Pixar’s Inside Out returned with a hit sequel this summer, featuring the core emotions Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear, and Anger inside the 13-year-old Riley's mind, the Headquarters. The emotions work in tandem to influence Riley’s behaviours and help her be the best girl she could be. The sequel picks up from the first instalment, as Riley is all set to embark on her teenage life. During this time, the emotions face the unfamiliar challenge of ‘Puberty.’

Inside Out 2 starts with Riley hitting puberty, introducing new emotions: Anxiety, Envy, Ennui, and Embarrassment. These new emotions barge in, leaving the core emotions shaken and shocked. Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, seizes control of the command centre, wreaking havoc and shuttling the core emotions to the back of the mind, where they risk being forgotten. Despite Anxiety sabotaging Riley’s sense of belief and moral values, it is not a villain but a troubled anti-hero with saviour syndrome, driven by a misguided sense of needing to protect Riley. Just like Anxiety, our anxieties, though disruptive, ultimately stem from a desire to keep us safe.

Anxiety was the new boss of the mind headquarters, taking unprecedented and absolute control over everything. Anxiety was not the villain as it earlier seemed, it was protecting Riley, just like the core emotion of Joy, in its own way in the prequel. A storm of insecurity brewed within Riley with the start of the three-day hockey camp and the news that her friends will be attending a different high school.

Determined to safeguard Riley from a lonely future, Anxiety took drastic measures. This included ditching Riley's old friends to impress the popular girls and stealing from the coach's record book. The scraggly, big-toothed orange emotion with protruding eyes shattered Riley's self-image of a "good girl," painstakingly built by the core emotions over the years. Worried about the future, Anxiety planned out scenarios of every possibility, like what would happen at Riley’s big match, so much so that she skipped sleep to practise all night. However, Anxiety’s actions backfired and led to a more faltering self-belief in Riley, “I am not good enough.” At the core, anxiety is an anti-hero, guided with the best of Riley’s interests at heart, but resorted to questionable means to achieve them.