If even a hint of Disneyfied romance is enough to make you retch, then check out Moana. The central heroine is indeed a kind of princess (as pointed out by her co-protagonist), but she is far more interested in adventure and community service than anything else. Surely, there’s plenty there for kids of all genders and ages to look up to.
Moana is the daughter of a village chief in an unspecified Polynesian settlement. At first, her family convinces her that it’s perfectly alright to stay in their happy but small village for their entire lives. Still, Moana feels an unquenchable urge to explore the world just beyond the horizon, despite the fears of her parents and the obvious contentment of others in her village.
Things become a little more clear, however, when a mysterious force of ill-health and darkness descends upon her small patch of home. Moana must go adventuring in order to save not just her particular group of people, but all others and perhaps even the health and happiness of the ocean itself. Even when ridiculous obstacles get in her way – including a muscle-bound demigod, a giant crab, and a terrifying lava monster – she persists. Ultimately, Moana saves everyone through her own well-earned strength, endurance, and good will.