A Different Lesson

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Suppose for a moment that the Wuxi Finger Hold not only didn’t kill Tai Lung, it purged him of his insanity and brought his rage down to manageable levels. Suppose Shifu was then determined to restore his son to his former heroic self, coming to him afterward and offering him a deal: submit to him, learn to control his anger and atone for his sins, and he will once again have a place at the Jade Palace. Tai Lung refuses initially, but then receives a little encouragement from Po, who believes in the snow leopard and offers him forgiveness and friendship to get back on the right path. And once he begins viewing his own Moral Event Horizon as a My God, What Have I Done? moment, Tai Lung resolves to begin the long path towards redemption from the Valley of Peace, thereby finding a meaning and purpose for his life.

But then suppose, meanwhile, something else has been awakened in Chorh-Gom. Something far more terrifyingly evil than the snow leopard could ever hope to be, previously sealed away by Master Oogway himself, now freed by his death; something poised to cast its terrible shadow over the land, seeking to rule and control the lives of everyone in China through possessing and manipulating the chi of Tai Lung himself, corrupting him once more into a monster—and something that can only be destroyed by all of them, even Tai Lung, putting aside their differences and banding together to stop it.

Welcome to A Different Lesson.

A novel-length Doorstopper Fix Fic for Kung Fu Panda that serves as a continuation as well as an Alternate Universe where things turned out a little differently than they did in the film, and one which at times does border on a little too much Purple Prose and Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, the story nevertheless addresses many pertinent points raised but never resolved by Kung Fu Panda, or even ignored altogether, all in a very thoughtful, complex, and human way.

The story is notable for not pulling any punches when it comes to the daunting prospect of actually redeeming Tai Lung. Even he doesn't believe it possible at first. But there are no accidents, and nothing is impossible if you only believe in yourself.

At the same time, even as Tai Lung is given (or shown to already possess) Marty Stu abilities, he is never allowed to be a Draco in Leather Pants as he must deal with the consequences of his actions and can never be allowed to forget them. Despite a romance with Tigress (and in fact quite the Love Dodecahedron), the story is as much concerned with mystery, horror, action, and drama, especially the very realistic progression of a Heel Face Turn. And in the end, the story turns out to be as much about Po, Crane, and the Wu Sisters as it is Tai Lung.

It’s not for the faint of heart, and not just due to its length: there are plenty of killer, exhausting battle sequences, a great deal of darkness, and a surprising amount of blood and gore, betrayal, and death. But there’s also a lot of great humor, profound wisdom, memorable new characters, a devotion to Showing Their Work and including lost material from The Art of Kung Fu Panda, and interesting backstories.

It’s well worth a look, if you have a lot of time on your hands. And for those of you who might be tired of hearing of nothing but Tai Lung, Po gets just about equal weight (no pun intended), as do most of the Five. The Secrets of the Furious Five is also referenced heavily, and Mei Ling eventually becomes a supporting character in her own right.

In the wake of the fic's completion, the author has started two other stories that fill in certain details and expand the universe.

WARNING! There are unmarked Spoilers ahead. Beware.

Tropes used in A Different Lesson include:

Tropes A-C

Tai Lung, after Heian Chao has battered Po somewhat senseless: "You stay away from him! Nobody gets to beat up on the panda...except me."

Po: "Aww, big guy, I didn’t know you cared."

Tai Lung: "Shut up."

  • Ax Crazy: Xiu, in spades.
  • Babies Ever After: For Tai Lung and Tigress.
  • Backstory: Who isn't given one this time around? Tai Lung, Po, the Wu Sisters, Mei Ling, Vachir, Chao, Chen, Oogway, Zhuang and Xiulan…
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Mei Ling and Jia, as well as Tai Lung and Po, Monkey and Mantis, Tigress and Shifu, and Vachir and Emperor Chen in Backstory.
  • Badass Army: Two of ‘em, the yaoguai and the Warriors of Tenshu.
  • Bad Guy Bar: the Bandit Inn
  • Bait and Switch: A number of chapter openings are misleading, usually in a Double Entendre fashion.
  • Batman Gambit: Oogway’s plan for getting rid of Chao is to have Po use the Wuxi Finger Hold on Tai Lung to restore him to himself, then joining forces with him. This after Tai Lung was held for twenty years in Chorh-Gom to keep him safe from Chao.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Xiu really should have been more wary of accepting power from a dark chi master…
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Do we really need to say which couple this describes?
  • Beta Couple: Crane and Mei Ling. They don't have as easy a time of it as most examples of the trope, but when compared to Tai Lung and Tigress...
  • Beware the Nice Ones: It takes a lot to make Po angry. A lot! When he actually says a single curse word, your ass is about to be handed to you, painfully and humiliatingly.
  • Big Bad: Heian Chao, but Xiu gives him a good run for his money.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Pretty much everybody in the final battle, but the appearance of Mei Ling and especially Mantis take the cake. The arrival of Tigress and Crane at the trial also counts.
  • Big No: A number of them.
  • Bilingual Bonus: A number of phrases sprinkled throughout the story, and even whole sentences, appear in Mandarin, which the author dutifully translated in his notes for those who don't speak Chinese. Most of the original characters have a Meaningful Name due to this as well.
  • Bits of Me Keep Passing Out: Tai Lung's nerve strike ends up being used this way twice—first Played for Laughs when he uses it in a bit of revenge while training Po, then later Played for Drama when Po uses it on Xiu (and precipitates her Villainous Breakdown).
  • Black Cloak: Chao wears one actually made from shadows.
  • Black Magic: Chao personifies this, due to the source, cost, and effect of his powers.
  • Body Snatcher: Chao again.
  • Break the Badass: Two examples. Wu Xiu, the coldest and most black-hearted of the Wu Sisters, was both shocked and disturbed by what was found in Monkey's Room Full of Crazy, thus showing the reader just how far the Demonic Possession had gone and what the heroes were in for when Chao made him betray them. See Even Evil Has Standards. Similarly, Tai Lung tried to impress on Shifu and the Five how bad it would be to face Vachir by stressing how heartless, horrible, and implacable the rhino was—in other words, implying that he was afraid of him, and wasn't sure even he could win against Vachir. When they actually get to Chorh-Gom, this fear bears fruit during the battle, especially when Tai Lung first sees the resurrected Anvil of Heaven behind him. If Tai Lung is scared, you know something major is about to go down.
  • Break the Cutie/Kill the Cutie: Where to begin? Xiu came extremely close to breaking Jia, and Chao tried quite hard to both break and kill Po.
  • Breaking the Bonds: Tai Lung, during the battle at Yunxian.
  • Broken Pedestal: Po, regarding Bao. Also, in a way, Tai Lung regarding Shifu and Oogway.
    • Po's is nicely Foreshadowed in Chapter 17, when he decides to go fetch snacks for the Truth or Dare:

Po: Don't worry, I'll leave some money down in the kitchen for the innkeeper. I may be a lotta things, but I ain't no thief.

  • Bucket Booby Trap: Tai Lung used one on a snooty Imperial official when he was a cub. It also, somehow, ended up being used on Shifu.
  • Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie: Averted. Not only does Vachir not make this as his Last Request, but when Tai Lung chooses to bury him on his own, he doesn't even have to go very far at all—just within sight of both Chorh-Gom and the Mongolian steppes that had been the rhino's home.
  • But for Me It Was Tuesday: Implied when Jia confronts Heian Chao about him apparently planning to have Monkey kill Tai Lung, whom she wanted as her lover. Her You Know What You Did leads to this gem: "Before he could observe, with absolute honesty, that he had done many reprehensible, vile things and could not be expected to recall them all..." Considering he's almost a thousand years old and has been committing atrocities almost all of that time, he very well might have forgotten some of them. It wouldn't be the first time he's forgotten something.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Tai Lung to Shifu for a good deal of the first quarter of the overall story. Also, Tigress to Shifu on the way to Chorh-Gom.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Mei, to Crane.
  • Carnivore Confusion: Played with when Monkey suggests Chao is so focused on corrupting Tai Lung because he’s afraid the snow leopard will eat him. (Which would also be an example of Just Eat Gilligan, since getting rid of Chao would indeed solve everyone's problems.)
  • Casting a Shadow: Chao’s main power, through the corruption of his chi.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Most of the characters do this, but Tai Lung and Xiu excel at it.
  • Catapult Nightmare: A guilt-ridden Tai Lung has one of these near the beginning of the story, a repetition of old dreams about his rampage which has returned to him now that he's truly aware of the magnitude of what he did.
  • Central Theme/Driving Question: Is everyone capable, or worthy, of redemption? Can it be earned? Is it even possible to truly atone, and who decides when it is achieved? Which is more important: being forgiven by others or yourself? What does it mean to be a hero, and is it something that should never be sought out, or if so only for the right reasons?
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The yaoguai. When they first appear in the story, it's only as a random aside, an old tale of Tai Lung's former heroism which Po mentions to illustrate why he doesn't believe the snow leopard is evil. Later on, when the author decided to expand on this tale simply because it made Tai Lung look awesome and the readers had requested to see more about it, it became not only a way of proving his heroism, but a Foreshadowing of the relationship between him and Po, since it is this very event, the facing of the 10,000 demons of Demon Mountain, which Po dreamed about in the movie--meaning he was, in true Otaku fashion, doing a Self-Insert Fic with himself in the role of Tai Lung. But then, much much later, the yaoguai turn up one more time...as a Badass Army summoned by Heian Chao, which the Warriors of Tenshu and the Furious Five must then defeat, just as Po had dreamed.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Everywhere, though the most notable would be the Golden Spear, the hammer, the Urn of Whispering Warriors, and everything found in Oogway’s room.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Tai Lung teaching Po the nerve strike technique comes in very handy later. Also, Tai Lung’s skill with lances and halberds.
  • The Chessmaster: Heian Chao prefers to sit back and manipulate things like the shadow he is.
  • Chew Out Fake Out: Shifu's confrontation with Tai Lung and Tigress in their bedroom would be this, crossed with a Secret Test of Character.
  • Chew Toy: Poor Tai Lung gets this a lot, but this applies to Po and Jia as well.
  • The Chosen One/The Unchosen One: It's made perfectly clear Tai Lung was not meant to be the Dragon Warrior. Meanwhile, because of Chao’s evil, because it had to be done and there was no one else to do it, Tai Lung chose on his own (albeit at Oogway’s request) to stop the Big Bad and thus made his own destiny. Of course once he did, it turned out he really was The Chosen One, just not the one he thought, because Oogway had chosen Tai Lung for this task long ago. Since Tai Lung always had the choice whether or not to accept, though, he had destiny and free will at the same time.
  • Civilian Villain: What people like Xiulan and Fu Xiao believe Tai Lung to be...which Chao was counting on.
  • Clear Their Name: What Crane had to do at the trial.
  • Cliff Hanger: A large number, though the ends of Chapter 15, 19, 30, 34, 41, and 43 stand out especially.
  • Coitus Ensues: Averted. Not only is romance one of the main points of the story so that sex would naturally appear at some point, and not only is it in-character for Tigress and Tai Lung to do it at the points that they do, it always has a purpose in the narrative. The first time is as a result of the Hate Plague (emotions are already running high, thus making the Belligerent Sexual Tension explode) and the resultant Relationship Upgrade is one of the things that helps them resist Chao's chi manipulation. The second time is after they've finally declared their love for each other...and it sets up for both Shifu discovering them in the act and Tai Lung having to go down to the village to get birth control which leaves him on the scene and with no alibi when Zhuang is murdered.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Revealed to have happened at Chorh-Gom by Vachir's hands, which was encouraged by Chao.
  • Combat Pragmatist: While he is honorable when fighting heroes (which seems applicable to some extent even in the movie), Tai Lung has no compunctions in throwing aside the rules when it comes to facing truly awful opponents like Xiu, Vachir, and Chao. He also tries to instill some of this in Po, with a fair degree of success but not enough to revoke Po’s Incorruptible Pure Pureness status.
  • Come Alone: Vachir’s admonition in his note (and Chun’s to Po).
  • Come Back to Bed, Honey: New version, and inverted—it is Tai Lung who wishes to stay in bed with Tigress, but she insists that he leave...so as to go and fetch birth control herbs.
  • Connect the Deaths: While the map Crane marks doesn’t immediately show an obvious pattern to him, there is a more subtle one.
  • Conservation of Detail: Everything matters, and things you wouldn’t expect to come up again do.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Not as many as some stories, but a few. Zeng happens to run into a possessed Vachir while coming to warn the Weis about the killer terrorizing the Valley, and he later is freed to return to the palace just in time to interrupt Mei Ling as she's about to finally spit it out to Crane. Above all, Zhuang deciding to check on the Weis, thus coming to free them and deprive Chao of a great deal of power right as the Heroes were facing Vachir and the traitor Monkey takes the cake for fortuitous timing. However, Mei Ling happening to appear in Yunxian in time to exonerate Tai Lung is due to the fact she had been following the Wu Sisters, and they in turn had come where Chao, with his astral projection, had told them the Heroes would be. And Zhuang continually being a Spanner in the Works whenever the Sisters were targeting Ping had the simple explanation of him being both a friend and hired laborer to the goose. Even his being in the birch forest was due to his line of work.
  • Cool, Clear Water: Played with—as in the movie, the Pool of Sacred Tears is as beautiful, pristine, and pure as can be, but this is not a sign of contamination at all, instead one of holiness and harmony, and the fact it is revealed to be a font of Pure Energy (chi) means that in fact the pool has been magically purified to make it safe to drink. By the same token, when Chao's corruption turns it into Grimy Water, the pool's tainted and poisonous appearance, as well as all the death surrounding it, is justified both by Chao's powers and by the poison the Wu Sisters poured into it beforehand.
  • Cool Old Guy: Emperor Chen (and to a lesser extent, Ning Guo).
  • Crazy Prepared: The group arm themselves before the final battle, including Mantis bringing the Urn of Whispering Warriors. Also applies to the Wu Sisters, as they take several weapons each, and are cross-trained, thus they can use any weapon the others are carrying. And Tai Lung himself, bringing the hammer along.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Oogway, constantly.
  • Cue the Sun: Dawn breaks as the heroes emerge from defeating the Big Bad. Since he was composed of/fought with shadow and generally represented ultimate evil, this was actually highly appropriate.

Tropes D-F

  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Chao’s big plan: to kill the Dragon Warrior, but not because he is The Chosen One or because he wants the Dragon Scroll for himself (not only does he not need such a MacGuffin, he actually helped make it and is thus aware of what it can do as no other besides Oogway is). It is to deprive the Valley of its Messiah and Tai Lung his perceived Morality Chain so that he will revert back to his rampaging, savage self. He also attempts to use Tai Lung's Heroic Resolve against him by pushing him into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Vachir, a Jumping Off the Slippery Slope act which will make him susceptible to The Corruption.
  • The Dark Side: Chao wants to drag Tai Lung to this trope...
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Originally, Chao began studying chi so as to depose a tyrannical emperor, but by the time of the story all he cares about is ruling the empire himself, and the lives of everyone in it, because he believes only he has the intellect and insight to do the job. A Motive Decay that is strongly implied, if not explicitly stated, to be caused by Chao using powers and techniques he did not fully comprehend.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Tai Lung still has almost every single flaw he had in the movie, even by the time the story ends. Also, Yin isn't evil despite being the black half. The story in fact goes out of its way to point out the mistake the writers made in the movie, when Oogway said Tai Lung had too much darkness in his heart. Oogway here explains what the problem really was: Tai Lung was imbalanced. His Yang overpowered his Yin (even though Yang is technically the light side of the taijitu, it symbolizes aggression), which naturally left him open to becoming as psychotic as he did. The key is to let his Yin and Yang work together in harmony, which he masters by the end.
  • Darker and Edgier: Like you wouldn't believe. It does end on a genuinely happy note, though.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: After the "Truth or Dare" game, where Tai Lung and Tigress share their first kiss, it's stated in the next chapter that when Tai Lung got back to his room, the experience had been so intense and blissful that he'd had to...take matters in paw.
  • Deader Than Dead: Chao. Overdone chicken doesn't begin to describe it. Lampshaded by both Po and Oogway.
  • Dead Person Conversation: Though not the only one to do it, Oogway adores this trope.
  • Dead Serious: Zhuang's death was intended to demonstrate just how far Xiu and Chao were willing to go just to subjugate the Valley. The death of Chang's son would also count as this, seeing as it occurred chronologically earlier. But the aversion of Infant Immortality was meant more as a proof of what a Complete Monster Chao was, while the death of Zhuang, seeing as he had more Character Development and readers had come to like him a great deal, was more of the sucker punch associated with this trope.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Tai Lung must have thought this was scroll 1,001...
  • Death Is Dramatic: Played straight with Zhuang, subverted with Shifu.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Tai Lung and Po, though the process is a lot more slowgoing than usual. Once it kicks in, though, they're brothers for life. Also, interestingly, Jia and Po.
  • Defector From Decadence: The first time Jia attempts a Heel Face Turn, it is thanks to Xiu's threatening the life of a pure innocent (Ping) in order to frame and manipulate Tai Lung. It is in fact her horror and disgust with Xiu's overall methods and acts that contributes to her real Heel Face Turn--but this was prevented, up until the end of the story, due to Xiu's emotional Blackmail.
  • Demonic Possession: Vachir, made worse by the fact we get a front row seat for it happening. Also, Monkey.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: "Did I mention you don't have my permission?"
  • Despair Event Horizon: Tai Lung almost has one of these when he has been convicted of killing Zhuang and it appears he’s about to be hung.
  • Detect Evil: Yi's ability to see the dark chi.
  • Deus Ex Machina: On a number of occasions Oogway acts as this, most notably when he spares the life of Mantis. Justified, however, because such a thing is practically necessary when going up against the Diabolus Ex Machina that is Heian Chao. At times the plot can resemble these two masters playing Xanatos Speed Chess. It’s pretty much a foregone conclusion who wins, but there’s plenty of nail-biting suspense, hate-worthy developments, and Oh Crap moments to make the reader wonder.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Xiu never saw coming her betrayal by Jia because she believed her sister was too weak, pathetic, and easily manipulated due to being dumb and old-fashioned to be driven to a Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal, and so could never possibly be a danger. She was wrong. (Though to be fair, it was The Reveal of who really killed their father, and subsequent support from Mei Ling, that proved to be the proverbial straw.) Similarly, Heian Chao never expected Po to respond to the I Have Your Father situation which he engineered through the Wu Sisters by gathering The Cavalry and riding to the rescue, rather than meekly accepting the inevitable. In his defense, however, while Chao was quite aware of how Po's Incorruptible Pure Pureness was changing Tai Lung for the better, he had no way of knowing the reverse was also true, causing the panda to Take A Level In Badass—nor that Po was not as gentle and harmless as he appeared.
  • Did You Actually Believe?: Chao to Shifu during the final battle.
  • Dishing Out Dirt: Shifu’s element is Earth.
  • Disney Death: Mantis
  • Damsel in Distress (averted): It's perfectly clear the ladies here can dish it out as good as the men can, even going to the point that while watching Tigress fighting during the final battle, Tai Lung vows he will do his best to never anger her. None of the ladies ever get captured or made helpless, and if so it isn't for long—Mei Ling gets locked in a cell but immediately picks the lock, and the one time Tigress ends up needing a rescue it's only after the Wu Sisters cheated and nearly killed her; even then Zhuang only chases them away to bring her back to the palace and she recovers just fine, fuming all the while. She certainly wasn't helpless at Chorh-Gom—Vachir didn't know what hit him.
  • Don't Do Anything I Wouldn't Do: Mantis, to Crane as he goes on the road with Mei.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Both Tai Lung and Tigress display this.
  • Doorstopper: While not quite War and Peace, the fic certainly makes quite the lengthy novel.
  • Double Subversion: Near the end of the story, it seems like Master Shifu is dying, in a reference to the ending of the movie—except instead of everyone being clueless like Po, he really is dying. But then Mantis succeeds in patching up his injuries so he doesn’t die after all--something even Shifu didn’t expect, to his chagrin.
  • The Dragon: Xiu, and to a lesser extent Vachir (who as a Pawn is more of a Fake Boss).
  • Dramatic Irony: Happens a great deal, but notable incidents include Chao helping Xiu kill Zhuang without knowing he was the Spanner in the Works, Chang’s message about Vachir, Shifu thinking Mei Ling would be able to exonerate Tai Lung through identifying the snow leopard fur, everyone thinking Monkey was just being naturally belligerent to Tai Lung when he was actually suffering from Demonic Possession, and Zeng speaking to Vachir of the grisly slayings around the Valley. There’s also Situational Irony, such as the fact the Wuxi Finger Hold that purged Tai Lung of his rage and insanity also freed Heian Chao.
    • Extending what was revealed in the movie, Shifu reveals why he did not stand up for Tai Lung against Oogway: because the Dragon Scroll was meant for a true hero, but the very reasons Tai Lung was seeking it (to make his father proud of him and be accepted despite being an orphan) would make it impossible for him to attain it—because a true hero is selfless and does things because they are right, not because they will get him something. So not only did Shifu instill in Tai Lung the very character flaws that made him unsuitable to receive the scroll, but it was Tai Lung's own desires for acceptance and love, and the fact that he desired and sought the scroll at all (a selfless person would never consciously try to obtain it), that proved he wasn't the Dragon Warrior; in fact Tigress, Shifu, any of the Five could never have been the Dragon Warrior, because they were all actively trying to earn the scroll. Worst of all, it was Tai Lung's own great love for Shifu, which drove him to do absolutely anything to make him proud of him, that led him to seek the scroll...but when denied it (and seemingly betrayed), he then ended up almost killing the one he loved.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Po’s dream from the movie turns out to be a prophecy of the final battle with Chao and his forces.
  • Drop the Hammer: Tai Lung uses a very particular hammer as a weapon…
  • Drowning My Sorrows: What Tai Lung did immediately after being turned down for the Dragon Scroll. While not the trigger for his rampage (that was All of the Other Reindeer Bullying a Dragon—er, former Dragon Warrior contender?), it likely did not help his temper either.
  • Duel to the Death: More than once, though mostly the final battle.
  • Dying Alone: Averted with Vachir. At first this is an enforced aversion, since being trapped on the ledge with him means Tigress and Tai Lung have no choice but to stay with him until he dies. But once they realize he was under Demonic Possession, his story is shared, and there is forgiveness and understanding passed between them, it becomes a genuinely heartfelt version of averting this trope. Though not quite an Unbroken Vigil, they do show Vachir he is not alone, promise to fulfill his Last Request, say they will make him Famed in Story so people will know he died a hero, and of course there is a Meaningful Funeral afterward. One of the most emotional moments in the story—as well as proving, even before The Final Temptation, that Tai Lung has completed his Heel Face Turn.
  • Dying as Yourself: Vachir
  • Dying Clue: Zhuang leaves one of these, in his own blood since he Couldn't Find a Brush. Unlike most examples, it was neither incomplete, unclear, nor lacking knowledge—simply hidden and misplaced for a while.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Zhuang. Not only does he see through Chao’s dark chi to see who is really killing him (not Tai Lung), he spits in Xiu’s face…and as he’s dying, leaves behind a hidden message in his own blood naming his true killer.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The whole point of the story; it’s really the only way to justify giving a former villain whom many consider a Complete Monster everything he ever wanted (save the Dragon Scroll) without making him a Draco in Leather Pants at the same time. The characters in fact all get put through the wringer, but everything works out just fine in the end.
  • The Easy Way or the Hard Way: While this could describe overall the way Tigress treats Tai Lung and his path to redemption, she actually invokes the trope name during the raising of the Thread of Hope.
  • Efficient Displacement: Tai Lung does this to Chao during the final battle.
  • Elemental Baggage: Both Tai Lung and Po learn to summon their elements from within and the air itself, respectively. They can also use fire or water that's already nearby (the braziers, the Pool of Sacred Tears).
  • Elemental Powers: The story builds off of Tai Lung's fiery rampage near the end of the film, claiming that high level Kung Fu masters can use their chi to manipulate elements. Shifu uses earth, Tai Lung is fire, and Po is water. Heian Chao can manipulate ice.
  • Emotionless Girl: Chun
  • Empathy Doll Shot: Invoked by Monkey while under Demonic Possession to try and engender hatred against Tai Lung for the children he supposedly murdered on his way from Chorh-Gom to the Valley. Also plays into the poignancy of the story of Tigress's doll and rescue from her ruined house after the earthquake, which Tai Lung has fixed for her. Played with at the village of Qinghe, where the abandoned dolls merely attest to the children who fled along with their parents to escape Vachir's slaughter. Although it may also be subverted, if any of those children were killed and then raised as zombies...
  • Engineered Heroics: Tai Lung considers this early on as a way to convince Tigress and the villagers that he has changed or is willing to; luckily he realizes the dangers of this and opts out, proving that amazingly he never suffered from Hero Syndrome—or if he did, he grew out of it after learning the Dragon Scroll would never be his (or give him what he wanted), so why bother trying to be the center of attention?
  • Epiphany Therapy: Averted for the most part. Tai Lung didn't get forgiven just like that, nor did he get over his hangups about Po or his temper right away. Po didn't get over what he learns about his dad, and so on. The only moment where the trope seems to be played straight is when Xiulan gets over her anger at Tai Lung…but that is still justified because she'd just experienced Chao's evil possession so now she knows there's someone worse who was actually responsible for her losses. An unusual literal usage of A Wizard Did It to justify this! Also, Chao's possession has a rather neat side-effect in that it gives his victims an up-close and personal view of their inner monster, and it's pretty damn hard to keep hating someone once you realize just how hateworthy you are.
  • Erotic Dream: Tai Lung has one about Tigress, which in a rather delicious Bait and Switch is at first implied to be All Just a Dream, or perhaps a Dream Within a Dream...except it turns out That Was Not a Dream, since instead of making out with Tigress it was Jia. And Tigress catches him. For added fun, this same 'dream' turns up again later as the real thing, causing Tai Lung to understandably test Tigress to make sure it's really her with Something Only She Would Say.
  • Establishing Character Moment: All the original characters get one, but of particular note is Tai Lung first meeting Xiulan’s eyes, as well as the conversation with Zhuang at the Ghost Festival. Heian Chao also gets points for creeping the hell out of everyone who’s read the story, with some even calling him the best villain they’d ever seen…except they didn’t see him, since his first appearance did not even identify his name or species, let alone show his face. Talk about atmospherics.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: She may have been a sociopath and a Complete Monster, but the discovery of a Room Full of Crazy and what it revealed about Monkey did startle and shock Xiu. Though this may have been partly due to how Chao's plans seemed to be running counter to what he'd told her, thus depriving her of the chance to gain Tai Lung's allegiance.
  • Everyone Can See It: Although Tigress denies it with her dying breath until the latter fourth of the story (and Tai Lung both sees it and strives for it almost from day one), by the end of the story everyone can indeed see that Tai Lung and Tigress belong together, even Jia. Well, everyone except poor Crane. In this case, however, Tigress being unable to see it is not being Oblivious to Love but her refusing to believe he had truly changed so as to be worthy of her, as well as overall resistance to the idea that All Girls Want Bad Boys.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Or at least, Crane, Mei Ling, and the Wu Sisters did.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Played with. Chao knows exactly what gives the Dragon Warrior his power, and is well aware of The Power of Love, but he tends to be so arrogant that he thinks his own power can overcome them. He's wrong. Xiu on the other hand plays it entirely straight. Chao does have one moment where he falls prey to this, however: after killing Chang's son while possessing Vachir and trying to blame Tai Lung by saying it was all part of a trap for him, he believes The Power of Hate and a desire for Revenge will make Chang turn on the snow leopard even more and help lead a lynch mob against him. Again, he's wrong.
  • Evil Feels Good: Chao and Xiu again, since it literally gives them feelings of ecstasy. Chao is also able to inspire feelings of sexual desire, it seems, in those whose chi he influences--perhaps to the point of being aroused himself by Vachir.
  • Evil Gloating: Chao and Xiu again, though Chao does it more.
  • Evil Sounds Deep/Power Makes Your Voice Deep: Played with; Chao's voice, even when not the Voice of the Legion, is indeed made deeper by the incredible mystical power he has absorbed and mastered, but his original voice was deep to begin with.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Played with. While a number of conversations get overheard, just about every one is justifiably important and relevant—Crane listening in on Shifu and Tigress discussing Tai Lung happens precisely because Crane knew they were going to talk about him and he considered the matter important enough to eavesdrop, and Jia, in turn, had a vested interest in listening in to any conversations between Tai Lung and Tigress. This, as well as Po's two accidental examples in Chapter 16 and Mantis's in Chapter 24, also occur because the plot-relevant information in question, the status of Tai Lung and Tigress's relationship, is something very likely to be discussed on a regular basis due to the snow leopard being such a Determinator about the matter (or because the eavesdropper was extremely interested in the topic). Po hearing Tai Lung and Tigress discuss her time at Bao Gu, of course, happens because they're actually standing in said orphanage, after Tigress tried to avoid giving away her connection to it. Aside from these conversations, no critical plot information (such as, say, the Big Bad's plans) is passed on through eavesdropping.
  • Exact Words: Chao gives Xiu exactly what she asked for, but neglected to mention the price, and when he ages Jia it's a reversal of what she asked for. Comes close to being a Jackass Genie.
  • Expy: The Wu Sisters start out as this of Ozai’s Angels, with Xiu standing in for Azula, Chun as Mai, and Jia as Ty Lee. They aren't exact copies, but the author does have a fair amount of fun with this, and they drop a lot of familiar lines. They also end up growing and developing as characters in their own right.
  • Eye Scream: Chang, very painfully.
  • Face Palm: Both Tai Lung and Shifu do this.
  • Fakeout Escape: The Wu Sisters use this on Mei Ling near the end of the story, in the "hiding out of sight, knocks out/locks in the guard" version of the trope. However, despite the mountain cat falling for it, Xiu in turn underestimates Mei Ling, who happened to have her father's lockpicks with her, which the snow leopardess likely had never known existed.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Every single freaking one.
  • Fan Service: In-story, both Viper and Jia don't waste any opportunity to ogle at muscular Tai Lung and later on, the Emperor, who is basically what you get if you cross a bodybuilder, a tiger, and Sean Connery, without the accent.
  • Fastball Special: Inverted when Tai Lung hurls Po at Heian Chao for a two-fisted strike, but played straight when Po later hurls Tai Lung to kick the Golden Spear through Chao.
  • Fatal Flaw: All over the place. Tai Lung and Tigress still have those bad tempers, and Shifu really, really needs parenting classes. Monkey's feelings for Tigress are exploited, as is Vachir’s hatred of Tai Lung--exploiting fatal flaws is what Chao does. You could also say Chao has a fatal flaw in that he's weak against holy.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Xiu somehow manages to survive everything thrown at her to the point of making Michael Myers look bad, but she ends up catatonic and yet, very possibly, conscious, jailed with her equally psychotic mother. The Weis also experienced one of these: left suspended from grappling hooks from the ceiling of their basement, slowly and agonizingly bleeding to death, the villain living off of and growing powerful from their fear, horror, and pain, while being forced to look at their dead son, until he finally allowed them to die. Luckily, they get freed from this.
  • Fight Off the Kryptonite: An unusual villainous example—Heian Chao succeeds in resisting the power of Oogway’s holy chi, at least long enough to mortally injure Shifu.
  • Final Battle: And it's a doozie, involving absolutely everyone (who's still alive, that is--and even one who was presumed dead).
  • The Final Temptation: While Chao doesn’t use an actual vision, the moment when he comes to Tai Lung in his cell, offering him freedom from prison and the false charge against him, as well as what he’s always dreamed of (heroism, fame, powers which no one else has) if he will only join him very much has the same flavor. And as more proof he has truly changed, Tai Lung, though tempted, kicks him to the curb. Also doubles as a What You Are in the Dark moment.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Po and Tai Lung.
  • First-Name Basis: For a good portion of the story, Tai Lung refuses to call Po by his given name to his face, either referring to him as “panda” or (after accepting the truth) “Dragon Warrior”. However, after a critical moment when Po is on the verge of dying in front of him, the snow leopard finally calls him by name for the first time. From then on out, while he still uses his other terms of address, Po’s first name is used by Tai Lung much more frequently and willingly. Key moment of Character Development.
  • Flash Back: A number of these occur, the majority memories of Tai Lung's from when he was in Chorh-Gom, or other events from his past, though one is to Chun's past relating how the Wu Sisters knew Po's biological parents, another is a flashback to a conversation about that very past which happened offscreen, and another is a How We Got Here after the events in Yunxian start In Medias Res (which also includes another conversation about the past).
  • Flashback Nightmare: Tai Lung has a recurring one about the night he rampaged across the valley after being denied the Dragon Scroll.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect: Partially plays into how Tigress finally falls for Tai Lung, when she is his patient. Could also play into how Tai Lung finally admits his friendship for Po.
  • Foil: Po and Tai Lung. Not only are they opposites already in the panda's amiable, friendly, laid-back demeanor vs. Tai Lung's arrogance, harshness, and fiery temper, and in the ways in which they approach kung fu, but they also represent the opposite sides of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism. What makes this more heartwarming and powerful is how, as Tai Lung becomes Po's friend (and admits it), the snow leopard not only becomes protective of the panda but seems to admire his innocence and idealism. A case could even be made that before his Face Heel Turn, Tai Lung was just as much a heroic idealist and that getting to know Po has reminded him of what he used to believe in, a window into who he used to be...and can be again, now that he has someone to protect and fight for.

This was the fellow who, despite only having become the Dragon Warrior a little over three months ago, knew every detail of every kung fu legend, battle, and warrior, even things Tai Lung himself had forgotten or never bothered to learn. If anyone exemplified the philosophy Oogway had always insisted lay at the core of kung fu, it was Po, he lived and breathed it every day.
And he in turn had taught Tai Lung more things than he could ever have expected—about compassion and love, generosity and good will, forgiveness and acceptance, but most of all what was truly important in life. Fine, Po's zany humor, odd slang, and laughably child-like way of looking at the world could truly grate on his nerves…but by the same token, his innocence was something refreshing, something that made the spotted feline wonder—no, demand—why the world couldn't be as simple as the Dragon Warrior saw it.
It had been Po's mercy and friendship that saved him, in more ways than one, he had learned to release so much baggage and stressful burdens thanks to the panda. And marveling at the determination and perseverance they both had in spades, he understood that Po's words to him in his cell over his father's noodles—words he had refused to accept then—were undeniably true: they did have so much in common. Without him even realizing it, Po had become like a brother to him. At times an annoying, ridiculous little brother, one he sometimes wanted to chuck out the window and whom he felt obligated to tease and belittle as only older brothers could do. But a brother all the same.

  • Forced Into Evil: Jia, who is also therefore a Type IV Anti-Villain, due to being coerced into her life as an assassin (and believing she has no way out of it) by Xiu.
  • Foreshadowing: Aside from the various Chekhov's Guns littered throughout the story, this occurs a number of times, such as the implication of what would have happened if Zhuang had seen the Wu Sisters (and they him) during his rescue of Tigress (it isn't good), Monkey getting possessed right after Po warned him about wandering spirits the night of the Ghost Festival, and Tai Lung losing his dark chi thanks to the acupuncture session pointing ahead to what happens when Vachir gets stabbed. But the two best examples, one obvious and one not, would be:

Viper, regarding the Five: Still, I think if you give them enough time, and they get to know you better, things might change.
Tai Lung: Yes, and the Emperor will arrive on his palanquin tomorrow to pardon me in person. And when the New Year arrives, I'll suddenly have more good luck and prosperity than I can shake a stick at. Oh, and all the pigs in the Valley will sprout wings, too. (Guess he'd better start looking for someone to Cue the Flying Pigs.)

And this bit from Monkey's thoughts:

No, the familial love and firm, unshakable trust between them was as dead and buried as Tai Lung's cubhood, or the thousand rhinos he had killed escaping Chorh-Gom. And, Monkey privately believed, as dead as the goodness and loyalty the snow leopard had once possessed. (Night of the Living Mooks, anyone? Also, none of those things stay dead and buried, since even Tai Lung gets to meet his past self in a sort of reverse Future Me Scares Me situation. Which is never mentioned again.)

    • A subtle example from Chapter 11: not only is the wind which nearly costs Tai Lung his life when it knocks him from the Thread of Hope an early attempt by Chao to kill him (note the direction it blows from), but its frigid nature is a hint at Chao's ability with ice chi.
    • Another subtle example: in Chapter 5, when Po is teasing Tai Lung about dousing him with cold water to help wash off the stink of twenty years in Chorh-Gom, Tai Lung seems to freak at the idea—not because of the cat stereotype of cats hating water, but because it is freezing. This becomes poignant and even rather upsetting in hindsight, instead of funny, however, when you discover what was done to Tai by Vachir while he was in prison...
  • Four Is Death: In the Wu Sisters' introductory scene, Xiu is idly rolling dice on the table; one of the numbers which comes up is four. It may also be noted that the Sisters plus Vachir gives Chao four followers, and seemingly killing off Mantis may have been an attempt to invoke bad luck in the Final Battle, with there only being the Furious Four. And Xiu actually makes the pinyin for four on Wu Dan, when discussing how she loves killing and wants Chao's chi power so she can do even more. In a meta-aversion, however, Chapter 4 in which Tigress goes storming off to Tai Lung's cell does not in fact involve the leader of the Five gutting the snow leopard.
  • Frame-Up: Chao's last major gambit before the Final Battle--possessing Xiu and influencing Xiulan with his dark chi, so as to make it look to her that it is Tai Lung killing her husband. And it would have worked if not for Zhuang, Crane, Po, and Oogway.
  • Friendship Moment: Tai Lung and Po a whole lot. To give credit, although Tai Lung has Friendship Moments with Po since fairly early on, he ends up finally saying out loud that Po is his friend in chapter 22, and his coming to save Po from Chao during the final battle surely counts as such a moment. Po and Jia also get some of these, as do Tai Lung and some others, such as Zhuang.
  • Furry Denial: A number of times, whether aloud or in his thoughts, Tai Lung refers to himself as human, and a few other characters do as well. This may, however, be due to the notion that in the Kung Fu Panda 'verse, anthropomorphic animals take the place of humans.

Tropes G-I

Tai Lung: Gods, I love you.

Tigress: I know.

Xiu, after having cut Po's throat but left Tai Lung mostly alone: "Who said I was after you?"

  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Monkey to Tai Lung
  • If You Kill Him You Will Be Just Like Him: Implied to be why Tai Lung won’t kill Vachir, then stated outright when Vachir taunts him about it. Justified, since if Tai Lung really were to kill him, and through a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, this would leave him susceptible to Chao's Demonic Possession. Having someone else kill Vachir prevents this, while also ensuring there is no Karma Houdini nor a continued slaughter of innocents.
    • A less prominent example also occurs on Wu Dan, when Viper refrains from killing Chun, as that would "make her no better than the Wu Sisters."
  • Ignoring by Singing: Tai Lung does this in Oogway's room, as a form of Brain Bleach when they discover Oogway's love letters. He comes close to doing so again at the very end of the story, when the turtle's ghost makes reference to his thoughts on Tigress were he younger (and alive).
  • Immortality Immorality: Chao, in spades.
  • Immortality Seeker: Chao
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Chao
  • Impeded Messenger: The message to the Emperor never gets there, as Zeng gets captured.
  • Implacable Man: Possessed Vachir. Not only did he continue to approach the Valley inexorably in his pursuit of Tai Lung and twisted murder spree, but during the battle at Chorh-Gom he refused to die, give up, or back down—surviving any and all injuries dealt to him thanks to the healing provided by Chao's dark chi and getting back up after countless attacks which should have killed him or knocked him unconscious.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Po and Viper seem pretty much immune to Chao’s corruption. On the other hand, Jia is normally a very sweet and kind woman, but Xiu corrupted her into becoming an assassin out of fear and blackmail, so she averted the trope.
  • Infant Immortality: Painfully averted. Not only do we learn (and witness!) that Chao murdered children so as to become the greatest chi master in existence, but an innocent child is one of those killed during his rampage while possessing Vachir, and we are later shown in graphic detail just what was done to him.
  • Informed Ability: While Mei Ling’s word (and her own inherited abilities) are fairly good testimonials, it’s sadly the case that the reader never gets to see her father Wu Xuan’s great warrior prowess.
  • In the Back: How Wu Xuan died.
  • In the Blood: Tai Lung, Mei Ling, the Wu Sisters, and to an extent, Po. Tai Lung is afraid his darkness is in the blood, but it turns out it's his fighting ability. Interestingly the same is also true of Po. Jia and Chun are convinced being assassins is in their blood and will always make them evil and distrusted, while Mei has in fact inherited her father’s fighting prowess.
  • In Love with Love/Loving a Shadow: Tigress accused Tai Lung of this, and she was right.
  • Insistent Terminology: "And for th' last time, they're action figures!"
  • Interrupted Intimacy: Poor Tai Lung. First while dreaming of Tigress he is interrupted only to find himself with Jia instead...and caught by the actual Tigress. Then in the Call Back to this same scene, it gets worse since he and Tigress get walked in on by Shifu...
  • Interspecies Romance: Crane and Mei Ling. And Po and Jia.
    • Tigress and Tai Lung also count, but at least they're compatible enough to have cubs.
  • In Vino Veritas: Played with. Getting drunk at the Ghost Festival doesn't really bring out of Monkey anything the reader hadn't already seen, since other than a few caustic remarks he mostly keeps his resentful thoughts about Tai Lung to himself, nor does it change his personality in any way. However it does lead to the Alcohol-Induced Idiocy of wandering around alone on the night when the dead are said to walk and want the bodies of the living and lowers his inhibitions enough to make Demonic Possession easier...which could be said to have brought on a permanent distillation, inversion, and exaggeration of his feelings.
  • Ironic Echo: "There are no accidents." Spoken by the Big Bad.
  • It's Not You, It's My Enemies: Implied, and averted in Tigress being a badass who can take care of herself just fine, and Tai Lung knows it. This also plays into why Tai Lung tries to leave the Five and Shifu behind when he goes to Chorh-Gom to face Vachir; naturally, they all shoot him down with the rejoinder that they can take care of themselves too—and that rather than being in danger from being near him, they can actually protect his back. (Of course, since one of them almost dies, perhaps they should have listened to him after all.)
  • It's Personal: Mei Ling wanting to get vengeance for her dad, Tai Lung wanting to get vengeance for his dad, Tigress and Po both wanting revenge for Zhuang and for the sisters trouncing them...
  • It's Quiet... Too Quiet: Employed by Tai Lung in the “where did all the birds go” sense when the Wu Sisters first show up, but actually stated in Mei Ling’s thoughts when she’s about to discover Po and Jia in Monkey’s Room Full of Crazy.
  • Is That What He Told You?: Invoked but subverted, since Xiu doesn’t know anything about Tai Lung’s parents and neither does Shifu. Another instance of it is later played straight—except it is a hero using it, when Mei Ling convinces Jia to not believe Xiu’s lies about her always being a worthless, evil assassin and so complete her Heel Face Turn.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Crane to Mei when he thought she wanted to be with Tai Lung.

Tropes J-L

Tropes M-O

  • Made of Iron: Lampshaded but also partly averted—characters get hurt badly a number of times, take time to recover, and have to be careful about side-effects and after-effects.
  • Making Love in All the Wrong Places: How Tai Lung and Tigress celebrate the defeat of Chao. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Making a Splash: Po’s chi ability is water.
  • Malignant Plot Tumor: What starts out as a story about Tai Lung redeeming himself, making friends, learning to lighten up, and being accepted turns into a battle to take out assassins, a serial killer, and a dark chi wizard threatening all of China.
  • Mama Bear: Xiulan, though misguidedly so when it comes to protecting Yi from Tai Lung.
  • A Man Is Not a Virgin: Subverted nicely. Not only is Tai Lung an almost forty-year-old virgin, since he never bothered with romance in his single-minded pursuit of the Dragon Scroll, but he loses his virginity just before the battle at Chorh-Gom…and still loses to Vachir. And after he and Tigress finally become a couple and start frequently sharing a bed, he is still only one member of a team that helps save the day. He does defeat the Big Bad, but only with the help of Po and Tigress--so the Power of Love and the Power of Friendship trump losing your virginity.
  • Masochism Tango: Tai Lung and Tigress, before, during and after they hook up, though they do mellow out plenty after hooking up.
  • Master of Illusion: Chao uses this ability to disguise the briefly-possessed Xiu as Tai Lung during the Frame-Up.
  • The Matchmaker: Viper. Also Mei Ling to an extent.
  • May–December Romance: Tai Lung is almost twenty years older than Tigress (and Jia is about the same age difference from Po). Xiulan is also much older than Zhuang.
  • Meaningful Echo: "You didn't see anything." "Sure did, every last beautiful moment." Also, with original movie dialogue, "If that’s the way you want it..." "That’s the way it has to be!" Said by Xiu and Po, of all people. And Crane’s "Don’t mention it. Ever," spoken this time to Tai Lung and in a completely different manner.
    • An example where an entire passage of text is echoed—the very opening lines of the fic, where Shifu first visits Tai Lung in his cell, are echoed when he visits him again later after he's been arrested for murdering Shen Zhuang. Considering the second one is an example of whether the snow leopard has truly changed due to the offer made in the first, the parallel drawn is apt.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Heian Chao means "The Great Dark One." He obviously chose it himself.
    • Wei Chang means "Large and Smooth," which is clearly meant to be ironic.
    • Shen Zhuang means "Robust and Strong".
    • Yi means "Gift."
    • Xiulan means "Elegant Orchid." Also somewhat ironic.
    • Xiu means "Graceful," Chun means "Spring," and Jia means "Beautiful." Given at birth, before it was known what they'd be, but also by an assassin mother who planned to raise them in the family business.
  • Mercy Kill: Tai Lung to Vachir
  • Metaphor Is My Middle Name: Tai Lung uses this early on, in reference to his tenacity, though as usual subverted since he notes he doesn't have a middle name.
  • Mexican Standoff/Gunpoint Banter: The Wu Sisters, when they’re holding Ping captive in his kitchen.
  • Mighty Glacier: Vachir
  • Mistaken for Gay: Near the end, Ping walks in on Tai Lung and Po in a situation that evokes this trope.
  • Modest Royalty: Emperor Chen
  • Mommy Issues (partially averted): While Wu Qing didn’t beat her children, there was more than enough verbal abuse to justify turning out badly.
  • Mood Whiplash: Despite some pretty tough things happening overall, everything seems to look hopeful. Then chapter 24 comes by and things get grim. Also, deliberate contrasts between horror and humor are set up in chapters 17 (a fun slumber party scene segues almost immediately into a gruesome murder) and 33, while the trial is followed up by Tai Lung’s opium Mushroom Samba. And it’s all done so well you can’t fault any of it.
  • More Than Mind Control: Chao's possession, particularly with Vachir and Monkey.
  • Mr. Exposition: Oogway
  • Mr. Fanservice: Tai Lung, most of the time. Also Emperor Chen.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse (averted): Though she threatens it, Jia never takes this option.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Tai Lung’s Moral Event Horizon from the movie, rejecting his father’s apology and love and almost killing him for the Dragon Scroll, becomes this to him once he’s no longer controlled by rage and hatred. To an extent, the rampage itself also becomes this, but it’s mostly that act of filial impiety. Another key moment of Character Development.
  • My Greatest Failure: Tai Lung speaks of this during the Truth or Dare. Shifu's parenting skills might also count, and Jia considers Wu Xuan's death to be this.
  • My Skull Runneth Over: What happens to Xiu, after she is ‘gifted’ with Chao’s dark chi.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Heian Chao, “the Great Dark One”
  • Necromancer: Chao. Some Fridge Brilliance may apply in precisely how he gained this ability, since when his Backstory is eventually told, it is revealed that he was once a great healer and, had he stayed on the side of good, could have been the best doctor in the empire. I.e., as a master of chi he could already manipulate Life Energy. May also tie into how he can perform a Summoning Ritual.
  • Never Found the Body: Tigress points this out regarding Mantis. And she was right.
  • Never Heard That One Before: Tai Lung to Monkey in the roofing chapter, about "taking a catnap".
  • Never My Fault:

Chao, after having killed all his fellow students: No...you don't understand. None of you ever did, or ever will. I must do this...it is the only way. You...should not have gotten in my way. I...didn't want to kill you, but you had to intervene...yes, it is your fault, not mine..."

Tropes P-R

  • Freudian Trio: Tai Lung, Tigress, and Po become this by the end of the story. Which, if the surmise on the Fridge Brilliance page is correct, makes this highly appropriate in an archetypal, psychological sense. (Id, superego, ego.) It also acts as a form of Anatomy of the Soul, since Tai Lung would clearly be Body, Po is Spirit, and Tigress (despite her temper and Action Girl nature) is a clever and intelligent fighter and therefore Mind.
  • Pair the Spares (partially averted): Jia is a spare, but Po isn’t.
  • Papa Wolf: You don’t ever threaten Shifu’s children.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Mantis's reaction to Tai Lung and Tigress's incipient kiss during the Truth or Dare, as well as later when he's spying on them in the bedroom in chapter 24.
  • Passing the Torch: Shifu eventually steps down and gives his position to Tai Lung. (And he in turn inherits Oogway's position.)
  • People Puppets: Chao does this literally, both to the villagers and his former classmates.
  • The Perfectionist: Tai Lung, and definitely to his detriment since it led to an all-or-nothing mentality that contributed greatly to his rampage (if he cannot master the scrolls perfectly, he cannot become the Dragon Warrior, which then makes him nothing but a poor orphan and his kung fu is all meaningless).
  • Pet the Dog: Chun and especially Jia got a number of these regarding Po. Chun also reveals she isn't just the Emotionless Girl she appears when she notes in her thoughts that after discovering some of Vachir/Chao's victims around the Valley rim, she made sure to anonymously report them so they would get proper burials. Tai Lung himself had one when it was revealed he not only Wouldn't Hurt a Child but had a soft spot for them, and another when it’s revealed he knows how to play the flute, and does so in honor of Oogway.
  • Playing Possum: How Mantis survives his Disney Death, via a Shout-Out to Secrets of the Furious Five.
  • Playing with Fire: Tai Lung’s elemental chi ability, via a nice Retcon of the movie.
  • Plot Armor: While most of the good guys get badly hurt, none of them die.
  • Plot Magnet: Tai Lung
  • Poor Communication Kills: Crane and Mei again, though it is an example in which the lack of communication is actually in-character; it was established in Secrets of the Furious Five that Crane has confidence issues, and there also seemed to be a Ship Tease between him and Mei which he was, of course, completely oblivious to. It also doesn't help when a Hate Plague is making everyone suspicious and willing to jump to the wrong conclusions.
  • Power of Friendship: Tai Lung and Po to the max, though Tai Lung and Zhuang also count. And thanks to the nature of the villain’s powers and plans, this is played unabashedly—and justifiably—straight. Just like…
  • Power of Love: Explicitly stated to offer protection to Tai Lung from Chao’s dark chi. This also extends to Po and Tigress, possibly others. Ends up saving our heroes at numerous points, most notably at Chorh-Gom.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: While Chao can gain power from anyone’s chi, he is made strongest by that of an innocent child.
  • Precision F-Strike: Po never curses. Never. And when he finally does say a single curse word (Bitch), can of whoop-ass doesn't begin to describe it. Also, when Tigress uses foul language on Tai Lung is when the story starts taking a very serious turn. Heian Chao gets the greatest example of this, however, when he lets loose a curse so foul it had to be written in Mandarin to avoid driving up the rating (it translates as, "Fuck your ancestors to the eighteenth generation").
  • The Promise: Early on, Tai Lung wants Tigress to ensure that if he ever falls into darkness again, she stop him before he commits another rampage. Naturally, she is quite eager and willing to do so. But when, true to the trope, she faces the prospect of having to keep her word near the end of the story, ironically she is no longer so sure she can do it since by then she has come to love him. Luckily for her, her resolve is never tested since other forces intervene.
  • Psychic Powers: Chao can astral project. This is a key point, since it not only allows him fast travel, the ability to be in two places at once, and is what prevented him from going even more insane while being held prisoner for nine hundred plus years, it's how he was able to keep himself fed on chi and alive all that time, and how he visited Tai Lung in Chorh-Gom, corrupting him and influencing his hatred and desire for vengeance.
  • Psycho for Hire: Xiu is the most mentally unstable of the Wu Sisters, though technically all of them are for hire.
  • Punch Clock Villain: At many times, Chun seems to be an example of this, enjoying being an assassin solely because it’s her job. (Type I Anti-Villain.)
  • Punctuated Pounding: Tai Lung, on Vachir
  • A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil: Heian Chao, to Oogway.
  • Pure Energy: The Pool of Sacred Tears turns out to be this, as a gathering of holy chi. Which is thoroughly corrupted by Chao's touch into a terrifyingly demonic force that lets him make People Puppets of the whole Valley.
  • The Quiet One: Chun, for much of the story.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: The Wu Sisters, who are overall pretty effective as opponents.
  • Rage Against the Mentor: Tai Lung has plenty of this towards Oogway and especially Shifu.
  • Rape Is the New Dead Parents: Averted hard regarding Tai Lung‘s time in prison, as well as lampshaded and mocked.

Tai Lung: Damn it all, is that all you ever think about? Why does everything have to be about sex...why does everyone have to jump to the worst possible conclusion? For your information, you witless little stick, that blasted shell on my back made it so no one could get to my arse, even if they wanted to! But that's not the point...the point is, there's a hell of a lot of things that can happen to you in a prison with a thousand men and no women, and they don't involve violation!

  • Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic: Applies everywhere, even characters' thoughts, save for ones whose ways of speaking and thinking are different from the norm (Po's slang, Monkey's accent, Mantis using tangents and run-on sentences). This actually allows for a subversion later when Tai Lung realizes the thoughts in his head encouraging him to go off the deep end again are too perfect and too pat, thus giving away that it was really Chao trying to manipulate him again. Outdated, perhaps, but still an Acceptable Break From Reality.
  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: Chao never truly died, he was instead sealed, so he was alive all that time.
  • Reason You Suck Speech: Xiu to Tigress in the birch forest. Chao gives a few as well.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Emperor Chen, who not only pardons Tai Lung and Jia, but actually challenges the former to a friendly sparring match and compliments Po's cooking.
  • Reconstruction: The author takes a large number of super villain tropes which, by themselves, have either nearly become Dead Horse Tropes, are usually always subverted and played for laughs, or end up becoming Narm…and shows just why they were originally so effective and, quite often, scary.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Monkey, though it takes a long time for anybody to notice it. Later on, the villagers. Also, Chao himself.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Sort of. Tai Lung is for certain a red...Po isn't an exact blue since he's hardly calm and logical, but he is less emotional than Tai Lung so he counts.
  • Redemption Earns Life: Arguably, the entire point of the fic is to do this for Tai Lung.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Happens to Vachir. Averted with Tai Lung, who redeems himself but gets to keep on living.
  • Redemption Quest: Another point to the story.
  • Reformed but Rejected: Tai Lung is practically the poster boy for this trope. Very, very few villagers are willing to give him a chance.
  • Replacement Goldfish: While this appeared to some degree in the movie as well, the implications of how Tigress was meant to replace Tai Lung in Shifu's eyes are explored more in-depth here, particularly when his return, Shifu's attempts to redeem him, and the subsequent reconciliation lead to her once more feeling pushed aside and forgotten, just as she had when Po was chosen as the Dragon Warrior. Leads to Calling the Old Man Out.
  • The Reveal: Quite a few, like Chao finally revealing his face, and Monkey revealing he was the possessed one in the middle of a very serious situation. Also, finding out who Chao actually was, who Po's parents were, who Tai Lung’s were, Mei finding out who really killed her father...
  • Rhino Rampage: Vachir actually gets to show off this time how Badass he is…and not only wipes the ground with Tai Lung, but comes this close to defeating him. If not for Tigress…
  • Right Behind Me: Inverted. Shifu is well aware of the fact that Crane is eavesdropping on his and Tigress's conversation; perhaps it's those enormous ears of his...
  • Right Hand Versus Left Hand: Chao chooses not to share with the Wu Sisters the entirety of his plans for Tai Lung or Vachir, and nothing at all about his plans for Monkey, partly to keep his cards close to his chest, partly because he believes they will rebel if they learn the full story. He's right, since Even Evil Has Standards, Xiu is selfish, and none of them would care for being a Red Shirt. But keeping things from them ends up biting him in the ass, between Poor Communication Kills, Didn't See That Coming, and indirectly encouraging Jia's Heel Face Turn.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Tai Lung almost goes into one of these during the trial. Po sorta goes into one (though he's not homicidal) against the Wu Sisters later on, particularly Xiu. Tai Lung also almost did at Chorh-Gom, as well as in the final fight with Chao. A chronic problem on his part which Po, thankfully, is able to help restrain somewhat. And when pointed at the right person...
  • Romantic False Lead: How Crane views Tai Lung, for a while. Unusually, Crane actually can understand what Mei Ling sees in him (partly thanks to his own low self-esteem), thus leading to I Want My Beloved to Be Happy.
  • Romantic Runner-Up: Monkey to Tai Lung, for Tigress's affections.
  • Room Full of Crazy: Monkey’s room.
  • Rousing Speech: Tai Lung gives a hell of a one just before the Heroes go to the final battle.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Oogway fully believed in Tai Lung all along, and that if he could simply be freed of Chao’s influence and learn from Po’s example, the goodness and heroic nature he once possessed would reassert themselves, as they were who he truly was at heart.
    • Lamarck Was Right: Ironically, Po thinks this after learning about his highwayman father Bao, but despite his ability to be ruthless and fierce in battle, he finds his fears are unfounded and, instead of this being In the Blood, he too has an inner goodness and heroic nature.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Mei Ling, since she is descended from the ruling clan of Kunlun Shan and is thus a noble. Also, Emperor Chen, who not only fought on the battlefield for years alongside his men, but who became personally involved in the case of Po’s parents.
  • Rule of Cool: A whole lot, natch. Let's just say it starts simple with Tai Lung being ambidextrous, and it escalates to things such as an army of ghostly warriors versus an army of demons, and manipulation of elemental forces. Almost the entirety of the Final Battle seems to run on this.

Tropes S-U

Ning Guo: Really? Well, nothing to be ashamed of, sonny, happens to all of us at the worst of times, doesn't mean anything about your masculinity. I could give you my own special brew...a certain weed I mix with something fresh from yours truly... Ning Guo is a goat.

Tropes V-Z

  • Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The Vault of Heroes has shades of this, being an underground location with epic architecture and statuary, lots of space for fighting, and an impressive name. However, not only is the name the exact opposite you would expect, the place was never intended to be the location for a Boss Battle, since it was a hall built to honor fallen heroes and a nexus of holy spiritual energy; it only becomes this trope due to being the place where Oogway imprisoned Heian Chao. Its choice for the Final Battle, on the other hand, is also a reference to its original intention as such for the movie.
  • Victorious Childhood Friend: Crane, or from a different point of view, Mei Ling
  • Viewer Gender Confusion (lampshaded, invoked, and parodied): The scroll of the movie's events in which Tigress was a man.
  • Villains Act, Heroes React: At first played straight, then later averted. When the Big Bad first appears in the story, all of the plot-driven elements come about due to him or his lackeys, with the Heroes either trying to stop him, put an end to his crimes, or protect Tai Lung, Po, and the people of the Valley. But after one too many schemes, before Chao can recover and launch an even worse attack, Shifu decides to be proactive, learn who and what and where he is, and go take him out—and after learning of him from the Wu Sisters, the rest of the Heroes decide the same thing.
  • Villain Ball: While Chao is usually not found carrying one of these, he does do so in at least one respect: inflaming Jia’s lusts for Tai Lung so that she comes to care for him too much, while at the same time encouraging Monkey and/or Vachir to kill him. And he doesn’t expect this to cause any difficulties with Jia. Not the smartest move. Confessing his great plan to Tai Lung in his cell also counts.
  • Villains Out Shopping (subverted): What seemed to be the Wu Sisters out for dinner at Ping's restaurant was actually them casing the joint to get info on Po.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Xiu at Wu Dan, and you can see every step on the way to it. Heian Chao has one too, albeit more drawn-out: starting from after Chorh-Gom when things start going wrong for him (see Didn't See That Coming, Xanatos Gambit, and Take a Third Option), getting worse after Tai Lung is exonerated, and culminating when he discovers Po is not only still involved in the battle despite his I Have Your Father ultimatum but had also cleansed the Pool of Sacred Tears. Watch Chao go from suave, sophisticated Chessmaster to psychotic, raging apocalypse.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Variation A. Tai Lung will not miss an opportunity to snark at, poke fun at, and sometimes even threaten Po with physical harm, and Po just takes it all, except if Tai Lung insults Mr. Ping and his soup or restaurant. On occasion Po does return the teasing and snark right back, but only in a gentle, lighthearted way, naturally.
  • Voice of the Legion: Chao, especially when he is possessing someone.
  • We Can Rule Together: Chao offers this to Tai Lung, but he really needs to work on his sales pitch.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Xun Chao, before becoming Heian Chao, wanted to use his mastery of chi to bring order to China by overthrowing the Emperor. To do this, he needed to murder children and absorb their chi. By the time he tried to follow through with it, he was quite clearly out of his mind.
  • Wham Chapter: Chapter 34. Nuff said. Chapter 30 also counts.
  • What Is Evil?: "Cease prattling about morality and ethics, you and I both know those are simply words we use as masks, facades to present to the world to keep the weak and misguided from interfering while we do our work."
  • What Would X Do?: See the Ice Cream Koan above; Tai Lung is very bad at thinking like Oogway.
  • Who's Laughing Now?: Another motivation for Tai Lung's rampage, besides claiming what he had been led to believe was rightfully his—to get back at those who had mocked him for not becoming the Dragon Warrior.
  • Why, Thank You, X!: Oogway pulls this on Shifu late in the story.
  • Wicked Cultured: Until he loses his temper after the failure of his plans, Chao has this trope written all over him.
  • A Wizard Did It: Used quite literally to explain and justify such things as why Tai Lung conveniently forgets about Chao for a while, why the Five become increasingly argumentative, why Mei Ling doesn’t tell Crane about her plan to make Tigress jealous, why Poor Communication Kills, why Tai Lung thinks it’s a good idea to reconcile Tigress and Shifu in the middle of a Hate Plague, and so on.
  • Wizards Live Longer: Chao is nine hundred plus years old.
  • Won't Take Yes for An Answer: How Po reacts to Jia revealing she has feelings for him, too.
  • Worth It: Tai Lung, after his toe-touching dare to Po.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: Brutally averted by Chao. Tai Lung plays this straight after unintentionally averting it during his rampage.
  • Wronski Feint: Crane pulls one of these on Heian Chao during the final battle, except with a wall instead of the floor.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Chao, being Dangerously Genre Savvy, tries pulling one of these off on Tai Lung at Chorh-Gom, figuring that he'll either kill Vachir out of rage and be open to being corrupted, or get killed and serve him as a zombie; either way he would win. He didn't count on Tigress Taking a Third Option and stabbing Vachir herself, nor did he foresee Tai Lung actually forgiving the rhino, thus letting him die an honorable death.
  • Yin-Yang Bomb: The Wuxi Finger Hold turns out to be a variation of this, since depending on the intent of the user it can either be a force for destruction (as Shifu claimed it was in the movie) or salvation (as when Po used it to take away Tai Lung's rage and insanity, purifying his soul and thus giving him the chance to change and redeem himself). The two are mutually exclusive, since the latter application also repaired the damage to the village...though it did free Heian Chao from Oogway's prison. It's entirely possible the sequels will reveal this is actually the case, based on what Po did looking and acting nothing like what Shifu described...though if so, the second application will likely be a forced Ascent To A Higher Plane Of Existence instead.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: A number of people, but most especially Po and Oogway, insist this is the case whenever Tai Lung is ready to disparage himself and believe he is only and always a villain...and in the end, they're right. This same appeal gets turned back on Po when he starts losing faith in himself thanks to what he learns about his family, and Mei Ling most definitely appeals to it in order to get Jia to finish her Heel Face Turn.
  • You Are Not Ready: Applies to both Tai Lung and Po, though stated specifically by Oogway as the reason he didn’t tell Tai Lung sooner of his destiny.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Played with. Tai Lung eventually learns/remembers that he had saved a very young Tigress from the ruins of her quake-collapsed house, suggesting he and Tigress were always meant to be together and be there for each other, but Oogway later states that their romance is something Tai Lung did all on his own. So while there may be no accidents, the future is clearly not set in stone either.
  • You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good: While no one actually stated the trope name aloud, let alone directly to Chao, Oogway did observe (as did Shifu in his thoughts) that the chi master could have been the best healer in the empire, perhaps even the world, had he stayed on the path of good, and that it was a shame he did not, respectively.
  • You Did the Right Thing: After Chao reveals that the Wuxi Finger Hold is what freed him, Viper has to appeal to this trope to help snap Po out of it.
  • You Fight Like a Cow: Xiu uses this tactic a lot on Tai Lung and Tigress, though at times, especially when she is angry or on the verge of losing, this degenerates into Trash Talk. Tai Lung eventually turns it back on her, and to a point so does Po to Jia.
  • You Fool!: Pretty much the way Chao acts constantly during all his fights.
  • You Got Spunk: Tai Lung certainly admires Tigress's spirit.
  • You Have to Believe Me: Shifu makes the mistake of invoking this during Tai Lung’s trial. Jia uses it on Mei Ling regarding their father’s murder with much more success.
  • You Have Failed Me... (lampshaded and averted): Chun wonders why Chao is okay with them failing to kill Po at Yunxian, until Chao reveals he’s surprisingly patient for an insane Big Bad. However, he later does consider pulling this, as does Xiu, although the latter borders on You Have Outlived Your Usefulness.
  • You Just Told Me: Used in humorous fashion early on when Tigress is made to admit to her deep and abiding distrust for Tai Lung by Shifu. Humorous because Tigress acts as if she genuinely thinks anyone couldn't figure out her desire to flay the snow leopard or at least give him a tongue-lashing.
  • You Keep Telling Yourself That: At Chorh-Gom, when Vachir tries taunting Tai Lung that they are Not So Different, the snow leopard furiously goes into a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, denying it via Punctuated Pounding. The rhino's response is this trope:

Vachir: Awww, ya made it sound all so noble too, tough guy. I'm really proud of ya. Maybe, if ya keep sayin' it long enough, ya might actually manage to convince somebody besides yourself.