Panda-ing to the Audience
Proof that not all Bears Are Bad News
. Given the iconic status of pandas, it's not surprising that they turn up a lot in media, especially while looking cute
Apart from their striking black and white fur, the black spots around their eyes gives them an appealing sleepy look that seems to match their adorably clumsy behavior. Furthermore considering that they are often seen lounging about, peacefully eating plants instead of hunting, it makes them seem so innocent. In addition, they are one of the few animals who have a protruding bone in each paw that acts as an opposable thumb to grasp objects, giving their eating habits an appealingly human-like appearance.
As a side note, until very recently, pandas weren't even considered to be bears. Zoologists were debating whether they (the pandas) were more closely related to bears or raccoons up until DNA stepped in to settle the question -- just in the past decade or so
. But even today, some people will still incorrectly call someone out if they refer to pandas as bears.
Finally, just in case you're Too Dumb to Live
, cute as they are...do not try to cuddle a real life panda
. Unless you're Shaq.◊
Pandas may look cute and cuddly, but they are still bears. Very mean bears.
However when they are young and in a good mood, just you try to resist them when they approach you
. More recent depictions of panda characters in popular culture seem to be subverting the usual "passive and cuddly" persona the panda has built up over the years by depicting them as any other sort of bear... Or at least one that somehow knows how to use Martial Arts
This could've been named "Everything's Better With Pandas", but the pun was too obvious
Not to be confused with the controversial practiced of pandering — sorry, pandaingnote
— to the Chinese audience by making films designed to pass through their censors
and not get Banned in China
. See also Yet Another Baby Panda
and What Measure Is a Non-Cute?
(one reason pandas get so much more attention than similarly endangered animals.)
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- Ranma ˝ has a subversion in Genma Saotome, who frequently claims to be just a big cute panda, but really is a fat old human scam artist
- Even Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata got in on the action with Panda Go Panda
- Panda Z Robot Panda Made of Win!
- Azumanga Daioh: Concernin' pandas... is it black spots on white, or is it white spots on a black background?
- May Chang from Fullmetal Alchemist has a pet midget panda (Shao May) which is frequently mistaken for an oddly-colored cat.
- Said panda nearly bit off Yoki's arm at the elbow after he tried to steal from May Chang. Keep in mind that Shao May is a very small panda.
- Panda, while he is a hamster, looks like his namesake in Hamtaro.
- Gantz has an alien-hunting baby panda named Hoi Hoi.
- Not only does he function as the Team Pet after losing the Butter Dog, the thing proves that, although cute, it can still kick serious ass, gaining 40 points before disappearing somewhere.
- Great Teacher Onizuka: Saejima is illegally importing giant pandas into Japan. Saejima tries to convince Onizuka that the pandas are really advanced robot toys.
- China and Hong Kong from Axis Powers Hetalia definitely love their panda companions.
- In Excel Saga, Excel and Hyatt must escort the T10000, a robotic bomb designed to go off in downtown F-City. Hyatt suggests the robot is too obvious, so they end up disguising it as a panda. It works the wrong way, since it attracts more people.
- In One Piece there is Pandaman - a recurring character inserted into backgrounds. And he is Badass◊.
- Pandaikon from Nerima Daikon Brothers is not only the mascot of the team and occasional mastermind behind the day being saved, but he is also the object of desire of no less than two characters of a recurring cast of five.
- Pandalian is an anime chock-full of pandas.
- Pain in the rear or just plain adorable, Panda from Polar Bear Cafe is one of the most naturally depicted pandas outside of documentaries.
- In Yakitate Japan, Mokoyama disguised himself as a panda for his second rematch with Azuma. He lost to Azuma, but he became a real panda.
- Subverted in Naruto. While Pain has a panda summon, most wouldn't consider it even remotely cute, with several large piercings, Rinnegan eyes, and a frozen snarl showing triangular, saw-like teeth.
- The ultimate subversion: Death Panda, in which the antagonist is a amoral, perverted, sick creature that indulges in three things: murder, rape and eating. And having a crush on it's archenemy.
- The Jewelpet Rald.
- Panda Khan, which was about a bunch of anthro Chinese pandas. The bad guy was the Lord of Death, who for some reason was the only human-looking character.
- Usagi Yojimbo has Lord Noriyuki, a child-lord who is protected by Usagi's friend and comrade Tomoe Ame.
- The italian strips A Panda Piace... (Panda Likes...). The answer is a lot of silly things.
- Wolverine was shocked to discover that his spirit guide animal is a talking panda. He naturally assumed it would be a wolverine. The panda retorts that wolverines are too busy being angry to be spirit animals. Logan insults the panda by calling it cuddly. Then the panda and Logan fight. The panda wins.
- The minor Spider-Man villain Panda-Mania.
- Kung Fu Panda was evidently an attempt to cash-in on this trope. It worked.
- Warner Bros.' 1995 film The Amazing Panda Adventure
- Tropic Thunder qualifies, in that Tugg Speedman loves pandas and does conservation work for them. Since the film runs on Refuge in Audacity, he ends up accidentally killing one and later wears its head as a camouflage hat.
Tugg Speedman: I killed one, Rick... the thing I love most in the world.
Rick Peck: A hooker. Oh Jesus, you killed a hooker!
Tugg: No, a panda!
Rick: Amanda? That's probably not even her real name.
- The Tropic Thunder example is more accurately a subversion, since Tugg's reason for killing the panda is that it is ferociously attacking him and he is afraid of it. In fact, it's not even revealed that this fierce animal is a panda until after it's been killed.
- In Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, the first panda birth in the San Diego Zoo is Serious Business.
- (Almost) Truth in Television; people who live in San Diego are well aware that the local news stations do seem to love them some pandas.
- Vince McCain from Fierce Creatures imported a (robot) panda to the zoo. It is later seen with an "out of order" sign.
- But again, we're reminded that real life pandas can be quite aggressive. When Vince walked into the Panda pen for the first time, the staff members were all terrified because they thought the panda was real and about to attack.
- Mushu and Cri-Kee actually threatened Chi Fu with a bunraku-puppet mounted on top of a panda in one scene from Mulan.
Mushu: (inside the puppet) What's the matter? Never seen a black-and-white before?
- In Mulan II, Yao's gift to Mei is a stuffed panda.
- The title of Lynne Truss' book, Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation, is a reference to a joke on poor punctuation: A panda walks into a cafe and orders a sandwich. After the panda has eaten his meal, he takes out a gun and shoots several holes in the ceiling. As the panda begins to leave, the waiter cries out, "What was that for?" in regard to the shootings. The panda tosses a wildlife guide to the waiter. The waiter reads the guide, and it says, "Panda. Black-and-white mammal native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."
- The Berenstain Bears New Neighbors deals with new neighbors, specifically Pandas. Fantastic Racism becomes this to Papa Bear while the others are okay with them.
- The A-to-Z Mysteries series has The Panda Puzzle, in which the three protagonists search for a missing baby panda bear.
- In Spirit Animals, we have Jhi the Panda, one of the fifteen Great Beasts and patron of the realm of Zhong. An Actual Pacifist with healing abilities, which causes some friction with her Action Girl Kung-Fu Kid partner Meilin.
- The song "The pandas must die" by Corky and the Juice Pigs is built on the shock value of contradicting this trope.
- Tao,a member of K-Pop Boyband Exo,is known as 'panda' to the fans due to his under eye circles
- Tekken has a female panda character, named Panda. She's highly intelligent for a Panda, learned a bear-style martial arts and serves as the bodyguard of the resident Anime Chinese Girl, Xiaoyu (who's no slouch by herself, by the way). And has a hilarious relationship with a male grizzly bear, Kuma (he loves her, but she ignores him, then hilarity usually ensues.)
- The Pandaren in Warcraft III. Rumor had it, for quite some time, that they didn't appear in World of Warcraft due to sensibilities and marketing the game in China, in that China's national animal was originally depicted in the style of a Samurai, which is Japanese. They were made a playable race in the fourth Expansion Pack: Mists of Pandaria. Nevertheless, the fanbase is very broken about it.
- And in the fangame Defense Of The Ancients, there are two heroes based on the above Pandaren race: Mangix (Brewmaster) and Raijin Thunderkegg (Storm Spirit). They got less-Panda models when Dota 2 was released.
- Pandas are notably absent in Guild Wars (in particular, the Far East Factions campaign) allegedly due to Chinese laws. There are a couple pandas in the game, but they have Gameplay Ally Immortality; pandas also exist as minipets.
- That's no longer the case. As of the Beyond: Winds of Change storyline, it is now possible to acquire a panda as Ranger pet, and it can be temporarily killed in battle.
- Zigzagged in the Sly Cooper series. In his first appearence, The Panda King was very much an aversion, thanks to his use of his skills as a fireworks artist to extort from the villages around his compound, as well as being a member of the gang that murdered Sly's dad and stole the Thievius Raccoonus and was an enemy to the cooper gang. In the third installment however, he undergoes a heel face turn and is shown to be be still a bit grumpy, but has renounced violence and is generally good-natured and mellow, not to mention a VERY loving father...which leads to him becoming the Cooper Gang's demo specialist, after Sly helps rescue his daugther.
- Lao Jiu, a magical mini-panda, is Litchi Faye-Ling's mascot, pet, and hairclip in BlazBlue. Cute enough to distract one opponent, and fond of spending time in Litchi's Secret Compartment.
- Spinda is the Pokémon variant of this. Interestingly, though they are shaped more like giant pandas, their coloration is more akin to that of the raccoon-like red panda.
- Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard has a blue-eyed panda as one of the four options for the Beast class. (The other choices being a brown bear, a wolf, and a sabertoothed white tiger... which are all functionally the same.)
- Wii Fit features a game where you have to shift your body weight to head footballs. You to avoid flying boots- and panda costume heads.
- In Digimon World DS, Pandamon (Monzaemon painted to look like a panda) is the only digimon in the game that you encounter at the end of a level that you WILL NOT FIGHT. EVER. Rather, he asks you some questions about Digimon that are insultingly easy to see if you're worthy of helping him with the question that perplexes him. Apparently, he couldn't get a multiple choice question, even though there are only two possible answers.
- The Monster Rancher series has Mewnda, who is a hybrid of a Mew and a Pancho monster. It looks like a stuffed panda toy. Initially this seems kind of weird—Mew is a cat, and Pancho is a cute bug living in a giant pumpkin—but makes sense as a pun. Panda, Pancho.
- Pankichi, the mascot character in Getter Love!! "Panda Love Unit" is the name of the group of girls involved in the game (not including Reika, of course). The game is set in a town called Panda Town (complete with Panda Burger, Panda Park, Panda Game Corner, etc.), Ayumi keeps a Pankichi doll at home, Reika gives you a Pankichi doll as a gift, and panda angels or devils appear when certain item cards are used or after a girl accepts or rejects an "I love you". Oh, and there's also a Chinese exchange student as one of the girls, and a Chinese restaurant on the map. China, native country of pandas, not likely a coincidence.
- The French MMORPGs Dofus and Wakfu have the Pandawa class, a race of anthro pandas. Anthro Ninja Pandas that attack by getting drunk and setting parts of their body on fire.
- CaptainGerBear's ChubPan is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a chub panda.
- Bamboo Pandamonium from Mega Man X8 chucks grenades and launches bamboo rockets (yes, really). You don't want him to hug you, it does massive damage.
- Overlord II has pandas, who are definitely not nice. Harm the bamboo they eat and you have several tons of angry panda rushing to rip you to pieces. Worst part? If you want to advance you must break down bamboo blocking your way.
- The King of All Cosmos would "like to become an adorable panda in everyone's hearts and minds" in Katamari Damacy.
- Also in We ♥ Katamari, there is a fan who requests many expensive items to be rolled up, so that they can buy strawberries and feed them to pandas, so that they'll become red pandas.
- Teemo, a character from League of Legends, got a panda costume with a bamboo blowpipe. Annie also gets a costume where she turns her pet bear Tibbers into a panda, while wearing a panda-ish costume herself. All that the game lacks is a costume that turns champion Volibear into Volipanda.
- The Kooma Panda in Kingdom Hearts 3D. They're the game's obligatory Smash Mook, and perhaps one of the most troublesome variants of it in the entire series, due to being surprisingly quick on its feet for its size and able to strike from quite a distance away. On the plus side, they can be your allies, too.
- Curtis the Panda from Carnival Island. He lettered appeared as a minion in Playstation All Stars Battle Royale.
- Google's autonomous problem-solving AI, CADIE, examined the whole internet and designed a personal site from mean variables. It was brightly coloured and flashed, and full of pictures of pandas.
- Since CADIE has been revealed to be an April Fools' hoax, the page design must be a Google programmer's comment on this trope.
- Horribly, horribly subverted by Snoofles in Forbiden Fruit: The Tempation of Edward Cullen
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series has one baby panda in the cast. It plays card-games and has an Egyptian Pharaoh living in it's body... And is not actually a panda at all, but still, the trope's invoked.
- The mascot for web-only Puzzles & Answers Magazine. Why? Well, the magazine goes by P&A from which its web address derives.
- An anti-virus software called... Panda Security. It's actually pretty good.
- Homestar Runner Pan-Pan, the 20X6 version of Pom Pom.
- Inverted in Weebl's song, 'Cucumbers', where pandas are the cucumbers' enemy. They attack them with their feet.
- Sneezing Panda
- Flickr has an error screen containg a girl with a toy panda on a lead.
- As suggested up top, this is most certainly not Truth in Television. Pandas are very ornery, even to each other. This is exactly why it's been particularly difficult to engage in captive breeding of pandas at zoos.
- Panda diplomacy. Essentially, one of China's primary methods of waving the olive branch to foreign nations is to give them pandas for their zoos. This goes all the way back to the 7th century, when Empress Wu Zetian sent two pandas to the Emperor of Japan. The most famous recent case is the panda diplomacy between China and the United States, whereby China provides pandas to the Smithsonian's National Zoo in Washington, DC. DC went positively gaga for the bears—not only are they a major attraction at the zoo (and one that even native Washingtonians will go to see), but they long appeared on the Washington Metro's paper farecards.
- The British police used to have patrol cars called pandas, logically enough because they were blue and white. Yeah, blue. Don't ask me.
- When police cars were introduced they were black and white or black and blue. The former inspired the nickname and it stuck, even in areas which used blue ones.
- The Mexican Federal Road Police cars are appropriately black and white, and called pandas as well.
- Apparently the Chinese government didn't think that the live news coverage of the eclipse of 22 July 2009 was complete without pandas. See it all here.
- Little Tai Shan the panda, now apparently Butterstick, from the Washington D.C. zoo. The idea behind the name is that the little panda was described as "the size of a stick of butter" when he was born; instantly, DC area bloggers struck up a campaign to name him Butterstick. The zookeepers went with Tai Shan instead, but Butterstick remains a popular nickname, even used in official materials.
- A bullion coin is a type of coin made from a precious metal like gold or silver, used as a form of making small investments in that metal, and which sell for a price close to the spot price of the metal (and a markup for the minter or dealer to make a profit). Most of these coins have fairly boring, traditional designs, and they repeat the same design every year. China's bullion coins, however, have a different panda design on them each year, which has led to them being valued as collection items and thus commanding a higher premium over the value of the metal, compared to plainer bullion coins.
- In January 2010, Mozilla Firefox started a website with live webcams on a pair of red panda cubs, in support of protecting them.
- There's a shop in London that sells basically nothing but panda toys and panda themed items.
- Former Hannah Montana star Emily Osment is a fan of pandas, at least judging from her Twitter posts and pictures, and her followers have taken to calling her their "Panda Queen". People who attend her concerts wear and/or send her panda merchandise regularly.
- During "Panda Awareness Week" in early July, the folks at the Chengdu conservatory posted some videos of pandas, including this one of four pandas playing on a slide.
- Zoobooks magazine focuses on a different animal in each issue. Its panda issue reminded readers that Real Life pandas are capable of being dangerous if provoked.
- Their overview of panda anatomy revealed what a panda looks like underneath its skin. Picture The Hulk, but with fangs and claws. Large ones. The caption that pandas in zoos frequently destroy their toys was practically self-expanatory.
- One illustration managed to subvert this trope and play it straight at the same time. An adorable baby panda was under attack by a group of wild dogs, but its Mama Bear had stepped in to protect it. She is coming down, fangs bared, right on top of one of the would-be predators. The caption indicates that a panda's jaws are capable of crushing bone as easily as bamboo.
- The PANDA group (People Against the NDAA) is a social activist group designed to fight the US law of indefinite detention (the ability of the president to arrest and detain or even kill any American civilian suspected of anti-government actions without due process) passed in the NDAA 2012. Certainly a noble fight and their name emulates a very cuddly animal. What's not to like?
- Anarchopanda will give you hugs if you attend a protest in Montreal.
- When the office of Anne Hidalgo, the Mayor of Paris, was open for visits during the European Heritage Days, a panda statuette was prominently displayed on the desk.