“There is no secret ingredient. It's just you.”
—Po, Kung Fu Panda
Master Po Ping (known simply as Po, and originally named Little Lotus) is the main protagonist of the beloved Kung Fu Panda franchise. He is the adopted son of Mr. Ping and the biological son of Li Shan and his wife, as well as one of Master Shifu's students at the Jade Palace. He is also the foretold Dragon Warrior of legend, and a master of the Panda Style of kung fu.
Originally born in a farming village to his birth parents, Po was separated from his family as a result of a massacre. He was eventually found by Mr. Ping, who adopted him, hoping for Po to inherit the family noodle shop someday. However, Po was drawn to kung fu, and his unwavering enthusiasm led him to be chosen as the Dragon Warrior, after which he began training under Master Shifu. Though clumsy and unaccepted at first, Po persevered and fulfilled the destiny of the Dragon Warrior by defeating Tai Lung and discerning the Dragon Scroll, proving himself as a hero to everyone, including himself.
Why He Rocks
- Po is usually easygoing, playful, and cocky like a big kid, as well as rather "fanboyish" when expressing his love for kung fu.
- Like the franchise he stars in, he is the definition of the phrase: 'Don't judge a book by its cover'. Who knew a big, slovenly panda can make a badass martial artist?
- When given the chance to finally become the Kung Fu master he always wished he could be, he is all too eager to learn kung fu the hard way, enduring physical beatings and insults in hopes of changing who he is.
- Comedian, singer, and actor Jack Black did a phenomenal job bringing this big, fat panda to life. His screams, squeals, and mannerisms are owed to his highly memorable vocal performance.
- As Po tends to be less serious and disciplined than other masters, he also tends to think more outside the box, and will find different, creative ways to solve a problem if need be.
- He possesses a kind and selfless nature, and is generally friendly and laid back.
- He has an infinitely strong sense of justice, willing to risk his life to protect others.
- His lack of discipline and flippant personality often give him an unintentional advantage over his enemies, since, combined with his appearance, it causes them to disregard him or struggle to take him seriously, so they are often shocked when he proves to be a tenacious and incredibly skilled warrior.
- He can be quite immature and oblivious in some situations.
- Earlier versions of Po's character had him not as a fan of kung fu, and he was "rather hateable and stupid and dead-end".
- However, Jack Black's performance helped to change and define Po's personality as more vulnerable and kind instead.