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|“||Where do you keep your recipes?||”|
|—Kuo to Mr. Ping, Kung Fu Panda: Art of Balance|
Kuo is a trained chef who appears in the comic book Kung Fu Panda: Art of Balance. He serves as the main antagonist in the story "Art of Balance".
Kuo introduced himself to Po, explaining his background as a trained chef, having had his own restaurant in the past in the black market, which was noted for its tough crowd. He tells Po that he is a fan of his father, and Po, seeing that he was very qualified (and who also wasn't looking forward to the tiring night at the Noodle Shop at the time), hired Kuo on the spot to help lessen his work load.
Kuo soon met Mr. Ping and showed him his expert chopping abilities with his knives, and the goose was impressed at his "showman" skills. Kuo claimed to have nearly perfected Mr. Ping's "Dragon Warrior's Soft Crunch Noodles" soup, but hadn't quite grasped the right balance between the crunch and softness. When asked how he did it, Mr. Ping declined in revealing the secret to his recipe. This made Kuo angry, glaring after Mr. Ping as the goose declared they should all get back to work. Kuo was later seen searching the shop, and when Mr. Ping inquired what he was doing, Kuo again questioned him about his recipes and where he kept them. Mr. Ping politely refused to tell him the secret location, and in return, Kuo pulled one of his knives on the goose.
Later that night, Po returned to see his father tied up on the counter of the shop. Kuo, who was holding him hostage, demanded to be given his father's recipes. He then revealed to Po of how he had slaved in his own numerous restaurants in the past, and how they had all ended in failure and debts owed to criminals. He claimed Mr. Ping's success was the reason for his business and him being a failure, and that obtaining the recipes would be his "ticket to the top". Po told Kuo he wasn't a failure, but had just let himself become imbalanced instead of picking himself back up again after his disappointments. Eyes burning red, Kuo furiously threw his knives at the panda, which Po managed to simply tread upon as if he were light as air thanks to his own recent training practice in balance, and Po delivered a kick to Kuo and threw him over the counter.
Po untied Mr. Ping, who was unharmed, and then Master Shifu arrived to prevent Kuo from making an escape, resulting in Kuo being slammed into a wall and presumably knocked out.
PersonalityKuo appeared friendly when meeting Po and Mr. Ping, seemingly grateful and selfless as he asks for no money when hired at the Noodle Shop, saying that working with a legendary chef like Mr. Ping is reward enough. However, this flattering behavior proved deceitful as Kuo's true intentions became clear: Stealing Mr. Ping's recipes. His many failed restaurants gave him a vengeful streak, and he was willing to cheat and make threats to gain success. His deceitful nature hid a burning powerful rage and possible insanity, displayed as when Kuo became angry, his eyes would turn red, and occasionally a red, fiery background would rise behind him. His resolve in having Mr. Ping's popular recipes resulted in a confrontation with Po, who tried to reason with Kuo to not let failure imbalance him and make his decisions. Kuo was unconvinced and attacked, and in his temper, was pummeled and beaten by Po and Shifu, resulting in yet another downfall for the failed chef.
Fighting styleWhile Kuo was not a Kung Fu master, he was very skilled in cooking, or more specifically chopping vegetables. This skill with chopping hid an even greater skill for knife throwing, a skill which Kuo probably developed for combat to protect himself from the criminals he owed debts to. Kuo was seen to be able to throw up to six large cooking knives at once, though this ultimately was no match against Po the Dragon Warrior.
As a highly successful and superior chef, Kuo unfairly blamed Mr. Ping for his own failed business. As a result, Kuo greatly despised Mr. Ping, though was able to hide that hatred well enough to convince the goose to hire him for the restaurant. When Mr. Ping continuously refused to reveal his secret recipes, Kuo eventually lost patience, showed his true colors, and took Mr. Ping hostage. Mr. Ping was fortunately rescued by his son before Kuo could harm him.
As he was Mr. Ping's son, Kuo probably loathed Po nearly as much as he loathed the goose. Nevertheless, Kuo was able to dupe Po in hiring him for the noodle shop. However, Po soon discovered Kuo's true intentions when he returned home one evening to find his father being held at knife-point. Po attempted to reason with Kuo, but Kuo eventually lost his temper and attacked him with knives, and was ultimately defeated by the panda and possibly taken away to jail.
Kuo wears a simple red robe with brown lining and brown sleeves that are tan underneath. He wears a dark brown belt and a strap that holds two sheath-like containers for his knives, which he uses both for chopping vegetables and for knife throwing.