- Acceptable Targets: The Huns. They have sickly gray skin, and black eyes with yellow irises.
- As The Nostalgia Chick pointed out in her review, Huns are probably the only group of people that can be portrayed completely unsympathetically in a politically correct world without an anti-defamation league getting upset.
- Adaptation Displacement: A lot of people have no idea that the legend of Mulan has been around in various forms since the 6th century AD. They think she's an original Disney character.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: Some people see Mulan as transsexual, mostly because of the lyrics of "Reflection." Some fans speculate that Shang developed romantic feelings for Mulan before discovering she was female. Also see the Wild Mass Guessing page.
- Americans Hate Tingle: Despite famous voice actors such as Jackie Chan and using a local folk tale, the movie didn't do much at the Chinese box office. Some blame piracy, some worry that the native audience took issue with the extensive reworking of the original myth, and some point to the fact that the Chinese government was in the middle of a bitter and spiteful dispute with the Walt Disney corporation and forced it to languish for a year before letting it out with an unfavorable release date just after the Chinese New Year's celebration stuffed the box office with other films. Ten years later, Dreamworks Animation's Kung Fu Panda would prove much more to Chinese tastes.
- Angst? What Angst?: There are no psychological repercussions to Mulan killing thousands of men with the avalanche. Then again, it's a Disney film. In one of the next few scenes, they popped up from under the snow. Mushu even likens them to daisies.
- Anvilicious: Sexism is bad.
- Complete Monster: Shan Yu, the leader of the Huns. He views the Emperor of China having built the Great Wall as both an insult and a challenge. As a violent Blood Knight, Shan Yu leads his horde of Huns to invade, relishing when China knows he's there. After capturing two Imperial spies, Shan Yu releases them with a message for the Emperor- but jokingly has one of his archers kill one anyways as you only need one man to deliver a message. Shan Yu later ambushes the armies of General Li at a village, resulting in a mass slaughter, not only of the soldiers, but every civilian as well, with no children spared either. Even after his army's downfall, Shan Yu attacks the Imperial Palace with his remaining men and takes the Emperor hostage, furiously attempting to kill him when he refuses to kneel to Shan Yu.
- Crowning Music of Awesome: "Short Hair". That is all. "The Huns Attack" appears to be a fan favorite too.
- Draco in Leather Pants: Shan-Yu has a sizeable fanbase, mostly due having the deep gravelly husky voice of Miguel Ferrer.
- Ear Worm: "I'll Make a Man Out of You" and "A Girl Worth Fighting For" are merciless in this regard.
- Evil Is Cool: Shan-Yu and his mini boss bunch of Huns for the general Badassery throughout the movie. Ironically, and probably on purpose, their defeats are all extremely comedic.
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Grandma Fa has more fans than her small screentime would suggest.
- First Installment Wins: The sequel failed to do as well as the first film.
- Girls Need Role Models: This is why Mulan is shoehorned into the Disney Princess merchandise: she's the first money-making "real" Action Girl the animated canon has to offer, though this is somewhat muted by the fact that the merchandise generally features the girly-girl look she feels slightly out-of-place in in the first act. note
- Hilarious in Hindsight: Mulan's male persona is "Ping", and given that she still claims to be from the Fa family, "his" full name takes on a different meaning among modern Internet culture, doubling as an accidental Stealth Pun.
- SHAN-YU, Han Dynasty! Cape stuck to roof, hit by incoming rocket! NO CAPES!
- Eddie Murphy plays a dragon in this movie. Around three years later in Shrek, he plays a donkey that gets married to a dragon.
- Soon-Tek Oh and James Hong both appearing in this animated film, which is interesting considering that both said actors had played North Vietnamese military Big Bads in the Missing in Action films (Hong played the so-called main villain in the first film, while Oh played the villain in the second).
- Ho Yay: The interactions between Shang and Mulan when she was disguised as "Ping". Plus, Mushu encourages it as a normal part of male-to-male interaction.
Mushu: Good, now slap 'im on the behind. They like that!
- Inferred Holocaust: Shortly before Shan Yu and his army find the Imperial scouts, you can see a village burning behind them. Implying they had just destroyed it, and probably killed everyone in it. Averted with the little girl's village and the Imperial Army, which skips over the "implied" part.
- Iron Woobie: Mulan never gives up despite all the stuff she goes through.
- Memetic Badass: Ping, the manliest badass ever to grace cinema.
- Memetic Mutation:
- Go into any room (or bar, or internet chatroom...) full of people who grew up with this movie (teenagers and twentysomethings at this point) and sing "Let's get down to business". They will not only finish the line for you, but also sing the entire song.
- "They popped out of the snow! LIKE DAISIES!!!"
- "Dishonor on you! Dishonor on your cow!" is not an uncommon caption.
- "BEEF! PORK! CHICKEN! Mmmm..."
- Misaimed Marketing: Mulan's placement in the Disney Princess franchise already counted but it reached a new low when the DVD joined the "Royal Wedding Collection". This movie contains neither royalty (save the Emperor) nor a wedding (that's only in the sequel).
- Moral Event Horizon: Shan-Yu crosses it when he and his soldiers burn down the village at the Tung Shao Pass. There's an Empathy Doll Shot to indicate that even children were not spared. Plus, there's also the helmet and sword of Shang's father, indicating that he too died in the attack. The scene comes right after the "A Girl Worth Fighting For" song, making it a huge Mood Whiplash and the scene all more impactful.
- At first, Chi Fu is simply an arrogant bully and, considering he's a loyal servant of the Emperor himself, can only be considered a villain because of his misogyny. But boy, does he ever make the best (worst?) of that, and when Mulan's gender is outed, he crosses the MEH by ordering Shang to kill her as though she were a traitor (never mind that she had proven herself a valuable asset to China's army up to that point). He only drives the point home that he's thoroughly unrepentant about his misogyny later on when, after Mulan helps defeat the Huns and save the Emperor, the bully still demands the death penalty in a gesture of blatant ingratitude.
- One-Scene Wonder:
First Ancestor: (speaking to Mushu) You had your chance to protect the Fa family!
Female Ancestor: Your misguidance led Fa Deng to disaster!
Fa Deng: (carrying his head under his arm) Yeah. Thanks a lot.
- The ordinary Red Shirt who lit the signal tower while Shan Yu was staring him down.
- Painful Rhyme: Mostly because of the glaringly incorrect grammar necessary to accomplish it: "Ancestors, hear my plea / Help me not to make a fool of me..."
- Periphery Demographic / Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The song "Reflection" seems to have struck small chord in the LGBT community, at least in the Philippines.
- Seinfeld Is Unfunny: The only real blow we get to see anyone connect against an opponent in combat is one comical headbutt by Ling. After the outstanding success of the Dreamworks Animation Kung Fu Panda franchise established that ferociously wild, if stylized, Wuxia action with innumerable connecting kicks and punches are now acceptable family entertainment, Mulan comes off as rather timid.
- Signature Song: "I'll Make a Man Out of You" is by far the film's most popular song.
- Unfortunate Name: Fa Ping. It might count as Having a Gay Old Time
- What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: Mulan is constantly touted by fans as "THE BESTEST AND MOST FEMINIST DISNEY PRINCESS EVERRRR" and used to bash all the other "weak, sparkly, slutty" Disney Princesses for "not being strong women". Also pretty impressive as she was never canonically a Princess to begin with
- Win Back the Crowd: After their last attempt to do this got strong reviews but a relatively poor box office take, they decided to go back to being a bit more adult. Surprisingly, this worked better than with Pocahontas or The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
- The Woobie: Mulan. The girl goes through a lot of crap just to prove her worth to her family, to her country... and to herself.