Kenai agrees to Koda's bargain, he warns Koda that a "dumb little bear" cannot possible unravel a human trap. However, Koda easily dismantles the trap, freeing Kenai. The moment Kenai is free, Koda begins planning their trip to the Salmon Run. However, he suddenly smells a human hunter and runs off into the woods, shouting a warning.
Koda takes refuge in an ice cave, which Kenai soon finds himself. Koda questions Kenai if the hunter is gone, but Kenai quickly covers his mouth, as the hunter, Denahi, is standing on the glacier just above them. Once Denahi moves on, Koda protests that he cannot breathe, and Kenai lets him go. Distraught by Denahi's actions, Kenai wonders why Denahi is hunting him down, and Koda explains that that is what humans do. He then shows off his fighting moves to Kenai. However, Kenai calls his bluff by claiming that Denahi is coming back, which causes Koda to cower in fear.
With the danger averted, Kenai starts to leave, but Koda protests that Kenai had pinky sworn to accompany him to the Salmon Run. Claiming that things change, Kenai continues to depart, only pausing when Koda confesses that he had gotten separated from his mother. Koda goes on to talk about the perks of the Salmon Run, such as how there are many bears, lots of opportunities to catch fish, and a beautiful view of the Mountain Where the Lights Touch the Earth. This snags Kenai's attention and convinces him to remain with Koda. Relieved, Koda snuggles up next to Kenai, only to be shoved away.
The next morning, Koda has fun making faces at his reflection in the ice, to Kenai's annoyance. The two leave the ice cave behind, and Kenai calls Koda "kid," which makes Koda bristle and correct him. In answer, Kenai merely mocks him and asks if his mother had ditched him on purpose.
The two continue on their journey, and Koda starts to tell the story of how his mother had gotten separated from him. Though Kenai initially pretends to be interested, he tells Koda that he should share his story with his friends instead. This causes Koda to launch into another story, but Kenai quickly interrupts him, telling Koda that he should not talk anymore. Deciding to sing instead, Koda begins to belt out "On My Way" and, no matter how hard Kenai tries to shush him, does not quiet.
For days, the two journey across the tundra, with Kenai expressing frequent irritation at Koda's playful and sociable nature. However, over time, Kenai warms to Koda, and the two begin to enjoy each other's company. Eventually, Rutt and Tuke catch up to the two and inform them that Denahi is tracking their paw prints. To cover their trail, Kenai suggests that they ride on mammoths, which Koda finds strange but fun.
That night, Kenai and Koda ride on a mammoth trunk, with Koda telling numerous stories about his life at the Salmon Run. Just then, the Great Spirits appear overhead, and Koda stares at them in awe, informing Kenai that they can see the "night rainbow." Kenai is surprised that Koda knows about the Great Spirits, and Koda explains that his mother had taught him how the spirits are responsible for all the changes in the world.
Angry at the mention of change, Kenai grumbles that he wishes they would leave things alone. Koda asks what he means, and Kenai confesses that his brother Sitka is a spirit and that he is responsible for Kenai's current predicament. To Kenai's shock, Koda thanks Sitka for allowing the two of them to have met, then snuggles up next to Kenai, murmuring that he has always wanted a brother.
The next morning, Kenai asks Koda where they are, but Koda is unsure. The two set off in a random direction, and Koda begins to launch into another story. However, Kenai cuts him off and tells Koda that he does not care about his stories. Though Koda apologizes for being lost, he blames Kenai for the situation, since he had suggested they ride on mammoths. Enraged, Kenai insults Koda for talking too much and demands that he grow up, which causes Koda to forge off on his own.
Once Kenai cools off, he follows Koda, who has found a cave covered in human paintings. The two look around and eventually stop before a painting of a man fighting a bear. While Kenai glowers at the painted bear, Koda remarks that he finds "those monsters" really frightening, referring to humans.
The two leave the cave, with Koda riding on Kenai's back. As they walk, Kenai goofs around with Koda, sending the cub into gales of laughter. They are interrupted by two rams, who yell aggressively at their own echoes, which leaves Kenai and Koda bemused.
Just then, Koda recognizes where they are and tells Kenai that they must cross the Valley of Fire in order to reach the Salmon Run. Though Kenai is horrified at the perilous landscape, Koda is unfazed. As the two enter the Valley of Fire, Koda runs ahead, then doubles back to frighten Kenai. His ploy works, and Kenai falls over from surprise and fear, which Koda teases him for.
Suddenly, Koda notices a strange feature of the landscape, and Kenai attempts to use the distraction as a way to scare Koda himself. However, he fails, and Koda simply makes fun of him for drooling. No sooner has this happened when Koda warns Kenai to look out. Believing Koda to simply be fooling him again, Kenai laughs the warning off, but a second later, a spear thuds into the ground next to him, and Denahi jumps down from the ledge above. While Koda flees, Kenai stays behind to disable Denahi using a geyser.
Koda soon becomes lost and cries out for Kenai. Though Kenai has the opportunity to escape, he doubles back and grabs Koda by the scruff, bearing him to safety. The two begin to cross a chasm using a fallen log, but Denahi soon catches up to them and begins trying to shove the log into the gorge. Kenai promptly tosses Koda to safety, then saves himself, just in time for Denahi to send one end of the log toppling into the chasm.
After the narrow escape, Kenai lingers at the gorge, worried over Denahi. Not understanding Kenai's concern, Koda implores him to leave the hunter behind. At first, Kenai acquiesces, but he turns back when Denahi jumps across the gorge and catches onto the still-hanging log. Despite Kenai's attempts to help Denahi reach safety, the log plummets into the river, carrying Denahi with it. Koda joins Kenai at the edge of the gorge and watches as Denahi is carried downstream by the current.
Afterward, Koda asks Kenai why humans hate them so much. Kenai asserts that bears are killers, but Koda reminds him that neither of them act that way. To counter this, Kenai claims that bears will make any excuse to attack a human, but a confused Koda points out that Denahi had provoked the fight, not them. Kenai simply ends the conversation by telling Koda that he will understand when he is older.
Just then, the pair is swarmed by a flock of birds yelling, "Fish!" Realizing the significance of this, Koda races ahead and arrives at the Salmon Run, where he has a delighted reunion with Tug, the leader of the bears. Koda asks Tug if his mother has arrived yet, and Tug informs him that she has not. Koda then comments that he and Kenai have beaten her there, which makes the other bears realize that Koda is friends with Kenai, whom they perceive as an odd bear. To make matters worse, Koda begins listing all of Kenai's weird ticks, such as how he has never hibernated, how he drinks water with a leaf, and how he rides on mammoths.
To interrupt Koda, Kenai carries him off and has a private conversation with him, during which he tells Koda that it is time for them to part ways. Koda assumes that Kenai will be coming back and reacts with confusion when Kenai claims that he is leaving for good. Tug overhears their talk and asks Kenai if he is leaving. Kenai states that he does not belong at the Salmon Run, but Tug insists that every bear belongs at the Salmon Run, and the other bears encourage Kenai to relax and have fun.
Though at first hesitant, Kenai begins to follow Koda around the Salmon Run, experiencing the joys of relaxing, fishing, and spending time with friends and family. At one point, Kenai catches a fish and lands with both Koda and the salmon in his paws. The two then joyously show off their catch to the other bears, who cheer for them.
That night, the bears gather for story hour, and Koda expresses excitement at finally being able to share his story. At one point, Kenai catches the fish tail used to denote whose turn it is to speak and tries to give it to Koda, but Koda tells him that whoever catches the tail must tell the story. He then asks Kenai if he had not played such a game when he was a cub. The other bears insist that Kenai share a story, and so he tells the tale of his perilous journey across the tundra with Koda, whom he calls "the biggest pain in the neck I've ever met." At first, Koda is hurt, but then Kenai follows up his comment by calling Koda his little brother and giving him a hug, which causes the other bears to coo. He then hands the fish tail to Koda so that he can tell his story.
To start his tale, Koda coyly summarizes his mother's life-and-death struggle against a dangerous creature, then asks whose turn it is next. This piques the interest of the other bears, who beg him to tell more. Pleased at the attention, Koda goes into more detail, describing how he and his mother had been eating fish when she had been attacked by a pack of human hunters, then fallen off a glacier. Afterward, he explains, the two had gotten separated and Koda had met Kenai. Just then, Koda notices that Kenai is missing.
Later, Koda finds Kenai sulking by himself on the edge of the forest. Koda tries to scare Kenai again, but fails, as Kenai is too gloomy to react. Concerned, Koda asks him where he has been, and Kenai replies by telling Koda a story about a man, a bear, and a monster. He confesses that he had done something very wrong, and Koda begins to back away in fear, commenting that he does not like Kenai's story. Kenai then tells Koda that his mother will not return to the Salmon Run.
Heartbroken, Koda flees into the forest and climbs a tree, sobbing quietly. Though Kenai pursues Koda and yells for him, telling him that he is sorry and that he wishes he could change what had happened, Koda does not emerge. Giving up, a guilt-stricken Kenai departs for the Mountain Where the Lights Touch the Earth. After Kenai leaves, Koda climbs down the tree and watches Kenai go sorrowfully.
Later, Koda is approached by Rutt and Tuke, who are fighting due to Tuke having caused Rutt to lose an antler. Rutt tries to adopt Koda as his new brother, but Koda rejects him, asserting that he does not want any more brothers. However, Koda continues to listen to their conversation, including Tuke's confession that he loves Rutt and Rutt's forgiveness of his brother. As the moose depart, reconciled, Koda ponders what he had heard.
Koda decides to follow Kenai, who is being set upon by Denahi atop the mountain. Just before Denahi can fatally stab Kenai, Koda knocks him aside and runs away with his spear. As Denahi takes chase, Kenai calls out for Koda and rushes after the pair. As Koda runs, he trips and loses his grip on the spear, which Denahi grabs and hoists in Kenai's direction. However, right before Kenai can be impaled, Sitka's spirit lifts him out of harm's way and transforms him back into a human.
Confused and frightened, Koda cowers behind a rock as a human Kenai approaches him and reveals his true identity. After a moment, Koda recognizes Kenai and bounds into his arms. Sitka then hands Kenai his totem, which he shows to Koda, and Kenai tells Sitka that Koda needs him. While Kenai has a final moment with his brothers, Koda is found and embraced by his mother's spirit.
After his mother's spirit returns to the heavens, Koda is approached by Kenai, now a bear, whom he greets joyously. The two playfully wrestle, with Denahi joining in.
Later, Koda sits among Kenai's tribe as Kenai places his paw print on the wall of his ancestors. After the ceremony, Koda embraces Kenai, and Denahi gives Koda an affectionate pet. The bear brothers then go on to live at the Salmon Run together.
After six months of hibernation, Koda and his adoptive brother Kenai awaken and start racing back to the Salmon Run. Along the way, they encounter Rutt and Tuke, who are hiding from an aggressive female buffalo. The moose pull Kenai and Koda into the bushes until the moose has passed, after which they reemerge and explain that they are searching for "moosettes," or female moose. Kenai and Koda continue on, eventually arriving at the Salmon Run.
The two greet Tug, the leader of the bears, and they explain that they are planning to visit Crowberry Ridge to get dibs on the berries there. Koda invites Tug to join them, but Tug declines, as he wants to spend time with a female bear named Hoonah. Before leaving, Tug warns Kenai of the inevitability of love.
After leaving Tug behind, Koda makes fun of Tug's premonitions of love. Kenai tells Koda to get some rest so that they will be ready to travel to Crowberry Ridge in the morning. The two settle down to sleep, but Koda continues to chatter about berries, prompting Kenai to bid him good night multiple times.
During the night, Kenai moans the name of his childhood friend, Nita, which Koda overhears. Come morning, Koda asks Kenai who Nita is, and he replies that she is a girl he had known as a human. Koda asks what had happened to her, and Kenai simply replies that she must have grown up.
Later, Kenai and Koda are digging for roots when Koda smells a hunter. While Kenai keeps watch, Koda hides in a hollow log, with the hunter standing just above him. However, when Koda accidentally steps on an unstable piece of wood, the hunter is alerted to his presence, and Kenai attacks in Koda's defense. Though Kenai nearly kills the hunter, he stops when he recognizes her as his childhood friend Nita.
Koda approaches, and Kenai introduces the two to each other. Recognizing Nita's name, Koda tells her that Kenai has been dreaming about her and moaning her name in his sleep. An embarrassed Kenai quickly cuts Koda off and informs Nita that they are planning to go to Crowberry Ridge, but Nita tells him that he must help her burn her amulet, else the Great Spirits might change him back into a human.
This worries Koda, who tells Kenai that if he becomes a human again, they will no longer be brothers. Reluctantly, Kenai agrees to help Nita burn her amulet at Hokani Falls. The three then depart on their journey, and Koda begins to tell Nita embarrassing stories about Kenai. This continues for a while, with Koda telling a particular story about Kenai sticking his head in a hollow log and getting sprayed by a skunk as a result.
Just then, the group runs into Rutt and Tuke, who are attempting to woo a pair of moosettes named Anda and Kata. When Koda approaches with Nita, the moose react with fright and cower behind Kenai, but Koda quickly explains that Nita is a friend. Though Nita presses Kenai to leave the moose behind, as they are on a tight schedule, Kenai remains behind to help Rutt and Tuke win the moosettes' hearts.
While Kenai pretends to be a predator that Rutt and Tuke can "save" the moosettes from, Koda and Nita watch from the sidelines. Nita reacts with annoyance, and Koda comments that Kenai can be impossible to talk down when he is in a stubborn mood. The plan eventually ends in failure, with Kenai's head getting stuffed in a dam by the moosettes.
While Kenai struggles to get free, Nita drops her bag containing the amulet in the river. Though the three attempt to chase it down, it falls off a waterfall and washes ashore, where a raccoon named Bering snatches it up for himself. Koda comments that raccoons are clever thieves and that Nita will likely never see her amulet again. This greatly upsets Nita, who laments the situation.
That night, while Koda and Nita are sleeping, Kenai tracks the amulet to the raccoon hideout. Koda excitedly wakes Nita, informs her of the situation, and leads her to where Kenai is waiting, poised for the raccoons to fall asleep. Despite Kenai's warnings, Nita decides to climb the tree herself, and so Kenai and Koda distract Bering by asking for the amulet back. Koda warns Bering not to mess with Kenai, which prompts the raccoons to begin pelting Kenai with pinecones.
Just then, a baby raccoon alerts the group to Nita's presence, and the raccoons begin chasing her through the trees. Eventually, with Kenai's help, she escapes. Koda catches up to the two and comments that something smells terrible. The group follows the scent to where Rutt and Tuke are rolling in the mud in an effort to smell attractive to the moosettes. Nita pitches in her opinion, telling the moose brothers to use Koda to win favor with the moosettes.
Nita enacts her plan, with Koda pretending to play hide-and-seek with Rutt and Tuke. The moosettes find him adorable and so are impressed when Rutt and Tuke boast that they are his friends. Proud of his role in the plan, Koda starts to brag to Kenai and Nita, only for the two to walk off without him.
As the three continue their journey, Kenai explains that the fastest way to get to Hokani Falls is by crossing a river. Nita suggests that they take a longer alternative route, which confuses both Kenai and Koda. As Kenai continues to argue with Nita, Koda tosses a fish at her, causing her to fall into a nearby pond. In a panic, she crawls back to shore, while Kenai and Koda laugh at her. However, Kenai soon notices her discomfort, and he yells at Koda to stop making fun of her. This confuses and upsets Koda.
With Koda looking on, Nita confesses to Kenai that she has a fear of water, and Kenai tells her that he will help her cross the river. The two depart in better spirits, though Koda begins to feel left out. Over the next few days, Kenai and Nita grow closer, ignoring Koda in the process. Eventually, Kenai and Nita cross the river, with Koda lingering on the bank, watching them sadly. Rutt soon approaches, and Koda comments bitterly that Kenai only has time for Nita anymore. In answer, Rutt warns Koda that his brother may abandon him.
Koda is rather small and thin, even for a cub. His main pelt is dark brown, though his neck is lined by orange fur. His inner ears, legs, and paws are slightly darker in color, while his muzzle is tan. He has several distinctive features, such as a tuft of fur on his head and thicker lips, similar to those of his mother's.
Personality and traits
Koda is a rambunctious cub who loves to talk. He is an open book and enjoys sharing stories from his life with friends and strangers alike. His sociable nature knows no bounds, as he will happily entertain animals of all types and frequently ignores orders from his friend Kenai to be quiet. Even when in a tense situation, such as finding himself hopelessly lost, Koda will respond with chatter, often about a relatable situation from his past.
On a personal level, Koda is loving and loyal. He confesses to Kenai that he has always wanted a brother and speaks of his mother with reverence. When tested, Koda will risk his life for those he loves, as seen when he takes on Denahi to save Kenai's life. Similarly, Koda is unselfish, even being willing to let Kenai become a human again in order to make him happy.
Being a bear, Koda is initially frightened of humans and believes them to be dangerous monsters. However, after becoming close friends with Kenai, his fears diminish somewhat. He similarly learns to forgive, as he reconciles with Kenai despite Kenai having killed his mother, and comes to accept Kenai's identity as a human.
- Koda is voiced by Jeremy Suarez.
- "Koda" means "friend" in the Sioux language.
- Originally, Kenai's companion was going to be an older bear named Grizz. However, the writers changed Grizz to a bear cub instead to give the film more heart, resulting in the creation of Koda.