Surprisingly enough, for a movie like this, there are a few examples:
- Everything involving Pacha and his family.
- Including Kronk acting as if they are family — saying "Let's not wait 'till the next family reunion to get together."
- Also, Kronk apparently genuinely bonding with Pacha's kids over jump rope.
- Pacha lending Kuzco his poncho.
- And at the end of the film, Chicha presents Kuzco with a homemade poncho of his own.
- Followed by Kuzco getting hugs from her, Pacha, and the kids, showing that he is pretty much considered one of the family now.
- Kuzco accidentally (or not) saving Pacha from falling off a cliff. "Don't read too much into it."
- During the climax, he chooses to save Pacha (for real) than get the vial. That is true Character Development right there.
- When Kuzco apologizes to Pacha after learning the truth about Yzma's plot to kill him. Just when Kuzco has resigned himself to being a llama permanently, he accidentally stumbles upon Pacha, who's telling his llamas the story of how Kuzco saved his life earlier. To his surprise, the latter doesn't chew him out or say "I told you so", but simply smiles, politely waves off the apology from Kuzco that he didn't require, and asks, "So, you tired of being a llama?"
Kuzco: (bawling) "YEH-HEH-HEH-HESS!!" *sniff*
- Watch Kuzco apologizing to the old man who he had thrown out the window at the beginning of the film.
Old Man: Oh now you stop being so hard on yourself. All is forgiven.Kuzco: You're sure?Old Man: Oh it's not the first time I've been thrown out a window, and it won't be the last. What can I say, I'm a rebel.Kuzco: Okay buddy, take care. (Chuckling to himself after the man leaves) Heh, he's a sweet guy.
- Kuzco agreeing to build his summer home next door to Pacha's house.
Kuzco: So, you... lied to me.Pacha: I did?Kuzco: Yeah, you said when the sun hits this ridge just right, these hills sing. Well, pal, I was dragged all over those hills and I did not hear any singing. So, I'll be building my summer home on a more magical hill, thank you.Pacha: Heh. Couldn't pull the wool over your eyes huh?Kuzco: No, no, I'm sharp, I'm on it. Looks like you and your family are stuck on the tuneless hilltop forever, pal.Pacha: ...You know, I think I heard some singing on the hill next to us. *Beat* In case you're interested.
- What sells it is that Kuzco, being...well, Kuzco, can't just come out and apologize. He's doing it, but he's doing it in his own way, just to remind us that this is still the same guy who was about to destroy his (now) best friend's village.
- While racing back to the palace, Kuzco seems worried about Pacha's family and questions if it was a good idea to leave Chicha and the kids behind to distract Kronk and Yzma. It's a small sign that he's finally developing empathy.
- Yzma gets a small Pet the Dog moment when she allows the distraught mook who has been turned into a cow to go home early.
- When Yzma furiously insults Kronk's spinach puffs and Kronk begins to tear up, we see his shoulder angel give him a small pat on the cheek.
- Even the shoulder devil takes offense at the insult.