|“||You can chain my body, but you will never chain my warrior spirit!||”|
|—Crane, Kung Fu Panda 2|
Master Crane is one of the supporting characters of the Kung Fu Panda franchise. He is a member of the Furious Five as well as one of Master Shifu's students at the Jade Palace. He is a master of the Crane Style of kung fu.
Crane previously worked as a janitor at the Lee Da Kung Fu Academy, where his keen skill was noticed by its star pupil, Mei Ling. Though lacking confidence at first, he passed the school tryouts and proved his kung fu capabilities, and later formed the Furious Five with Tigress, Mantis, Monkey, and Viper. When first meeting Po, Crane was initially doubtful of the panda being the Dragon Warrior, but later came to accept him. He now fights alongside Po as a friend and ally.
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Crane lived with his mother when he was young, however, she was overprotective of him and took extra precautions for his safety, making him stay inside their hazard-free home and putting Crane in a suit of armor, as she thought he was frail and couldn't take care of himself.
One day, he snuck out of the house and saw a kung fu class and he was amazed by it and decided to join. However, the class was too advanced for him and he ended up getting injured. His mother found out, causing her to hate kung fu. Even the slightest hint of it gave her heart pains so he had to promise her that he wouldn't do kung fu ever again.
Crane used to be the janitor at the Lee Da Kung Fu Academy twenty years ago, where everybody, including the strict teacher of the academy, looked down upon him due to his particularly skinny build, something which made him lack confidence. However, one night, the top student of the class Mei Ling had observed the skills which Crane used to tidy up the place every night. Impressed by his speed and accuracy, she convinced Crane to try out for the school. Surprised but encouraged, Crane trained himself every night after work until the day of the tryouts arrived.
However, watching the other candidates fail painfully in the obstacle course caused Crane to lose his nerve. When Mei Ling pointed out Crane after all the other candidates had failed, Crane was cruelly mocked by the teacher and students for his skinny legs. Crane was set to work sweeping up the teeth littering the floor, but as he sadly did this task, Crane accidentally wandered into the obstacle course. Though the teacher urged him to slowly step out, Crane spied the red flag at the far end of the course, which a candidate was required to capture in order to gain a place in the school. With Mei Ling's encouragement, Crane attempted the course, and upon realizing that his skinny build actually enabled him to avoid the various traps, Crane was filled with a newfound confidence. He quickly found a way to surpass the course, capturing the flag and passing with flying colors.
It is presumed Crane eventually left the Academy to train at the Jade Palace under the instruction of Master Shifu. He also joined his fellow students in forming the Furious Five, and became a master of the Crane Style of kung fu.
Crane was first seen in the training scene where the Furious Five attempt to ambush Master Shifu. When Shifu evaded them completely, he said he was disappointed, pointing out the problems in each of the Five's attack strategy; he told Crane he needed to have greater height before attacking.
He was next shown in the Dragon Warrior Tournament. As he flapped his wings, he caused a gust of wind to slam shut the window Po had been looking through. As the first to showcase of power, he was to dodge the "Thousand Tongues of Fire" — rockets that would be hurtling toward him. Crane gracefully managed to dodge the rockets. After the others had performed (aside from Tigress), he lined up with the rest of the Five when Master Oogway announced that the Dragon Warrior was among them. He was just as surprised as the rest when a chubby panda named Po fell out of the sky and landed in front of Oogway's pointing claw.
After the tournament, the Five made their way over to the Training Hall. Crane was shown to be working on the Hall's Jade Tortoise, soon sparring with Tigress when she, too, landed on the tortoise bowl to do battle with him. He came up with the rest of the Five when Po started to showcase his skills, watching and flinching as Po tumbled into the training course and failed each section. He joined in with the others that night in making fun of Po afterwards as they walked towards the Student Barracks, sarcastically remarking, "He is so mighty! The Dragon Warrior, fell out of the sky in a ball of fire!" But little did he know that Po was right behind them the whole time and could hear everything they said.
When Po then tried to sneak into his room that same night, he made the floorboards creak every time he moved and, in trying to avoid that, accidentally stumbled into Crane's room while he was sleeping, waking him up. When Po awkwardly tried to start a conversation, Crane told Po, "I've had a long and rather disappointing day, so... yeah, I should probably get to sleep now." An awkward conversation ensued, during which Po accidentally kicked a hole in the material separating Crane and Monkey's rooms, and ended with Po parting with more awkward apologies.
The next day, Crane had to help Po get unstuck from a full-split he had been attempting to do. He later sparred with Po, but before they could attempt to fight, Po fell into the tortoise bowl and banged around for quite a bit, with Crane having jumped off and hovered in the air above him. That night, as Po was being treated to acupuncture by Mantis and Viper, his exclamations of pain caused Crane to mess up a symbol he was painting on some parchment. He later reminded Tigress from his room that they weren't supposed to talk about Tai Lung when she began telling Po her story, but by the end of it, he and Monkey had opened the door between Crane and Po's room to listen. When the Five and Po ate together that same night, Crane greatly enjoyed Po's noodle soup, and laughed with the rest (excluding Tigress) at Po's "Shifu impression". He and the rest of the Five were later shocked at hearing of Oogway's passing from Shifu.
When Tigress set off to go fight Tai Lung, the rest of the Five joined her to help. When they finally faced him in battle, Crane helped to cut the rope bridge, saved Tigress from falling to her death, and managed to tied up Tai Lung with a loose rope. When Tai Lung reappeared, he took out all but Crane with swift nerve attacks, leaving only Crane to carry the rest of the Five back to the Jade Palace.
When the Valley was evacuated, Crane was tasked to light the path for the villagers with a lantern as they evacuated. He ducked with the rest when a blast of energy came from the center of the village, causing his hat to fly off his head. The Five and the villagers returned to town to investigate, and joined in a bow to acknowledge Po as a Master and the Dragon Warrior for defeating Tai Lung.
Crane, along with the rest of the Furious Five, was surprised when Po brought news that he was to host the sophisticated Winter Feast at the Jade Palace. Though the Five offered their help in preparing for the intense dinner, Po believed he could handle it himself, but a number of complications soon arose; among them Crane informing Po that the vocalist of the band for the feast had quit. After finding the many tasks too daunting to do himself, Po decided to call on the Furious Five for help. Crane assisted by performing a kung fu move, using his wings to send a shift of wind across the table, and setting plates and dishes.
When all the tasks were done, Crane was later seated with the other kung fu masters for the Winter Feast. However, the ceremony was interrupted by Po, who told the Masters about his family traditions (mentioning his Uncle Yang's tendency of spurting noodles from his nose when he laughs, which Crane and Monkey remarked they'd like to see), and Po left to be at the Noodle Shop with his father on the holiday. The Five understood Po's reasons for leaving, and they later joined him at the party at the restaurant. There, Crane enjoyed seeing the spectacle of Uncle Yang spurting noodles from his nose as Po described, and Crane later took part in a group portrait with the rest of the Furious Five, Po, Mr. Ping, Shifu, and Wo Hop.
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"The Art of Balance"
Crane appears at the start of the comic in Po's dream, along with the rest of the Furious Five. He and Mantis were in the middle of taunting the enemies they were facing when Po suddenly appears and fell on top of the group, ruining the otherwise heroic moment. Crane was last seen in an intense battle with his comrades before Po woke up from his dream.
He is later mentioned when Shifu asks Po if he had something to tell him, whereby Po asks if it had anything to do with Crane's date the other night.
"The Dragon Chef"Crane and the Furious Five were enlisted by Po to help around the noodle shop while his father was sick. Though initially nervous when facing the rather hostile looking customers, Crane helped by flying Monkey around the Noodle Shop, giving customers their secret ingredient soup. This ended in disaster, as they got the soup all over the customers. Soon, Mr. Ping returned and set things right in mere minutes. Deeply impressed, Crane, along with the others, praise him as "The Dragon Chef".
"Touch of Destiny"During a game of Elimination Tag, Crane nervously flew through a forest, and as he descended, his hat was caught upon a branch. He sat himself on a hollow log, unaware that was Viper hiding in it. She surprised and tagged him and he flew away, but soon regrouped with the rest of the Furious Five after Tigress won the game, after which Po asked if they wanted to play again.
Crane's crushing claws and razor sharp wings make him a deadly force on the battlefield — whether on the ground or in the air. Using his power of flight, Crane often teams up with other members of the Furious Five and carries them up to the sky for aerial assaults on their attackers. In times of peace, Crane enjoys cracking jokes with his Jade Palace family but often shakes his head in disbelief at some of Po's antics.
Crane remains mostly a background character throughout the series, but does occasionally play a significant role in some of the episodes' plots. In "Ladies of the Shade", he helped Po and Viper in a daring rescue mission to bring the Dragon Chalice back to the Jade Palace.
In "Crane on a Wire", Crane is revealed to have allergies, which usually results in obnoxious sneezing, snorting and coughing. This caused him to be humiliated at a public charity event, and though Po tried to help him, he instead ended up embarrassing him even more. During the episode, Fenghuang the owl returned, and because Crane no longer felt confident in his abilities, he stayed behind while the others went after her. However, when Crane saw how the others in were in trouble, he took action, and flew to their aid. In a final battle in the village, Crane battled Fenghuang and defeated her, regaining his confidence.
Crane was first seen cheering Po on with the Furious Five as he stuffed forty bean buns into his mouth. When Po succeeded, Crane slapped Po on the back in congratulations, causing the panda to spit a multitude of buns at his comrades.
Later, Po's lesson with Shifu was interrupted when Tigress and Crane inform him that bandits were raiding the Artisan Village for metal. Po and the Five successfully fought off the wolves, with Crane assisting Po in landing safely from large heights and helping to rescue a pig that got trapped in a bell. Crane and the others got a surprise when Po unexpectedly froze while facing the lead wolf, who escaped with most of the village's metal.
One day, Shifu received a message that a powerful villain (Lord Shen) had emerged with a weapon so powerful, it has the potential to destroy kung fu. He had used this weapon to kill Master Thundering Rhino and take over Gongmen City. Crane, along with Po and the rest of the Five, ventured across China to face the threat and vanquish it.
While traveling on a boat towards the city, Crane and the others were awoken when they overheard Po and Tigress talking about the revelation of Po's adoption outside their cabin. They interrupted their conversation to give Po "emotional support", but they soon arrived at Gongmen city.
Crane and the Five infiltrated the city by sneaking across the rooftops, but soon realized that Po was missing. Seconds after this realization, their jaws dropped when they spotted the panda clumsily sneaking through the street in a dragon costume. They quickly joined Po beneath the costume, where Crane dryly asked Po, "So that was 'stealth mode', huh?" The group was soon spotted by the wolf guards, but managed to escape and reach Gongmen Jail, having been tipped off about Masters Storming Ox and Croc by a sheep they had rescued earlier.
While in the jail, Monkey suggested using "crane noises" (which were "Ka-kaw, ki-ki") to warn the others of danger, to which Crane replied indignantly that he had never made noises like that. After Po and Tigress failed to convince the imprisoned Ox and Croc to join them, Boss Wolf and his soldiers arrived. The Five quickly dispatched the soldiers, and the leader fled with his enemies in hot pursuit. They eventually caught Boss Wolf outside Lord Shen's palace, but were ambushed by his army and were captured. In the middle of declaring "You may chain my body, but you will never chain my--", a wolf shackled Crane's neck, muffling the rest of his declaration: "warrior spirit."
The six were led to the top of the tower and placed before Lord Shen himself. After some banter between Po and Shen, Shen attempted to fire the cannon at the prisoners, but thanks to some smart thinking on Po's part, Mantis had never been captured with the others and quickly doused the fuse while Viper freed Tigress. Tigress freed Crane and the others and they destroyed the cannon while Po took on Shen. However, while facing Shen, Po froze once again, allowing the peacock to escape to a nearby building and fire a multitude of cannons at the tower. Crane's wing was burned in the explosion that followed, and Tigress had to carry him as the six made their way to the bottom of the tower to escape. The entrance was soon blocked, however, but Tigress devised an ingenious escape plan. While the tower slowly toppled over, Crane and the others quickly climbed up the tower and leaped off the top, over the palace walls, and escaped into the city.
Crane and the others hid from the wolf army in Gongmen Jail, where Tigress angrily confronted Po over his letting Shen escape. When Po said nothing, Tigress decided that he should remain in the jail while she and the Five went after Shen. Crane and the others watched in fear as Po and Tigress sparred when the panda refused to remain behind. Po was quickly subdued, and eventually revealed his desire to question Shen about his forgotten past. Po also added, in referral to Tigress, that "the hardcore can't understand". Crane's jaw dropped when Tigress lunged at Po, apparently angered, but instead hugged him. Tigress stated that she did understand, but told Po to remain in the jail anyway and soon left with the other Five. While they were leaving, Crane asked Tigress if she "couldn't watch [him] be killed", to which she told him to "stop being a wimp".
Crane and the Five tracked Shen to the cannon foundry, and then attempted to destroy the building by pushing inside a wagon full of lit gunpowder barrels. As they turned to leave, however, they spotted Po high up in the building battling Shen. They quickly doused the fuses and faced a mass army of wolves while Tigress attempted to reach Po. She was unable to reach him in time, and Crane and the others watched in horror as Po was blasted out of the factory by Shen's largest cannon, presumably to his death.
Crane and the others of the Five were subsequently captured. The night after the battle at the factory, they were chained and dangled from the top of a ship as Shen's armada prepared to leave the city and begin their conquest of China. Deeply saddened by Po's apparent death, Crane remained quiet and despairing, up until Po miraculously reappeared. Po dodged Shen's cannons and succeeded in freeing the Five, who then proceeded to aid him in fighting the armada in hopes of destroying the ships. They were soon joined by Shifu, as well as Storming Ox and Croc (whom Shifu had persuaded to join the battle). Just as it appeared that they would win, however, Shen fired his huge cannon and blasted the warriors into the harbor, along with a mass of debris.
After the blast, Crane and the other masters were left floating on driftwood, too badly injured and exhausted to continue fighting. Po was the only one able to fight, so he swam to a sunken boat where he made his final stand against the remaining boats. Crane and the other masters then watched in astonishment as Po used his newly-acquired inner peace to redirect the cannonballs and destroys the remainder of Shen's fleet.
By the time Po had returned victorious from his face-off with Shen, they were back on dry land. Crane's jaw dropped once again when Tigress helped Po out of the water and then received a hug from him. Crane recovered from his surprise and joined the others and they gave Po a group hug, and then watched the fireworks display that resulted from the remains of Shen's ship.
Crane is the pragmatist of the group. Reluctant to resort to violence, he's a 'think first, punch second' kind of bird. Sometimes a well placed quip is the strongest technique. He'll try to avoid a fight, if at all possible... but if he can't avoid it, he'll do everything he can to win it. The safety of his fellow kung fu-ers is his first priority. He's willing to risk his life to protect them.
Crane has demonstrated a dry sense of sarcastic humor on occasion. In his spare time, he enjoys practicing the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy, especially as a way to meditate or wind down after a stressful day. Though brave and reliable, he also tends to show more nervousness than his companions.
The traditional Crane style is natural, graceful, effortless, fluid, and balanced. In traditional crane style, the fighter poses his striking hand similar to the long pointed beak of the bird. Crane does not use his beak, but instead, he utilizes his wings for big, circular sweeping movements designed to exploit his wingspan; by enlarging the striking zone, he diffuses his opponents' energy—using four ounces of energy to deflect one thousand tons of pressure.
Unlike the others of the Furious Five, Crane learned kung fu by himself when he worked as a janitor at the Lee Da Kung Fu Academy. At that time, his martial arts mostly composed of cleaning and sweeping to ease his janitor's workload.
During combat situations in dangerous locations where fatal falls are possible, Crane is able to fly around the combat zone and survey the area as a scout for tactical advantage, ready to catch any of his comrades if they do fall. If necessary, he is also strong enough to carry all of the other Five in the air, but this shows to be very taxing for him.
In Kung Fu Panda Holiday, Crane displayed another ability while aiding Po alongside the other Five in place settings for the Jade Palace's formal Winter Feast; he was shown being able to manipulate the wind he unleashed under the plates and cups with his wings, lifting them long enough for Monkey to accurately and quickly distribute placemats directly under them. This makes Crane an aerokinetic in addition to his other skills. Crane has also apparently trained in teamwork with Po, as he is seen helping Po several time with aerial maneuvers or ensuring he makes safe landings when the panda leaps from high altitudes.Crane also possesses other special abilities such as the "Wings of Justice" technique, where he sweeps his wings to create a strong gust of wind that is able to propel a fleet of ships.
Crane was the first of the Five to hold a conversation with Po, albeit it being quite awkward. Nonetheless, touched by Po's dedication and admiration of the Five led Crane to have some respect for Po. By the second film, he seemed to have become close friends with Po, just like the other members of the Five. This is shown when Po managed to fit forty bean buns in his mouth, and Crane cheered for him and playfully slapped the panda's back with his wing, resulting in Po spitting out bean buns. They've also improved their teamwork, as Crane is shown several times helping Po with aerial maneuvers or insuring he lands safely from leaping high altitudes.
The Furious FiveCrane stands alongside the Furious Five as a member. He tagged along with Tigress and the others to defeat Tai Lung, but after Tai Lung defeated them in battle by paralyzing all but Crane, he brought them back to the Jade Palace by flight, despite their heavy weight and the long, tedious journey back. This shows the compassion he has for his fellow kung fu masters.
Crane was trained by Shifu like the others of the Furious Five. He complies with his orders, even when asked to leave him to defeat Tai Lung. However, he did seem amused when Po was making fun of the kung fu master at supper one time. He can also be a bit nervous about breaking rules set by Shifu, as seen when he overhears Tigress telling Po about Tai Lung and he quickly reminds them, "Uh, yeah, we're not really supposed to talk about him?"
Mei Ling was enrolled as a student at the kung fu school where Crane worked as a janitor. Watching him work late one night, she was amazed by his skill and told him to try out for enrollment at the school. She seemed to care about Crane and may have been his only friend when everyone else teased him for being too skinny. Her encouragement and belief in him inspired his decision to go on when he accidentally stepped on the course used to test applicants. When Crane passed the course with flying colors, Mei Ling cheered for him along with all the students who had doubted his ability.
Crane's outfit consists of basic clothing most students would wear to practice the art of kung fu in. However, unlike the other Furious Five, Crane is the only member to wear a hat: A popular conical Asian hat known as a rice hat. He is always seen wearing his hat (even while he fought), even though he has been seen without it, usually when he's eating or sleeping. Crane also wears loose blue pants with a purple sash wrapped around his waist in the style of a Shaolin wrap. He also wears rings around his ankles and toes: Five ankle rings on each of his legs, and a single toe ring on each of his toes.
During the Winter Feast dinner at the Jade Palace and later at the Noodle Shop, Crane and the other members of the Furious Five each wear an outfit similar to their normal attire, but slightly differentiated in color and design to match the holiday. Crane wears loose silver pants with a red Shaolin waist wrap, and a slightly fancier version of his regular hat.
- Crane is the only member of the Furious Five to be voiced by the same film voice actor in Secrets of the Furious Five.
- In Secrets of the Furious Five and Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, Crane is shown to use his wings as if they were hands. However, in the first two films, Crane usually uses his talons more as "hands", doing this more than any other avian character. Additionally, Crane is observed to be ambidextrous, as shown in Kung Fu Panda when he writes with the talons on his left foot, but eats with the talons on his right foot.
- Crane has 6,019 feathers on his body.
- Crane's battle weakness is located in his ankles.
- Crane is allergic to silk, among many other things.
- Early in Crane's character development, his eyes were to always be covered by his hat—except in one fleeting, Clint Eastwood-inspired moment where the viewer would see his face. However, this idea was abandoned in favor of making Crane the calmer, confrontation-avoiding character he is in the final version of the first film.
In popular culture
- A spoof version of Crane appears with Po and the rest of the Furious Five in the MAD episodes "Kung Fu Blander" and "PO-blivion".