Po (Kung Fu Panda)

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Po
Kung Fu Panda character
First appearance Kung Fu Panda
Created by Mark Osborne
John Stevenson
Voiced by Jack Black (films, TV specials)[1]
Mick Wingert (TV series, video games)[2]
Information
Nickname(s) Dragon Warrior, Master Po, Panda
Species Giant panda
Gender Male
Occupation Kung Fu
Family Mr. Ping (adoptive father)
Unnamed panda mother and father
Significant other(s) Tigress
Nationality Chinese
Friends Shifu
Tigress
Crane
Viper
Monkey
Mantis
Oogway
Mei Li
Bian Zao
Chao
<Song>/>Peng
Combat Style Improvised
"Panda Style"
Enemies Tai Lung
Shen
Scorpion
Fung
Gah-Ri
Lidong
Temutai
Jing Mei
Taotie
Bian Zao (formerly)
Jong Sung Jai Kai Chow
Tong Fo
Fenghuang
Junjie
Hundun
Bao
Lao
Tsao
Wu Kong
Meng Tao
General Tsin
Ke-Pa
Heilang
Pai Mei
Kira
Fu-xi

Master Po Ping (more commonly known simply as Po and Master Po) is a title character and the protagonist of the Kung Fu Panda franchise. He is the 25 year old (29 in Kung Fu Panda 2) giant panda who is improbably chosen as the Dragon Warrior, champion of the Valley of Peace in the first film.[3] He's 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's revealed to have the ability to be able to learn kung fu at a glance.[4] Po is also the team leader of the Furious Five, although that is not properly part as his other companions he is considered as a second master after Shifu.

The character has received largely positive critical reception, reaching influence to serve as the other characters, video games and movies in the media.[5]

Backstory[edit]

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, 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.

Personality[edit]

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 gorged on food to dull the pain.

His main interest lies in Kung Fu, of which he has 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. 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 slobish 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 personality can perhaps be compared to that of a fan of Kung Fu movies. 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 and treats them more like heroes and celebrities rather than teachers and authority figures, which initially caused the Furious Five to feel like he thinks of them as entertainment. It wasn't until they put aside their expectations of the Dragon Warrior that they finally accept him as a good person and friend, rather than a disrespectful student who doesn't take things seriously.

Appearances[edit]

Kung Fu Panda[edit]

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 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 always lies within the person himself/herself, and that he/she need to believe it was special, as long as he/she stick to it well.

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.

Secrets of the Furious Five[edit]

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.

Kung Fu Panda Holiday[edit]

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.

Kung Fu Panda 2[edit]

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. Po 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 is still alive, living in a panda hideout with the other villagers and he finally senses that his son is alive.

Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness[edit]

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 unhelpful, heartless, abusive, mean, selfish, manipulative, mischievous, cruel and uncaring (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.

References[edit]

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