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Po Ping

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kung_fu_panda_po.jpg

"I'm not a big, fat panda. I'm THE Big, Fat Panda."

Voiced by: Jack Black (Films), Mick Wingert (TV Series, Video Game)
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A Giant Panda with a big heart, he is a major kung fu fanatic and runs a noodle shop with his father (who is a goose). To the surprise of everyone, he is selected by Master Oogway to be the Dragon Warrior destined to defend the Valley of Peace from danger, and now trains under Master Shifu and alongside his idols, the Furious Five.


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    A-G 
  • Accidental Athlete: In the first movie, when he climbed several feet off the kitchen floor and performed a perfect split just to get Monkey's cookies off the top shelf. When he sees Shifu watching him, Po's first words are "Don't tell Monkey."
  • Acrofatic: After his training, he starts taking advantage of his weight by using it to counterattack. Though he can still tire after too long and struggles with overly-long staircases.
  • Adaptational Jerkass: The Legends of Awesomeness TV series plays Po off more as an insolent, lazy rookie, often causing as many problems as he solves out of selfish or cocksure impulses, a trait that is far more subtle with the films' usually kind but blusterous characterisation.
  • Adorkable: Look no further than when he first entered the Jade Palace and spent the next minute or two just gawking to himself over the cool kung fu artifacts. Panda-ing to the Audience, indeed.
  • Aesop Amnesia: In the Legends of Awesomeness TV series, due to his Adaptational Jerkassery, he constantly undergoes the same lessons concerning his pride and laziness causing dilemmas.
  • Alliterative Name: Po Ping.
  • All-Loving Hero: He does not hate anybody. Not even Shen, who attacked Po's village, and killed his mother and his people. He still forgave him and told him to let go of the past. He is, however, not so willing to forgive Kai due to how dangerous he is.
  • All of the Other Reindeer:
    • The Furious Five and Shifu treat him with disrespect for most of the first film. It's downplayed in the sense that during his second day Po earns the respect of most of the Five through his Heroic Resolve, great cooking skills, storytelling, and humor, while Shifu undergoes a Jerkass Realization.
    • It's implied that he may have gotten this from his fellow villagers as well, given that he had self-esteem issues long before being named the Dragon Warrior.
  • Always Someone Better: Tigress is this to him; despite Po beating enemies who mop the floor with Tigress, he's always been clueless when battling her. Every time they match up, Tigress makes short work of him.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Even after he's been established firmly as the Dragon Warrior, he occasionally looks around at his comrades like he can't believe something so cool is actually happening.
  • Ass Kicks You: While Po is fighting Tai Lung, he sits on Tai Lung by accident at one point. It becomes one of his signature moves later on.
  • Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance: His black and white appearance lends to making him a literal representation of yin and yang, the element of balance Chinese philosophy.
    • His arrival in the first movie, though ill-received, ended up blending two disciplines of kung fu together, creating a devastating combination of hard-hitting offense and reflective defense. In addition, the Furious Five and Shifu learn to ease up on their pride and traditions, and make time to relax and have fun.
    • His appearance becomes prominent when he achieves inner peace by learning to accept the panda genocide that killed his mother, and let them go, allowing him to become the "black and white" warrior who was prophesied to defeat Lord Shen.
  • Awesome by Analysis: In the cartoon series, it is revealed that he is quite talented through means of observing attacks. Yes, even dangerous techniques. One of them blinds him.
    • He shows a bit of this in the films too. After all, he learned the Wuxi Finger Hold just by "figuring it out".
    • In the second film, he learns the movements for the raindrop move after only seeing it once. He has to obtain inner peace before he can use it, but still.
  • Badass Adorable: He happens to be a big fluffy panda who squees over getting to live and work with his idols.
  • Badass Boast:
    • From the first film: "I'm not a big fat panda. I'm THE big fat panda!"
    • The second film subverts it, in that he also tries to deliver one to Shen, but he's too far away for the sound to reach him.
  • Badass Teacher: Becomes one in Kung Fu Panda 3, though much like Shifu before him, it takes a while before he can effectively teach.
  • Battle Aura: Gains one in the third film, in the distinct likeness of a dragon.
  • Battlecry: "GET READY TO FEEL THE THUNDER!!"
  • Bears Are Bad News: Generally not the case, as he is an well-meaning and friendly fellow. However, this trope is sometimes played straight when he doesn't hesitate to put genuinely evil people down if he has to. Likewise, see his Good Is Not Soft entry.
  • Bear Hug: To Tigress at the end of the second film. Literally. Tigress ends up in a platonic version of Post-Kiss Catatonia.
  • Beary Friendly: He acts friendly to just about everyone he meets. He's even pretty amiable with the bad guys.
  • Beary Funny: Generally acts like a big goofball, even when he's doing something completely badass.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Once he finally gets to be a kung fu master as he always wanted, he finds it to be quite a lot harder than he expected.
    • In the holiday special, he geeks out at the thought of hosting the Winter Festival banquet, only to discover it takes a lot of work to prepare, has many traditions he's unaware of and are too complicated to follow, and most of all, it tears him away from someone he'd rather spend the holidays with - his Dad.
  • Belly Flop Crushing: Does this to the Wolf Boss.
    Po: ALAKASQUASH-O!
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He's normally a good-natured, goofy, and laid-back guy... but he can and will kick your ass if you deserve it.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Po is the Fat Comic Relief protagonist who is also a kung fu master and Dragon Warrior, and isn't afraid to kill if he has no choice.
  • Big Eater: He can stuff forty bean buns into his mouth. Even as a baby, Po went through entire crates worth of food multiple times a day.
  • Big Fun: He comes across as the typical lovable fat guy, but this is partially just to hide his own insecurities.
  • Big Good: While he isn't there yet, the third movie reveals that this is Oogway's eventual plan for Po - for Po to be his successor and blossom into a teacher and master who brings people together. The very end of the movie shows that Po is well on his way down that path.
  • The Big Guy: Due to his relative lack of experience, he also relies more on brute strength and toughness than elaborate kung-fu techniques.
  • Blood Knight: Being the kung fu fanatic that he is, the guy usually looks like he's having the time of his life during a fight. Except when It's Personal.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Po can learn special techniques by merely watching them once, but he tries to take shortcuts in his training, which actually delays his learning.
  • Broken Pedestal:
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Becoming a kung fu master doesn't end his being the comic relief.
  • Butt-Monkey: He starts off as this.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Has a tendency to do this. And if the attack doesn't have an actual name, he'll just make one up.
  • Catchphrase: "Skadoosh."
  • Centipede's Dilemma: Po does have potential and talent for Kung Fu, but it only ever came out when properly motivated (by food). When Master Shifu points out Po is ten feet off the ground and doing a perfect split, Po writes it off as an accident before quickly falling to the floor.
  • Character Development: Each film centers around his personal growth in some way.
    • The first film has Po learn to believe in himself.
    • The second film has Po to not let his tragic past define who he is or his future.
    • The third has Po understand his own identity and what it means to be the Dragon Warrior: someone who can revolutionize the Kung Fu world for the better.
  • Character Title: "Kung Fu Panda" refers to Po.
  • Chef of Iron: Doubles as Team Chef.
  • The Chosen One: Twice, even!
    • The first movie has Po being chosen to become the Dragon Warrior, and focuses on him growing to fit that position. He succeeds, and soundly defeats Tai Lung.
    • The second movie has him end up being the subject of a prophecy where a warrior "in black and white" will defeat Shen which drove Shen to commit racial genocide against the pandas. While the prophecy was open-ended in that the prophesied warrior could mean Shen himself, Po ended up being that warrior anyway which leads to Shen's death.
  • The Chosen Zero: What almost everyone believes him to be until he proves himself.
  • Classical Anti-Hero: At first. He gets better.
  • Clueless Chick Magnet: Believe it or not, he has attracted the attentions of more than one female, even Tigress and Viper, though the former only temporarily in the show, and the latter only seen in credits. In the third film, Mei Mei is very much attracted to him and never passes up a chance to flirt, although Po appears more than a little uncomfortable with it.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Po likes using the surrounding environment and whatever he can get his hands on to give him advantages during fights. For example, he used a tree as a catapult to whack Tai Lung away during the fight in the first film, and when Boss Wolf took off on a rickshaw in the second film, Po simply grabbed another one nearby and used it to catch up with him.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: He becomes the Dragon Warrior alright, but that also means that he has to deal with all of the threats to the Valley of Peace and by extension China as part of his new position.
  • Comfort Food: Po has a psychological dependence on eating when he's upset, but he manages to conquer it to some degree in the first film.
  • Confusion Fu: Because he invented his own kung fu style instead of learning one of the others, he has an advantage against more seasoned fighters like Tai Lung who don't know what to expect from him. It helps that, half the time, he appears to be goofing off more than actually fighting.
  • Counter Attack: A lot of Po's biggest hits against Tai Lung involved absorbing Tai Lung's blows and throwing the momentum back at him.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: He's not particularly bright and kind of a klutz, but becomes a highly-skilled kung fu master regardless.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Po's family and his species in his infancy were massacred by Lord Shen, but Po has no conscious memory of this for years and soon comes to terms with it.
  • Determinator: Even before he knows any kung fu, the Five are somewhat impressed by the fact that he will not give up, no matter how much a beating he is taking.
    Tigress: If he's smart, he won't come back up those steps.
    Monkey: But he will.
  • Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: Po racks up an impressive series of victories over the course of his career. He defeats the nigh-unstoppable Tai-Lung virtually single-handedly, wipes out Shen's fleet of ships equipped with cannons that can easily kill the most hardened kung-fu masters, beats and obliterates Kai, who was Oogway's equal, and destroys the Demon King Ke-pa.
  • Disability Immunity: He is so chubby that Tai Lung's pressure-point attacks don't work on him.
  • Doorstop Baby: His adoptive father found him in a radish box from the vegetable order delivered to him. He waited for someone to come by, but when no one came, he adopted Po.
  • Dork Knight: He is simultaneously a kung fu master and a kung fu fanboy.
  • Drives Like Crazy: On a cart in Gongmen City chasing down the Wolf Boss in Kung Fu Panda 2.
  • Easily Impressed: Show him anything. If it has something to do with kung-fu he's almost bound to be amazed by it. This is especially noticeable in the TV series.
  • Elephant in the Living Room: The question of why a panda has a goose for a father is completely ignored by all of the characters, including Po himself. However, this is addressed in the second film.
    Tigress: What's really bothering you?
    Po: Well, I just found out my dad... isn't really my dad.
    Tigress: Your dad... the goose?
    Po: *he nods, holding back a smile of his own at how silly it sounds*
    Tigress: ... that must have been quite a shock..
  • Encyclopaedic Knowledge: Even before Shifu decided to seriously train him, Po still had a stunningly complete fanboy knowledge of kung fu lore and philosophy.
  • Enlightenment Superpower:
    • In the first movie, he gains the power of the Dragon Scroll (a blank reflective surface) upon realizing its true meaning ("There is no secret ingredient. It's just you.")
    • In the second movie, achieving Inner Peace grants the power to deflect cannon balls with your bare paws.
    • Achieving Spiritual Balance gives you the ability to manipulate your chi, which grants one several abilities, including the power to heal both plants and living beings.
  • Epic Fail: His first attempt at training with Shifu.
    Shifu: There is now a level zero.
    • And his first attempt at teaching kung fu.
  • Fat Comic Relief: Although he's the protagonist, he's also the chubbiest and silliest denizen of the Jade Palace.
  • Finger Poke of Doom: The Wuxi Finger Hold, where the user holds a person in a strong one-handed grip, save for a pinkie. Lowering the pinkie sends the intended person to the Spirit Realm. Po had no one to teach him that, but he figured it out on his own.
  • Flanderization: Even for Po, he acts a lot goofier in the third film than he did in the first two. Whether this is justified within the context of the film (for being more of a comedy, especially compared to Kung Fu Panda 2) is a bit of a Broken Base.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine - high-spirited, genial and enjoys doing what he does to no end.
  • Friend to All Children: As shown in Secrets of the Furious Five, Po is great with kids. Shows up again in Kung Fu Panda 3 where he gets along greatly with the young panda children.
  • Funny Bruce Lee Noises: Makes these constantly in the first two films. It's downplayed in the third film.
  • Fun Personified: He brings a more fun and relaxed attitude to the strictness of the Jade Palace, which gradually affects everyone around him.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Downplayed. He's rarely seen making things, but it's revealed that he's carved all his action figures by himself, and in the third film, he effectively builds a mobile training dummy resembling Kai to practice on in what is implied to be less than an hour.
  • Genius Ditz: Has figured out advanced Kung Fu techniques by himself without being shown while capable of inventing new ones on his own, has an encyclopedic knowledge of kung fu history and lore, is a competent and imaginative strategist, and is a Supreme Chef to boot. Discovers inner peace three days after being told what it is and able to do the seemingly impossible with it, and has an excellent grasp of kung fu philosophy. And the end credits for the second movie show that he didn't buy his near-identical action figures of the Furious Five — he carved them by himself when he was just a kid. For all that though, he's pretty childish, occasionally clumsy, easily excited, and often lacks common sense.
  • Gentle Giant: He's by far the largest member of the main cast, but generally a nice guy. Just don't get on his bad side.
  • The Gift: Said word for word in an episode of Legends Of Awesomeness.
  • Good Is Not Soft: He's a nice guy, but killed both Tai Lung and Ke-pa, as well as destroyed Kai's soul. None of these was more than the situation called for, but Po isn't afraid to put genuinely evil people down if he has to.
  • Groin Attack: Fell victim to this during his first training course, and in the third film he accidentally poured schezwan sauce in the water of his bath.

    H-N 
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: Usually doesn't wear a shirt. Then again, it would hardly fit him.
  • Happily Adopted: Even after learning the truth about his biological family, he still accepts Mr. Ping as his father.
  • Hard Work Hardly Works: Averted. While Po has a great deal of natural talent and can learn very quickly under the right circumstances while creating powerful innovations, he still has to rely extensively on the Five in combat (although he is still an asset to them as well), and Tigress in particular is implied to be a much more formidable combatant.
  • Has Two Daddies: His adopted dad Mr. Ping and his not-quite dead biological dad Li Shen. They decide to raise him together by the end of Kung Fu Panda 3.
  • Healing Hands: One of the applications of Chi Mastery, which allows you to give your chi to someone sick or wounded so they can heal.
  • The Hero: He demonstrates aspects of Heroic Spirit in each movie: courage and determination in the first and then overcoming one's demons and letting go of anger in the second.
  • Heroic BSoD: In the second movie, he suddenly goes into shock whenever he sees Lord Shen's symbol, and it heavily effects his ability to focus. Before he comes to terms with the tragedies of his past and achieves inner peace, that is.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Uses the Wuxi Finger Hold on himself to take himself and Kai to the Spirit Realm to protect both of his fathers, the panda villagers, and Tigress from Kai. He even admits he didn't know he could leave the Spirit Realm before doing so.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: In the first film, Po thinks of himself as a fat loser and can't change because of the constant verbal abuse he received from Shifu and the Furious Five. Oogway, however, encourages him to keep going because "tomorrow" is a mystery. He gains a healthy amount of confidence by the end.
  • The Hero's Journey: Each film shows us some Character Development for Po.
    • The first film has Po dreaming of being a great kung fu master like his idols, the Furious Five, yet believes that he's a loser who's doomed to a humdrum life and can't change himself. Thanks to Oogway's encouragement and some Character Development on Shifu's part, Po gains the confidence and proper training he needs, and gradually defrosts the inhabitants of the Jade Palace.
    • The second film has Po discovering what happened to his biological family, causing him to struggle with inner peace. Eventually he learns to let go by going to the ruins of his childhood home and confronting his memories, achieving forgiveness and the inner peace he sought.
    • The third film has Po struggle with self-identity, and the expectations people have of him. By the end of the film, he has accepted that he is all facets of his identity, and that he will always be Po.
  • Hero-Worshipper: To pretty much any famous master he meets, but mainly the Furious Five. He retains this trait long after he becomes a famous master himself.
  • Hey, You!: He is frequently referred to as just "panda" by friend and foe alike, especially in the first film.
  • "Hey, You!" Haymaker: Done in the second movie, where he does this to a wolf minion while disguised as a lion dragon - he punches the guy, and the lion dragon proceeds to eat the wolf.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Leaving aside his martial arts skills, as much as Po so often seems an immature Ascended Fanboy, Shifu learns that he is an excellent teacher of kung fu's philosophical and historical aspects. His knowledge of kung fu masters, their skills, and their histories is very much in-depth.
    • He's a pretty talented wood carver, if his sculptures of the Five are any indication. He was able to fool Lord Shen and his wolf minions with a Mantis figure that heavily resembled the real deal.
    • Whenever you see him cooking or serving tables, so long as he's no distracted, his movements are quite fluid and he balances well. He and Mr. Ping even put on a cooking show every Winter Feast where they cook in tandem, and it's no less skilled or physically demanding than a kung fu kata. That balance and fluidity in movement partially lends to why his fighting style is vastly different than those of his contemporaries.
  • Hot-Blooded: Everyone kept telling him that his goal was impossible, but he kept fighting, for his passion of becoming the Dragon Warrior. That same determination helps him succeed in the end.
  • Humble Hero: Officially becomes one in the second movie. He gained a lot of self-confidence by the first movie's end, but hasn't become haughty.
  • I Call Him Mr Happy: Po refers to this area as his tenders.
  • I Just Want to Be Badass: In the first movie, he wants to be a kung fu master, despite discouragement from his father, the Furious Five, and Shifu. However, he succeeds in the end.
  • I Just Want to Be Special: Spent most of his life wishing he could get out of his father's noodle shop and be a kung fu master. His wish came true when he was chosen as the Dragon Warrior.
  • Improv Fu: A big part of his fighting style revolves around grabbing the nearest object and using it to his advantage.
  • Incompletely Trained: Only receives a few days of actual training before facing Tai Lung in the first movie. As a result, that fight is a lot more about exploiting Tai Lung's weaknesses than actual skill on Po's part. He's gotten a lot more training by the sequel, and it shows.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: When he finds out about the massacre of his parents and species, his reaction is to... let it go, much to Lord Shen's shock.
  • Instant Expert: It is not uncommon for him to master advanced techniques on the fly - techniques that took other masters dozens of years to learn (though it's typically under extraordinary circumstances and in life-or-death situations). Lampshaded in the third movie, when Shifu seems a bit exasperated by this:
    Po: I think I mastered Chi!
    Shifu *sighing* Of course you did.
  • Interspecies Adoption: A panda adopted by a goose. He's pretty fine with the arrangement.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Po is essentially his VA Jack Black as a panda.
  • Irony: Po is superb at countering the attacks of his opponents, but doesn't fare so well whenever they manage to counter his own attacks. Case in point, Tigress comes out on top during both of their matches by using his own weight and force against him.
  • Kevlard: Specifically, his fat makes him immune to nerve strikes.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Aside from being the protagonist, this is the main reason he's at the forefront of the advertising.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": No matter how much of a badass he himself becomes, he can't resist fanboying over any famous master he sees.
  • Large Ham: Being voiced by Jack Black, it's a given.
  • Leitmotif: "Panda Po" — a humble melody usually played with strings. Introduced in the first movie, and used everywhere in the second.
  • Last of His Kind: Po is the only (known) panda to have survived an attempted genocide orchestrated by Shen. It is eventually revealed that he's not.
  • Laugh of Love: Po invokes and exploits this in Kung Fu Panda 2, when he giggles while pretending to be a female panda in order to get close enough to a nearby wolf to knock him out, which is successful.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Rushes headlong into the factory to confront Shen himself instead of listening to Tigress's instructions to stay put. This inevitably screws up the Furious Five's plans to blow up the factory along with Shen and the Wolves in the process.
  • Lethal Chef: Secret of the Scroll reveals that 10 years ago he was a pretty bad chef, to the point of accidentally giving Shifu a nasty case of food poisoning. Fortunately for his friends, he's improved immensely since then.
  • Lightning Bruiser: He's surprisingly fast and agile for a guy his size, while also hitting about as hard as you'd expect.
  • Like Father, Like Son: Po and Mr. Ping share several personality quirks, most notably that when embarrassed, they turn sideways and nervously peek towards those looking at them.
    • Even moreso with Li Shan, his biological father, who shares his Big Eater habits, his fun-loving attitude, and general silliness.
  • Made of Iron: Because of his fat, he can deflect blows quite easily. Even Tai Lung's nerve strike attack. As a result, when he begins to lose weight in KFP2 (as noted by his father), he no longer has this resistance (as the Wolf Boss is able to hurt him with a strike to the belly).
  • Manchild: Despite being in his 20's and being a kung fu master, Po acts very immature and childish. He takes bubble baths and plays with action figures.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Feminine Boy to Tigress's Masculine Girl. Po is an All-Loving Hero, easily emotional, clumsy, and can be one of the most soft-hearted characters in the series. Tigress, on the other hand, is The Stoic, has manly traits, is the stronger one of the two, and can take a while to warm up to people.
  • Meaningful Name: Word of God says his full name is "Po Ping" (寶平, bǎopíng), which means "precious peace". In the second film, Mr. Ping calls him "Xiao Po", which in this context, roughly translates to "little precious peace".
    • In the third film, his birthname is revealed to have been "Little Lotus". While the "Little" part isn't so fitting anymore, the name "Lotus" is typically used to symbolize purity and enlightenment, both traits that apply to Po.
  • Memetic Badass: In-universe, the Dragon Warrior is the ultimate kung-fu master and a paragon of badassery, as well as one in harmony with the energy of the universe. Po eventually grows into that hype.
  • Mentor's New Hope: Oogway intended Po to be this for Shifu, though the mentor certainly didn't see it that way (at first).
  • Messiah Creep: In the first movie, he was a fool and a chosen one, but in the second movie, he becomes a Messiah after his Character Development when he finds inner peace to forgive Shen. Goes even further in the third movie when he takes over the role of Oogway, the previous Messiah.
  • Messianic Archetype: His name, Po Ping, means "precious peace" in Chinese.
  • Mighty Glacier: While a Lightning Bruiser in his own right, he doesn't own the amount of stamina to utilise it which is shown when he has trouble climbing stairs. His fight against Tai Lung has him succeed by periodically moving and using his weight against Tai Lung. He is also slow moving compared to the other 5 but still packs a punch.
  • Moment Killer: Po's a real master at it. He has the unfailing ability to ruin a moment.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: His mother hid him in a crate of radishes before leading the wolves away from him and presumably sacrificing herself. The radishes were eventually shipped to Mr. Ping's noodle shop, where Po was found and officially adopted.
  • Mythical Motifs: An odd case where an animal character has a separate animal motif. Po is frequently associated with dragons, being the Dragon Warrior, hanging around likenesses of dragons, and gaining a dragon-shaped Battle Aura in the third film.
  • Nice Guy: He doesn't have a single mean bone in his body as long as he isn't fighting villains. And even then, he still tries to help and make peace with them whenever he could.
  • Nice Hat: Parodied on several occasions.
    • Po dreams about having a Nice Hat at the beginning of the first film. At the end of the film he walks out of the mist appearing to be wearing one, but it turns out just to be a wok that fell on his head.
    • He gets one in the second movie, but promptly loses it in a failed attempt to use it as an attack.
    • He gets another one plus a pretty nice set of clothes after mastering chi in the Spirit Realm in the third movie, but loses it after returning from the Spirit Realm.
  • Not So Different: It becomes a recurring theme in each movie that Po finds the Big Bad is somehow relatable to him and his issues.
    • Tai Lung and validation — Both are orphans whose life had something to do with kung fu and being the Dragon Warrior. Tai Lung was shown to be gifted at kung fu, but was not chosen as the Dragon Warrior and became the Big Bad he is; Po had to work his way to being a kung fu master and was chosen as the Dragon Warrior. Also, while Po is a Humble Hero (bordering on Heroic Self-Deprecation), Tai Lung is an Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy (which is his Fatal Flaw).
    • Lord Shen and tragedies of the past — both have parental abandonment issues and are real animals likened to mythical beasts (Po the Panda is the Dragon Warrior, while Shen the peacock is clearly meant to be a phoenix with his passion for fire). Both are nervous and unsure of themselves, having many a Failed Attempt at Drama moment. Both are black-and-white animals who are (apparently) the last of their kind, and both fight using unconventional methods. They achieved their places of power by using fireworks and by defeating highly skilled masters (Tai Lung and the Masters' Council) who stood in their way. Both their destinies were set in motion when the Soothsayer predicted their eventual conflict, and both sought inner peace to deal with their tragic pasts. However, while Po was able to move on from the tragedies of his past, Shen was unable to do so and found only defeat and death.
    • Kai and identity — Po has issues with identity, wondering if his identity as Po was lost in the expectations people have of him as a kung fu master and the Dragon Warrior. Likewise, Kai finds that his own identity has been lost to time and seeks to reclaim it, but with force rather than self-enlightenment.
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    O-T 
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Downplayed. He really can be quite clueless at times, but there are hints that he plays up just how clueless just because that's how people see him. For example, he tells Tigress that he had only just found out he was adopted, clearly making her wonder how he could be that naive given he is a panda and his father is a goose; yet, when actually talking to his father about it earlier, he admits that he already knew it. An advantage to this is that people keep underestimating him, never knowing when he is being genuinely clever or genuinely stupid.
  • Oblivious Adoption: Quite obviously, there is no way a panda could be the biological son of a goose, but the issue is never addressed. When Mr. Ping reveals to Po that he isn't his father, Po says he already knew, probably because of how obvious it was.
    Mr. Ping: You knew?? Wh- who told you??
    Po: Nobody! I mean, come on, Dad.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business:
    • Three words: "I'm not hungry."
    • In general, whenever Po loses his cheerful goofiness, you know things have gotten serious.
    • In the third flim, he shows genuine anger at Li Shan for lying to him, an emotion barely even glimpsed from him prior. He also notably skips the Last-Second Chance after beating Kai and goes straight to finishing him off.
  • Orphan's Ordeal: His character arc in the second film.
  • Panda-ing to the Audience: He's a panda, and a most-beloved character in his homeland in real life.
  • Parody Sue: Po's dream as the awesome Legendary Warrior. Shockingly, it eventually comes true for him.
  • The Pig Pen: Master Shifu tells Po that he smells occasionally in the first film.
  • The Protagonist: In case the name of the franchise didn't tip you off.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: After enduring Shifu's brutal "training" and the Five's behavior, Po reaches his limit when he learns that not only Tai Lung has escaped but Oogway is no longer around to stop him. Po finally ends up leaving (around the time Shifu decides to train Po seriously.) When Shifu stops him, Po finall just breaks into that.
    Shifu: You will beat [Tai Lung] because you are the Dragon Warrior!
    Po: YOU DON'T BELIEVE THAT! You NEVER believed that! From the first moment I got here, you've been trying to get rid of me!
    Shifu: Yes, I was! But now I ask you to trust in your master, as I have come to trust in mine.
    Po: You're not my master... and I'm not the Dragon Warrior!
    Shifu: Then why didn't you quit?! You knew I was trying to get rid of you, yet you stayed!
    Po: Yeah, I stayed. I stayed, because every time you threw a brick at my head, or said I smelled, it hurt! But it could never hurt more than it did every day of my life just being me. I stayed, because I thought if anyone could change me... could make me NOT me, it was you! The greatest kung-fu teacher in all of China!
    Shifu: But I can change you! I can turn you into the Dragon Warrior! And I WILL!
    Po: Come on! Tai Lung is on his way here right now! And even if it takes him a hundred years to get here, how are you going to change THIS into the Dragon Warrior?! HUH?!
    Shifu: (silence)
    Po: How? How!? HOW!?
    Shifu: I DON'T KNOW!! ...I don't know.
    Po: (angry and disappointed) That's what I thought.
  • Refusal of the Call: A complicated example. He's pretty excited about being the Dragon Warrior and willing to endure whatever training. Though when Tai Lung escapes, Po finally is freaked out enough to leave, only for Shifu to stop him and the above exchange, happening. Complication comes from Po no longer accepting the call after the call refused to accept him. Shifu eventually trains him seriously. After Po seems to not grasp the purpose of the Scroll, Shifu sends him and the Five away to escort the villagers while he faces Tai Lung. However, when Ping tells him the secret of his soup and Po has his Eureka Moment on how it reflects the scroll's messege, he returns to defeat Tai Lung.
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: Being the fanboy he is, he likes to do this to other people. His first reaction upon meeting any famous master is often to start reciting their greatest accomplishments to their face.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: As a baby panda.
  • Rookie Red Ranger: The newest addition to the Furious Five, and initially the least experienced.
  • Running Gag:
    • Po's eternal rivalry with stairs, which started with trying to go to the Jade Palace in the first film. It even carries over to his biological father.
    • To Shifu's annoyance, Po constantly and quickly learns advanced techniques that he himself has been trying for years to do, "...at such a young age."
  • Sad Clown: In the first film, Po has serious self-esteem issues, considering himself a fat failure thanks to the severely Chilly Reception he got from Shifu and the Furious Five. However, both Oogway and Master Shifu (after going through his own Character Development) are able to lift his spirits considerably and he has since felt better about his new life.
  • Ship Tease: With a number of female characters. In the first movie, it's downplayed greatly in favor of Po's story, but Viper gets a little of it by being nice to him from the beginning, and kissing a training dummy that looks like him during the credits; with Song in one episode of Legends of Awesomeness; with Tigress especially during the second film and the TV series; and with Mei Mei in the third movie while training her with nunchucks.
  • Simple Staff: Gains one made of jade topped by the yin-yang symbol from Master Oogway in the Spirit Realm after mastering Chi and defeating Kai in the third movie.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Stairs.
  • Spanner in the Works: Secrets of the Scroll shows that he, completely inadvertently, brought the Furious Five together, who in turn, inspired him to learn kung fu in the first place. There are no accidents indeed.
  • Stepford Smiler: In the first film. His cheerful attitude hides some massive self-esteem issues, and despite his constant fanboying to the Furious Five, he's painfully aware that both they and Shifu view him as a joke. He endures it out of the opportunity to no longer be him and seeing him finally crack is painful. Fortunately, he gains the confidence to overcome this.
  • The Strategist: While Po's biggest strength is how he's nearly impossible to injure, his surprising guile is a very close second. He's capable of intricate strategies set up beforehand, and more importantly he's flexible enough to adapt quickly if and when things go awry: both traits were demonstrated quite well in his battle with Kai.
  • Stone Wall: Po is at first not nearly at the level of fighting skill as Shifu or any of the Furious Five, but he is nearly impossible to physically injure. Every fight he goes in is mostly him absorbing damage (and after learning to fight, attacking opportunistically). This ultimately saves him in the second movie, where his sheer defense allows him to survive getting hit by Shen's giant cannon (though the wok he held in front of him probably helped a little, though considering how far he was thrown by the force of the cannonball, it didn't help that much).
  • Stout Strength: His stoutness is actually an advantage for him.
  • Strong Girl, Smart Guy: With Tigress. Po is an Ascended Fanboy with an encyclopedic knowledge of kung fu history and trivia, along with the ability to learn new techniques incredibly quickly (at least when properly motivated). Tigress, on the other hand, is the leader of the Furious Five and the fiercest fighter in the Valley of Peace.
  • Supreme Chef: When it comes to noodles. It runs in the family.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: He takes pity on both Tai Lung and Shen and tries to help them get over their issues, though both times it is in vain.
  • Taking You with Me: In third film, he uses the Wuxi Finger Hold on himself while holding onto Kai to send them both to the Spirit Realm, after finding out it won't work on Kai directly (as Kai is already a spirit).
  • Talk to the Fist: To Kai in the third film.
    Po: (mockingly) Chitty-chitty-chat-chat, chit-chat!
  • Through His Stomach: Po began to befriend the Furious Five (except Tigress) after the great meal he whipped up for them.
  • Tiger Versus Dragon: The Dragon to Tai Lung and Tigress' Tiger.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Takes a level in each film.
    • The first film's plot revolves around this — learning kung fu in order to be ready when Tai Lung attacks. By the time Tai Lung arrives, Po's able to use both skill and the town surroundings to fight on par with him. And accidentally discovers that his own fat protects him from nerve strikes.
    • In the sequel, although his fighting skills are still far from flawless, he kicks much more butt, being able to turn the already powerful Furious Five into a devastating force by combining their speed and offense with his defense and weight. Plus, he achieves Inner Peace by learning to let go of his past and the crimes committed against him and his people, which allows him to catch and redirect cannon fire.
    • The third film has him learn how to produce chi, which results in Po utterly obliterating Kai to the point of death in the Spirit Realm. After that, he takes over Master Oogway's job as the Big Good and leader of Kung Fu.

    U-W 
  • Underestimating Badassery: For obvious reasons, he gets this a lot. Tai Lung quite assumed that Po's only move is to sit on him, only to pay for it with injury and his life. Lord Shen became quite annoyed at how Po managed to come back no matter what he threw at him and ended up defeated and killed by his own cannon falling on him. And Kai thought it would be easy to steal Po's chi, but he didn't count on Po training a bunch of panda villagers to help fight him and then mastering his chi in the Spirit Realm. It ends in Kai being Deader Than Dead.
  • Use Your Head: He favors this move to shut enemies up fast, as seen in the holiday special and the second film.
  • Vague Age: Shen's comment about waiting "thirty years for this day" when he takes over Gongmen implies Po to be at least in his late twenties, giving a couple years for Shen experimenting before he was exiled. This is debatable; Shen was likely looking forward to the day he became Lord of Gongmen City long before he tried to wipe out the pandas to escape his fate. Po's father states in the third film that he kept the secret about Po being adopted for twenty years, implying that Po was twenty (or at least very close to twenty) during the events of the second film.
  • Weaksauce Weakness: Stairs. Okay, lots of people have trouble with stairs, but the level to which it is exaggerated with somebody who would otherwise be perfectly healthy and does Kung Fu cements the trope, given how he can swing his way up an entire building without slowing down, but taking the stairs leaves him completely winded.
    Po: Ah, my old enemy... Stairs.
  • With Catlike Tread: His attempt at "stealth mode" in the second film is...less than stellar. Then again, what would you expect from a 300-pound Giant Panda voiced by Jack Black?

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