In Red: Growing up is a Beast, Abby is one of protagonist Mei Lee’s best friends. The Pixar movie, released on Disney+ last month, tells the story of a teenager who has to deal with the fact that, because of a family curse, she turns into a red panda every time she feels great emotions. However, with the help of Abby and the rest of her group, she learns to control her wilder side.
Directed by Sino-canante Domee Shi, Red one of its attractions is the effort to present a more diverse list of characters than the studio’s previous productions. In the storyline, set in Toronto, Canada, Mei has three main friends: Miriam, Priya and Abby. The last one is Korean, and often drops some phrases in this language. In fact, the first words the character speaks in the film are Korean.
She confronts three students about the trash they throw on the floor and says, “Hey, what are you trying to do?“. They seem intimidated by the girl, as even though she speaks a language they don’t understand, her tone is unmistakable. Also, when Tyler posted embarrassing drawings of Mei all over the school’s hallways, the girl fills with rage again and screams in her native language. In this case, the translation of Abby’s Korean words is: “What is wrong with you?“.
Later, when Abby realizes she got the date wrong for 4★Town’s concert in Toronto, confusing herself with Toledo, she still says, “What? Toledo? This is madness! Where is it?“. However, when they finally arrive at the show and wait for the band to play, Abby gets impatient and yells, “We will! Chop chop! 4★Town!“.
Her pattern of using Korean while she is emotionally upset parallels Mei’s standoff over her red panda. The fact that Abby speaks the language at these times also serves to add to the construction of her adorable personality and makes her more of a character with different nuances.
Red: Growing up is a Beast is available on Disney+.