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Skadoosh!

"To ask why we fight... is to ask why the leaves fall. It is in their nature. Perhaps, there is a better question. Why do we fight? To protect Home, and Family... To preserve Balance, and bring Harmony. For my kind, the true question is: What is worth fighting for?"
Chen Stormstout, Warcraft
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Basically, pandas know kung fu.

Pandas are strongly associated with their native China, and since All Chinese People Know Kung-Fu and All Asians Know Martial Arts, pandas will invariably be skilled in the martial arts. Despite their big size, they will be portrayed as forces to be reckoned with. This trope exists despite, or because of, real-life giant pandas stereotyped as generally being lazy lumps of bamboo-eating cuteness.

A Sub-Trope of Panda-ing to the Audience, and a specific type of Bears Are Bad News. Subverts the usual stereotype of pandas as lazy or slow and not nimble animals.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Beastars: Gouhin, a gruff Back Alley psychologist panda who advises Legosi on his feelings for Haru. Unlike the carnivorous Legosi, who fights based on his wolf instincts, the herbivorous Gouhin is legitimately a good physical fighter, being able to take out imposing lions with ease.
  • Jujutsu Kaisen: Panda is a large bipedal panda-looking creature (he insists several times he isn't really a panda) who is just as capable of kicking ass as the human jujutsu sorcerers, and unlike most of them, his size and bulk lends itself to a close-combat fighting stye. He's actually a sentient Cursed Corpse, meaning Principal Yaga deliberately chose to make his prize fighter in the shape of a panda.
  • May Chang from Fullmetal Alchemist is a princess of Xing, a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of China, and is suitably trained in martial arts. Her Head Pet, runt panda Xiao May, seems to know quite a bit too in imitation of her, although Shao May mostly runs on Rule of Cute and has no direct impact on the plot.
  • Ranma ½: Played With. Underneath the inanity, hedonism, and laziness, Ranma's father Genma is also a proficient martial artist. Genma is cursed to occasionally turn into a panda, but this form emphasizes the former more than the latter.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Chinese duelist Vivian Wong has a monster called Gyaku-Gire Panda, which uses martial arts kicks and deals piercing damage against monsters in defense mode.

    Films — Animation 
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • Played With in the first movie. Despite being the protagonist and the title of the film being Kung-Fu Panda, Po the panda starts the film with no martial arts training at all, and spends much of it as the least competent martial artist among the other animals. However, he does eventually grow into the position of The Chosen One, and is a good martial artist for the rest of the franchise.
    • His teacher and master of the Jade Palace, Shifu, also plays with this trope, due to being a panda as well. A red panda, to be exact.
  • The protagonist Pancada from The Little Panda Fighter, clearly inspired by Kung Fu Panda, plays with this trope by doing boxing rather than Kung-Fu Fighting.

    Music 
  • In the Ninja Sex Party song and music video "Mansion Party", Danny has two battle-pandas fighting in Gladiator Games for the amusement of his guests.
    Danny: You've really got to agitate the pandas to get them engaged in combat. They're very docile by nature. ...I laced their bamboo.
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    Tabletop Games 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Gyaku-Gire Panda is a beast-type monster with the appearance of a vicious and angry panda. It's special effect grants it 500 attack points for every monster on the opponent's field. It appeared in the anime as one of the monster used by model, actress and martial artist Vivian Wong.

    Video Games 
  • Facebook-only game Pandas Fighting is a half-fighting game half-Clash of Clans game about pandas fighting between each other and against monstruous bosses, using not just martial arts, but different weapons to win.
  • Pokémon: Pancham and its evolution Pangoro, introduced in Pokémon X and Y, are Fighting-Type Pokemon that resemble panda bears.
  • Sly Cooper: Panda King, one of the Fiendish Five, is a Chinese pyrotechnics who invented his own style, Flame-Fu, incorporating his fireworks when he fights Sly.
  • Panda from Tekken series is a giant panda that's Li Xiaoyu's pet mascot and is also the Distaff Counterpart of Kuma (a grizzly bear and Heihachi's mascot). Having martial artists as their owners, both bears can fight any opponent, having the "style" of Kuma Shinken made by Heihachi, who also taught Panda to be Xiaoyu's bodyguard.
  • Warcraft: The Pandarens are an entire race of Pandas who know kung fu.

    Western Animation 
  • Peter the Panda from Phineas and Ferb uses moves for fighting that resemble some sort of martial arts.
  • In Skunk Fu!, Skunk's teacher in the 80 year old kung fu master Panda.
  • We Bare Bears: Subverted. Panda is by far the most cowardly and clumsy of the three bear bros, while his little brother Ice Bear, a polar bear, is the one who does karate.
  • Wild Kratts: In the panda episode (season 4), it's mentioned that pandas have an extra thumb which they use to handle bamboo more effectively. Chris and Martin's panda creature powers give them boosted strength and dexterity, which they demonstrate by wielding bamboo stalks like bo staffs.
  • Yin Yang Yo!: Yin and Yang's martial arts teacher is the grumpy and lazy but wise and experienced panda Master Yo.

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