|“||Citizens of the Valley of Peace! It is my great honor to present to you... Tigress! Viper! Crane! Monkey! Mantis! The Furious Five!||”|
|—Shifu at the Dragon Warrior Tournament, Kung Fu Panda|
The Furious Five (also known as the Five) is an ancient quintet of skilled kung fu warriors famed throughout all of China. They are the protectors of the Valley of Peace whose roles have been in existence for hundreds of years. Members of the quintet have come and gone with each passing generation, though all have presumably resided in the Jade Palace.
The current group featured in the Kung Fu Panda franchise consists of members Tigress, Monkey, Mantis, Crane, and Viper. Each attaining the rank of master, the current members were trained by former member Master Shifu in kung fu styles that include the Tiger, Monkey, Crane, Mantis, and Viper styles respectively.
Noted in Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, a different group called the "Furious Five" had been the protectors of the Valley of Peace for years. It is presumed they were first trained and organized by Master Oogway, the founder of the Valley and creator of kung fu.
The former Furious Five
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The previous set-up of the Furious Five (inaccurately titled "the First Furious Five") consisted of members Shifu, Fenghuang the owl, Rooster, Elephant, and Snow Leopard. It is unknown how these members came to be organized, but they were all trained by Oogway in various individual styles.
In their time as the Furious Five, they fought alongside each other against numerous foes and on countless missions. Though most of these accomplishments are unknown, two were specifically mentioned in the series:
The current Furious Five
For unknown reasons, Oogway retired as master of the Furious Five and handed the responsibility over to Shifu. Shifu trained the current set-up of the Furious Five, which consists of the members Tigress, Viper, Crane, Monkey, and Mantis. It is currently unknown when and where exactly Shifu gained each member, with the exception of Tigress, whom he took in as a child from the Bao Gu Orphanage. Despite this, however, the current Furious Five were formed no less than twenty years prior to the events of the first film because of the rampage and eventual incarceration of Tai Lung. Within that time, the Five had been mastering their individual styles and gaining fame across China through various assignments, distress calls, and battles. One of such was the Battle of Weeping River, which Po collectively pointed out during his first conversation with Crane; according to him, the Five were outnumbered a thousand to one (indicating at least five thousand enemies), but their skill and determination proved victorious over them.
In the original film, Po's fanatic "idolatry" of the Furious Five was constantly made apparent. He was seen in one of his dreams as a kung fu warrior fighting alongside the Furious Five. When he woke from the dream and found himself on the floor of his bedroom, his fanatic obsession was further illustrated with pictures and action figures of the Five decorating the small room, which further indicates how popular the Furious Five had become within that twenty year time span.
Attendants of the Jade Palace later hung up announcement portraits throughout the Valley village declaring the Furious Five's participation in the Dragon Warrior Tournament, where one of them would presumably be selected by Oogway to receive the Dragon Scroll. Having narrowly been locked out of the tournament, Po tried numerous attempts to get in; meanwhile, the Five performed in front of their spectators and masters in the Jade Palace's arena, displaying their skills individually by interacting with various weapon-wielding wooden contraptions. Once all but Tigress had performed, Oogway indicated the time for selection. But when it seemed like Oogway was about to select Tigress, Po's final attempt with a firework chair landed him right in between the two and was declared the Dragon Warrior instead, much to everyone's surprise. Although Shifu tried to intervene, Oogway replied, "There are no accidents," and carried out with his decision. Meanwhile, the Five respectfully remain stationary, believing to have failed their master.
The Five (as well as their master) remained reluctant to Oogway's decision—especially Tigress, considering how it seemed she was about to be selected. After the tournament, the Five returned to the Training Hall to run through some of the set-ups, which later displayed to Po the severely advanced level of the course. All Five stepped off the course when Shifu asked Po to show his skill with the Adversary. Po hesitated, seeing that his idols would also be watching him, but eventually punched it, only to have the Adversary rebound and shove him into the Hall's courses. The Five and Shifu watched as Po clumsily failed each of the courses. Afterwards, the Five headed to the student barracks for the night, each sharing their sarcastic doubts on Oogway's decision and throwing in numerous derogatory jokes at Po's expense (oblivious to Po's presence as he followed a small distance behind them, allowing him to hear their insults). The following day proved no different as Po showed up for a second day of severe training with Shifu and each of the Five. By this point, however, the Five were somewhat sympathetic towards the struggling panda as Mantis and Viper helped with acupuncture, and Tigress shared with him the story of Tai Lung, Crane and Monkey listening in from the other room.
The Five and Po later shared a meal together in the barracks' kitchen/dining hall. Po's stories, humor, as well as his delicious noodle soup pleased the Five—excluding Tigress, who disregarded him and ate tofu instead—and caused them to warm up even more to the panda. However, when Shifu brought the news of Oogway's passing and Tai Lung's escape, the Five's doubts arose once more and they tried to reason with their master to let them stop Tai Lung. Shifu declined them, telling them it was Po's destiny to do so. Desperate to still try and do something about it, the Five ran away from the Jade Palace out into the night.
They traveled for days before they reached the edge of the Valley where they encountered Tai Lung. All five kung fu warriors engaged in a fight of incredible skill and prowess, only to have Tai Lung come out victorious with a chi block on four of the Five—sparing Crane so he was able to carry the rest back to the Jade Palace in means of a message. Shifu and Po had just finished another day's worth of extensive training when the Five returned, Crane exhausted and the others paralyzed. The Five told about their grieving experience, which placed doubt into Po when he realized that not even his idols, let alone five kung fu masters, could stop Tai Lung. Shifu still believed he could defeat him, and they all went to the Hall of Warriors in the Jade Palace to retrieve the Dragon Scroll for Po. Shifu and the Five watched as Po opened the scroll, and appeared just as confused when he said it was blank. Believing nothing else could be done, Shifu offered to stay behind to hold back Tai Lung while they and the rest of the Valley escape. Master and students shared a final respectful bow, knowing that Tai Lung may very well kill him.
While Po went to find his father, the Five assisted in evacuating the Valley. They were all just about out of the Valley when a large golden gust pulsed and blew past them. The Five and the other villagers returned to investigate and found Po victorious in his fight with Tai Lung. Marveling at his skill that enabled him to do what they could not, Tigress led the others of the Five (as well as the villagers) in a bow in respects to Po as a kung fu master, signifying Tigress' acceptance of Po as the Dragon Warrior.
Some time after the first film, Po was assigned by Shifu to instruct a beginner's kung fu class of noisy bunny children. After Po settled them down, the children began to show interest in the Furious Five, talking about how "cool" they were. Po agreed with them, but then told them how even the Five had to discover how they could achieve "excellence of self" before becoming great kung fu masters. He illustrated this by sharing each of the Five's individual stories of how they came to discovering one of the philosophical concepts of kung fu that helped them to ultimately better themselves:
- Mantis discovered the power of patience, which enabled him to communicate effectively with others as well as aid him in battle.
- Viper achieved the power of courage when she helped to save her father when he was in distress from a gorilla bandit.
- Crane attained the power of confidence through his kung fu tryouts, which aids him in all his many confrontations.
- Tigress found the discipline she needed to control her strength and tame her temper.
- Monkey discovered the power of compassion, recognizing how to use his skills for the good of others when such power was used by Oogway in saving his life.
The Five continue to protect the Valley of Peace, now with Po alongside them. During a battle with some boar bandits, Po shared with the Five the news of how he was to host the annual Winter Feast banquet at the Jade Palace. The Five were at first surprised by this, and thought the panda could use their help in preparing for such an important and sophisticated event. Po initially disagreed with their doubts, but was very quickly overwhelmed by all the responsibilities of organizing the event on his own, and realized he may need some help after all. He requested help from the Five, who aided in place settings by using their various skills to quickly and accurately set up a well-organized dinner table.
Later that evening, the Five took their place at the formal dinner with Po, Shifu, and the other various kung fu masters. Feeling distraught over having to choose between his responsibilities as Dragon Warrior and to his family, Po had a change of heart as he shared with the other masters his past experiences of the Winter Feast with his family. Knowing he wants to be both a good host and a good son, he quietly excused himself to fulfill that promise made to his father. The Five—as well as the other masters—sympathized with Po's thoughts, reminiscing on other joyful aspects of the holiday, and eventually left as well to join Po at the noodle shop for the festivities. The Five wished Po a happy holiday, and then later joined in a portrait.
"The Art of Balance"
The Furious Five appeared at the beginning in Po's dream, where they faced off with a group of bandits. Before they could attack, however, Po suddenly leapt in out of nowhere, accidentally landing right on top of the Five, much to their dismay. After this mishap, the bandits attacked, and the Five engaged in a fierce battle before the dream ended. After Po's dream ended, the Five were not seen again for the remainder of the story.
"The Dragon Chef"
When Mr. Ping fell ill with the "goose flu", Po enlisted the Furious Five to help run the restaurant. When the Five became fearful of the fiercely agitated customers waiting at the counter, Tigress gave a rousing speech about how they had defended the Valley many times before from far more fearsome threats, and so they could surely run a noodle shop. However, as they would quickly learn, kung fu is not the best tool for running a restaurant, and before long the noodle shop was a mess. Just as things got out of hand, Mr. Ping, cured from his illness, returned and remedied everything with swift and flawless expertise. Greatly impressed, the Five praised Mr. Ping as the "Dragon Chef".
"Touch of Destiny"
One day, Po and the Furious Five took a break from training and partook in a game of 'elimination tag'. After Viper tagged Crane, she proceeded to be tagged by Monkey, who in turn was tagged by Mantis, who was then tagged by Po. After a brief spar, Tigress tagged Po and won the game. Po then asked the Five if they wanted another game.
In Kung Fu Crew
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Throughout the series, the Five work together with Po and Shifu to protect the Valley of Peace, often getting into various misadventures along the way. In addition to squabbling with each other over differences of opinion, they are also shown to have to deal with Constable Hu, the imperial official responsible for maintaining law and order in the Valley of Peace. Most often, the Five and Hu come into conflict over legal technicalities and procedure.
Some of the Furious Five's history was also mentioned throughout the series, and eventually previous members of the Five were featured in some episodes.
The Five were first seen cheering on Po as he shoved dumplings into his mouth, and applauded him when he reached a new record of forty dumplings. The Five and Po were later called to protect a village of musicians who were being attacked by wolves who worked for Lord Shen, and they successfully fought off the wolves seeking to rob the village of its metals, until the Five witnessed Po freeze up in the midst of the battle, getting clobbered in the face by the head wolf as a result. After the wolves escaped, Shifu soon received a message that Lord Shen had created a weapon so powerful, it could mean the end of kung fu.
The Five journeyed with Po across China to face the threat and vanquish it. On the way, Tigress and the rest of the Five consulted and comforted Po about his troubles after he had discovered he was adopted before reaching Gongmen City. When they reached their destination, now under control by Shen's forces, they attempted to find Masters Storming Ox and Croc by using "Stealth Mode". After their disguise failed, they managed to slip away from the wolves patrolling the city by hiding in barrels. However, when they reached the masters, both Storming Ox and Croc refused to leave their cells, and stayed in Gongmen Jail with the conviction that kung fu was dead. The Five and Po were soon discovered by Wolf Boss, whom they chased in order to prevent him from alerting Shen, only for the group to be led to an ambush.
Po and the Five were brought before Shen, and the peacock threatened to use his weapon against them. However, Mantis escaped his cage and quickly sabotaged the device, as it was revealed that an action figure of Mantis was placed in his cage by Po when they were captured. The Five and Po were freed after Viper managed to pick the locks on Tigress's handcuffs, and the group fought against Shen and his forces, with Po taking Shen on alone. Though as Po was about to defeat him, he was once again distracted, this time by the pattern on Shen's tail feathers, which resembled the insignia that had made Po freeze in the earlier battle. The peacock took the opportunity to escape, and Tigress admonished Po for letting him get away. Mantis commented that at least the weapon had been destroyed, but they discovered, to their horror, that Shen had a whole set of them.
As the tower collapsed, Po and the Five struggled to escape while Shen fired at them. They fled, hiding in the prison, and Tigress demanded to know why Po froze before Shen. The panda at first refused to confess about his recurring visions, but ultimately relented, telling her that Shen knew what happened to his biological parents. Insisting that he confront Shen, Po told Tigress she wouldn't understand, only for her to suddenly hug Po, much to the surprise of the others. She told Po she did understand, but he had to remain at the jail for the sake of his own life and the sake of the mission, while she and the others would attempt to stop Shen's cannons at the source.
Once they arrived at Shen's factory, it was soon discovered that Po had entered despite being told to stay behind, and he unintentionally foiled their plan to destroy the weapons. They tried to reach Po and aid him as they fought against Shen's minions, but Shen blasted Po out of the factory after facing him yet again, and the Five were soon captured. The quintet despaired, believing Po was dead as Shen had them tied, intending to kill them as an example of his power while he invaded the city. However, this was interrupted suddenly by Po, who had appeared on a rooftop out of nowhere, and he moved to free the Five, beginning a massive battle that soon included Shifu, Storming Ox, and Croc. They tried to stop the fleet by the use of their own boats, but the battle came to a halt when Shen took control of a cannon and blasted all of the kung fu warriors out into the harbor.
Hanging on to the ships' rubble for support, they all watched as Po climbed and stood on a small piece of land, and appeared to be surrendering himself to Shen. Shen gave the order to finish off Po, but as the cannonball shot out, the panda showed his mastery of "inner peace", and deflected the blast, hurling it away. After repeating this, Shen's fleet was destroyed by Po, who climbed aboard the peacock's lead ship. The two conversed a moment before Shen, refusing to surrender, unexpectedly attacked Po, unwittingly slashing the cords that held up the cannon. The cannon ended up falling on him, and Po deserted the ship. Tigress helped him on to the docks, and called Po's actions "pretty hardcore." Po then hugged her unexpectedly, with the rest of the Five afterward greeting Po by hugging him. They, along with Shifu and the citizens of Gongmen, watched the fireworks display over the city, before eventually returning to the Valley of Peace.
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- Director John Stevenson stated in The Art of Kung Fu Panda book that they purposely intended to "[call] the individual members of the Furious Five by the names of their fighting styles. [They had] experimented with using personalized character names, but in the end kept returning to the simplicity of the generic name."
- During the development process, there was talk of cutting one of the five members and making them the Furious Four, but everyone had grown so attached to them all that DreamWorks couldn't part with any of the characters.
- When Po and the Five (excluding Tigress) ate together in Kung Fu Panda, there were exactly 64 noodles in each bowl.
- Discussing Po's new placement with the Furious Five in Kung Fu Panda 2, Jack Black has regarded Po as the "technical leader" of the quintet. However, because he is "still finding his way" through his insecurities and clumsiness, the group doesn't become the "Furious Six", but rather "the Furious Five and the Dragon Warrior"—with Tigress as the "real" leader, according to Black.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4
- ↑ Revealed in DreamWorks Animation's Secrets of the Furious Five (2008). Written by , Todd Berger & directed by Raman Hui. Distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment.
- ↑ Revealed in DreamWorks Animation's Kung Fu Panda (2008). Written by , & directed by John Stevenson, Mark Osborne. Distributed by Paramount Pictures.
- ↑ Miller-Zarneke, Tracey. The Art of Kung Fu Panda, p. 57. ISBN: 1933784571.
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 Kung Fu Panda Fun Facts by HP
- ↑ ComingSoon.net - "CinemaCon: Kung Fu Panda 2 . . . Interviews"