Western Animation: Kung Fu Panda
"I love kung fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!"Kung Fu Panda
is a CG-animated comedy from DreamWorks Animation
, or so the trailers would have you believe
In actuality, it's about as balanced between humor and epic martial arts action
as an old-school Jackie Chan
film (which makes sense, considering he's Monkey's VA), with much
Set in an anthropomorphic animal version
of ancient China, the story follows Po, a kung fu enthusiast, as he starts as the (apparently adopted) son of a noodle shop owner and becomes the Dragon Warrior
, just by landing in the right place at the right time. His battle for acceptance by the people he's looked up to his whole life leads him on both comic and tragic turns, especially once he finds out what being The Chosen One
: fighting Tai Lung, former disciple of Master Shifu and resident Badass
, who was so scary that he got his own prison.
A prison with a thousand armed, trained guards
, carved into a mountain. From which he escapes...
, Kung Fu Panda 2
, was released on May 26, 2011 and the third film is now in pre-production with the new Oriental DreamWorks studio in China for a release date of December 23, 2015.
It's also gotten a TV series
called Kung Fu Panda Legends Of Awesomeness
(without the original voice actors
), as well as the prime time Christmas Special Kung Fu Panda Holiday
.Now with a character page
This film provides examples of:
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Tropes A to C
- Absurdly Long Stairway: Near the beginning, Po has to climb a very long staircase to the Jade Palace. He tumbled down a few times but he manages to do it, only to find that the gate's already locked.
- Near the end, he climbed it again to save Master Shifu from Tai Lung. He's visibly exhausted even as he tries to be dramatic.
- In the sequel, Po and the Furious Five are taken to Lord Shen's throne room at the top of a tall tower. Po has to be carried by one of Shen's guards for half of the way.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: The Sword of Heroes. (It's so sharp that you can cut yourself from just looki-OW!)
- Accidental Athlete: Po, who was previously thought to be hopelessly clumsy, inadvertently demonstrates his agility when he climbs up some shelves in order to steal some cookies.
- Acrofatic: Po, after his training.
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Po and Shifu's nighttime argument on the temple steps.
- Action Girl: Tigress and Viper.
- Adaptation Expansion: The video game contains a number of scenes not present (or at least directly shown) in the movie, including an explanation of how Po learned the Wuxi Finger Hold.
- Affectionate Parody: Of martial arts movies.
- All of the Other Reindeer: Tweaked a bit in that, long before the climax of the film, Po had already gone a long way towards earning the respect of most of the Furious Five, because of his Heroic Resolve facing his hopeless Training from Hell without complaint. Also, he's a genuinely Nice Guy, a good storyteller, and an excellent cook.
- All That Glitters: The secret of the Dragon Scroll is revealed to be blank, and Po ultimately realizes what this means. The scroll's shiny surface is just a mirror — all it shows is the image of the person looking at it, because the power and skill is within them, not the scroll.
- All There in the Manual:
- The Art of Kung Fu Panda. Buy it, read it, and be amazed. (Note that it's out of print.)
- The backstories of the Furious Five are never explained in either movies. You'd have to see the DVD-only animated short to find out how they became masters.
- Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The Japanese version uses "Your Seed" as the theme song.
- Analogy Backfire: Shifu says during the Illusion of Control scene "But there are things I can control!" Kicks tree, causing the peaches to fall around him. "I can control when the fruit will fall!" A late-falling peach then lands on his head.
- Oogway first says "There are no accidents" as Po is being carried off on a litter after being hailed as the Dragon Warrior. Po then falls through the litter.
- Animal Stereotypes: Played straight in some cases, subverted for all they're worth in others. Notably, Viper is the nicest member of the Furious Five.
- The Anticipator: Master Shifu likely knew that the Furious Five would try to ambush him that day, but he couldn't know where or how. Nonetheless, Master Shifu easily thwarts all five forays against him, giving critique on their technique as he does so.
- Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Tai Lung. Also, Tigress; there are plenty of parallels between her and Tai Lung, which is why Shifu is so harsh towards her.
- Art Shift: The introduction scene uses a significantly different art style than the rest of the film.
- Artistic Age: Type 2; Given that these are animals, it's hard to determine anyone's specific age. According to Secrets of the Furious Five and the sequel, Tigress and Crane are mentioned to at least be in their 30's or 40's, so it's safe to assume that other members of the Five and Po are about the same. The sequel confirms Po's age. Po was a baby when Shen massacred his home village 30 years ago, so he's 31, give or take a year.
- Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Oogway dematerializes in a cloud of peach blossoms petals.
- Ascended Fanboy: The whole story is built around kung fu fan Po becoming a kung fu master himself.
- Ass Kicking Pose: All over the place, but a subtle, easy to miss example gives you an early glimpse of how Tigress will act towards Po. After he crashlands in the Jade Palace, the POV shot from Po shows the Furious Five all looking at him with looks that are a mix of confusion and concern... except for Tigress, who looks like she's about to cold-cock him.
- Ass Kicks You: When Tai Lung and Po finally meet, Tai Lung mocks him in precisely this manner. "What are you going to do, big guy? Sit on me?" This is exactly what happens when the two are tumbling down the long stairs from the temple.
- Audible Gleam: Somehow, the final dumpling has this when Po finally wins it.
- Awesomeness Is a Force: The former Trope Namer. Its over-exposure can cause blindness.
- Badass: So very, very many, but Tai Lung takes the cake and then robs the whole damn bakery.
- Badass Adorable: Baby Tai Lung and Tigress.
- Badass Boast:
- Also qualifying as an Insult Backfire is Po's "I'm not a big fat panda ... I'm THE Big Fat Panda!"
- Shifu's first line is both an insult and a Badass Boast. Five kung-fu masters ambush him from different directions...
Shifu: Well done, students! - if you were trying to disappoint me!
- Badass Crew: The Furious Five, naturally. The bridge fight with Tai Lung until the end just shows how well-earned their title as the top kung fu masters of China are.
- Badass Grandpa: Anyone who can name a more whoop-ass ancient turtle than Oogway may raise their hand. Seeing how Shifu also kicks a fair amount of ass despite his age, he qualifies too.
- Bait and Switch: Referenced in Po's quote at the top of this page: what looks to be a moment of awesomeness instead falls flat, literally... Only to be Doubly Subverted when, just as he's about to get up and go home, the firecrackers have a delayed ignition.
- Bait-and-Switch Comment
Shifu: When you focus on Kung Fu, when you concentrate...you stink.
- Crane frees Po after he gets caught trying to do the split.
- Battle Cry: Po: "GET READY TO FEEL THE THUNDER!"
- Bears Are Bad News: Inverted. Po is a giant softie and thinks he'd make an incompetent fighter because he's a panda. Justified, in that Tai Lung's first response to finding out a panda is the Dragon Warrior is to mock him. Apparently, the idea is commonplace in this world.
- Because Destiny Says So: The reason Shifu gives when he finally decided to train Po. Of course, the reality is quite different, given he wasn't so receptive in the beginning.
- Berserk Button: Apart from several moments with Tai Lung, there's the time when Po earnestly assures Master Shifu he's never going to quit. As Shifu is trying to ensure just that, he responds by throwing Po down the temple steps. All of them.
- Be Yourself: Quite possibly the most effective presentation of the moral. Instead of going the tried-and-true route of "You're perfect just the way you are!", the movie instead opts to acknowledge that while you should always strive for self-improvement, there are no shortcuts to greatness. You can't be handed the fulfilment of your potential like a present. Being the best you can be is hard work, and being great is something you decide to be in youself.
- Big Damn Heroes: Po's arrival just when Tai Lung is about to kill Shifu. Simultaneously played straight and parodied (he arrives just in time...but is exhausted from running up the many stairs to the Jade Palace.)
- Big Eater: Po, of course but Shifu is not far behind. During Po's training montage, you see him pack away a large amount of food in only a few seconds.
- Bilingual Bonus:
- Every ideogram which appears.
- Oogway is Chinese for "turtle". (Making the character "Master Turtle")
- Shifu is Chinese for "teacher/father." Since he is a red panda he couldn't be called "Master Panda."
- Tai Lung means Big/Great Dragon, which just shows how much ambition Shifu placed in his student/adopted son to be the Dragon Warrior.
- Blank Book: The Dragon Scroll.
- Break Up Make Up Scenario: Fung and Gah-ri in "The Break Up".
- Brief Accent Imitation: Po imitates Master Shifu's voice when saying, "Oh you know this hold?"
- British Accents: Done as an awesome reveal. Tai Lung has been talked up as a legendary One-Leopard Army throughout the movie with his very own Tailor-Made Prison, and the scene where he escapes from said prison is spectacularly violent and ingenious. Once outside, he grabs the goose messenger, smiles, opens his mouth to speak... and out comes the smooth, cultured rumble of Ian McShane. Compare this to some dubs, where he has a deep, almost Darth Vader like voice.
- Bullet Time: Played straight as often as it is parodied.
- Butt Monkey:
- Po, for most of the movie. He gives the "Butt Monkey Ball" to Tai Lung near the end of the film.
- Appropriately, Monkey also gets the most Butt Monkey moments out of all the Furious Five.
- Call to Adventure: Hilariously played with. Po jumps at the call, then stays on even as everyone mocks him, then runs screaming from the call, saying he isn't the Dragon Warrior, when he realizes that he'll have to go up against Tai Lung.
- Calling the Old Man Out: Tai Lung gives Shifu one, basically saying "My life sucks and it's all your fault." Shifu apologizes for his mistakes he made raising Tai Lung but Tai Lung declares that he doesn't give a damn and proceeds to strangle his former master, claws raised.
- Captain Obvious: Tai Lung fills this role nicely when he meets the Dragon Warrior and learns he's a panda.
Tai Lung: (to Shifu) He's a panda! (to Po) You're a panda!
- Carnivore Confusion:
- About the only foods shown in the movie are noodles, peaches, almond cookies, soup, and dumplings — even Tigress is shown eating tofu. The subject of meat (felines are actually obligate carnivores) never comes up. According to the Word of God, all the animals are vegetarians. Think about it, if they eat the other animals, then they are regarded as cannibals/murderers.
- One of the wolves in the sequel explicitly says to a rabbit: "If you are not going to cook my rice properly, I am going to cook you!"
- The sequel also confirms that cannibalism still exists among mantises.
- Cats Are Mean: The main villain is Tai Lung, a snow leopard, and Tigress is the rudest of the Furious Five towards Po until she chills out. Many of the villains in the opening that are not reptiles or wolves are panther-like felines.
- A great example of doing the homework: in kung fu, the tiger is considered the most aggressive of the animal styles with straight forward attacks and powerful moves.
- Centipede's Dilemma: Initially Po can't do the most basic kung fu maneuvers but can perform impressive feats of acrobatics while trying to get food. Fittingly, when it's pointed out to him he's ten feet off the ground in a perfect split he falls flat on his face.
- Charles Atlas Superpower: For weaker martial artists. Stronger ones do things, like glowing with inner energy as they shatter stones several times their size. Most notably in Mantis, who is by far the smallest warrior, but also has the greatest raw strength.
- Chef of Iron: Once Po is trained, he's a Type 1.
- Chekhov's Armoury: As the tortoise said, "There are no accidents." This comes up a lot.
- Chekhov's Gun: During the acupuncture scene, Mantis points out that he can't do the procedure correctly because Po's ... fur (Po calls him out on it) keeps getting in the way. At the final battle, the exact same thing happens when Tai Lung tries to utilize a Pressure Point attack against Po and it doesn't work.
- The "Secret Ingredient Soup", which Mr. Ping has promised to instruct Po on actually provides Po with the answer to the Dragon Scroll: there is no secret ingredient, its what you do yourself to make it good.
- The Chessmaster: It's subtle, but it is indicated that Oogway not only knew that Tai Lung would escape but that Shifu's messenger's feather would be how he did it, making Oogway this trope. It's ambiguous though if he actually knew that it would turn out well or if he just had faith — considering his attitude ("there are no accidents" vs "you must believe"), either is possible.
- Chewing the Scenery:
Tai Lung: Our battle will be legendary!
- Chilly Reception: Oogway's selection of Po was not initially accepted by any of the other masters and they made no secret of their disdain (Tigress especially), but Po warms up the atmosphere in due time.
- The Chooser of The One: Master Oogway.
- The Chosen One: The Dragon Warrior is the mystical kung fu master who will bring peace to the valley (and to Shifu as well, as it turns out).
- Color Motif: Word of God says the color gold was used to symbolize heroism in the film (see: Po's training sequence). Tai Lung's eyes are gold —because in his eyes, he is the hero of the story. Word of God also says that green represents wisdom (the reason why Po's eyes are green: he has the capacity for great wisdom; in the sequel, this is probably why Shifu's wardrobe now incorporates green) and red symbolizes power (made even more prominent in the sequel, with red representing Lord Shen as blue represented Tai Lung). In the film's color theory white, orange and brown represent honor, energy and dedication (the reason why Shifu's design incorporates all three, "to visually support [his] character traits").
- Combat Pragmatist: Po, using anything he could in the final battle.
- Comfort Food: Even Po admits it. He eats when he's upset.
- Conveniently Empty Building: The film takes the time to justify this trope. Realising they can't help him stop Tai Lung, Shifu commands the students to do the next best thing, and organise the evacuation of the town. When Po and Tai Lung tear their way through every building in sight in the final battle, there's no collateral damage to worry about.
- Creative Closing Credits: Done in the same fashion than the opening sequence. First it's the animated cast, then pictures depicting slices of their lives after the end of the movie. Some are heartwarming.
- Cue the Sun: As the morning sun comes up, Shifu discovers the solution of how to train Po. It's also dawn when Po shows up to face Tai Lung and defeat him.
- Cynical Mentor: Shifu after Tai Lung's turn to evil, particularly towards Po in the beginning.
Tropes D to F
- Darkest Hour: All the heroes have a soul crushingly heartrending night when Master Oogway, the one who stopped Tai Lung before and the only one who has faith in Po as the Dragon Warrior, dies, leaving Master Shifu with a seemingly impossible promise to train the fat panda, while Po now fully realizes how hopeless he truly is on top of his profound self-loathing that even Shifu cannot alleviate while Tigress feels no other choice but to defy her master and set out to stop Tai Lung herself despite his prohibition.
- Deadly Fireworks Display: The Wuxi Finger Hold. Subverted in that it's never actually explained if the finger hold killed Tai Lung. Though Shifu said "The hardest part is cleaning up afterwards" implying it's a massively gory attack. But he may have just been saying that to intimidate Po.
- Death Course: The training dojo includes a wide variety of deadly obstacles that the Furious Five use for their daily training.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Tigress, mostly due to Shifu's being a Cynical Mentor after Tai Lung turned evil, at the very end of the movie and during the ending credits.
- Department of Redundancy Department:
- "Legend tells of a legendary warrior... whose kung fu skills were the stuff of legend..."
- The film loves these. Po's dream sequence, apart from the memorable opening sentence, also mentions the "most heroic heroes of China" and the "thousand demons of Demon Mountain".
- In one case, it's subverted; Secret Ingredient Soup doesn't have one.
- For most of his training, Po refuses to give up no matter how badly he's beaten to a pulp, until he comes to feel that even "the greatest kung fu teacher in all of China" couldn't make him anything more than just some ordinary schmuck.
- Tai Lung hasn't given up on claiming the Dragon Scroll after twenty years of imprisonment.
- Deus Exit Machina: Really, the only reason Master Oogway dies is so he can't use his awesome nerve attack to KO Tai Lung in five seconds. Word of God gives an alternate explanation: Shifu won't successfully train the Dragon warrior as long as he keeps relying on Oogway.
- Died Happily Ever After: Played straight with Master Oogway. Parodied at the end with Master Shifu.
- Disability Immunity: Po is so chubby that some of Tai Lung's more potent attacks don't work on him.
- Disney Villain Death: Both subverted and averted at different points.
- Distant Reaction Shot: The ultimate defeat of Tai Lung isn't shown directly, but from afar people are shown as seeing a big explosion.
- A Dog Named Dog: The Furious Five are only ever called Tigress, Viper, Crane, Mantis, and Monkey. Although, given that Shifu tends to call Po "Panda", they might actually have names...
Tropes G to M
- Game Changer: The unexpected dubbing of Po as The Dragon Warrior, a clumsy giant panda who turns out be a preternaturally talented martial artist of considerable power with the right instruction who also enables his colleagues to find a happiness they did not know they needed.
- Genius Ditz: Po has The Gift but is too spaced out and lacking confidence to be aware of it.
- Gentle Giant: Po, again.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In the scene when Tigress performs a split and breaks the plates that Shifu throws as a demonstration of flexibility, just look at Po's reaction. Nerdgasm! Not to mention Po's face when Tigress lands back down. He's staring at her ass. Might be a part of their Ship Tease.
- Then there's the scene right after Po wakes from his Parody Sue Dream Sequence. He tries to get up, but has trouble due to his weight, causing a lot of banging. When Mr. Ping later demands to know what he was doing, Po has to explain, rather uncomfortably, that he was having a strange dream. Does This Remind You of Anything?
- The Gift: Tai Lung, though it's to his detriment. He has a severe ego problem that prevents him from being truly receptive of the Dragon Scroll's wisdom. This is why Oogway refused to make him the Dragon Warrior. His response to this was less than cordial.
- Good Morning, Crono: Done to Po at the beginning of the movie when his dad wakes him up from a dream and tells him to wait tables.
- Groin Attack: "Oh-ho-ho! My tenders!"
- Handicapped Badass: Shifu took a Game-Breaking Injury from Tai Lung once, and has needed a cane ever since. Yeah, as much as Yoda does.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: While Po works very hard during his training montage, but still probably not as hard as the Furious Five or Tai Lung in the backstory. And certainly nowhere near as long.
- Heartbreak and Ice Cream: Po has a psychological need to gorge on food when he is upset, so part of his training achievements include being able to conquer that urge as he grows spiritually healthier.
- Heroic BSOD: Po suffers this most prominently when he looks inside the dragon scroll to find out it was nothing. Po gets better after he finds out the true meaning with unexpected help from his father.
- Heroic Resolve: As the junior novelization voiced the thoughts of most of the Five seeing Po endure Shifu's hopeless "training," without complaint "He can't be the Dragon Warrior but he's really tough!"
- His Story Repeats Itself
- Hit Flash: Po gets one when he crashes into the exhibition/ceremony. Later, the Furious Five get one when Tai Lung defeats them on the bridge.
- Hope Spot: Once played straight when the Furious Five seem to have sent Tai Lung to his Disney Villain Death, and the other time, inverted, in that it's Tai Lung who gets one:
Tai Lung: You're bluffing! Shifu didn't teach you that! Po: No, he didn't. * Cue Tai Lung's relieved face* I figured it out. Skadoosh! * Critical Existence Failure ensues*.
- Humiliation Conga: Tai Lung and Po are evenly matched until Tai Lung fails to get the wisdom of the Dragon Scroll, even though Tai Lung is obviously focusing on the said scroll rather than his opponent. Po just takes being thrown around as good fun, while Tai Lung is obviously enraged by every setback, due to his overwhelming Pride. It can't be denied, however, that this trope is how Tai Lung views the final battle.
- I Am Not Your Father: Subverted. It should be obvious that Mr. Ping, a goose, is not the biological father of Po, a panda. At one point it appears as if Ping is about to tell Po the truth about his parentage, but instead he reveals the secret ingredient of his Secret Ingredient Soup.
- I Am What I Am: Yet again,"I'm not a big fat panda. I'm THE big fat panda!"
- Idiot Hero: Po is of the kind-hearted, unexpectedly competent variety.
- If I Can Only Move: Tai Lung in the prison.
- I Gave My Word: Shifu promises Oogway he will train Po, minutes before the former unexpectedly passes away.
- I Have No Son: Shifu towards Tai Lung.
- I Just Want to Be Special: A central theme of the movie as demonstrated by Po's dream of being a legendary warrior.
- Impact Silhouette: When Tai Lung crashes to Earth, he leaves a hole not just with an impression of his body, but his tail as well.
- Impairment Shot: Po knocks himself unconscious trying to get in to see the Furious Five. We get the Hit Flash, then the eye-shaped blink-blink as he awakens to see Master Oogway pointing at him.
- Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: A rare good example: armed with ballistas, crossbows, and dozens of archers, the rhino guardsmen of Chorh-Gom prison can't hit one single chained down prisoner (even if that prisoner is Tai Lung).
- Technically the rhino guardsmen are actually pretty good shots, as shown when a single rhino guard is able to accurately hit a stick of dynamite on the ceiling of the prison. The problem is that Tai Lung is just that good.
- Improbable Chopsticks Skill: Part of Po's improvised training.
- Improv Fu: Half the final battle in the first film is Po fighting in this manner, frustrating Tai Lung.
- Incendiary Exponent: Yes, Tai Lung is so Badass he can set his paws on fire and not even get burned!
- Incompletely Trained: Po and Tai Lung both, for different reasons.
- Ineffectual Loner: Defied. Tigress decides on her own to face and defeat Tai Lung. But before she leaves the town, the four other Furious show up and say they'll go with her, rather than trying to dissuade her from it.
- Insult Backfire: Tai Lung growls after being thrashed by Po, "You can't defeat me! You're just a big... fat... panda!" Po retorts, "I'm not a big, fat panda. I'm THE big, fat panda!"
- Interspecies Adoption: Po's father is a goose. The first movie manages not to bring this up at all, aside from a Bait and Switch in which his dad sits him down to tell him an important secret... the secret ingredient in the soup. The sequel provides some backstory, though.
- Interspecies Romance: Played with in the credits when Viper kisses the Po doll after it's tossed to her. Considering the fact that she was the nicest one to Po during his training, this definitely has some potential.
- Ironic Echo:
* The Wuxi Finger Hold! Shifu:
Oh you know this hold?
- Repeated at the end by Po against Tai Lung.
- Jerkass: Master Shifu definitely fits this for most of the movie, mistreating his disciples (yes, all of them, just look at his first appearance) and obstinately refusing to trust Oogway's judgment. Also, Tigress towards Po; even when her colleagues have warmed to him, recognizing his undeniable courage and resolve, she remains almost cruelly determined to shoot him down at every opportunity for much of the movie. By the film's end, both become Jerks With Hearts Of Gold, with a particular emphasis on "heart of gold."
- Kevlard: One reason Po was chosen.
- Ki Attacks: Shifu and Tai Lung.
- Killed Off for Real: Downplayed for Oogway who ascends but has a brief apperance in the series. Tai Lung has never been truly confirmed whether he died or not. Likewise, Vachir and his rhino guards are also never confirmed if they died or not during Tai Lung's escape, but we do see at least one rhino moving after Tai Lung blows them out the prison's doors with dynamite.
- Knuckle Cracking
- Land Of Dragons: This is set in a version of medieval China, after all...
- Large Ham: All of the narration/dialogue in the intro. It's made on purpose, of course.
- Last Request: Oogway almost begs Shifu to train Po, just before ascending to a higher plane of existence.
- Last-Second Chance: The directors' commentary implies that Po's sharing of the Dragon Scroll's true meaning to Tai Lung could have meant his redemption, if he chose to accept it. He doesn't.
- Let's Get Dangerous: Shifu when he realizes that he CAN train Po.
- Let Us Never Speak of This Again: When Crane rescues Po from his full split.
Po: Oh, hey, thanks.
Crane: Don't mention it.
Po: No, really, I...
- Lightning Bruiser: Po by the end of the movie.
- Lightning Reveal: Doesn't even involve darkness. Master Shifu waits for Tai Lung on the stairs to the Jade Palace. Dramatic Thunder sounds and Shifu closes his eyes for a moment against the lightning. When he opens them, Tai Lung is standing before him having run up the thousand-odd steps without even appearing out of breath.
- Look What I Can Do Now: Po shows up after attaining enlightenment and beats the crap out of Tai Lung.
- MacGuffin: The Dragon Scroll which is said to bestow limitless power. It turns out to be a Magic Feather.
- Made of Iron: The whole cast survives a lot of punishment but it's justisfied with Po. He can survive a whole mess of stuff, up to and including a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from Tai Lung without so much as a broken bone. It's all the fur and fat.
- Magic Feather: The Secret Ingredient of the Secret Ingredient Soup and the Dragon Scroll again. No, not the feather Tai Lung uses to escape from prison.
- Meaningful Echo:
Oogway/Shifu: "You must continue your journey without me."
- Meaningful Name: Shifu is Chinese for "master." Tai Lung means "great/ultimate dragon".
- Po also means "peace", and that's exactly what he brings to the valley.
- Another meaning of Po is "blank", which is what the Dragon Scroll turns out to be.
- Oogway means "turtle", but he's a tortoise.
- Medium Blending: The opening and ending credits are 2D. The second film expands the concept, so several flashbacks and memories are in 2D, and the opening credits seem to be loosely based on Indian shadow puppetry.
- Mentor Occupational Hazard: Played straight for Oogway, who ascends and leaves Shifu in his place, and deliciously subverted for Shifu himself.
- Meteor Move: Tai Lung pulls off two of these while still airborne: first he kicks Po to the ground with enough force to create a small crater, then deepens said crater by flipping upside down and driving his fists into his fallen opponent.
- Metronomic Man Mashing: Po is beaten by Mantis using this style of beatdown.
- Mighty Glacier: Played straight with Po, but averted by Tai Lung.
- Miniature Senior Citizens: Epic Kung Fu mastery aside, Master Shifu is tiny. Justified, given he's a red panda (also known as lesser panda). They're smaller than raccoons indeed, approximately the size of a big male cat.
- Missing Mom: Po's adoptive father doesn't seem to be married.
- Mood Whiplash:
- The bit where an overwhelmingly sad moment from Tigress' backstory is immediately followed up by one of the silliest gags in the film... "Dooooiiiiiiiiiiiiinnnng...!"
- The final battle, taking place right after the incredibly serious battle between Shifu and Tai Lung.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: There's no suggestion that Shifu, Viper, Crane or even Mantis are any less physically strong than Po]] or Tigress despite the drastic differences in body mass; kung fu skill is all that matters, even when you're holding up a rope bridge with five people standing on it. Averted with Tai Lung, however, who's considered by all of them to be the strongest fighter around and is indeed very well-muscled.
- My Greatest Failure: How Shifu regards his training of Tai Lung.
- My Kung-Fu Is Stronger Than Yours
Tropes N to R
- Never Say "Die": Surprisingly averted for a PG movie. The Furious Five are surprised that Tai Lung didn't kill them when he defeated them, they consider his killing Shifu to be inevitable, and Po thinks Shifu has died (and is corrected) when he closes his eyes after the battle.
- Never Trust a Trailer: It's an action/comedy, but the trailer puts more emphasis on the "comedy" than the actual movie does.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Shifu allowing Tai Lung to be released, since if not for his paranoia, he wouldn't have sent Zeng to double check his holdings and allowed Tai Lung the feather he needed to escape. However he only did that because Oogway said Tai Lung would escape, therefore it could be considered Oogway's fault. Also counts as Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
- No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: During his Training from Hell montage, Po becomes victim to a rapid-fire series of these. Tai Lung also hits him with one, though in every case he's fine afterwards.
- Tai Lung's escape from Chorh-gom is an example of this.
- Noisy Nature: Mantis's combat scenes are accompanied by incongruous cricket-chirps. Mantids aren't crickets, although they're at least in the same infraclass.
- Non-Mammal Mammaries: Averted. Not only does Viper lack breasts, but Tigress (who is at least a mammal) lacks them too.
- Surprisingly, a male character, Commander Vachir plays it straight: he is a rhinoceros with nipples on his bare chest.
- The Notable Numeral: The Furious Five
- Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Most characters doesn't sound Chinese. The ones that do are played by Chinese actors.
- Not So Different: Tai Lung and Po have the hamminess down to pat.
I LOOOOOOOOOVE KUNG-FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU! Tai Lung:
Ahhh...Po...so that is his name...finally, a worthy adversary! OUR BATTLE SHALL BE LEGENDARY!
- Tigress has some key parallels with Tai Lung, as well. Most notably they both wanted to be the Dragon Warrior, and both were denied the privilege. They're also Arrogant Kung Fu Kitties
- The Obi-Wan: Shifu.
- Oblivious Adoption and The Unreveal: "Dad, sometimes I find it hard to believe I'm your son." "It's time to tell you something I should have long ago - The Secret Ingredient of my Secret Ingredient Soup!"note
- Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In-universe example: the tournament to choose the Dragon Warrior is only barely seen by both the audience AND the protagonist.
- Oh, Crap:
- Po's highlighted in slow motion "Oh, crap!" when charged by Tai Lung.
- And Tai Lung's expression when Po reveals he knows how to use the Wuxi Finger Hold, followed by an apprehensive cringe.
- Even Oogway has a mild example:
Shifu: Terrible news, master!
Oogway: Now, now. There is no good or bad news. Only news.
Shifu: Tai Lung has just escaped!
Oogway: Oh. That is bad news.
- "The scroll has given him power! Noooo!!"
- At the last instant of Tai Lung's escape:
Zeng: Can we run now?!
Vachir: (Tiny voice) Yes.
- Old Master: Masters Shifu and Oogway.
- One-Man Army: Tai Lung escaping from prison. To start, he unlocks the contraption and chains that bind him—a tortoise shell that was using pressure-point bindings—then dodges hundreds of arrows, ballista bolts and explosions. Then when they try to drop the entire section he was on into an abyss, Tai Lung climbs up falling debris to get to the top. Lastly, he fights his way past one thousand rhino guards (though some managed to get knocked out by explosions) and escapes. In short, he manages to escape a prison custom-built to hold a prisoner with his level of power, being the only prisoner in said place.... with a feather.
- Only Six Faces:
- Every unnamed character is either a pig, a rabbit, or a rhino, the last of these only appearing as prison guards. There are also some occasional geese.
- Various species appear mostly as Mooks and other minor characters (wolves, panthers, alligators, boars, at least one buffalo).
- The Only One Allowed to Defeat You / It's Personal: Shifu invokes this facing Tai Lung, stating it wasn't between Tai and the Dragon Warrior, but between Tai and himself.
- Panda-ing To The Audience: By all accounts it worked.
- The Paralyzer: Tai Lung's nerve strike, which he learned from Oogway.
- Parody Sue: Po's dream as the totally awesome Legendary Warrior.
- Peaceful in Death: Parodied at the end:
Shifu: Wow. It is as Oogway foretold: you are the Dragon Warrior. You have brought peace to this valley. And to me. Thank you. Thank you, Po. Thank you... Po: No! Master! No, no, no! Don't die, Shifu. Please... Shifu: I'm not dying, you idiot! Uh... Dragon Warrior. I am simply... at peace.
- Pintsized Powerhouse: Mantis, who can hold up a rope bridge with Tai Lung AND three of his teammates on it.
- Please Wake Up: "I'm not dying, you idiot!"
- Pressure Point: One of Mantis' and Tai Lung's favorite attacks. Oogway uses this to initially stop Tai Lung in a flashback.
- Priceless Ming Vase: Guess who breaks one. Deliciously inverted as the object is said to hold the "souls of 1000 warriors". When Po breaks it, the ghostly sounds of souls lamenting can be heard, as well as anytime the pieces are disturbed. Though Shifu was so pissed off that Po was chosen, that the pot breaking was the least of his concerns.
- Pride: Much of the plot originates in this trope.
- Shifu was too proud of Tai Lung. That's why he wasn't able to see the darkness in the latter's heart.
- It's also Tai Lung's Fatal Flaw. He became the best kung fu master ever, and that still wasn't good enough for him because he wasn't chosen as the Dragon Warrior. He only wanted to make Shifu proud of him, but when told that his father had always been proud of him, all he could focus on was the scroll he'd been denied. And after having it explained to him that the scroll did nothing, he still insisted upon attacking Po to gain whatever 'wisdom' it had given him. Because of course, the only way a big, fat panda could ever beat him was with mystical help
- Commander Vachir, who runs Tai Lung's prison. If he had heard Shifu's message and said "Oh, okay. I'll get right on that", nothing would have happened. Instead, Vachir took it as a slight, and decided to imprint the sheer extreme of the prison on the poor goose, and inadvertently gave Tai Lung his magic feather. And that turned out badly.
- Tigress isn't entirely free of this flaw; much of her treatment of Po stems from her pride being wounded over the fact that he was chosen over her. It also partially leads her to seek out and confront Tai Lung herself, a confrontation that she and her friends prove ultimately outmatched for. Ironically, it was also Pride (Tai Lung's) that saved their ass since Tai Lung wanted to rub it in (probably to Shifu) by letting them go defeated but alive to show how Badass he was and how small a threat the Furious Five (the students of Shifu after him) was compared to his awesome self. As well as Po landed right between her and Oogway so she logically assumed, if Po hadn't landed there, Oogway would have been pointing at her. Which she confronts Oogway about. "You were about to point at me, weren't you Master Oogway?"
- In the Sequel Lord Shen went out and killed all the pandas just because he heard one would defeat him. This gets him exiled by his parents. He does not take it well
- A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Guess who. Here's a hint: Tai Lung.
- Race Name Basis: Shifu calls Po "Panda" almost every time they speak. Tigress, Viper, Crane, Mantis, and Monkey are only ever referred to as such. However, as mentioned above, they might have also had true names at one point, but adopted their species name because of the same reason.
- Rage Against the Mentor: Tai Lung's quest to return to the Jade Palace is to do this and then take the Dragon Scroll.
- Rain of Arrows: When Tai Lung is escaping prison, the guards use this to try and stop him.
- Redemption Rejection: When Shifu apologizes to Tai Lung, telling him that he had always been proud of him, and that pride was what blinded him to what he was becoming, Tai Lung looks genuinely affected... and then the rage returns to his face and he says that he isn't here for apologies: he just wants the Dragon Scroll. That's when the audience realizes that he is truly beyond redemption. It's definitely a tragic moment.
- Repetitive Name:
- Master Shifu. "Shifu" (shīfu) means "master" in Chinese (if you pronounce it correctly, which nobody in the movie does), so this is like calling him "Master Master".
- The same applies to the prison of "Chorh-Gom". So Tai Lung is imprisoned in the prison of Prison.
- Replacement Goldfish: Tigress feels overshadowed by Tai Lung, and incapable of taking the place he supposedly had in Shifu's heart. As Secrets of the Furious Five reveal, she was an orphan adopted by Shifu as well, making her Tai Lung's replacement in all aspects. She's wrong at least in the sense that Shifu did a very poor job of expressing his love and approval in time to Tai Lung as well.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: In the intro, about half of the mooks appear to be Chinese alligators. (The other half are either wolves or snow leopards.) In the main narrative Viper is a Nice Girl..
- The Resenter: Tai Lung.
- Rhetorical Question Blunder: Shifu asks who could possibly be worthy of having the Dragon Scroll, the key to limitless power!!! There's a long pause, then Master Oogway says, "I don't know."
- Rhino Rampage: Invoked by Commander Vachir and his guard, the Anvil of Heaven; however, we never really get to see Vachir fight or do anything Badass at all. In fact, the trope is inverted, because it is Tai Lung rampaging against rhinos, who fight back, but they lose spectacularly.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: Baby Tai Lung and young Tigress and Po. Also every bunny in the entire franchise. The more you look at them throughout the movies, specials and show, the cuter they seem to get. Even their names are adorable "Wu Hop"
- Right Behind Me: "If you train hard, one day you'll have ears as big as mine..."
- Right Makes Might: More like confidence makes might. Those martial artists who have greater belief in themselves win unfailingly and those who lose are first defeated by a sense of their own inferiority/guilt/confusion before the exchange of punches makes their loss official. Perhaps not-coincidentially, this idea appears in The Art of War.
- Rule of Three
Oogway: There are no accidents.
Yes Master, I know. You've told me. Twice.
Oogway: Then that was no accident either.
- Running Gag: Po's difficulty climbing the long stairway to the temple and falling down it.
- Running on All Fours: Tigress, Tai Lung, and Monkey.
Tropes S to Z
- Saved for the Sequel: It looks like we're going to find out about Po's origins toward the end of the first movie, but then that turns into The Unreveal. It's part of the premise of the sequel.
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: "Sha-fa-fooie!" and "Ska-doosh."
- Scary Black Man: Michael Clarke Duncan makes Vachir sound like one, yet ironically, he appears to be a white rhino.
- Scenery Porn
- Schmuck Bait: A minor example with the Sword of Heroes, so sharp that you can cut yourself from just looki-OW!
- Secret Ingredient: The "Secret Ingredient Soup" the only secret ingredient is its maker's skill.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: "One often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it."
- Shaped Like Itself: Chor-Ghom essentially means: "the prison of Prison."
- Shell Game: Used for a Visual Gag during the dumpling fight. Shifu hides a dumpling under an overturned bowl, then twirls the three bowls at blinding speed using his chopsticks. Po upturns the right bowl to free the dumpling. Later during his climatic fight with Tai Lung, Po does the same trick while standing on a pair of bamboo poles, with the Dragon Scroll hidden amongst some woks.
- Ship Tease:
- Viper seems rather friendly with Po, and she kissed a doll of him on the cheek in the (non-canon) credits sequence. She even wrapped the doll in a ribbon and cradled it as she kissed it. Given that she's the most compassionate of the five, it could be a "Motherly Love" kind of thing.
- The chunk of wood Po tried to pick up as a souvenir, after Tigress's stunt, was named the Love Chunk by some producers. Make of that what you will.
- Sit On The Camera: In a slow motion scene with Po sits on Tai Lung while they're falling down stairs.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: Inverted for the final battle. After Shifu and Tai Lung's dark and serious duel in the rain, the sun rises and Po appears at the top of the steps, panting for air. That's when the real Final Battle begins, demonstrating that a story's climax can be hilarious and awesome at the same time.
- The scene stated in Right Behind Me above is built around a not-at-all-hidden Hidden Mickey.
- The Dragon Scroll (a blank, reflective piece of paper) is almost identical to the Book of Enlightenment in the 1978 film Circle Of Iron (which was co-written by Bruce Lee and James Coburn of all people).
- The Furious Five share their name with one of the earliest hip-hop groups, Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five.
- After Tai Lung discovers that the Dragon Scroll is blank, in the ensuing fight Po stepped on Tai Lung's feet after blocking his attacks. This is a nod to Kung Fu Hustle where Sing stomped on the baddies's feets. A lot.
- Shown Their Work: The producers got ancient China depicted so well that the Chinese themselves had official conferences to explore why they can't make animated films about themselves like this.
- The third film's production was moved to a new division of DreamWorks Animation in China (specifically, "Oriental DreamWorks" in Shanghai) to show them how to make films about themselves like this.
- The film featured only species that exists/existed in China. Even the crocodiles, or more precisely Chinese Alligators, and rhinoceros (Javan Rhinoceros. Shifu's a Red Panda. Tai Lung is a Snow Leopard. Tigress is a South China Tiger.)
- Want to know how much work the creators showed? Check this clever little tidbit: the specific style of Kung Fu used by each character, with the specific exceptions of Oogway and Shifu, match their species. Tigress uses Tiger-style Kung Fu, Monkey uses Monkey-style Kung Fu, and so on. This seems a little obvious especially during the intial training scene in the "danger room." As each character shows their style, a Freeze-Frame Bonus scene will depict the particular animal in the stance that determines that style. For example, Monkey flies through a hoop in a straight leg kick that exactly matches how the flying kick in Monkey style should look. This is especially notable in Tigress's montage. Every stance is solid, every attack made with maximum power.
- To further illustrate the use of fighting styles, once Po finally learns Kung Fu, he specifically uses Bear Kung Fu.
- When Tai Lung berates Shifu, he says he "trained until [his] bones cracked!" This is not an exaggeration; some martial artists hit things until their bones crack, and then the cracks fill up with bone, making them harder overall. This is not recommended for casual practitioners.
- In the second film, Lord Shen is a white peacock with red markings on his feathers. White is the color of death in Asian cultures, "shen" can be read as "flame" in Chinese, and in the Wu Xing red and white are the colors of fire and metal. The filmmakers clearly knew their Chinese philosophy too.
- In the final battle, Po uses Dragon Style, fitting with his "Dragon Warrior" status. This style uses stances and attacks from all of the other animals. Po uses Tigress-style punches, Mantis-like dodges (when possible) and Monkey-like agility. Dragon style also uses a lot of low-high-low style attacks to keep opponents off balance, as the Dragon is thought to be masters of all elements (i.e., the sea, or low attacks to the legs and feet, coupled with the heavens, or high attacks to the head.)
- Speed Stripes
- Spell My Name with a "The": "I'm THE big fat panda!"
- Start of Darkness: Tai Lung's fall from grace is narrated by Tigress.
- Stepping-Stone Sword: Tai Lung, with giant crossbow bolts that he threw at the wall.
- Stepping Stones in the Sky: Tai Lung's prison break.
- Po, seconds before being Meteor Move-d by Tai Lung. Not stones, but flying fragments.
- The Stinger: After a ton of montages showing the characters Character Development, the final shot of the film after the credits is Po and Shifu sharing a quiet moment with some dumplings - and a peach tree beginning to grow where Shifu and Oogway had buried the pit.
- "Super Sentai" Stance: The Furious Five.
- Super Strength: Much of the cast. Especially Mantis, who can lift Po.
- Supreme Chef: According to the Furious Five (sans Tigress of course, who appears to be eating tofu instead) Po makes "amazing" noodle soup.
- Sweet and Sour Grapes: Master Shifu administers a kung fu test during a meal where he challenges the glutton Po to steal the last steamed bun from him. When Po finally manages to get the bun, he shrugs and tosses it back. "I'm not hungry." This is the best outcome because not only has his kung fu skill advanced but he has conquered his tendency to gorge when he is upset.
- Tailor-Made Prison: Tai Lung's prison was built specifically to hold just him.
- The Tell: "You eat when you're upset."
- Tempting Fate:
- The Chosen Zero: Half this movie is dedicated to whether or not Po really is the right Chosen One.
- This Cannot Be!: "You...You CAN'T defeat me!... You're just...a BIG... FAT... panda!".
- This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Played with. Oogway says only the Dragon Warrior (i.e. Po) can defeat Tai Lung but no one else believes this. Later Shifu changes his mind and tells the Furious Five not to fight Tai Lung. They ignore him and fight him anyways. Later Shifu himself tries fighting him. Ultimately, Po does fight Tai Lung by himself but only because everyone else has already tried.
- Tiger Versus Dragon: Tigress is a tiger. Po is the Dragon Warrior. You do the math.
- Too Kinky to Torture: In a sense. While Po is never tortured per se, Shifu does put him through Training from Hell to get him to quit. Po enjoys learning kung fu and being around the Furious Five enough that he endures the training.
- Took a Level in Badass: The point of the movie is Po becoming someone badass enough to defeat Tai Lung.
- Touch of Death: The Wuxi finger-hold.
- Thanksgiving Balloon: Po became a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon in 2010.
- Training from Hell: "There is now a level zero." Made worse by the fact that Shifu had no intention of seriously training Po and just wanted to discourage him. His real training is less dangerous.
- Training Montage: Naturally.
- Tree Buchet: One of Po's failed attempts to get into the Jade Palace to watch the tournament. He's too heavy for it to work, then the tree shoots out from his grasp, springs back and hits Po on the head. Tai Lung does this with a huge crossbow bolt embedded in the floor to give him initial thrust for his Stepping Crossbow Bolt scene. And for Rule of Three, Tai Lung cops a tree in the face when Po uses this technique against him once they've fallen to the bottom of the temple steps.
- Twitchy Eye: Shifu.
- Two Girls to a Team: Tigress and Viper, nicely averting The Smurfette Principle.
- Turtle Power: Oogway.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: A huge part of what makes Tai Lung Unintentionally Sympathetic.
- Verbal Backspace: Shifu shows he's still got some of his old grumpy self.
Po: No Master Shifu, don't die!
Shifu: I'M NOT DYING YOU IDIOT...err, Dragon Warrior.
- Villainous Breakdown: Tai Lung's composure really starts to fall apart once he sees the Dragon Scroll he so coveted. Instead of fighting intelligently and using the environment to his advantage, like he did in every fight before, he single-mindedly pursues the scroll, losing more and more of his cool, as Po starts to give him problems. After he obtains the Dragon Scroll and finds it to be blank, he suffers from this full out, and it just gets more intense after he discovers his pressure point technique to be ineffectual against Po, causing him to throw all semblance of strategy and martial arts mastery out the window, and even after getting beaten and barely able to get up and stumble around, he just keeps rambling and trying to fight back.
- Visual Pun: As part of his Calling the Old Man Out Tai Lung asks Shifu who was it that told him he could be the Dragon Warrior and trained him brutally for that purpose. Shifu, while guarding from a sword attack, sees his reflection.
- Oogway is carrying a lantern with him when he meets Po at the Peach Tree of Heavenly Wisdom. After dispensing some advice, he walks away, but leaves the lantern behind with Po. In other words, Oogway enlightened him.
- Walking Shirtless Scene: Po and Tai Lung.
- Wax On, Wax Off
When you focus on kung fu, when you really concentrate... you stink. But perhaps that is my fault. I cannot train you the way I have trained the Five. I now see that the way to get through to you is, with this. (pulls out a bowl of dumplings) Po:
Oh great, 'cause I am hungry! Shifu: (laughs and pulls the bowl away)
Good. When you have been trained, you may eat
- Weapon Twirling: Master Shifu twirls his chopsticks before his awesome fight with Po for the last dumpling.
- "Well Done, Son!" Guy: No actual biological sons, but if you count adopted examples and master/student relationships, there are several. Shifu to Oogway. Tigress, Po, and Tai Lung (each in different ways) to Shifu. Po even wants to prove himself to Ping in the sense that he can be more than a good cook.
- What the Fu Are You Doing?
- When You Snatch the Pebble: "You are free to eat."
Po: AM I?!
Shifu: ARE YOU?!
- Wisdom from the Gutter: As it turns out, someone other than Master Oogway knew the secret of the Dragon Scroll all along. Who? Po's noodles cook father Mr. Ping, who applied the same principle to his "secret ingredient" soup.
- Wok Fu: At the end, Tai Lung throws Po into an empty restaurant during the final battle, and as a result the panda throws several woks at the snow leopard, puts the Dragon Scroll under one of them, and swaps them around so that Tai Lung will get the wrong one.
- "World of Cardboard" Speech: A very short one from Po, at that:
You...can't defeat me... You're just a big...fat...panda
I'm not a big, fat panda. I'm the
big, fat panda.
- World of Funny Animals
- Worthy Opponent: Tai Lung clearly expects Po to be one of these, and he is very displeased when Po does not seem to meet his expectations.
- Wuxia: An Affectionate Parody.
- Wrecked Weapon: Shifu reacts with appropriate shock when Master Oogway's staff is broken during the fight with Tai Lung.
- You Are Better Than You Think You Are: When Shifu at the Pool of Sacred Tears asks Po if he wants to learn kung fu, his response to the panda impassioned "Yes!" says that he knows Po can be trained after all.
- You Are Not Ready: Oogway on Tai Lung receiving the Dragon Scroll, though it's implied Oogway felt Tai Lung would never be ready.
- You Can Panic Now: After Tai Lung destroys every barrier that Vachir and his men made to prevent him from escaping, the latter begins to panic after Zeng asks if they can run now before Tai Lung blasts them with the dynamite through the prison gate.
Zeng: Can we run now?
Vachir: [Sobs in terror.] Yes.
- You Can't Fight Fate: Played with. Both films contain some sort of prophecy that comes true, but it only comes true specifically because people go out of their way to stop it from doing so. Shifu sends Zheng to deliver a message to Chorh-Gom Prison and which incidentally provided Tai Long a lockpick. Then Shen by attempting to wipe out the pandas thereby causing Po's parents to send him off to Mr. Ping where he would eventually be trained by Shifu. Thus, destiny is implied to have come about specifically because people tried to defy it. This is noted by Oogway, who mutters "one often meets his destiny on the road he takes to avoid it" when Shifu sends Zheng off.
Tropes in the Short Films:
Secrets of the Furious Five
Kung Fu Panda Holiday
- Art Shift: The first few minutes are an awesome 2D dream sequence and the rest is CGI.
- The Cameo: Tai Lung in Po's dad's dream/nightmare.
- Casual Danger Dialogue: Po and the Furious Five bring up the Winter Festival while batttling a horde of bandits.
- Christmas Special: In the story, it's at least the closest Ancient Chinese analogue thereof, the Dong Zhi Winter Festival. The special still gives it all the trappings of Christmas, however.
- Colossus Climb: One of the first moves Wo Hop tries to provoke Po into killing him, but Po eventually picks him off and puts him in a large jar to make him stop.
- Cool Hat: The fancy hats/wigs worn by the Kung Fu masters.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Master Rhino shows up in this special the same character who was only in the second movie for mere minutes before Shen killed him
- Disaster Dominoes: At least four separate ones, held together with Old Spice.
- Fancy Dinner: Po has to host one for the all the Kung Fu masters when he'd rather be cooking with his dad. Mind you, Po tried to compromise by trying to get his dad to cook for it.
- Food Porn: Po is tasked to pick the best chef in China, and also do some cooking himself.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: The same radish basket that plays an important part in the sequel is not in the first movie, but is present in the Holiday special, in the same location Mr. Ping pulls it out from in the second movie.
- Honor Before Reason: After accidentally being dishonored by Po, Wo Hop the bunny chef tries to kill him in combat and when that doesn't work he keeps trying to kill himself. May or may not be a Shout-Out to The Book Of Bunny Suicides.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Po and Mr. Ping make cooking noodles look absolutely epic.
- Never Say D--!: Apparently Po and/or his dad thinks that Tai Lung is dead.
- Orgasmically Delicious: The noodle shop's holiday specialty, at least in Po's dad's dreams.
- Placebo Eureka Moment: Po mumbles to a guard beside him on how to deal with his conundrum, but then realizes the solution and thanks the guard... even though the guard didn't really do anything.
- Pure Is Not Good: Perfection is nice, but it's also boring and insanely stressful.
- Shown Their Work: The Winter Feast resembles the traditional Chinese festival of Dong Zhi, which holds many parallels to both Thanksgiving and Christmas, such as family gatherings and feasting to celebrate the Winter Solstice.
- Suicide as Comedy: Wo Hop.
- You Are Not Alone: The moment when Shifu tries to decline Po's invitation for Mr. Ping's Winter Feast. Shifu says that it is only for Po's family, which Po responds with "You're my family too."