Daddy's Girl: She joins the army because she loves her father and knows that he will die if he returns to the battlefield.
Determinator A list of things that failed to stop her: Boot Camp, a long boring march, an avalanche, abandonment in a mountain, The Leader of the Huns himself...
Epic Fail: Supposed to prove herself ready for marriage and the management of a household. Dumps tea on the matchmaker's head after setting her on fire.
Establishing Character Moment: Mulan shows she is resourceful and clever by having her dog feed the chickens so she has time to get changed. Also, she is shown resorting to cheating and shows a lack of grace, even before meeting the matchmaker, suggesting that life as a trophy wife will not properly fulfill her destiny.
Expy: Fa Mulan is based on actress, Gong Li and the Hua Mulan of Chinese legend.
Femininity Failure: She screws up the traditionally feminine "matchmaker" process. To be fair it was not completely her fault; the cricket shares partial responsibility.
Guile Heroine: While she achieves a degree of martial skill, her greatest achievements are by her wits. For example, using the canon to trigger an avalanche and wipe out the entire army instead of Shan Yu.
She Cleans Up Nicely: Not that she wasn't good-looking before, but she looks really nice in her matchmaker ceremony dress. On an unkinder note, the matchmaker says that looking like a bride is the only attribute she has.
Smart People Play Chess: Mulan makes a move on a Chinese chess board belonging to two old guys during the matchmaker scene.
Technical Pacifist: Very technical, since she's a soldier who kills people on purpose. Still, with the Big Bad right in front of her, Mulan uses the sword she's holding for every purpose but the one it was built for.
Thou Shalt Not Kill: Surprisingly averted for a Disney hero. In fact, Mulan currently holds the highest kill count out of any single Disney character.
Well Done Daughter Girl: Her motivation for both the the matchmaking ceremony and the army campaign is to make her dad proud. It's clear from the start that he was already proud of her and spells it out at the end.
What Could Have Been: It was suggested to make Mulan go to war to get glory but the idea was discarded to avoid making her selfish.
Yamato Nadeshiko: Tried to be one in the beginning, with disastrous results. While she's not super ladylike she fits the "core of steel" and "devotion to her family" parts perfectly - after all, the reason why she went to war as a man was not to get glory or escape her family situation, but to save her aging father from sure death.
A little dragon and Mulan's companion. He was once a guardian spirit of Mulan's family, but he has been demoted to the humiliating position of an incense burner and gong-ringer for the deceased Fa ancestors ever since he failed to protect a family member. He hopes to make Mulan a hero in order to become a guardian spirit again.
Aesop Amnesia: In the first movie, Mushu laments that he took on the mission for his own sake. What does he do in the second? Try to sabotage Mulan's engagement for his own sake.
Character Development: Gradual, but once Mulan hits rock bottom it becomes abundantly clear just how much he has grown to genuinely care for her and to display the insight he's gained about the severity of his selfish motives.
Mushu: The truth is, we're both frauds. Your ancestors didn't send me, they don't even like me. I mean, you risked your life for people you love. I risked your life to help myself. At least you had good intentions...
Off Model: A special variant. In the scene where he and Mulan along with Shang, Cri-Kee and Khan are being pulled to safety by Chien-Po, the tip of his tail is purple instead of red. That was actually put in on purpose for the one animator who wanted him to have a purple tail instead of a red one.
Silent Snarker: He doesn't even have to say a word. You can just tell by looking at Khan that he's silently snarking up a storm.
Undying Loyalty: To Mulan. He was prepared to go into the middle of a raging avalanche to go save her!!
Not to mention that when Mulan was under threat of decapitation, he started to charge to her rescue and had to be forcibly restrained.
Justified as Real Life horses have been known to go to great lengths to save their humans, often times at the cost of their own lives. This isn't seen very often, but when a horse develops a bond with a human, there is nothing on heaven or earth that will keep them apart.
Li-Shang (BD Wong, Donny Osmond)
"I'll make a man out of you!"
A Chinese army captain and the son of General Li, the head of the Chinese army.
Debt Detester: Shang saves Mulan's life after she dishonors the Chinese army in return for her saving his life during the Mongol attack.
Determinator: Your father just got slaughtered by the Huns? Lead your men against the much stronger invaders. The Huns survived AN AVALANCHE and just absconded with the Emperor? Break down the door! Just woke up, because your last fight with Shan Yu got you a concussion? Fight him again, because Mulan's right behind you. Complaintswhere they are, the guy can still back up his rank.
Disney Death: In Mulan 2 due a Heroic Sacrifice and others thinking it killed him.
Drill Sergeant Nasty: "You're a spineless, pale pathetic lot.....but somehow I'll make a man out of you." Subverted in that he's ultimately one of the good guys.
Friend to All Children: Implied during his interaction with girls Mulan was training and saying that there could be as many children at his and Mulan's wedding in the sequel.
Heroic Sacrifice: In the sequel. It involves a breaking rope bridge, Mulan trying to hold them both up as they dangle from a rope, and the rope about to snap. To Mulan's horror, he lets go so that she can pull herself up, and it takes her awhile to learn that he survives the fall.
Jerkass Ball: Happens to him in the sequel because of the stereotypical 'men won't ask for directions' bit. He reverts to normal by the climax.
Mr. Fanservice: Mulan can't keep her eyes off him because he takes his shirt off for the Training Montage. According to the DVD commentary, when the scene was screened, "you never heard so many female animators catcall."
Official Couple: Proposes to Mulan in the sequel and they marry by the end.
"I'll get that arrow, pretty boy. And I'll do it with my shirt on."
Eye Scream: Less violent than some other examples we could list, but Yao has one of his eyes permanently blacked out.
Freudian Trio: Ling is the Superego (flirting and the one who does the formal introductions), Chien-Po is the Ego (mediator who calms them down), and Yao is the Id (Violent, impulsive, etc).
Gentle Giant: Chien-Po is a Nice Guy from the start, and recites a Buddhist mantra to calm Yao down when he gets into a rage. As forementioned, Yao is contrast is short and rather impulsive, though he's a hero as well.
Good Parents: He genuinely loves his daughter and is extremely distressed when she leaves to take his place in the army.
Handicapped Badass: Deconstructed. He still has the same will and the same skill as his younger days but his crippled leg means he can't perform like he used to. Judging by the way he clutches his chest when Mulan spies on him, he may also have heart problems. This is further supported by Mulan reciting his doctor's prescription of three cups of tea in the morning and three at night, which is clearly being used medicinally.
Happily Married: To Fa Li. He gives Mulan and Shang 'ying yang' advice in the sequel.
Open Minded Parent: Considering the time period, he's very accepting of Mulan's personality and does his best to reassure his daughter after her poor performance at the matchmaker's. He's also very proud of Mulan's status as a war-hero at the end.
Retired Badass: Served in the army during his younger years. Both Li-Shang and Chi-Fu respect his name when "Ping" claims to be his son.
So Proud of You: To Mulan, when she returns as a war-hero with the blessings and respect of the Emperor himself.
Warrior Poet: Skillfully draws a metaphor between the late-blooming flower and Mulan.
Fa Li (Freda Foh Shen)
"You must go after her. She could be killed!"
Cool Old Lady: In the parenting way. She always tries to understand her daughter. And accepts all the same.
Good Parents: Similar to her husband and mother-in-law, Fa Li does not berate her daughter after she fails at the matchmaker's and appears genuinely upset and concerned for Mulan afterwards. She's also very scared for Mulan's safety after she leaves for the army.
Badass Beard: Four of them — the First Ancestor, the guy with the abacus, the guy that sits in the background behind said guy with abacus, and the guy that goes, "Don't look at me! She [Mulan] gets it from your side of the family!" However, only the First Ancestor can be called 'badass'.
Took a Level in Jerkass: Debatable, to Mushu in the sequel, where they treat him with even less respect than they did when he was a failure. May be justified, since Mushu's egoism over Mulan's success has given him a level or two in Jerkass himself.
Chi Fu (James Hong)
A member of the Emperor's consul and advisor to Li Shang who refuses to allow the recruits to join the battle against the Huns.
Effeminate Misogynistic Guy: Chi-Fu is a Non-Action Guy known for his Girly Scream, yet when told that Mulan is a hero he simply says "'tis a woman, she'll never be worth anything." Granted, there is some room for interpreting this as contempt for Mulan as an individual, but still...
Girlfriend in Canada: Chi Fu claims he has an amazing girl back home. The sideways glance he gives the other soldiers implies he's just lying to impress the other guys.
Hate Sink: He's rude, arrogant, obstructive, misgoynistic and provides no help against the Huns.
Jerkass: The only person he is not rude is the emperor himself.
Establishing Character Moment: When told his armies will protect him, he declared that the armies should also go out to protect his people, showing that he is a benevolent ruler. He also shows wisdom and caution with his "grain" of rice' line.
The Good King: This is his establishing character moment and cardinal trait.
No Name Given: "Your majesty", "Your Excellency", etc is all we get.
Nice Guy: All signs point that he is just as affable in his personal life as he is in public matters.
Nice Hat: One similar to (but nicer than) Chi-Fu's.
Papa Wolf: To Imperial China. When he gives the "protect my people" line it is the same tone as 'protect my children'.
Reasonable Authority Figure: He recognizes the possibility that his standing army may lose to the huns and so calls up new recruits. Also, while he is furious at Mulan's many transgressions, he recognizes the good she has done.
Shipper on Deck: He tries to be subtle about how Shang should go after Mulan, but Shang doesn't get it, so he goes straight to the point.
Shan-Yu (Miguel Ferrer)
"By building his wall, he challenged my strength. Well, I'm here to play his game."
The Leader of the Huns who is bent on conquering China.
Animal Eyes: His eyes are hawk-like black and yellow. (In contrast to his falcon having human-like eyes of the same color.)
The Berserker: While normally cold and collected, he really loses it when his plans are foiled. YMMV as to whether this counts as a Villainous Breakdown since he recovers from it, and due to his fairly bestial appearance the before/after difference is less pronounced than in most villainous breakdowns.
Big Bad: He is the leader of the huns and the one directing the invasion.
Black Eyes of Crazy: His irises are yellow, but his pupils and the "whites" of his eyes are black. Unusual example in that this is actually his eye colour, and consequently they stay this way all the time, even when he is totally calm, rather than turning this colour when he loses it.
Blood Knight: His first two scenes suggest him to be this (see Establishing Character Moment below), and he later confirms it when he rejects a suggestion to avoid the Imperial army rather than meet them in combat. Shortly before the avalanche wipes out his army he personally leads the charge against the heroes, and is so far in front of his horde that it is very clear he wants to fight them himself.
Character Death: Mulan uses one rocket to send him flying into a stockpile of fireworks.
The Dreaded: Though the Emperor himself is too dignified to have a true Oh Crap moment, his expression and actions when General Li says the Huns are being led by Shan Yu shows that he is aware that China could be in a lot of trouble.
Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: If you match the story up to Real Life and accept that the "Huns" are in fact the Xiongnu, Shan Yu is not the villian name but his TITLE (also represented as Chanyu, and in either event roughly translates to "Majesty Son of Heaven").
Faux Affably Evil: The doll scene. The subtext of "The little girl will be missing her doll...we should return it to her" is clearly 'let's murder her and raze her village to the ground while we're at it'. He also kills General Li and his soldiers during the massacre of said village.
Four-Star Badass: He is the supreme leader of his army, and he personally leads the attacks. When we finally see him in action it is clear that he is extremelyBadass
Generic Doomsday Villain: Sure, he's menacing and scary but compared to the other Disney Renaissance villains, his personality is much more bland.
Genius Bruiser: Tactically speaking he is brilliant and physically speaking he is dangerous.
A third when Mulan reveals that she is the soldier who caused the avalanche.
Politically Incorrect Villain: Averted/Inverted; he's one of the few male characters in the film who never outright says anything sexist towards Mulan. Granted, there wasn't really time for anything like that, but still...
Soft Spoken Sadist: The only time he raised his voice is when the emperor refused to bow to him.
Skyward Scream: When he realizes that the avalanche wiped out almost all of his army.
Villain Respect: As far as he was concerned, Mulan was just some no-name Red Shirt when they met on the mountain pass. However, when he finds out who she is, he drops everything to defeat "The Soldier from the Mountains."
Arranged Marriage: The main conflict in the sequel is that to help avert a war, the princesses have an arrange marriage. Problem is they want to Marry for Love. Thanks to Mushu, the princesses get out of the wedding, avert a war, and marry for love.
Big Sister Instinct: When the carriage was about to fall in the river, the princesses were stuck inside. Mei was safely pulled out, leaving Ting-Ting and Su inside. Almost immediately Ting-Ting grabbed Su and tossed her outside, knowing that one of the guards would catch her.
Freudian Trio: Ting-Ting is the Superego (will do the arranged marriage because it's her duty to do so), Su is the Ego (she wants to marry for true love, but also understands that doing so will cause a lot of problems), and Mei is the Id (was planning to run away from the arrangement, even though it meant a possible war).
Genki Girl: Mei and Su are very energetic and appear more so next to the more reserved Ting-Ting.
Graceful Ladies Like Purple: Ting-Ting's signature dress is purple and she produces an air of "queenliness" (understandable, since she's the oldest and thus is next in line for the throne after their father).
Happily Married: What they really wanted and each of them get with Yao, Ling, Chien-Po.
Jerkass Has a Point: Mulan isn't an impressive bride-to-be: cheats, spills tea on the table, and set the poor woman on fire. She doesn't do it intentionally, and there was a cricket but she did get set on fire, while Mulan was supposed to be proving her best mettle as a wife.
Large and in Charge: Effectively controls these young women's futures, and is definitely not fun-sized.
Real Women Have Curves: In-universe. She believes this since she says that Mulan is too skinny and her body type will not be good for bearing sons.
Take That: Mulan's relationship with Shang and her war-hero status could be considered a subtle form of this towards the matchmaker since she'd originally said that Mulan was a disgrace and would never bring her family honor.