Fa Mulan, referred to as Ping in the army, is the main protagonist and title character of Disney's 1998 animated feature Mulan, and its 2004 direct-to-video sequel, Mulan II.
Mulan, the atypical Chinese daughthou and Fa Li, is a young woman who breaks law and defies custom by disguising herself as a man in order to join the Chinese army, defeat the huns, protect her father, and bring honor to her family.
Appearance and PersonalityEdit
Mulan is a beautiful young woman of Chinese heritage in her late-teens. She has long, raven-black hair (later cut short), thick, well-shaped eyebrows, dark brown eyes, and fair skin with a rosy complexion.
Mulan is vibrant, free-spirited, outspoken, tenacious, hardworking, and indendent, yet somewhat clumsy. Her freedom of speech and constant urge to speak her mind sets her apart from the traditionally "ideal" image of a Chinese girl in her time. While her female peers are poised, reserved, and elegant, Mulan is outspoken, energetic, and resourceful, and has no problem disguising herself as a man and joining the army in order to protect her father and bring honor to her family. Despite the fact that Mulan went through months of intense training, her persistent nature (assisted by her tomboyish personality) made it easier for her to conceal her female identity and remain in the army.
Although Mulan gains significant fighting skills throughout her time as a soldier, she remains more of an intellectual than a combatant, and often utilises her brain to solve her problems (similar to Belle and Tiana). She does, however, appear to act first and think later, which may or may not work to her advantage.
Backround and DevelopmentEdit
Mulan is loosely based off Hua Mulan, who is a legendary figure from ancient China who was originally described in a Chinese poem known as The Ballad of Mulan. In the poem, Hua Mulan takes her aged father's place in the army. She fought for 12 years and gained high merit, but she refused any reward and retired to her hometown instead.
Mulan was based on the main character of the real "Hua Mulan." Except the only difference is, Disney changed her name to "Fa Mulan" because Fa means "Flower" in Chinese.
Design and CharacteristicsEdit
Mulan was drawn my Glen keane and to draw her, the animators used water colour to give her a different look.
Role in Film Edit
Mulan, the daughter and only child of Fa Zhou and Fa Li, is preparing to meet the notorious Matchmaker who will evaluate and attempt to find her a suitable husband. Mulan's outspokeness, clumsiness, and atypical personality traits to that of a then-"ideal" Chinese girl immediately displease the Matchmaker, and ultimately, the evaluation ends in humiliating failure. Infuriated, the Matchmaker sends Mulan home to face her father, embarrassed, and without a husband.
Ashamed and distraught, Mulan goes home and avoids her father. Feeling she has disgraced her family once again, Mulan wonders why her reflection doesn't show who she really is instead of who she appears to be. Her father, however, being ever-so-tolerant and understanding of his daughter's ways, simply attempts to comfort her and quotes as he points to a blossem, "but look this one's late, but I'll bet that wen it blooms it will be the most beautiful of all," then putting the lotus brush in Mulan's hair referring to her has a late bloomer.
Soon afterward, Chi-Fu, the Chinese Emperor's counselor, arrives at Mulan's village to announce that the deadly Huns, led by Shan Yu, have invaded China once again. On behalf of the Emperor, Chi-Fu declares that one man from each family must serve in the war. An elderly Fa Zhou, having no sons, agrees to serve in the army again. Despite suffering from old age and wounds from the previous war, he ignores Mulan's objections (which Chi Fu silences), and accepts. Mulan decides to go in his place posing as a man, cutting her long hair with a sword, stealing her father's armor and riding away on her horse, Khan, so she will keep him from risking his life.
On her way to the army camp, Mulan meets Mushu, a small dragon who claims to be a guardian sent by her ancestors. He agrees to help her pass as a soldier. Though Mulan fails the army training at first, she uses her intelligence and becomes the first soldier to solve a puzzle set by Li Shang, her unit's commanding officer.
Afterward, she rapidly progresses to become one of the best soldiers in the unit. She also makes friends in Yao, Ling and Chien Po, three fellow soldiers, though she is forced to hide her gender. Through the machinations of Mushu, the soldiers are called to the war front.
After finding that the Chinese Army, led by Shang's father General Li, has been completely destroyed by the Huns, Shang leads Mulan and the other soldiers to stop them. Despite the unit being outnumbered, Mulan is able to defeat the Huns by crushing them in an avalanche by way of a rocket. However, she sustains an injury from Shan-Yu, which results in her gender being revealed. She is spared death, which was the punishment for a woman joining the army, as Shang's way of repaying the debt from Mulan rescuing him during the previous battle.
Mulan is left behind by the army and prepares to return home. However, she discovers that Shan-Yu and his five generals have survived and are heading towards the Imperial City. Mulan attempts to warn Shang, but she is not listened to because she is a woman. When Shan Yu captures the Emperor, however, Shang, Yao, Ling, and Chien Po join her in a rescue attempt. Mulan disguises herself, Yao, Ling, and Chien Po as concubines and take out the Hun guards, allowing Shang to reach Shan Yu and the emperor. Yao, Ling and Chein Po escape with the Emperor, but Mulan remains behind after Shang is knocked unconscious by Shan Yu. She reveals herself as the soldier who took down the Huns, which angers Shan Yu. While running from Shan Yu, she comes up with a plan to kill him by means of fireworks. While Mushu goes to get the fireworks, Mulan faces Shan Yu on the roof of the Emperor's palace. She disarms him with a paper fan and uses his sword to pin him to the roof, allowing Mushu to fire fireworks at Shan Yu, presumably killing him. Mulan is oppressed by Chi Fu for the final time when he arrogantly says that as a woman, she is unworthy of being called a hero and being worth anything.
Mulan is then confronted by the Emperor with her various crimes, having heard about them from Chi Fu. At the same time, he acknowledges that she saved all of China and bows to her out of respect. His gesture results in all the gathered people bowing as well. The Emperor first offers Mulan a council position then a job as consul, both of which Mulan refuses. The Emperor instead gifts her with his personal crest, and Shan Yu's sword. Mulan returns home, and is able to reconcile with her father. The end of the film shows Mulan inviting Shang, who had followed Mulan under the guise of returning her helmet, to dinner.
The beginning of the sequel shows Shang, now a General, proposing to Mulan, and they begin preparing for a marriage. However, the Emperor tasks them both with escorting his three daughters, Ting-Ting, Su and Mei who are princesses due to their father being the emperor, to the neighboring kingdom of Qui Gong in an attempt to form an alliance. Should the alliance fail, the Mongols would invade China. Mulan and Shang ask Yao, Ling, and Chien Po to accompany them. Shang and Mulan's relationship becomes somewhat strained during the trip, as the couple has differing views on various issues, particularly on the subject of the arranged marriages the princesses are being forced into. Meanwhile, Mushu is informed that if Mulan marries Shang, he would cease to be a guardian, instead being returned to his former job of Gong Ringer. Mushu takes advantage of Mulan and Shang's differences and tries to break them up. Mushu does successfully trick Shang into thinking that Mulan is using him. This leads to friction between Shang and Mulan, and they actually do break up. However, Mulan soon discovers Mushu's plans and tries to reconcile with Shang.
Before she can talk to Shang, bandits attack the group. Shang and Mulan are able to save the princesses, but are left hanging from a broken bridge. Shang chooses to sacrifice himself, as the bridge can only support one. Mulan and the princesses continue towards Qui Gong. Seeing that the princesses have fallen in love with Yao, Ling and Chien Po, and believing that Shang is dead, Mulan prepares to offer herself as a bride in their places. However, Shang is revealed to have survived his fall, and travels to stop her. Mushu is able to fix things by masquerading as the Golden Dragon of Unity, and forces the King to stop the wedding. The princesses are released from their vows and Shang and Mulan are married.
The end of the film, reveals that Mulan has told Shang about Mushu, and that Shang combined the family temples, allowing Mushu to remain a guardian.
- "When will my reflection show who I am inside?"
- –Mulan, singing "Reflection"
- "You shouldn't have to go!"
- "There are plenty of young men to fight for China!"
- "My ancestors sent a little lizard to help me?"
- "Uh, I've got a name. Ha! And it's a boy's name, too."
- "But I don't wanna kick the other kid's butt."
- "Just because I look like a man doesn't mean I have to smell like one."
- "Oh, hi, guys. I didn't know you were here. I was just washing, so now I'm clean, and I'm gonna go. Bye-bye!"
- "I really don't want to take him anywhere."
- "No, we don't. Yet, we could just... close our eyes... and - swim around."
- "I never want to see a naked man again."
- "Uh... How about a girl who's got a brain, who always speaks her mind?"
- "Why else would I come back? You said you'd trust Ping. Why is Mulan any different?"
- Mulan is 18 years old in the original "Ballad of Hua Mulan" when she first joins the army.
- Mulan is the only Disney heroine who knows her true love in the first movie, but doesn't fall in love with him until the sequel.
- She was voted as the 2nd greatest Disney heroine.
- She is the very first Chinese princess.
- Mulan was the final Disney Princess who had two voice actresses, until Merida in "Brave" (though she hasn't joined yet and her singing is only off-screen). Her singing voice was done by Lea Salonga, the same singer who had done the first such Disney Princess, Jasmine.
- Mulan is the only Disney Princess who was, under neither circumstance, actually a princess. That's right, she wasn't royal by blood or marriage.
- Mulan is the first Disney Princess to kill the film's villain, the second (technically) being Tiana.