These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Acceptable Targets: The Huns. They have sickly gray skin, and black eyes with yellow irises.
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.
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 reworkingof 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, with much less drama.
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.
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.
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 complains about in the first act. note Another possibility that doesn't have this problem is that they need a token Asian girl.
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.
In the sequel, we're told that the Mongols are going to invade again and they vastly outnumber the Chinese, but the situation can be saved if the Chinese ally with another kingdom through Arranged Marriage. This being a Disney movie, of course the marriages don't go through and the princesses find love with commoners...but as far as we know, the two kingdoms don't make an alliance and the Mongols are still planning to invade. Apparently we're just supposed to forget about that.
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!!!"
Mushu's dishonor rant.
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: 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.
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.
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..."
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 AnimationKung 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 Implications: The entire bad-guy army, whom the script always refers to by their ethnicity, is drawn as hulking, gray-skinned, yellow-eyed goons. This probably explains why 'Huns', who no longer exist as a self-identified ethnic group, were used instead of Mongols, who still exist as a country at the time the movie was made. If no one is still around to protest, a Historical Villain Upgrade becomes much smoother. Nevertheless, some nationalist groups in Turkey objected, due to the historically-somewhat-shaky belief that Huns are the ancestors of Turks.
If we go along with the idea that the movie's Huns are actually based on the Xiongnu, the character designs may have something of a historical context, since the Chinese depiction of the Xiongnu wasn't exactly flattering to say the least. European descriptions of the Huns weren't flattering either. The Huns themselves didn't help matters by deliberately binding the heads of their infants to deform the skull, and scarring their cheeks.
"They made their foes flee in horror because their swarthy aspect was fearful, and they had, if I may call it so, a sort of shapeless lump, not a head, with pin-holes rather than eyes. Their hardihood is evident in their wild appearance, and they are beings who are cruel to their children on the very day they are born. For they cut the cheeks of the males with a sword, so that before they receive the nourishment of milk they must learn to endure wounds. Hence they grow old beardless and their young men are without comeliness, because a face furrowed by the sword spoils by its scars the natural beauty of a beard. They are short in stature, quick in bodily movement, alert horsemen, broad shouldered, ready in the use of bow and arrow, and have firm-set necks which are ever erect in pride. Though they live in the form of men, they have the cruelty of wild beasts."