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Heartwarming / Mulan

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As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

Disney film

  • Doubles as a Moment of Awesome, but when General Li says he will place troops protecting the palace, the Emperor at once tells him that he should go and protect the people of China instead.
  • Brief but sweet moment: during the song "Honor to Us All", a boy steals a little girl's doll and tries to run away with it only for Mulan to take the doll and give it back to the girl.
  • After "Reflection", in which Mulan is clearly doubting herself and feels that she has let her family down, her father comes up to her under the blossom tree. At first, she's too ashamed to even look at him, but instead of being angry or even stern, her father cheers her up with this moving piece of dialogue:
    Fa Zhou: My, my. What beautiful blossoms we have this year. But look! This one's late. But I'll bet that when it blooms, it will be the most beautiful of all.
    It later receives a beautiful echo from the Emperor of China himself.
    Emperor: The flower that blooms in adversity is the most rare and beautiful of all.
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  • There's a quick one when Mulan's father is getting his drafting orders. One of the other families is called and an older man is about to step forward. His son stops him and states that he'll go in his father's place.
  • The moment when General Li promotes Shang to Captain. You can tell how much the General is proud of his son with just his few sentences. Shang's joy and borderline fawning before gaining back his composure just seal the deal.
  • Near the end of "I'll Make a Man Out of You", where Yao catches Mulan/Ping's staff in the air, but quickly hands it off to her with a smile, showing she has earned his respect. It makes for a great contrast with the beginning of the song, where, in a nearly identical situation, Yao caught the staff, then used it to knock Mulan/Ping off her feet.
    • Mulan then gives Yao a smile in return.
    • Likewise, when Mulan knocks Shang off his feet with a spinning kick to the jaw during a sparring match, his reaction is to grin proudly.
    • Also, the moment when Mulan gets the arrow. She makes herself climb all night until dawn breaks so that she's close to the top by the time the recruits wake. Ling, who's been a jerk to her, starts cheering her on, and the whole army applauds when she tosses the arrow towards Shang and smiles at him nervously.
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  • Kind of a minor thing, but notice how during the bathing scene, Mushu makes a point of covering his eyes (with his ears) so that way he doesn't see Mulan totally naked—and though it is mostly a funny moment, Mushu goes in to save Mulan from being discovered to be a woman by biting Ling (on his butt) and distracting the others.
  • Mulan (as Ping) overhears Chi Fu chew Shang out as being an "unfit" captain, not to mention that his soldiers aren't ready for war. Mulan initially tries to cheer up Shang with a playful suggestion that they beat up Chi Fu, before she gives him this meaningful line:
    Mulan: For what it's worth, I think you're a great captain.
  • The picture of Chi Fu with the emperor is clearly intended to be a funny moment, but the characters translated reveal that it was a gift from his younger brother.
    • The characters also reveal something else heartwarming. No matter what happened, later on, naming your kid "bully" is a pretty darn mean name to give a baby. Thankfully, Chi Fu's parents weren't those parents: The characters used are another meaning for Chi Fu that translates roughly to "Joyous Fortune" maybe Chi Fu didn't bring 'joyous fortune' to the other characters, but it's nice to know that at the very least it wasn't because he was messed up from having the type of folks who would give "to bully" to an infant as their actual, official name.
  • It's subtle, but "A Girl Worth Fighting For" has a lot of friendly moments between the soldiers. At the beginning, they're worn-out from the long march and morale is low, but Ling cheers them up by suggesting that instead, they think about what (or rather, who) would make the journey worthwhile, and by the end, everyone except Mulan is in high spirits, singing, smiling, joking, shoving each other around, throwing snowballs and making snowmen. That is, until they see the burned-out remains of the village.
    • There is a moment that Mulan finds Actually Pretty Funny. When Chi Fu starts singing about a girl he has, Yao whispers to "Ping," "Yeah the only girl who'll love him is his mother." Mulan can't help but smile.
  • Shang makes a Due to the Dead to his father, using a sword and General Li's helmet. Mulan as Ping goes up to him and says, "I'm sorry" in her normal and not fake-deep voice. Shang, who has been aloof due to The Chains of Commanding, offers her a gentle pat in thanks. Mulan then leaves a little girl's doll by the memorial before moving to follow.
  • During the mountain battle, when Mulan grabs a cannon, runs out to the oncoming Hun horde, and ends up scrambling to light the cannon, with Shan Yu coming up with his sword drawn. Shang immediately starts running after her, yelling for her to come back- as do the trio, swords drawn and screaming a war cry. Of course, it immediately turns hilarious once they realize that she's triggered an avalanche: Shang stares in disbelief at the oncoming wave of snow (until Mulan grabs his arm as she sprints past and drags him away) and the trio turn tail to run screaming in the opposite direction, but the fact that they saw their fellow soldier and friend in trouble, facing a man who they know has easily slaughtered an entire village and a significant portion of the imperial army, and still chose to run towards that danger is utterly heartwarming.
    • In the same vein: when it looks as if Mulan is about to be executed, Yao, Ling, and Chien Po rush to defend her before Chi Fu stops them. Considering how distraught they were moments before over "Ping's" injury, it's highly unlikely that their horror was due to suddenly seeing her as just a Damsel in Distress rather than a respected friend in immediate danger. Especially when you take the above example into account. Not to mention their devotion to her is even more heartwarming considering that Yao and Ling had been the most relentlessly mean to her at the start.
    • Mulan/Ping risks her life to save Shang, and they are just barely rescued from falling off a mountain. Once Shang regains consciousness, it seems that Mulan/Ping is preparing to get chewed out by her commanding officer, but:
      Shang: Ping... you are the craziest man I have ever met. [smiles] And for that I owe you my life. From now on, you have my trust.
      Ling: Let's hear it for Ping! The bravest of us all!
      Yao: You're king of the mountain!
      (entire company cheers)
  • "Don't you worry, okay? Things will work out. We started this thing together, and that's how we'll finish it. I promise." ... from Mushu, who had originally been using Mulan as a ticket to becoming a guardian again.
    • When Mushu admits to Mulan that "we're both frauds", he goes out of his way to point out that at least Mulan's motives (saving her father) were better than his (regaining his position).
  • The entirety of the final fight at the Imperial Palace is crammed with these.
    • When the Emperor is captured by Shan Yu, we see Shang, Yao, Ling, and Chien-Po trying to break into the palace to rescue him. Mulan runs over and tells them she has a plan. Shang looks understandably hesitant to follow her, but Yao, Ling, and Chien-Po immediately drop what they're doing and run over to help her. It clearly doesn't bother them a bit that she's a woman or that she had to lie to get into the army. That, my friends, is the very definition of True Companions.
    • During the ensuring "I'll Make A Man Out Of You" reprise, when Mulan and the three guys are getting ready to infiltrate the palace, and Shang taps on Mulan's shoulder and throws his cape around the pillar. Considering his attitude towards her after finding out "he" was a "she", it's especially heartwarming to see him joining in with her plan with no reservations.
      • Also more heartwarming? Mulan is incorporating the first lesson that Shang taught her: how to retrieve the arrow using weights. Shang's Smile of Approval is that Mulan is using his teachings to think outside the box.
    • Mulan's plan was initially that Shang would defeat Shan Yu and receive the glory due to him. She wasn't in it for any war medals or prizes; she was doing it because it was right and she believes in her Captain. Of course, things go pear-shaped because she forgot that Shan Yu is twice Shang's body weight and has more experience, but it's the intent that matters.
    • It's a brief moment, but after they save the Emperor and Shan Yu turns to Shang and Mulan on the ground, Shang puts his arm out protectively in front of Mulan. He has a visible Oh, Crap! look when Mulan succeeds in goading Shan Yu to chase her and struggles to get up.
    • After Shan Yu's defeat, all four men close ranks protectively in front of Mulan when Chi Fu starts trying to threaten her again, only reluctantly moving aside when the Emperor specifically gestures for them to do so.
      • Shang actively defends Mulan from Chi Fu, almost threatening a man who answers only to the Emperor, before the Emperor himself arrives. And even then, Shang tries to defuse the situation.
        Chi Fu: Stand aside, that's creature's not worth protecting!
        Shang: She's a hero.
        Chi Fu: She's a woman! She'll never be worth anything-
        Shang: (seizing the front of his tunic) Listen, you pompous-
        Emperor: That is enough.
        (cue Oh, Crap! moment from everyone present)
        Shang: Your Majesty, I can explain-
        Emperor: (silently gestures for them all to move aside)
      • To reiterate, Shang has spent most of the movie dealing with Chi Fu's taunts and unhelpful criticisms, never even threatening him. But the moment the arrogant Chi Fu threatens and insults Mulan, Shang doesn't hesitate to angrily grab him with the heavy implication he would've gotten more violent had the Emperor not stepped. Mulan really does have a soft place in Shang's heart.
    • And then: "I've heard a great deal about you, Fa Mulan. You stole your father's armor, ran away from home, impersonated a soldier, deceived your commanding officer, dishonored the Chinese Army, destroyed my palace, ANDyou have saved us all."
      • Made more touching by the fact that Mulan visibly cringes during the Emperor's rant, clearly expecting something much worse... and then she's clearly amazed and relieved at the last bit.
    • All of China, including the Emperor, bowing to Mulan.
      • The Emperor bows, everyone else kowtows, which an act of deep respect.
    • Mulan giving the Emperor a hug.
      Yao: Is she allowed to do that?
      Shang, Ling and Chien-Po: (shrug in a "don't know, don't care" way).
      • Extra mention must be made about that fact. Under any other circumstance, the answer is "absolutely not", and Mulan would have been executed for such a breach of space. Meaning the Emperor is not only letting it pass, but even being touched by the otherwise sacrilegious act like a kindly old grandfather being hugged by his granddaughter shows that, well, that's what he is at heart. Plus, of course, letting it pass in light of everything that's happened. Yet one more reason the Emperor is a Cool Old Guy and the ideal person to wield the Mandate of Heaven.
      • Extra extra heartwarming in that in Mulan II, it's shown that he has three daughters, at least one of whom (Mei, the middle daughter) seems close to Mulan's age. He probably wasn't bothered by her hugging him because his daughters have done so many times.
    • Mulan's group hug with Ling, Chien Po and Yao, showing how close they've all become, and Shang's blundering around Mulan. "Um, you... you fight good." Complete with a pat on the shoulder. A fine adorkable moment.
    • And capped with the Emperor's line about flowers blooming in adversity and then bluntly saying it to Shang when he doesn't get the inherent wisdom. "You don't meet a girl like that every dynasty."
  • At the end:
    Mulan: I brought the sword of Shan Yu, and the crest of the Emperor. They're gifts to honor the Fa Family.
    Fa Zhou: (throws them aside and hugs her) The greatest gift and honor is having you for a daughter. I missed you so.
    Mulan: I missed you too, Baba.
    • Cue Manly Tears.
    • Mulan herself even tears up a bit, adding to the heartwarming feeling. She's clearly super-relieved that her dad isn't angry with her.
    • This commentary just cements how beautiful this scene really is.
  • Shang visits Mulan at her home, prompting a hilariously adorkable moment and heartwarming exchange.
    Shang: Honourable Fa Zhou, I- (notices Mulan standing behind her father and starts to panic) Mulan! Er- you forgot your helmet! (glances at Fa Zhou) W-well, actually, it's your helmet, isn't it- I mean-
    Fa Zhou: (glances at Mulan as though to say "put the poor boy out of his misery")
    Mulan: (taking the helmet) Would you like to stay for dinner?
    Grandmother Fa: (off-screen) Would you like to stay forever?!
    Shang: (grinning) Dinner would be great.
    • Also if you recall, Mulan's helmet fell off her when the weapons wagon exploded. Then it got buried in the snow. Shang somehow dug through and found the helmet, and he did it as thanks for "Ping" saving his life.
    • This time around, Shang and Mulan can start over fresh, not as a false soldier under the command of a strict captain, but as equals and a potential couple.
  • When the film was first announced at a Disney EXPO, an older Chinese man approached Tom Bancroft, who animated Mushu, with tears of joy his eyes that this legend that was passed down through his family for generations, ending with his own daughter, would be made into a beautiful animated Disney film.


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