Fan Fic: Memoirs Of A Master
A long Kung Fu Panda Fanfic
written after the release of the first film and Secrets of the Furious Five
Some time after Po had defeated Tai Lung and has been largely fully accepted as the Dragon Warrior, Master Shifu gets a letter and has to leave on a personal matter for two weeks, and tells Po and the Five not to set foot in his personal quarters.
Naturally, their curiosity gets the better of them, although Tigress is of course the most resistant, and they intrude to find their master's room is a mess and he has been writing his personal memoirs. After cleaning it up to justify their intrusion, the gang can't resist reading about their teacher's early life.
What they read is a story about how the precocious youngest son of a rural family of Red Panda rice farmers is picked by Master Oogway to become his student. Eventually, a group of fellow students arrive
and they become an earlier generation version
of the Furious Five who save China from a Mongol invasion (which turns out to be the equal victims of a traitorous Chinese general out to exterminate them and thus sully China's national honor doing so
). On a more personal level, this Five includes Master Yeying, a beautiful and ferocious feline Action Girl
, whom Shifu eventually marries as the fruition of her father's masterful long term plan to keep her from being pushed into an Arranged Marriage
to an old creditor.
Unfortunately, their marriage and this early Five's happy lives are ruined when they are betrayed
in the attempt to save the Emperor of China from a coup. As a result, a new tyrant takes over, Yeying is reported dead, the Five are scattered, and Master Shifu has to take shelter in the Jade Palace for years under the personal protection of Master Oogway from the new Emperor's bids to kill him
Out of his grief, Shifu is on the brink of suicide until he discovers Doorstop Baby
Tai Lung and raises him to be the son he and Yeying never got to have. Initially, Tai Lung raises his father's spirits by becoming a great hero and noble warrior who helps bring down the evil Emperor, only to be sent even further into despair when that snow leopard later went berserk and betrayed his father's values at being denied the Dragon Scroll. This led to him finding and adopting Tigress who was denied the clear love she needed from him in his admittedly well-intentioned efforts to avoid his mistakes with Tai Lung.
All this leads to the moment when the Dragon Warrior was about to be named, the culmination of Master Shifu, Tigress's and the Five's training and sacrifices. However, that is shattered by Po dropping out of the sky to get the honor by apparently pure accident. The rest of the memoir is a transcription of the first film from Shifu's point of view as he first tries to drive away Po, only to learn that the panda truly is the Dragon Warrior and proves it to all.
During this reading, Po and the Five come to a greater realization about their master while Po and Tigress's relationship grows even stronger with this perspective as they realize their love. This comes into play when Shifu returns, and playfully reveals that he wanted them to read those scrolls as a Forbidden Fruit
ploy so he can help them understand him in a way that simply telling couldn't match.
All this climaxes when Po and the Five finally meet all of Shifu's lifelong friends he wrote about and even more so when Master Yeying reappears alive although withered and broken after years of imprisonment, rape and torture, only to find to her incredulous joy that her husband is still rapturously overjoyed to take her back into his home.
With that, Shifu has his family back, finally lets Tigress know he truly loves her like a daughter, now can playfully be the intimidating father for Po who is preparing to marry Tigress and his memoirs are published in a special first edition signed by all
his friends and family.
This work contains examples of:
- Anyone Can Die: Who wasn't in the original movie. And many do.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Zigsa, though he gets better by the time he's made a master and renamed Shan. And then gets worse again.
- Awesome Moment of Crowning: When Oogway dubs the truant Five their Master names after an adventure protecting Shifu's village knowing they would likely be expelled for it.
- Beware the Nice Ones: The evil usurper to the Imperial throne learns that you never, ever, threaten Master Oogway, the supreme master of Kung Fu.
- Blind Kung Fu Warrior: Zigsa.
- Bury Your Gays: Averted with Li and Ren, a gay fox and wolf who are dear friends of Shifu and have had a long and happy secret marriage. In fact, the only complaint from their friends is that their sexual romps are really loud.
- Oddly, no one bothers to mention that they are technically adoptive siblings when introduced.
- Coming-Out Story: Li goes through the struggle of coming out to his friends, considering how homophobic Ancient China is. However, while Shifu is a bit uncomfortable to be considered attractive to the Fox, all of his True Companions turned out to already know and are cool with it, including Ren's dying father and of course Master Oogway, although he never went out and said it.
- Actually Ancient China was more receptive of homosexuality than commonly thought, they even had a deity for homosexual couples.
- Darker and Edgier: And how! The treachery related to the Mongol horde is nothing compared to the coup and its aftermath. The author certainly knew her history when it came to bloodbaths. Understandably, many readers were horrified and almost Rage Quit over this. The author herself expressed shock over how strongly people were affected by what she had written. It's that dark and cruel.
- Deadly Decadent Court: Li and Ren accept posts at the Imperial Court and reveal the court knows about their gay relationship, but with all the perversities going on behind palace walls, it's considered rather mundane and no one gives them any trouble about it.
- It is this which is also at least partly responsible for Shan's fall from grace.
- Death Equals Redemption: Shan.
- Defiled Forever: Master Yeying fears that Shifu would never take her back after her years of imprisonment being tortured and raped and in paranoid hiding, only to find Shifu only cares that he is reunited with his beloved long lost wife after so long and doesn't even let her express this fear completely before saying so.
- Doomed by Canon: Played with. Since none of Shifu's classmates appeared in the movie, it is left to the reader to wonder if they all died or are simply elsewhere in China. The story begins with Shifu getting a letter from Dong Li, but no other clues are given as to who might have survived to the present day. In the end it turns out everyone lived, even the one who was believed dead, they all got to have a last moment with Shan, and they all reunite with Shifu and the Five at the end.
- Dramatic Irony: The thing which was supposed to make Tai Lung feel accepted and honored, being given a family name by the Emperor, ended up leading to his rampage and downfall when it was predicated upon Tai Lung receiving the Dragon Scroll. Also, the thing that was supposed to protect Shifu and Tai Lung from losing each other, the panda distancing himself and no longer calling the snow leopard his son, was the very thing that made Tai Lung think he needed the scroll (and a family name) in the first place. And of course, Tai Lung initially began learning kung fu so as to protect his father. Tai Lung's history is full of these.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: Terbish is at first portrayed this way, particularly in regards to how he treats his son, but he turns out to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Driven to Suicide: Shifu, after losing everything following the coup. He is only stopped from doing so by discovering the abandoned baby Tai Lung.
- The Dutiful Son: Shifu's eldest brother is initially deeply resentful at how his youngest brother has become a mighty and famous kung fu master, but he later gets over it.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: After the very, very brutal events both Shifu and the reader are put through, the story finally ends with everyone reunited and happy. Shan gets to die in peace, Yeying is alive and returns to her husband, Shifu and Tigress become a true father and daughter, Po will likely marry Tigress, and it's even strongly implied Tai Lung will redeem himself. Very much an emotional roller coaster.
- Et Tu, Brute?: The betrayal of Shan, helping to lead the coup that murders the emperor and his family, nearly fighting Shifu to the death, and eventually helping to slay the entire snow leopard clan of Mount Tai Shan. At the same time, Shan himself views Shifu's refusal to join him and instead fighting him as an equally awful betrayal. Many readers felt the same stomach-turning horror at learning of this as Shifu did. Vachir later feels the same way about Tai Lung after his rampage, since they had initially been war buddies.
- Everybody's Dead, Dave: The ultimate result of the coup. The entire royal family? Dead except for one last heir. All of the warriors Shifu has to leave behind to Rong Lang, including Jian Qiang and Terbish? Dead except for Yeying who was left to Cold-Blooded Torture. All of Shifu's family and old village? Dead. All of the snow leopards of Mount Tai Shan, whom Shan blamed for the loss of the woman he loved and whom Lang hated after Shan turned on him? Dead except for Tai Lung. Is it any wonder Shifu wanted to die?
- Everyone Went to School Together: Justified, since Oogway was the premier Kung Fu instructor in the empire.
- Expy: In-story, Shifu initially feared Tai Lung was this of Shan because he believed they were father and son. Although he was wrong about the blood tie, it turned out he was right about Tai Lung's future, albeit for completely different reasons.
- Family-Unfriendly Violence: While the reader isn't directly shown what happens (other than the death of the emperor's wife), the bloodiness of the coup is literally testified to by Shan's wrist ties, which were once white and are now completely red. To say nothing of the slaughter of Qiang, Terbish, and their men, Shifu's village and family, and the snow leopard clan. Despite happening off-screen, the revelation of these deaths is played with such drama and tragedy to feel as if they were witnessed.
- Family Versus Career: In the end, Master Yeying is withered and partially broken by all her terrible years since being separated from Shifu, but she's happy at not only having her husband back who loves her just as much as before, but also having children at long last after a fashion with the Furious Five gladly volunteering in that role. This especially goes for Tigress, a beloved daughter she insists on addressing by her old name and is delighted to have her planning to marry the very lovable Po the Dragon Warrior. Whether she will resume teaching or practicing kung fu is never made clear, but her condition may make the point moot.
- Fantastic Racism: Aside from the way Red Claw feels about the Huns (Truth in Television for many in the empire at that time), there is the way snow leopards are viewed as terrifying avatars of death due to being so distant, aloof, and living high in the cold mountains where so many travelers lose their lives—or else hated due to the ongoing enmity between the Mandarins and the Tibetans. This is later exploited by Rong Lang when he claims the Emperor was behind the plague that slew Shan's clan, and was oppressing the snow leopards, to get him to aid in the coup.
- A Father to His Men: Jian Qiang and, it turns out, Terbish. Ochir follows in his father's tradition.
- Fire-Forged Friends: Tai Lung and Vachir were this when they first met in battle, which makes the Rhino's later hate for the Leopard after his murderous rampage all the more heartbreaking.
- Foregone Conclusion: Tai Lung will not earn the Dragon Scroll.
- From Bad to Worse: Shifu's attempt to compensate for the loss of his wife by raising and training Tai Lung, which makes his betrayal even more bitter.
- Go Through Me: Oogway bluntly tells Yeying's mother that there is no way he is going to let her daughter leave her kung fu training to submit to the torturous foot binding and if her father has a problem with that, he's welcome to fight Master Oogway, the supreme grandmaster of kung fu, to settle the issue.
- Handicapped Badass: Zigsa.
- Hidden Elf Village: The snow leopard clan of Mount Tai Shan.
- Karma Houdini: Some might see Miao Li as this, since it was her suggestion that Shifu stop calling Tai Lung his son to protect him from Rong Lang that led to Tai Lung thinking he needed the Dragon Scroll to earn his father's love (and a family name), which in turn was why he snapped and rampaged when denied it. While she did lose Yeying, this happened before making that suggestion, and she died without ever seeing the horrible consequences of her advice.
- Mama Bear: Master Yeying may be older and withered at the end of the story, but the second she learns how Shifu treated Tigress, she roars that her husband speak to his adopted daughter that very night and tell her that he truly loves her like the daughter she deserves to be.
- Mature Animal Story: While it's based on a family film, this story plays to its adult fandom with sexual tension, bloody violence, rough language and wrenching emotional drama.
- One Degree of Separation: The Wu Sisters turn out to be Shan's daughters.
- Politically Correct History: All the heroes, especially Master Oogway, are revolted by the traditional Chinese treatment of females, especially the traditional footbinding.note However, it was justified concerning Shifu, having grown up in a traditional rural family, getting his tail kicked by Yeying when they were children when he sneered at the idea of a girl learning Kung Fu. That said, he gets much better and is later the first to want to defend Yeying who is feeling pressured to return home and submit to such treatment.
- Pun: Miao Li, the Tonkinese cat. Sound out her family name, Miao...
- Replacement Goldfish: The big issue Tigress has with Master Shifu adapting her as essentially a replacement for Tai Lung.
- Second Place Is for Losers: While Oogway turned down Tai Lung as the Dragon Warrior, he was planning to dub him Master of the Thousand Scrolls for his unprecedented feat mastering them. However, whether Tai Lung would have been satisfied by this would never be known as he was starting his spiteful rampage at that moment.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Jian Qiang and Miao Li.
- Stay in the Kitchen: Shifu confessed when Yeying insisted on help Zigza get villagers to safety from the upcoming battle, he was secretly relieved considering he didn't want to worry about her being carried off by a Mongol during the fighting. Of course, he would never admit to her since he knew how insulted she would be.
- Team Mom: Master Yeying, especially after her return decades later.
- Unwanted False Faith: Master Oogway is honored in China, but in Mongolia, he is considered a god. Of course, he wants none of that from any Mongol.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Ochir. And he does get to finally learn (albeit indirectly, and when it is too late) that his father is So Proud of You.
- Who's on First?: Referenced in the villager, Hu, who first appears when Shifu is young, only to have Li presciently claim the joke about his name would "last for centuries" and is later encountered by a young Tai Lung when he visits the village, leading to a very familiar exchange. Hu is later killed in Tai Lung's rampage.