Po (Kung Fu Panda)
Master Po Ping (birth name: Lotus Shan) is the title character and the protagonist of the Kung Fu Panda franchise. He is a young anthropomorphic giant panda in his 20s, who is improbably chosen as the Dragon Warrior, champion of the Valley of Peace in the first film. He is the adoptive son of Mr. Ping, and is one of Master Shifu's students. Po is also the prophesied Dragon Warrior, as well as the warrior of black and white. In Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, Po is revealed to have the ability to be able to learn kung fu at a glance.
|Kung Fu Panda character|
Po, as he appears in Kung Fu Panda
|First appearance||Kung Fu Panda|
Jack Black (feature and short films)|
Mick Wingert (TV series and video games)
Eric Loomis (Legendary Warriors)
Hiroaki Miura (Japanese Dub)
Po Ping (given name)|
Little Lotus Shan (birthname)
|Nickname(s)||"Jack Black as a Panda"|
|Occupation||Kung Fu Master|
Mr. Ping (adoptive father)|
Li Shan (biological father)
Unnamed biological mother (deceased)
Dim and Sum (cousins)
unnamed adoptive grandfather
unnamed adoptive great-grandfather
Tai Lung (deceased)|
Bian Zao (formerly)
Jong Sung Jai Kai Chow
Po is also the team leader of the Furious Five, although he is not properly part of as he is considered as a second master after Shifu to the Furious Five.
The character has received largely positive critical reception, reaching influence to serve as the other characters, video games and films in the media.
First revealed in Kung Fu Panda 2, Po lived in a village of pandas until the sadistic and lethal peacock Lord Shen had it destroyed as part of his campaign to exterminate the species, trying to avert the prophecy that a "warrior of black and white" would one day defeat him. On the command of Po's father, Li Shan who stayed to defend the village, Po's mother fled with her infant son in attempt to save him. Eventually, Po's mother managed to temporarily elude the wolves and found a crate of radishes in which she hid her son. She then sacrificed herself to lure Shen's forces away from her son. The crate was shipped across China to a village in the Valley of Peace, where the owner of a noodle shop, Mr. Ping, found the panda cub. With no clue as to the cub's identity or how he got there, Mr. Ping decided to raise him as his son, giving him the name Po. With no conscious memories of his past life, Po grew up under the care of Mr. Ping and became a studious apprentice in his foster dad's restaurant trade.
Po is friendly, kind, energetic, impulsive, good-natured, spunky, innocent, fun-loving, compassionate, sarcastic, naive, loveable, and tenacious. Though Po's real passion was for Kung Fu, he was reluctant to disappoint his father by revealing it. Despite having a mild and friendly personality, Po also developed a severe self-loathing, believing himself a failure for being both obese (but in reality he is a healthy weight for his species) and a species not known for a warrior tradition. When he gets upset, he usually gorges on food to dull the pain.
His main interest lies in Kung Fu. He developed an encyclopedic knowledge of the lore of warriors (he even knows the backstory of Master Croc, Master Storming Ox, and Master Thundering Rhino in Secrets of the Masters), famous combat moves, dates and historic artifacts (he even has action figures in the likenesses of the Furious Five which, as revealed in the credits of the second film, he made himself). Furthermore, his deep appreciation of the martial arts extends into its philosophical aspects, enabling to him to sometimes achieve insights of which even deeply respected masters like Shifu cannot conceive. He was popular with all his friends and they all loved him as a kid. Despite this preference, Po did not neglect his education in his foster father's trade and is an excellent cook as a result. However, as seen in the TV series, nobody can stand to watch him eat due to his very lazy behaviour (e.g., sucking up soup from a table, spitting it back into a cup to pick a small chunk of food from, then drinking said spat-out soup). He does seem perfectly capable of having manners though.
Po's naive, gullible, and energetic personality can perhaps be compared to that of a fan of Kung Fu movies. This is reflected in the theme song of Legends of Awesomeness, in which one line actually just says 'something, something', and which contains self-made music. He has near-encyclopedic knowledge of Kung Fu history, people, and relics, similar to a science fiction fan who is knowledgeable of entire terminologies of sci-fi films and TV shows. He is generally friendly, lovable, passionate, a bit impulsive and good-natured, but sometimes comes off as chummy and informal, and his enthusiasm and excitable demeanor occasionally cause people to misunderstand him, most prominently in the first film. He is a big fan of the masters of Kung Fu, but treats them more like heroes and celebrities rather than teachers and authority figures, which initially caused the Furious Five to feel as if he thinks of them as entertainment and Kung Fu as a hobby and even a joke. It wasn't until they put aside their expectations of the Dragon Warrior that they finally accept him as a friend, rather than a disrespectful student who doesn't take things seriously.
His relationship and position with the Five is a strong one, being likened to the position of the little brother in the dysfunctional kung fu family, who embarrasses everyone, but is still too lovable to hate. He cares about the Five enormously, and is close with everyone, although his best friend is uncertain. While the Five make fun of him, they all care about him, and have strong concerns if he is in trouble.
Po and Tigress are close, having developed moves they use as a team. Despite their relationship being initially rocky, they have an awkward but good relationship, and she is the one he is most concerned about. Po swam to Tigress alone after they were all hit by Shen's cannon, caring about her wellbeing. Tigress has shown Po what, from her, is affection by fighting him to keep him safe, letting him punch her, listening to his problems and eating with him. When Po almost got married in a Legends of Awesomeness episode, Tigress showed some sort of envy, through being suspicious of his fiancée, though denying this furiously when questioned. And Tigress is Po's most favourite in the Furious Five, as he really treasures her action figure.
Monkey and Po both enjoy joking around and have a close friendship. In spite of this, Monkey pranks Po often, leading once to Po playing a prank back, resulting in a chain of chaos.
Po and Mantis are friends, and Mantis has joined Po on a trip to a kung fu convention, although a problem led to confusion that Po is weird and a nerd.
Viper and Po have each other's backs. Viper was also caring when Po was worrying about his parenthood, but Po's loose tongue led to friction between the two when he couldn't stop insulting snakes, although they eventually resolved this and defeated an evil snake trying to poison the Valley of Peace.
Po and Crane are friends; Po, saying that, having a vow of solitude, he would be alone with maybe Crane, indicating they are friends.
Po and Shifu had a bad start. Shifu immediately hated Po, although they eventually established a pupil-master relationship. The two share a hobby of collecting action figures, and Po once pretended to be Shifu when he had too much relaxation medicine and was acting crazy.
Apparently by accident, he was dubbed the Dragon Warrior by Master Oogway (who proclaims that "there are no accidents"), over Po's and his fellow masters' protests. During the subsequent training, Master Shifu and the Furious Five made no secret of their disdain for him, making their rough physical activities with him to torture in order to discourage him. However, with Master Oogway's encouragement, Po endured their abuse without complaint in the personal hope that they could eventually change him into someone he himself can respect. This display of indomitable tenacity, although frustrating to Shifu, soon impressed most of the Furious Five, who began to warm up to the affable panda whom they also found, to their delight at mealtime, is an excellent cook.
Ironically, Shifu discovered that Po can perform considerable physical feats when motivated by food and used this to train him with a custom training regimen. At the end of the training, during a chopstick-sparring match over dumplings, Po demonstrated not only considerable skill in combat, which includes innovative moves using his bulk to his advantage, but also some emotional maturity that allowed him to somewhat reduce his emotional dependence on food. This was evident when Po eagerly gives the last dumpling back to Shifu after winning the sparring match, stating that he's not hungry.
Now convinced of Po's worthiness, Shifu presented the legendary Dragon Scroll to Po, only to find that it is a blank reflective surface. In despair, Shifu ordered Po and the Furious Five to help the villagers escape while Shifu bought some time for them to escape by engaging the snow leopard Tai Lung, who escaped from Chor-Gong Prison, in a fight to the death. As Po helped his father escape, Mr. Ping revealed that the secret ingredient of his Secret Ingredient Soup is nothing; people only had to believe it was special. With this advice, Po realized the scroll's true empowering symbolic value: the power lay within the knowledge that whatever someone turned them selves into with enough dedication made them the best version of themselves they could be.
Encouraged, Po was then able to challenge Tai Lung in a climactic battle and defeat him with an improvised combat style, using his body fat not only to shield his nerves from chi strikes but also for deflecting attacks. Amazed by his new talent, the Furious Five finally acknowledge him as a true kung fu master with respect, much to his surprise. Since the events of the first film, Po divided his time between practice, working at his father's noodle shop and teaching children martial arts. The latter duty has shown Po to be exceptionally skilled in teaching its intellectual side.
Po has also improved his physical health, when he runs alongside Shifu at an amazing pace and upon stopping, needs much less time than before to catch his breath.
Master Po is appointed host of the Kung Fu masters' Winter Feast at the Jade Palace. Although Po successfully makes the arrangements with considerable difficulty, he decides being with his father for the holiday is more important and joins him at the restaurant. However, all the masters, deeply moved by Po's loyalty, come as well. After this episode, Po moved out to focus on his duties as the Dragon Warrior with the reassurance that his father is at peace with his calling.
In Kung Fu Panda 2, Lord Shen's wolf forces performed a raid for refined metal for the peacock Lord Shen's cannons. Po's attempt to stop them with the Furious Five was thwarted by seeing the fealty symbol on the Boss Wolf of the raid. It brought Po's traumatic childhood memories of the attack on his village to the surface and froze him to the spot. He realized he was adopted by Mr. Ping, and asked to tell him about his past, but Mr. Ping can't tell Po anything from before the time he was found behind the noodle shop.
When Master Po was sent with the Five on a mission to stop Lord Shen's attempt to conquer China, he was plagued with disturbing dreams about his parents replacing him with a radish. He was reluctant to talk about them, even to Tigress, who grew to be Po's confidant in the Five. More seriously, Po was still hampered with his paralyzing flashbacks, especially at the sight of the same symbol on Lord Shen's plumage. This created a subsequent obsession in Po to question Shen, which results in him almost getting killed.
Po survives Shen's cannon attacks, and is rescued by the Soothsayer, who heals his body with acupuncture and medicinal brew. Po was able to recall all his memories of being orphaned and find inner peace. He did this in light of recalling the happy and fulfilling life with his loved ones in the Valley of Peace. By achieving tranquility, Master Po defeated Lord Shen's fleet—much to everyone's astonishment—by using a martial arts technique that countered Shen's cannon fire by literally grabbing the fired projectiles and returning them to destroy their launchers. In doing so, Po saved China while cementing his reputation as a mighty warrior.
Afterwards, Po returned to Mr. Ping and tells him that he's his dad for having adopted him. However, Po is unaware that his biological father, Li is still alive, living in a panda hideout with the other villagers revealed to be the secret panda village and he finally senses that his son is alive.
Under the pre tense of an emergency in the dead of night, Master Po (Jack Black) leads Master Tigress (Angelina Jolie) and Master Mantis (Seth Rogen) into breaking into the new Masters' Council exhibit in tribute of Masters Thundering Rhino, Ox, and Croc. Even though Tigress and Mantis are annoyed at the deception, Po engages their interest in the story of the trio of masters first met.
In Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, Masters Po and Monkey are best friends in "Scorpion's Sting." Monkey's being mind-controlled to kill Po by Scorpion, but the panda reminds him that they're friends and when that doesn't work, Po then hits him. In "Chain Reaction," Po said that he would like to be Tigress' friend; he tells her that he "dreamed" of being friends with her since he was five and later, when she goes off on him, he says that she "stinks at friendship and funship." In "Bad Po," it is revealed that Po has a split personality: one is kind, considerate, caring, polite, sensitive, very positive, helpful, hard-working, selfless and compassionate (which makes him "Good Po") and the other one is rude, very negative, lazy, sadistic, unhelpful, heartless, abusive, mean-spirited, selfish, manipulative, mischievous, cruel, uncaring, destructive, misbehaved, and devious (which makes him "Bad Po" or "Evil Po"). Both of his personalities have been split when he gets infected by the Mystical Mirror of Yin and Yang. Bad Po blames Good Po for his bad deeds and when one panda gets hurt, the other feels the same. In the end, Good Po makes Bad Po look in the mirror and both pandas are rejoined.
As Po grew into his teenage years with a lack of focus and of his father's skill in cooking, which later led to Shifu getting food poisoning after Po prepared a meal for the Jade Palace while his father was away on business. Afterwards, Po began to consider other possible career paths, such as a cleaner, comedian, dancer, or doctor, and made a list of them on a scroll. This scroll later inadvertently ended up in the hands of Tigress, who mistook it for a list made by Shifu of four warriors she was to gather in order to face the villainous Boar. This led to her recruiting Crane, Monkey, Viper, and Mantis, who were quickly dismissed by Shifu who also ordered the evacuation of the valley.
During this time Po revealed to his father that he had caused Shifu's illness, which his father took as good publicity, and was then sent to gather ingredients for meals to be served to the fleeing villagers. From the hilltop his father had specified, Po then watched as the future Furious Five battled Boar, and quickly determined what he wanted to do with his life: practice Kung fu. He later made a set of Furious Five action figures which he treasured for years.
In Kung Fu Panda 3, Po is promoted to teacher when Shifu decides to retire from active duty to focus on honing chi. However, in his first lesson, Po's attempts to train the Furious Five ends disastrously, with the Five injured as a result. Po, demoralized and full of doubt, goes to Shifu for advice, who tells him that he must be himself. When Po also tries talking about his problems with his father, Mr. Ping, they are interrupted by the arrival of Li Shan, Po's biological father, who breaks Po's dumpling-eating record at the restaurant. After recognizing each other, Po and Li Shan bond, much to Mr. Ping's jealousy. Shortly after bringing his father to the Jade Palace and introducing him to his friends, the Valley of Peace is attacked by living jade statues (referred to as "Jombies" by Po and Monkey) resembling kung fu masters both past and present. After the statues retreat, Po and the others learn that they were sent by Kai, a ferocious warrior who was once Master Oogway's ally. From Oogway's journal's they learn that Kai and Oogway learned the secrets of chi from the pandas from Li Shan's village some 500 years prior. Oogway then banished Kai to the Spirit Realm after Kai tried to take the pandas' powers of chi for himself. As Kai can only be defeated by a master of chi, Po decides to learn the power of chi on Li's suggestions as it was an innate ability of the inhabitants of the panda village. Po is told however that he must learn to live like a panda, which he takes to upon arriving in the village and is glad to be a part of.
Later on, Tigress arrives at the Panda Village, revealing that Kai has taken the chi of all the kung fu masters including Shifu, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey, (she is the only one to escape) and that Kai has destroyed the Jade Palace. Terrified, Li begins evacuating the village while Po demands to be taught how to utilize chi. Li then admits he lied about knowing how to use chi in order to bring his son home and that all the pandas have forgotten how to use the ability. Hurt by his father's deception, Po isolates himself and trains rigorously to fight Kai, with his self-doubt returning. After talking with Tigress and discovering that Li and the other Pandas have decided to stay and help, Po trains the village to use kung fu. When Kai attacks the village with his jade army, Po's unorthodox forces and tactics initially gain the upper hand. However, when Po uses the Wuxi Finger Hold on Kai, he is told by Kai that the technique only works on mortals. Kai then defeats Po and prepares to take his chi. In a last-ditch effort to save his companions, Po grabs onto Kai and sends them both to the Spirit Realm where they battle again and Kai prepares to take Po's chi. After learning from Po about who they are, Li, Tigress, Mr. Ping and the other pandas use their chi to save Po, causing him to generate a dragon-shaped avatar composed of chi and to destroy Kai by overloading him with the flow of chi from within him.
In the aftermath of the battle, Oogway appears to Po and reveals that Po's journey has come full circle; Oogway reveals that he specifically chose Po as the Dragon Warrior because he is a descendant of the ancient pandas who helped him centuries ago, and that Po is the physical embodiment of the Yin and Yang, a perfect successor to the legacy that Oogway has built. Oogway also reveals that he was responsible for alerting Li Shan to Po's survival and is proud to see how Po has grown and matured. Oogway then presents him with a mystical jade staff to help him return to the mortal world and calls him a master of chi. Upon returning to the Mortal Realm, Po reunites with his family and friends and returns to the Jade Palace, gazing proudly at his legacy and the place where his journey first began. He then instructs the pandas, the kung fu masters, and the residents of the Valley of Peace in giving chi, which spreads good chi across the land.
- IMDb.com – Jack Black
- IMDb.com – Mick Wingert
- The Chinese names are as follows: Mainland China name: 阿宝/阿寶 Ā-bǎo/aa3 bou2; Taiwan name: 阿波 Ā-bō
- In Kung Fu Panda 3, Mr. Ping mentioned that he raised Po for 20 years before Mr. Ping told him he was adopted.
- Revealed in the behind-the-scenes filmmaker commentary on the Kung Fu Panda 3 DVD/Blu-ray.
- In Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Scroll, Po was a teenager 10 years ago.
- "Kung Fu Panda sequel in pipeline". BBC. August 14, 2008. Retrieved September 1, 2008.
- "Po from Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness | Cartoon | Nick.com". www.nick.com. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
- DreamWorksAnimation.com – "Zoo Atlanta and DreamWorks Animation Announce Panda Cub's New Name" Retrieved February 1, 2016